The Aperture of Mindfulness

It was Christmas Day and I was nine years old when I got my first manual camera. To anyone else, the photos from that first roll appear mundane and novice. I still feel the excitement of my younger self looking around my world, observing everything and wanting to capture the day in as many ways possible.

As I gained experience, I recognized how elements like angle, distance, and texture affected the images. I saw the ways that distortion and focus changed the appearance of scenes and subjects. I learned how to let in the light. And after years of observation and refining my techniques, I realized that I didn't need to imitate great artists or strategically compose, but instead follow the lead of the scene to see what it wanted to reveal. I sought after connection without always having to understand why. Even now, certain photos I've taken coax me to contemplate my position in the world. When we can behold life's scenes and subjects, we illuminate the self.

I see the parallels between my practice with mindfulness and my progression as a photographer. When it comes to mindfulness, I began by simply watching how I interacted in the present without hesitation or judgment. I noticed the interplay of sensations, thoughts, perceptions, and emotions and how they had the power to distract me from or draw me into the moment. With the help of breath and focus methods, I was guided towards a more fluid practice. Eventually, I opened myself up to the light and let awareness steer the way. I found companionship and connection to the most illusive and welcoming presence, my self.


Rochelle teaches best what she needs to learn most. She is privileged to encourage her students at YYoga to craft greater awareness of the intelligence of the body, the support of the breath, and the connection of self to spirit.

She has great appreciation for her family, belly laughs, snacking in the tub, outdoor adventures, and cheeky animals. Rochelle lives in North Vancouver with her partner Nathan, daughter Ophelia, and Transformer the cat.

March 23, 2015 by Ashley Wray

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