Photo by Viktor Cahoj, @littleimmigrant
It’s easy to be in awe of India Amara – to feel admiration for this heart open adventurer, who walks her authentic, unique path, touching people’s lives in a wondrous and transformative way. I love how she cares so deeply about her work as an artist and a yogi, which provides her with the same kind of fulfillment, as she explains in this interview with My Out Of 10.
What do you do?
I am a tattoo artist and tantric hatha yoga teacher; a wild spirit, who travels, inquires into the mysteries of life. I dig deep into the realms of transformation, evolution and opening.
How long have you been in this field for?
I have gratefully been tattooing for almost 14 years now. I have been practicing yoga for many years in many forms, but teaching for about a year.
What inspired you to pursue this career?
Originally tattooing captured my interest due to its very nature of being part of a fringe culture – finding my voice and style in a place that I felt accepted for being me, being creative in a way that is always challenging, using my visual art skills in a dynamic and powerful way. Tattooing is an ever blossoming craft and practice. I am constantly humbled by the new layers of depth and challenge, the new ways it reveals itself to me.
Yoga is a doorway and a practice that is a constant arena for revelation and a deeper understanding of myself as well as the world around me.
What was the biggest hurdle in attaining your career goals?
The biggest hurdle for me in the beginning was being a young woman in a male dominated industry (especially 17 years ago). It was hard to convince the people I was inspired by that I was worthy of the craft. I had to prove to them that I was serious and that I had the gumption to pursue and persevere through the inevitable trials and demands of such a permanent and unforgiving medium. I finally convinced them after working reception and managing one location of the studios for 2 years. I then apprenticed for 3 years.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love my work. For me it truly is a practice and every day offers me a gold nugget. I love working with the wild terrain of transformation. Tattooing can be seen as merely ornamentation but the way I see it, is that it is an ancient and primal urge, a sacred and deeply human experience. Whether people are conscious of it or not, there is always some level of change or growth happening when they choose to mark themselves permanently, this act is woven into almost every culture in some way. I hold and offer space for this alchemy with tender intention and courageous support. The honour of tattooing and witnessing people become a truer version of themselves is a gift and a constant reminder of what it is to be alive.
On that note, yoga offers me much the same – the practice of learning to know and find, to feel the truth ourselves. It is an honour to share the wisdom of an ancient tradition.
What do you find most challenging about your work?
The most challenging is managing all of the things that aren’t tattooing. In this dynamic and fast paced culture, keeping up with the assumed demands of emails, social media and branding can be tiresome, though I have to play the game to be in the game. If you’re not on the train you get left behind. Ha, I do my best.
The other challenge in both tattooing and yoga, is that I have no real boundaries around work. It never really stops, and I am honestly a little obsessive about it all, constantly learning and pushing for growth… sometimes I need to just smell the roses.
If you weren’t a tattoo artist, what would you be?
If I weren’t tattooing, I would likely be a flower farmer, it is kind of my dream retirement plan. And I would still be a yogi, without a doubt.
Name one hobby you have that’s not related to your work.
That’s a hard question. I really feel that all of my interests weave and enhance each other somehow. I can’t think of one that doesn’t relate – I think that’s what happens when you have a passion job. Yoga weaves, caring for my plants inspires me, walking in nature fuels my creative process and visual vocabulary… Everything is connected.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Mornings are precious for me: I get up very early, and always have tea, read, and do my practice, which involves yoga, pranayama and meditation.
And last thing you do at night?
The last thing I do is also have a tea, read and spend a few moments to reflect on the day and be grateful for all that I have/am/experience.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy your work?
Maximum volume. I love what I do. 10/10+++