I start every couples’ photo session with a one-minute meditation. Here's why:
When people show up for a photo shoot, they've usually just had an argument.
Yep, almost everyone. And that’s totally ok.
Clients arrive, looking gorgeous and smiling nervously...
But it’s a tense, tight, “We just sat in traffic and couldn’t find parking, and one of us made us late and the other took a wrong turn and neither of us agreed on outfits, and also we MUST BE IN LOVE and look good and this is going to be super awkward, AND we want this photographer to like us….” type of smile.
So I tell them – DON'T WORRY! I'm going to start with my Little Pep Talk. And then I trick them into meditation. Er, I mean lead them in a meditation.
Afterwards – after a bunch of deep breaths, some hand holding (them, not me), a medium amount of giggling, and more deep breaths – we all open our eyes and I explain why we just did this.
When I note that everyone gets in a fight on their way to the shoot, the couple bursts into laughter, saying “OMG we did too!” They look at each other like, Yesss!
They're on the same team again.
All is well.
Genuinely in-love eye-gazing and snuggling ensues.
Life is life. There are new experiences to deal with and old issues that pop up, and THAT’S OK.
The reason we do these photo-worthy things in the first place is because they are FUN, and joyful and lovely! Romance, nostalgia, celebration, togetherness – remember, the actual purpose behind photos and events?!
So, as you approach the holiday season, dinner with in-laws, family and engagement photos, BREATHE.
A little bit about me.
You may be wondering how I came to know all this random, wonderful info. To be honest, I’ve experienced my fair share of anxiety and awkwardness. I'm a feeler – emotion guides my definition of beauty, and defines what a worthy image is. This is a highly beneficial quality when holding space for others, making them comfortable, and witnessing intimate moments. But it also makes me a sensitive soul, and us sensitive souls gotta be proactive about our emotional health. You can read more about my journey on my ABOUT page.
Anyhoo, in 2009 my sister bought me a set of yoga DVDs with an instructor named Rainbeau Mars (YES SHE SPELLS IT THAT WAY AND I APPROVE). Whenever I was in a tough pose – muscles shaking, sweat dripping – she would sigh, “Remember, this is a breathing exercise.”
At first I was like, “Whatever Rainbeau, easy for you to say, miss headstand-on-a-beach-in-Hawaii,” but I decided to take her advice and focus. I realized my breath was tense, not just my puny biceps.
As I relaxed the breath, the body followed. And I could hold the pose for longer. And my body got stronger.
All that energy, wasted on resisting – trying to avoid the discomfort – was re-directed to the breath, nourishing me with oxygen instead. It was the beginning of my body-mind journey.
Now, I’m not a scientist (unless you consider magic a science, which I DO, by the way, so YES I AM A SCIENTIST), but I know 100% that breathing works. If you try it out for a short period of time, you’ll know it too. There are many ways to breathe, and lots of great books on the topic.
Do you have a yoga or meditation practice? Do you love breathing, science, or fun? If so, we've got lots in common, and we should become friends.
This was an excerpt from The Empire Citizen, my bi-weekly newsletter, which you can sign up for here.