How Yoga Transformed a Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographer

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?

Subscribe to The Chopra Well for more inspiring yoga stories, every Monday on URBAN YOGIS!

More from Intent:
Do You Need a Body to Do Yoga?
Teenage Yogis: Fostering Peace in the Face of Rising Violence
Are We Alone in the Universe?

By The Chopra Well


Lynn C.
Lynn C5 years ago

More and more I'm understanding the connection between body, mind and spirit. This is just what this article emphasizes for me.

Liz Strause
Liz Strause5 years ago

For Jane R, if you google community yoga in your area you should come up with some free classes. Many yoga studios offer a free class or reduced rate class to benefit the community. Many yoga studios also will do a work trade for classes. It may include working the front desk, some cleaning or other needs the studio has. You may also find DVD's in your public library that are free to check out, or at a minimal cost.

Jane R.
Jane R5 years ago

I'd love to attend yoga classes. I'm sure my whole life would benefit. Too bad someone doesn't offer them for free.

Spirit Spider
Spirit Spider5 years ago

Cool! Good on you michael :-)

Marianne B.
Marianne B5 years ago

good for Michael.

Veronique L.
Veronique L5 years ago

Thanks for sharing!

Sue H.
Sue H5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Kath P.
Kath P5 years ago

Beautiful, uplifting article

Kiitty K.
Kiitty K5 years ago