It’s no secret that yoga is a popular pastime among celebrities and socialites. Being mindful and living a healthy lifestyle has perhaps never been so celebrated as it is today. But what about when a big shot photographer – who has captured the likes of Andy Warhol, Billy Idol, and The Rolling Stones – turns away from his glamorous life in pursuit of a very different path?
Check it out in the latest episode of URBAN YOGIS on The Chopra Well.
Michael Halsband made his entry into the art world at the height of rock’n’roll photography. The list of people and bands he has photographed, collaborated with, and even traveled with is remarkable. The beauty and richness of celebrity life captured Michael’s imagination and aesthetic sensibility, and that passion comes across in his exquisite photographs. But glamor fades and stars age, and Michael began to look around ask himself, “What now?”
In Urban Yogis Michael describes an encounter with Coldplay’s Chris Martin – the result of which convinced him to make a radical shift in his life. Michael began practicing yoga with Ashtanga yoga instructor Eddie Stern and never looked back. By quieting his mind and working on strength and flexibility, Michael could feel himself changing, inside and out. Others in his life commented on the transformation, as well. And even his photography took a turn.
Boiled down to its essence, the photograph became, for Michael, a candid, honest representation of humanity. No screaming fans. No fancy sets. No elaborate poses. Just an 8×10 camera and an unadorned face on the other side of the lens. Simplicity, purity and truth to echo the spirit of his yoga practice.
We’re reminded of something Deepak Chopra says in many of The Chopra Well’s videos. Liberated from all our masks and pretensions and egos, he says, all that is left is consciousness. It’s a common theme – separating the wheat from the chaff, determining what is truly meaningful and what is superfluous (or just bonus!). Deepak believes the most basic question in human experience is, “Who am I?” and from this derives the rest of religious and esoteric musings. And as one of the oldest forms of spiritual practice, according to archaeological evidence, yoga has been the perfect vehicle for Michael to explore that essential question.
Consider your own beliefs, practices, and passions. What is the defining thread? What is essential, for you?
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