Nestled in the heart of St. Matthews in the back corner of a beautiful, nature-filled office park lives an oasis of peace and understanding for Louisville’s youth and families.
OMies Yoga Studio is the brainchild of Rachel Story. She never set out to own and operate Louisville’s first and only youth- and family-centered yoga studio, yet it’s growing, thriving, and creating empowerment daily.
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Seven years ago, a child she knew and loved was experiencing internal troubles that needed attention. Rachel wasn’t comfortable hearing about the generalized diagnosis that suggested medication. “We really are such a ‘quick-fix-it America,’” she says. Instead, Rachel researched, studied, and learned that yoga and mindfulness could possibly help. “I ended up traveling to New York where I became certified in teaching yoga to children. In my first class I didn’t even know all the poses, but I loved it! Before long I was certified to teach yoga to special needs children, autistic children, ADHD children — all children.”
After Rachel became certified, she held neighborhood yoga classes in her driveway on Saturday mornings. “At night, I would take my kids and go teach yoga at different nonprofits such as Gilda’s Club and Home of the Innocents,” she says. “The whole time I was still working my regular job, and my kids each participated in other activities as well.”
Over time, Rachel started to see positive changes in the people she was teaching regularly, especially the child who prompted it all. She realized that through practicing yoga the children were developing natural tools to help calm anxiety, improve concentration, and gain confidence. “Medication is over-prescribed as a quick fix when often children and youth just need to learn to self-regulate. Yoga can provide these tools,” says Rachel, who received positive feedback from parents and teachers of her students.
“I was seeing such positive changes all around, especially in the case of family yoga. One of the comments I hear most often from parents after they’ve done yoga with their kids is that after months of not communicating with more than one-word answers, the kids open up and actually talk all the way home!”
OMies Yoga Studio opened its doors to the public in October 2018. In addition to Rachel, there are 12 instructors teaching kid classes, teen classes, prenatal classes, family classes, workshops, and camps. “The name ‘OMies’ came from my kids,” Rachel says, “We liked it because we say ‘OM’ before and after each class. It’s a form of unity. ‘OM’ is symbolic of all of the sounds of the universe. In yoga, we come from a variety of places, talents and beliefs, but we all come together for one practice.”
Inside the studio written in large letters across the blackboard is a saying that speaks to this: “Come as you are, not as you think you should be.” Rachel Story didn’t set out to become a Yogi or a yoga studio owner. The fact that she wasn’t attached to an idea of what her life was supposed to be like enabled her to change courses in order to fulfill what she now knows is an important need. “It’s work that doesn’t feel like work,” she says.
“A child who learns yoga, mindfulness, and relaxation will be developing essential skills for a lifetime of health and wellness in mind, body, and spirit.”