I first began working with Claire Fountain of Trill Yoga in February of 2016, and recently shot her this past August, in Manhattan.
She is an amazing person, a fantastic subject to photograph, and the first yogi that I have ever shot.
Since our first photo shoot, and through a number of conversations, I have learned a great deal about her, myself, yoga, psychology, philosophy, writing, entrepreneurship, and many other subjects that overlap in interesting ways.
Otherwise known as CB Quality, Claire is a writer, and personal trainer that fell in love with yoga in her Mississippi hometown, before ever stepping foot on a mat. As a way to overcome her life’s obstacles, she began a journey of learning and studying anatomy in order to heal her mind, body, and spirit.
As the founder of Trill Yoga, Claire teaches the celebration of the human form and provides an avenue for anybody and any body to learn and utilize the power of yoga.
Once an individual lifestyle, #TrillYoga – through the power of social media – has become a globally recognized movement by consumers and brands, such as Nike, the National Basketball Association, Wellness Now, and many others.
Claire’s philosophy of fusing practice and lifestyle allows participants to workout or meditate in an unconventional space, listen to any genre of music they connect to, and to incorporate their sense of style in what they wear.
Yoga is an ancient physical, psychological, and spiritual practice, that was first developed in India, and which has become popularized and commoditized in the west, since the 20th century. The practice is synonymous with samādhi, which basically means concentration (in sanskrit), according to many scholars, and most notably within Sage Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutras”.
With that said, between the ceaseless chaos of New York City, wherein Claire resides, and the innumerable personal and professional challenges that she has faced over the course of her life, I was, and still am impressed by her capacities to concentrate on radical self-acceptance, self care, equanimity, and her Trill Yoga practice.
We now live in a time that is profoundly more complicated, stressful, and distracting than any other point in human history, we attempt to navigate a myriad of complex nuances on a daily-basis, and I believe that yoga is needed now more than ever before.
Those of us that live in metropolitans are bombarded by consumerist and capitalist messages that tell us that we are not enough, that we don’t have enough, and that every second must be measured and maximized. Worst of all, we are taught that our esteem lies in the hands of others, and that love, assurance, and safety can be manufactured and bought.
Such ideologies, and a lack of genuinely practical knowledge have contributed to a mental health epidemic unlike any other. And consequently, the physical health of humanity has suffered as well.
Paradoxically, many individuals and organizations that promote yoga contribute to the relentless, and toxic consumerist propaganda that permeates the minds and souls of the typical city-dweller. Because of this, Trill Yoga can be thought of as an act of political warfare that deviates from the status quo of the western world, and the status quo of North America’s multi-billion dollar yoga industry.
Among other things, Claire’s brand is a philosophy, tool, and platform that promotes the understanding and transcendence of the lack, shame, and conformity that many of us endure each and every day. Thus, Trill Yoga’s practitioners feel at ease within themselves and with the circumstances of their lives, through simple principles that were derived from yoga’s antiquated origins, and applied in urban environments.
In a recent interview with New York’s CAP Beauty, Claire describes her philosophies on health and wellness by stating that “everything just needs to be simple. I think we get overwhelmed with information nowadays and try to do too much when it’s really not complicated. I know that sounds easier said than done, but I see this obsessive way we look at health and wellness now, and it ends up backfiring. Yes, we live in an age where it’s easier to be unhealthy, and industrialized food is quick and inexpensive, but we also are drowning in “healthy” information that isn’t always right, accessible, or without an agenda.”
Further establishing her stance on health and wellness, Claire has stated through her blog, that the habits we adopt are just as important as the habits that we relinquish. As such, and according to Trill Yoga, “letting go of comparison, ultimatums in thought, unhealthy relationships, and negative environments” should also be considered, in addition to a healthy diet and exercise.
And so, if you are on a path of introspection, if you feel that you are in need of fundamental changes to your physical or psychological health, if you suffer from childhood traumas or recent traumas, or if you have been immobilized by guilt, shame, body image issues, or self-condemnation, be sure to check out Claire’s Trill Yoga website, and follow her on Instagram.
In the meantime, more of my portraits of her can be viewed below, in addition to a promotional Trill Yoga video by Will Talamelli Films, and a candid video shot by Claire, which focuses on her journey, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.