Why Body-Inclusivity Hero Dana Falsetti Is Over Instagram

Photo: Michele Suits
As a leading voice in the body-inclusivity movement, yoga teacher Dana Falsetti's @nolatrees posts have been a must-read among the healthy-living Instagram world for years. But not anymore. And it's not because she's any less thoughtful, challenging, or influential. It's because she's not going to post anymore.

Via Instagram Stories, Falsetti told her 316,000 followers that the social media platform is an "abusive relationship" from which she needs to heal.

"There has been a lot of trauma. Visible and not. As much as I regularly wish I could, I can't will trauma not to have its impact." —Dana Falsetti

"I am grieving, realizing my relationship with this community and this work is the most intense one I've ever been in and I tie every memory back to this account and how it all began. Through therapy I've come to realize it's been a five-year abusive relationship, even with all it's given me," she says.

"There has been a lot of trauma. Visible and not. As much as I regularly wish I could, I can't will trauma not to have its impact. Being in these spaces re-traumatizes me so quickly that my mental health plummets just as fast. I need to heal."

Dana Falsetti
Photo: Cheyenne Gil

What's next for her?

She admits that it's scary to close this door, but feels it's necessary. "Change is fucking scary. Right now it means accepting that beautiful things don't have to last to any semblance of permanence to be significant," she says.

"Thinking back to every workshop, every hug, every card on my fridge, every kind word, every time you shared your vulnerability—there are no words. But I have more tears I my body than I knew existed. Ours is a relationship I will always cherish, and the love is here. But it is not enough for me to stay if I know I must go."

So, when you want a @nolatrees fix, where to go? Falsetti says she'll continue to publish her newsletter, and she won't be gone from Instagram altogether. The Practice With Dana Instagram (which promotes her pay-what-you-like video content) will remain live, as will the account for her podcast, Deep Dive with Dana Falsetti. And there may be a few last posts on @nolatrees, to wrap things up, she says.

At heart, she's always a teacher—someone who is bringing others along on their journeys by being real about her own stumbling blocks. In this January 2017 essay for Well+Good, for instance, she helped all the newbies out there by describing her own beginnings, "having my ass handed to me" in yoga class.

So, if Instagram has become a source of trauma for her, instead of a source of community, what does that say about the next wave of the body-inclusivity movement? Because it's a visual platform—and the effort is a visual one, to democratize the types of bodies that our culture celebrates—it's always had its most natural home on Instagram, and spread from there. (All the way to Fashion Week, as Rihanna, Chromat, and many others are showing.) It's undeniably a big loss to have Falsetti out of the conversation, at least temporarily. But while she's taking care of herself, many others stepping up every day—a credit to the success of this OG IG yogi and the new paths she pioneered. So, here's to you, Dana, on #SelfCareSunday. Take care of you.

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