Yogini of the Month: Omar Farooque
Omar Farooque is our yogi of the month. Originally from Phoenix, Omar came to Evanston to work on his PhD in economics at Northwestern University in 2010. The 25 year old Omar got started in yoga when he was 18. He had just moved out on his own and was coping with stress of transitioning to an independent lifestyle. He said, "My best friend's mom suggested I take a yoga class with her and I did. I found it to be really calming. I figured I needed something to help me calm and de-stress and to find some peace." Originally Omar started out with Yin and Vinyasa Flow classes. He eventually transitioned to more of an Ashtanga based practice at North Shore Yoga Evanston. I've been practicing Ashtanga for 2 years now." Omar said the main challenge he faced in developing a personal yoga practice was finding the time. "I used to have a home practice, but it was very irregular. I guess it's just a matter of carving out the time each day or a couple of days each week." He said the atmosphere at North Shore Yoga motivated to come and practice regularly. "There is a real sense of community here. The Mysore people are all very friendly, helpful and kind. They help you learn how to deepen your practice. It's nice to have a regular place to come to and regular people to see."
Currently Omar practices both meditation and Ashtanga up to six times per week with Yin on Sundays. When asked how the two helped him in life he said, "They combine to help me burn off the excess energy and restlessness which I've always had. I always had some insomnia my entire life. When I add meditation I find I sleep a lot better."
He said that he had read a lot of different philosophical writings but was influenced most by Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. "I try to live by the Yoga Sutras to a certain degree." In this regard he recently became a vegan and says he feels a lot lighter now that he doesn't eat meat.
Omar gives a bit of advice to those who are new to yoga asana particularly those that struggle to get in the poses in Ashtanga, "Getting in a pose isn't that big a deal. You will get there when you get there. Just enjoy what you are doing." His main recommendation is to make time to do the practice and benefit from its healing affects. "You should always take the time to do the things that make you feel better and take care of yourself."
Over time Yoga has influenced Omar in ways he didn't expect and ways that has made him happier. "Throughout a large portion of my life I've struggled with depression and addiction. I guess Yoga has helped get me through that and find inner peace which I otherwise didn't have." Omar we are happy you have found your Yoga practice and are even more happy to have you as part of the NSY family. Congratulations.