Yogis in the Faroe Islands
Syðradalur, Stremoy - Faroe Islands
When researching my trip to the Faroe Islands, I was struck by the majesty of the landscape. Over the years, I have shifted away from photographing empty landscapes to purposely adding people or humanizing elements. I find that photographing places in this way not only gives us a sense of scale which increases the appreciation of just how impressive the landscape, but it also helps with perpetuating the fantasy that I like to convey to the viewer - that they could be in that scene themselves. The Faroe Islands is truly an oasis of serenity and what better way to illustrate that sense of peace than showing people practicing yoga against the incredible backdrops that the islands have to offer.
Enter Annika, Heibrith, Lív, and Sóleyð. With no traditional casting agencies to be had, I had to use the power of the internet and Facebook to find yogis. My search parameters were simple, anyone with a yoga-esque profile picture who lived in the Faroe Islands was getting sent a message, not exactly scientific, and for a while I received no responses, which had me scrapping the idea until Annika replied. It was through her that I was able to arrange a morning to spend with these lovely ladies.
Heibrith - has been practicing yoga for 6 years and started teaching since 2014. She teaches and practices in her spare time. In 2015 she was part of a retreat in Guesthouse Gjáargarður that she ran with her sister who lives in Denmark. It was a success and in 2017 approximately 10 attendees from Denmark will be joining the retreat. I asked Heibrith what her favourite thing about living here was and her answer was simple "The Faroe Islands is a great place to live and raise a family. The Faroe Islands is spectacular in so many ways. The nature, the landscapes, the fresh air and the friendly people is something you can´t take for granted. You can walk safely on the streets – Kids can play freely outside without any adults and you just feel safe here.”
Annika - has been practicing yoga for the past 20 years, 8 years daily, and travelled to India to receive her teachers accreditation in 2013. She worked as a journalist in the past but left that career when she found "the constant focus on negative issues, and not being doing anything about them” was not how she wanted to live her life. "Now, with yoga I am focusing on the positive, spreading the joy, teaching people to make better lives for themselves.” When she isn’t busy teaching yoga Annika is an "an active member in the Faroese Environmental and Natural Society (an NGO called FNU, Føroya Náttúru og Umhvørvisfelag) we work to preserve and maintain nature.
Sóleyð - has been teaching and practicing yoga for 16 years. She is also a kindergarten teacher and mother to two lovely daughters. She notes that there is a growing interest in yoga in the islands, "more people are practicing yoga and now there are several yoga teachers teaching different types of yoga”. Like Heibrith, the best part about living in the Faroe Islands for Sóleyð is the proximity to nature and just how safe and carefree it is to live here.
Lív - has been practicing yoga for 6 years, and teaching for 2 and a half. Lívhas a background as a care worker for disabled adults and children, but is now an aspiring artist. One of her favourite things about calling the Faroe Islands home is its proximity to the sea. “ I love and that you can see from almost every where around you.”