Finding OM and picture books that will follow intend to explore universal mantras from South Asian traditions while introducing practices that lie at the heart of yoga philosophy and mindfulness - meditation and self-inquiry.
Yoga is reconnection. It is the “yoking together” or integration of body:mind:heart:spirit, in wholeness with itself and in relationship with the environment.
Mindfulness is the remembrance of this naturally integrated way of being human. It is the full awareness of our inclusive presence, in constant relationship with the diverse world around us.
By connecting with this awareness of ourselves in wholeness we make space for the potential to further connect to places of peace, wisdom, strength, and love already here, now.
These integrated ways of living don’t belong to any one culture or group of people. These are deep ways of knowing, being, and inter-relating that have been explored across the world, over centuries. They are innate to our human experience.
South Asian yoga and mindfulness practices are just some of the ways of connecting to this organically integrated presence of awareness - at once relaxed and clear, curious, open, loving, courageous, and alive.
These are also treasured practices that are embedded into many of the cultural and Hindu spiritual traditions I grew up with in our Indian American household. They were some of the little (and equally profound) ways I was able to connect with my heritage, language, and identity as a child of immigrants from Kerala, India.
My hope is that Finding OM and subsequent books will provide children in the South Asian diaspora an opportunity to see themselves in a story that shares mainstream mindfulness ideas in a very culturally relevant way. I also hope it will help children and adults in all communities explore the universal nature of yoga and mindfulness philosophies.
Our family is a mixed one. My husband’s family is Zimbabwean and Black American. He spent a majority of his childhood in Zimbabwe and moved to Chicago at age 13. Catholic traditions and a strong sense of faith have always been celebrated in his home, along with respect and honoring of other traditional beliefs.
When we had children, mindfulness and yoga philosophy became the base from which we have been exploring all faiths together.
We hope picture books like Finding OM might inspire other interfaith families like ours to see that spiritual practice together as a family can be accessible and inclusive.
Rashmi S. Bismark
I'm a preventive medicine physician specialized in mindfulness, lifestyle, and community health. I'm a yoga teacher, an educator, a researcher, a devoted mom and expatriate wife, living a blessed global nomad life.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this website does not serve as medical advice nor does it substitute for a thorough medical evaluation by a health care practitioner. It also does not represent the opinions of any of the mentioned medical institutions or practitioners. Consult a physician or local health care provider before changing any medications, diet or exercise regimen.
© 2016 Rashmi S. Bismark, MD, MPH