Teacher Feature: Omri Kleinberger

What made you want to become a Yoga Teacher?

When i started practicing Bikram Yoga, i had absolutely no yoga experience. I remember struggling tremendously every single class, mentally and physically, it was such an amazing challenge unlike i’ve ever tried before. A lot of what helped get me through was the encouragement and advice of my teachers, I loved how l learned more about myself and broke through hurdles every single class. I became a work study at the studio because it helped me commit to the practice, and a year and a half later i became the studio manager. I got to know students a lot better, and i decided that since i was looking for a change in my professional career, becoming a teacher would allow me to do something i love, and give an opportunity to to inspire people to achieve the same sense of accomplishment that i felt through the practice. Since then, sharing my passion has been a great love of mine and and a big source of fulfillment in my life.

omri3What makes being a Yoga Teacher Amazing?

Being a yoga instructor allows you to connect to people. I’m an introvert by nature, and the teaching made me comfortable interacting more freely. I also love the fact that my students come from all walks of life, and there is a wonderful exchange of ideas and impressions about pretty much anything between us, from which i learn a lot as well. We share our knowledge and our passion, and i feel lucky that we get to spend this time together. We help each other become better people.

Tell us about your own practice. Which posture is most challenging for you and how do you get through it?

EVERY single posture in the series has been challenging for me at some point, but the biggest physical obstacle came from my scoliosis. i didn’t even know i have it until i was years into my practice. No teacher I knew at the time could say why my back was hurting unevenly and continuously, and it was a tremendous intellectual challenge to seek out the right teachers to guide me in the right direction. Today i can help students with scoliosis, and i feel that knowing that there’s a reason for their extra struggle, and that it’s something they can work on and get better at  makes them feel hopeful about managing and alleviating the pain, inflexibility and discomfort that are associated with it. My studies into the mechanics of it pushed me to learn a lot about movement, anatomy, and various relaxation and strengthening methods. This coming weekend i’m leading a workshop at Bikram NYC in which i will talk extensively about how to go about overcoming difficulties in the practice.

omri2Outside of yoga, what projects are you involved with? What do you do for fun?

i’m a big fan of wellness in general, especially psychology, sports, and nutrition. I make Yoga Wheels which are called the Mandala Yoga Wheel, a wonderful tool to help with Back Flexibility and relaxation. I’ve always been into cooking and food, i love ethnic and diverse food, and i try new techniques and ingredients often. I love reading about self empowerment, the pursuit of happiness and contentment, competitive nature and overcoming adversity. These days I find myself drawn towards topics of equality and social justice, i believe that now more than ever there is a acknowledgment that underrepresentation of people is unjust and exclusive, and that the future lies in empowerment and the wonderful richness of diversity. I also love trying out new sports. I rock climb, ice skate, and ride an electric unicycle. I like swimming and rowing, and while i’m a relative novice in all these things, i love that the yoga makes them much more accessible to me especially since i was a very un-athletic kid, ridiculously so, and now i get to do everything i want to with relative ease.

What are you currently reading or listening to?

I would love to share three books that have been pivotal to me in the last couple of years, the first is called “Start with why” by Simon Sinek, it talks about the inspiration to our actions. there’s also a TED talk he did about his ideas that i would encourage to watch if you want to know more about it . the second is “Inherit the Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, a wonderful book about omri1empowerment and renewing your faith in your abilities. The third is called “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounces me-hi cheek-sent-me-hi), and it quantifies and organizes the process or becoming passionate. these are amazing books about the workings of the mind and the ability to reconfigure the way you look at things. I’m also a big fan of TED talks and i watch one almost every day. Amazing TED talks i recommend are “The Art of Being Yourself” by Caroline McHugh, and of course the “The power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown.

Any final words?

Finding time to take care yourself and your needs is an important investment in your future. The changes and commitments i made have changed my life dramatically. It wasn’t always clear that they would, i wasn’t always happy or could see it to begin with, but i knew that continuously trying and struggling made me feel as if i was making tangible steps towards something better. If you want to make a change, to make a difference, use the physical struggle and the time in the yoga room to meditate and realign your priorities. Find time to grow as a person, make courageous leaps of faith, and talk to there people about your struggles. I believe people are inherently good in their nature and more often than not will try to help you. they won’t necessarily do the work for you, but they might show you things you can’t or won’t see,and help you move in the right direction. it’s then up to you to keep trying, and not be discouraged by failure. Every failure is a lesson and a step towards Success. Come take class with me, say hi, maybe i can help you move forward.