The Ambassador Series: Alma Omeralovic - Chicago
Hi Alma! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Alma! It means soul and I love linguistics. I was born in Montenegro and immigrated to the US in 93' due to the war. We settled in Chicago and truly lived the 'American dream'. Fast forward to now. Still in this amazing city and living a life I couldn't have even imaged, working for a business that embodies my ethos helping spread mindfulness throughout the city. My roots are deeply connected to the mountains, sea and family in Montenegro so I visit yearly to stay grounded. My ideal days involves deep breathes, out door adventures and dessert (have a thing for the sweet stuff in life).
How did your interest in yoga/meditation begin?
It was inevitable that yoga and I meet. I was working a corporate job out of college 50+ hours a week and looked like I had life under control but inside was a complete disaster. I was having 10-12 panic attacks a day that led me to the hospital, in my bed and in serious distress. With all the doctors visits and the general response of 'you are okay' that I refused to accept, I got a package for one month of yoga and went to try it out. Intimidated af I took the plunge went to class and remember the teacher asking at the end of the session to check into how we feel and if anything shifted. My instant thought was I feel AMAZING and wait no panic occurred in this hour. I knew something was their and had to investigate further. Boy am I glad I did. It was kinda like pandoras box from that point. I had opened the door to awareness, to checking in, taking care of myself and it felt so right.
What made you want to leave the corporate world and focus on wellness? What was that transition like?
Short answer the panic and anxiety. Realized a lot of it was rooted in not listening to my intuition. Every time I turned away from my truth I would get unease, restless and go into panic. I had to work for people and ideas I believed in. Not to say that's not possible in corporate America but for me it was an all or nothing move. Transition consisted of me taking the plunge and not really having any idea what I would do. But I did have faith, that was unwavering. I knew life would take care of me and get me right where I needed to be.
What does your work at Chill Chicago look like?
I wear a few hats at chill. I teach meditation and yoga in the space and offsite for corporate. I help coordinate our outreach efforts, pairing us with like minded brands and business to host events in the space. Also connecting us with corporations to help bring meditation and mindfulness into the office. Offering tools for employees to be more present, focused and collaborative. I get to be around people who embrace intentional living. I get paid to chill and it still feels like a dream every time I say it.
You mentioned that you've traveled to 15 different places a year for three years! That's incredible. Where are a few of the places that you've been and what have you learned on your travels?
Wow where to start. So the most recent places I have visited are Rome, Portugal, Morocco, Montenegro (yearly stop back home), West Virginia, Budapest, Prague, Switzerland, Barcelona, Vienna. I travel because it keeps me inspired and I am fascinated with seeing new places, people and things. My travels teach me how we are all alike yet different. The importance of speaking your truth and sharing your story. Most importantly our interconnection. How everyone you interact with in your life is there for a reason and that you may not know that reason till later on but eventually it all makes sense.
What makes you passionate about the work you do?
The visceral change I see in peoples bodies and minds. When individuals come out of class and are more aware of their breathe, body and the connection between the two. This is truly magical. The breathe has the power to change your life - this I know from first hand experience. Being able to show others this is pure bliss. Also, I have found to stay passionate I do not see my work as goal driven but as a life journey.
Why did you want to become a Glossary ambassador?
I had an opportunity to teach a meditation at one of the Glossary event and instantly knew these are women I want to be around more. The idea of a community of bad ass women empowering one another and having a space to connect is a dream. Community is such an essential component of well being and I am thrilled to be apart of this one.
What are some of your favorite places in Chicago?
I am a foodie so that is always my first thought to fav spots question - since we have some of the best food in the world. My go to's include Bavette's, Fat Rice, Longman and Eagle, Avec and Somerset (new found obsession). I love any part of the city along the lakefront - especially Belmont Harbor and Oak Street Beach. I also like to tuck away in coffee shops and read. Some spots I like include Oromo Cafe, Star Lounge and sol cafe. Also, it's not in Chicago but I love the Botanic Gardens up north and think it's worth a trip.
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