“Om Gal” Answers Your Yoga, Health, Fitness Questions /// We Help Her Out

Rebecca Pachecco is sometimes known as Om Gal, a blogger who writes about health and fitness and all that jazz. She is also a 500-hour E-RYT yoga teacher and writer, “has appeared in national ad campaigns for Reebok, Ryka, Ibex, and New Balance,” and is also one of these “ambassador” things for lululemon.

As Om Gal, Pachecco has started taking some Q&A. It looks and sounds like this:

We weren’t really satisfied with this, so we thought we’d offer an alternate take on these questions seeing as they deserve more than just a nod. Here’s what we came up with:

1. What yoga poses can I do to control knee pain after running?


First, learn the above diagram inside and out. Second, without taking a moment to understand the condition of the questioner’s knees (What the hell is causing the knee pain?) Om Gal suggests sitting in virasana for Ms. Sore Knees. Now, we’re more of the opinion that before prescribing a remedy, a person should figure out what’s actually causing the pain. That way, rather than using yoga asana as a band-aid to mask the body’s natural alarm system, you can actually address the cause of the issue, and then use yoga as a supplement to maintain the body’s natural inclination to remain balanced and healthy. So, yeah, maybe virasana, but maybe not. See a body-work specialist first.

2. If you were to meet the Dalai Lama face-to-face, what would you say to him?


According to the Dalai Lama’s website, here’s what his daily schedule looks like:

“When His Holiness is at home in Dharamsala, he wakes up at 3.30 a.m. After his morning shower, His Holiness begins the day with prayers, meditations and prostrations until 5.00 a.m. From 5.00 a.m. His Holiness takes a short morning walk around the residential premises. If it is raining outside, His Holiness has a treadmill to use for his walk. Breakfast is served at 5.30 a.m. For breakfast, His Holiness typically has hot porridge, tsampa (barley powder), bread with preserves, and tea. Regularly during breakfast, His Holiness tunes his radio to the BBC World News in English. From 6 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. His Holiness continues his morning meditation and prayers. From around 9.00 a.m. until 11.30 a.m. he studies various Buddhist texts written by the great Buddhist masters. Lunch is served from 11.30 a.m. until 12.30 p.m. His Holiness’s kitchen in Dharamsala is vegetarian. However, during visits outside of Dharamsala, His Holiness is not necessarily vegetarian. As an ordained Buddhist monk, His Holiness does not have dinner. Should there be a need to discuss some work with his staff or hold some audiences and interviews, His Holiness will visit his office from 12.30 p.m. until around 4.30 p.m. Typically, during an afternoon at the office one interview is scheduled along with several audiences, both Tibetan and non-Tibetan. Upon his return to his residence, His Holiness has evening tea at 6 p.m. He then has time for his evening prayers and meditation from 6.30 p.m. until 8.30 p.m. Finally, after a long 17-hour day His Holiness retires for bed at 8.30 p.m.”

Judging from HH’s insane daily schedule, our guess is that the world’s most recognizable Buddhist exile doesn’t need to hear our two cents on how great he is or how awesome it is that he can be so “cool in chaos.” Also, it’s my personal belief that telling a real Buddhist that s/he “is great,” really just puts them in a situation where they have to combat their own ego yet again. Personally, I’d rather not add to that. They’ve got enough on their plate.

3. In your opinion, what is a balanced weekly fitness regiment?


Here we have to agree with Om Gal. Basically, whatever you feel like doing is what you end up doing, so just do that. Of course, there’s a twist! Getting at what you truly “feel” like doing will take some time once you unpack all that social lazy garbage, so you better get to work figuring out that “feeling” of what your body really needs. You also have to remember that “fitness” has no meaning when detached from a simple and sensible “healthy” lifestyle. Of course, what constitutes “health,” opens yet another can of worms, so really, you’re up Shit’s Creek on this one.

4. Is it enough for people to simply “be?”


Really? First, figure out what “to be” means. Then, when you do, let us know if this remains an important question.

5. What do you do when yoga gets monotonous?


Unfortunately, Om Gal misses a glaring opportunity to get to some real root issue stuff with this one. Why suggest to a bored yogini that she look for a new teacher or studio every time yoga gets a little tedious? That’s down right bad advice. Why not invite Ms. Boredom to investigate why she considers monotony to be such a burden, and perhaps help her find ways to unpack that? Boredom is one of the great benefits to spiritual growth (in my/our humble opinion) [See: The Myth of Freedom]. Rather than looking for yet another “spiritual practice” to latch onto, why not start digging a little?

And, to all you new (-minded) yoga teachers out there: Please try and take this stuff seriously. Yes, it’s crazy that anyone listens to you, but some people do. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t pretend. Just say you’ll look into it, and than, do that.

22 comments

  1. Dyspeptic Skeptic

    Great advice. Generally, yoga teachers should not be consulted as the primary authority for any issues that would benefit from advanced study. Many are not even expert on the subject of yoga.

  2. “Please try and take this stuff seriously. Yes, it’s crazy that anyone listens to you, but some people do. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t pretend. Just say you’ll look into it, and than, do that.”

    That’s rule #1 for great customer service (in the non-granola world in which I–and many others, including yoga teachers, who may not have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths–work).

    But still yoga teachers are first finally coming to terms with yoga being a cutthroat business. Post-John Friend fiasco and yoga backlash, of course … Please let those slow learners catch up.

  3. Yoga Dude

    I am trying to figure out the meaning of the MacBook lying on the floor in front of a Bosu ball and next to a stone.

    Some type of Feng Shui arrangement of simply a stupid place to put your laptop?

  4. “Please try and take this stuff seriously. Yes, it’s crazy that anyone listens to you, but some people do. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t pretend. Just say you’ll look into it, and than, do that.

    An addendum to that: Any time someone asks me which Yoga poses will help this-or-that pain, I always preface with “I am not a doctor, and I suggest speaking to your doctor before trying any of these poses, but here are some poses that may help…” or something along those lines. Yoga teachers generally only have basic-to-intermediate knowledge of anatomy (at least those just getting out of a 200-hr training) and having even advanced anatomy knowledge doesn’t generally make one qualified to treat or diagnose pain with Yoga poses. So yeah, new teachers, always make it a point to remind people with questions like that that you are not an expert on sports injuries or how to treat them, you’re not a psychologist, you’re not a doctor (unless, you are a general-practitioner-or-psychologist-turned-yoga-teacher, then good for you!) and that you can only tell them what you know or have heard from other practitioners.

    And yes, it is crazy that people will listen to me or believe that I have the answer to the question “I haven’t gone to the bathroom in 2 weeks, what pose is good for constipation”?? (I’m going to go ahead and take a guess and say “malasana”?) By the way no one ever asked me that question but someone did ask one of my teachers. As a teacher, I continuously educate myself so I’m at least somewhat prepared for all kinds of questions, so if I don’t have a definitive answer for someone I will know where to point them to get an answer or professional opinion they can trust. Speaking of which, it’s good to have business cards from good doctors, therapists, body-workers, massage therapists, etc. so if you do have a student that needs help you can get them to a person that can help them.

  5. Om Gal – Putting your two cents on YouTube I think now makes it worth $45,700,000.02 to Google? So – good work. Good work…

  6. Pingback: Six – Sorry – No – Five Somewhat “Yogary Things” » Mat Witts

  7. Yoga Whine

    It’s a thoroughly wannabe culture, American yoga. Self-invented sorceresses and sycophants. This lady sounds intelligent, and relatively modest, but there’s the usual glibness, and like so many of these folks, does she have any real “presence”? Is she speaking from a place of depth and wisdom? Of course not, she’s basically a kid with a camera. I do like what she said about killing yoga boredom by taking a break from yoga. But the only reason that sounds mildly interesting is that yoga teachers are so addicted to their practice and to having others listen to them that it’s refreshing to hear someone say, in effect – maybe you could get your princess fix somewhere else — for at least a day or two?

  8. Yoga Whine

    Baba Ganoush — What is that naked guy doing?

    1) Practicing some deeply mystical form of self-flagellatiion?
    2) Awaiting the insertion of an enema?
    3) Ask a student to whack that annoying fly on his ass?

    • Depending on the context, I think all apply! Although, I’d hesitate to call it “self” flagellation. Definitely second party participation. Perhaps, self-requested-flagellation.

      • Yoga Whine

        Well, to most “lay”men, that would be called BDSM. On the other hand, having been around the studios and the certifiable nut jobs that teach, most yoga instruction is a form of BDSM, on the spiritual plane.

    • wondering

      badminton? tennis? pickle ball?

  9. J

    I feel silly just coming on this blog and telling Baba that I love this blog… but I’m going to do it anyway.

    Baba, I love this blog.

  10. Greenpoint

    the disney picture might be the most disturbing picture you’ve had on this site…gives me the chills!

    • Yoga Whine

      There’s definitely a chilling undercurrent to that photo. All is not well beneath the surface. The way the Mickeys are “coveting” the child. C’mon little girl, let’s go our secret Mickey castle. Smile to the camera person. Is this an outtake from Blue Velvet?

  11. @J: Thanks for doing so! Always feels good to hear.

    @Greenpoint: It’s a strange one indeed. Very “crisp.”

    @wondering: “Pickle ball?”

    • wondering

      all the rage in the senior centers. wiffle ball and little paddle that appears to fit nicely in the chubby guys a-hole

  12. Brilliant. Particularly Pictorial examples #4 and #5. Here is another answer for Ms. Sore Knees: Ah, Ms, Sore Knees, so glad you wrote in with the viral question of KNEE PAIN! What can I say? Perhaps as a window to the knee we should look to the joints of the brain, otherwise known as synapsis, and to the fluid shunting between those synapsis, otherwise known as thoughts…

  13. Hahaha, love it!! Only recently discovered your site, and am having great fun reading through the articles. We all need to take yoga less seriously, but more seriously…Hang on that makes no sense. But, hopefully you know what I mean.

    Keep up the great work!

  14. Pingback: Six – Sorry – No – Five Somewhat “Yogary Things” | ROuGH yOga

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