I am so honored to introduce my dear friend and true inspiration: Siobhan Beasley.
Q: When we met two years ago you had recently left New York City, where you were a practicing attorney and moved to Martha's Vineyard to pursue your calling as a healer and continue your life-long passion for photography. How and when did you know you were ready to take this leap? Was it something you had been considering for a long time or was there one particular moment that you can pinpoint when you knew you had to change course and pursue yoga and the healing arts?
A: First of all, thank you so much for having me, Nathalie. I'm honored to have my work and story featured on Pure + Wild Journal !
To answer your question, my leap of faith occurred as the result of a hugely painful life event. My little brother passed away suddenly in September 2013. It shook up my entire life. The months after his death felt like the Universe was physically shaking me like a rag doll, screaming "Wake up! Wake up!" It was singlehandedly the most painful time in my entire life, but also the most life-changing.
I started pouring myself into my yoga practice and art. I would spend all day in the art studio or at yoga classes, and literally didn't do anything else. It dawned on my one day that the yoga and art were helping me heal, and I wanted to be able to share that with other people in pain. I soon took a yoga teacher training on Martha's Vineyard, with the powerful, soulful teacher Sherry Sidoti at FLY Yoga School. She took my understanding of yoga to a level truly beyond this world, cracked me open, and helped put me back together again. Yoga helped me heal on every level: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually... it made me aware of my own soul, and gave me a language to communicate with it. I can't not share it with the world.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like for you to change course ? What were some of the challenges?
A: I had changed courses once before, from law to stand up comedy, so I was already (slightly) prepared for the journey of change. The internal voices "Am I totally nuts to be doing this?!" were there. My parents were a little skeptical about my plans, but I've learned that I need to love and respect them, but ultimately follow my own path, regardless of how crazy it appears to them.
The calling to keep learning how to heal myself and how to share the healing with others was so strong, that it would have been harder for me not to follow my heart.
Money was a little tight for a while, and let's be honest, I'm not rolling in dough now, but I'm making it work. I find that the more I follow my calling, the more money seems to appear.
Q: One of the many things that I find constantly inspiring about you is that you are truly a multi-passionate entrepreneur. You have been very creative in utilizing all of your various skill sets in building a tailor-made career for yourself. Too often people feel they need to narrow their focus in career or are called scattered when they have too many interests. What advice would you give to people who want to start their own venture?
A: I HAVE SO MANY INTERESTS. It's obnoxious. Or wonderful. Both. So for the moment, I have created a pretty interesting job for myself. In the summers, I teach paddleboard yoga in the mornings, and then have the afternoons free to do photography work and teach studio classes. I also teach yoga in the jail, which is something I really believe in and would like to expand.
My only advice would be to believe in yourself and take the jump!
Q: I hear a lot of people who are concerned about turning their passion into a profession for fear that they will kill the joy of it by making it their job. How do you stay inspired and keep your passion strong ?
A: Oooh, interesting question. As far as photography goes, I say "no" to certain gigs once in awhile. I won't just say "yes" to anything because it's a paying job. This practice keeps me honest, and keeps me working on projects that I actually want to work on. Right now, I am deeply passionate about photographing yoga teachers (does that sound weird? ha!) and so I am really going for it. I'm networking, and doing shoots, traveling, doing more networking, and gradually carving out this space for my business.
I stay passionate about teaching yoga 99% of the time, because I believe in it so much! However, there are those 1% times. I remember one class this past August, after teaching what felt like a billion classes that week, I noticed I was on autopilot "Inhale plank. Exhale chaturanga. Inhale upward facing dog." In that moment, I wasn't bringing anything to the class besides physical instruction. Luckily, I shook myself out of it. I think when that happens, it's a sign I need a little break.
Q:Can you tell us a little bit about your photography and yoga practice and how they inspire and fuel each other?
A: For me, photography can be a lot like meditation. I get completely out of my head, and into my intuition. My mind is fully quiet, and my heart/gut/intuition are like "IT’S GO TIME!"
My yogi photographs are really special. When my subject and I work well together, we are able to create these shots that really capture their soul, their spirit. It's absolutely magical. I find that yogis have a connection to Mother Earth, and she often makes a glorious cameo in the shots. I love that, capturing yogis in harmony with momma earth. Ugh, I'm melting thinking about it right now.
Q: You're one the west coast now, studying Reiki, what are your plans for the upcoming year?
A: All of December I will be snaking my way down the California coast, to visit friends, and take yoga portraits. I would love for people to contact me if they are in the San Diego, LA, or San Francisco area and want to schedule a shoot.
This summer I will return to Martha's Vineyard, and assist my teacher Sherry with her 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training, teach paddleboard yoga, and do more photography on Martha's Vineyard!
You can find more of Siobhan’s work at www.siobhanbeasleyphotography.com