Yoga, A Place to Take a Breath and Let Go!
Hi everyone! On today's blog I'm sharing my interview with Susan Hearn of Om Shanti in Burlington, NC. Om Shanti is described as a place where you can take a breath and let go. Susan is the perfect example of that description. She is a very busy lady, with a husband, a full time job, and three beautiful children. She can also be found teaching cooking classes at Southern Season in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but when she is on her mat teaching a class, she is fully present.
Attending one of Susan's yoga classes is the perfect way to let go...let go of your day, your racing mind and the tightness in your body. The class time goes by so quickly and before you know it you've experienced something magical. Susan describes all of the thoughts that race around in our heads as "rocks" and encourages "letting those rocks fall out into a pile on the floor...a pile that you can pick up later if necessary". A class with Susan is an hour to focus on being fully present, which is the goal of yoga. I hope you enjoy this interview!
At Om Shanti, you can truly "take a breath and let go"!
How long have you been practicing yoga?
Why did you begin your practice?
I have always been into fitness and wellness. I have taught exercise classes since college and at some point the gym where I taught wanted to offer yoga classes. I took a weekend certification and fell in love. I told the gym I would need to practice and study for a while before I could teach.
How long have you been teaching?
Around 23 years
How has your practice impacted your life?
Significantly! It has made me stronger physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am more grounded, patient, and open to whatever may be. My practice has saved me in times of turmoil.
Can anyone do yoga?
When did you and Mary (Mary is part owner) open Om Shanti, and what is your vision going forward?
We opened in 2009. We want to continue to offer yoga and all of its facets to the community. We plan to continue to expand classes and services in the areas people want.
What is your definition of yoga?
Union of body, mind and spirit. Yoga is a way of life - a way of living in the very moment and finding contentment there.
Do you consider yoga a spiritual practice?
Yes, but not religious. Yoga asks you to look to your own spirit - to your center to grow.
What does Om Shanti mean?
Om is the universal symbol of sound and shanti means peace.
Is yoga a religion?
No, it is a practice and a way of life.
How is yoga different from stretching and other kinds of fitness?
There is certainly a physical and fitness aspect to the practice, but it is much more than the physical postures you hold. Yoga is a philosophy, a spiritual practice, and a physical practice. Breath in yoga signifies your prana or your life force and that is also emphasized as we practice to keep the breath moving fully to each and every part of you.
Tell me about the different kinds of yoga and which yoga is practiced at Om Shanti?
We offer a blend of styles at Om Shanti. This is how we like it because then it is not repetitive; each class is different and that helps people get more benefit. There are some pieces of Iyengar yoga which are focused on alignment, Ashtanga which is flowing and powerful, and others... Some of our classes are beginner level for the person who is more interested in a gentle, stretching workout. Some are more difficult for the practitioner who is looking for more challenge. Some classes are heated. We believe it is best for the body to experience different types of practice.
"The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Om Shanti offers a full schedule of classes for all ages and fitness levels.
I encourage you to take a class at Om Shanti if you live in the area, and if you don't I hope you will find a yoga studio near you!