A quaint vegan town in the Himalayas where there is no alcohol and the cows run free was also the site of a terrorist attack on Thanksgiving Day 10 years ago. Rishikesh, India was an 18 hour flight for Karen Dubs, but after the sudden passing of her brother she decided to travel and experience the birthplace of yoga, the activity that was already the centerpiece of her life.
“Peace, love and joy,” Dubs described the town. “There was peace one day and machine guns the next.”
In order to continue her education as a yoga instructor, Dubs wanted to visit India as a student and take away lessons that she could teach her students back home. In addition to the lessons she would learn as a student, the experience of being in India and being close to a terrorist attack shaped the way she took on future endeavors.
Dubs has been in the fitness industry for 30 years as a registered yoga instructor, health coach and specialized athletic trainer. She graduated from Towson University with a degree in mass communications but stayed in the fitness industry because of the medical problems that she was dealing with at the time. Dubs has produced a series of yoga DVD’s and taught classes for the Baltimore Ravens and University of Maryland men’s basketball team, as well as personally assisting Olympic Pentathlete, Suzanne Stettinius at the 2012 London games.
For Dubs, the trip to the India wasn’t her best international experience, but traveling to London for the Olympics made what she learned there even more valuable.
“Being in London for the Olympics was the most breathtaking thing I’ve ever experienced,” Dubs said. “I thought it was going to be really chaotic but everyone was so funny and so kind.”
Through the reputation that she built with her company, “Flexible Warrior”, Dubs has been able to assist various athletes by practicing what she loves most with them. Her track record as a trainer is close to flawless as she assisted the University of Maryland men’s basketball team to three straight seasons without an injury to a single starting player. In addition, she also works personally with the captain of the Baltimore Ravens, Terrell Suggs.
“Having those opportunities is really good and the communication skills to go into an organization like the Baltimore Ravens and have the confidence to be able to speak in front of a team of NFL football players, that’s something I really give credit back to what I learned at Towson,” Dubs said.
One of the most important aspects to why Dubs enjoys working with these professional athletes is because she believes in the benefits of what she teaches in yoga and dieting.
“When I was diagnosed with Lyme’s disease I was really, really sick,” Dubs said. “I had a tough time washing my hair.”
Through her complete change in diet and exercise, Dubs was able to find the perfect storm of how to keep herself happy and healthy.
“If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ve got nothing to give anyone else,” Dubs said.
To this point, Dubs has certainty taken care of herself as well as the countless number of athletes and everyday people that she continues to work with. Because of all the experiences that she has had in a plethora of situations, she definitely earned the title, “Flexible Warrior.”
Getting caught in the crossfire of a major uprising in Kenya with only a camera or a notepad is never an ideal situation to be in. For a photojournalist like Lynsey Addario, who was traveling with one other photographer and two journalists, it summarized what much of her life was like reporting on war and conflict.
Addario chose to become a photojournalist because she described it as her calling. While covering the war in Kenya, she said that she needed to be there to show the world what the people of this country were really fighting for.
All of the reporters who traveled together on this day shared a lot of things in common other than the fact that they were all reporters in one form or another.
They were always fearlessly seeking the most recent news at any cost and they always wanted more.
The most unimaginable thing about this passage of her story is that she endlessly tells herself and hears from numerous people that the situation she is entering is extremely dangerous, yet she can’t seem to find a reason good enough not to do her duty as a photojournalist.
Lynsey Addario risked her life on multiple fronts for the sake of picturing taking and news reporting. She had a gun held to her head and risked death on various occasions just so everyone around the world could visualize what was going on in countries at war and how it affected the civilians in that country.
Her commitment to the phrase, “I just saw the door and went through it,” describes her relentless personality when it comes to photojournalism and how she uses it in order to visualize the lives of people who cannot get their own story out there.
As a war-time photojournalist, Addario learned countless lessons along the way about how to connect with people of all sorts from all around the world. Maybe the most important thing that she learned came from her early interactions with the women of Afghanistan and how she connected with them enough to the point where they trusted her enough to show her the hidden girls school in that town.
All of this cultural diversity that she experienced helped her to come to terms with why she feels she needs to be a photojournalist and it reinforces her commitment to bring the stories of the unheard of to life in order to make various groups of people viewed upon as something other than the stereotype that precedes them.
The way that Addario gets personal with the people that she is writing about and capturing photos of is a style that brings out the most organic answers for the questions that she is asking. This is a main skill that Addario holds in high regard and it helps her accomplish a lot as a photojournalist.
This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys action, compassion and just about any other emotion you can think of. Lynsey Addario shares her unique path to becoming one of the most successful wartime photojournalists of all time and she still shares her pictures today at https://www.instagram.com/lynseyaddario/?hl=en.