Underwater Yoga?

Yes, you read that correctly!  Underwater Yoga!  And oh, what fun we had!!

Wait, in CUBA?

Oh ya.  About that.  Well, let me take a step back.  This spring I traveled to Havana Cuba with an amazing Yoga instructor to capture Branding images for her studio, her personal brand, and her Yoga Retreats.  She travels several times a year to lead International Yoga Retreats to incredible destinations like Havana and Marrakech. 

It was a spectacular week long journey where I was able to photograph Sunrise Beach Yoga sessions for Beth, as well as other members of the retreat, a Fashion and Branding session in Havana, and Mountain top Sunrise Yoga in the rich inland Viñales Valley.  (More posts coming soon, I promise!  But if you need to see more right away, check out my Insta posts from May!)

Mhai Yoga

The retreat center, Mhai Yoga, has two houses to accommodate both small and larger groups and each has its own beautiful pool.  So of course, Beth and I tried them each out!

I cannot recommend Mhai enough.  The center was simple but beautiful.  The food was absolutely amazing – in a country where even procuring basic food staples can be a challenge.  The staff absolutely went above and beyond Every. Single. Day. 

I have quite a few food restrictions and allergies.  So when I travel, I bring along a bag of protein bars and just accept that I will “make do”.  Let me tell you friends.  There was no “making do” on this trip.  Garlic is a really tough one for me – but Mhai Yoga had a separate dish prepared for me each night and I ate like a QUEEN!

But back to the Underwater Yoga…

I am so grateful that I connected with Beth.  Of course going on this trip as her Photographer was an incredible experience.  But going on this trip PERIOD was beyond amazing.  I cannot recommend her trips highly enough.

And watching her move so gracefully in the water was an absolute joy.  One of the things I have discovered in Underwater Photography is that I love working with Yogis, Dancers, and Gymnasts.  They are so confident in how their body moves and understand when to push it and when to let it just flow.  It is quite amazing to watch as I sit at the bottom of the pool!

Women’s Room

Beth’s runs the Women’s Room Studio in Vermont.  It is a women-centered wellness studio focused on fitness, wellness, community and empowerment.  I loved this experience of Underwater Yoga for Beth.  I watched as it fed each of the four pillars of her studio in herself through that experience.  

Fitness

Underwater Yoga is challenging.  Beth handled it like a Queen, but it definitely took some energy!

Wellness

She looked healthier and happier when we finished.  The water has such healing power!

Community

This one was tougher for her.  All of the women from the retreat wanted to watch.  Beth doesn’t like to be the center of the show.  But what came from it wasn’t a show, but a sense of community as everyone enjoyed being a part of the process, watching, learning, gaining.  It truly was Community and it made my heart soar to see it.

Empowerment

Oh so much yes.  Being in the water.  Pushing her body.  Exploring what she was capable of.  Trying something completely out of the box and totally new?  Absolutely empowering – as a retreat leader, as a studio owner, as a yogi, and, most importantly, as a woman.

7 on 7

And even though it is the end of a long holiday weekend where I have had quite a bit of trouble keeping track of what day it is….. I do know that today is the 7th!  And that means it is Blog Circle Day!  The Day where 7 photographers share 7 photos (ish 😉 and we each link to the next.  A chance for you to explore 7 very different styles from around the country and see our adventures in travel, creativity, motherhood, artistry, and business. 

So head to my friend Kris’ Blog to see what she is sharing this month.  She *may* love traveling more than me, or, at least just as much! But before you go, I would love to hear what destination is on your travel bucket list!  Or, maybe, it isn’t a destination, but an experience… like it was for my dear friend Beth!

“What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, What if you fly? Erin Hansen
Do you know how I get my clients to laugh so genuinely? Tell them to splash my camera. Works with all ages! No one can believe it is actually OK to splash my “big” camera!!
FIERCE
In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you. Buddha
Lost in bubbles. Absolutely assured of where she stands.
“Yoga is a dance between control and surrender”

share:

  1. Kris

    July 7th, 2019 at 8:54 am

    I’m so intrigued with this work, Renne. Every shot is a winner. What a joyful trip! (*adds Cuba to bucket list…)

  2. 7 Things I'm obsessed with right now | July Edition | Jen Vazquez Photography | Destination Wedding Photographer

    July 7th, 2019 at 10:18 am

    […] Read below about my friend Renee.  She is an underwater photographer (yes I said underwater!!).  She’s talking this month about underwater yoga! Haha! Super Cool concept but the photos are unbelievable.  Please go check here out here!  […]

  3. jen

    July 7th, 2019 at 10:27 am

    this is (as usual) incredible. Your images make me feel peaceful and relaxed. I just love them!

  4. Cristy Cross

    July 7th, 2019 at 11:57 am

    Absolutely stunning Renee. These are so magical.

  5. Kristina

    July 7th, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    These images are ahhhmazing. I can’t even imagine. doing underwater yoga much less photographing it. Great work! And I’m headed to Prague in August and would love to go to Cuba one day too.

  6. Renee Stengel

    July 8th, 2019 at 7:07 am

    You should come with us in January!! Beth is headed back for another retreat!!

  7. Kristina Rust

    July 7th, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    These images are ahhhmazing. I can’t even imagine. doing underwater yoga much less photographing it. Great work! And I’m headed to Prague in August and would love to go to Cuba one day too.

  8. 7 Things I’m obsessed with right now | August Edition | Jen Vazquez Photography | Destination Wedding Photographer

    August 7th, 2019 at 2:01 am

    […] Read below about my friend Renee.  She is an underwater photographer (yes I said underwater!!).  She’s talking this month about underwater yoga! Haha! Super Cool concept but the photos are unbelievable.  Please go check here out here! […]