The more days and years pass in my life, the more I realize that the most potent part of living is in the slowing down, in the noticing, in developing a deeper connection with myself and therefore the world. But the world demands a certain pace, an often-frenzy of technology and commitments and messages to look outside oneself for fulfillment and meaning.
As a yogi, as I have been for over 15 years, I need to feel there is a touchpoint, a bridge that brings me not only deeper into the inquiry of the self but also deeper in relation with the world. I bolster this connection again and again on my yoga mat and with my camera, and from there I take it into the world and try to practice it in everything I do.
The word yoga means union, in its essence it’s about coming back to yourself, your true self. It’s also about noticing, about being a witness to this precious moment that will never happen again, to dropping into a state of stillness and reflection. And while we can be a witness to this moment, our experience is deeply personal to our own journey in life. It is this unique perspective, or layers of our own lenses and filters, from which we view the world.
Photography can help us reach that place where you have a moment of connection with your true self. To slow down, witness, capture a moment or a subject, with our unique layers of filters and lenses becoming our art.
In yogic philosophy, they say there are 5 layers of the self, layers of awareness, called koshas.
- Physical – your eyes
- Energetic – breath, energy
- Mental – analytical, reactive, mental chatter
- Intellect – stories, how you related to things and also how you can pull back and witness
- Bliss Body – pure joy, attunement and opening of the heart
So our koshas start with our physical selves and work inwards towards the core or true nature of our being.
With photography, you too have a journey with the koshas. You start by seeing a subject or a photo with your physical eyes. It passes through all the layers…does your breath change, are you analyzing it, can you relate to it…eventually moving inwards to that place of heart connection and pure joy.
That doesn’t mean all photos need to elicit joy, but they can cut through the mental chatter and to do lists and help us pause, notice our reaction, and reach some part of us that is longing for that connection with our true selves, for that union.