The number of wellness and yoga influencers using their social media platforms to share QAnon-aligned content has reached a kind of tipping point within that community. As their numbers appear to swell, other voices in wellness are speaking out, encouraging their peers to think critically before spreading conspiracy theories.
On Monday, a group of 150 popular wellness-oriented Instagram accounts all shared a “community statement” expressing their stand against QAnon.
“QAnon is taking advantage of our conscious community with videos and social media steeped with bizarre theories, mind control, and misinformation–don’t be swayed by these messages,” the post reads. “QAnon does not represent the true values of the wellness community.”https://www.instagram.com/p/CFGCZAapQ2Z/
Yoga teacher and author Hala Khouri was part of the group that developed the statement.
“There has been a group of us dialoguing about this for a couple of months now,” Khouri says. “We’ve been supporting each other to share articles and statements supporting critical thinking, being pro-science, anti-racist, and combating disinformation. This statement came from this community and others around us that we trust and respect.”
For Khouri, the urgency to take a stand against QAnon in her community has grown as she has watched more and more of her social media feed slowly be taken over with the spread of various conspiracy theories. She estimates that around a third of the people she follows have shared some type of conspiracy content, including influential and respected figures within the yoga and wellness world.
She thinks QAnon has found such a willing audience among the wellness community because many people who find themselves in that space do so because they’re seekers, looking for answers about their own mental and physical health, and may be skeptical of certain mainstream institutions. Khouri points to the popularity of anti-vaxx rhetoric and distrust of “Big Pharma” within wellness spaces.
“They want personal sovereignty over their health choices, so the idea that COVID is a hoax or a plot to get everyone vaccinated fits into their narrative,” she says. “Many people in the wellness community fancy themselves free thinkers and anti-establishment.”
For some, all it takes is one entry point to pry open the door to a full-on conspiracy theory mindset—particularly in stressful, confusing times.
“I think people are under tremendous stress and trauma right now. When we are in a trauma response, we will be vulnerable to ideas that are easy to understand and simplify a very complex issue,” Khouri says. “To think that there is a small group of elites trying to hurt all of us is enticing. If all we have to do is bring them down and we’ll be OK, that is much simpler than what is actually happening.”