Om in your own way.
I jotted down this sentence after watching the final scene in the T.V. series Mad Men. I have carried this thought around with me ever since. If I remember the scene correctly, it was the main character Don Draper sitting cross-legged on a grassy overlook in California surrounded by yogis chanting Om. Don wasn’t “Om-ing” like the others; he was sitting still and quiet. (I fully realize “Om-ing” is not a real word but you know what I mean) In my opinion, this was a clever way for the writers to end Don’s journey. If you watched the show, you know Don was a chain smoking, heavy drinking, womanizing ad executive who drove across country to escape a job and a marriage that were falling apart. He was a broken man who I’d like to believe in that moment was starting to piece himself together again. But who knows? Maybe he was planning out his next fling and thinking of pouring himself an old fashioned.
Many yoga classes begin and/or end with the chanting of Om and its meaning isn’t easily definable and its roots beyond the scope of this writing. In my experience, yoga teachers like to speak about sealing in the practice and joining our energies together as we chant Om. Sometimes, the Oms are sent out for someone in our universe who needs healing – a beautiful thought behind a beautiful mantra. Why didn’t Don Om like the others? Did he not know the connective power of this mantra? Was he bucking thousands of years of yoga practice? Not at all, Don was simply practicing his yoga in that moment while living his life.
One of the things I like about yoga is that it is my practice. There is no “American Ninja Yogi” or “Cross Yoga Games” – everybody does it for themselves. Most yoga teachers get that. Although, I do remember one yoga teacher getting a little salty with another yogi and I for not “Om-ing” loud enough. Yep! She seriously stopped “Om-ing” and said that she shouldn’t be the only one “Om-ing”. Felt oddly similar to the way that I tell my fourth grade students that I am not doing this math problem for my health. I don’t even really know what that means. Why would someone being doing Math for their health? I also like to remind them that I passed fourth grade and I know this already. In hindsight, maybe the yoga instructor was giving me a taste of my own medicine.
Nevertheless, I draw many lessons from yoga that I feel infuse into my life. I can Om as loud or as soft as I want. It is after all my vibrational energy. Maybe I vibrate a little softer some days and need to keep a little Om on reserves. Or I can Om like there is no tomorrow. I swear there is one lady who frequents my yoga studio who belts out her Om like she is looking to shatter some eardrums. Either way, do you.
There are some days I take yoga and I want to fling myself into child’s pose for the duration – except maybe to unfurl for some savasana (corpse pose). Other times I can’t get enough downward dogs, cobras, cats, cows etc. Bring on the pigeon pose!
Even if you don’t practice yoga, there is much to be learned from it. I’m not saying throw yourself down in child’s pose when you have a bad day at the office or make like a corpse when you learn your in-laws are coming for a visit. What I am saying is don’t compare yourself to others, take care of your body and vibrate at your frequency. Do you. Don Draper was a pig for most of Mad Men but in the end he got one thing right – “Om in your own way”.O