Jamie Harris, Yoga Artist

16 April 2018

I have met so many talented people since starting this journey to collect the stories from yogi’s around world and how the practice has changed their lives. Today we go all the way to Arizona to hear the story of an artist who found yoga and found a new path for her photography. I found Jamie on instagram as her images jumped out at me, not because she does every yoga pose naked but because of the beauty of every shot; the composition, lighting all come together to celebrate the beauty of the human body through yoga.

After becoming an avid follower of her work, I knew I had to share this with all of you. Here’s Jamie, photographer and yogi telling her story of how she got into this wonderful world or yoga!

Firstly, do you remember the first time you practiced yoga and how it made you feel?

The first time I practiced yoga I was maybe 10. My mom was super into it and brought my siblings and me to a class, all 3 of us were athletic and capable of following along as I grew up as a competitive gymnast but I thought the class was LONG and boring. I felt like there was no challenge or excitement. I took a couple classes in high school again and felt the same way I did when I was younger, it just wasn't right for me (I was a gymnast till about 20). I tried to get into yoga when I stopped gymnastics and I just didn't have the patients. I got into pole fitness when I stopped gymnastics. The first yoga practice I actually truly enjoyed was when I stopped pole fitness. My goal was flexibility and I was mentally exhausted from my day so I was able to actually calm down, listen to my body, enjoy the poses, and open up. Once I found that mental state I was HOOKED and have been doing it since, its amazing how when I actually can focus on my body and mentally relax the simplest of pose is actually a challenge. Just laying on the floor in anatomical position or savasana I have to tell myself to release my shoulders, I can feel all the tiny muscles fighting against gravity. I have found the challenge that I need to continue practicing.

Why did you decide to merge make yoga the subject of your art?

- So again, I grew up as a competitive gymnast. I learned how to analyze lines and looking at muscles and yada yada from a young age I became fascinated with it. Then I also was into art, my stuff always was inspired by dancers, gymnasts, yoga anatomy stuff. In college I drew more sexual stuff... the only thing with art is materials... I stopped doing it because I didn’t have space or time or didn’t want to get it all out make a mess to put it all back. I liked photography. I got a camera as a present and photographed nature and it was fun just didn’t feel hooked. I did really enjoy taking raunchy photos but only shared those with certain people! It was a good confidence boost to see what I really look like. Then I started photographing some of my yoga with clothes. I felt like the clothing takes away from the beauty of the natural human form. It adds unwanted lines and takes away ones I wanted to see. I’m super comfortable in my own skin and pretty much walk around naked so one day I decided, fuck it let’s try it. I loved the result and just flew with it. I love the entire process: doing the poses, taking the photos, and editing them.

In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to? What new realizations and/or approaches helped? Any other tips?

I have become better at sticking to my guns and making myself happy. I realized I am not everyone else. Nobody can tell me what will make me happy except for me. I should try new things because I don't know until I try, but after I try I can make a decision. I also realized it is GOOD and OKAY to be different. It is what makes me me and what makes other people them. I started to organize my day with time for myself. It was planned out Jamie time that was just as important as everything else. That really helped me focus and make sure I did things for myself that led to my happiness daily.

What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?

The most worthwhile investment I have ever made was time and energy for myself. Taking care of myself is a full time job if I want to eat healthy/natural home cooked meals, move around/play, take care of my hygiene. I don't want to sacrifice any of those. So if a cute guy asks me on a date to an ice cream place, even if I think he's the hottest guy in the world I will decline. My nutrition, how I feel internally, and my happiness will always come first.

In the last five years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

Being selfish and selfless is a tricky line. If I do not look out for myself and fulfil my needs, nobody will. I am living this life for me, to enjoy the journey. Not to slave for other people's happiness and what they believe I should be doing in society. I live by you do you.

What five items can you not live without?

- my bed: it's my favourite place in the world: cozy, warm, comforting, safe. It's my happy place.

- my phone: gives me access to a world of knowledge. I self taught pole and only got into it because of the Internet. I then was able to get into yoga because of instagram and YouTube. It connects me to amazing people, inspires me creatively and physically, and I am constantly learning/growing from all the information that is at my fingertips.

- A razor: I'm not happy and comfortable with myself unless I am as smooth as a baby hahaha

- I am not very materialistic... I can't think of any other items that I NEED. I would say my dog but he's not an item he's a family member... I guess maybe a tennis ball for him to keep him occupied haha
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