August 28, 2017
It’s been a few weeks since I introduced The Yoga Series, and then I kind of fell off the wagon. Not from practicing, thankfully, but from sharing about my practice. I was more concerned with spamming you with pictures of my perfect clients ;). I figured the first one of the series should probably go a little more in depth with who I am, what my practice is like, how I found yoga, and just all the general “this is my story” info!
So if you are here then you probably have figured out that my name is Brooke and I am a senior portrait and wedding photographer. I am also only 23 years old and live in Baltimore, MD. My whole teenage life I grew up a a cheerleader and a little bit of a gymnast. When I say gymnast I don’t mean I was anywhere near going to the Olympics (far from it), but I mean I took tumbling classes twice a week during the season and tried to keep up a solid split. I actually injured my hamstring senior year of high school while attempting a back handspring on the ground… but I’ll talk more about that later in this post!
So after high school I always loved the idea of yoga and yoga classes to stay a little flexible and active since I wasn’t cheering daily anymore. It’s actually funny to me now because as a cheerleader and gymnast stretching was my least favorite portion of it all. I actually despised stretching or any kind of discomfort! But I didn’t really get into yoga too much following high school because poor college student (duh) and I just lacked motivation. I would have rather had a six pack and thin legs so to weight lifting and an hour of cardio I went! I ALSO always thought yoga was solely about who was more flexible and who could put their foot behind their head and so on. Literally such a naive view and I didn’t realize that until I attended my first ever retreat by Fit Queen Irene.
Which brings me to how I truly found a love for yoga. Three years ago I was asked by my friend Irene if I would want to follow her to Mexico to photograph her week long yoga retreat. DUH! I said yes, and then left to follow her to a new country (my first time ever leaving the country actually) and just simply photograph yoga and pretty people in Mexico. Through photographing the retreat I learned the spiritual connection to yoga. I learned the way it can change a persons life and I connected with so many others during this time. I did yoga every now and then once I came home from the retreat (like literally once every two months) but never had a solid practice. I was asked to return again last year, but this time for two weeks! This time I made some seriously deep connections with other attendees at the retreat! I gained not only some really amazing friendships, but was again reminded of the amazing things that can happen through the practice of yoga. Irene allowed me to hop in on a few classes and we practiced and played on the beach almost every day of the two weeks.
This is where my real love for the practice began to form. I remember after my first class at last years retreat I felt lighter. I felt like it was easier to walk, easier to breathe, everything just felt simpler. I was explaining this to Irene and she said something to me along the lines of “remember this feeling on days you need to show up.” Which is still so true! On days it is hard to even show up to class or on my mat I just remember the feeling of how I feel after every class and the comfort it gives me.
Once I found my love for yoga, for the practice and a reason to keep showing up… I then discovered what my body loves and does not love. I quickly realized that the hamstring injury I had back in high school still very greatly affected my left hamstring. At first I looked at it as something that would hold me back. “There is no way I can ever do a split on my left side,” “How will I ever have the perfect forward fold” and so many other doubts. But after just a month of yoga practice I felt a HUGE difference. It wasn’t a disability in my practice. It just means I’ll need to learn more patience and be very specific about my practice. I think this truly was my first big lesson yoga ever gave me.
In my practice I LOVE all back bends and I am currently obsessed (actually though) with headstands. The headstand journey alone has been a huge one for me. Just last week for the first time I was strong enough in my headstand to hold it for a solid minute. It was such a unique feeling discovering the months and months of hard work, frustration and practice all resulted in this simple floating feeling. I remember in Mexico watching them invert for that last minute between the flow and savasana and thinking I could never be strong enough to do that… yet here I was just hanging out. It was a feeling of pride, humbleness and happiness all wrapped in one little headstand package. This experience honestly just made me fall even more in love with the practice of yoga and excited to continue on!
So if you are still reading, thank you! I realize that was a long one to go through, but also an important one! This post was to let you know about my journey and my struggles currently. In this series I’ll talk about a lot of really great things and hopefully some not so great things as well. But when you see all the pretty and all the beautiful imagery that relates to each post I wanted you to know my background. I wanted you to know that you most likely are viewing an image of a pretty back bend because its what I’m best at. I think all of these things are not only good to know in general, but also for any future posts in this series. We as humans like to show off what we feel most comfortable or beautiful in and not always show our weaknesses.
Photo by Emma Jean Photography
Outfit by Flexi Lexi Fitness
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