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Flying Paschimottanasana

Photo shoot with Jared van Earle in Agonda

Travelling means meeting a lot of interesting people and getting a lot of interesting opportunities. Last Sunday I got one of those: an Acro Yoga photo shoot with Jared van Earle, a very talented Australian photographer and AcroYogi as well.

Sweat is dripping of my face. My hands are slowly getting slippery as well. Rachel Berryman hangs relaxed half a meter above my face. Just balancing on my hands. “Your left foot 2 centimeters higher. Lift your chin a bit more. Bend your right leg 5 centimeters more”, requests Jared. “Two more centimeters. Perfect. Hold it. Hold it a bit longer.”

My muscles start to ache. How longs is a bit? Didn’t he say this a few minutes ago as well? I take one more deep breath. “Perfect, perfect. Just a little longer”, shouts Jared. “Longer? My brain starts to protests. Luckily my arms are more willing.” “That’s it. You can come done” Jared’s words are music to my ears. With a big sigh I safely land Rachel back on the dirty, dusty floor of the old five start hotel in Agonda, India.

Catching the first sun rays

It’s 7.30 in the morning. Location two is almost done. We started about an hour ago. Warming up, before the sun came out. Now we try to move as quick as we can, catching the first sun rays on all the right spots. Well Jared is. I only have to lay down on the floor with my legs high up in the air. He and Rachel do the hard work. Catching the light and holding the poses. As long as I keep my big feet – shoe seize 46 – stable, I’m okay.

I love shooting early morning. As a photographer that is. The light is magical. Especially on the place Jared has picked for this photo shoot. Old, deteriorated walls, arches and stairs without a roof overhead, creating apocalyptic shadows on the dusty, grey and with yellow grass overgrown floors. The five star hotel is spooky, mysterious, romantic and beautiful in one and Jared seems to know precisely at what moment we have to be where.

Moving with the light

With Rachel as a flyer and Jared’s eye for detail life as a base is easy. Moving with the light we work our way through the hotel. Creeping through rooms where our presence wakes up hundreds of bats, who – as revenge –  leave the ceiling and circle around Rachel’s head. We’re stamping on almost dead grass to create the perfect shot to shoot Rachel as a flying bird on top of my hands and we’re climbing on platform like riches, to get into a handstand, parallel to the last remaining pillars of the entrance hall.

Three hours later we leave the hotel, make our way back over a small path through the shrubs, underneath meters high trees and jump on hour scooters back to Agonda. For me and Rachel the photo shoot is done. The only thing we have to do now, is wait for Jared’s photos. They follow 2 days later and have captured precisely the magic we experienced while we were shooting them.

Photo Jared van Aerle


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