In Arcadia

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It’s my little cousin’s first birthday on Monday! And why is this relevant? Well, it leads me to a story about names … and my photography business … and the change you may have noticed on the website header. It’s a bit of a convoluted, round about story … so stick with me here.

After I finished my yoga teacher training almost two years ago, I spent about a year thinking of a name for my yoga & wellness business (I’m qualified as a yoga teacher and Reiki practitioner, as well as being a photographer and historian).

I agonised and thought of things and mulled over appropriate names with things like flow and spirit or Sanskrit names like Prahasya that meant something to me. All the yogic type names I could think of I wrote down and pondered and mulled over. But none really struck the right chord.

A couple did stick with me though, including Samadhi – the last stage of the yogic journey (in Patanjali’s 8-limbed system). The yogi is released from limitations and achieves true yoga or unification. Others have described it as it the height of divine consciousness.

But terms like this are everywhere in the yogic world, and I wanted to try to find something original that also resonated with me. So I started thinking outside the square about other things I’m interested in and my PhD project on nineteenth-century shopping arcades started circling around in my head.

Nineteenth-century writers often wrote about the arcades of both Europe and Australia and described them as Arcadias. One English writer, George Augustus Sala, visited Australia in 1888 and wrote about its cities, including a lengthy description of the arcades in Melbourne and how one could easily image oneself in the heart of Paris or London when visiting them. Entitled ‘In Arcadia’, his travelogue was published over a period of several months as a weekly entries in a number of British and Australian newspapers.

 

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Αρκαδία was a remote and mountainous regions of Ancient Greece that was idealised as a rural paradise in the poetry of Ancient Greece and Rome, and writing and art from the Renaissance through to the nineteenth century. The term Arcadia came to be synonymous with paradise along with the connotations of an idyllic simplicity that was associated with rural country living – a utopia, a Garden of Eden.

So in a sense, the physical embodiment of Samadhi. This word made sense to me then – bringing together my life as a historian, as a yogi and even my photography.

Many photographers talk about this sense of oneness while they are taking photographs. In fact yogis (and even non yogis) who are photographers will use yoga poses and breathing techniques to assist their photography. I’ve been known to bust out a split or a squat or some weird balancing pose to get into the right spot to get the exact shot I want.

And unconsciously, before I even knew about yogic breathwork, I was always using the breathing technique of kumbakha – the holding of breath on the inhale or exhale – when I pressed the shutter, in order to get the camera to be as still as possible. It’s now a key tool when I want to get hand held low light shots particularly.

So I had a name finally! In Arcadia Yoga & Wellness was born! And this all happened in early May a year ago. I mulled over it for a few weeks and towards the end of the month I thought: right, that is the name!

A few days later my gorgeous cousin gave birth to a baby girl … who was given the name Arcadia. Clearly it was meant to be!

 

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Fast forward to this year. So how’s the yoga & wellness business going? Well, let’s just say PhD, a few great job opportunities, and my strong belief in if you teach yoga you need to be fully committed and present, meant that it didn’t happen. But it is certainly a future intent, have no doubt.

Now, I’ve been thinking about changing the name of my photography business for a couple of years. Agrippina Maior – as fantastically historical as she is – is hard to pronounce and spell for a lot of people and it was just always a bit confusing.

But I had the same problem as when I was trying to think of a name for my yoga & wellness business. Nothing ever felt right. And about two weeks ago I again realised the obvious … I already had a name. I do a lot of yoga photography now, the name seemed perfect and I could connect the two later as a brand when the time came to teach yoga.

I’ve been going to change it for a bit on the website and so today seemed like the day – an auspicious day on which a very special little girl celebrated her first birthday party (and it looked like it was awesome – lots of cake, a tent, fairy lights)!

The URL stays the same for the moment till I redo the site itself but for now … Welcome to In Arcadia Photography!

PS The photos aren’t Greece unfortunately but another rural idyll, near Maleny on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland … taken on Arcadia’s parents’ wedding day in 2013

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