#ODDlight Teacher Feature: Brianna Welke

oddlight teacher feature brianne welke
Each month we will be bringing a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminating their interests, practices, and who they are. There is a real person behind those teachers and it’s their knowledge filtered through their own experiences that make them that person that pulls you into class. May’s teacher feature is Brianna Welke – she’s been our mudra momma all month long and now we have a little more to share with you about this sweet soul.

brianna welke one down dog yoga
Brianna Welke Turpin


Issaquah, Washington (20 minutes outside of Seattle)

Favorite Place:
Malibu, Santa Barbara, secret beaches, hidden hot springs & the woods

Favorite color:
White (the color that includes ALL colors!), gold, and purple

What’s your sign?

How do you define yoga?
Union & One-ness. The bringing together of things that have been separate. Body, awareness, breathe, life, presence! And the remembrance that we aren’t separate at all.

brianna welke one down dog yoga

Fun Facts most wouldn’t know about you?

  • I have dual citizenship since my mother was born in Montreal
  • I swam competitively for 10 years
  • Our adoption of our pitbull was filmed for the show “Pitbulls & Parolees” Somewhere you can watch us meet Phillip when he was the size of a burrito.

Most embarrassing moment?
One time, back before stand up paddle board yoga was a thing- I was on a stand up paddleboard doing yoga…. Unusual for sure at the time. I was in a quiet little bay, on the bay there is a rotary club tucked away that had a wedding going on in the garden, on the second story there was an outdoor bar. As I was down dogging, quietly and joyfully, a completely inebriated gentleman began yelling obscene comments at me, the wedding ceremony all looked out at me, I was so embarrassed – the worst thing was – THERE WAS NO WHERE TO HIDE! I just sat down on my board and tried to paddle away.

Most empowering moment?
Any moment when I stand up for myself

Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something that you love to tell.
Recently in Yoni‘s class I had a pretty cosmic savasana in which I observed two energies of the universe: expansion & contraction. Think: universe is always expanding (it actually is) and that parts are contracting like black holes. It reminded me that we are, too, cosmic energy and we have a choice to make- will we choose to always be expanding out hearts and consciousness? Or will we choose to contract and collapse inward? I choose expansion.

brianna welke one down dog yoga

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
When I graduated college I wanted to join the peacecorp in the medical extension so as my  “demonstrated interest” I did my EMT (Emergency Medicine Training) . I eventually decided the peacecorp was not for me, but you would be AMAZED at how often this training comes in handy.

Why do you teach?
I teach because I want to share this amazing practice that has changed my life! Teaching is a practice for me too. It’s a practice of being open, expressing myself creatively and honestly. And most important a practice of being present.

What brought you to become an instructor?
I wanted to understand what yoga was more deeply. I have a very strong curiosity about things and I knew attending yoga class and reading about yoga was just the tip of the iceberg! When I started teacher training I could barely speak in front of people, I couldn’t even speak up on conference calls we would have at work. Despite a lifetime of shyness, by the time I was done with my teacher training I just knew I had to share this with others. It really is an honor to share this wisdom.

brianna welke one down dog yoga

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
The moment in flow when I am able to break out of what is familiar and truly find the divine flow within me. It’s super fun, give it a try! Move with breath and intention and make it up as you go. If you know me, you know I love to fly- these flows usually meander through arm balances and handstands.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?
OM Essential Oil :) also, at my bachelorette party and as part of the welcome gifts given by the hostess we were given handmade malas, it’s super special and unique to me. I love wearing bindis (those 3rd eye decorations) and crystal jewelry made by my friend’s company Sweet Evie.

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I got married on November 8th in Sayulita, Mexico on a cliff overlooking the bay where I met my my husband 6 years ago. We honeymooned in Bali- it was the best month ever!

brianna welke one down dog yoga

What is your favorite song to play in class?
My most commented song ever is still the melodic song from the “Little Miss Sunshine” movie. I play music that I love and that I practice with at home, I think that shines through and creates an authentic experience. I choose music that is introspective at times and ultimately uplifting.

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?
Traveling, spending time with my family in Seattle, lounging with my husband on our couch or some far off place, snuggling my sweet dog, hanging out with girlfriends- laughing & talking. Drinking coffee, fresh juice, getting some awesome bodywork/acupuncture/massage. I LOVE relaxing,  a spa, outdoor pool, beach, river, lakeside- clearly any body of water will do!

Memorable yoga moment?
When I first started getting into yoga about 9 years ago I remember attending my regular yoga class and being SUPER disappointed that there was a sub teaching (you know that feeling), but then towards the end of class she taught Sage’s pose which I had never done or heard of and did it on the first try. It taught me that everyone has something to offer. That there are no mistakes about where we end up.

Follow Brianna
Instagram: @briyogi

facebook page: Brianna Welke Yoga

Mudra Mondays: Expand Wisdom and Consciousness with Jnana Mudra

jnana mudra

Each Monday, with the help of our teacher Brianna Welke, we will introduce a mudra, what it means, and how it can be used.  Check out more #Mudra Monday posts here.

For today’s Mudra Monday, Brianna teaches us the Jnana Mudra:

jnana mudra brianna welke mudra mondays one down dog

Jnana Mudra is the mudra of knowledge. It’s practiced by joining the first finger tip and thumb tip together, extending the other fingers, and can be turned up or down when set on the legs. The thumb represents fire and divine consciousness and the first finger represents the individual self, when held together they’re used to expand wisdom and consciousness. It’s a fantastic mudra to start with, especially if you are beginning a meditation practice. In yoga, anytime your hands are free, feel free to “mudrasize” them! One of the lovely things about this mudra is that it’s also used commonly to denote that things are “A-OK!” and that we’ve got things together. This Mudra really does connect us all when bringing it to that broad perspective.

If you’d like to share a mudra that you bring into your asana practice or your meditation just tag #MudraMonday and #OneDownDog

What is a Sound Bath? Jamie Ford Explains the Healing Benefits of Sound

sound bath jamie ford one down dog


We’re really looking forward to the upcoming sound bath on May 29th, led by Jamie Ford! Relax in savasana as the healing tones of planetary gongs and crystal singing bowls bathe you in vibration. Together, we will reach deep states of relaxation and meditation. Leave feeling “re-tuned”, restored and rebalanced.

jamie-ford-sound-bathWe asked Jamie a few questions to get to know her and learn what to expect from the upcoming sound bath.

Jamie’s intention is to help people experience more joy in their lives. She does this through her passion for sound and yoga. Jamie plays Paiste Planetary Gongs and crystal singing bowls, and has been healing with sound for nearly 10 years.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself

I am a California native and have lived in LA for about 16 years. While I’ve lived a few other places I am currently really enjoying living in LA. I”m married, no kids, but have a dog and a cat. My focus in life is joy and in my “work” I like to help others experience more joy and happiness on a regular basis.

What is a sound bath?

A sound bath is like a concert with gongs and crystal singing bowls. I work with gongs tuned to the orbital properties of the planets, sun, moon, and other celestial bodies so the energy of the cosmos are brought into the experience. Generally participants lay in savasana and just receive the sounds. The resonance of the instruments is strong and it’s not just an auditory experience – it’s also like receiving a sound massage. Most people experience deep states of relaxation and altered states of consciousness….some people fall asleep. You can also treat the sound bath as a meditation and focus your mind on the sounds. When doing this the experience can greatly expand consciousness, increase mental focus and awareness, and give you all the benefits of meditation. Generally people leave sound baths feeling relaxed, balanced, and re-tuned (and sometimes ready for a nap!).

What was your first introduction to sound baths and how did you get started?

I took my first yoga class in 2000 and the teacher played a gong at the end. I was immediately in love! I would go to class just to hear the gong and would be so upset if it weren’t played at the end. I credit the gong with sparking my interest in yoga. At the time I was in college studying Biology and had absolutely no idea that I would make gongs my career! I worked as a biologist for about 9 months, quit and decided to go to acupuncture school. It is there that I discovered energy work and soon massage. I enjoyed doing massage more than the idea of acupuncture so I started a massage business. About a year in I found tuning forks online and thought it would be fun to add them in to sessions. I loved working with sound and saw amazing benefits in my clients. I soon found a teacher who had gongs, bowls, and other sound instruments. I learned that gongs could be tuned to the planets and it was then I decided I would get them all and play the sounds of the universe for people. I bought my first gong (Jupiter), which I just played for my clients, and then another year later got a couple more and gave my first sound bath. That was about 9 years ago and I still absolutely love doing sound baths. They are so fun and creative – each one is different.

What kind of sounds do you create, what instruments do you use and what are the healing aspects of the sound, if any?

In sound baths I use primarily gongs and crystal bowls. In private sessions I use my voice, tuning forks, gongs, bowls, drums, rattles, and other sound instruments. I work with many types of sound as they all bring a different flavor to the session and can offer a different healing experience. Sound has been used for healing, increasing awareness, altering states of consciousness and more since the dawn of the human race. Chanting, singing, drumming are all important parts of indigenous cultures. There are many ways in which sound can create healing and a lot of research is being conducted now as interest in sound healing grows. One way sound can help create deep states of relaxation is through altering our brainwave states. When our brainwave state moves from the normal waking state (Beta) down to Alpha (conscious relaxed state), Theta (dreamlike state), and sometimes even delta (deep sleep) we experience a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, our bodies relax, our breath deepens, and we move into a receptive state where deep healing can occur.

Sound has profound affects on our nervous system – helping to turn on our parasympathetic nervous system which is our relaxation response. Many of us spend too much time with an active sympathetic nervous system, which is our fight or flight response….when we can active our parasympathetic nervous system we give our bodies a chance to relax and heal. Through all of the various tones of the gongs and bowls the body is offered an opportunity to resonate with a healing frequency as opposed to entraining with a harmful one. You are in essence giving your body, mind, and energy an opportunity to shift to a higher frequency and let go of lower vibrational thoughts, emotions, and other issues.

What do you hope to share and what can people expect during your sound bath?

Each sound bath can yield a very different experience. No two are the same and your experience will have to do with the gongs I bring, the group you are with, the location, how you are feeling, how I’m feeling, what is happening planetarily and much more. Sometimes you may be very relaxed and even fall asleep, other times you may feel activated and have a hard time laying still. Neither is better than the other – they are just different. Generally people can expect to feel more calm, receptive, and balanced afterwards but sometimes the sound will activate what needs to be cleared out of the way in order to reach that state of peace. My intention is that each person receive what they need in order to live a more joyful, peaceful, and happy life.


Join us for Sound Bath with Jamie Ford on May 29th, 7:30-9pm
$20 advance, $25 at the door

Mudra Mondays: Get Fired Up or Grounded with the Sun and Earth Mudras


Each Monday, with the help of our teacher Brianna Welke, we will introduce a mudra, what it means, and how it can be used.  Check out more #Mudra Monday posts here.

For today’s Mudra Monday, Brianna teaches us the Sun and Earth mudras:

Surya (sun) mudra can be taken by using your thumb to cover up your ring finger nail. The energy of the earth resides in the ring finger so this covering up of the earth finger with the thumb (where fire resides) allows fire to spread wildly. As we approach summer equinox we can honor the longer days and hotter sun with the Surya mudra.


Now, if the last thing you need is more fire (you run hot, you’re already “fire-y”, you’re quick tempered or anxious) you’ll opt for Earth Mudra, where the ring finger tip will touch the thumb tip. Earth mudra will increase the earth element and groundedness in the body and decrease the fire.This mudra will help you ground and stay steady and strong.

If you’d like to share a mudra that you bring into your asana practice or your meditation just tag #MudraMonday and #OneDownDog


Mudra Mondays: Increasing Creative Thoughts with the Hakini Mudra

Each Monday, with the help of our teacher Brianna Welke, we will introduce a mudra, what it means, and how it can be used.

It’s May! We want to turn our attention to two things that you can take into your asana practice in class as well as out into your home and lives - Mudras and Meditation!

Each Monday, with the help of our teacher Brianna Welke, we will introduce a mudra, what it means, and how it can be used.  As you dive into yoga and grow your practice you may have thought at some point, “What do I do with my hands!?” Even things like placing your palms upwards or downwards on your knees can shift the energy in your sitting from receiving energy or grounding energy. What we do with our hands can bring new intention to any part of our yoga and lives.

For today’s Mudra Monday, Brianna teaches us the Hakini mudra:

“It is practiced by bringing all ten finger tips together (think prayer and pop the palms away from one another). It’s a mudra for the search, for finding something. It’s said to bring together the right and left hemisphere of the brain for both creative and rational thought power.


“This mudra can be held anywhere you’d like (heart, belly or set in the lap) but in front of the third eye for more intuitive and intellectual power, increasing your memory and concentration. In fact it’s named after God Hakini who is said to be the ruler of the third eye.


“Reiki, qi gong, or other energy practitioners may feel palpable energy and heat between the palms.” The Hakini mudra is wonderful for that 6th chakra, or Third eye. If you try this in meditation you can bring a slight gaze to your third eye and your tongue to the roof of your mouth.

I find it so interesting when learning mudras I begin to notice the way those mudras have made their way into our world. Does it seem familiar to see somebody deep in thought with their palms popped apart and fingertips together?

What mudras do you see out there in the wild? If you’re doing some searching and needing some concentration, bring this thoughtful mudra into your day or into your next yoga class.

If you’d like to share a mudra that you bring into your asana practice or your meditation just tag #MudraMonday and #OneDownDog


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