Through The Eyes Of Buddha

Through The Eyes Of Buddha


The temperature in the yoga shala was almost unbearable. Soundlessly in slow motion my sweat was rushing down from the heights of practiced asana and dropping to an old worn out matt placed on a plank floor. My muscles trembled violently, seconds seemed long and hard as days. With each breath I thought it will be my last. Then, suddenly it all was over.

In the last pose – Shavasana (corpse pose) I completely surrendered. All was in perfect place, no past nor future, just my breath and my mind in still mode.
And I was born all over again – every of those mornings – by the sound of the ancient mantras sung by yoga master.

When the breath is free, the mind is free; when the breath is allowed to move naturally, the mind settle into itself.” — Krishnamacharya

Through the Eyes of Buddha, the Yogi’s portrait series started in beginning of 2018 in Mexico. After an intense morning exercise combined with meditation, I asked my masters to pose for me. They‘ve just emerged from meditation in Shavasana – their mind and body completely reborn. With mind calmed up by practice, face features softened, their persona was tranquil.

This is what I aimed for. To try to capture that ephemeral moment right before they dive back to the triviality of daily life. I always made three portraits of every Yogi. The first one with the eyes shut as they were looking inside themselves, the second one with eyes open as they were looking forward to their future and the third one – which gave series its name – with „eyes of Buddha“. In this self-invented posture their eyes were slightly shut looking down, observing the moment without any judgment. Just like you can see in many depictions of Buddha.

My very first Idea focused on pure portraiture, depicting yoga practitioners in a pose of Buddha’s eyes (the term doesn’t exist in this sense, but this is how I named it). The first two shoots (closed and open eyes) were initially meant just as preparation for the final stage. Without any explanation the Yogis understood the Buddha Eyes term as we know He always looks down to you smiling without any judgment.
Lately I has been working also with other yoga practitioners, the students not only the masters. This unique experience in safety of local shalas intensifies the perception at the level of all the senses.

Eventually I came up with overlapping portraits with water images. Images made on water surface while swimming and snorkeling, or from under the water, while diving. Those images depicting waves or its after effects were taken during the years and I find them full of the element even though some may be little further from technically good.
Both topics are deeply meditative for me and they connect via the work of breathing. That’s how by association I came up with idea of overlapping – combining these two topics.

There is a special moment of entering the underwater, a thin line of the water surface as a gate to another world. I sometimes wonder if the astronauts feel the same as they are leaving Earth atmosphere to enter the space.

And it only takes just one breath to go under. Actually, to go down – especially when diving, you have to breath out. But once down there, you breath is supposed to be calm, conscious and controlled – something that yoga is teaching you as well. I never feel more free as being under the water. Time stops in vastness of ocean. All that matters is now. Floating through its silent infinity, observing the present in an assuring embrace of water brings me so much tranquility and freedom.

Being here and now.

Katka Pračková
24 May 2020, Mazunte, Oaxaca, Mexico

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