Until a few years ago, I also belonged to one of these categories of people, namely, logicians, lovers of numbers. Ever since I was a child, I loved mathematics. Not that I liked it much, but math was easy for me, and I even got an “A” in the ninth grade exam. Moreover, such subjects as literature and fine arts were foreign to me, not only at the level of ability, but also at the level of personal motivation. Perhaps this is due to the fact, that I somehow thought, that in life, the one who can count, is successful. I don’t even remember where I got that from, maybe I saw in a movie how financiers and executives live well, and creative people kind of not so much. Most likely, based on these internal attitudes, and in high school, I went to the faculty of business administration (at the first stage of higher education) and economics (at master’s program). Accordingly, from my childhood to middle age, I mostly developed in the world of numbers, schemes and logic – I considered myself completely unsuitable for creativity.
However, time has put everything in its place in my life and yoga played here the main role. It all started when I became a yoga teacher and I had a need for good pictures. This was due to the fact, firstly, that I periodically went on various yoga tours, and I wanted to convey my impressions to my students in a high quality, and secondly, beautiful pictures were needed for various publications in social networks of our yoga groups – still from the modern reality can not escape even yogis, as just a bare text today no one will read.
As a true logician, I naively believed that in order to make good pictures, you just need to buy good equipment. What creativity? Technology should solve everything! So, I quickly analyzed the market for photographic equipment, selected everything I needed, compared prices at various outlets and, finally, made the necessary purchases. However, after the first experiments, my disappointment was unlimited – all the photos were much worse than even with a simple phone! How could this be? So much money and time spent and for what? The logician inside me was desperately indignant, trying in vain to awaken the creator. And I probably would have given up on everything, but thanks to the practice of yoga, my mind had by then become more flexible, and I was no longer, as critical and maximalistic, as before. And that pile of new equipment, that I had just bought and had not yet time to play with, also did not leave me a chance to stop halfway. By happy coincidence (or karma), I came across an ad for a photography course by Alexander Gorodenkov, a man with whom I have worked in the past and whose work I really liked. Fortunately there were still some spots available, but… these courses were in Tallinn! Every Saturday! That is, 200 km away from where I live!
However, if you go to your goal, you must go all the way. To Tallinn means to Tallinn. Accordingly, for the next six months (even a little longer), in the fall, winter and spring, every Saturday I got up at 4:45 am, did my yoga, took a bus or train, 3 hours on the road, then another hour by walk to the studio, an hour and a half photography class, and a 4-hour drive back home. On the one hand it sounds absurd – too much efforts, for so little result (spending a whole day on the road for a short lecture). But I didn’t think so. The end goal was important to me – I wanted to learn how to take good pictures, and I needed it for the reason. And in principle I treated this action in its own way, because on the other hand, it was a good opportunity to dilute my weekly routine of Saturdays with a trip to the capital, a walk in new places, pleasant communication with enthusiastic people, new experience in an unusual for me case, and in the buss, I was not just looking out the window, but listening to audio recordings of informative sutras. That is, in “my world” I did not lose anything, and the day was always very effective for me. The main thing is to learn to look at the situation positively and to take advantage of the situation for your own benefit.
So, over the course of six months we consistently studied all the nuances of the art of photography, got acquainted with its various genres, did our homework, and all together thoroughly analyzed our successes and failures. It would seem that the logician in such a situation should have sat at the last desk and blushed for his unsuccessful work. What was my surprise when from lesson to lesson Alexander marked my homework as successful (of course there was always something else to work on), and my classmates confirmed it. Okay, at first I thought it was just a coincidence – well, it happens that I pressed the button at the right time and in the right place. But no, the course went on and my homework got better and better and in time Alexander fixed for me the honorary nickname “Classic”, confirming at the end of the course, that it turns out I am very capable in photography. For me it was really unexpectedly. How could it be, that I didn’t have any creative ability at all? Often I couldn’t even tell, which picture was good and which was not. A picture is a picture, what’s the difference? In order to understand the reasons for the changes that had occurred in me, I was helped by the theoretical foundations of yoga.
The point is, that in our subtle body there is a system of energy channels and energy centers – chakras. Depending on how the energy flows through these channels and how well (harmoniously) the chakras work, it depends on how we perceive and interact with the surrounding reality. If our consciousness is in the lower centers, our motivations are mostly animal (safety, pleasure, providing ourselves with everything we need) and our abilities are mostly physical (i.e., physical strength). If the energy body is better developed and the higher centers are activated, then our level of consciousness is higher and we have more subtle characteristics, such as love, compassion, creativity, and dispassionate contemplation. Creativity and a general craving for beauty and aesthetics originate in the second energy center, the Svadhistana chakra. If you liberate and activate this chakra with the help of yogic techniques (or any other techniques), then a person develops good taste, understanding of beauty, desire to express himself in art and creativity. This is exactly the change, which happened in me, by the time I signed up for the photography course – as the saying goes “like attracts like”. By the way, after taking the course my sense of taste has basically improved and spread to completely different aspects of life: combination of colors in clothes, understanding of good interior design, beautifully designed meals in cooking. I have become much better at noticing the beautiful things around me. So I have seen in practice, how yoga really balances and harmonizes subtle processes in the body, which are reflected in the work of our consciousness and we literally open ourselves up from new sides, or to be more precise – from many sides. Therefore, it is important to understand that yoga is not only a physical culture for the body, but also a very effective tool for personal transformation in general.
Here, of course, I must also be given to the talented teacher. An experienced master is able to give the most powerful start to the student, no matter what kind of activity it is. Alexander has really developed an excellent teaching methodology, where each subsequent lesson reinforces the previous one and, like a painter with a brush, applies the next layer of understanding of the overall topic. I definitely recommend it to everyone who is interested in this kind of art.