When I first met Mirabelle, she was so full of love and light (she even signs emails like that - so lovely), that I just assumed she was born with this most rare quality that few of us have. I assumed the realm of life in which she exists and her ecstatic state of happiness were unattainable. But then, I heard her story, and it not only proved how wrong I was, but that she is she so much more complex, and also that she has journeyed a long time and a long distance to reach her state of grace.
Yoga is part of daily life in India, but Mirabelle had never been really into it because her nature was to be over active and restless. She was a dancer and was running a dance school in Mumbai with six centres across the city. She was working all the time with no rest and eventually, slipped a disc. She was bed ridden ad the prognosis from the doctors was not positive at all. They said she would never recover. So Mirabelle went to the Himalayas, and with pure grace and the help of some super gurus, after only four days of training, she was able to do a headstand for the first time in her life. It was then that this over worked type A personality had her Eureka moment. EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
Mirabelle has never looked back. Now, her life is so full and rich and full of grace and contentment. She loves life, her husband, the universe and people. She teaches Sivananda yoga and dance at the Sabor Dance School, and writes children's books. And she loves to practice yoga for herself, and to dance, and the dancing Shiva Natraraja. She aspires to embody all those wonderful qualities encompassed in the metaphor and the energy that is Shiva.
Mirabelle wanted to do a shoot just for herself. While in India, she had done shoots for dance for newspapers and other publications but never in her own time and in her own style. This shoot was done so that she would always remember that if she could heal so completely from all that pain, especially such an inflexible person despite being a dancer, then everything is possible. Not only are these photos to remind herself, but she hopes to share her experience with everyone in the hopes that they too will realise that life is beautiful and bountiful and through surrender (which did not come at all naturally to her type A personality), grace and all things abundant flow when there is acceptance and awe.
Mirabelle wrote these important words on stones to surround herself with her intentions and all she hopes to grow closer to as she practiced her yoga.
In India, people practice yoga as part of daily life. They do it in school, in parks, in the wilderness - everywhere. Pratyahara, which is the withdrawal of the senses, encourages people to have total conscious responsibility of oneself and one's practice and one's life. Yoga is a way of life, in its' true essence. It is not about classes, or the teacher and it is not commercial. There, one practices alone. And so Mirabelle wanted to get as close to that as she could with her practice for the shoot. Southlands reminds Mirabelle of the banyan trees back home and how she really used to practice. And it is those memories she wanted to capture.
Yoga and Mirabelle's beloved husband metamorphosised her and both keep encouraging her to be better than her previous selves with a loving acceptance of the old selves that get her to each new self.
|Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A|
When Mirabelle was a little girl, if ever she was upset (and according to her, it was often since she was so very stubborn), she would lock herself in her room and dance as if she were possessed. And then she later trained in classical Indian dance, and then professionally in Latin American dance, and now she does Salsa. She finds joy within when she dances and feels it allows her inner illumination to be shared. She believes it balances perfectly with yoga, which of course is complete in itself. Her yoga practices brings her the calmness, serenity, acceptance, discipline and engaging stillness that she needs, and dance is the abandon and wild energy currents of her nature in and expansive and playful form. They are her Siva and her Shakti that allow her to morph into the many roles of her being.
I adore this image below. It was actually the first shot I took when we arrived at the beach and so I had forgotten to change my settings to the brighter light after shooting in the darkness of Southlands. So obviously, it is a huge, blown out mistake. But I love this mistake. I love the lack of information and how much that lack of information actually says - it almost says more than the beautiful backdrop above as it is everywhere and nowhere - it is all that Mirabelle says yoga is for her. In fact, this is a motto she lives by:
Nothing to say,
Nowhere to go,
Love the peace after the crashing of the waves and all the while, she remains still while her surroundings are wild and free. Think her reflection is pretty cool too given how reflective yoga makes a practitioner.
Mirabelle - you are an inspiration in so many ways and I thank you. From your attitude towards life, to the way you over came your back pain - something I have struggled with for years and which I have also found yoga was my saviour - to your beauty on the outside, but with so much more on the inside. Just as you wish so often wish for me, I too wish you much joy and radiance. xxx