Lifestyle Portraits: Joy

Joy is the director of the Manitou Yoga School and also teaches at the Phoenix Yoga Lounge in Manitou Springs, CO.

I enjoyed meeting Joy and getting to know her heart for inviting others to connect with one another and themselves in deeper ways.

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Lately

 

Lately I’ve been trying to stay afloat.

It’s a good thing, to be busy with work in this business…but it’s challenging to try and catch up from a whirlwind of travel, weddings, other shoots.

I finally took a little time to explore and chase the changing Colorado leaves with a friend the other day. It was beautiful and good for my soul.

A Yogi // Therapist {An Interview}

I would like to start featuring interviews on my blog once in awhile to accompany portraits of some people I have the privilege of meeting.  There’s so many interesting and wonderful people in the world- and what a great opportunity I have to share some of their thoughts alongside of images of them!

To start it all off, I’d like to introduce you to Erica Viggiano!  I recently met Erica after a few e-mail conversations I had started with her.  I found her via google while I was searching for someone offering yoga for healing in Colorado. She is a social worker and has been incorporating yoga as a form of therapy for trauma for a few years now.  I was impressed with her work and was very interested to learn more about what she does and how it works!  (I’m a recent social work grad and also a recent grad of cambio yoga’s teacher training program) so Erica was someone I really wanted to meet!

We had a delicious lunch and talked long after we had finished our meal. Then we ventured to this gorgeous Denver park and took some photos of Erica for her website, and some just for fun!

Q + A 

What is your favorite thing about yoga?

My favorite thing about yoga is that it makes me feel alive and connected not only to myself but the world around me.  I also love the fact that the true practice of yoga is available and accessible to all human beings- all you need is your breath !

Do you believe yoga is a great tool for healing and why? 
Yoga has been evolving over thousands of years – it has met the needs of people over time.  So of course it’s still evolving- rapidly !  When you stay true to yoga’s roots it can express itself in so many different practices and styles.
Yoga is a really accessible way to connect with the truth of our experience in the present moment.
Apparently it has been helpful with both ancient and now modern challenges of being human.  As a healing practice Yoga Asana  provides opportunities to connect with our sensory experience and the energetic experience of having a body as well as thoughts and feelings.  If aspects of ourselves  and our ability to feel emotions, and feel sensations  have beet cut off or dampened, yoga can provide us with an ongoing opportunity for us to reconnect at a pace that is balanced  and manageable.
Do you have a favorite quote? 
One of my favorite quotes comes from Rumi – “God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites so that you will have two wings to fly, not one”.  To me this captures the full range of our experience and how valuable it is to be able to experience both pleasant and unpleasant feelings.  It also reminds me that all of our experience is impermanent,  unbearable feelings shift and change and move into the next feeling and pleasurable experiences have a beginning, middle, and end as well.  So when we become more familiar with these experiences in ourselves, it can help us understand how being able to feel a whole range of feelings leads to a sense of perhaps being more alive and comfortable with ourselves.  We can discover more of what we need and how to give it to ourselves.    I use yoga and mindfulness practices as part of psychotherapy to help people change habits like eating compulsively, acting out in aggression or shutting down their feelings as a result of trauma.  It allows our body to return to the wise resource and guide it was meant to be,  rather than being cut off or disconnected from our reality.   Over time, yoga  teaches us that we don’t have to shut off or avoid certain aspects of our reality,  we can be more aware, confident and trusting of  our own experience, and this leads to acceptance and peace with how we interact with ourselves and with the world.
Thank you, Erica!!
Erica teaches yoga in Denver and practices Yoga psychotherapy and Mindful Eating coaching with clients throughout Colorado and the US.  You can check out some more information about her services on her website: Integrative Life Services and also, her Facebook page!
Also, Erica may be offering some trainings in the future on using yoga for healing, specifically as a form of psychotherapy! Check her page for more info!!
Please check back soon for more interviews with some cool people!!

Beautiful ladies

All of these women are so lovely and unique!
I really enjoyed our Beauty of a Woman event that Karen (of Elan Photographie) and I put on a few weeks back.

I’m so grateful to these ladies who came and let their light shine for us.

Lauren is a personal trainer (can you tell!?) and is beginning a great company called Thrive, providing healthy and yummy foods for individuals, families, businesses and more.

I hope to pass on her website once she has it up and running!

Marcie is sweet girl with a cool style and has a huge heart for animals.

She is a photographer, too, and a member of HeART’s Speak:  “Working to unite the individual efforts of animal artists and animal rescues into collective action for social change.”

We also got some pictures with her dog, Maggie.

This was the first time I met Amber- we have a mutual friend who sent her our way for the photo shoot.

She is super sweet and is expecting her first baby…who is already destined to be a Redsox fan!

I had the privilege of meeting Kara when I photographed her and her awesome kids awhile back- so much fun!

She is a social worker (like me!) so kind-of a kindred spirit – and she is such a natural beauty!

Ally is a dear friend of mine.  Our husbands know one another from years ago when they worked together at Lake Champion, a young life camp in New York (where our husbands are from).

The funny thing is, Ally and I grew up just a few miles away from eachother and didn’t meet until we were all here in Colorado.

They have two great kids (see below) and are about to have #3!

I’ve known Kari for awhile now, too.  She’s a talented yoga instructor at cambio studios and also has her own business Kari Kwinn Yoga.

I had the honor of joining her and her husband on a yoga retreat to Ojo Caliente last fall- it was wonderful!

Can you tell Kari has some spunk!?  Love these pictures…

I’m so grateful for our time with these women!

We may do more events like this if there is enough interest…so don’t be shy if you want pictures!

We are also thinking about doing a similar event for guys who need professional portraits (or you know, for your facebook profile!)
And a big thank-you to Cassidy of Image by Design.  She offered her amazing hair styling skills (and did a little make-up, as well!) She’s a beauty, too!

Be Yourself.

I read something so simple, yet so profound (for me, anyway) today.  Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite writers and I won’t summarize because I won’t do a better job than he did.

“Often we want to be somewhere other than where we are, or even to be someone other than who we are.  We tend to compare ourselves constantly with others and wonder why we are not as rich, as intelligent, as simple, as generous, or as saintly as they are. Such comparisons make us feel guilty, ashamed, or jealous.  It is very important to realize that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are. We are unique human beings, each with a call to realize in life what nobody else can, and to realize it in the concrete context of the here and now.  We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others.  We are good enough to do what we are called to do.  Be yourself!” 

-by Henri Nouwen, ‘Bread for the Journey’

So what does this have to do with photography!?

Well, the more I read and learn about having my own business, the more I’m realizing the importance of staying true to who I AM.  The business will not be anything special if I do not make it unique to who I am as a person.  Photography as a business, (or for many-me included, as a lifestyle) is more than just making money.  It is more than providing a product.  It is about providing an experience.

To me, it’s about cultivating relationships, and capturing moments that reflect the true heart of a moment, or a person.  I love it so much when I meet someone for the first time in person (like Heather, pictured above), and after just a little time, I have the honor to glimpse into who they are- the honest, real, beautiful person they are, and capture it with my camera.  If I’m not able to be my true self when working with people, then how will they?  And to me, what makes an image so beautiful, is when the person on the other side of my lens is able to be comfortable and real- as authentic as possible- which is where the true beauty lies.

This is what I love about photography- and why I am so exciting to be walking into this adventure of pursing it as a business and a lifestyle.

Thank you Heather, and thank you to the many other beautiful people I’ve had the privilege to photograph so far.

 It truly brings joy to my heart.

They’ve had the little birdies….

Daniel and Sarah Byrd are two of the most wonderful and caring people you could meet.

I had the privilege of taking a trip to Ethiopia last year with Children’s HopeChest and Sarah was one of the team leaders.

Less than nine months ago they found out they were pregnant.

Then, they found out they were having TWINS!  Two little “Byrdies”.

This post is a little over-due because their boys have been home with them for awhile, but I still wanted to share a little!