The Pure Essence of a Yogi

This story first appeared in elephant journal.
yoga art samasthiti

Matt Kapinus is a teacher in Boulder Colorado. I’ve taken his classes for years, and he was one of the very first instructors I photographed almost 4 years ago. He’s a wonderful teacher, and has a devoted set of students at the studios he teaches at: CorePower Yoga (Boulder and Broomfield) and The YogaPod. Magic sometimes (mostly?) happens by accident. We had been joshing around for awhile about getting him nekkid, since I’ve been doing more nudes lately, and then one day we just scheduled it. Continue reading

Urban Yoga in High Heels—Really.

This post first appeared as a story in elephant journal.

I remember when the first high heels showed up in my shoots. And there is a story there that I’ll post in the future. I find it wonderfully amazing how many evolved, spiritual, strong and committed yoginis are secret (and not so secret) shoe whores. Pardon the French. Combine that with my love of shooting yoga in places that have a strong contrast to the typical yogic themes (think concrete, urban, city, dirt) and, well, this is what you get. Continue reading

Leukemia and Yoga; A Life Saved.

This story first appeared in elephant journal.

Italy yoga journalI met Guido Gabrielli when I photographed the YogaFestival Milano in Italy in October 2011. He is the publisher of Yoga Journal Italia, and I was introduced to him by the festival director at the Yoga Journal booth. When you first meet him, you immediately see that he is disabled in some fashion. His posture is hunched and crooked, his gait is slow and shuffling and he has some trouble balancing. But you are quickly overwhelmed by the bright sharp intelligence of his eyes and his smile. He can’t lift his head all the way up, so you are observed from underneath his lifted eyebrows. Combined with his habitual half-smile, this brings a quizzical humorous energy to his gaze. Giulia Borioli, the festival director, had already shown him my work, and he was quite complimentary. My ears perked up when he mentioned featuring some of my images in his magazine. Continue reading

Underwater Yoga Photography

This post first appeared as a story in elephant journal.

Two things happened at once in 2010 to inspire this series of yoga photographs. I came across a postcard advertisement for Prana with a stunning image of a black man in lotus pose underwater in a swimming pool. It went up on my inspiration wall right away. Soon after I was visiting the local dive shop here in Boulder, Ocean First Diving, chatting with the owner Graham, and he mentioned he had just upgraded his underwater camera rig and was putting the old one up for rental at the shop (For you gearheads, it was serious iron, a Nikon D2X in a Seacam case).

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Photographing A Fallen Yoga Angel

This post first appeared as a story in the fabulous elephant journal.

yoga art handstand pose

When I was starting to photograph yoga in 2008, Matt had just made his commitment to yoga by quitting the day job and jumping feet first into a full time career as a teacher. I was just starting to screw up my courage and actually ask people to model for me. After two years of regular practice, the only people I had really gotten to know were the teachers (and THAT is a topic for another post…), and so they were the only ones I could approach. Matt’s classes were a favorite destination, and one day after class he and I were chatting and I took a deep breath and said “Any interest in shooting some yoga down by Boulder Creek?” I was so thrilled (and relieved!) when he said yes. This was only the second time I’d actually set out to work with a model. We got some nice shots and this one was the first wall print I sold to CorePower Yoga.

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Aubry’s Class

This is a story of a wonderful joyous soul, and struggling with loosing them.

yoga photography backbend open heartI met Aubry behind the desk at CorePower Yoga’s South Boulder studio. Her energy and zing shined  through from the first moment. One day around the desk in the fall of 2009, the conversation turned to a group shooting in my studio, and she eagerly volunteered to join in. The day before I sent out a prep email, and without knowing that her adopted middle name was “Glitter”, I proposed “sparkles” as the theme. Her response was predictable: “Sparkles! What a great idea ;0) Don’t worry, I’m the glitter queen, and I have many sparkly things!!”

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Yoga Muscles

yoga art muscles reverse warrior

I like to celebrate all yoga in my photography. All ages, genders, body types and levels of practice. But every once in a while, the chiseled body with the great yoga practice grabs my eye. While it’s certainly part genetic lottery, it also speaks loudly to someone’s focus and dedication to a physical life. Rodney Yee said “A well trained body is a beautiful instrument on which to play the melody of the present moment.” These folks are playing symphonies.

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First Time with Angela

yoga photography outside reverse plank2008 was the year I started thinking of myself as a yoga photographer. Still, it was hard thing to accept and really go after. I had only done one shoot of an instructor in the spring and I was working up to another. A favorite teacher at that time at the CorePower Yoga studio in Boulder was Angela Coyle. I don’t remember how I brought it up with her, but at some point in July I screwed up my courage and asked her. (Of course) I got an enthusiastic Yes.

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Corona Arch

yoga wheel urdhva dhanurasana moab corona arch photography

Courtney going big under the arch

I have a love affair going with the Corona Arch. It’s 10 miles outside of Moab, Utah. Moab is famous for it’s rock scenery, with the Arches National Park just north of town, and the vast Canyonlands to the south. I’ve photographed around Moab twice now, and I could go back 50 more times and find fresh and wonderful places every time.But this arch is special to me. It’s not in the Arches National Park, an amazing place that the Park Service says has over 2000 arches. It’s off by itself, 10 miles west on the Potash road, hidden up a canyon but only a short 45 minute hike from the parking lot.

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