Bikram Yoga Part 1 – Training

I was lucky enough to be invited to photograph members of Bikram Yoga Richmond in training for the 2011 UK Ghosh Cup. It was astonishing to see the dedication and effort that went into their preparation.  Bikram Yoga is conducted in a humidified room, heated to 105°F to allow the muscles to stretch to their maximum potential.

Heat and humidity aren't great for cameras so I had to bag up my gear and allow a little time for it to adjust to the heat.

Boy, was it worth it, though:

This is just the warm-up :)

The camaraderie and mutual support was great to see.  This is serious training for a fiercely-contested tournament, so all the girls were seriously pushing themselves, but there was still time for lots of fun and laughter between poses.

Kristin is the co-founder, and head teacher, of Bikram Yoga Richmond.  She is also the reigning UK Yoga Champion, so particularly keen to defend her title this year.  She bends in extraordinary ways!

Here she is back-bending, whilst practicing for 'Wheel' - a yoga move which involves inverting the back and grabbing the ankles from behind, then straightening the legs.

Back (and mind!) bending stuff.

It was a real privilege to be granted access to the studio like this, and I genuinely enjoyed watching the mass contortions for a couple of hours.  Very pleased with how the pictures turned out.  Largely shot with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, at maximum aperture, to isolate the subjects from the background.  Processed in b/w to eliminate distracting skin tones and differently-coloured yoga kit.

More on this subject to come soon.