We all know the person — the yogi who always shows up to class in the trendiest athleisure and somehow manages to rock every position without breaking a sweat.
Jonah Sargent, a photographer from Minnesota, is trying to debunk the notion that yoga is all about looking good. He photographed 60 people practicing Bikram yoga for his most recent project, Faces of Yoga. The results are anything but zen — they're uncomfortable, sweaty portrayals of what it really looks like to shift into the inversion or hold that warrior pose.
"I feel like Faces of Yoga is both simply comedic and a critique of our obsession to look good,” Sargent told Mashable.
Sargent, a yogi himself, had grown disheartened to see more and more people in his classes buying expensive yoga clothes and checking themselves out in the studio mirrors. He thought there was something inherently wrong with such blatant "glamorization of this ancient discipline," and he wanted to start a project to remind the masses that yoga doesn't have to be aspirational.
"I’m not a die hard yogi or a purist or anything like that but I do think it's strange how many people tie their practice's success to how many 'likes' they get on social media," he said.
He's planning on turning 40-60 of his favorite shots into a coffee table book that people can order in time for the holidays. You can check out his kickstarter campaign to donate money to cover the production costs and request a copy of Faces of Yoga to stuff into the stocking of your favorite yogi or yogi-in-training.
"This series is a reminder that we all look horrible when we do yoga. So we should just immerse ourselves in it and forget the rest," he says in the campaign video.
Take a queue from Sargent and the brave yogis he photographed and embrace the sweat and facial contortion that comes with your next downward dog.