If you don’t know me, I’m Cat Mead and I like to take photos of myself and others in various yoga poses and post them on social media. I ask myself a lot why I choose to do this. What is the point of just getting into these poses for a moment and then posting it for the world to see? Well, it’s simple. I love the art of it. Where is the light coming from? How is it going to hit the subject? Are there going to be interesting shadows? There are so many elements that are fascinating to me when I go to take a picture of someone (or me) in a yoga pose.

I know that there are a lot of people out there who think that doing this is somehow taking away from the ‘purity’ of yoga, but I disagree. While, yes, I’m sure there are some people out there who simply post pictures for the sake of getting ‘likes’ and ‘stuff’, I am not one of them. I can’t say that I never was. My first foray into the yoga thing on social media was through a challenge called ‘GratefulYogi’ and I didn’t really put any thought into it at all, except for the fact that we had to say one thing each day that we were grateful for. But really, Ellie's expensesall I tried to do was to take appealing pictures and then hope I got 11 likes.

Now, this might sound hypocritical, but often when I read that someone has begun to see the art of yoga photos and that’s why they post them I wonder why they feel the need to justify it. Why do I need to justify it? Well, to put it simply, I don’t. So I’m going to stop trying to. Instead, I’m going to tell you all the wonderful things that have been awakened in my creative little soul since I began my yoga practice.

While I had friends, I felt like even they were sick of my depressed moods, my lack of self-belief and my utter boredom with my life. I had no drive to do anything new and I didn’t know how to pull myself out. When I started doing acro (mainly the type aligned with gymnastics) I was doing a lot of handstands and a lot of various weird and wonderful arm balances. Then, I got injured. I couldn’t move my shoulder for a few days and I couldn’t put any pressure on my wrists at all. For someone who thought her identity was found in what I could do with my body (I was the handstand girl) it was really tough. This was one of the most frustrating times of my life.

 If this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have picked up a camera and started taking photos. I discovered I loved it. And because I couldn’t have an active yoga practice, acro, or gymnastics, I ended up being the one taking photos of other people.

So I learned something new. I did a bit of photography back in school (let’s not say how long ago that was!), but because I dropped out of school pretty early on and started working, I didn’t really keep up with it. When I picked up a camera again, I realised I knew a little bit about how to take appealing photos. I realised I wanted to learn more and to keep getting better. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I can see improvements.

Now, how does this have anything to do with yoga? Well, I get stuck inside my own head a lot. When I’m photographing either myself, or someone else I find myself using my breath to stay calm and to bring my focus and attention back to where it needs to be. My breath gives me confidence. Yoga has taught me how to use my breath in this way and there is no going back.

Now I draw, I make things, I think outside of the box, I’ve learned to screenprint and have started several small businesses. So I guess you could say I’m ecstatic to have found yoga, injured myself, and rediscovered photography. My creative mind is awake and I couldn’t be happier with the opportunities that I now have.

Debbie Lawson
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