This is a question I’ve asked myself many times but, so far, fear of the inky needle has put me off. However, recent struggles with some advanced arm balances has again led me to ponder whether it is, in fact, a tattoo that I need. So, last month I decided to ask inspirational yogini, Avril Morue, for her thoughts. I found her candid answers extremely insightful so I thought I’d share the conversation:
When did you get your first tattoo?
I was a late-comer to the party so I was already in my early twenties when decided to get my first one – it was a simple Celtic band around my upper arm in black ink. I loved it but my Mum was horrified and told me I would now have to wear a long-sleeve wedding dress!
What made you decide to get more tattoos?
Tattoos are like art for me and I guess I’ve become an “art-collector” – just I love wearing my collection on my body! I do believe that my body is my temple so it feels right to celebrate with decorations. But now it is a question of finding space as most of my body is now covered.
Where has your inspiration for designs come from?
I’ve been inspired by everything from crisp packets to logos (she points to a large yellow M and a black swoosh on her shoulder) and I love looking on Pinterest too which is where I first became aware of the Japanese tattoo artist, Horitoshi.
I am actually terrified of getting a tattoo, did you have any fears initially?
Yes, I did worry that my parents might disown me and I also feared it might hurt but after finding an amazing tattoo artist in Paris I immediately felt confident. After my first tattoo, I knew that I’d get more; since then I’ve spent more than 300 hours of my life getting inked and it is a great excuse to regularly return to Paris, where I grew up.
As well as being an internationally-respected yoga teacher you are also a lawyer, did you ever suspect you’d been held back in your legal career because of your tattoos?
No, not at all; very early on I chose to specialise in anti-discrimination law so, if anything, it has been an advantage and I regularly represent heavily inked clients who have been overlooked for promotions at work, refused entry to restaurants or even turned down for gym membership.
So my most burning question, has your yoga practice changed since getting tattoos?
At first no, but then after I got a Horitoshi-inspired design on my left forearm a strange thing started to happen; I could not hold a handstand without twisting. It really did feel like I had more power through my left arm so I decided to get the same design on my right forearm and, sure enough, I found I was back in balance again. Then, about a year later I found I was really struggling with deeper back bends and drop-backs, so I got this one – she turns and pulls up her top to reveal a giant scorpion. I went from needing a lot of support with my drop-backs to dropping back in the middle of the room, literally overnight. Also, in the early days of teaching I struggled with left and right so I got these for my hands and feet (she shows me neat little L’s and R’s) – now there’s an idea!!
And finally, what advice do you have for readers
Life is too short for it not to be colourful so I’d definitely say “go for it” and start collecting some beautiful pieces of ink “toute de suite”. Plus, my experience has shown that tattoos really can give your yoga practice that extra edge.
Well that sounds pretty conclusive but, dear readers, please do let me know what you think …