Leslie Wagner came to my studio last August. We did a makeover glamour session as well as some yoga asana shots for her website. Leslie is a yoga teacher, mother of two sons, former tennis player and all-around super-cool lady. She was kind enough to be the first person I’m interviewing for my blog. Possibly the first person I’ve interviewed, ever. Thanks Leslie!
One of Leslie’s earliest memories is of laying in her crib, listening to her mother sing. She herself loves to sing, is an opera fan (surprised?), and has an amazing voice. If you’ve ever joined Leslie for one of her yoga classes, you know what I mean. Her sanskrit chants resonate with depth, meaning and beauty. I jokingly call her Sunday morning class “Leslie-Church” because she is so good at awakening my spiritual side and creates a space of reverence for all the gifts of life.Leslie has been teaching and studying yoga for 35 years and is also a lover of the Sanskrit chants she is a truly gifted chantress. She views teaching as a means to help raise consciousness and to transmit light energy to her students. She believes a teacher is to live as an example, to ‘walk the talk’ and to use moderation in all things. Teaching yoga is not like teaching math or reading, it is more about raising awareness, connecting to people, helping them feel loved and noticed. As a yoga instructor, she’s also put in a place of trust-keeping and as an unofficial therapist. People find that they can really share and open up to her as she is someone who helps to open them up, who helps them push through their boundaries.The benefits of yoga are many. It’s not just about the body – yoga’s true meaning comes from the word yoke, or union: union of the body, breath, mind and spirit.
I asked Leslie about the benefit of yoga to one’s self. She said that a very important aspect is about slowing down – slowing down the breath, finding time to just be. Just be still, just be present. Just be here in the moment. Some yogis believe that we’re given only a certain number of breaths in life. If we can slow it down, our lives will certainly be longer and calmer. I like that! Leslie says that health benefits include stress reduction, release of lactic acid, strengthening of all major muscle groups, increased lung capacity and increased mental focus among many, many other benefits.
As we slow down through yoga, we stop living in panic-mode, stop living in fear and move to a more present existence where we can choose love over fear. I also asked Leslie about yoga’s benefit to society. She reiterates the importance of slowing down, looking each other in the eye and finding the light in each others’ eyes. When we can do that, we can find kindness in each other. All that we are is a result of our thoughts. The more light and positivity we can find, the more this will shine and spread around us. Through yoga, Leslie says, we can first find the light and love in ourselves, stop being judgmental and that love and light will spread to others. I so enjoyed photographing Leslie. Her personality and playfulness is such an inspiration and I’m so honored that she was one of the first people to be photographed in the new studio space.
I’m also very grateful for her patience in being interviewed by this non-writer photographer. I have great intentions and hope my execution improves with practice. Thank you, Leslie for being a willing victim of my learning curve.
You can friend Leslie on Facebook to keep up with her teaching and workshop schedules. Contact Leslie Wagner on facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to schedule a private class or workshop. Her new website will be going live soon and she will also be releasing a Yoga Nidra CD! I’ll keep you updated as I receive more information.
Namaste 🙂 ~Kt
More images from our shoot:
Hair and makeup by Karinna Wurth