Movement & Breath – the Nature of Meditation & Yoga
Stepping into Elemental OM’s Mason location, located in an old church, feels like a breath of fresh air. With a wide open space featuring local artwork and large, stained glass windows allowing the sunshine outside to pour in, the space seems peaceful and full of light and color. With a main space featuring refurbished 100-year old wooden floors, the open area evokes a sense of history and serenity. Pamela Quinn, owner of Elemental OM and author of “The Elemental Cleanse,” spent more than eight weeks refurbishing, cleaning and painting the studio herself. Why put in so much effort to open another studio? Because Quinn is passionate about what she does – and how she does it differently than everyone else.
“At Elemental OM, we target students who are generally 35 and up. Most of our students are probably well over 40. We offer more beginner classes and gentle classes than any other studios. Most studios are ‘power yoga’ studios, so they really treat yoga as fitness. We don’t do that; if there’s any fitness yoga in a class, we label it as fitness yoga. Otherwise, we’re here so that you can learn to take care of your mind. It’s about destressing, relaxing and gently and organically moving your body in ways that are comfortable,” says Quinn. “For example, if you had an accident or injury or poor health, you could come to one of our classes to help you feel better. That’s our goal.”
While yoga is certainly a passion for Quinn, her studio doesn’t stop there, offering a variety of lifestyle courses and workshops.
“I teach Ayurveda, which is a form of preventative, holistic medicine from India. A lot of our workshops and events include nutritional advice and lifestyle advice. We also teach a lot of meditation courses, and usually teach some meditation within each class. We like to think of this as a ‘homey’ community,” says Quinn.
Quinn herself has experienced the transformative power of yoga and meditation firsthand.
“I actually hurt my back. I woke up one morning and couldn’t move, and I was perfectly healthy. I had to do physical therapy for a year and had all kinds of prescriptions – pain killers and sleep aids. Finally, toward the end of the year, I was told by a doctor, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just going to have to live with pain.’ I had read that meditation helps with chronic pain, so I went to a store, grabbed a random book on meditation, found a meditation teacher and started meditating,” she says. “Then we went to a meditation retreat at the Chopra Center for seven days to further understand meditation. They started and ended every day there with gentle yoga, and taught us about Ayurveda.”
When Quinn returned from this invigorating experience, she knew she had to share it with others.
“When I came home, I implemented everything, and within five months, I was 95 percent pain free. So of course I went back to get all of their training and certifications. It’s a lifestyle now that’s fun to share with others. So many people struggle with anxiety and depression, or making good food choices, and this is a great platform to help people.”
While Quinn refers to yoga and meditation as a lifestyle practice, she doesn’t deny or downplay the spiritual aspects of the practice.
“Yoga, by definition, is a spiritual practice,” she says. “It’s said that it ‘arose into the consciousness of man’ 5,000 to 40,000 years ago. You can even find hieroglyphics depicting commonly known yoga poses. It was probably nature’s way and man’s way or worshipping that which they didn’t understand through nature, through physical movement, and through breath and meditation.
“Yogis believe that there are seven levels of consciousness. Most of us are aware of waking, sleeping and dreaming. Some are considered to be aware of a soul level. If you implement a deep meditation practice, you become aware of the other levels of consciousness, which leads to what’s called ‘a unity consciousness’ or ‘cosmic consciousness’ – that feeling of oneness. The intent is to physically move the body so that the body becomes purified and healthy so that the mind no longer has to think about the body.”
But while yoga and meditation are both spiritual in nature, they are not bound or restricted to any one religion, Quinn explains.
“It’s not a religion, but it does support religion. Let’s say you were a Christian and you had a deep affection for Mother Mary or Jesus – certainly you would feel a more experiential, tangible connection to that which you believe in through the process of yoga and meditation. Everything arose from somewhere, and there’s a common thread through everything, regardless of where it arose from.
“This practice works. I have to share it with as many people as possible because I know that it can help and heal them. I love to see people shift and grow. There is always a moment when I am teaching this course – usually week three – when I will see a light turn on in someone’s eyes,” says Quinn. “I will see them light up with hope. Everything about them in that moment changes. I get to see their entire life change in that moment when they realize they are going to heal. They suddenly realize that they are coming up for air. It’s magical. It’s beautiful. I want to see people shift every single day. I can’t even describe it adequately. I’m addicted to it. When I see them heal, it heals me too. That’s the real reason I do this.”
Elemental OM has studio locations in Montgomery, Symmes, and Mason. For more information, call 513.440.3128, email email@example.com or visit elementalom.com