Divided attention in the yoga studio

Photo: I went to Thrive Yoga for my Saturday morning vinyasa flow 2/3 class just as the snow storm was hitting the DC area. There were treacherous driving conditions. I took my camera with me because I thought I’d try to take some cuts with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens, which gives some interesting effects. After about 15 minutes of practice, I stopped and picked up my camera to take some shots. I wish I hadn’t. After about 20 minutes, I got back on my mat and I did not get into the full swing of the inspired vinyasa that Susan Bowen had put together.

During workshops, like the recent ones with Rumbaugh and Kest, the sessions are 2.5 hours long. There are natural pauses and interruptions. I sometimes need a blow. Even then, I felt that my mind was divided; that I was rushing through the shots without carefully surveying the full scene to capture the details in my mind before shooting; that I was skipping steps in making sure the camera had the right settings.

Norm classes are shorter (75-90 minutes) and the segments hang together more integrally. For instance, today, I missed a segment to loosen up my shoulders so I was not prepped for the segment on revolved bound side angle pose. On the other hand, taking good pictures requires concentration and patience to capture the right angle, light and pose. If I’m constantly thinking about when I should get back to my yoga practice, I am not giving the photography sufficient attention.

Lesson learned: in most daily circumstances, either practice yoga or take pictures; don’t try to do both. I need my yoga just as much as I need to practice taking photos, if not more. I put an example of the shoot (on right) in this blog entry.

Bonus point: I did feel the difference for having practiced three days during the work week and doing some simple yoga on the other days. I also fit in a hot vinyasa class with Stephanie Rosenbltatt on Thursday so I pushed myself physically at least once during the week.