I'm Going to India!
Ashtanga Yoga, and how I wound up with a flight to Mumbai.
4 1/2 year-old Kaiya's "Yoga Stars" song :)
I practice Ashtanga yoga, Mysore style. For much of this year I've woken before dawn to practice between 3-5 times a week. I decided I'd like to go to India to practice in Mysore with the head of the lineage where my practice originates. Unfortunately, I booked my plane ticket before I applied to practice at the shala (there are strict time frames for which one can apply) and when it was my time to apply I received a response a few days later that the shala was already full for the period I will be in India.
There are a million places to practice yoga in India. Probably, quite literally, a million. But I was only interested in practicing at one place. Rather than incur the costs of canceling my flight or changing my trip, I decided to push on with it. The decision to do so has rapidly changed my expectations of what I aim to do. Instead of staying put in one city the entire trip, I aim to see the country and do what I do best--document it through photography, video, and words.
All of this got me wondering why I do yoga anyway. It seems my intention is to seek connection; connection with the present moment, connection with myself, and generally improve the state of my own well being. I started to wonder if its working, if my life has improved since yoga. If its really the cure that I've been looking for. And more importantly it got me wondering what other people do to connect, to let go, to feel alive. My friend Brittany tells me she dances to get that feeling, my friend Kolton plays music for that sensation. Everyone has their own way. And I wondered if yoga is really what it is for me that provides that sense of connection and spontaneous release. What else do people do? If India is the land of finding yourself, what better land could there be to go on such an inquiry.
The following is a video prelude to the project:
The Project, an exploration of connection
Why do I do yoga? Why is connection so important? Are we more satisfied when we feel connected? What else do we do in order to feel the sense of connection? Why is it that Americans and westerners in general travel to India to “find themselves”? What is it that American people can learn from India? What is it that I can learn from India?
These are the starting questions on this voyage. I seek the expressions of these questions. I will create 3 things as a result of this project:
- A series of digital and film images documenting these expressions
- A concept video about 5 minutes in length exploring connection
- A lo-res photo and text memoir printed as a 7"x7" softcover book
At the early germination stages of this project I had in mind to shoot a concept video while in India, the concept of which I had not decided yet. But I knew I wanted to have it in mind before I left. At that time, I went to visit my friend Lisa at Gravitational Creations in Portland and she shared this video with me after hearing about my ideas. It is an incredibly inspiring short film and an awesome example of what I mean by 'Concept Video':
I will travel around India preferably via motorcycle and train and whatever else is necessary, and I will do what I normally do--capture the experiences. I will do yoga as my heart desires. I will meet people. I will make connections. I will have a grand adventure. And you, as backers, have the opportunity to not only take part in the results of the journey, but also to shape it. I depart from LAX on Dec 30th at 2pm and arrive in Mumbai at 11:30 pm on New Years Eve. What a perfect time to start this voyage. I have until Feb 25th to explore and document connection before I fly back out of Mumbai for LAX and make my way back to Portland. I have no plans between my arrival and departure. I am wide open for discovery. Help guide me on this trip. I will post updates to my blog(s) as often as I am able so that you can stay tuned into the journey and the inquiry.
India is (from what I've read) a remarkable and colorful place. They say it is an assault on all the senses. I am excited to capture this color and craze and share the results with you. The options for printing I have chosen and provided here as rewards get me really stoked. I'm going to sign each one just so that the printer has to ship them to me so I can see them, too. Since I haven't taken any of the photos yet and you are pledging to buy prints that you haven't seen, I've included some landscapes from Lake Tahoe, California, to give you some faith that what you will get will be great.
But don't take my word for it, check out this testimonial from a repeat video client of mine:
That's pretty awesome! Mike rocks!!
Please see my portfolio for more encouragement: rama-images.com
And check here for a preview of the 1st book in the "Life'ing" series, also from Lake Tahoe: life'ing: season won
Examples of my video work here: ibee
How the funds will be used
Your contributions will allow me to cover the costs of traveling, the rewards, and additional equipment needed to make the project happen (like a small laptop that I can access the internet on and transfer footage to a hard drive). The plane ticket is already booked. Your contributions will cover my day to day expenses and the costs of getting around India. Once the project is funded I will calculate the costs of all the gifts that received backers. I will set aside this amount + a little padding to ensure that all the gifts can be delivered once the project is complete and I have returned from India.
Remember, it is possible to raise more than my goal, but if the goal is not reached all the pledges are returned! If I go over my goal enough I will be able to live my dream of touring India via Royal Enfield Bullet 350 :)
Robert K Haddad · Crucial for the development of this project and focusing its intention. Bob made some awesome tracks that unfortunately weren't included in the final video, keep an ear out for their appearance in an upcoming prequel . Check out his other wicked tracks here: https://soundcloud.com/justbob_0/
Brynne Bailey for doing camera, direction, and even some set dressing for the video and her generally awesome attitude :) http://vimeo.com/brynnebailey
Bruno Bártulitch for allowing me to use clips of his recordings of Pattabhi Jois chanting with student. He said this about it: "Really cool! Nice project friend! I'm happy to be somehow part of it good luck and have a amazing journey!" http://www.facebook.com/bartulitch
Risks and challenges
There are many risks. I could become ill and be bed ridden my entire stay. I could crash the motorcycle or be involved in some other accident. I can have all my equipment stolen at any point. It is India after all. Any of these incidents, could however, create opportunities for exploring connection and continuing the project. I will make it happen regardless of the circumstance. I mean it is India after all, and if I have to buy new gear while I'm there I might even get a good deal. I intend to bring a small computer and hard drive to upload images and footage regularly for safe keeping.
Aside from those mishaps that might occur. The main challenge is getting it done. It is only me after all. I plan to take photographs, make a video, and create a book in a two month trip to a foreign country where I've never been and I don't speak the languages. Yes, it's a lot. But really, this is what I do every day no matter where I am, anyway. I am keeping my equipment minimal to make the process easy on myself, make getting around simple, and make myself less of a target. I shoot video and photographs with the same camera, that makes things incredibly convenient. The memoir will be made with my camera phone allowing me the privilege to keep my fancy camera out of hand and still be able to capture the day-to-day stuff.
For reward fulfillment: I already work with a printer who will create all of the printed goods. Most of these will be ready to drop ship once the photos have been selected and edited. For the stuff that takes time--the memoir, and the video--I have afforded myself a few months to get them together. For the wall size prints I work with a local printer in Portland, OR who makes beautiful and massive prints. They are my people, the experts, to make sure those images are still stunning at such a massive size.
I appreciate you taking the time to read and hear my story. Join me on this adventure of discovery and explore connections with me!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)