Yoga may be a centuries-old spiritual practice, but Instagram has expanded its reach to a whole new generation. Scroll through your feed and you'll see yogis in a variety of poses in exotic locations around the world, oftentimes accompanied by words of wisdom. Whether you follow them for inspiration in your own practice or simply to bring a little Zen to your day, here are 14 of Instagram's most inspiring yogis and their favorite poses.
1. Kino MacGregor: Scorpion Handstand (Vrschikasana)
MacGregor is the co-founder of Miami Life Center and one of only a few people to receive a certification to teach Ashtanga yoga from its founder, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. A quick scroll through her Instagram will leave you with some serious #yogagoals, but her captions also inspire yore than just flexibility and strength. One of her favorite poses is the Scorpion Handstand.
"The journey to handstand is the journey of strength, the quest for inner stability against all odds. The journey to backbends is the emotional purification that opens the heart and makes it possible to remain vulnerable even in the most difficult situations. Vrschikasana merges these two principles and embodies the balance between strength and grace that is the essence of the yoga practice itself."
Follow her on Instagram: @KinoYoga
2. Dashama Konah: King Dancer (Natarajasana)
Dashama's Instagram is guaranteed to leave you with a serious case of wanderlust: She leads annual yoga teacher trainings, workshops and retreats in Bali, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and many other breathtakingly beautiful places. She's also the founder of Pranashama Yoga Institute and credited with being one of the first to demonstrate standup paddleboard (SUP) yoga. "I think my go-to pose that makes me the happiest is King Dancer, aka Natarajasana," she says. "I love this pose because it opens my upper back, shoulders and heart, while also being very balancing, and feels energetically expansive."
Follow her on Instagram: @DashamaLove
3. Anna Guest-Jelley: Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)
Guest-Jelley is the founder and CEO (Curvy Executive Officer) of Curvy Yoga, and her Instagram features a mix of yoga poses, inspirational quotes and shots from her everyday life. Her body-positive practice welcomes men and women of all body types, ages and ability levels. Because of this, her photos and captions speak to a wide audience, making yoga accessible to all. "One of my favorite poses is Pyramid pose," she says. "I love how this one stretches my hamstrings and lets me meet my body exactly where it is today."
Follow her on Instagram: @CurvyYoga
4. Tamal Dodge: Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)
Raised on an ashram in Hawaii, yoga has been a part of Dodge's life from day one. In addition to teaching weekly classes at his studio YogaSalt in Los Angeles, he leads regular yoga teacher trainings and workshops. His Instagram is a mix of yoga, surfing, music and monkeying around. His current favorite yoga pose? Handstand. "I love playing with inversions and having the challenge of not only aligning my body, but also the incredible focus that is required from my mind," he says. "I find this pose to incorporate so many elements that continually make it interesting."
Follow him on Instagram: @tamalyoga
5. Kathryn Budig: Scale Pose (Tolasana)
Kathryn Budig is a yoga teacher who keeps it real. Though she's a sponsored athlete in Under Armour's "I Will What I Want" campaign, creator of the Aim True Yoga DVD, regular contributor to Women's Health magazine and author of "The Women's Health Big Book of Yoga" who teaches weekly classes on YogaGlo.com, she still finds time to post adorable photos of her pug Ashi and videos of her practicing some pretty complex poses.
But one of her current favorite poses is Scale Pose. "It requires hip flexibility to get into Lotus, and core/shoulder strength to pick everything up," she says. "It's a beautiful blend of strength and flexibility, which reminds me to always seek out balance in everything that I do."
Follow her on Instagram: @KathrynBudig
6. Jessamyn Stanley: Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
This North Carolina-based yoga teacher, body-positive advocate and writer fills her Instagram with photos and videos of her yoga practice as well as a few candid shots of not-so-perfect moments her fellow yogis can relate to. "I know I'm not the only one who has experienced the frustration of fixating on a particular pose," she captions one.
One of her favorite poses, however, is headstand. "Headstand requires full-body integration and has taught me more about myself than any other pose," she says. "It requires that I let go of my preconceived notions and my inner turmoil in order to literally turn my world upside down. It's an incredible metaphor for my life, and I appreciate all the lessons it's taught and continues to teach me."
Follow her on Instagram: @mynameisjessamyn
7. Irene Pappas: Camel Pose Variation (Ustrasana)
One look at Pappas' Instagram feed and it's clear her inspiration extends beyond traditional yoga. In fact, she's practiced with hand balancers, circus performers and contortionists. As a result, her strength, flexibility and grace will leave you in awe. For example, the above photo of her in one of her favorite yoga poses — Camel Pose. "I love this Camel variation because it allows me to open my heart while feeling strong and lifted," she says. "It's an intense stretch in my shoulders that can only be accessed through strength, which is what makes it my favorite pose."
Follow her on Instagram: @FitQueenIrene
8. Rocky Heron: Eight-Angle Pose (Ashta Vakrasana)
Arm-balances and inversions are some of the most incredible-looking yoga poses, and world-traveling yoga teacher and founder of Yoga With Rocky Rocky Heron's feed is full of both of them. So it's no wonder that one of his favorite poses is Eight-Angle Pose. "I appreciate this pose because, much like life, it is seemingly asymmetrical, awkward and somewhat mystifying," he says.
"However, with practice, patience and understanding, the pose, as with many of life's challenging pursuits, can become not just possible, but actually quite sustainable and efficient. Oftentimes it is our perception that something is difficult or impossible that makes it so... Keep practicing. Anything is possible."
Follow him on Instagram: @yogawithrocky
9. Kerri Verna: King Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Where else would you expect to find Instagrammer @beachyogagirl but on the beach? As a Florida-based yoga teacher and personal trainer with certifications in Pilates, kickboxing and Tai Chi, she spends plenty of time practicing yoga on the beach, including two of her favorite poses — Handstand and King Pigeon Pose.
"Ado Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand) requires persistence, concentration and strength. Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose), because it's a simple request for surrender and patience, taught me to practice with a humble heart," she says. "Handstands taught me that I am strong and can do anything. Backbends taught me that I need to let go and surrender and that I can't rush the process."
Follow her on Instagram: @beachyogagirl
10. Derrick “DJ” Townsel: Scorpion Handstand (Vrschikasana)
Once a Houston Texans wide receiver, Derrick "DJ" Townsel now spends his days in Orlando, Florida, as a personal trainer, health coach and yoga instructor. Dubbed the "Rasta Yogi" in the yoga community, his Instagram features plenty of inspiring poses in a variety of places around Orlando as well as shots with his daughter (like the time they dressed up as Bat Princess and Urkel for Halloween). And nowhere is his strength more visible than in one of his favorite yoga poses, Scorpion Handstand. "My favorite pose is Vrshikasana because it displays strength, flexibility and ultimate focus on body awareness and breath," he says.
Follow him on Instagram: @Dade2Shelby
11. Racheal Weathers: Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)
Though she started out as a gymnast at a very young age, Weathers was inspired by another yogi on this list, Irene Pappas (see slide 7), to give yoga a try. She now leads private lessons and yoga workshops all over Southern California, in addition to updating her Instagram with photos of her yoga practice and passages from the Bible. And she's very up front about her progress, including her journey to the pose pictured above — Pigeon Pose. "Kapotasana is a new favorite for me because for so long I just knew I couldn't do it!" she says. "That's why I love my yoga practice. I'm always pushed to go deeper, be a little more patient and enjoy the now!"
Follow her on Instagram: @YogaRacheal
12. Taylor Harkness: Upward-Facing Bow Pose (Urdhva Danurasana)
Taylor Harkness is one of those Instagrammers who makes you feel like you're his best friend. Who could resist photos of his dog Jake, quirky yet totally relatable memes and travel shots from some of the most beautiful places on earth? And, of course, plenty of yoga poses, often hashtagged with his mantra "Shine On." Though he has many favorite poses, one of his current favorites is Upward-Facing Bow.
"I've found that I need a little more energy these days, probably from the changing season (daylight saving time always messes me up because it gets dark so early) and having one last leg of heavy travel for the year," he says. "It takes a lot of hip and shoulder openness, but the broad expansion of the chest helps me breathe deeper, and I always come out of it feeling a little lighter."
Follow him on Instagram: @tjhark
13. Rachel Brathen: Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)
Add a little sunshine to your Instagram feed! Aruba-based yoga teacher and creator of online yoga studio oneOeight, Brathen's photos are sure to brighten your day—whether to lift your spirit with an inspirational quote or a silly picture of her dogs. And chances are you'll see lots of her favorite pose: Handstand.
"It's a very invigorating, empowering pose," she says. "Whenever I'm in my head or stressing about a situation, I take a moment to kick up to Handstand. Shifting your perspective is a good thing! Even if you don't have the balance to stay steady in the middle of the room just yet, kicking up against a wall is a great way to get the benefits of being upside down. Plus, it's super fun!"
Follow her on Instagram: @yoga_girl
14. Faith Hunter: Sugarcane Pose (Ardha Chandra Chapasana)
Founder of the Spiritually Fly philosophy, which encourages people to celebrate all of life's moments and embrace yogic teachings on and off the mat, New York-based yoga teacher Faith Hunter's style blends Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga. Her current favorite pose reflects that mixture: "Ardha Chandra Chapasana (Sugarcane Pose) is a variation of Half-Moon Pose," she says. "This pose provides a yummy blend of playfulness, balance, heart-opening and lightness. Chapasana is a sweet expression of freedom and invokes a joyous feeling of passion and play. Each time I do it, I feel a smile pouring from my heart."
Follow her on Instagram: @spirituallyfly
What Do YOU Think?
Do you follow any of these yogis on Instagram? Are there any others that you follow? Which of these poses do you currently practice? What are some of your favorite yoga poses? What is it about them that you love? Share your thoughts, suggestions and stories in the comments section below!