Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On Getting Tattooed

Photo above by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography. Photo below by T. Libertiny.

Hey yogis! Do you have tattoos? I'm a big fan of wearing my art on my sleeve. :)

All of my tattoos have very specific meaning and represent important moments in my life. Recently I completed a sleeve on my left arm by the beautiful and talented Jen Leonardi of Leonardi Tattoo.

The majority of the artwork is based around mandalas, sacred geometry, and lotus flowers. All of these evoke notions of peace and harmony. I love that at a distance, the sleeve is bold, beautiful, and colorful…and when you look up close, you can also see an incredible amount of intricate detail behind the tattoos.

As for the flowers, I’ve always loved the phrase no mud, no lotus – it speaks to the idea that all of the suffering we experience in life is what creates our strength; without the darkness, we cannot have the light and beauty. In that way, the lotus flower represents both beauty and courage to me. And I’ve incorporated all of the colors of the chakras in there as well. 

The piece on my shoulder is inspired by the beautiful state of California, my home. :) I love the imagery of nature, the vibrant colors, and the way the design fits with the shape of my shoulder.

Around the inside of my upper arm, I also have the flower of life pattern.

Photo by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

On my back is the Sri Yantra symbol, with its interlocking triangles surrounding and radiating outward from a single point. It is said to represent the balance between yin and yang, between male and female, Shiva and Shakti.

For me, it is a reminder to find balance in all things, and to remain mindful and aware.

I also have a tattoo of one of my favorite mantras, om namah shivaya, on my right ankle. I got this one at a time when I wanted a clear path in my life, and vibrating the mantra has helped me overcome obstacles. 

Often I will sing om namah shivaya throughout my day. It is a calling out to Shiva, the Destroyer, the one who takes the status quo and turns it upside down :) This tattoo reminds me to live in the moment, not becoming attached to any one situation.

I like that I can see the tattoo while I practice yoga, and that it points to my feet, which take me on my journey. (Credit goes to Mike Dalton at Chicago Tattooing and Piercing).

I also have a tree branch inside an imperfect circle on my inner forearm, one of my first tattoos on my arm. This one has various and very personal memories associated with it. 

The artwork represents moving through pain, acceptance of self, and living in a natural way that's in tune with the earth. In many ways, it's a reminder to myself to live peacefully regardless of the crazy experiences I have, or the chaos that others may bring close to me. 

It's also a testament to children of divorced parents, victims of abuse, and broken families; you are stronger than you know and my heart goes out to you. (Credit goes to Zach Stuka of Deluxe Tattoo in Chicago)

I got one of my tattoos in upstate New York, a lotus flower on the upper right thigh. This lotus represents beauty, grace, and restraint. To me, it's a reminder to be patient and to place value on serenity and purity over instant gratification. (Credit goes to Emel at Ink Inc.)

One of the early tattoos in my sleeve is an infinity sign. It represents my desire to keep creating art throughout my life and never to give up on artistic pursuits. (Credit goes to Jason from Chroma Tattoo in West Bloomfield, MI.)

Photo by Brynna Bryant of Respiro Photography.

So, that's my ink... so far :) I think next I want to do the tops of my feet...

Do you have any tattoos?

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