I Swear I'm Not a Hippie...

video © yogarelax.co.uk

…but I have been regularly practicing yoga for a few years now and felt the need to write a little bit about that today.  The more I practice, the more I feel the mental benefits of yoga, and I am now really trying to apply those lessons learned into my photographic practice.  Last night, I was tired before class.  I woke up at 6:30am to take the husband to the airport.  He is now far, far away in Oslo, Norway.  (Hi, I miss you.)  Anyway, I pushed myself through the fatigue and made it to class.  I wasn’t really expecting much from class last night.  Since I was already tired and a bit hungry, I figured this would be one of those ‘going through the motions’ classes.  Sometimes you have to go through the motions.  I mean, it’s better than not going to class at all, right?  Once I warmed up a bit, I felt different.  I felt pretty good and was happy to be there.  I wound up doing something  I had never done before; something I was pretty sure I could not do, but then check me out – I did it!  Said something is the sequence in the video above.  That is not me.  That is someone on youtube going from crow pose (bakasana) straight into a headstand and back down into crow and then coming out of the pose.  I did that last night, with the help of my good friend and yoga buddy, Maren, but it’s something I was pretty sure I could not do.  I had to try three times, but then I finally got it.  It was exciting.  It felt so good to do something I’d never done before, and it was all mind over matter.  When I got to class, all I was thinking about was how hungry I was, and how I didn’t know how I was going to make it through an hour and a half of class before eating.  Eventually, I told myself to shut up…to focus on what was happening in class and nothing else…to just accept the fact that I was in class and this is where I was going to be for the next 80-90 minutes.  After I did that, I had a great class.  I felt light and floaty.  I was sweating, but not shaking.

Yoga has been a great tool in terms of forcing me to focus on one thing, and one thing only.  Whatever that thing might be – staying in a pose, a shoot, my taxes, a spot on a wall, etc.  I am slowly learning to finish things I start and not divert my attention while I’m doing those things.  It’s taking some time, but I’m getting there.  Yoga has also has taught me a lot about fear.  I know that fear is what stands between me and poses that I “cannot” do.  In reality, I have the physical strength to get into most poses, but it’s fear that keeps me from getting the job done sometimes.  I get afraid that I’m going to hurt myself, and it’s the second guessing that strips me of the confidence needed to make it happen.  That confidence is really the missing link in so many of life’s puzzles.  Perhaps you don’t see how this would apply to photography, but I’m guessing you do.

On a side note, thanks to everyone who come out to the super fun opening of THIS last Friday.  And a big thanks to friends Jeremy & Claire, Aaron, and Dan for including my work in the show.

6 comments to I Swear I’m Not a Hippie…

  • ryan

    congrats! you were mentioning to me just last tuesday how intense that move was. see, you can do it now! thanks again to you and isac for putting me up for all that time. 2010 is going to be great! i can feel it!

  • Emily,
    I heard you speak at SVA many years ago and one of the reasons I daily read your blog is because I think you are really good at wording your thoughts about your profession. Whatever they may be. This post really hit home for me. I believe that once you have reached a certain level in your artistry, ‘the how’, is not about techniques or other stuff, instead it is about how you in the moment connect yourself (emotions, thoughts, experiences) to a place or a person. Yes, it may sound like I lot of bs or maybe even too obvious to some, but I like to think that is the core of all good art. And life. Maybe.


    … som thoughts all the way from Stockholm – not far from Oslo… ;)

  • carol

    Wow!! I hope I can do that one day! Even the little progress during class is fun for me, I bet that was an amazing feeling :)

  • With regards to yoga, life and photography- I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • Namaste Emily,
    I just wanted to drop a line and say, fantastic!
    It’s great when we achieve an asana flow in Yoga and bring Yoga to our daily lives – that’s what it’s about….
    and Thank You for using my video.
    Keep up the practice!
    P.s – try the wide leg forward bend into tripod headstand, there’s a video for that too. I’m sure you’ll succeed :-)