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Om Yoga Blog
Om Yoga Blog
Experience Om Yoga and be encouraged to deepen the awareness of the body, mind and spirit bringing forth your highest qualities. Be Inspired to live daily in a way that promotes peace, mindfulness, humility and growth.
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10:55 pm

Unpredictable

I attended a yoga class several weeks ago, the day after a relationship ended as suddenly as it had begun. That morning in class, the teacher spoke of the unpredictability of life. I don't remember much else from that class – not what poses we did, what music she played, or even what more she said in particular, just that word: unpredictability. It has rung in my ears since that morning. Read More

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3:17 pm

The Yoga of Parenting

  shutterstock_34045153When I’m asked how yoga has impacted my parenting, I parse it down to one point, which every other type of work on myself has corroborated for the past 13 years. In every moment, I magnetize my own state. Translated: However I am behaving will be reflected in everyone around me, especially my kid. There are many simple examples of this popular topic. If you’re happy, people smile at you. If you don’t trust yourself, nobody trusts you. If you’re paying attention, people around you pay attention. Every day, whatever apocalypse is happening inside of you will be magnified again and again in the people near you, until you handle it. Whatever you’re feeling, see how it’s returned to you. When I’m paying attention, yoga offers spaciousness to my experience of parenting. Most of the day, I can feel it close by, but I can’t touch it. How ridiculous is it that here I am teaching specifically about spaciousness for more than 13 years and I cannot seem to get past my own animal instinct to doubt and rush and be perfect at the expense of my son’s stability and confidence? So this is what I want to share here. Parents, use your yoga to cultivate your own brand of spaciousness. What does it mean to be spacious (hold space in your own body) and how can we do this through yoga?

The other day, I had a discussion with a friend about the Handel process, a life-coaching program wherein we’ve both learned how to design consequences for our angry outbursts around our kids. While the yoga practice has opened so much for me, the Handel Group’s aim-oriented, personalized action plans were the missing piece. Both my friend and I came from families where rage was present, and coaching helps us define the behaviors, own them and evolve them. What we came to in the conversation was super simple. Your kid, at any moment, is just showing you your own face. That statement stings, and it should. Make more space in yourself and your kid will receive it and reflect it back to you. Paradoxically, this spaciousness is cumulative. When you cease doubting yourself and begin to hold that space for yourself, you are generating an indestructible quality of freedom within yourself that nobody can take from you.

“Asanas (postures) catapult us out of our habitual minds and into the vast space within” – Christina Sell, the upcoming “My Body Is a Temple.”

You’re practicing to prepare yourself for the unexpected, so that no matter what happens, you’re still the one who’s able to stand still and quietly, confidently, hold that space for yourself and for anyone nearby. You’ll catch glimpses of what it feels like to hold that space for your child, and those glimpses will become vantage points, places within yourself where you can stand and offer stability in your family, no matter what the context. As Vimala McClure describes in her book, The Tao of Motherhood, “You can manage your children with strength. Mastering your own life requires true power.” Parenting is no exception. As a parent, we magnetize nothing but our own behavior in that of our kids. If I point my finger and yell, at his next play date my 4-year-old son points his finger and screams at another child when he’s frustrated. He would never know how to do that without my example, and he’ll never know how to be masterful without my example either. And when I manage to listen attentively and sit with him so he can comfortably invite me into his mind and his realm, I get attention, kisses, hugs and hilarity returned to me. So in every moment as a parent, we magnetize our own behavior in our kids. You get it. How does yoga help? In the poses, I want to respond to my body’s resistance with patience (the spaciousness I personally need) rather than reacting with self-doubt. This allows me to be more patient with myself, and learn how to hold that patience for my kid rather than worrying about what else I could or should be doing. I then want to teach that process of holding space, which is really just a matter of learning to be expansive and more kind with myself, so the folks I’m teaching will be drawn to do that for themselves and their families. 


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3:21 pm

Say ‘Om’: Yoga Helps Low Back Pain, Study Finds

Millions of Americans get into mental, spiritual and physical shape through yoga, and a new study suggests regular yoga sessions can also help people with low back pain find relief, with benefits lasting several months. Researchers in Washington state and Oregon found that adults with back pain that is moderately impairing experienced less pain and better functioning after taking yoga classes. In the study, a total of 228 adults either attended 12 weekly yoga classes, did stretching exercises or read a book that provided information on exercises and other ways to reduce back pain. When the three interventions were compared, yoga classes and stretching exercises were equally effective and were better than the book at providing pain relief and improving overall functioning. In many cases, the improvements persisted over several months. “I think it adds another piece of evidence that exercise is valuable for people with chronic back problems,” said Dr. Richard Deyo, a study co-author and professor of family medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. “It suggests yoga is a good option, but not necessarily the only one.” Yoga’s benefits, the authors found, were largely physical, resulting from strengthening and stretching of the back and leg muscles. About twice as many people who took yoga or stretching classes reported using fewer pain medications compared to participants who used only the self-help book. “This suggests exercise can be a substitute for medication and reduce its use,” said Deyo. Pain medication, he said, can often have side effects and may not last long. A 2009 study in the journal Spine also found benefits associated with yoga in people with chronic low back pain. Participants who took six months of classes in Iyengar yoga, which uses objects such as belts and blocks to help align the body properly, experienced significantly less pain, fewer depressive symptoms and less functional disability compared to study participants who used other types of therapies. Those who took yoga classes also used less medication. As long as yoga classes are geared toward this type of stretching and strengthening and the exercises can be modified if people experience pain, Deyo recommends them. “Exercise is valuable, but the only way it’s going to work is if people are doing something they want to do and enjoy it,” he said. In an accompanying comment, Dr. Timothy Carey, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, said exercise should become a regular component of treatment for low back pain. “We physicians should refer our patients for exercise, practitioners should work to standardize treatments, and payers should encourage these treatments through minimization of co-payments for therapies that have both effectiveness and modest cost,” he wrote. By Kim Carollo

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