• 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.

  • Emotions: Help or Hindrance on the Spiritual Path?

    Once we engage on a spiritual path, and connect with the lofty ideal of enlightenment, it is easy to interpret our human emotions as representative of our lower mind and animalistic impulses. While, indeed, they are sourced in our desire to survive, reproduce and thrive, simply ignoring or suppressing our emotional nature can lead us to engage in what psychologist John Welwood termed “spiritual bypassing.” This can lead to disturbing, if not dangerous, rearrangements in our psyche that can lead to self-destructive, impulsive/compulsive behaviors, and even to psychosomatic disease and chronic illness.

    Emotions can be powerful in either positive or negative ways. When we try to avoid emotional experience, emotions morph into more complex bundles that are increasingly difficult to process. Each emotion has information and deserves individual attention.

    Swami Rama of the Himalayas said, “Avoiding the emotional issue is not going to help you. Instead of dealing with the conflict or issue, you look for answers outside yourself—and of course you don’t succeed. But if you remain careful with your emotions, and learn how to go through the ups and downs of life and still remain balanced, then you will not suffer from this kind of conflict.”

    “All your actions are controlled by your thoughts, and all your thoughts are controlled by your emotions. By comparison with your emotions, thought has little power; if you can use your emotional power constructively, you can channel it. Then your emotional power can be utilized in a creative way and lead you to a height that will give you real happiness,” he adds, in the book Creative Use of Emotion.

    Emotion regulation skills make it easier for you to live with the feelings that come up from day to day, and also any long-standing painful feelings that you have. Here are some tips:

      Observe your emotion. Stand back.

      Experience your emotion as a wave, coming and going.

      Don’t push away your emotion. Accept it.

      Don’t judge your emotion. It’s not good or bad

      Don’t hang on to your emotion.

      Try not to intensify your emotion. Let it be how it is.

      Remember that you are not your emotion.

      Remember that you don’t necessarily have to act on your emotion.

      Practice loving your emotions.

    Be Present to and Mindful of the Positive
    Focus your attention on the positives around you. Think of something good that has happened in recent days. Is there something going on right now, or about to happen today that is really good or fun? Focus on it. Be fully present. Notice everything about it. Stay in the here and now.

    Be Unmindful of Worries
    Don’t give attention and air time to worries or negative projections about the future, which is yet to come and may never realize in the scary or painful way you imagine. Distract yourself from thinking that you don’t deserve a nice time. You deserve to enjoy the present moment.

    The video course on emotions that I present on this platform will help you avoid the pitfalls of “spiritual bypassing” while helping you learn to healthily deal with this dimension of your human experience. In these videos, you will learn to harness the power of your wise mind, or Buddhi (which is our capacity for wisdom, discrimination, and discernment and that which connects us to our Soul/Atman/Purusha), to evaluate whether to act or not act on emotional impulses. The goal is to learn whether to move toward emotions for mindful processing and problem solving, or to move away and distract from them.

    Build your emotional intelligence quotient, EQ, by engaging with this course, choosing not to blame others for, or act on, destructive emotions as part of your tapas, studying your emotional experience as part of svadyaya – both worthy endeavors on the “royal path” of yoga.

    By Inge Sengelmann

    Inge Sengelmann, parayoga certified teacher, intention setting, parayoga, the Four Desires

    Inge Sengelmann is a somatic psychotherapist and certified ParaYoga teacher, initiated in the Himalayan Tantric lineage of Sri Vidya. ParaYoga is a living link to the ancient traditions of yoga, meditation, and tantra. 

    Try Inge’s Meditation For Clearing Difficult Emotions