The great yoga photographer Robert Sturman changed my mind about being photographed practicing yoga during a workshop I attended with my family last week. In the past, being photographed made me cringe and feel over exposed which doesn’t translate into great pictures. Robert said yoga is a display of humanity and honesty and sharing this via photographs is a way of encouraging others to try yoga. Sheesh Robert…when you put it that way! So, its for the greater good and not about perfection? Let’s take some pictures!!
As my husband and I tried out Robert’s techniques, some of the time I was focused, but mostly I allowed myself to be distracted by my children. When I first looked at this photo, I saw my children photobombing a potentially great shot. A second glance told me this is the perfect shot because it is honest. My kids are a huge part of my life. They think I’m awesome and I’m basking in this (potentially) fleeting adoration. They are with me in my head and heart even when we are not together physically. This translates to my yoga practice because sometimes I’m thinking about them (or something else entirely) when I’m “supposed to be” having a clear head, focusing on the present moment. Its normal and perfectly human.
It is how we react to those distractions during our practice that matters most and treating them like children works for me. I try to smile at these mental distractions, remember that I’m human, and attempt to be as kind as possible. This technique is better at quieting the mind chatter than scolding and working with force. And now, I will also remember that my on-the-mat distractions, while sometimes frustrating, are impermanent… just like childhood.
We can be “perfect yogis” no matter what our physical abilities or distraction level. The word yoga simply means to yoke, or link, the mind and body. Smile to (and at) yourself. Be human. Be honest. Breathe.