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Bliss army .. Jae Omnet (centre) has recently returned from Bali, where she was a training facilitator and lead assistant for the Blissology 200-hour teacher training programme. PHOTO: MEREDITH ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY

At a time when anxiety is high, wellness is vital. Rebecca Ryan chats to Oamaru yoga instructor, meditation guide and reiki practitioner Jae Omnetabout the impact yoga has had on her life, and how people can remain healthy and calm while in isolation.

Q You’ve recently returned to New Zealand from Bali – what were you doing over there?

I go to Bali every year. I am the training facilitator and lead assistant for the Blissology 200-hour teacher training programme. This year, I also managed the YES Eco Karma Retreat for my teachers, Blissology founders Eoin and Insiya Finn.

Q What does yoga teacher training involve?

YTT, as we call it, is a 200-hour programme that enables students to become yoga teachers. We study everything from the foundations, history and philosophy of yoga to the anatomy of the asana (poses and breath), alignment principles and sequencing, voice and other teaching skills. We also create life-changing experiences for people to open up to who they really are, find their true voice, discover what they want for their life and who they want to reach with their teaching. We coach connection, self-reflection, embodiment, releasing physical and mental obstacles and authentic communication.

Blissed and blessed .. Jae Omnet (right) leads a yoga class in Bali. PHOTO: MEREDITH ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY

Q How long have you been practising yoga and why did you start?

I began teaching yoga through Les Mills at what is now Fitness24. I started teaching a fitness class called Body Balance which is a blend of tai chi, yoga and pilates. This was my first, very small, taste of what yoga was and I learned some incredible techniques for leading a class and engaging with students. When I reached burnout at the gym, and when other health challenges took centre stage in my life, I had to step away and I chose to do my yoga teacher training in Bali in 2014. I started for my own healing benefit and the need to explore the world and myself, but I also wanted to share what I loved and teaching groups and guiding people to healthy happiness has always been my calling.

Q What impact has yoga had on your life?

Yoga has played a major part in healing. Firstly, my body, but more importantly my mind, leading me to understand the barriers I had created through fear, guilt and shame growing up, but also the strength, happiness and ability that is our birthright. That is why I practice and why I share it.

Q Covid-19 has caused a major shift in our lives, and the uncertainty seems to be causing anxiety which can be mentally and physically draining. Can yoga and meditation help?

Wow, there are more benefits than I could put in a novel. Anxiety and stress will kill us if we allow it to lead the way. We need movement and breath in order to be well in our bodies and minds. Our state of mind is everything. Gratitude and positive focus is the only way to really truly be happy in life, therefore creating strength and releasing tension in our body via yoga is the best way to longevity and optimal wellness, realising that our thoughts aren’t actually who we are, but the nature of them is vital to our productivity and success, our relationships and happiness. Meditation is key, also.

Q What advice do you have for people to look after their mental wellbeing while they are self-isolating?

Meditate for sure. There are so many apps you can download for free – or follow teachers on social media or websites.

Realise the things in your life that make you happy – they will will also make you well.

Hydrate, take baths, read books, move your body and breathe.

Definitely keep up to date and be aware of the changes in the world, but keep focused on what you can do for yourself and your home.

Don’t get sucked into the dread and fear.

Q Why did you decide to offer yoga classes and reiki online at this time?

I am so glad I am home at this time to share tools and tips with people. This week, I led yoga classes online via Facebook live.

As these times are so unknown, I am making myself available to coach and create a lot more classes online as soon as possible.

I want to do as much as I can to support people during this isolation, to maintain wellness and guide them to healthy happiness, doing the best we can with what we have.

To find out more about Jae’s classes, visit: facebook.com/blissyogastudiooamaru