On Rotation: September Yoga Playlist


Music has always been a huge part of my life. As a child I could be found wandering around the playground singing The Little Mermaid. In elementary school I played piano and clarinet in the school band. In middle school I sang in choir and musicals. In high school I took voice lessons and taught myself guitar. As an “adult” I’ve performed in bands(we played our first show at one down dog!) and go to see other bands play as often as I can. And if I’m being completely honest, I can still be found singing The Little Mermaid from time to time.

When I was in teacher training, I couldn’t wait to learn about structuring a sequence and creating yoga playlists. Needless to say, music is a huge part of the experience on the mat. That’s why I take time to create yoga playlists that have a life to them. I like to being practice with a few moments of silence, allowing time to check in, connect with the breath and set an intention. The first few songs are usually pretty mellow, without lyrics, to set a chill tone which is perfect for warming up and starting to loosen up the body. Then the songs pick up a little bit and help to provide energy as we flow. Towards the end of class, the songs start to mellow out again and provide a comforting type of atmosphere that allows for chilling out and melting into a relaxing Savasana. Check out what I have on rotation in my flow classes this week:

I think it’s safe to say that everyone here at One Down Dog loves music, too. Check out some of the other music we’ve shared. Want to suggest some awesome tunes? Feel free to share them with us here in the comments, on twitter, facebook or email.

Cool Off Breath by Breath with Sitali Pranayama


Ugh, this heat. Sure, it’s the (smallish) price we may have to pay for lovely weather most of the year, but wen the temperature lingers around 100 degrees it’s hard not to feel at least a little cranky and uncomfortable.

If that’s you right now, stop what you are doing and try this!

Sitali Pranayama is a cooling breath practice that cools and calms your body. It does require the genetic ability to roll your tongue up like it’s a taco. If you were not blessed with that very useful ability, no worries, you can get the same benefits by pursing your lips like you are drinking out a straw and lightly pressing the tip of your tongue against your teeth.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Sit up comfortably as you would at the start or end of a yoga class in a comfortable seated position such as cross legged.
  2. Take a few deep breaths in your nose and out your mouth to ground and prepare.
  3. Roll your tongue up and stick the end of it out your pursed lips (or do thing with your mouth pretending you are drinking out of a straw, making the lips into an “o” shape, tip of tongue to teeth).
  4. Inhale this way through the tongue with the mouth open. The air entering the mouth will feel cool.
  5. Exhale out the nose with the mouth closed.
  6. Repeat several times, savoring the cooling affect.
  7. Go about the rest of your day feeling a bit cooler, calmer, and collected.

If you still feel cranky after that, try practicing in front of a mirror, the face you are making will probably make you laugh.

ODDlight Teacher Feature: Molly O’Neill

ODDLight Teacher Feature One Down Dog Molly O'Neill

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.  This month, get to know Molly O’Neill, queen of alignment and lover of animals!

Molly O’Neill

Nick Name:
Used to be Mo…but nobody except my mom calls me that anymore

ODDLight Teacher Feature One Down Dog Molly O'Neill

Redding, CA

Favorite Place:
Anywhere with trees and water. I particularly love Whiskeytown Lake in Redding.

Favorite color:

What’s your sign?
Virgo. Very Virgo.

Most embarrassing moment?
I don’t want to go into detail, but it involves teaching an early-morning yoga class with a very upset tummy.

Most empowering moment?
The whole last year has been empowering. I moved back to California to pursue teaching yoga on a larger scale than I felt like I could accomplish in Philadelphia, and although it’s been seriously hard work, my decision has been reinforced and rewarded in ways I never imagined.

ODDLight Teacher Feature One Down Dog Molly O'Neill

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I’ve always been obsessed with unicorns. When I was a kid I had a banner in my room (made on a dot-matrix printer) that read “Molly, Princess of Unicorns.” I’ve got a corner of my room completely decorated in unicorn art and figurines, and one tattooed on my shin.

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I studied Creative Writing at the University of Pennsylvania, and I still work for them seasonally as a teaching assistant for an online Modern and Contemporary American Poetry class.

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I went vegetarian at 13, when my aunt served lamb for Thanksgiving Dinner.

ODDLight Teacher Feature One Down Dog Molly O'Neill

Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous.
Four months ago, my father passed away. He had been struggling for six-plus years with Parkinson’s Disease, and in his last months was not able to move unassisted, speak clearly or even open his eyes. Watching my handsome, healthy, active father’s life drain away was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. A week before he passed, I found out he had pneumonia and immediately dropped everything to go be with him in Northern California. And immediately, my ODD family rallied to cover classes, gather donations, send sweet messages, sign up to walk my dogs, and provide a few days’ worth of meals. It was so unexpected, so kind, and so revealing about the type of studio we’ve got here. Every one of those teachers and desk staff would give you the Spiritual Gangster off his/her back – and most of the students would too. There is real love here, real community, and I am so grateful to have discovered it.

ODDLight Teacher Feature One Down Dog Molly O'Neill

When you aren’t at the studio, where can you be found?
Preferably outdoors, hiking or swimming. I also love cooking and going out to eat with my boyfriend and friends.

How do you define yoga?
Yoga for me is about awareness. It means observing how you feel in your body, how your mind functions, how your nervous system reacts, your interactions with other people. It’s about understanding the interconnectedness of all beings and moving through life with love and kindness.


Why do you teach?
I teach for those “Aha” moments. When you see something click in your students, when their face lights up, whether it’s in a pose or in some other aspect of their lives…that’s the best I can ever hope for as a teacher.

What brought you to become an instructor?
Yoga was becoming a progressively larger part of my life, and I wanted to learn more about it. I took my first teacher training primarily to advance my own practice. But I was so inspired by my teacher, Joan Hyman, that I wanted to share what I learned with others. Yoga helped me rebuild my self-esteem and leave a toxic relationship, it taught me how to form healthy relationships in all areas of my life, it made me want to take care of my body and my home and my loved ones…and I wanted other people to find that.


What is your favorite song to play in class?
I like a lot of different music, and it depends on the style of the class. But I’ve been really digging Leon Bridges’ “River” lately.

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
I love Utthita Trikonasana, Extended Triangle Pose. It’s so seemingly simple but it’s so complex, and its shape allows you to really feel the energy moving through your limbs when it “clicks.” That’s why I love alignment so much; it helps you to open up those energetic pathways and it just feels amazing.

Memorable yoga moment?
Just a couple of months ago, I was playing with piking into handstand with straight legs from Downward-Facing Dog. It was something that had always felt super unattainable, so I hadn’t even tried it in over a year. But the next thing I knew, I was vertical! It was such a cool feeling and such a surprise, and it taught me a lot about the hidden potential in my own body. Those kinds of lessons are totally translatable off the mat – you never know what you can do until you try – and that’s the best part.


What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?
I don’t like to wear any jewelry or fussy clothing when I practice. I keep it as minimal as possible so I can focus on how my body feels and moves. I do always keep two blocks and a blanket handy! I love to use wood blocks; they feel so stable under my hands.

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?
I love Farm Sanctuary! They rescue farm animals and give them great lives. And I’m all about adopting and fostering animals, especially pit bulls (I have two of them). No-Kill Los Angeles is doing great work to improve the odds for homeless pets in LA.



Connect with Molly
Check Molly out on twitter @mollyoneillyoga and on Spotify. Love Molly’s classes? She’s also available for one on one sessions as well as corporate classes!

Join her for the Aversion to Inversions Workshop on September 29th, 1-4pm.

AVERSION TO INVERSION: arm balance & inversion workshop with Molly O'Neill



What is a Yogic Diet?


People always ask me, what is a “yogic diet”? Some people must think we yogis sit around a bonfire, barefoot and cross-legged, eating leaves and nuts that we foraged for following our 4 hour yoga practice that we woke up at the butt crack of dawn for. Hmm… ok… some of that might be true… some days.

So, what is a yogic diet? Well, I believe that having a yogic diet is having a mindful approach to how we eat, leaving all emotion, guilt, and temptation out of it. We all have different bodies and that means we all require different types of diets that depend on a lot of factors. There ain’t no “one size fits all”, which is also the same deal for our yoga practices. When it comes to a yoga practice, a dozen different bodies require a dozen different poses and different kinds of practices for us to stay balanced. Balance means not too much of any one thing.. .and that even applies to too much healthy food. I believe there is such a thing as eating too healthy! If you love chocolate and sweets don’t deprive yourself for too long of cookies, ice cream and candy. I believe in the 90/10 diet. 90% healthy stuff and 10% not so healthy stuff. I love chocolate too much to take it out of my diet. I’ll definitely help myself to a delicious dark chocolate treat a couple times a week and that keeps me balanced.

Many people ask me if I’m a vegetarian. I am not a vegetarian. I tried it for a bit and then I tried being a pescatarian. I can keep a pescatarian diet for a while, but sometimes I really do crave chicken in my salad, and that’s ok. Listen to your cravings. It’s telling you something. I don’t enjoy putting rules and restrictions on myself because it makes life challenging. However, if we are more aware of where our food comes from and how its treated, then I believe it is more of a yogic diet than not knowing or caring. Also, if you always eat out at restaurants, you should try to support the establishments that are also conscious of the food they serve their patrons.

Adopting a yogic diet is a practice. Try things out for a week and see how it makes you feel. For example, take dairy out of your diet for a week and notice how it makes you feel. Do you feel anything new? Is it a positive change? Negative experience? Maybe try eating more vegetables and notice how it makes you feel. If you go through a week where you seem to eat a lot of processed & heavy food and by the end of the week you feel awful…. it’s ok. You can start over and do it better the next week. This is what I mean by a practice. Some days we walk into our yoga practice and you feel like the poses are easy and you feel light as a feather. Some days you walk into class and every pose feels heavy and difficult. Our bodies and minds change every single day and require different types of food, exercise, practice, and care depending on so many factors.

macrobiotic bowl cafe gratitude

Macrobiotic bowl at Cafe Gratitude, one of my favorite vegan restaurants.

I’ll lay down a few ground rules for this “yogic diet” thing we muse over:

1) Turn inward and listen to your body today. What does your body need? Think of food as fuel. Unless you really crave frozen yogurt…. always get fro-yo:)

2) Eat whole, real foods…. lots of green vegetables, 90% of the time…. the other 10% is reserved for your sweet tooth cravings.

3) Don’t keep eating until you feel full. We need much smaller portions of food than you think. As a yogi, we cannot practice and move around with agility on a full stomach. We need to feel light and spry, so eat smaller portions of light and nutritious food.

4) Cook your own food at home as often as possible.

- When you cook your own food you know what’s in it and you can add as much love as you need… Seasoned to perfection. You also tend to not overeat as much when you cook at home. You can measure out exactly what you need and that’s it. When we go to restaurants we tend to finish the plate even if we weren’t that hungry. Also, its way less expensive to cook at home and you can spend all your extra saved money on cool new yoga pants!!

5) There really are no rules! Eat what you love! Eat what makes you feel good… really think about that. What makes you feel good. What foods make you feel sexy and confident about yourself? What foods make you feel strong and ready to conquer the world, or at least conquer your yoga practice? Eat those veggies and whole foods and keep yourself feeling balanced.

Here’s some grocery shopping inspiration….

My yogi shopping list:

Mixed Greens





Green Beans


Organic Blueberries






Jalapeno Yogurt Cheese (from Trader Joe’s…. its lactose free!)

Organic Sprouted Seed Bread

Organic Hummus

Organic Almond Milk

Organic Raw Almond Butter

Rice Crackers

Nacho (flavored) Kale Chips

Organic Free Range Eggs

Organic Chicken Breast

Nutritional Yeast

Organic Ground Coffee

Dark Chocolate!

Red Wine!

“Who am I to be a yoga teacher?”

taylor berman one down dog

When I first signed up for yoga teacher training, I was constantly second-guessing myself. I worried about not being “good enough” at yoga. I mean, I couldn’t even do a headstand yet! Who was I to be a yoga teacher? Why would anyone want to take my yoga class if I couldn’t even do a headstand?

Looking back, I realize I was talking to myself in a way that I would never talk to a friend – or anyone, for that matter!

I think a lot of this self-doubt was coming from my desire to find external validation. There’s a lot of stereotypes swirling around in the yoga world these days and I don’t exactly fit the bill for all of them. Arielle recently wrote a great post along these lines. When people found out I was doing yoga teacher training, they’d almost always say “wow you must be really good” or “wow so you can do headstands and stuff?”

This feedback coming in was fueling a fire of doubt.

I was recently reading a blog post I wrote about one of our early training sessions where we all shared our reasons for being there and also any fears/doubts we had. It was very reassuring to hear that everyone else had similar feelings.

I realized that in order to overcome these feelings of self-doubt, I had to stop searching around me for permission to go after what I want and allow myself to follow my heart. I stopped asking myself if I was “good enough” at yoga to become a teacher and looking outside of myself for the definition of “good.” I started asking myself what it was that really drew me to teacher training in the first place.

I didn’t sign up for teacher training to be “good enough.” I didn’t sign up for teacher training to do a headstand. I didn’t sign up for teacher training to fit into size small yoga pants. And I most certainly didn’t sign up for teacher training to impress others.

Yoga is not about any of that to me. Yoga is a constant process of learning about oneself, looking inward and then using that stability of inner peace to be completely present in the world around us. Yoga is about finding comfort in the uncomfortable places, finding balance between effort and ease, finding joy in the everyday.

Signing up for teacher training was my way of inviting all of this into my life. I wanted to learn and explore ideas. I wanted to grow and challenge myself physically and mentally. I wanted to be a part of a community with others who were on a similar journey.

These days, I’m teaching at One Down Dog 4 times a week and I’m still constantly learning and growing. Every class is different and there is something to learn from every experience. I’m so glad that I signed up for the teacher training because I proved to myself that I can face my fears and that those fears aren’t even real. I get to be a part of a super fun community of yogis. And it just so happens, I did learn to do a headstand – and it’s super fun!

See you on the mat!

When Taylor isn’t teaching yoga, she’s blogging about her adventures as a vegan yogi entrepreneur on her blog and designing/coding websites.

You can connect with her on Instagram and Twitter. Check out Taylor’s class schedule here.

Have you ever considered becoming a yoga teacher?

Do you want to deepen your yoga practice?

Curious about yoga philosophy, ayurveda, pranayama, etc?

One Down Dog Yoga Teacher Training


Click here to learn more about the One Down Dog Yoga Teacher Training program.

Come check out one of our Teacher Training Info Sessions every Saturday at 12:30pm at the Silverlake Studio! We’re here to answer all of your questions and chat about what you can expect from the experience.

Page 1 of 2112345...1020...Last »