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Strength and Beauty in AcroYoga

Karen and Ari warm up before photo shoot

I never took yoga seriously.  I had been an athlete all my life, and at no point did I ever imagine taking yoga as a way to improve my balance or athletic abilities.  To me it was something you did if you wanted to look at women sweat, or if you hated to work out.  Which man doesn’t want to see women in skintight lycra and sweating?  Back then, women in spandex might have been enough to motivate me to at least try yoga, but there was something missing…I never thought it was challenging enough.

Starting out easily

Fast forward a whole bunch of years, where I got introduced to a little device called Nintendo WII (Ooow!).  I attempted the yoga program, in the privacy of my basement, and could not understand why I was sweating and breathing hard 10 minutes into this routine.  What’s happening here?  Ever since then I’ve developed a new respect for yoga, and a little intimidated by it, if we’re being honest.

That new respect got me interested in photographing Karen and Ari, yoga partners, deeply involved in “Acro Yoga,” a discipline that was new to me.  I had just finished wrapped my head around yoga, and the tremendous amount of strength and flexibility required to do it, and now there is “Acro Yoga?”

Karen was very excited about the photo shoot, and had been telling me about acro yoga for a few weeks now.  It had taken us about seven months to finally get together for the shoot, after canceling on a couple occasions.  The day was finally here…dull, cold, wet…not pretty at all.  Any idea of doing something outside on a nice lush lawn was done with.  I settled on a boxing gym that I knew had a huge window, letting in great natural light.  The fact that the day was cloudy and raining meant that the light would be even softer.

Beautiful and difficult

Karen and Ari were golden.  They were easy to work with, very patient, and willing to try different poses with varying degrees of difficulty.  Just a little warning…acro yoga is not for the weak or faint of heart.  Karen and Ari did some very tough poses, holding them for very long periods so I could move around and capture different angles.  My set up was pretty simple…one studio light and a beauty dish, my Nikon D610 and Sigma 24-70, 2.8 lens.  Done.  What have I learned from all this?  Acro Yoga is no joke.  I was truly impressed to see some of the poses.  I know that I would need a chiropractor after one session.

Karen and Ari completing another impressive pose

I really enjoyed this shoot, and I hope Karen and Ari did as well.  Thank you guys for the time, and for putting up with me.

-Kavan Lake

ARI

KAREN

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