Photo of Golden Retriever dog playing in the creek.

Yoga Dog Project- Update 1

by Kris Phillips

The Yoga Dog Project has been swirling around in my dreams for some time now. Easily a year or more. I had a vision of what I wanted to create but wasn’t sure if it was just me. I wasn’t sure if anyone else would even want to participate. After doing my very first test-shoot with my sister, Katrina, and her boy Rudy, I felt good about the technique but I still stalled for another 6 months before putting the project out into the world.

In fact, I think if it hadn’t been for the constant nudging of my big sister I would still be stalling. Finding reasons like “I don’t know if anyone will want to do it” and “I have no idea how to publish a book”. But on January 11th, 1/11 , I took a cue from the universe (and my Sis) and launched my project quietly on social media with a yogi model call.

I was so touched by the outpouring of excitement I received and quickly started to book yogis. As I coordinated my first session came as a totally surprise when I got an email from Lauryn asking if we could get together that afternoon. I was so excited to get going that I jumped on the chance. It wasn’t until about an hour before that I started to get nervous. And truly I don’t even know why, it’s been years since I was truly nervous about a session.

There was fresh snow covering the hillside, and Lauryn brought a big blanket for her and Bella. And as I laid there flat on my stomach, on a mat in the snow, it was like I’d never done yoga in my life. All the poses I had visualized over the past year just disappeared from my mind. And suddenly I felt like I’d never even heard of yoga before, and what’s this camera thing all about? Here I was, having photographed hundreds of clients & their dogs, finally getting complete creative license to bring my vision to life and I was blank. I felt like I did 10 years ago at my first photo session, nerves stealing all my ideas away. I stared at Lauryn and sweet Bella waiting for direction, and fished for inspiration… “If there’s anything you want to try…”. She said “oh, I’m open to whatever, I don’t normally like having my picture taken but I can totally make shapes and lines”. A few deep breaths and some great poses from Lauryn and we were off again. It wasn’t long before we had lots of beautiful shots to choose from.

The sun played peak-a-boo. Popping back out about 3 seconds after we Lauryn put her shoes back on. I couldn’t help myself and we took a few more shots. And they were some of the best from the session. Lauryn & Bella mastered the cold and pulled off some beautiful images.

Sweet Bella embraces the teachings of Yoga without even thinking about. One of the principle teachings in yoga is to let go of the things that no longer serve you. Bella LOVES people despite having a disturbingly rough start in life. Lauryn found Bella when a friend shared her sad story to Facebook hoping to help raise funds for Bella’s care. She came to Colorado from an out of state shelter and we’ll never know the details of her life before Lauryn, but she was emaciated, and her back leg had been broken in two for over a year. “She was all skin & bones except this giant swelling on her back leg”.  Bella doesn’t hold a grudge against the humans who failed her. Aside from a scar down her leg you’d never know she’d known anything but love, because LOVE radiates from her.

The Yoga Dog Project is on-going for the next few months, if you’d like to participate or know someone who would, please join us.

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