The Dos and Don’ts to Grow Your Instagram Following With Hashtags

When I meet with yoga instructors to discuss their branding or marketing strategy on social media I see the same mistakes again and again. I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned over the years, so you and other yoga instructors can quickly learn how to grow your Instagram following without wasting valuable time like I did.

best tips to grow your instagram following

1.  If you don’t use hashtags, start now.

One thing I have learned over the years is the importance of using the tools Instagram gives you. One of the most important tools to use on Instagram is the hashtag “#”, or “pound sign” if you’re old school. Hashtags sort and group like images and make Instagram images searchable. Your yoga students are likely using these hashtags to look up inspiration for their own practices, so it’s in your best interest to be there!

I see talented instructors failing to use hashtags on Instagram all the time. If you aren’t using hashtags your images will only be seen by your followers, people directly searching for you or by people snooping your feed. This isn’t good if you’re trying to grow your following, especially if you’re already putting a lot of time and effort into creating quality content.

2. Choose your hashtags wisely.

100 best instagram hashtagsDon’t use a bunch of random hashtags. Each hashtag you choose should be intentional. Also, check to make sure the hashtag you’re using is still active. No sense in using a hashtag that no one is using. Instagram has also been known to shut down hashtags that are overused or misused.

Some unexpected hashtags Instagram has shut down or restricted are: #goddess, #instagirl, #killingit, #shesquats, #booty, #curvy, #publicrelations, #stopdropandyoga, #sunbathing, #woman, #womancrushwednesday, #women, #cheeky, #desk, #everybodyisbeautiful, #bikinibody, #bombshell, #adulting, #happythanksgiving, #newyears, #newyearsday, #freethenipple, #girlsofinstagram, #instabody, #instababe, #loseweight #popular, #thinspiration, #thinspo, and #wtf. Just don’t use these or any other more scandalous #hashtags and you’ll be fine.

What hashtags should you be using as a yoga instructor? Here is a curated list of just over 100 popular hashtags specifically for yoga instructors and yogis.

3. Don’t be spammy.

You will not grow your Instagram following by spamming on Instagram. Don’t post to the same hashtag group in back-to-back posts or multiple times a day. If you must post multiple images in a short amount of time from a specific event, use Instagram’s slideshow feature, so you’re not filling your followers feeds with your pics… Do not spam, period!

4. Don’t abuse your hashtags.

Don’t stuff your Instagram captions with hashtags. If you use hashtags every other word in your Instagram caption it is difficult to read and appears spammy. Here is an example of what I mean:

I’m so #excited! I went to a #yogaworkshop with #dylanwerner in #Bali and I can #finally get into #handstand on my own. #Practiceandalliscoming #yogalife

Instead try:

I’m so excited. I went to a workshop with Dylan Werner in Bali and I can finally hold handstand on my own! Thanks @dylanwerneryoga!

#yogaworkshop #handstand #practiceandalliscoming #yogalife

This is a mistake I see commonly with yoga instructors that are new to Instagram and are just learning to use hashtags. Keeping your captions clean, uncluttered and easy to read should be part of your strategy to grow your Instagram following.

5. Grow your Instagram following by engaging with hashtag users.

Like and comment on the most recent posts in the hashtags you are using. If you catch someone while they are still online, and your comments are authentic they will check out your profile. If your profile resonates with them then they will likely like, comment and follow you too.

Like I said before, make sure your  comments are authentic and not just a ton of emojis or generic comments like “Cool”, “Love it”, etc. Use generic comments minimally. Pro tip: Comment on what they say in their caption, not just the image. It shows genuine interest.

6. Store hashtags in a note app or in Google Keep

Save yourself time and keep your hashtag groups organized in a notes app. I like to use Google Keep personally, but use whatever works best for you. Once you have your hashtags stored in a notes app you can simply copy and paste them into the first comment. I like to have 5 dots, one on each line, before my hashtags start. By using the dots I can hide my hashtags and it doesn’t look spammy or desperate.

7. Have two to three sets of Instagram hashtags.

Grow your Instagram following by creating two to three sets of Instagram hashtags for each type of post. For example, if you mostly post yoga asana pics create two groups of hashtags. With two sets of hashtags you won’t burn out or spam your hashtags and you won’t be competing with yourself for featured posts.

If you also post delicious vegan food create one or two hashtag groups for this topic. If you post travel pics, create one or two hashtag groups for this post type too. And then don’t use the same hashtag group in back to back posts (unless they’re a day or two apart).

8. Use hashtags with many posts and fewer posts.

Don’t just use the most popular hashtags. Use a variety of hashtags. If you only use the most popular hashtags you risk your images getting buried. If you also use smaller active (and more niche) hashtags you will be more likely to rank in the top nine and trend for that hashtag. You want this! It means more eyes are on you!

9. Keep it relevant: 2-3 topics.

This is just a general rule of thumb. Once you’ve decided on your brand image and what’s important to you and your ideal client/student stick with two or three relevant topics. If you’re a studio you could focus on your yoga community (both instructors and students), events and inspirational quotes. If you’re a traveling yoga instructor you could post yoga pics, healthy food, and adventure pics. These are just ideas. You do you.

10. Create a brand hashtag.

For example, if your business name is Ambuja Yoga your hashtag could be #ambujayoga. If people are snapping pics at your events, ask them to use your hashtag and ask them to tag you in the pic. You can even offer to repost/regram their pic to increase their exposure… it’s a win-win!

You may also want to create an event hashtag. This is a fun way your students can share pics and connect with one another.

Still have questions about using hashtags to grow your Instagram following? Reach out via my contact form. I’m happy to help.

100 of the Best Instagram Hashtags for Yoga Instructors in 2018

Instagram is one of the best ways yoga instructors can reach their current and future students. The social media platform lends itself well to the physical practice of yoga and provides a platform for yoga instructors to share their own personal growth, upcoming events and more. But how do you reach your yoga students on Instagram? One way to reach your students and increase your presence is through hashtags. I’ve curated a list of 100+ best hashtags for yoga instructors for 2018.

I scoured the most popular yoga Instagram accounts to find out what hashtags the top yoga influencers are using and pulled out the most relevant Instagram hashtags for yoga instructors and yogis.

I recommend using 20-30 hashtags per Instagram post. Use five that are specific to your post and the remaining 15-25 should be a set group of hashtags that you are active and engaged on.

Still not sure how to use hashtags to build your following and grow your brand? Read my post Grow Your Instagram Following With Hashtags. Here we will talk hashtag strategy and best practice. Tips for steady growth and more.

best-yoga-instagram-hashtags-for-yoga-instructors
#acro
#acroyoga
#armbalance
#armbalanceaddict
#asana
#asanajunkie
#ashtanga
#balance
#beachyoga
#beagoddess
#beginneryoga
#bhakti
#blessed
#bliss
#bodypositive
#bodypositivity
#crazysexyyoga
#devotion
#energy
#feeltheyogahigh
#fitfam
#fitmomsofig
#fitness
#fitspo
#fityogi
#flexible
#flexibility
#handstands
#healthyyogi
#healthybody
#healthylifestyle
#igyoga
#igyogafam
#igyogacommunity
#instayoga
#inspired
#inversion
#inversionjunkie
#learnyoga
#namaste
#namaslay
#namastayinbed
#meditation
#mensyoga
#mindbodygram
#motivation
#morningpractice
#movement
#myyogajourney
#myyogalife
#perfectlyimperfect
#practiceandalliscoming
#practicedaily
#practicemakesprogress
#practiceyoga
#selflove
#spreadtheyogalove
#strongyogi
#strength
#surrender
#transformationtuesday
#travellingyogi
#travellingyogini
#worldofyoga
#vinyasa
#vinyasayoga
#wanderlust
#yoga4growth
#yogaaddict
#yogachallenge
#yogaclass
#yogadaily
#yogaeveryday
#yogaeverywhere
#yogaeverydamnday
#yogafail
#yogafeature
#yogafit
#yogaflow
#yogaforeverybody
#yogaforeveryone
#yogaforlife
#yogaformen
#yogafun
#yogajournal
#yogajourney
#yogagirl
#yogagoals
#yogagram
#yogainspiration
#yogaislife
#yogalife
#yogalifestyle
#yogalooksgood
#yogalove
#yogalover
#yogamom
#yogaonline
#yogaoutdoors
#yogapants
#yogapose
#yogaphotography
#yogapractice
#yogaprogress
#yogaretreat
#yogastudent
#yogateacher
#yogatutorial
#yogavibes
#yogavideo
#yogini
#yogi
#(what you’re wearing)
#(location)
#(nameofpose)

Alignment Tips For Parsva Bakasana

alignment tips side crow

Side Crow Pose (Parsva Bakasana)

Side crow pose was my first arm balance pose. I first learned the “easy” version and honestly didn’t know there was another version for many years. I was pretty content with the version of side crow I had already learned and wasn’t much interested in learning another version. But I began seeing other yogis linking arm balances together using parsva bakasana and eka pada koundinyasa I as transition poses and my curiosity eventually piqued. I now teach side crow pose with two options depending on the students in class.

Alignment Tips For Teaching Side Crow or Parsva Bakasana

  1. From revolved chair pose, sit hips onto heels and bring hands to side of the mat
  2. Place hands shoulder width distance and spread the fingers wide
  3. Engage hasta bandha– fingertips press down into the mat, index finger and thumb press down into mat and lift through the arch of the hand
  4. Think “chaturanga arms” as the elbows bend and bring the outside of the thigh closest to the arms on to the tricep of the front arm.
  5. If possible, keep the hips lifted off of the back arm. This option will be more challenging, but it’s the correct posture. If side crow pose is new to you try the posture with the back hip on the back arm.
  6. Gaze forward and lift your feet up off the ground
  7. Find your balance here and breathe
  8. If the posture feels steady play with leg variations like transitioning into eka pada koundinyasana I.

Remember there are two options for teaching side crow.

For beginners teach side crow with the back hip on the tricep of the back arm. They will feel more steady. As the student builds strength and becomes comfortable in this version of the posture encourage them to try the second option.

For the second option of side crow the hip is lifted off of the back arm, so only the thigh is in contact with the front arm. This option is more challenging, but rewarding and empowering!

alignment-tips-side-crow-for-beginners

Side crow pose for beginners. (Parsva Bakasana)

Teach Side Crow With Modifications

  • Encourage students to bring their head down to a block and learn the muscular engagement to lift the legs.
  • For students whose elbows wing out to the side use a yoga strap to secure their arms to shoulder width distance. Slide the loop of the strap just above their elbows.

Teach Side Crow with Props

  • Use a blanket, bolster, or block underneath their face if they are worried about falling on a hard floor.
  • Place a block under their face to support the head, so they can focus on lifting their feet up.
  • Use a strap around their upper arms to secure the elbows above the wrists. Some students have a tendency to allow their elbows to swing out to the side or collapse inward. When the joints are stacked improperly and the weight of the body is distributed unevenly their is a risk of injury.
  • Use a block in the set up. Have them start with both feet on a block as they twist to the side and set up for side crow. This way their feet will almost be in position for side crow and they can focus on the arms and upper body.

Preparatory Poses for Side Crow

Contraindications:

  • Glaucoma
  • Wrist injury

How to Teach Warrior Three

teach-warrior-three

Warrior Three Teaching Tutorial

Virabhadrasana III or warrior three in English is a strong posture that builds focus and concentration while strengthening the entire body. In this yoga teaching tutorial you will learn to teach warrior three confidently and effectively with these help helpful tips.

Warrior three has many benefits. Make sure to share the benefits of the posture when you teach warrior three. Sharing the benefits will help your students discover the purpose of the posture and the focus needed to execute it.

The posture builds strength throughout the backside of the body, especially in the ankles, calves, hamstrings, glutes, back and shoulders. It also tones and strengthens the abdomen, ignites our inner fire and improves our concentration and focus. Your students may even find they feel invigorated and energized after practicing warrior three. Sweet!

Warrior Three Alignment Tips

  • Remember to start with the foundation of the posture. For warrior three the foundation is the foot of the standing leg.
  • In virabhadrasana III the toes of the standing leg foot should be spread wide. Think of distributing weight evenly throughout the entire sole of the foot (all four corners).
  • When standing in warrior three the extended leg is straight back from the hip and the extended leg stretches long.
  • The foot of the extended leg is flexed and the toes point straight down toward floor the floor or the foot is pointed strongly.
  • There is one long line from the heel of the extended leg out through crown of the head. Aside from the standing leg the body is parallel to the floor.
  • Make sure that the hips are level with one another. It is very common for the hip of the extended leg to want to lift up.
  • In warrior three the navel draws in and up to support the lower back (think mula bandha and uddiyana bandha).
  • To bring more stability to the posture draw the lower ribs in toward one another instead of allowing them to flare out and the back to arch.
  • Arms extended long overhead with biceps by ears.
  • Use a focal point or drishti for your eyes.

Warrior Three Modifications

Finding balance in warrior three can be a challenge for many. For students struggling to find steadiness in virabhadrasana three here are three modifications to help them find their balance and build strength in the stabilizing muscles necessary for steadiness and ease. Yoga Journal provides a helpful article about Warrior Three for beginners and advanced practitioners alike.

  • Bring a chair just beyond the top of your students yoga mat. Have the back of the chair facing your student. When the student comes into the posture they will hold onto the back of the chair with their hands. Overtime, increase the amount of time they hold the posture. Make sure to switch sides. If there is no chair available use the wall or a sturdy countertop. 
  • Another modification for warrior three is to offer two blocks that they can use underneath their fingertips. Place the blocks shoulder width distance at the top of your student’s mat. Have them use the blocks for balance as they find the alignment through the torso, hips and legs.
  • Some students may need to stay upright in warrior three to work on balancing on one leg. Have students that need to remain upright stand in the center of their mat. As they inhale have them take the arms overhead. On their exhale have them extend one leg straight back behind them and keep the toes on the mat. When they feel steady they can begin to lift the back foot and lower the torso to parallel with the floor. These students may also benefit from using a chair, block or wall for stability for the upper body as well.

Warrior Three Variations

  • One of my favorite warrior three variations is interlacing the fingers behind hips and drawing the palms of the hands toward one another.
  • If students have tight shoulders or shoulder strain/pain teach warrior three with hands at heart center.
  • Another arm variation for virabhadrasana three is airplane pose. In airplane pose the arms are extended back and out to the side with the palms turned down toward the floor.

Props for Warrior Three

  • Use the wall for warrior three
    • Press hands into the wall
    • Press the foot of the extended leg against the wall
  • Use blocks for strength and stability in virabhadrasana three
    • Block(s) under hands for stability
    • Block between the palms of the hands with arms extended overhead. Have students squeeze the palms of their hands into the block to strengthen arms, shoulders and upper back.

Preparatory Poses for Warrior 3

The following postures will help your students find stability, strength and ease in warrior three. Before you teach warrior three make sure to offer a mix of postures to bring both stability and mobility to the muscle groups and joints used in virabhadrasana.

  • Table top pose/ Tiger pose (stability)
  • Low Lunge (mobility in hip flexors)
  • Ardha Hanumanasana/Half Splits (flexibility for the hamstrings)
  • Locust (strengthens the back body)
  • Crescent Lunge (strengthens the legs and tones the core)
  • Pyramid Pose (opens the hamstrings)
  • Warrior 1 (strengthens the legs)
  • Tree Pose (balance and focus)

Vinyasa Yoga Sequencing to Teach Warrior Three | Four Fun Warrior Three Sequences

  1. Crescent lunge, warrior three, standing splits, forward fold
  2. Warrior 1 with hands bound behind hips to Warrior 3 hands still bound, release the bind and swing arms forward in Warrior three, return to warrior 1
  3. Warrior 1/Crescent Lunge to Warrior 3 to Garudasana/Eagle Pose, hinge from hips elbows to meet knees, lift two inches and come back to warrior 3
  4. Teach Warrior 3 to Dancer Pose to Warrior 3 to Standing Splits to Handstand to Standing Splits

How to Teach Crow Pose

Are you finding it difficult to teach crow pose effectively? When my yoga practice began arm balances were rarely taught in group yoga classes. I struggled with the posture myself for a really long time. But from that struggle I’ve learned nearly every tip in the book for crow pose and here I will share them. We will cover tips for teaching crow pose or bakasana (for all of you Sanskrit junkies), different ways to prep for it,  and how to use props to assist entry into the posture.

I joke that it took me seven years to get crow pose. Maybe it wasn’t quite seven years, but it took me longer than average. Eventually, once I stopped freaking out about falling on my face or injuring my wrists, shoulders, etc. it happened. I nailed. The funny thing is before I mastered crow pose I was already practicing other arm balances. I guess with bakasana you risk falling flat on your face and I have a deep fear of falling… somewhere in my psyche I have linked falling and failing together into one big massive knot of fear and in crow pose you literally have to face your fears head on.

Learn to effectively teach your students to face their fears head on with Bakasana/Crow Pose.

crow pose tutorial

Teach Crow Pose Effectively With These Alignment Tips

  • Hands are shoulder width distance
  • Fingers are spread wide
  • Press down through the base knuckles of the fingers, especially through your index finger and thumb
  • Dig fingertips into your mat
  • Use hasta bandha
  • Make sure the elbows are above the wrist and not “winging out to the side”
  • the eye gaze, or drishti, is slightly forward toward the top of the mat (not back at your feet)
  • Bring the knees as high up on the triceps as possible
  • Squeeze knees and triceps into one another
  • Engage mulabandha and uddiyana bandha as the hips lift high
  • Tip forward slightly
  • Guide the big toes toward one another
  • Lift heels up toward your hips
  • And breathe…

Prep Poses for Crow Pose

Remember to warm up before practicing crow pose. Before you teach Crow Pose prepare by teaching a few or all of the following postures.

  • Happy Baby
  • Cat/Cow
  • Lizard Pose
  • Seated or Reclined Crow Pose
  • Malasana- Yoga Squat
  • Chaturanga Dandasana
  • Boat Pose & Half Boat
  • Wrist therapy
modify crow pose beginner tips

Brushing up on crow pose basics on retreat in Nicaragua.

Props and Modifications for Crow Pose

For students with shoulder or wrist injuries offer seated crow pose or malasana.

In seated crow emphasize squeezing upper arms and knees squeezing in toward one another, the engagement of the pelvic floor and lower abdomen and rounding the upper back.

Offer malasana with or without a block underneath the pelvis. Encourage students to lift through mula bandha, press down through the feet, and squeeze upper arms and inner thighs/knees into one another.

For a student afraid of falling on their face offer a blanket or block underneath their forehead when you teach crow pose.

For a student struggling to find the engagement and balance in bakasana bring them over to the wall.

Set them up in malasana about a foot and one half away from the wall. Get them set up to come into the posture and have them press the top of their head into the wall as they work on lifting the feet off the ground.

For students struggling to lift their hips high in crow pose suggest a block under their feet. Lifting the hips up high can bring up a fear of falling for some students. If this is the case offer verbal encouragement. You may choose to provide a hands-on assist.

Advanced Variations for Crow Pose

For advanced students offer variations to challenge their strength and focus.

Teach crow pose to tripod headstand back to crow pose.

From crow pose teach a jump/float back to chaturanga and then forward to crow pose.

Offer up a bakasana fusion pose like: half tittibasana and half crow pose or half lolasana and half crow pose.

For students that have the strength and would like a challenge offer Eka Pada Bakasana (one legged crow pose).

Autumn is available for yoga instructors seeking mentorship. Have questions? Reach out and connect.