These days there seems to be an almost endless stream of yoga inspo images on Instagram. However, when we discovered Britta Trubridge and her enchanting underwater yoga art, we knew we had stumbled across something truly special. Britta is the creator of B Tru Yoga and a dedicated yogi and diver. She lives in the Bahamas with her husband William, who is a World Champion free-diver, and together they run retreats and courses. Britta also showcases the incredible natural beauty of her home by collaborating with photographers to create serene images that bring the worlds of yoga, free-diving and art together. Let’s get to know this amazing woman who is pioneering underwater yoga art.
Let’s talk yoga. How long have you been practicing for? What do you love most about yoga and what role does in play in your life?
I started meditation, a limb of yoga, at 15 and then began to ground this with an asana practice at the age of 20. I started with Ashtanga and was then certified in Sivananda Hatha. Since then, I have integrated many different yogic approaches and exercises into both my teachings and personal practice. I practice a Vinyasa blend that is mostly Ashtanga-based but also includes some Kundalini, Qi Gong and a heavy pranayama practice. This is not only cleanses the energy channels, and controls the mind and breath, but it also enhances my free-diving performance. Meditation will always be my favourite part of the practice as a whole. It is where the true magic happens for me. As for its function in my life, I’d say yoga has given me an anchor, a reference point, from which I can always return to myself.
How did you get into free-diving? Have you always loved the ocean?
I was raised in Daytona Beach in Florida and my grandparents are Bahamian so the sea has always been a huge part of my life. In my early years, it generated a lot of fear so my relationship with it was nothing like it is today. When I met my soon-to-be husband in my early 20s this all changed. He holds the World Record in free-diving and it was through him that I began to release this fear and really go deep. Having a connection to the sea has benefited me in so many ways. When you are submerged in liquid and external stimuli is muted you come face-to-face with all the little quirks in the mind and body and this awareness is then translated into a fine tuning of your health on land. I’ve also become more environmentally conscious.
What made you decide to combine these two passions and then incorporate photography?
The two practices had been combined for many years without me even being aware of it. Free-diving, essentially is a form of yoga itself in that it is an intensified practice of meditation and a fine balance between letting go and actively engaging. Most free-divers today have a supplementary yoga practice. The photography was actually the brainchild of a good friend and my first underwater photographer, Daan Verhoeven. He suggested we try it and so the movement was born.
What emotions do you hope people feel when they see your images?
I hope that people begin to recognise the connection between humans body their environment, especially the sea. I think many people have a fear of the sea, like I once did. So if my images can evoke a positive emotion in association with the sea, perhaps this will instil a sense of wonder and respect for the ocean. And make people interested in caring for them more.
You make it look so easy and serene but it’s actually hard work capturing these images isn’t it?
It is definitely not something people should try at home. Free-diving should be learned through a qualified instructor and no one should ever dive alone. Let alone put themselves in a vulnerable position under the water without proper experience and a qualified safety expert on hand. Some of the images were very easily captured and others were a bit more tricky and required a few takes. It’s all for the love of art though.
My photographers and collaborate on ideas of styling, scenery and postures beforehand and then just go for it. We take them out at sea, in the Bahamas where we live and hold free-diving and yoga courses and retreats, and just have fun with it. Everything, from your hair to the fabric of your clothes, behaves so differently under water so it is fun experimenting. Shoots usually take a few hours, and out of hundreds and hundreds of photos taken in that time, only a handful will be satisfactory.