“We go through what we go through to help others go through what they are going through.”
I have always believed this to be true, but it wasn’t until working with a friend and fellow survivor for Broken Free Project, and seeing these words on this photograph that she took of me, that I actually realized that the work I am doing is really my soul purpose.
I experienced a shift in perspective. I no longer saw myself as a victim. I felt immense gratitude for my journey. I felt empowered because I survived. I overcame it all so that I can be able to be of service and help people in whatever way, shape, or form. My experiences have led me to carry out my life purpose.
HOW AND WHY ARE YOU DEDICATED TO THIS SERVICE?
Paola Katherine Rodriguez is an artistic healer, yoga teacher and student, plant-based chef and plant mother (gardener / herbalist), analogue photographer, cofounder of Broken Free Project, a photo-based project that aims to promote awareness of all forms of victimization while empowering survivors to break the silence.
Paola explores the ideas of identity, advocacy, mindfulness, connection, relationships, and healing through her yoga practice and her photography work. She grew up in an artistic and spiritual yet enmeshed and dysfunctional home, experiencing traumatic events from childhood up until early adulthood. She would find refuge and solace in making art, working with plants, and connecting with her culture as well as with spirits and ancestors, especially through dreams.
She was introduced to film photography at 12 years old, and yoga when she was 13. Both photography and yoga were her forms of therapy and coping with PTSD, until she was able to see an actual therapist at 21.
After graduating with a BA in Studio Art and BFA in Photography, she completed both a 200-hour and 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training at Yogi Hari’s Ashram. She then moved to Portland Oregon, where she taught Sampoorna hatha yoga in a community center for a year. From that experience, Paola realized that she wants the knowledge of yoga to be accessible to people from all walks of life, regardless of background, differences, or past or present life experiences. She also aims to bring yoga back to its wholeness, not only having the practice focused on the fitness aspect but focused on the wellbeing of the body, mind, and spirit through proper exercising, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper purification, self-discipline, right action, discernment, devotion, and positive thinking. She states, “Yoga is the realization of our Divinity. When the body, mind, and spirit are harmonized through these practices, then we will find peace.”
Paola is a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-500) with Yoga Alliance.
300-Hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training, Yogi Hari’s Ashram, Miramar FL
200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Yogi Hari’s Ashram, Miramar FL
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, Florida International University, Miami FL
Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, Minor in Art History, Minor in Italian, Florida International University, Miami FL