The Art of Mindfulness in Yoga Photography

What is Mindful Photography?

These days, mindfulness is a buzz word that has gone beyond its Buddhist roots and into hospitals, corporate boardrooms, research centres, and primary schools. So, let’s back up for a second. What is mindfulness? In Buddhist tradition, sati (pali for mindfulness) is practising nonjudgmental moment-by-moment awareness of three main things 1) our thoughts/emotions, 2) our physical body, and 3) our surroundings.

When I pick up a camera, my mindfulness is increased. My awareness is heightened. I’m aware that you need time and space to tap into the present experience. I remind you that your breath and the freedom to close your eyes/move/stretch is always available to you. To me mindfulness is bringing your gift of awareness to the present moment like making a photograph, walking in nature, eating a nurturing meal, talking with family or friends, and waking up to another glorious day.

Real-life Mindfulness

What is important to me is that I have a mindful approach during our session. I know that if my mindfulness practise is solid, then mindfulness is transferred to you. Then we both benefit when it comes time to making photographs.

When we physically arrive at our photo location, we need to arrive emotionally and energetically as well. Before even picking up a camera, we start with a grounding exercise. Here, we allow ourselves to close our eyes and face towards the sun. After (often) a chilly scooter ride, the sun’s rays welcomes us like a warm blanket. Then we set our intention(s) and breathe together. This simple ceremony allows our existence to affirm that we have arrived and we are mindfully present.

During our session, we often re-centre and check-in with our mindfulness. We close our eyes, lift our shoulders and roll them back, we get back to feeling the ground below and the air around us, and we stay present. Opening up the physical body creates space and calms our minds. The space we create is the source of our authenticity.

Mindfulness helps to remind us that all we have is the present moment. ~HS Gyalwa Dokhampa

Try this Practise

The Art of Mindfulness - UR Photography BaliThe next time you converse with someone, anyone, really listen when they speak to you. Avoid formulating your next response, avoid defending yourself, avoid analysing, just listen. To be truly listening, the mind must be still (what a nice benefit!). It is easy when you are a music lover, and you listen to music. Why don’t we pay that much attention to someone speaking right in front of us? Try it. When you practice being mindful, notice how the people around you start to react.

 

Being present with you during our time together is the most beautiful gift in my life.

Much Love,

Ulrike


References

Definition of Mindfulness – University of California, Berkeley

Insight Meditation Society – Glossary of Buddhist Terms