At Home is a portrait series by photographer Chloe Paul, documenting BodyMindLife’s teachers in the spaces they have created to play and practice. We take a glimpse into their lives, investigate how they hold space for the community both virtually and within the physical structure of the studios, and ask them about the silly things they are missing under the current lockdown.

Join as as we take a peek and have a (remote) chat with yoga teacher Vicki Smart.

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Can you give us an introduction?

I am Vicki Smart. I’m a yoga teacher, cat lover, and part time recruiter for a medical college. I teach vinyasa and yin yoga, and myofascial release – mostly in Redfern and Surry Hills.

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Why were you originally drawn to yoga?

Completely by accident. I was living in London. My regular spin class was full and, after much huffing and puffing, I ended up in a yoga class. For reasons I still don’t understand, I went back again and again. And here we are!

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How has your relationship with the practice changed?

So much that it’s in a different post code. When I started I was attracted to the pure physicality. Discovering a body I had no idea idea about, outside hitting a dance floor hard. The last decade has been about refining my understanding of my physical self, and discovering so much more through meditation and breath. I have been teaching for 10 years now. As I get older I’m less focused on achieving, and more focused on listening to internal cues and watching subtle changes.

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Has your perception of home changed in the last few months?

I came home from Bali and went straight into two weeks of isolation with my partner. It was strange, given we don’t actually live together. Being home has given me an opportunity to reconnect to things like cooking from scratch and getting to know my neighbours. My relationship with home has really shifted. Before it just felt like four walls, now it feels like a safe cocoon where I’m able to recharge.

Teaching online classes from home is bizarre too. Students get an even more authentic view!

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What do you love about what you do?

Watching my students grow and change through their daily effort and practice. Paying attention to small details that matter.

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What does your home practice mean to you?

My home yoga practice is a time of freedom. I use it to play, focus on my own growth, and experiment with things to share in class. My cat uses it to demand snuggles or barrel me out of pincha, depending on how she’s feeling that day.

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How do you feel when you’re in flow?

I feel like my worries can’t touch me. Not because they magically go away, but because my focus is fixed entirely in the present moment.

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Any insights about yourself in isolation?

I value quiet and space more than anything.

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What are you listening to/reading?

Listening –  RuPaul’s Drag Race Podcast
Reading – The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. A golden resource right now.

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Something silly you’ve missed?

Calle Rey’s vegan buffalo wings. Cauliflower is life.

Practice with Vicki live and on our video archive, and connect with her on instagram.

About Chloe Paul

Chloe Paul is a portrait and social photographer from Sydney, Australia. Over the last decade, she has created imagery for Prada, Dior, Moet&Chandon, Burberry and Christian Louboutin. Her work has featured in Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Elle and Instyle. When not working with influential publications and high profile personalities, she can be found capturing the world on her Hassleblad.