I like to think there are pivotal moments in life that propel us forward into new stages and phases that we didn’t quite predict would happen, especially not now - especially not me. I have those classic moments in my life, as do you: college acceptances, equal parts of both gained loves and lost loves, lost loved ones, first careers and homes, marriage, babies. However, sometimes less obvious moments sneak past, unappreciated until much later, or maybe never recognized at all. It takes hindsight and a few good knocks in the head by a few good, honest friends to realize - oh, that’s when I should have picked my head up and looked around. Sometimes, hopefully, it’s like walking back the steps of a really good surprise, counting all the moments and details you somehow never noticed. I was lucky enough to catch one of these pivotal moments just last week, fully present and aware, hyper-aware even, when I traded my regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon school-prep hustle for a date with seven yoga instructors.
It was a privilege, honor, and all-around magical opportunity to design a photo experience for the amazing crew at the newly opened Om Grown Yoga at the Richmond Wellness Center. For weeks on end, I studied the bios of these instructors, researched how to best photograph this practice; showing beauty, grace, and strength (while also honoring their bodies and making sure they warm up properly and don’t pull muscles for the sake of cool photos...no pressure). For weeks on end I felt like I might throw up. No lies here, my people. Nerves almost...almost...got me. But, for the love of all things adventure and bravery, I wrangled my lighting kit just in case and also threw my husband’s ladder in the back of the car for good measure. Vertically challenged photography is real. As usual, it took a text from my gal Julie and this time physically present Claire to get me out of the car. (Have I blogged to you yet about loving your people that kick your butt out of the car? Future blog, I swear.)
It won’t surprise you that I didn’t need a bit of the worries that kept my palms sweating and slipping right past my exposure wheel. Do you see the faces in these pictures? I FLEW on their energy for two whole hours and wanted to sob with joy and pride when the shoot came to an end. Their story? Through many different paths, seven beautiful souls divinely made their way to Humble Haven yoga teacher training at the same time last summer. Their connection to each other, love for yoga practice and community, and general bad-assery formed Om Grown Yoga just a short season later, a come as you are, pay as you can endeavor. I didn’t need to know the details of their journey when I met them. Their narrative was alive in the pride on their faces and in their jittery unpackaging of cork blocks. While I busied about adjusting lights and dials, their presence was not lost on me, deciding where to store the mats and what extra hospitality supplies should belong in the restrooms. This was their home-stretch, the eve of a grand opening, the culmination and also beginning of so much. Pivotal indeed.
Do you see their matching shirts? From Left to Right: Claire, Kali, Emely, Michael, Taylor, Tori, & Cristin
Oh, I wish you could hear them cheering for each other. Did you know that there is cheering in yoga? I didn’t. Bless my heart. Each instructor took turns achieving the most difficult and beautiful of poses. They directed one another and supported one another like champions. I cannot express with words how blessed I felt to be a part of what you see here. Vulnerability. Trust. Encouragement. Bravery. Over and over again.
Look. at. this. magic.
Dear Om Grown, I am forever grateful for sharing this pivotal moment with you. I hope you know the experience is mutual. I am struggling to even believe that the girl sitting on the ladder is me. Thank you. Thank you.
Richmond, you are in good hands at Om Grown. Would you go check it out for yourself? Find them on Facebook @omgrownrva or view their schedule here: https://www.richmondwellnesscenter.net/om-grown-yoga.html
P.S. I tied a bow on this beautiful experience by coming on back to Om Grown with my mat instead of my camera bag. I cannot say enough about how friendly and welcoming Claire’s class was for a girl who is NOT flexible at all. I have trouble being still. I’m squirmy, and my brain is busy. Enter Claire at Om Grown. She calmed me down, made me cry, and made me laugh. I can’t wait to get back on the mat! Meet me there?