Yoga & Photography

May 20, 2011 § 3 Comments

This isn’t a ‘pure’ Ashtanga post. For that, I apologize. But I’m writing because I am compelled to. I’ve just spent the past two days catching up on a recording of a seminar given by an award-winning photographer sharing her experience, her approach to the craft and downloading whatever she knows about the business. This took place over 3 whole days. On the Internet. Where over 2 million people tuned in. Imagine giving away your business secrets on that scale – you’ve really got to have a big heart.

[A bit of backstory: In my non-Ashtanga life, I write about and photograph food and the people who produce them.]

Over the course of her sharing, I came to realize that photography is not just about the type of gear that you use or how well you can adjust your shutter speed and aperture to suit the light you have. It’s about paying attention, letting go of your ego and being open – to your subject, to the emotions that arise and the nuances of environment that you want to capture.

These also happen to be the fruits – or, more accurately, a work-in-progress – of a regular yoga/meditation practice. I think it’s hardly a coincidence that I’m constantly being reminded of how the practice has real, tangible effects on my life beyond just the physical changes. Then again, we read into ‘coincidences’ what we want to see so I’m going to tone down on the omen-reading and accept these insights for what they are.

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Waking up at 6 today I faced the usual struggle – to go or not to go to the Shala, apprehensive about the inflexibility that’s taken hold in the fascia. As if on cue, one of Guruji’s soundbites popped up: “Body not stiff. Mind stiff.” 

So off to the mat I went, for a wonderful practice. To think that I almost gave it up!

I honestly believe that if Guruji was a part of our generation and wasn’t a yoga teacher, he would have made a great copywriter for motivational posters. Maybe we should make a t-shirt of all his quotes! Or would that be considered disrespectful?

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