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Posts Tagged ‘tattoo’

If you aren’t familiar with Bollywood films, you might not immediately recognize Esha Deol.  But if you’ve seen such films as Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe, which was the unofficial Hindi remake of Sleeping with the Enemy, you know this face.  And gracing the shoulders of this Bollywood beauty are two yoga-inspired tattoos.  Check them out:

As you can see, Esha has an “om” tattooed inside of a sun on one shoulder and the Gayatri mantra tattooed on the other shoulder.  The Gayatri mantra is a highly revered mantra found in many sacred Hindu texts, including the Bhagavad Gita.  Swami Vivekenanda has translated the Gayatri mantra as meaning: “We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds.”

Esha, who’s name is rooted in sanskrit and apparently derived from the Upanishads and means “the divine beloved”, is the daughter of two Bollywood actors. In fact, Esha’s mother is a devout yoga practitioner, and Esha, a self-proclaimed “yoga freak” was profiled in a Yogadork blog post in 2009.

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This week’s edition of Yoga Tattuesday comes from sunny San Diego, California, and appears on the foot of yogini Lindsey Anne Johnson.  Here’s a picture of Lindsey’s tattoo:

Lindsey’s tattoo, which appears on her left foot, is the word “prana” written in sanskrit.  As many of you yogis and yoginis know, the word “prana” is sanskrit for “vital life”, but it is an unbelievably dense and complex concept.  Essentially, the notion of “prana” stands for the idea that that there is a vital, life-sustaining force or energy contained within all beings.  It is a central concept in yogic and ayurvedic traditions (and is similar to the Chinese notion of Qi) where prana is believed to be contained in the breath, the blood, and other bodily secretions.  Oh yes!  In fact, in yoga, the breath is seen as a gateway to the world of prana and so the practice of pranayama (or simply, yogic breathing exercises) is a practice in which the control of prana is achieved by controlling one’s breath.

Lindsey says that she got her tattoo after her mom passed away.  And while the tattoo was born out of grief, it has encouraged Lindsey to keep going.  In fact, as Lindsey says, getting the tattoo was a simple reminder of one thing:  to breathe.

Lindsey has been practicing yoga since her first class 13 years ago.  She is currently a freelance writer and social media consultant.  You can check out her websitelindseyannejohnson.com.  While this tattoo is her first tattoo, she says she’s contemplating another one.  We’d love to see it when you get it, Lindsey!

Until then, thanks for sharing your story and your tattoo with us!

If you, or someone you love, has a yoga-inspired tattoo and would like to share it here, please complete the contact form on my Yoga Tattuesday Submissions page.  I look forward to seeing your yoga-inspired tattoos!

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This week’s edition of Yoga Tattuesday comes all the way from Ireland!  That’s right, inked-up yogi and fellow Elephant Journal columnist, Tobye Hillier, was kind enough to share his yoga-inspired tattoo with us this week.  Here it is:

About his tattoo, Tobye says:

The tattoo was a long time coming! I always wanted a tattoo, but knew that it would have to mean something to me and would have to be something I’d be happy to have on me for all my life.  It’s called the “endless love knot” taken from the Buddhist endless knot “shrivatsa” which symbolises Samsara, the endless cycle of re-birth and death. In the tattoo, part of the knot is left out to create the shape of four hearts knotted together and for me it kinda symbolizes my love of yoga and the realisation that love binds us all together. Although Buddhist in origin, it has a celtic feel which sits well with me living in Ireland.  Have to give a heads up to Pat Fish at lucky fish art as I think the design was originally hers, although I have no clue how I came across it!

About his yoga practice, Tobye says:

I started practising in early 2006. Coming from an interest in Buddhism and wanting to exercise my brain as well as my body, as well as wanting a hobby, I decided to try yoga. I loved it so much that 6 months later I started teacher training in Karuna yoga, which is a style very much like Anusara.

Although he has been living in Ireland (a small seaside town call Greystones 20 miles south of Dublin, to be exact) for 16 years, Tobye is originally from England.  He is currently a full-time student studying print journalism, however, he teaches Karuna yoga and runs a yoga studio in Kilcoole, county Wicklow.  Of teaching yoga, Tobye  “likes to bend yoga to suit people and not the other way around.”  As I mentioned above, Tobye is a columnist for Elephant Journal.  You can read his EJ posts here, and visit his personal website here.

Thanks for sharing your tattoo with us, Tobye!

If you, or someone you love, has a yoga-inspired tattoo and would like to share it with the whole wide world, please complete the contact form on my Yoga Tattuesday Submissions page.  I look forward to seeing your yoga-inspired tattoos!

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This week’s edition of Yoga Tattuesday comes from “Svasti”, an Australian yogini, yoga teacher, and blogger. Several years ago, Svasti was in Thailand on a yoga retreat, and after the retreat headed to the outskirts of Bangkok to receive a traditional Thai tattoo. Here’s a photo of Svasti’s tattoo:

Traditional Thai tattoos are also called Sak Yants, and many believe that these tattoos have incredibly protective powers. You can read more about the art of the Sak Yant in a November 2007 story for National Public Radio (NPR) by Scott Carney.

Here’s what Svasti said about her decision to get her tattoo, and her experience:

My tattoo was done by well-known Thai tattooist Ajarn Tong (“Ajarn” meaning master). These tattoos are not just for looks: they come with a mantra that must be repeated three times a day. The Ajarn himself comes from a long line of tattoo masters, and photos of previous masters as well as various gods and goddesses adorn his altar. The giving AND the recieving of this kind of tattoo is a spiritual practice, and those who choose to be tattooed are mostly sadhakas – spiritual seekers.

In fact, Ajarn Tong does his tattooing work in some kind of spiritual trance. Before he begins, much puja (ceremony) happens, and those coming to be tattooed are asked to pray and make offerings. Then, Ajarn takes snuff and settles into his trance. If you’ve never experienced a trance state or seen someone in a trance, this can be quite confronting. He appeared to be in two worlds, as though he was channeling.

That said, I was also of two worlds that day, having just come out of a four week retreat. I was very sensitive to the extrodinary amount of energy generated in the room and found the entire experience of being tattooed in that small, humid and dusty altar room to be incredibly uplifting.

Having this tattoo in the middle of my back means I don’t often see it, but I do feel it. Once the tattoo was finished, Ajarn Tong then does a form of energy work that empowers the tattoo, and let me tell you that over two years later it still has a zing to it!

You can read her more about her incredible experience getting the tattoo in a post she wrote for her blog.  It is an amazing story.

Thank you, Svasti, for sharing your experience with us!

If you, or someone you love, has a yoga-inspired tattoo and would like to share it with the whole wide world, please follow the instructions below:

How to participate:

1) Please email me photo of your tattoo: My email address is: yogabird03@gmail.com.

2) Along with the photo, please also include your name, where you’re from, what you do, etc. Be sure to include your blog, your website, etc. (if you have one), so that I can link to it in the post.

3) Please also include any information about how you started practicing yoga.

4) And most importantly, tell me why you chose your yoga-inspired tattoo!

I look forward to hearing from you and to seeing your ink!

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For this Yoga Tattuesday, I bring to you the tattoo of Sarah Kohl of Columbia, Missouri:  Here’s a neat photo of Sarah and her ink:

And here’s a full photo of her tattoo, which appears on the inside of her left forearm:

Sarah’s tattoo reads: “Om Namah Shivaya”, which is a mantra you’ve probably heard in yoga class. Here’s why Sarah said she was drawn to this particular mantra:

Om Namah Shivaya has been my mantra for quite some time.  The sound of all 7 chakras in alignment giving us courage to honor all that we are capable of becoming is such a beautiful thing – it speaks to my soul!  I knew that I wanted it on my body for the rest of my life.  I chose to put it on the inside of my forearm so that I see it when I reach for something.  It reminds me to make good choices.  It reminds me to reach out to others.  It reminds me to reach for what I believe, to grab life with gusto, to be all that I am capable of being.  I see it when my heart is leading my head in arm balances and inversions, when I’m destroying obstacles in Virabhadrasana 2, and other asanas, but I always see it when I’m finding myself being totally present on and off the mat.

Sarah currently lives in Colombia, Missouri, where she is a yoga teacher and manager of Yoga Sol.  She also writes a yoga blog called Sarahsana, which I love.  Sarah’s yoga story is also pretty awesome:

I’ve been doing yoga off and on for nearly half of my life.  I remember being a tiny little girl, 3 or so, and turning on PBS to watch Sesame Street. I almost always turned it on a little too early, so I watched the last few minutes of Lilias Yoga and was amazed.  I wasn’t sure what she was doing, but I loved it and I wanted some of it.  It took me until I was about 19, however, to ever give it a go.  I had entered college and got caught up in the workout craze, but honestly, I wasn’t crazy about it.  I needed something that strengthened me from the inside out, that empowered me, that encouraged and enriched me, that built a spiritual skeleton, not just a muscular one.  At 19 years old, I started my yoga journey.  I found hope, peace, inspiration, healing, love, joy, courage, curiosity, spirit, connection, prana, breath, and life on the mat and haven’t looked back.  It’s been a 15 year love affair and I fall more deeply in love every day.

Thanks for sharing your tattoo with us, Sarah! And for sharing your beautiful yoga story!

If you, or someone you love, has a yoga-inspired tattoo and would like to share it with the whole wide world, please follow the instructions below:

How to participate:

1) Please email me photo of your tattoo: My email address is: yogabird03@gmail.com.

2) Along with the photo, please also include your name, where you’re from, what you do, etc. Be sure to include your blog, your website, etc. (if you have one), so that I can link to it in the post.

3) Please also include any information about how you started practicing yoga.

4) And most importantly, tell me why you chose your yoga-inspired tattoo!

I look forward to hearing from you and to seeing your ink!

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For Yoga Tattuesday: U.S. Election Day Edition, I present to you neither a politician nor an American.  Instead, a Canadian yogi-slash-politica-researcher and inked-up mother of two named Stephanie Renaud.  Here’s Stephanie’s tattoo:

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Renaud

As you can see, Stephanie’s tattoo is the “Om” symbol and it is located on her back over her heart chakra. While I have seen “Om” tattoos on many a yogi, I have never seen one quite like Stephanie’s.  Hers is drawn in green vines and accented with different flowers…how neat! She chose the symbol done in vines “because yoga is part of [her] roots.”   She explains, “It is what keeps me stable and strong in an unstable and crazy world.  The flowers are symbolic of things that have grown out of those roots, like my husband and children. I am planning to have a string of pearls woven through the vine to symbolize my grandmother who passed and the grand footprint that she left on my life.”

Stephanie is from Windsor, Ontario Canada, and came to yoga as many of us did – for its physical benefits – and found much more. Not only is she raising her two small children, but she works from home as a political researcher and teaches yoga to young children. Stephanie says, “I find so much strength and balance on my mat that I can carry into the world with me. As a working mom I often tell people I practice yoga because it makes me strong in my body, my mind and my heart.  Who couldn’t use a practice that does that?!”

In discussing this post for Yoga Tattuesday, I found Stephanie to be just as lovely as her tattoo. In addition to working, yoga-ing, teaching, and being a mom, Stephanie has a blog that she updates when she can called D”om”estic Bliss that you can read at: ompage-yogajunkie.blogspot.com. Thanks to Stephanie for sharing her story and her tattoo with us!

If you, or someone you love, has a yoga-inspired tattoo that they would like to share on this here little yoga blog, let me know.

How to participate:

1) Please email me photo of your tattoo: My email address is: yogabird03@gmail.com.

2) Along with the photo, please also include your name, where you’re from, what you do, etc. Be sure to include your blog, your website, etc., so that I can link to it in the post.

3) Please also include any information about how you started practicing yoga.

4) And most importantly, tell me why you chose your yoga-inspired tattoo!

I look forward to hearing from you and to seeing your ink!”

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Due to the overwhelming success of our inaugural Yoga Tattuesday post, featuring the lovely Angela McWilliams and her beautiful tattoo, we are on to episode 2!

This week, we are featuring just one of the tattoos found on Ashley Davis-Hedy, a yogi from Oklahoma who has been practicing yoga since 2003. Ashley’s tattoo story is very touching. She and her husband went together to get tattoos when he was home for R and R while serving a 15-month tour in Iraq.  Ashley chose the lotus flower because she had started to really grow and develop as a yogi. She had recently started a yoga teacher training program and her personal practice was blossoming.  She chose the root chakra above the flower to help keep her grounded and calm while her husband was away fighting in the Iraq war.

Ashley came to yoga to heal from a traumatic experience.  She found a local yoga class at the YMCA and fell in love with it.  Ashley is a registered yoga teacher who sells radio by day, but teaches yoga on the Fort Sill Army Base and will start teaching a community class at a local tattoo studio in November. In August of 2010 she started a 300-hour training program with Cora Wen through the MyCAA program. No doubt she is providing the same relief and healing to others in her teaching that she has experienced in her own practice.

On another note, Ashley’s husband has since returned from Iraq safe and sound. Thanks to Ashley for her service in sharing yoga with the military community.  And thanks to her husband for his service to our country.

In addition to her day job, and teaching yoga, Ashley has a yoga-inspired blog that you can read at: keepcalmyoga.com.  You can also find her on twitter @ashdyogi. Thanks for sharing your story, Ashley!

If you, or someone you love, has a yoga-inspired tattoo that they would like to share on this here little yoga blog, let me know.  

How to participate:

1) Please email me photo of your tattoo: My email address is: yogabird03@gmail.com.

2) Along with the photo, please also include your name, where you’re from, what you do, etc. Be sure to include your blog, your website, etc., so that I can link to it in the post.

3) Please also include any information about how you started practicing yoga.

4) And most importantly, tell me why you chose your yoga-inspired tattoo!


I look forward to hearing from you and to seeing your ink!

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