Yoga photography is hot right now. Be it professional or amateur selfies on Instagram (follow me! @angiestarz24), everyone is snapping proof that they practice. There’s a ton of chatter in the yoga world about if this is good or bad. Yoga is a personal practice – why must we share it with the world? It’s not about the poses, it’s about uniting body, mind and spirit through breath and movement. On and on….
(If you want more, read this.)
Listen, I don’t disagree with those statements. But, I’ll tell you what: Instagram has been a huge inspiration for me as student and teacher. Everyday, I open the app and am flooded with the inspiring practices of other teachers and students; usually accompanied by some wise words to contemplate. Wouldn’t you rather see that when you open IG than someone’s fried chicken or new car? @LauraSykora, @Masumi_G, @BeachYogaGirl, @GypsetGoddess, @Yoga_Girl and so many others keep me surrounded by positive vibes. And I contribute too. Always after a full practice – muscles warm and ready to go. Snapping photos of my practice has given me the unique ability to teach myself. To modify my alignment, to maintain integrity it my practice. So, I’m all for it. Unless of course, you forget the purpose of the practice and just start yoga voguing.
On a similar note, last week, I was blessed to have my good friend (and extremely talented photographer), Santi, shoot my first round of asana photos. Now, I’d like to remind you that way back when I was a competitive cheerleader and more recently I’ve pitched big ideas to big people (think executives at Abercrombie & Fitch corporate). So, I’m not unfamiliar with having all eyes on me. What I am unfamiliar with, though, is having all eyes on me during an incredibly personal and spiritual practice. Instagram is one thing – those are just selfies. This is completely another. Here’s what I learned during those 2 hours of practice with an audience:
- My practice changes drastically if I don’t breathe. (Duh!) Must have been the nerves, but I caught myself holding my breath quite often during the shoot. When the breath was held even the most comfortable asanas, like sirsasana, were a struggle! And then, I’d realize why – I wasn’t breathing! Once the breath came, the movement flowed.
- My eyebrows melt when I really move. Again, it may have been the nerves, but I sweated like crazy during this shoot. So much so that my eyebrows ended up on my shin bones (think seated forward fold and, yes, I do pencil in my brows – nothing crazy, but enough for them to melt!).
- I adore Surya Namaskar A – Z. If 26 variations of Surya Namaskar existed, I’d be in heaven. But, I’ll take those that do and love them extra hard. Whenever I felt overwhelmed with someone snapping photos, I flowed and reconnected breath to movement, ignoring the click-click of the camera.
- I have an amazing friend. I’ve known Santi for many years and I know that I’ll know him for many more. His respect for my practice (and my nerves) was undeniable. It shows in the photos. If you’re interested in having your practice documented on film, check him out.
And, now, the photos. Be kind my friends.