Wisdom, unity and human prosperity is delivered to those who truly need it by “wonky” yogi Tahlene Gadaloff.

The Wonky Om is a house of yoga for teenagers and their community of grown-ups, creating a spiritual sanctuary where they can be one, together. Founder Gadaloff is no ordinary yoga instructor. With 27 years experience in the health sector, performing multiple roles simulataneously, she is a registered nurse at the Queensland Children’s Hospital (formerly the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital), a personal trainer and a health coach.

While working at the hospital, she observed a need for teenagers to be supported in an environment with positive adult role models. She believes The Wonky Om offers this space. Gadaloff was originally introduced to yoga in 1999 by her friend Susi, who she says was wise and knowing. Susi introduced her to the practice of sun salutations, a series of yoga poses performed in continuing sequences to improve strength and flexibility.

Gadaloff has been practising yoga for 19 years and says the discipline has healed her sporting injuries, and has helped to manage her back pain. Gadaloff firmly believes yoga is a complete healing system and recommends yoga to help overcome most injuries. “For lengthening and strengthening with joint mobility, I believe yoga is the ultimate healing system. In saying that, if it is general health improvement you are striving for, you can’t overlook what you put in your mouth — it matters!”

Gadaloff completed her original health coaching course with Joshua Rosenthal so she could assist clients holistically, taking an educated look at their food and lifestyle choices. She believes it is her duty to empower others to be advocates for their own health and wellbeing. “Now we know relationships, exercise, career and spirituality are just as important to your health as the food you eat and the way you move your body.” Gadaloff says people who suffer from chronic lifestyle conditions are often unaware changing their food, movement and wellbeing practices could heal their woes. In 2011, Gadaloff decided it was time to change things.

The primary focus in her teenage yoga classes is to create a positive space where teenagers feel they belong. Gadaloff’s role as an emergency nurse at the Children’s Hospital has opened her eyes to families where adult role models do not exist. “These darling children are lost and in search of somewhere to belong,” she said. “I am hoping the services I offer at The Wonky Om will not only provide yoga influenced health improvement programs that contribute to building happy, healthy and strong communities, but also be a way for us to catch some teens who are looking for a safe place to hang out a couple times a week.”

The Wonky Om teenage classes on Wednesday and Friday 3.30pm to 4:30pm are a not-for-profit offering. All proceeds from these two classes go back to the community through projects the teenagers choose themselves. The “other cool stuff” The Wonky Om boasts includes health coaching, community health improvement programs, food education workshops and cooking classes, along with a range of other activities.

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