Twinning with Su at sunrise in Stanley Park

When I first started my Instagram yoga account, I didn’t expect to form meaningful, lasting friendships.  Perhaps like most people, I was skeptical if this platform could foster genuine relationships.  When I began participating in yoga challenges, I started to see how friendships could be formed, but I was still a little hesitant to “put myself out there” in the virtual world.  I even felt a little embarrassed to call the yogis I met on IG “friends.”

As time went on, I began to interact with a few yogis more regularly, and I’ll never forget the day I found Su.  I had made a post about recovering from my Achille’s tendon rupture, using some kind of #achillestendon hashtag.  Out of curiosity, I clicked on it, and it wasn’t long before I had discovered Su, a fellow Achille’s-injured-yogi, beginning her road to recovery.  I was blown away by her dedication and spirit.  Having completely torn both of my Achille’s tendons (a story for another day), I knew all about how difficult this injury was, and I felt compelled to reach out to Su.  I left her a brief but encouraging message about her post.  I didn’t expect Su to respond back, but she did, and throughout the last year, I’ve interacted with Su in one form or another nearly every day.

Sharing the sunrise with Su in matching outfits by Public Myth

As I got to know Su a little better online, I began to recognize in her things I really admire.  I respected how dedicated she was to her yoga and fitness practice, especially given her busy career as a lawyer in downtown Toronto.  I loved the way that she interacted passionately and authentically with her IG followers, and how diligently she responded to every comment on her posts.  I also looked up to her honesty.  I’ll never forget the time she bravely called out a famous online yogi for posting a picture that (intentionally or not) made light of animal abuse.  Su showed me how real IG could be, and I cheered as her following and friend-base grew.  I had found a true IG role model; it is through Su that I have learned what I now know about online authenticity, respect and conduct.

When Su told me that she and her husband were coming to Vancouver for Labour Day weekend to visit her family, it felt like a dream too good to be true!  Meeting for the first time in person was a confounding experience.  I went to pick her up for a yoga date, and had to pull into the alley behind her sister’s house.  When I got out of the car to greet her in person for the first time, Su pulled me into a fierce and real hug that took me by surprise.  I wasn’t surprised that she hugged me or that the hug was real.  I was surprised by my own emotion and realization about how much she had come to mean to me. I had to quickly brush away my tears and choke down the sobs of joy so that I could get back behind the wheel … but enough sentimentality!

Over the course of just one weekend, I was lucky enough to see Su a LOT!  We were outfitted by Public Myth at their headquarters, we took a class together at YYoga, we had a BBQ on my rooftop, attended one of my yoga classes at the park, woke up early for an epic sunrise shoot with Catherine Byrdy, drove up to Whistler for a night, and hiked down to beautiful Brandywine Falls.  It was a whirlwind of mostly unplanned, unforgettable adventures.

Big-time heart-opener

We had the honour of shooting with the incredible photography talent, Catherine Byrdy, and I’m still reeling from her gorgeous captures of sunrise and emotion.  These keepsake photos run deep to my core, and I am struck by how enriched my life has become–all from the power of IG and the real people behind those little squares.

Headstand trivia — can you tell which one is Su and which is me?
Who knew the water was so warm at 630am?
Finding more than the sunrise to make us glow

Making shapes with Su and the sun

Just like nothing beats taking a yoga class in person, there’s nothing like finding a real-life friend, feeling and sharing in their energy, breathing the same air, and being able to smile about it together afterwards. I can’t wait to share more about Su and her charity KEY — stay tuned for some very exciting news for the month of October!