Friday, December 15, 2017

A Q &A with Richard Odom- Sun Valley’s very own guru

February 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured Articles

Richard Odom has been teaching jam packed yoga classes to local Wood River Valley residents and celebrities such as Jamie Lee Curtis for over 35 years. Just walk into the yoga studio at the Wood River Community Y at 3 Pm and you’ll already see patrons laying down mats to claim their spots for his relaxing 4 o’clock class. Richard’s yoga style can best be described as “yoga for everyday people”. Anyone- skier, skater, biker, hiker, or 9 to 5er- can benefit from dropping onto a mat and breathing into a set of yoga poses. IceTalent caught up with Richard to talk about his approach to yoga and how looking inside our own bodies can teach us more about our health than we ever thought possible.

IT: What is your yoga philosophy?

RO: It’s all from the ground up. I put a lot of emphasis on the horizontal plane. When you’re upright you carry around a lot of habits and  all kinds of trauma. For example,sports injuries, the way you were forced to sit in school for long periods of time, and carrying books on one arm develop a body that’s out of balance.

IT: Much of your work is done laying flush to the mat. What does working on the horizontal plane do for the body?

RO:When you stand up into a field of gravity  habits kick in and become inhibitors to some of the things you’d like your body to do. When you go down onto the ground, however, the spine decompresses, you take the pressure off the joints,and msucles begin to relax.  You impress this change on your subconcious mind. This allows the nervous system to adapt. When you stand up you’re not carrying around all the old habits.

IT: How can athletes benefit from yoga?

RO: The nature of athletics is to project your mind’s attention outward  towards a goal, a basket, a fence, a hurdle- there’s always a target. Yoga is  about brining your mind’s attention back to the inside, to the body, and to  let your body teach you. It’s about creating a presence of mind,which clears  your head and allows you to learn to focus your attention where you want  to focus it.  You can focus on what’s going on in the moment, which you  don’t have time to do while playing a sport.

IT: How can yoga aid in recoverying from injury?

RO: There’s no momentum, speed, or impact in yoga so you  feel very safe while you’re doing it. The way I teach it, close to the ground, there’s nowhere to fall. You can also simulate your sport on the ground to put the pieces together.

-Nicolette House

Richard Odom has been teaching yoga to Wood River Valley residents since the mid 1970s. His extensive athletic background includes ballet, body building, and weight lifting. He has also studied Tai Chi and Aikido. His DVDs “Yoga for Everyday People” are available on his website, www.richardodom.com and Atkinson’s in Ketchum and Hailey, ID, Iconoclast in Ketchum., and at the Wood River Community Y in Ketchum.

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