About Born Yogis
Babies are born yogis and yoginis. At every stage of development, they naturally curl and bend into a variety of asanas that would make a master yogi green with envy
When learning how to crawl, they will arch their torsos up into “Cobra”. And just before they can walk, they will spend weeks crossing rooms in “Down Dog”. Even while sleeping, they will unconsciously tuck into the aptly named “Baby Pose”.
At every developmental stage, these yoga poses build coordination and strengthen the muscles necessary for the baby to get to the next level. It is their unconscious “practice” on their journey to becoming vertical, as it is our conscious practice on our journey to self-realization.
Because the age-old spirit of Yoga inhabits babies so completely, we have reached back into many ancient yogic texts to find passages that illuminate and complement the mood of the photos.
The text is culled from everything from the original yoga treatise, the Bhagavad Gita, to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to the modern writings of B.K.S Iyengar. Whether written in 500 BC or today, these yogis describe a path to realize our oneness with Brahman, the Divine. Something, we would posit babies are born aware of.
Meditative or exultant, playful or quiet, these words are intended to open our eyes to the depth of spirit that exists in our children. They are not only yogis, they are our gurus as well.
Whether it’s flexibility we strive for or deep, deep focus (there’s no one more present than an infant gazing into her mother’s eyes for the first time), yoga helps us regain what we were born with.
Noticing that a baby naturally performs Yoga is one thing; getting these poses to occur in front of a camera is another story. The photographs that compose this book are captured moments, natural and candid fractions of a second where the lighting, expression and pose all come together. For most of the images, these poses and moves were completely spontaneous, the only staged elements being the placement of the baby or child and yoga mat in the proper light.
In shooting this book, an enormous amount of patience and perseverance was required. The payoff to this waiting and the many rolls of exposed film were these wonderful and lyrical moments that could never be planned or anticipated. On the second shoot with Myles, the boy performing “Wheel Pose”, he suddenly fell into an amazingly tight backbend pose, which his mother had never seen him do before. He promptly twisted into two more backbends before running off to play elsewhere.
Zane, the baby performing “Mountain Pose”, was crawling around the deck of a house when he suddenly stood up, raising his arms up in the air in exultation. His parents squealed, as this was his first time standing. That 1/125th of a second, that little slice of magic never to be repeated again, is just one of the many moments forever captured within these pages.
This collection of natural poses caught on film mirrors a sun salutation class, which is traditionally performed at the beginning of the day. We hope that as you journey through these pages, that these baby gurus, these born yogis, will take you a little further towards enlightenment.
Susie Arnett and Doug Kim