byolightwsite600

So many of us hide our light.

Hide from the camera.

Sure, we may shine in other ways, every single day.

But as soon as the camera comes near, we throw a blanket over our light…of old stories, of beliefs of what the photo is going to look like even before we take it. We don’t give our chance to see ourselves in a new light, from a new perspective.

That’s why I’ve decided to bring back the Be Your Own Light for a community session this summer.

Because I want to see you shine and not be afraid to stand in the light…in your life AND in front of the camera.

Standing in our light doesn’t mean we’re being vain.

It doesn’t mean we want to outshine anyone.

It’s not about that at all.

It’s a claiming of worthiness, a claiming of our right to be in that photo.

The Be Your Own Light, much like the Be Your Own Beloved class, is all about helping YOU let yourself shine. But the Be Your Own Light class is super fun because we also learn about light…literally!

Often I find that when folks might take a photo of themselves and not be able to see it with kindness…often it is that we might not be ‘lit’ well in the photo, that the natural light around us isn’t helping us shine.

So in this class, we learn about light and how to take photos that help us shine in a literal way as we build a relationship to light…but we’re also inviting ourselves into the frame each day with the light and stepping away from hiding into the shadows and letting ourselves stand in the light!

I also wanted to keep it at a summery, gentle price too so you can join in for this class for $39 for these 20 days of light & self-discovery.

Let yourself shine this summer!

share post:

phoneasremote600

Recently my friend Sylvia shared about this app with me EOS Remote App for Canon Cameras like mine.

OMG….life changed in that moment. What it does is that it allows you to use your phone as a remote to take your DSLR photos as you can see above. Not only that but it allows you to see the live view as you’re capturing the photo. Plus, you can also access the photos you took (and any other photos on your memory card) and save them to your phone.

I know, game changer.

I thought I’d share a bit about how I’ve been using it. At first I was all about using it as a remote to initiate the photo, but after getting quite a few photos like this:

eosappimage1

I realized that I needed to go back to what I know and use the 10 second timer on the camera. You can still use the app to start the timer, but then it gave me enough time to either get to the spot I wanted to take the photo or tuck the camera away in my pocket.

I also started to use it only as a way to see where I’m standing and frame the photo so I’d lean it up against the camera facing me, essentially having it show me what would be on the back of the camera if it’s on live view and I had recently bought a new remote (and have yet to loose this one) and I’ll use the remote to initiate the 2 or 10 second timer and use the phone and app to see where I was in focus, and how I wanted to frame the photo. Fun, right?

The part about being able to save it to your camera…epic. In the past I’ve been pretty stuck on sharing only iPhone photos on Instagram, partly because that’s the way the culture of Instagram started out being our phone photos. But also because I want to not only share fancy DSLR photos with you but more accessible iPhone ones too (as I really believe you don’t need a fancy camera to take selfies that you can see with kindness and love…it’s not about the gear). But being able to skip the step of having to upload the photos to my computer and then send them to my phone and instead save them directly there was seriously exciting.

That’s what I love so much about photography. There is always something new to discover be it a subject through the lens or the technical option we have to take them. I feel like this app has had me falling in love with my DSLR again!

Here are a few shots that I’ve taken recently using the app!

eosappexamples

So yes, you might see more DSLR photos on my Instagram these days, though it will be a mix cause I love my iPhone too and it’s simply easier to take out on an every day basis.

For those of you who have a DSLR you might be wondering if you can use this app too. The biggest factor to whether the answer is Yes or No is whether your DSLR has a Wifi Option. To be honest I knew mine did but had never used it. That’s what this app needs to work. Essentially it makes your camera a wifi hotspot for your phone to communicate with and be able to save photos from it. Without a wifi option it won’t work. To see if it has wifi you could see if there is any indication of it on the camera. On mine I had seen a symbol saying Wifi Off on the top panel where all the information about your photo is displayed or in your menu you may see the option to turn wifi on or off. My camera is a few years old so if you’ve bought your camera recently it may be an option.

Without further ado…here’s all the details: You can find it here and all the apps they have available here, and there are two apps, one for a camera like mine (the Canon 6D) and another for Canon Powershot cameras. Oh, and while I’ve been talking about using it with my iPhone in this post, it is available for Android too! And it looks like there is a Nikon, Panasonic and Olympus versions too. You’ll need to check if it works with your gear, but it’s worth checking out.

share post:
  • Olympus & Panasonic also have apps that work with their camera models that have Wi-Fi capabilities. All my yoga pics are taken using these apps – saves a lot of getting up and down to re-set the camera!

    I agree with you about the saving-to-phone capability – it’s a game changer. I’ve noticed that I’m hardly uploading to my computer at all nowadays – I do all my edits in my phone and then upload directly from there! Which did cause a slight heart attack when I realised I’d cleared the memory card from my mirrorless without saving copies of photos I wanted to my computer. But hey-presto! The magic of shared albums between the iPhone and iPhoto saved me!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks so much for mentioning that about Panasonic & Olympus apps too! I’m going to add links into the post for those too.

      SO glad it’s making your yoga selfies even easier to do this way! And its a whole new world being able to skip our computer and go right from camera to phone…and I too have almost forgotten to upload them to the computer! Thats the challenge there for sure!ReplyCancel

mirrorapps600

I’m always on the lookout for new apps (and I bet you are too) and ways to get creative with my selfies and other photos after I take them.

Recently I downloaded the app Piclay which is available for both iPhone & Android phones. I got it because it has a great double exposure option (and I’m more than a bit obsessed with double exposures) but what ended up unexpectedly sparking my creative flow was the mirror option.

Piclay has 4 ways to use it: Double Exposure, Mirror, Collage and Single Photo. The double exposure feature is simple in just the right way. You pick two layers and it combines them then you can play around with different filters just the same way as you can with the other options in the app. I like it because to be honest, more and more with the Diana App I find myself choosing the ‘Unfiltered’ option without all the filters they have. So for me, having that basic layer without a filter is wonderful, as are their filters too.

But the mirror feature was the one I really wanted to gush about. I’ve had other ‘kaliedescope’ apps before where they took a photo and mirrored it in a variety of ways but you often didn’t have much creative control over the way it looked or they weren’t that easeful to use. This one totally is. Much like with their double exposures they make it really user friendly and uncomplicated. With the mirror photo option you choose your photo and can decide how you want it framed and then you choose between 4 different mirror options you can see the options below and how they would look on the same photo.

piclaysample

Fun, right? I’m kind of obsessed with it. I initially started using the mirror photo option for the image in the next block of photos, the one on the top right. I wanted to find a photo where I could look back at myself as though I was looking myself in the eye in the photo and this app allowed me to do that!

piclayphotos600

Of course it’s not only selfies that are fun to experiment with in the Mirror option of Piclay. Flowers of course, but you could truly try any image on your photo stream and just see what happens!

For those of you who have taken the Double Exposure Love class with me (and if you haven’t, its now available as a self-paced class) these kind of images rock for layers for our double exposures and add a kind of surreal and magical element to them. Of course, like the top left image in the next photos, you can also take your double exposure (or your outtakes) and add some extra magic to them!

piclayphotos2.600

Have you downloaded the app already? I hope so. So far I’m doing all this with the free version but it seems like they also have a paid version too! I’d LOVE to see your photos so if you share them, don’t hesitate to use the #beyourownbeloved hashtag so I can see them and cheer you on! And the #piclay hashtag too as the folks from the App seem to really appreciate seeing what you create with their app!

share post:

yogaselfies600

Yoga Selfies.

What does that bring up in your mind?

For me, until recently it brought forth a vision of the typical yoga selfie I had been getting used to seeing. A woman who’s body fit completely into the so called acceptable realm of the ‘fit body type’ that we’d classically see in a Yoga Magazine. Tanned, muscular and of course, doing some sort of back bend or yoga pose that I’ve never ever been asked to do in a yoga class.

On a rock or cliff or somewhere in Bali. Know what I mean?

Yoga selfies felt completely inaccessible. Plus, as someone who takes and explores the technicality and creativity of taking selfies on a daily basis…I suspected that many of them weren’t actually selfies. Sure, they were of themselves, the person posting it…but that’s not what a selfie is.  Perhaps some of them were actually taken by the person setting up the camera, timer in their hand as they got into their yoga pose and then initiated the timer or used a timer app. But, I doubted it. They looked to me by the angle they were shot at (as in, someone’s eye level) that they were taken by someone else.

That, does not a yoga selfie make.

An awesome yoga photo, yes, but not a selfie.

And how are we supposed to compare ourselves to that? Especially since even in tree I still keep my leg below my knee as my balance ebbs and flows and I’ve never done a backbend.

I said that this is how I used to see yoga selfies as, didn’t I.

Thankfully, something changed. Maybe for you too.

More and more we’re seeing folks share their yoga selfies as they do their home practice and the diversity of what is a ‘yoga selfie’ is changing quickly.

Hashtags like #yogaselfie or #curvyyoga more and more have a diversity of types of folks sharing their yoga practice and that has made all the difference.

So I wanted to share a few reasons why you might want to try taking Yoga Selfies as a part of your self-love and body awareness practice.

yogapost1

The world needs to see YOUR kind of Yoga Body

Have you seen the awesome campaign lately ‘This is What a Yogi Looks Like’ by the Yoga & Body Image Coalition?

There are so many incredible people out there trying to change the perception that I mentioned earlier of ‘What a Yogi Looks Like’ and largely, what we’re still seeing in the media around yoga. Things are changing.

And taking your own yoga selfie of your practice can be a part of that movement. The world needs to see YOUR kind of yoga body.

And in case you need to see other folks rockin’ their awesome selves to get inspired here are a few of my favourite places to go to see inspiring yoga selfies or photos:

yogaselfie2

Let’s Make Yoga Selfies more Beginner-Accessible, by showing our Poses!

What I’m loving seeing these days even when I check the hashtag #yogaselfie is that folks are sharing a more diverse range of poses. Sure there are still a lot of poses that I’ve never been asked to do in a yoga class (ever) and seem really advanced to me, but they are being balanced out slowly but surely with yoga selfies that are the poses people are doing in their daily practice.

I think it’s actually really wonderful to share a photo of a pose you’ve done and worked hard to achieve but let’s share our more accessible poses too. I’m truly no expert in the Yoga department (that’s why I collaborate with Anna) but her style of accessible yoga has helped me feel more safe to say something like this as any pose that we are proud of trying or doing is of value just like all of our bodies are inherently worthy, of value and are indeed Yoga Bodies!

So whether it’s the tips of your toes in Savasana or a full body pose, or with your mobility device or how you adapt yoga to work for your body…whatever way you feel drawn to share your yoga in an image, bring it on!

props

Rock the Props

One of the things I love most about Anna Guest-Jelley and Curvy Yoga has been learning how to support myself in yoga with props. In the classes I’ve taken with her at retreats there have been points where I’ve found myself brought to tears realizing that those poses I thought I couldn’t do, I could do if I reframed it and let myself use props.

Yoga is not a competition (and well, neither are selfies). They are both tools that allow us to connect with ourselves.

Plus, props make for really great tools for taking selfies too. Blocks are awesome for propping your phone up on to take that selfie!

yogaselfie5

You get to define how you see Yourself and you can choose Kindness

One of the core messages I want to put out to the world is that you get to define how you want to see yourself and that the camera can be a tool to make that happen.

Not only that but yoga can be such a powerful tool to connect to our bodies and heal how we see ourselves. Of course the actual experience of that has nothing to do with selfies but in my own journey to heal my body image I have found that one piece of the puzzle is to really feel at home in our bodies and yoga is that piece of the puzzle for so many people. For me it has been Nia Dance too.

But often even once we’ve done that we have those old stories of how we may look or how people are perceiving us that can still feel like a remaining piece of the puzzle in our self-love path. That’s where I hope Be Your Own Beloved and this site is of service to people. The places where we can overlap these 2 tools of yoga and selfies as our self-love tools is why Anna & I decided to bring back the class for you.

yogaselfie4

How to Take Your Yoga Selfie:

Now, I’m not going to give away all the tips I’m sharing in the Practice: Embodying Your Curvy & Beloved Body class with Anna of Curvy Yoga but I did want to share a few things to ponder:

  • Where to prop your camera. You might think you need a tripod but it’s not always vital. If you’re taking them at home, what about using a chair with a couple books on it to prop your camera against? Or put your camera on the ground? Or on a desk? Head over to your yoga mat right now, stand on it and look around for a spot either on the ground or above ground where you could prop it.
  • Next you’ll need to ponder how to capture it. Most cameras have a timer, as do Android Phones. iPhones have a timer in the most recent system update but it only takes one photo at a time. With any of these options we’ll likely want to use the tool that will allow us to take a whole bunch of photos at once so we don’t have to go back and forth between the mat and the camera.
  • If you plan to take yoga selfies regularly, a remote like the HISY remote can be helpful (and fun). That way you can set up your camera or phone and every so often as you are in your yoga pose press the remote and take a photo!
  • Take LOTS of photos. This is one of my biggest tips with any selfies. Take far more photos than your comfortable taking. I mean it. Cause thats how we get the ones we really love (and if the thought of taking a LOT of photos makes you uncomfortable check out this recent post where I talked about giving ourselves permission to take as many as we need).
  • Ponder Light! As we are potentially moving in our yoga photos, just like with jumping or dancing selfies we’ll be capturing ourselves in motion. Taking these photos in a low lit room will be a lot harder to get a photo we can see with love than taking one in the daytime with lots of light or even outside. One of the things I talk about in Be Your Own Beloved is that often we blame ourselves and our bodies for a ‘bad’ photo when really its that the light isn’t that great which is something we can change. Just keep that in might if you’re not getting photos you like at first. Try somewhere else or add as much light as you can!
  • Get help. Yes, I mentioned early that a lot of yoga selfies I used to see looked more like a photo shoot that they were calling a selfie. It’s 100% cool to get someone to take photos of you, why not! But still…not a selfie. And as we explore in my classes, something powerful happens when WE become the photographer too, when we get to define how we see ourselves. But I wanted to mention the idea of getting support as it’s what I did to feel more comfortable taking yoga selfies. My mom is a yoga instructor so I asked her to come along with me to the beach and take some photos. I set up the camera and pressed the timer and then she supported me in the yoga part of it letting me know what I could do to get more into the pose and suggested some poses to try. While your Mom might not be a yoga instructor, what about asking a friend who you trust (who you wouldn’t feel like they were telling you what to do, but rather support you in your practice) and give one another support as you take photos. Take turns being the support & being the selfie taker!
  • Use a mirror! Having a mirror nearby whether you take your selfie in it or use it to look at yourself (with kindness) as you get into your pose you may be able to notice where you’d like to adjust your yoga pose as you get ready to take the photo!

yogaselfie7

Of course, I’ll be sharing a lot more in the Practice class and will be available for participants to answer questions they may have.

Though Practice isn’t  a ‘How to Take Yoga Selfies’ Class. It’s so much more than that. It is an invitation to use both of these tools as companions on your self-love path.

I hope you’ll come join Anna & I for the Curvy Beloved E-Course. Yup, 4 weeks of activities. We have a pose we focus on per week all of which are very accessible and beginner friendly (and even if you’re not a beginner at yoga, exploring these poses as a self-love tool can be mighty powerful). Within these weeks you’ll get an email Monday through Friday from Anna & I with things to explore each day like selfie activities, meditations and more.

To get a sense of what the experience might be like, check out this wonderful post from Krissie Bentley about her experience in the class.

Plus, you get both Anna & I available to answer your class questions! 2 teacher and 4 weeks of exploring connecting to your Curvy Beloved self sounds like an epic deal to me.

Those of you who are a part of Anna’s Curvy Monthly program are invited to take the class as part of that program and you can find more about that option here!

unnamed

share post:
  • Alison M

    Love this post, Vivienne! It is very good timing for me, both the yoga part and the seeing myself through my camera again bit. Need to do more of both, as I am feeling kind of down about the current story of my life. Or maybe not seeing my life as realistically as I need to. Not appreciating enough. And I love the idea of taking a yoga selfie in the mirror. Another layer to that healing you speak of. Taking back interpretation of how we look in the mirror and changing our own perception.
    Thanks, friend.ReplyCancel

mirrorselfies600

Kind of like photographs, the other place where it can be so tender to have negative self-talk come up is the mirror.

It’s a tough one, I know!

In a couple prompts in Be Your Own Beloved (class starts tomorrow by the way) I get folks to try taking self-portraits in the mirror and I know it is often a tender one for participants.

Much like taking self-portraits, it is one of those places where our inner dialouge comes up, which might make us feel like it is a danger-zone or a place of tenderness. But I believe that those are the same places, the same tools that can help us write a new story and to see ourselves with kindness…because they are so potent.  When we push past the inner critic, kindness does await us on the other side. 

Even before I picked up a camera and started taking self-portraits to cultivate self-love, the mirror was a place where I tried to do self-love work. At the same time, it was also the place where I was most critical of myself.

Lately when I walk into the bathroom I feel something so different than those years past when my stories would hit me like a slap across the face when I entered the room. These days I see the woman in the mirror as a friend and ally and smile at her. That isn’t to say there aren’t moments when they do come up…but the thing that I try to remember is that self-love is about resiliency.  It is about having moments where we don’t choose love and not getting down on ourselves and just saying…in the future I will make a different choice or acknowledge that we are just doing our best right now.

So I though I’d share with you a few tools that have helped me make friends with the person in the mirror!

you areWrite Yourself a Love Note

One of the most powerful ways I’ve found to remind yourself that the mirror is a place you want to see your ally reflected is to find words that will remind you of that and in a way, leave yourself a love note on your mirror. You could write it on paper and tape in on there with washi tape. Or even write it on a post it note. One of my favourite ways is to get some acrylic paint and paint it on the mirror (making it easy to wash off later). I especially find this is great for those big bathroom mirrors….they have so much space you could even write a poem on them!  For a long time I had the entire poem Love after Love by Derek Walcott painted on my bathroom mirror. Of course you can also just use your own words and say ‘I see you’.  Or ‘You look beautiful today’ or ‘Trust Yourself’…whatever resonates most with you!

I find that after a while you almost forget these messages are there but they are like these guiding forces.  Or you can also have them be a point of focus for when you are getting into negative self-talk.

mirror4ws

Adorn your Mirror with things that feel like YOU

So, when we look into the mirror, the negativity that may come up for some of us…well, they are stories, right. Not truths. Another tool I like to use is to invite other stories that can remind us of the stories that DO feel like us, that support and enrich us. You might put up a photo of someone who by seeing their image reminds you of how you are loved (and that you deserve to love yourself in that same way).

Or you could just surround your mirror with things that feel like you. I always love seeing mirrors that have jewelry or found objects or photos around it that are so rich in storytelling about that person who’s mirror it is. How could you make your mirror a place that is rich in stories of you…the ones you want to focus on?

mirrir6ws

Find a Mirror You Love

Yes!  We can do this work any place we choose.

It could be your bathroom mirror.

Or your reflection in things around your house (like a window).

Or in a small mirror, or a full sized one.

I highly recommend finding a mirror that you like. It could be that the frame of the mirror makes you smile or means something to you. Or perhaps the mirror itself is so lovely that you enjoy standing in front of it!

It doesn’t even have to be a big mirror but getting a mirror that you decide will be a place that you will see yourself with kindness is mighty powerful. I have one mirror that I have carried from home to home for a decade now that is just my happy place mirror. I can just see myself clearly in it and not the stories that follow us there.

Seek Out Mirrors in your World

You could kind of consider this a treasure hunt for cool mirrors to take self-portraits in! I especially love finding ones where I am part of the big picture and can photograph a part of myself in it.

This can be a really powerful way to begin taking mirror self-portraits, to just add some adventure or fun seeing ourselves in the mirror.

Some suggestions for when you are out ‘n about in the world to seek out mirror reflections are:

  • Restaurant bathrooms
  • Mirrors in Stores
  • Store windows
  • Remember too that it doesn’t need to be a full length mirror! Look for smaller mirrors or reflective surfaces too.

mirror3ws

Look Yourself in the Eye (and through the Lens)

A big piece of making peace with ourselves through the mirror involves looking ourselves in the eyes, doesn’t it. And then not looking away. It’s not always an easy thing to do either. But that has felt like a pivotal part of healing my relationship to my self-image…to looking myself literally in they eyes with kindness.

I shared a bit about this in a previous post but when we add a camera to the process, it gets a bit more complicated. Especially with phones where we can see our image on the screen, we might be drawn (as so many people are) to look at ourselves in the screen rather than ourselves in the mirror. Or we might find that when we literally look ourselves in the eye in the mirror and take a photo, when we look back at the photo we don’t get to make eye contact with ourselves.

Being able to look back at our photos and look ourselves in the eye is incredibly powerful, so I encourage you to try looking directly into the reflection of your lens in the mirror…that will allow you to be making eye contact with your future self looking back at this photo! This is not a tried and true rule of course, or something you must do…but I find it’s not something people think to do (or we hide behind our cameras and don’t even make eye contact with our reflection through the photo) and next time you and your camera are at the mirror taking a selfie, I encourage you to try all these options and see what feels best for you.

mirror2ws

Make a Ritual of taking self-portraits in Your Mirror.

You knew this one was coming, right!  Sometimes making a theme or a focus for taking mirror self-portraits can be super powerful. It might be taking a self-portrait in your bathroom mirror each morning to check in with yourself, or to write a different love note on your mirror each week and take a selfie with it.

I also like to make a ritual of taking a self-portrait in the same mirrors out and about in the world, each time I cross paths with it….so that could be a way that you take a regular self-portrait in the mirror too.

I wanted to share a few links to friends who’s work overlaps with this post so beautifully. Check out Liz Lamoreux’s post about how the mirror helps her shift how she sees herself. Another project that I’m loving these days is Kelly Rae Robert’s #thewearyourjoyproject where folks are sharing the joy they are finding in getting dressed each day and it can be a great focus for taking a mirror self-portrait each day!

_MG_0139ws

Choose to Befriend the Person in the Mirror

Now, this one is something that we dig deeper into in Be Your Own Beloved, building our relationship to not just the physicality we are in the mirror or in a photo, but to use it as a doorway to greater self-love.

And here’s the truth about what I’ve found with making peace with ourselves through our camera or a mirror. We get to choose to make a change and start seeing ourselves differently. I once thought that would be truly impossible but slowly but surely, the woman in the mirror no longer feels like my enemy and she and I have committed to making peace, even if we have our rough days. We’re now allies.

These tools and the ones we explore in Be Your Own Beloved aren’t just for those days when you are feeling excited or happy too.  When I’m having a really rough inner critic day or am having trouble seeing myself with kindness, sometimes I just stand in front of the mirror and just say something to her, try to meet her with the same compassion I would meet a friend.

I hope all of these tips I shared in todays post will be helpful for you and that find a mirror along your path today and capture a selfie in it or just pause and try to see the person in it with kind eyes. If you find yourself thinking “Well, this all sounds great but I’m not sure how to make it happen” ponder coming to join me for the Be Your Own Beloved class (starting tomorrow) and while the class isn’t focused on the mirror, day by day you will find yourself becoming more comfortable and more kind to the person you see in the photo. I’d be honoured to support and cheer you on in that journey.

If you do take a selfie in a mirror and would like to share it, don’t hesitate to use the #beyourownbeloved hashtag so the Be Your Own Beloved community & I can cheer you on!

compassion800

share post: