I am so happy you are here!
The list of benefits from a regular yoga practice is indeed long, and a few of these benefits are particularly important for runners, including:
• Increased flexibility
• Increased muscle strength
• Improved respiration, energy and vitality
• Greater protection from injury
• Improved mental acuity and concentration
• Improved balance
Perhaps most importantly, yoga can help improve the mind-body-spirit connection, which is so critical for improving athletic performance.
As the name of this blog indicates, you can start with OM to create the foundation of your practice that will lead you to a better, more peaceful life.
OM is the sound of the universe and represents the union of mind-body-spirit, which is the goal of yoga. (Note that there are as many definitions for OM as there are stars in the sky but this is a basic definition for beginning to understand the concept!)
OM is significant as it is often used as part of a centering technique to focus the mind and move into deep relaxation or prepare us for what we are about to do. Experiencing the openness of the “O” sound and the vibration of the “M” sound can be helpful for drawing inward.
As you make the sound either quietly to yourself or out loud, allow it to increase your awareness and presence in the moment. In the words of Ram Dass – Be Here Now.
Ideas for beginning to practice with OM:
- First thing in the morning, sit up tall as you rise from bed and breathe in gently and on the exhale quietly voice the sound OM, repeat three times with the breath
- If you feel stressed or upset during the day, take a moment to breathe and repeat OM three times to yourself
- If you are getting ready for an important moment – such as a job interview, first date, big work presentation – use your OM practice to center yourself before launching in
- Before you go to bed, sit up tall and breathe in gently and on the exhale quietly say OM, then repeat three times
- Before you run… before you eat… before you speak… before you shop… before you check your mail… before you say, I love you… you get the picture
- As you practice with OM, gradually shift your experience to a heightened sense of relaxation with the goal of fully experiencing the sound
We will explore more meanings of OM and additional practices using the sound, but start with this technique to begin a new journey toward strengthening your mind-body-spirit connection through the power of yoga.
If you are uncomfortable with practicing OM, use your breath and focus on the inhale and the exhale as you slow your thoughts. Chanting OM or another mantra can be helpful to tune into your inner world, so over time you may want to try again and focus on the experience of OM without judgement or expectation.
The sound vibrations can be deeply meaningful and bring you closer to a pure experience state, so it may be worthwhile to try again as your relaxation practice deepens. Or it may just not be for you, which is fine as well. I encourage you to follow my blog as there may be other practices that are relevant and helpful to you.
Start with OM is personally relevant for me as this is the practice that I struggle with the most.
In lay terms, I have often run frantically into burning buildings filled with assumptions, fear and negativity rather than taking a moment to clear my mental slate and breathe through my OM practice. I dive into important conversations and meetings before taking a moment to draw inward and focus and clear my mind so that I am fully present and available to the people who need me the most.
Start with OM is a journey for me as well, to remind me to focus on the simple act of empowering my scared, hurt and frustrated inner child using OM.
I am thrilled to be starting this new journey with you, using OM as the light guiding us forward to greater peace, love and joy.
OM Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.