“My spine is now mostly metal, but I have never felt more human.”

{Photo: Robert Sturman}

“Death pushed me to the edge, nowhere to back off. And to the shame of my fears, I danced with abandon in his face. I never danced as free. And death backed off, the way dark backs off, a sudden burst of flame. Now there’s nothing left but to keep dancing. It is the way I would have chosen had I been born three times as brave.” ~ Mark Nepo 

Her name is Brooke Lorimer. We worked together in upstate New York at a sculpture park called Storm King. Before I knew she had scoliosis, I positioned her in front of a metal sculpture to work with her. I was just concerned with creating beauty and integrating shapes.

When we started talking and she told me about her condition, my heart opened and the sculptures suddenly turned meaningless and far less interesting than her story. After I learned that her spine was mostly metal, I said, “No more metal.” We wandered off into the meadow and art was created.

I asked her to write a little paragraph about her journey. Here is what she sent me: 

{Photo: Robert Sturman}

The quote by Mark Nepo represents my journey with scoliosis.

During my journey from being diagnosed, to having my second surgery, a lot of other things went on in my life that had a profound impact on me. Because of all these experiences my heart has been blasted open. I feel as if I have been given new eyes, as my heart broke open and washed with experience.

It is a path that I would not have willingly chosen, and yet I would not change one thing.

I have a respect for my body that was not present before my surgeries, as well as a respect for others bodies. My surgeries allowed me to connect with the core of life, with heart. I feel as if I am humbled enough to connect with others around me now. I have learned that any experience can allow us to connect with our hearts and the hearts of others.

Mine was through scoliosis, divorce, death, heartbreak. Anything that breaks your heart allows you to embrace vulnerability, which as Brené Brown says “is the birth place of joy, and creativity.”

My spine is now mostly metal, but I have never felt more human.


{Photo: Robert Sturman}




You can find Brooke here.




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Robert Sturman
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. In Sturman's own words, "I often think of Rumi's words, 'I can't stop pointing to the beauty.' That feels right to me." 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. You can find out more about Robert’s work at his online studio and connect with him via Facebook and Twitter.


  • Bob Weisenberg commented on July 10, 2013 Reply
    Posting this to my new virtual forum for Yoga Philosophy. Bob W. Editor Best of Yoga Philosophy
  • Mamaste
    Mamaste commented on July 10, 2013 Reply
    Another winner from Robert Sturman. His portfolio is a beautiful collection of ALL yoga. ~Mamaste

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