Tanya from Embrace the Light on Reiki, Photography and Getting Through Loss

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I happened to come across Tanya’s work a few weeks ago and was hooked in an instant. I wondered “how does she take such amazing photos with the light coming through like that?! I need to learn her ways!” The more I looked at her aura photography, the more I wanted to know about her. I love how unique her work is and that she infuses reiki into her photography. Enjoy ♥♥♥

1. Tell us a little about yourself!

I have lived in Los Angeles for the past 13 years, though traveling is becoming more and more a part of my life lately. I currently share my love of photography with the beautiful souls that I am fortunate enough to call friends, and clients, all over the world. I teach yoga ridiculously early in the morning at Yogala Studio in Echo Park (an eastside enclave of Los Angeles) and I am a certified Reiki Master. I may have a small obsession with healing crystals.

2. What does a typical day look like for you?
At the moment, I am incredibly grateful to have a life that allows for me to take the time to nurture my soul. At the moment, a typical day can look like waking up early to write morning pages, meditate and/or run reiki on myself. I have some incredibly supportive and loving oracle and tarot decks that I may pull cards from to gain extra insight for my day. Then I’ll jump into work. That may be a photo shoot or waiting for film scans from my lab or the always fun paperwork. Yoga. If I can end the day seeing friends, it’s been a good day.

3. What has been the biggest learning experience in your life?
Loss. I’ve lost a lot of people I love very dearly. I came to the realization that these losses could either break me open or break me apart. I chose to open myself up and this choice helped me heal myself, forgive myself and others, and love myself more. Even though this cycle of loss began three years ago, I continue to learn knew ways of seeing the world on what feels like a daily basis.

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4. What did you want to be when you were young?
A photographer. But I was always scared that I wasn’t good enough, so I went into film/movies for a while, but I never stopped loving photography, and eventually, I let go of my fear and focused on my love of pausing time, of creating images that express the way I see the world.

5. For those unfamiliar, how would you define what Reiki is?
The thing I love the most about Reiki is that it is channeled directly from the source, so it can do no harm. You are either open to receiving it, in which case you can receive it or if you are not open to receiving it…you won’t.

Paula Horan gives a beautiful description of Reiki in her book, Empowerment through Reiki. It is an excellent read for anyone interested in learning more about this healing energy. I have pieced together a few lines from her description. Reiki is the Japanese word for Universal Life Force Energy. Reiki is a wonderful tool to help one develop conscious awareness.

6. Why did you decide to get Reiki certified?
It was a part of my choice to open up and heal myself. I decided to get certified so that I could run Reiki on myself, so that I could tranform some very deep pain into something… else.

7. What has Reiki changed you?
Regularly running Reiki on myself or having others run it on me has been a game changer. It allows me to be more at peace and more balanced in every day life. It has helped me open and heal old wounds, release old energy that no longer serves me, plus my cat cuddles with me more because she LOVES reiki energy.

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8. I love your aura photos that you take! Can you tell us why you started taking these kinds of photos?

The more I heal myself the more I have begun to feel a pull towards helping others as the embrace who they truly are…the person they have always been. One year after my partner passed, I went to the place we spread his ashes, to pay my respects, to take photographs, to grieve. The next day when I went to drop the film off at my lab, I opened the bottom of the camera thinking the film was rolled up. It wasn’t. I quickly closed the bottom, heartbroken that the images were going to be ruined; they weren’t. Instead, I discovered something new to me, a way to create beautiful effects that expressed how I felt.

It would take another year before I did this intentionally. I was photographing a dear friend who happens to be a healer in Los Angeles. I felt compelled…my intuition strongly suggested…to expose some of her film to light, to see if I could mix her energy visually onto the film. It created some incredibly powerful images, and I knew I wanted to create more images like this, but I didn’t know how to make it work as a session.

About 9 months later, I photographed another incredibly powerful Los Angeles Healer. This time, I wasn’t worried I was going to ruin the film. I just went for it, and after I saw her images – even thought my belly was filled with butterflies – I knew it was time for me to create a way to share this experience with others. It was time to encourage others to see their beauty, their strength, their abilities, and to help them share those aspects of themselves with others.
What is your process for creating these aura photos?

The aura adventure begins at a location where you are your most authentic self: in your home, at the ocean, in the woods… anywhere you feel joy! We will find a quiet spot and you will spend 15 to 20 minutes receiving Reiki (a healing energy) channeled through me.

After your healing session, we will spend the next 40 minutes photographing you at your most peaceful, at your most joyful – meditating, dancing, twirling, moving your body in any freeing manner that makes sense to you in that moment. During this time, I will shoot 36 frames of film.

Following the session, you and I will sit together while I rewind the film, holding an intention of authenticity and love. When the time is right, I will open the bottom of the camera to let the light in, to let your light in.

One to two weeks following our session, you will receive 3 to 7 beautiful color photographs*. They will be yours to keep as a reminder of who you are, your vibrant spirit.

*These photographs are not photoshopped. They are purely a mixture of film, you, me, and light.

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You can follow along on Tanya’s journey on Instagram at @lightleakauras and email her at lightleakauras@gmail.com. She is currently booking in Embrace the Light Sessions in Los Angeles and building wait lists for sessions in NYC and London and everywhere.

This interview is part of Happsters Happy Questions, an ongoing series of interviews that take a peek inside the lives of inspiring women around the world.

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