• Everyday Joy of Yoga Challenge

    Sometimes it feels like you ask yourself a million questions. “Is there anything I could have done?” You would drive yourself crazy if you asked yourself that because what ifs, should haves, and could haves, don’t matter. What does matter is that you are still here, living, breathing, and you have a purpose. The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to live. Live so fully for them. Find happiness again even if it takes a long time. Live each and every day trying to find some sort of light even if it’s a small joy that you feel or a fleeting smile. Find a way to bring happiness back into your life and live for them. I like to think of all the joy they brought to my life and allow that to spark a fire within me to move forward, one day at a time.

    TRIGGER WARNING

    When I was little, I was told my grandfather died before I was born but I never knew how. I didn’t really understand death when I was little, and I never thought anything of asking about how he died. My grandma lived with me my whole life and she never brought it up until I was older. She would occasionally tell a funny story about him or show me their wedding photos but I never thought to ask. I knew he died when my mom was 13 and that is about all I knew.

    As I got older, my grandma decided to tell me what had happened. My grandma had the softest, wrinkly, veiny, little hands and she pulled me onto her lap on her big comfy blue chair, held me with those cute little hands of hers and told me the truth about my grandfather. My grandfather, whom I never met, took his own life in his own house while my mom was home. He had suffered from depression. I remember feeling extremely confused and I wondered how he could leave them behind. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I was still pretty young and didn’t really understand depression. As I got older, I knew so many people who suffered from depression and I also knew so many people who lost loved ones to suicide.

    Growing up, my grandma watched the movie “It’s a wonderful life” every Christmas and she always told me how it was her favorite movie. I had never cared at the time to watch it as it was black and white and I always wanted to watch the Grinch. It wasn’t until after my grandma passed away, in my senior year of high school, that I finally watched the movie and I cried. I understood why it was her favorite and why she chose to watch that movie over and over. If you haven’t seen the movie, (spoiler alert) it’s about a guy who thinks his family would be better off without him and he thinks about taking his own life. Before he does, an angel shows up and shows him how many lives he has impacted by living, how many people he has helped, and all the good he has done and he chooses not to go through with it. I believe she watched it over and over because she had always felt that she wished her husband could have known all the lives he impacted, all the good he had done.

    Suicide, has changed the way I speak around my mother about death. She was affected so deeply at such a young age that I am always careful of the words I choose. When my mother and all her siblings lost my grandfather, a lot of their community turned them away. They abandoned them because there was such a stigma around mental health. My mom had a boyfriend at that time. His mother, even banned her son from seeing my mom out of fear “she would have a disease too.” When I first heard about this I felt such disappointment. How could their community turn around on them when they needed it the most? My grandma was left to feed 5 kids alone while working three jobs and no one wanted to help because of fear.

    A few years ago, I lost another loved one to suicide. My brother introduced me to this amazing man that he would call his fiancé. He had this incredible energy that lit up every room. He really taught me to live life to the fullest. He had an amazing support system as well. There were tons of people that loved him. I remember getting that phone call and completely falling apart. I couldn’t grasp as to why these things happen. I couldn’t understand the pain that the people I loved would have to feel. I cherish all of the moments we had together and look back now with a smile at how he lived while he was here.

    Sometimes it feels like you ask yourself a million questions. “Is there anything I could have done?” You would drive yourself crazy if you asked yourself that because what ifs, should haves, and could haves, don’t matter. What does matter is that you are still here, living, breathing, and you have a purpose. The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is to live. Live so fully for them. Find happiness again even if it takes a long time. Live each and every day trying to find some sort of light even if it’s a small joy that you feel or a fleeting smile. Find a way to bring happiness back into your life and live for them. I like to think of all the joy they brought to my life and allow that to spark a fire within me to move forward, one day at a time.

    I know so many people who have also lost so many to suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2017, there were 47,173 Americans that died by suicide. We put such a stigma on mental health that sometimes people are afraid to ask for help. We have to change the way we look at mental health issues and raise awareness about how common it is and how it is ok to ask for help. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be reduced with the proper mental health support and treatment. We should encourage those around us to ask for help when they need it.

    This members only challenge that we are having on Omstars starting on May 1st is to raise money and awareness for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Please join us in raising money and awareness for this amazing foundation whose mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. For every person who signs up to join the challenge, Omstars will be donating $1 to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, up to $1000. Plus, you can win some amazing prizes from our generous sponsors, Omstars and In The Moment magazine, while spreading awareness for Suicide Prevention.

    During this 9 day challenge, each class is designed to target a different part of the body, or a different style of practice. These classes range from a warm-up/morning yoga class, to a core-focused class, and even to a restorative practice. Practice along each day for 9 days and share your pose of the day on Instagram with the hashtag #EverydayJoyOfYoga and help us spread awareness for Suicide Prevention. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a list of Warning signs and Risk factors. https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/

    If you or a loved one is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or text the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741

    By Kaitlyn Kreitzman

    Kaitlyn started practicing yoga in high school to combat the high demands of school work, sports, and life in New York. It was an on and off practice until college where she really became dedicated to making time on her mat daily. After realizing the amazing benefits of a yoga practice, and watching them become a reality in her life, Kaitlyn wanted to share this practice with others. She received her 200-hour RYT in 2015 from Urban Bliss Yoga In North Carolina. She taught on her college campus and in studios around the area of Fairfield Connecticut. After she graduated with a B.A. in Graphic Design and Illustration, she wanted to expand her knowledge of teaching and received her 500-hour RYT at Simplicity Yoga Studio in Long Island, New York. Kaitlyn now teaches and lives in Northwestern Colorado. She draws her inspiration for her classes from her everyday life. Kaitlyn’s classes focus on alignment, breath work, meditation, and yoga philosophy. She loves to help others take what they learn on the mat and incorporate it into their everyday lives. Kaitlyn works as the Social Media Manager, and Graphic Designer for Omstars. When she’s not teaching or practicing yoga, she enjoys camping, hiking, rock climbing, reading, and painting.

  • Use Yoga & Ayurveda to Balance the Vata Dosha

    Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, is an ancient wellness system that can help us find optimal health and balance in life. It’s all about eating a nutritious and balanced diet that’s suited for your individual needs, engaging in self-care practices that nourish your body, mind and soul, plus, practicing yoga in a way that is informed by this ancient science of life. These three components are your Ayurvedic keys to good health and well-being.

    Our October challenge, #EatLikeAYogi, is all about bringing yoga and Ayurveda together as they were meant to be practiced. In doing so, you will have all the tools you need to find your way back to a place of optimal well-being. During this challenge, each day, participants will complete an Ayurvedic practice (based on food and self-care) with Sahara Rose, and an Ayurveda informed yoga pose recommended by Kino.

    Each of the yoga poses in this challenge have been selected based on their ability to help balance the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha). As a compliment to the challenge, we are going to breakdown which poses are good for balancing which doshas, and why.

    Today we’re talking about Vata imbalance and which yoga poses you should incorporate into your practice if you’re working to find balance.

    A Vata imbalance is typically associated with many of the following signs and symptoms:

    • Constipation
    • Excess bloating and gas
    • Poor mental focus
    • Anxiety or excessive nervousness
    • Cold hands and feet
    • Physical weakness
    • Dry Skin
    • Irregular appetite
    • Restlessness
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Hyperactivity
    • And more

    Does this sound like you? Participating in the October Challenge with Kino and Sahara Rose is a great place to start for finding your way back to a more balanced state. Plus, be sure to put more emphasis on the following Vata balancing yoga poses that Kino has recommended for the challenge:

    Tree Pose – Since vata imbalance is usually associated with scattered thoughts, poor ability to focus, excessive nervousness and anxiety, balancing postures like tree pose can help to bring more stillness to the mind. Tree pose requires a keen mental focus, so try incorporating this pose into your daily practice to see if it helps.

    Paschimottanasana – Forward folds are grounding, calming, and encourage introspection. This is why any forward fold is great for bringing balance to excess Vata. Try this pose in the evening before bed to ease hyperactivity and help you prepare for a more restful sleep.

    Utkatasana – Chair pose is very effective for creating a sense of grounding, which is great for relaxing a Vata mind. Plus, it activates the downward moving force in our bodies (Apana Vayu) which can help when it comes to alleviating constipation.

    Warrior II – This is another grounding pose that can really help with balancing excess Vata. This posture does however pose a challenge for those of us who may be experiencing a Vata imbalance. This is because it’s a little less interesting than some of the other postures on this list. Vatas get bored very easily, but if you try incorporating a little movement with this pose before settling into stillness, you may find more success. Try this simple movement before settling in to hold Warrior II for an extended period of time: from Warrior II, inhale to lift your arms and bring the palms to touch. At the same time lengthen your front leg. On the exhale, bend back into your front knee, and extend the arms back in opposite directions. Repeat for several rounds of breath.

    Ustrasana – The last pose on our list for balancing Vata is Ustrasana, aka camel pose. This pose is recommended because it asks us to still the mind and focus on grounding through the legs before adding in the backbend. That’s what’s really important for getting the full benefit out of this pose. From this place of grounding, move slowly and mindfully into the backbend, being extra careful not to overdo it.

    Remember, a dedicated yoga practice that’s informed by Ayurveda is only part of what we need to do to find balance. Incorporate these poses into your daily practice and be sure to try the recipes and self-care routines recommended by Sahara Rose. This is what will truly help you find optimum health and bring balance to your overall life.

    By Alex Wilson

    Alex Wilson is a writer, yoga teacher, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist, and the content manager here at OMstars.com

    Alex Wilson, Anxious yogi

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