September 24, 2021
Osi has a passion for life. An internationally celebrated yoga teacher, Osi delights in delivering playful and dynamic asana coupled with yogic wisdom and personal insight into her yoga classes. She teaches in studios and workshops both here and abroad and is a certified Shambhala meditation guide and Kundalini yoga teacher. Often described as a “desert flower”, her Middle Eastern roots embellish her classes with spirituality, music, and global spirit. Osi enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking, listening to music, rock climbing, traveling and exploring different cultures. As an entrepreneur, she runs Osi Living, a lifestyle company designed to guide women towards a harmonious life of robust health, joy, and meaning.
Company Background Story
No Stomach For the Diagnosis
As I look back I see snapshots of my illness on a path not well illuminated or understood. For years, I had aches and stomach pains. It was something I ate. It was the flu. It was a difficult pregnancy. All of these explanations had masked the truth of a serious medical condition. The “quiet” periods erased the memory of the pain, discomfort and shame. Until, slowly, there were no quiet periods. The digestive problems were virtually constant. At times, I would have to rest just to be able to walk. After my second pregnancy, the anxiety and emotional stress made things even worse. But as a mom with a two-year-old son and an infant, I had few free moments for healing. I would somehow “live with it” and “figure things out.” Another child 15 months later placed my body under more stress. I just wanted to feel normal, but I couldn’t remember what “normal” was. What could I eat that wouldn’t make me sick? What could I drink? When would this end?
Yoga and mediation helped by calming my body and my soul. The more I embraced yoga, the better I felt. There was less noise. The pain was dulled. I found the path to “normal” through yoga, education, and finding the light on that road. I needed to learn more about these things that made me feel better. So in 2000, I started studies with John Friend and became a certified yoga teacher in 2008.
As a Kundalini instructor and a Shambhala meditation guide, I’ve helped hundreds of people find ways to recapture their essence and define their journey. I believe God dwells within us, and that we are all spiritual beings. We can see our world through the eyes of shimmering possibility. This is the shiva drishti. My practice helps people connect to their higher self, turn down the noise and listen to the heart. The Sanskrit word lila is a concept in Hinduism that literally means play. Through a joyful embrace of the universe, I try to infuse every day with this intention…
However, shortly after a vacation in St. Thomas with my husband and three boys, my health again spiraled downward. I’d bounced back before. It was just another episode. It would pass.
I could barely drag myself out of bed. I couldn’t get my kids ready in the morning, let alone teach yoga. Fighting nausea, I could barely drink water. Two colonoscopies and a minor surgery later, I was told it was only inflammation.
More illness and tests… Ulcerative colitis? Probably not. Crohn’s Disease? No. Irritable bowel? Too low down in the intestine. Lyme’s Disease? Not this time. Nothing was for sure. Antibiotics, cortisone and medications initially helped calm the symptoms, but I was sicker than ever before.
Soon only warm baths calmed my stomach and gave me a few moments of relief. But one weekend was unusually bad. I couldn’t even drink water without vomiting. I settled into a bath, hoping to ease the pain. I could barely hold my head up. But suddenly I smelled roses, the fragrance of my childhood… the fragrance of afternoons in my grandmother’s garden back in Israel. I felt her presence with me, urging me to get to a hospital.
That night my husband rushed me to St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City, 35 miles away.
On the way to the hospital I was lifeless. That was a really dark time. No light in my soul. Everything was so dark. On the path of yoga, I have studied to have faith and see the light, but at that moment, there was no light. It felt like there was no God. But I prayed and asked for help. I really asked for help.
“I see you are in a lot of pain,” said the nurse in the ER, holding my hand. “For your suffering, let me give you some morphine.” I looked at my husband and said, “I don’t want to put that drug in my body.” Even at that moment I was resisting letting someone else take care of me. I don’t know how to explain it a different way, but then I let go, as if letting the universe hold me, and the pain eased. A shift occurred. I surrendered.
A worried parade of doctors began ordering tests and a CAT scan. They prescribed steroids and more heavy-duty medications. As the eleventh doctor stood bedside and pushed my IV bag aside to palpate my stomach, I shuddered. Nothing said, but his anxious look conveyed something really horrific about my condition. In a short time, I went from 122 to 108 pounds.
The medical specialist told me I likely had Crohn’s Disease, a diagnosis I’d heard before. He explained how this autoimmune disease attacks the body’s intestinal tract and affects some 500,000 Americans, often starting in young people. No surgical or pharmaceutical cure exists. “You’ll have to be on medication for the rest of your life,” he said. “But you’re stable for now.”
I’m grateful to Western medicine for saving my life, I remember thinking, but this is NOT a long-term solution for me.
Fortunately, my kula, or community of friends, supported me. They dropped off orchids and miniature roses, carpooled and brought dinner, and repeated reassuring words so often that they soon became a mantra, “You will get better.” I regained clarity and regained a lot of peace. My heart was completely open with all the love pouring into me from my community, from my husband, from my children. The love kept me going. And during this time of love and healing I came back to my essence, and my truth of who I am and what I believe. I slowed down. I realized I needed to be more present. I needed to simplify my life. The days can move so fast, but we really don’t need to do that much. That is what I realized.
When recovering from illness, the body benefits from basic yoga, meditation, and a restorative raw macrobiotic diet. More benefits come from 40 days of Kundalini kriyas. A holistic doctor supported my decision to stop using steroids and other drugs.
One night after I had made these lifestyle changes, I had a very vivid dream. A crawling bug, no doubt representing the disease, was being removed from my body. As I gently slept, it was as if my cells were telling me that my illness was gone. Vanished. I still can’t explain how something as serious as Crohn’s could simply disappear.
I realized, however, I still needed to do more to restore my weakened intestines and improve overall health. This led me on a quest to heal myself deeply through diet. As I resumed teaching yoga, I set time aside to investigate—and follow—nutritional advice.
Soon I was healthier, stronger. Ah ha, I thought, it’s time to begin planting bijas, or the seeds of new ideas, to enhance my highest self. I wanted to take my yoga practice back to my roots in Israel, where I’d lived until I was 18, and follow a more global practice.
As for those bijas, about a year ago I taught downward dogs and fun yoga poses to children in Israeli orphanages. One autumn in Paris, accompanied by six of my yoga students, I kicked into a joyful handstand one night after dinner (and wine!), the Eiffel Tower glittering behind me… In playing the balance between being the “co-creator of your life,” where you live with intention and commitment, and “surrender,” you can align yourself with a gentler flow of what is possible. It’s like a cup that is not full or empty. A cup that has enough “food” to feed your soul, and not too full that you can’t see your blessing. And guess what? No life-threatening illness is needed to embrace such a shift.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson, is a best-selling author and speaker.
May 09, 2021
May 05, 2021
I wanted to call this article the power of joy, but before we experience joy we must understand that joy is an outcome of self-love.
When I was a child, I remember hearing people referring to others as “selfish” or “narcissistic.” When someone acts selfishly, they are acting in a way in which they can’t see beyond the Self, and they don’t realize the effect and hurt they cause people by their actions. True narcissism is a disease of the mind, and I personally don’t know if people can recover from that behavior. But the point I am trying to make is that these character traits are seen in those who do not feel self-love.
Self-love is apparent in people who are full enough that they enjoy sharing their love with others - they don’t feel drained by helping and loving someone else. But I don’t believe that we can fully operate in an energy of abundance and joy without loving our Selves first. The two go hand in hand.
Sometimes, self-love comes in the form of setting boundaries for your Self. It’s about living in a way that is comfortable to you and not accepting anything that comprises your integrity for the sake of someone else.
When we give our children boundaries, they are happy because they still have the freedom to play as long as they follow the “rules”. But as we become adults, we need to begin to advocate for our Selves and our inner child. We need to slow down and listen to our inner voice when we recognize that something we’re involved with may ultimately hurt us.
We all have inner guides operating within us. And when we slow down enough to listen, integrity will always align with the heart. One thing we all must realize though, is that you cannot make another do their inner work and you cannot do the inner work for them. We can offer support, listen to friends and give our advice, but ultimately, people must be willing to work on themselves.
Sometimes, we lose ourselves in unhealthy people and relationships. Self-love is when you can recognize this and remove yourself from these kinds of situations - knowing you are good enough to save your Self! When you feel as if you are not honoring your Self, you need to pull away, even if it feels good in the moment. Self-love is an act of living in your highest and treating your Self well when no one is watching.
We should all strive to never cheat or lie because we all know deep down we are only cheating ourselves. But we are humans, and we all make mistakes. The most important action to take when you hurt someone else non-intentionally is to be compassionate to your Self and be mature enough to take action and address the issue. Ask for forgiveness but also don’t forget to forgive your Self.
Another way we can practice self-love is by doing yoga, meditating, taking nature walks and contemplating. This is when I personally feel most in tune with my own body, mind and heart. I find self-love through teaching others and sharing with the people who take care of their Selves in the same way that I do.
Self-love is also being in tune with our own bodies well enough that we know when we need to rest or when we need to shut off the phone or when we need to speak to a friend and ask for help or when we simply need quiet time to regenerate.
Taking care of our bodies and minds is important. One practical way to practice self-love is with Ayurveda. After I received the Abyanga Ayurveda treatment, which involves warm oils rubbed into your skin by two practitioners at the same time, I knew other people should experience the same self-love that I felt from the treatment. That’s when I decided to launch my product line.
Now when I need to practice self-love, I often do the treatment at home. I use OSI Ayurveda Manifest Body Oil, which is made with sandalwood and rose oil. I warm it up a bit and put it all over my hair, feet, belly, shoulders and breasts. Then I take a bath to wipe off just enough but keep some of the oil on the body. I put quiet Kundalini music and get the best rest for the mind.
Valentine’s Day is always a good time of year to remember to practice self-love, but we should get in the habit of doing it daily. After reading this, I hope you love yourself each day moving forward, and do something sweet that will open your heart like a rose.
With love and gratitude,
April 07, 2021
March 02, 2021
A few days ago, I took a drive with my son to go visit my parents and we got into an eye-opening conversation. I was telling my son how I gained weight and I had been procrastinating to take back control of my healthier lifestyle. My son looked at me and asked a simple yet profound question, "What can you do about it and why would you wait?"
He continued on to assure me that it’s okay to procrastinate for a bit. I knew he was right, but I also knew that my inner voice would eventually make me look at the home within that I worked hard to build. In that moment, I made a promise to myself that I would eliminate 3 negative habits and add 3 positive habits.
To get back on track, I said I would stop drinking coffee and eliminate wheat and dairy from my diet. I promised myself that I would replace those eating habits with raw food, green juices and a weekly workout regimen.
But I also knew it would take effort to get back into my healthy routine. I recognized that I had not been pushing myself to focus on my health recently because it would feel like a restrain in addition to the one I was already battling - a 2-year divorce.
The divorce process took every inch of me and my body and made me feel like I was at war with myself. The last thing I wanted to do was wake up at 4 am and practice or eat raw food. I wanted nurturing, warm, cooked food, but I didn’t want to make it myself because I had no desire to be in my kitchen - a place where I shared love and laughter with my family that was now falling apart.
I had been so caught up in the external world and the court - focusing on abuse and unsettling issues - that I almost forgot my practice. For the past 20 years, my practice had supported me along the journey of ending a long and unhealthy relationship and finally moving forward. But I had eventually found myself putting more emphasis on morning coffee and extra hours of sleep instead of nurturing my home within.
Some kind, non-judgmental words from my dear friend, Anne Novak, truly helped me through this darker time. "Rest and when it’s time, you will get back on track." She kept reminding me not to stay in the victim space and that everything in my life was here to teach me something.
While I drove across the Tappan Zee Bridge with my son, I could hear my inner voice and Anne's words come to surface again. It told me that I am ready to take charge of my life again, wake up and be steady, and I agreed. If there's one thing I know about myself, it's that when I make a decision, I don't wait, I take charge!
And in that moment, I saw the beauty of the situation. My son was teaching me the lesson of love and nurture. That we are here on this Earth to circle our energy and stay grounded. It's important not to attach to material possessions or to our issues so much that we forget who we are. We must always put more energy into what we desire and what is aligned with our highest Self.
So now, I am on the beginning of my journey of returning to my healthy lifestyle. I am happy to be practicing my Abyanga belly oil massages in the morning again. And although I feel the strong withdrawals of coffee, I still feel more alive, clear and energetic.
Adversity is real, but it strips away everything, and whatever is left is the source of who we are. All that matters is that we are fully awake, aware, and ready to face the day, but from a place where we are connected to serving our lives and not as victims of this crazy world.
In closing, it feels good to be back and to regain control of my body and mind and to realize that what we put into our body directly affects our lives and everyone around us. We have a responsibility to better ourselves - for us first - but also for anyone we are lucky to call part of our lives.
With love and gratitude,
October 18, 2017
September 25, 2017
“Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, and restlessness…when we slow down, when we relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle…that is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship.” – Chogyam Trungpa
As my teacher Chogyam Trungpa would say, “The moment you realize you have fallen off the horse, don't ask questions about how and when, just get back on the horse.”
This year has been so hectic for me that it was only until recently that I realized that I had been off the horse for quite some time and I’d been on some kind of rollercoaster where I couldn't really see what was going on. I was doing without really listening. There was no space. I was struggling without knowing that I was really suffering. I couldn't point out why because on the outside everything looked okay, but my inside was boiling with stress, frustration, pain and sadness.
I realized that my present state was not aligning with my heart - I was lacking joy and I was trying very hard to push through, not understanding why I was unhappy. It affected my health and my emotions to a point where I lost my sense of Self. I stopped living my life.
What I knew to be true is that when someone is in a dark place, the best thing to do is simplify life and slow it down enough until you start to breathe. Then you start to listen and see what gives you joy and what does not. To get out of the analytical mind and into one’s own heart is a practice!
I removed what I could from my daily schedule and started to spend more time by myself. I truly love spending time alone, but after a few difficult years, I stopped enjoying my time alone and it was challenging to go back into my inner home. That was a red flag for me. I knew once I felt discomfort in my own company that it was time to change my practice.
I experienced a fear to be by myself - something that was once so important to me and that I loved doing became strange and no longer familiar. It created a distance within my own being. And yes, I had many reasons to justify why and how I got there. But being a victim does not help you get out of your own way. I wanted to love what was once my strength.
So I jumped fearlessly into the task of going back home. First, I went back to study with my favorite teachers. Then, I added a meditation practice to my daily schedule and practiced some restorative yoga to slow the mind enough so I could start listening to my inner guide. One afternoon, my friend came to visit and as we sat outside with a glass of lemonade, she suggested that I take a trip by myself to a far place. My heart raced with an anxious feeling but my inner voice was smiling and saying, sit with that and see what arises from that feeling.
Once you meet that inner voice - your inner guide - you are back on the horse knowing that the next time you fall, you’ll be ready to get back on faster. Sometimes I call the inner guide “the tool box”. Know your tools and use them in times when you lose yourself and when you’ve left your home. Know when it's happening, and without analyzing it, get back on the horse again and again until it becomes second nature.
“Becoming “awake” involves seeing our confusion more clearly.” ― Chögyam Trungpa
With love and light,
September 21, 2017
This morning, I woke up in Ubud - the mecca of yoga and spirituality. But no matter my location, whether I’m at home in New York or on the beautiful island of Bali, I still find the same yearning to find a deeper meaning to life. It takes time to make deep connections with the Self and with others, especially when you’re in a foreign land. When I first got to Bali, I was a bit more judgmental and was comparing everything to life back home. Then I became curious and started to listen. And observe. Something shifted. Once I slowed down enough to get on a different frequency, I was able appreciate and enjoy the extreme difference in culture.
My journey so far has really been focused on connection. After my initial culture shock and impatience faded away (and my Vata was back in balance), I was able to clearly see how fortunate I was in the present moment. I had the opportunity to stay with a childhood friend, Liat Solomon, that has been living in Bali for 20 years. Not only did she open her home to me, but she fed me some of most delicious, healthy, juicy food that I’ve ever had. Liat owns a vegan restaurant here called Earth Cafe, and the menu is full of clean and fulfilling dishes. Not only was I immediately fed well, but I realized that I was among family.
After spending a week with Liat, I was ready to hit the road and experience Bali on my own. I gave myself time to become more comfortable and grounded in this brand new country. And once I broke off onto my own journey, I still ended up seeing some friends from all over the world who currently live in Bali. After lunch one day, a friend of mine took me around to show me “the real Bali.”
This is when I realized the things that began to connect me to this place. I felt love for the devotion of the people making puja each day and burning incense that was full of intoxicating scents. There was incense at every corner I turned, which reminded me to slow down and breathe, and that in each moment the universe is there watching and guiding.
The thing that’s helped me the most on my journey is being able to trust that everything falls into place and that you don’t necessarily need a plan. Some might call this faith. Before my trip, I had spoken with some friends who had traveled here to get recommendations and advice, but I truly want this trip to flow moment to moment with little calculation. I want to allow the freedom for things to unfold naturally. Some might find the unknown scary, but that’s part of life - we can’t ever know it all. Our story is created as we go along.
I believe that traveling and exploring other cultures helps to add depth to our personal stories and connects us deeper with our Self and the universe around us. It brings new opportunities into our lives also. I am so honored and grateful that a special opportunity fell into my lap - I will be teaching at the Bali Vegan Festival in Ubud next month. Just another event that will build my personal journey in Bali.
September 12, 2017
After 15 hours of travel, I enjoyed a quick stop in Hong Kong. As I was re-reading one of my favorite books, Broken Open, I began to think about Elizabeth Lesser and her experience with Ram Dass, the spiritual teacher and author of the book. It reminded me why finding your home and arriving at it is such a crucial thing to experience. You don't understand life until you are in the here and now.
A few years back, I realized that I wanted to teach people how to work on the Self and build the home within. It's amazing how that concept has changed for me over the last few years. I didn't know at the time that life could be funny - what you teach is what you need to learn.
My home within has changed for me so much since my separation because my actual home was falling apart and my external world was pulled into pieces. There was nothing familiar to hold onto and it's scary when you don’t feel somewhat in control. Finding my home within was really all I could do to pull myself through the hardship.
And I would repeat the words of Ram Dass to myself, “Be here now.”
The only thing you can control is your state of mind by choosing to be present in each moment and letting the present moment inform you on the next moment. The breath can assist you to be present and enjoy the moment, helping you work with what is right in front of you. The answers are right here. There is no place to go or anything to search for. That is how you build trust in yourself - by trusting the moment and knowing you have everything right here.
That is when you arrive home. You realize you have been going in circles and you are trying to run away from yourself. There have been moments in my life where I’ve met a teacher and I listened to the wisdom that channels through him or her. And I’ve realized through listening to them that my whole being is home and that’s where I need to be. And then I wonder just how long I’ve been here, at my home within.
The universe only gives you what you can handle. And each challenge is for the sake of coming through stronger and a better person with a bigger and fuller heart.
So just remember to stay present and take small bites, small steps and deep breaths.
September 11, 2017
May 04, 2017
We are living in a time when energy is becoming more scarce than ever. We are running out of gas, and we are so busy that we don’t take the time to stop and breathe.
Last week, I found myself completely overworked and running from one commitment to another. There was a voice inside me saying you are doing too much, and I kept saying, I’ll rest on Sunday. By the time Sunday comes, we begin to overindulge and another cycle of exhaustion begins.
When I was young, my dad came home for lunch at 1 PM every day, and then my dad would go back to work after a quick nap and an espresso. This “espresso time” was a part of my daily culture. There are still places in the world where you can experience this kind of lifestyle. The quality of living depends on the quality of your presence and your mind.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of my energy in my acting classes, where I stop my world to listen and to be present. Some of the activities are so intense, that I got to give all of myself. It’s a very healthy place to be in a resolute, or fully committed, as we say in the yoga world. Once we are done giving all of ourselves, we must realize that resting and collective energy is just as important to build our reservoirs.
In order to connect with my home within, I have filled my kitchen with tools and healthy food. I find that my home practices are more essential than going to a public class. I also added a gratitude practice that I have committed to before I go to sleep and first thing when I get up.
I often find myself full of energy when I help a friend or client in need through attentive listening, life coaching or yoga sessions. I am fulfilled when I sit in my acting class and learn new ways of being, or when I take walks by the ocean or in nature.
These are the places I go when I am feeling exhausted and in need some juicy, vibrant energy. You see, I believe that sometimes we become spiritual junkies, looking for more classes, more healers and experiences outside of ourselves instead of looking within. I was like that too, until I realized that what I was looking for was right here - and that was the best day of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love practicing yoga in a community of like-minded individuals or going to listen to a brilliant scholar, but I love being by myself or spending time at home in my garden just as much.