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Slideshow: Yoga Photographer Robert Sturman Celebrates Earth Day Around the World

In this stunning gallery of photos by Robert Sturman, the acclaimed yoga photographer captures yogis practicing in their natural element in honor of Earth Day. "As an artist, I often think of Rumi’s words, 'I can’t stop pointing to the beauty.’ That feels right to me,'" he says. In the following slideshow, Sturman asks yogis—both renowned teachers and "regular" practitioners—what the Earth means to them in their practice and their lives.

Liz Arch, teacher at Yoga Salt and Yogaraj in Los Angeles

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Location: Kailua, Hawaii 

“I was born and raised in Hawaii, and we have a saying there that reflects our values—Malama Ka ‘Aina, which means ‘respect the land.’ I can think of no greater honor than holding the sacred duty of being stewards of this beautiful land.”

See also 3 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Lieutenant Commander Elizabeth Corwin, teaches Walkabout Yoga retreats throughout Europe and leads teacher trainings in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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Location: Asheville, North Carolina

“Barefoot, feral, undomesticated, free … society tries to tame us, but nature simply laughs and reminds us the wild in and around us will always win.”

See also Relieve Stress with Laughter Yoga

Tracee Stanley, yoga teacher

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Location: Topanga Canyon, Southern California

“Being in a prana-fied environment is important for both my life and my practice. Connection with the elements both inside of and outside of me deepens my understanding of the universe inside of me. Nature is my healer. It is where I recharge. It is where I get inspired. It is where I connect. It is where I remember who I am. “

See also Practice Ahimsa on Earth Day For Greater Connection

Kelly Alomba, yoga teacher with Africa Yoga Project at Banana House and Wellness Center in Lamu, Kenya.

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Location: Lamu Island, Kenya

Quoting Franklin D. Roosevelt: “A nation that destroys its soil destroys its soul.”

See also 7 Expert Tips for Shooting Amazing Yoga Photos Anywhere

Deepika Mehta, yoga teacher

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Location: Goa, India

“Nature to me is my biggest inspiration and connection. I constantly feel nourished by her and feel a sense of wonderment at the magic of Nature. The more I connect to her, the more I feel the presence of God. “

See also Understanding the Mind-Body Connection

Tommy Valencia, yoga teacher

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Location: Malibu, California 

“My love and affection for nature was born out of camping and hiking adventures to the Continental Divide in Colorado over summers as a teenager. The smell of pine needles and beautiful Columbine flowers in fields that would lead to streams of melted snow. These memories have been delicately imprinted on the youth of my soul, and reflections of nature brighten the darkest storm clouds I’ve witnessed over the desert.”

See also 5 Ways Yogis Can Take Action on Earth Day

Tao Porchon-Lynch, 99-year-old yoga teacher

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Location: Tarrytown, New York

“I watch the beauty of nature. It is telling me that even the trees get more beautiful as they age.”

See also The World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher: Her Secrets to a Long, Active, Happy Life

Alissa Trepman, yoga teacher at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire

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Location: Spot Pond, Stoneham, Massachusetts

In nature, “I’m free to arrive as myself, however I need to be. Nature doesn’t judge, hate, guilt, condescend—nature takes you as you are—raw, open, true—and it says: ‘It’s safe, come here, find me, express you.'”

See also YJ Gratitude Challenge: 6 Things on Robert Sturman’s List

Billy Sadia, yoga teacher in Nairobi, Kenya

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Location: Lamu Island, Kenya 

“There is a reason the Earth is where we live. It perfectly fits our nature. Each time I practice outside, with my naked feet grounding into the earth, the whole sky becomes a canvas I can explore, any way I can. “

See also Inspiration Flipbook: 21 Yoga Photos To Get You On Your Mat

CeeCee Mondowney, yoga teacher

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Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida 

“As a forever yoga student and current teacher here in Tampa, Florida, I have multiple connections to this lovely planet and home we call Earth, but my strongest connection is to our beautiful ocean and sky. Full of unimaginable beauty, wonders, chaos, and calmness. A flow of untamed, raw energy that is endless.” 

See also The Ultimate Guide to Energy Healing

Rod Stryker, yoga teacher

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Location: Great Sierra Nevada Mountain Range

“Nature, who exists both within and all around me, is my constant and patient guide. She waits for me as I turn to Her daily and drink from Her fountain of nurturance, wisdom, peace, resilience, and beauty. She is life, the way, the only way.”

See also Tap the Power of Tantra: A Sequence for Self-Trust with Rod Stryker

Noelle Beaugureau, yoga teacher in Los Angeles

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Location: Matador Beach in Malibu, California

“Nature always has a magical way of guiding me back to a place of peace, serenity, and connection to the infinite.”

See also How Bodywork Can Transform Your Yoga Practice

Danielle Brown, SUP yoga teacher for ThumbSUP Yoga in Darien, Connecticut

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Location: The Atlantic coast in Connecticut

“At sea, one with the breeze, the paddleboard sways like a cradle as if to say, ‘I’ve got you.’ Rest assured there is just this tide and then another, a playscape to travel along on the surface of, or a deep end connection to drop into.”

See also 10 SUP Yoga Poses for Beginners

Cami Cote, teacher at River City Yoga and Healing Arts in Missoula, Montana

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Location: The hills of southern California

“When I step outside, I feel a wonderful bond and at one with the Earth. Now more than ever, I believe that it is imperative that we see the deep connection between ourselves and our home, and that we take action to build a healthier relationship with it.”

See also How to Find Deeper Access to Joy: Start with a Peaceful Mind

Jennifer Clarke, yoga teacher

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Location: Kailua, Hawaii 

“When I take time to allow all my senses to observe the ocean, the wind, the sand, and the earth, that is when I feel the most at ease, humble, grateful, and in tune to the connection that unites us all.”

See also Gravity-Defying Earth Day Flow

Chloe Gelber, yoga practitioner

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Location: Glen Ellyn, Illinois

“Nature is filled with beauty and it reminds me of how amazing life can be. I am grateful to be able to still enjoy its beauty after fighting off cancer. Warrior Pose is my favorite.”

See also Watch + Learn: Warrior I Pose

Alan Finger, teacher at ISHTA Yoga

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Location: Kripalu in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

“Mother Nature, Shakti, is the force that manifests everything on our planet; being in nature is experiencing her art. When Shakti is not trapped in one’s beliefs, or Avidya, we humans are able to see Shakti as nature in all things—manmade or not. Light and love in all things.”

See also Alan Finger on How He Didn’t Choose Yoga, Yoga Chose Him

Ashley Turner, yoga-meditation teacher, licensed psychotherapist

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Location: Venice Beach, California

“Nature is my ultimate teacher and greatest therapy. Returning to the natural world is as simple as returning to the breath—a reminder that we are all cogs in the larger wheel of life. We are infinitely supported and needed. Just like every flower is entirely unique, trust your own particular brand of magic!”

See also How to Live an Enriching Life with Ashley Turner

Brianna Renner, yoga teacher

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Location: Cold Spring, New York 

“Before yoga found me, I found peace in nature. Whenever I was on deployment (as an avionics technician) or far from home, I would find comfort in knowing my family was breathing the same air, under the same stars and sun, and as long as that were true, we were never far apart.”

See also 5 Nature Yoga Photos to Get You Outside

Eric Paskel, owner of Electric Soul Yoga in Studio City, Los Angeles

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Location: Ventura, California 

“It should come as no surprise that many of us, including myself, feel our best when any of our senses are treated by the exposure of nature’s majesty. It’s a reminder that we share the same architect/Creator with an infinite amount of other creatures and creations. Not to mention there is no better teacher than nature herself.”

See also A 50-Minute Energy-Boosting Yoga Playlist

Mark Whitwell, yoga teacher

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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico

“When you look at the beauty of Mother Earth, it is the beauty that perceives beauty. You are THE beauty along with everything else in the natural world … and I don’t mean “you are beautiful” like, put you on the cover of Vogue magazine. I don’t mean that insidious, contrived beauty that makes everyone miserable to compare themselves with. No! I mean you are THE beauty of Mother Nature. You are the wild in the wild! When you do your yoga, you embrace the wild and you know your beauty. You cannot capture the beauty. The mind is too slow. You don’t have to because you are the beauty. You can embrace that reality in and as yourself in your intrinsic harmony with everything else in the cosmos. With air, with light, with the green realm, with water, and with the male-female inherent union, which is the nurturing power of this cosmos that brings everything forth. Happy Earth Day, everyone!”

See also 6 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day (and Make a Positive Impact)

MC YOGI, teacher at Point Reyes Yoga in Northern California

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Location: Whistler, B.C., Canada

“The earth is wise. She is a living, breathing, intelligent being. She is a Guru. When we practice yoga and meditation in nature, we are closer to the source of life. It’s easier to root down, connect, and we are more likely to experience the underlying truth that everything is interconnected, everything is Divine.”

See also How MC Yogi Pays it Forward

Melanie Caines, teacher at Nova Yoga in St. John’s, Newfoundland

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Location: Charleston, South Carolina 

“I live on a rocky island in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean, which I can see from my bedroom window. The presence of water reminds me that I can be powerful, but soft, and that life works best when I go with the flow.

See also The Connection Between Nature’s Five Elements and Yoga

Aimée Tañón, yoga teacher

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Location: Tulip fields outside of Amsterdam

“After leading classes at a magical retreat in the Cyclades islands in Greece, it reassured me that ENERGY transforms energy. The beauty of nature lies in its ability to bring unlimited love and inspiration to every living being everywhere, near and far. When we let go and trust in nature, we realize it will always guide us home. Mother Nature leads a beautiful symphony.”

See also The Yoga Practices You Need to Get in Touch with Your Feelings

James Fox, founder of the Prison Yoga Project

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Location: Sedona, Arizona 

“Nature for me is the great equalizer. It allows me to replenish myself from the hours, days, weeks, and months I put into my work in prisons.

See also Escaping Prison: Freedom Through Yoga at San Quentin

Megan Marie, yoga teacher at Exhale in Stamford, Connecticut

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Location: Danbury, Connecticut

“I try to spend time every day in nature, through all of her cycles and storms, her heat, her cold, and her astonishing explosions of beauty. My daily walks are walks of reverence and meditation, a reminder that we are a speck of energy contributing to something great and whole.

See also Everything You Need to Know About Meditation Posture

Teddi Dean Bennett, yoga teacher in Todos Santos, Mexico.

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Location: Todos Santos, Mexico 

“The earth is always holding us, providing everything we need to sustain ourselves while we are here. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. The earth does this naturally, never asking for anything in return.”

See also Video: Get Down to Earth to Let Go

Malissa Brennan, teacher at Majestic Yoga Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Wonder Yoga in Arlington, Massachusetts

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Location: Boston’s Public Garden

“To me, the natural world never fails to shift my perspective back into focus—there is nothing more profound than drinking in that extraordinary harmony between power and beauty. Nature is our most striking reminder of both the impermanence of the human body and the transcendence of the human spirit. ” 

See also 5 Pillars of Finding a True Love Connection

Santos, Ranchero (and yoga practitioner) at Rancho Pescadero in Todos Santos, Mexico

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Location: Rancho Pescadero 

“For me, getting on a horse, it is like for others to do yoga, I just relax. And going to the Ranchos in the Sierra de la Laguna, it makes me remove all the bad things away. I love going to the top of the mountains, and [I] just breathe and feel very relaxed and hear the silence and the air.”

See also A Simple Way to Relax: Yoga Nidra

Teresa Egea, Botanist at Rancho Pescadero in Todos Santos, Mexico (and yoga practitioner)

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Location: Todos Santos, Mexico

“To my understanding, beauty is the result of a harmonious relationship between human beings and the Earth. It is a feeling of peace and a sense of care. Gardening brings you the happiness of taking care of the Earth in a synergistic way. In an over-connected world, it is so illuminating and healthy to feel disconnected from any electronic source and just be in contact with the Earth, the sun, and the plants, practicing spontaneous mindfulness, and taking care of the planet. Being surrounded by butterflies, birds, flowers, bright edible plants, the sounds of the water and the wind, it makes you feel part of the simple and rich beauty of nature. It makes you feel more free and closer to your wildness. Cultivating a garden for me is a perfect way to cultivate beauty, awareness, and kindness, balancing the elements to reflect the harmony of the cosmos, which begins by taking care of ourself … the Earth.”

See also 10 Body Mudras to Celebrate Earth Day with Shiva Rea

See also Stoke Your Spirit: 26 Images to Inspire Growth from Robert Sturman

About Our Pro

A dedicated yoga practitioner, photographer Robert Sturman has increasingly focused on capturing the timeless grace and embodied mindfulness of asana in his work. His portraits, whether set in the lively streets of Manhattan, the expansive beaches and canyons of Malibu, the timeless elegance of Walden’s New England, or the bleakness of Marin County’s San Quentin Prison, remind us that there is beauty everywhere. Sturman’s honors include Official Artist of the 47th Annual Grammy Awards, 2010 FIFA World Cup Artist Representing America, and Official Artist 2007 United States Olympics. In 2012 and 2013, Sturman was the subject of two separate New York Times articles celebrating his photographs of yoga from around the world. Sturman is also the host of the Asana Society Podcast—remarkable stories celebrating the all-inclusive, awesomely inspiring, and vast yoga world!