The Language of Tarot

This past Saturday, I attended a friend’s backyard birthday party. It was a familiar scene as we gathered under the trees, drinks in hand, catching up around the fire pit. Then Gel gave me that sly smile: “Did you bring your cards?”

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I did—I almost always do. So then and there we sat down on the Earth to ask ourselves some questions, and remind ourselves what we already know. Others came up to pick a card, to engage in their own knowing. And, the inevitable questions arose.

“How do you remember all the meanings?”

“Where did you learn?”

“How long did it take you?”

tarot workshopMy answers, though, may not be what folks expect. I assume that they want to hear about an apprenticeship under a Master Psychic. (Do those exist? Please put me in contact.) Or that it runs in my blood from my great-grandmother’s lineage. Yeah, no. My answers are less exciting, but open all of us up to this beautiful instrument for self-knowledge.

See, the thing is, I taught myself. I’m teaching myself, still. Tarot is an art form that simply makes sense to me. It’s a language we can all speak and interpret. There is no certification required to pick up a deck, and learn with the cards about yourself, about your friends, and about the opportunities on your path. I learned, and I continue learning, by reading for and with others.

In Intuitive Tarot, offered for the first time at One Down Dog, we will collaboratively learn with one another and lots of amazing decks. Certainly there are basics to tarot: what each suit represents, or the form of the Major Arcana, for example. Yet there are far more interesting questions hidden in the cards. Three of Wands asks what you envision for yourself, and the Queen of Cups reflects back your own intuitive advice. In gathering together we will act as mirrors for one another while we gain confidence and deepen our understanding of tarot.

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Valerie Smith

 

A beautiful and short reading you can do for yourself or a friend is by simply pulling four cards from your deck, representing your Mind – Body – Spirit – Heart. There are many questions that can be asked with this foundation, but the importance comes from holistic self-examination.

(For a beautiful story on the importance of connecting with all four of these elements, see Walking the Talk, A Sacred Responsibility.)

 

The Mind: What stories am I telling myself? What underlying assumption masking itself as a truth? What logical line of thinking should I be considering at this time? Or, for a twist: What teaching and learning can I cultivate during this phase?

 

The Body: What actions do I need to take? What messages is my body giving me about this situation? How should I nurture my physical form, in order to thrive?

 

The Spirit: This question depends deeply on the individual, since spirit means so many different things (or nothing at all!) to different people. But some questions include: When and where I encourage inspiration in my life? How is the world calling to me? How can I improve the energetic influence of my spirit in my community?

 

The Heart: Not always included in similar spreads, I had to add in The Heart, because it is so important to listen to the beats of our very own drums. What practices do I need to help foster a healthy, open heart? What is my heart crying out for?

 

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Intrigued? Join me at One Down Dog (Silverlake) for three Intuitive Tarot workshops!

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Thursday, 7:30 – 9:30

9/29: Meet the Cards

10/13: Following the Thread of Intuition

10/27: The Art of Storytelling

 

$75 for all three classes or $30 drop-in, if available!

#ODDlight Family Feature: Liza Thoms

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 people you see in the studio!

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Name: Liza Lucia Stratton Thoms

Nick Name: Lulu, Grizz, Luchita

Hometown: Fairfax, CA up in the SF Bay Area

Favorite Place: Swimming in the ocean/floating in a river or lake or in a hug with someone I love

Favorite color: Green!

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What’s your sign? Virgo

Most embarrassing moment? Turning my oddlight questions in sooo late (not a good look for a manager!)

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Most empowering moment? I don’t know if I have one huge empowering moment but there are a series of little things, telling my first good joke in Spanish, getting off medication for my epilepsy and being seizure free, teaching an english class to 30 adults (public speaking is my nightmare), graduating college, telling my honey I loved him for the first time…

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I never played any sports but started dance classes when I was 4 years old.

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? My boyfriend taught me to drive in San Francisco and at the ripe age of 26, I got my license.

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Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I speak Spanish, it was one of my majors in college and I lived in Queretaro, Mexico for a year.

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? Seeing live music or out on the town with friends.

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How do you define yoga? For me, Yoga is about learning to let go and to tune in. It has given me this great tool to examine myself and the world with less judgement.

What brought you to One Down Dog? I had just moved to LA from SF and was looking for some grounding and community in this big city and man oh man did I find what I was looking for!

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What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? Warrior 2 because I feel fierce and confident and strong and I love the dance-like transition in and out of this pose. Just typing that made me get up and do one. Yup, my favorite!

Memorable yoga moment? My first tears in savasana. They were tears of gratitude for this heart opening practice.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc) Blocks and Beyond Yoga high waisted pants are my shit!

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? My mom is a mental health specialist at the Homeless Prenatal Program in SF and so it is a place I hold near and dear. Their mission is about empowering people to recognize their strengths and trust in their own capacity to transform their lives in addition to offering various methods of support. I think this is such important messaging.

Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings? You know I am not up on the times with this! @_luchitas is trying to keep up on instagram though! Follow me and keep me relevant.

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Anything else? (feel free to add literally anything!)  I have always been blessed with strong community and grew up surrounded by an enormous family (both immediate and extended) along with lots of people I called “aunts”, “uncles” and “cousins” and great friendships. I am full of gratitude for this. Having a workplace with such a sense of community is my dream come true. Finding this studio made me feel at home in LA, I love this place and all the amazing people that make it what it is! Thank you ODD fam.

#FeelBetterInYourBody – A National Yoga Month Instagram Challenge

CHALLENGE TIME!! September is national yoga month, and we’re doing a 30 day #yoga #instachallenge!

#feelbetterinyourbody all month long with us and our sponsors and win prizes!! Want to join the fun?

1️⃣ follow @onedowndog @beyondyoga@hanna.lahandmade @cucciosomatology@ybicoalition @lovemoremovement

2️⃣share this post on your page and tag 3 friends

3️⃣post each day’s challenge, tag all the sponsors and #feelbetterinyourbody in the post (pro tip: save it all in your notes so you can just copy and paste)

4️⃣get on your mat and move your body!

Prizes: $100 to @beyondyoga, jewelry from@hanna.lahandmade, @ybicoalition yoga and body image book,@lovemoremovement t-shirt,@cucciosomatology goodies and more!

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Yoga is more than asana (the poses) and One Down Dog is all about finding YOUR flow and making the pose match the person rather than the person match the pose. So this challenge includes some off the mat yoga fun. Here’s the breakdown of what each day means so you can plan ahead!

 

Late to the challenge? Just catch up! You can join in as late as 10 days in to win and join in ANY day just to play. Find your variation of each challenge.

1. #FeelBetterInYourBody ­ “This is how I show up.” #Tadasana (hands to side or heart…all good).

2.  #ODDselfie – Capture that self image! Whether it’s first take or your favorite picture.

3. BIG STEP ­ – How do you lunge? Knee down? Knee bent? Arms high? Arms bent? Show us how YOU lunge.

4. FOOD FOR THE SOUL ­ – There is NO guilt involved with this pleasure.

5. SQUATTY PARTY – #Malasana/#yogisquat… it looks and feels different for everyone. Our hips are shaped different, our knees feel differently.

6. TAKE A SEAT! ­ #Utkatasana / Chair pose. – So how do you take a seat? With a block between the thighs? Hands where? Twist? How low do you go?

7. ROOT TO RISE – #Vrksasana – Tree pose variations.

8. FOOD FOR THE BODY – The thing you’re eating because you know you need it.

9. #MakeAwesomeHappen – Let’s see one or some of your favorite awesome things you do and have done. Big or small, it’s awesome!

10. ONE DOWN DOG – #AdhoMukhaSvanasana – Downward Facing Dog – clearly our favorite. One day at a time, one down dog at a time.  We always show up with something different. From heels to hands, this pose will always look different.

11. #PLANKING – Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana – Want to drop to elbows or feel like knees are the right plank for you? Let’s see any plank!

12. THIS IS RIDICULOUS – #Chaturanga – We do this one a lot in vinyasa classes and it’s TOUGH. Drop those knees, use those blocks, modify!

13. OPEN HEARTS, STEADY BACKS, CANT LOSE. – Cobra (bhujangasana), Upward Facing Dog, Sphinx. Give us any of those strong open hearts!

14. YOGI’S CHOICE – What’s YOUR yoga? A favorite pose to modify, your best healthy habit, or the thing that makes you feel most like you are down with that yoga life.

15. I AM A WARRIOR – Any warrior variation that makes you feel strong and open. Warrior One, Reverse Warrior, or that steady Warrior Two.

16. I DONT NEED IT…BUT I WANT IT – What is life without those extra things that just bring us joy?

17. I PAUSE FOR SELF-CARE – You are important. Make time for self-care. What is your go-to for caring for that body of yours that makes you feel good on the inside too?

18. MY SIDE IS THE STRONG SIDE – #Vasisthasana – Side Plank Variations! Drop a knee, an elbow, tripod that top leg, or send it high!

19. IS THIS RIGHT? Can we just help each other out on this one? Post a photo of the pose, the habit, or the food somebody swears is good for you but you just aren’t sure about. Surf the #FeelBetterInYourBody hashtag to help each other out with that tricky stuff.

20. THE BIG BEND – #PrasaritaPadottanasana – Wide Legged Fold has SO many arm variations and place you can play in. 

21. ALL TIED UP – #garudasana – Eagle – For some of us this pose is that balance of strength and stretch. For some of us we just feel like a tilting pretzel. Either way it’s fun to play!

22.  ITS A BIG DEAL – Share a photo of something that is important to you.

23. I’M A GREAT DANCER – #Natarajasana – Dancer pose variations, don’t be scared to use those straps!

24. TAKE UP SPACE! – #UtthitaHastaPadangusthasana – Extended Hand to Big Toe. Take it to the side, to the front, and use that strap!

25. #IWokeUpLikeThis – The rules are simple, just take a photo of that killer bed head. You’re beautiful. Feelin it?

26. MOON ME – #ardhachandrasana – half-moon. It’s one of those poses that makes a lot more sense with some props or a wall to help us find and build strength for this doozy. Modify, prop it up, or just enjoy the tumble and sway and soar!

27. LIFT AND LET GO – #SetuBandhaSarvangasana – Bridge Pose! Supported, legs lifted, or any backbend you love to do! Wheel?

28. FEELIN’ UP! – #Sarvangasana – Shoulder stand variations or any inversion. Legs up the wall or give us that handstand and anything in between.

29. I’M FEELIN MYSELF – What does feeling better look like? Let yourself enjoy YOU. Feel it. Share it.

30. YOU’RE DONE! – #Savasana  – Corpse Pose, bring on the knee props and the blankets! Well earned rest after some really awesome work realizing how your yoga makes you feel better in your body.

 

#ODDlight Teacher Feature: Janine Glass

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Name: Janine Glass

Nick Name: J9

Hometown: Philly

Favorite Place: Any where with my boys AND tropical islands…Thailand and Bali to be more specific

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Favorite color: I don’t have just 1…I prefer rainbows!!!!

What’s your sign? Aries

Most embarrassing moment? When you get married and have kids I feel like embarrassing moments disappear and you learn to laugh and enjoy every situation! But one time in yoga class….

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Most empowering moment? About 3 years I attended an Advance Teacher Training in NYC. There was a specific moment when I was yogaing, of course, Where I realized my true path and really stepped into my own spirit authentically for the first time. Man, this was so empowering!

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Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? Japanese food is my jam. Could eat it 24/7

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I can make the best veggie spring rolls

Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something that you love to tell. Gosh, there are so many! One of my fav adventures was with my hubby. We traveling to Thailand, Cambodia, and Bali for our honeymoon for an entire month. The last stop was Bali, where I taught at The Yoga Barn. The most magic I’ve ever experienced happened on that trip. It was the trip of a lifetime and I fulfilled a dream of teaching in Bali. I will be back teaching in Bali one day soon!

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When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? Hanging with all my boys, Bodhi too! Preferably on the beach on or by the water! Playing in yoga class with all my #yogafriends!

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How do you define yoga? Yoga is what YOU need it to be. Every time you arrive on the mat you get something so different.

Why do you teach? I teach for one reason. To help heal the hoop of the people. Yoga heals and there is so much wisdom and medicine that happens when we are on our mats. All humans can benefit from some form of the practice.

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What brought you to become an instructor? Yoga was and still is the thing that connects me to self and the universe. Yoga continues to heal and help me. When I took my first teacher training I knew yoga was my new journey and it makes me so happy and humble to share the practice, the space, and time with others! I left that teacher training quit my corporate job and started teaching immediately (thanks to Ducky Punch:)

What is your favorite song to play in class? That changes on the daily

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? Honestly, that so changes on the daily too. But I always love to invert!

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Memorable yoga moment? Arriving on the mat; yes that memorable moment when peace washes though every cell tissue of the body!

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc) The roll…see attached pic #forrestyoga style:)

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What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? Yoga for Youth is a great non profit that literally saves children’s lives by bringing worthiness and happiness to children that have had a really rough start

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Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings? www.JanineGlassYogaCo.com, #j9yogaco #forrestyoga Follow my social media to see update of all yoga happenings and my boys!

Anything else? (feel free to add literally anything!) My workshop Unraveling the mysteries of the Neck, Shoulders, and Hips 8/27

#ODDlight Teacher Feature: Audrey Guedelekian

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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: Audrey Ann Guedelekian

Hometown: Glendale, CA.

Favorite color: Right now: Arizona Green Tea Turquoise

What’s your sign? Scorpio’

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Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?

– I was born left handed. Learned to write and draw with both hands later. Now I’m dominantly right handed. Can still do random things with my left

– I have my bachelors in fine art and am pretty awesome at drawing and painting

– I teach indoor cycling aside from yoga and AcroYoga

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

I was practicing yoga with one of my mentors last summer. She had us in ustrasana (camel pose) it was a backbend that wasn’t my friend. She came up to me in the midst of the pose and placed one finger on my heart. She said push my finger with your breathe. It was a struggle but I felt some space open up. Coming out of the pose I felt so much emotion run through my body and tears fill up my eyes. It was the first time I truly lived in that pose. It doesn’t matter what emotion was attached to the tears but that this was one of the first very clear moments where I experienced yoga as medicine.  

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

– doing Acroyoga at a park, or in a pool

– making giant bubble contraptions

– building my own hula hoops

– recently got into body building. Let see how long this phase lasts

– napping with the pup, Mochi

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How do you define yoga? Yoga is your relationship with yourself.

Why do you teach? It keeps me happy. I am lucky. People come to me feeling physical or emotional pain, and they leave relaxed and grateful is so fulfilling to me.

What brought you to become an instructor? Right after I completed college I was faced with a pretty emotional break up combined with the pressure of starting a career. Pain and change taught me a lot during that process and was the best thing to have happened to me because of what came after. I Decided to take a teacher training with a yoga therapist with no intention to teach. One thing lead to another and here we are. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Giving, receiving, connecting and co-creating.

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What is your favorite song to play in class? Lately it’s been anything by Kygo

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? Aside from inversions I love danurasana. Bow pose. It’s one of the few backbends that feel accessible to me.

Memorable yoga moment? Every time one of my students thank me after class for reaching them in some way through words or music or the yoga. That’s my favorite moment, every time.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc) I have no real connection to places or things. The memories I have are connected to the people I had them with.

Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings? #acrocousins @audreyannyoga

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COME TO THE ACROYOGA WORKSHOP – 6/16/16 – 2-4pm  – Audrey and her cousin Allen – beginners, no partners needed.

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