Mindful Moment: Parham Neal-Pishko, Yoga Instructor

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#MindfulMoment is an opportunity to learn more about the ONE Wellness team and how mindfulness guides their practice.

There is a time for everything: a time to work, a time to play, a time to reflect, and a time to just breathe. There is always perspective and reminders about what is important even amidst daily challenges or in times of deeper turmoil. Knowing this peace and how to find it, this is what yoga means to me.

I have been a student of hatha yoga for almost twenty years now. Knowing the physical benefits of the practice, I picked up yoga as a supplement to my ballet training. After watching a close friend from college go through her teacher training, I began to understand the deeper connection between the practice and the world around us, both seen and unseen. I read several books on Buddhism that my newly certified friend loaned me and I realized, with much joy, that in fact I was much more spiritual than I was aware of. I turned my attention to exploring this epiphany and it led me right back to my mat

class after class. The mental and emotional calmness that I felt on the mat was unparalleled and I was able to “remember who we truly are” and take this feeling off of the mat, as my mentor, J Miles, says. I began to associate my emotions as initial reactions and though not always, was able to separate myself from the feeling. I set up my yoga room and began a regular home practice in addition to group classes.

As a Montessori teacher, I practice mindfulness both in and out of the classroom with the students. We make time to just sit and clear our thoughts, usually first thing in our class block, and the more I practice meditation at home, the quieter my mind becomes. Whenever I have a challenging day, I find myself craving yoga and mindfulness. After all, as the Gita reads, “yoga is perfect evenness of mind” (2:48). It is still a goal that I have yet to attain.

In June 2016, I lost my younger brother to a drug overdose. In this time of sadness, it was yoga that I turned to in order to calm my emotions. I could not have been more in need of the peace and I was so grateful that I knew how and where to go for that feeling. Yoga became my church, and J Miles my mentor. Quite ironically, the preacher’s son became my priest. After a family event, I would head straight to my mat at home or to class and practice. Practice breathing. Be present. Set my intention toward Billy’s energy or my family or myself. Read about samsara. And slowly, each time, I would feel my heart lift a bit like a reset and I was able to go again. Through teaching yoga, I hope to do this both for myself and for all others I come in contact with. I want to be the change for someone else the way that yoga was for me.  

I want people to discover in my class that Yoga is not simply asana practice, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I want others to find the peace that I found while on my mat and be the change for someone else that J Miles was for me. I am here to serve and very simply create a space that allows self-discovery for others.