#ODDlight Teacher Feature: Ellina Kim

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Each month we bring a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminate 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.

Name:  Ellina Kim

Nick Name:  Elle or E.K.

Hometown: Los Angeles

Favorite Place:  My bed with my dogs.IMG_0349Favorite color:  pink and gold

What’s your sign?  Cancer

Most embarrassing moment?  It was when I was demo-ing a peak pose and ended up almost falling on my face and a good student of mine commented, “So she is human.”

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Most empowering moment? When I opened up my own yoga store in Culver City, Maitri Yoga Store.

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Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I grew up in the Happy Days house.

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I was on a couple episodes of Full House.

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I own a cool yoga store in Culver City, Maitri Yoga Store. Maitri means “loving-kindness”in Sanskrit.

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Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something that you love to tell.

I like telling people how I manifested my now fiancé. I was ending a frustrating relationship when I decided to write down what I really wanted in my future partner and then began to chant in Sanskrit mantra that attracts your ultimate masculine partner. After chanting for a couple weeks and then stopping to take a break, I met Bryan after a transformative yoga teacher training in Guatemala and fell head over heels with him. I knew after our first chat after yoga class that he was the real deal. I had manifested my future husband. (Let me know if you want that mantra 😉 )

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When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? If I’m not at the studio, I’m at Maitri Yoga Store. If I’m not at Maitri, I’m probably hanging with my dogs and fiancé. If I’m not doing any of those, I’m most definitely sleeping.

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How do you define yoga? Yoga is defined as union with God and the self. I interpret this definition to be that yoga is the practice of aligning with your higher-self which the higher-self is an aspect/reflection of God. We would call this a state of bliss/excitement/love. So that being said, Yoga=the practice of following your bliss.

Why do you teach? I teach because it feels good to make others feel good. Not a super philosophical reason other than, I love it when I get to connect with others.

What brought you to become an instructor? I never intended to teach although I was open to it. I became an instructor through synchronicity. It was presented to me.

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What is your favorite song to play in class? I don’t have one because my music always changes!

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? Right now, my favorite pose is Yoganidrasana because I think it’s funny looking and makes me want to fall asleep.

Memorable yoga moment? A memorable moment was when I was taking a class with one of my favorite teachers and she told us to stand still in Tadasana and like magic, utter stillness was felt through the whole body. It was an amazing moment of internal and outer peace.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc) My favorite is a block. Not only can you use it for restorative postures but it’s a great tool to strengthen the body and play with handstands. Very multipurpose.

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? Any animal non-profit is something I’m all about!

Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags, or happenings you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings? @ellinayoga #ellinayoga #growyourpractice @maitriyogastore

Come to my workshop! – Law Of Attraction – 3 Fridays starting 6/16. Let’s manifest what matters to you!

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Restorative Yoga with Samantha Akers

Restorative Yoga; What is it and why should we practice? Cant I just lay down and rest at home?

This is what I asked 17 years ago before taking my first class.

In this busy culture and time that we live in, a restorative practice is more important than ever. Restorative poses support or should support our entire systems; body, mind, spirit and energy. Using props such as bolsters, blocks, blankets, and sandbags (which she will be bringing) we prop the body so that it is completely comfortable in long held, peaceful asana postures.

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Our nervous systems are in some state of flight or flight almost all of the time, even when we are resting, we might be anxious or over thinking – leading to a bit of high alert in the body and mind. Restorative yoga is a deliciously relaxing practice. We are supported in each posture for several minutes, while learning to follow their breath with mindfulness techniques.

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With in minutes, the nervous system begins to relax, we gain a sense of spacious joy and release. In the workshop, we will be practicing cooling poses, readying the body and mind for the hot summer months. You may find you sleep better, breath better and feel more general positivity, just after one class!

Restorative Yoga healed me, supported me through chronic pain, fibromyalgia and Lymes disease. It is a powerful tool that will kindly and gently support and heal anyone that is ready to melt into themselves and develop friendliness towards their own hearts.

 

Interested in Restorative Yoga Teacher Training?

Taking a training in this style of yoga is vital for teachers to begin to see where students need that support and how to fill the space so that they can completely relax and let go, nourishing their nervous system into blissful and healing rest. This practice keeps dis-ease as bay, helps with sleep as well as mental disturbances such as anxiety and depression.

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We move so very much, we must balance with rest. TheraYoga Method training in this modality will teach practitioners to guide a skilled practice with alignment, breath work and guided meditation. Learning the subtle art to teaching, along with the science of stretching and the fascial system will enhance teachers ability to be in the top of their field of yoga therapy as it is a growing need for our population. Plus, we have so much fun playing with props and learning about one another’s bodies!

Read more about Samatha Akers, her background, her work, and what you will get from her coming 2 hour workshop AND her weekend training at the end of July.  –  Sign up and ask questions – http://onedowndog.com/events-workshops

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#ODDlight Teacher Feature: Ducky Punch

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Each month we bring a teacher into the #ODDlight and illuminate 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.
Name: Ducky Punch
Nick Name: Effie, Nula, Nools, Duck
Hometown: CORK
Favorite Place: Kauai Hanalei…can I have two places, if so Nepal….
Favorite color:  On me…RED, on a front door it’s Yellow, Blue for the sky and when swimming Turquoise.
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What’s your sign? Pisces
Most embarrassing moment?  Ohhhh I still blush, Too many…seriously…way to many….I’ll tell you when the next one happens!
Most empowering moment?  Receiving my Masters in Neuroscience on a Wednesday and flying to San Francisco the next Saturday….woohooo roll on new life!!
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?  I LOVE POI  (Spinning fire)….Just keep your distance..I’ve a lot to learn !
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I went hunting on a very stubborn and feisty shetland pony, named cowslip, when I was 10. I though I was going to die.
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Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something that you love to tell.
Can’t think of any !   (We think this is because all of Ducky’s life is magical, funny, adventurous…)
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?  At the beach of course, in an infra red sauna, traveling to remote places, sipping tea, detoxing, drumming,  giving cranio-sacral therapy to my nephews, sprouting seeds, playing table tennis at the Hammer museum, studying the psoas, chatting to donkeys !
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How do you define yoga? One of the many great teachings that has the potential to guide you straight into your heart, expose your innate compassion, transform and enhance the quality of your life.  SATNAM to that !
Why do you teach? That’s an easy question.  It’s sounds like the stereotypical answer but it is the truth. I get to see the best of people when I’m teaching. The good, the bad, and the gritty, but it’s authentic and real.  Yoga simply works, there is medicine in the poses that is unique for us all. As students practice they connect deeper and deeper to themselves and theres such a sweetness in that. Yoga invites us to shed our fears and inspires us to let our true nature shine. It’s an honor to teach and see students transform. So thanks to you yogis for giving me that gift.
What brought you to become an instructor? Pure fluke!  I was a science nerd with a wild side that was hidden under a shy veneer. I had a dream of going to med school but was not totally enamored with the direction the profession was taking. While figuring out my working life I decided to take a few months off to learn more about yoga because I loved it. Bit by bit, favor by favor, friends asked me to step in and teach and the rest is history !
What is your favorite song to play in class?  The one and only inspiring, uplifting and crazy talented Kendrick Lamar and his song  “I”  Introduced to me by my friend ET
Favorite line in the song besides “I love myself”  is “how many times our potential was anonymous”
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? 
First of all they’re all my favorites because they all build upon each other.  Like the meaning of yoga they are better united/yoked.  But if i had to choose a pose that will never fail to yield incredible benefits, it would be dolphin. Our lifestyle has most of us gravitating to a slouched position and dolphin is such a good chest opener. it also opens our armpits :)))
“If you open the armpits, the brain becomes light. You cannot brood or become depressed.” — BKS Iyengar
I love armpits !!
And just to check your really reading this////
“never hold your farts in, they travel up your spine, in to your brain and that where shitty ideas come from”

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(she insisted the cows be included. as they are an important part of her life)
Memorable yoga moment? Just getting to take class!
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What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc)
I get this question a lot. and it always reminds me of a line from the movie “Once we were warriors”. At the end of the movie one of the main characters was asked by his brother if he was going to get his Maori tattoos and he said no bro, I wear mine on the inside. I feel the same, I wear my yoga on the inside too. But I do have a meditation space. My personal sacred space that is a home to some special items that I do love to have nearby when I meditate.
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?
Yoga for youth, is an amazing organization that offers Kundalini yoga to incarcerated youth in LA. Training with Krishna Kaur was one of the most heart wrenching and warming experiences I’ve ever have had. These kids in everyday life are treated as if they are worthless so to have someone believe in them, see them, respect and teach them to recognize their inner beauty (I know this sounds blablahish ) boy do they shine bright ! Seriously “no mud no lotus!”
I have so much respect for Heifer international. It is one of my all time favorites too!
Are there any things you’d like to promote or links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to share?
My workshop! 5/14 – 5/15. Bring your bodies. Bring your questions. Anatomy workshop – Body Love.
@ducknormal on instagram – #duckypunch is me and a bowl of punch with rubber duckies!
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Hatha-Dharma Training and Immersion

THINGS TO KNOW – Hatha-Dharma Training and Immersion – April 22-24th 9am-5pm

• You’ll get a manual! About 60 pages. Plus a quick reference page for the things you’ll want to go back to often.

• If you are a teacher, intend to do teacher training, or are currently in a teacher training this will count toward your Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Units.

• A combination of Hatha yoga (what we mostly do at One Down Dog) and Mindfulness meditation, with an opportunity to learn core Buddhist teachings.

• The last day the weekend will consist of a unique “half-day retreat”.

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Chris Crotty is one of a handful of teachers in the United States integrating Hatha yoga (asana practice) with mindfulness and Buddhist teachings. His teacher training and immersion for non-teachers – Hatha-Dharma Training – is a popular and accessible opportunity for anyone interested in deepening their yoga practice, or either beginning or refining a meditation practice. You will walk away from this training with a more awareness-based yoga practice. The 3-day weekend culminates in a half-day retreat, providing an opportunity to experience the calm, quiet, and insight available when concentration and mindfulness are balanced.

Whether you are a student or a teacher, this training will help you build upon any previous experience gained through your own lineage and teachers. Hatha-Dharma Training is focused on shining new light onto your current practice; that light in Buddhist terms is the insight that leads to liberating wisdom. That insight changes how you articulate the practice to your students, and how you practice yourself.

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Chris says “Yoga today is also part of a larger western culture that is prone toward speed, quick, and often short-term solutions, and an emphasis on external and material means of finding fulfillment and relief from discomfort and distress. Within this widespread cultural trend it has become commonplace to address mental and physical imbalance at the level of its symptoms, rather than at the deeper level of root cause.”

Hatha-Dharma Training will include daily asana practice and meditation practice as well as teacher presentations, reflection, and discussion. In addition to a dedicated chapter just for teachers in the manual, Chris will welcome teachers to join him for lunch during the program to chat about integrating their experience into their own teaching.

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To read more, click here Hatha.Dharma.Overview&Intention to download Chris’ introduction and intention statement for the course and send us an email so we can discuss. Take the opportunity to learn from a new teacher – dually training in hatha yoga and Buddhist practice – and shine light in new places in your yoga practice.

#ODDLight Teacher Feature: Courtney Sauls

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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.

Name: Courtney Sauls

Nick Name: Court, Courtie, CoCo, CoCo Chanel (my rap name…seriously, I drop bars), Co, and C.Sauls

Hometown: H-Town (Houston, TX)

Favorite Place: My bed. Sleep. Dreams.

Favorite color: Yellow (mustard is my fav tone but I like all yellows)

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What’s your sign?  LEO!

Most embarrassing moment? 

Ok, I’ll probably regret sharing this but there’s been a handful of times in my adult life that I have peed in the bed. Yeah. The only reasonable explanation is extreme stress and anxiety (something I’ve dealt with my entire life). When my boyfriend and I started dating I had one of those incredibly humiliating occurrences while he was sleeping over. Mortifying. He stuck around. That’s compassion.

Most empowering moment?

Breaking up with my ex and living alone for the first time ever. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. Being independent provided such a huge growth spurt for me.

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Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?

  • I changed the spelling of my name in the 4th grade to COURTNIE cause I saw it in a magazine and spelled it that way until a few years ago. I got into college and did other very official things under that spelling. It took my mom years to remember to spell it that way and one day I decided I wasn’t “IE” anymore. I’m back to the original spelling on my birth certificate. I have friends since childhood that still spell my name Courtnie.

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  • My playlists match my themes for class. I check the lyrics for EVERY song I play to make sure it fits into my teachings for that week/day/class. It might be a stretch sometimes but it always makes sense. I believe playlists are a subconscious layer to the practice. Listen a little closer next time 🙂
  • I’ve watched every episode of SEX AND THE CITY so many times I can quote the entire series! My best friend and I would watch it incessantly while living in NY. It’s a go-to background for cleaning, cooking, or really anything. I hate Carrie’s scream though!

 

Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something hat you love to tell.

I don’t know if this is something that I LOVE to tell but it was definitely life changing. I was living in New York City during 9/11. Actually I lived a few blocks away in an NYU dorm.  That morning my roommate and I were getting ready for class and the building shook when the first plane hit. We went onto the balcony to see what was happening (earthquakes are not usually a thought on the East Coast). Unable to see anything we boarded the bus to campus.  Driving by the towers we could see the gaping hole in the building. Phones weren’t working. There was chaos. I watched the second plane hit surrounded by others at Washington Square. The hospitals were turning people away because of all the volunteers for blood donations. I ended up sleeping on a friend’s floor for days since I was not allowed back to my dorm (it was too close to ground zero). The city was changed after that day. People oozed with compassion and kindness. I’ve never felt more a part of something than I did after the tragedy of that day. I will never forget.

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? 

Acting. I’ve been acting my entire life. I went to a performing arts high school and graduated from NYU with a BFA. I’m still acting and I still love it!

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How do you define yoga? 

I believe yoga is a lifestyle. It is the constant quest for light, love, and freedom. It is the understanding that challenging times are opportunities for expansion. It’s fucking up and moving on. It’s grace. It’s connection. It’s anything and everything that is mindful and from the heart.

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Why do you teach?

Yoga changed my life. It has made me more loving to myself and others. It has given me tools to calm my anxiety. It has helped me love my body which I hated for so long. It has given me the strength to live my dreams. It’s a daily reminder to live fully. I’ll share it with anyone who’ll listen. If you’ve taken one of my classes, you know.

What brought you to become an instructor?

I was in a class once with a teacher I loved and trusted and afterwards she came up to me and said another student randomly asked if I was a teacher.  Both of these ladies claimed gifts of special vision. A teacher training was starting soon and every time my teacher saw me she would hand me a flyer about the training. I knew I couldn’t afford it but I was incredibly interested. I ended up taking the training the next year originally just to deepen my practice but after a few weeks the bug bit. I knew I was called to teach others what had changed my life in such a remarkable way.

What is your favorite song to play in class? 

Anything Erykah Badu or Radiohead. You will hear at least one of their songs on almost every playlist.

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?

Backbends hands down. Love opening that heart thang. (WORKSHOP MAY 7th and MAY21st!)

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Memorable yoga moment?

The first time I did crow into headstand I was in a class of about 7. The teacher is my main teacher now, my mentor, my friend. Everyone in the class was fairly advanced practitioners. She cued the transition and I hesitated because I had never done it before. Because the class was small and all of the students her regulars she said we would all go together. I just remember hearing her say “Courtney, we’re waiting on you”. I was so caught off guard and slightly embarrassed but I joined them immediately! She knew I could do it. It was the moment I stopped being afraid on my mat. Well, mostly.

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What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc) 

A towel! I sweat like a beast. Seriously dripping no matter what. I hate when I forget a towel. It makes it harder to focus when sweat is burning my eyes and tickling my ears. Ha!

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?  

Donate to Flint, Michigan or Bullies and Buddies

Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to connect with you on or tell people about?

My 2 part backbending series! Put Your Back Into It – Saturday May 7th and Saturday May 21st – 2-4pm do one or both!

@court_mcgee (my IG)