We had so much fun at the grand opening party for our new Eagle Rock yoga studio! Awesome flows, glow sticks, kombucha from Health-Ade and good friends. Can’t get better than this! And the fun continues as our schedule keeps on growing. Check out the new early morning classes we add recently at 7am on Mondays and Wednesdays. Drop us a line and let us know what other times you would like to see!
We all have our favorite yoga instructors we bow in humility to, those ones who seem to have just the right things to say at the right time when we need it. They appear to live their lives so free and full, and they hold a special space for us (students) to roll out our mats and decompress our ever changing, busy, and at times overwhelming life.
Before I enrolled in yoga teacher training, I always idolized the instructors who would flawlessly roam around the room during class. They would keep me motivated to push further to the edge just by giving a sweet encouraging smile as I would catch their eye in downward facing dog. Although I had considered many times, almost daily, about enrolling in teacher training; I always rationalized why I let the next training deadline roll away by reminding myself that “they” were a specific type of celebrity. They possessed an “awe” factor I never thought I could achieve. I didn’t meditate, I used curse words, and I stayed up until 2 in the morning. I was not what you would call “zen market material”.
One day, after taking my favorite yoga sculpt class at a studio in Denver, I overheard one of my super strong, collected, and beautiful yoga queen guides on the phone with a significant other, arguing. She was hollering, spouting profanities, and I could hear the emotion and passionate pain in her voice. A wave of human reality shattered this perfect statue picture I had painted of her in my mind, and I felt connected to her in a way that I hadn’t before. It was so grounding that my stomach jumped like it does when on a roller coaster drop. I thought to myself, “I know what it’s like to take a frustrating phone call in the parking lot at work too! She’s a human!” Besides wanting to run around the corner, and scoop her up in a hug, and scream, “YOU’RE SO COOL, AND YOU JUST CHANGED MY DAY! AND I LOVE YOU!” – which I didn’t, I also knew immediately that I could no longer hide behind the excuse that I used foul words and lost my temper sometimes as a reason to not take the challenge my soul had been yearning for to enroll in teacher training.
During my training, I was expecting an “ah-ha” moment to happen, I figured one morning I would wake up and automatically feel collected and glide around with a centered essence, the way I watched all my instructors gracefully display. It never happened. I felt the same. 19 years old, confused, broke, and uninspired and to top it off when I would attempt to guide practice classes I felt like I was bombing every time. (YES, BOMBING! You know that thing that bad stand-up comedians do when they have a terrible joke and an unwatchable performance? It was THAT cringe-worthy) I found myself very overwhelmed and almost wanted to quit!
I was told by everyone in my life that mattered to me that I could not make it financially as a yoga instructor and in my heart of hearts I didn’t even FEEL like a yoga instructor anyways. I had a sincere sit-down with one of my mentors, the SAME instructor who had taken the phone call outside many moons before, who still to this day does not know I was creeping around the corner and overheard her call her boyfriend “an asshole!”
She gave me some really great advice.
She said, “You don’t learn to ride a bike by watching everyone else ride theirs. You have to get on the bike over and over and over and ride it. You have to fall, and pick up speed, and learn to slow down, and see what it sounds like to put a pop-can on the back of it and feel the wind in your hair when you go too fast. Watch out for others around you, and be cautious of where you lead yourself on your bike and take care of it by bringing it inside at night. Yoga is like a bike. Once you learn to ride your bike, you are able to guide people to ride theirs because you have FELT what it is like to LEARN to ride it not simply because you know the idea of it.”
SO GOOD right!? In that moment it occurred to me that I was coming to class, but I wasn’t fully being a student! I knew the poses, and where to put my foot and hands, but I wasn’t FEELING how my body got there, I wasn’t observing the transitions and how the weight seemed to shift mentally and physically for me throughout class. To keep brevity in this post, I will tell you I kept at it diligently, for years. I made mistakes and received feedback, sometimes drove home in tears because I didn’t feel the class was very good and I fumbled through the entire thing. But, just like my yoga mat never gave up on me, and as the students always continued to show up I got more comfortable in my teaching shoes – er barefeet.
I can now tell you, 6 years down the line, I am still a student. I still fumble, I still make HUMAN mistakes, but NOW what is different for me is that I observe my mistakes and allow myself to experience them to the fullest. I wallow in them so deeply, down to very last sometimes embarrassingly painful detail so I don’t miss any of its fibers. Because then once I have settled into the lesson the mistake manifested for me, I can bring it back to the mat, and help guide someone else through with a map, with a better sense of cautionary eyes, with a compassionate heart, an empathetic mind and a supportive touch.
THAT is how my teachers gave me the words I needed, THAT is how they always seemed calm and in control, they had been where I was on the mat. They had learned to ride the bike, and they had fallen off. They knew what it was like to scream and cry and stay up late, and their job was to smile their sweet smile and to help me through it, because if they thrived passed the tough stuff, they knew I could too! As an instructor now, I continue to learn just as much from my student’s persistence and love as I hope to bring them in anatomy and posture knowledge.
I am a forever student of my practice, other instructors, and this beautifully complicated life. If you have an instructor who you adore, continue to adore them but be mindful that you connect with them so much because you are the same. That thought should make you feel pretty damn cool! For this reason, we end our practice with Namaste: The Divine in me recognizes and honors, the Divine in you. The spirit within me bows to the spirit within you. I greet that place where you and I are one. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place within you, and I am in that place within me, we are one.
Do what you do my friends, and do it well. BIG LOVE, BIG HAIR, BIG FEELINGS. Alexis out.
I’ll never forget the day I was approached at the sunset junction farmers market by a girl handing out fliers for a new yoga studio. It was about 2 years ago; I had just moved back to LA from Santa Barbara. I was looking for a new studio to call home to my yoga practice. Little did I know what was in store for me.
I have been practicing yoga since I was a teenager. But I have never had a strong and consistent practice until I found One Down Dog. I instantly connected with the power vinyasa flow and the message about keeping it real at One Down Dog. I felt like I could just be myself and not try to be some yoga-ized version of me.
When Jessica decided to offer the first teacher training something inside of me said, “do it”! I had toyed with the idea of yoga teacher training before. I had just gone back to school for my BSN so I wasn’t sure how I was going to work full-time, go to school full-time and do yoga teacher training. Even though it seemed impossible and a little crazy, I knew that my mission is to serve others through nursing, yoga and Buddhism. So I listened to my heart and signed up for the training.
I wasn’t sure what exactly would happen after I finished the training. I didn’t see myself teaching classes per say, more like incorporating yoga into nursing somehow. But during teacher training I started to discover that I liked teaching; I found it equally terrifying and exhilarating. The most important thing I learned in teacher training was to find confidence in my own voice and myself. This is still a work in progress for me.
I currently teach two classes a week: 6:30am Flow on Monday and 5:45pm Sweat on Friday. I have learned so much from teaching yoga. Not only have I deepened my own practice, I have also discovered the joy of practicing for others, my students.
It’s really a creative endeavor for me to come up with new flows and playlists every week. My goal for every class is to guide my students on a yoga journey and leave grounded, centered, and with a little more joy.
I am so grateful to Jessica for being such an amazing teacher and creating an awesome space where we as a community can explore our dreams.
The Patience of Savasana
(shah-VAHS-anna) : Corpse pose You know when you are settling into your savasana? Sweat dripping everywhere, your body slowly relaxing ? Perhaps you have been on your back for a little bit already, maybe you have just released your feet from happy baby… maybe you just attempted to hold your half lotus #bigbooty self up for 10 breaths by your poor ill-equipped triceps and biceps like I did this Monday night in LED with Ellina.
In any event, I settled my back onto my mat trying to work out body kinks and let my palms rest towards the sky.
No altered breathing. ……Just me in corpse pose…. return to the earth “Crap I need to pick up trash bags on the way home…”
No, no, mind we are supposed to be in savasana, meditating, focusing on our breathing right? “Right sorry I should know better” Crap stop making judgments I say to myself internally.
How long is savasana anyways? Sometimes I feel blissed out for the whole 10 minuets and arise feeling newly centered with more appreciation for my intertwined body and soul. Sometimes I wonder if the teacher has forgot all about the pose and me, and I am just lying in a dimly light room all alone.
It seems easy to make the judgment. Well obviously if I cant’ be comfortable both mentally and physically in savasana I am not doing it right.
But you know what??
Sometimes savasana is freaking hard because I am all by myself with nothing else to freaking distract me, and the shit can be scary. No filter, no teacher no friends next to me in class, just me, and my mind.
Yoga isn’t just for your body; we all know that, it is as much to strengthen your soul as it is to strengthen your chaturanga arms.
Sometimes we need to go towards the scary unpredictability of our minds, instead of running away from it.
ONE DOWN DOG has taught me over and over again that this type of growth is what yoga is all about. Every ODD class allows me to explore my mind and body in a new way.
What uncertainty will you lean into on your mat this month?
Yoga teacher training was a life changing experience – sounds dramatic, but it’s true!
I tried yoga for the first time in college but didn’t practice regularly until about 4 years ago. I enjoyed yoga because it was a way to de-stress and help ease the pain from working behind a computer all day. It never crossed my mind that I would want to be a yoga teacher until I went to One Down Dog. I met a few teachers and they all loved teaching, I had never “loved” any job!
A few months passed and a teacher mentioned to me that Jessica was going to lead One Down Dog’s first yoga teacher training at the end of the summer. I was working 10+ hour days at the time, miserable in my job, and I thought I would never be able to juggle that kind of commitment with my current day job. Maybe when I got a new job and had better hours I could entertain the idea of signing up. I have friends who have completed yoga teacher trainings at other studios and they always say, “It changed my life!” or “It was the most amazing experience!” I realized I needed a change and it was never going to be the “right” time. I could keep putting it off, or I could sign up and try something new. So I did it!
Before I started teacher training, I felt stuck in my job. I would wake up every day and dread going to work. I had always been a driven person, I always knew what I wanted, but here I was, complacent and clueless about what my next steps would be professionally.
In teacher training, we learned about goal setting, something I had always done, but at this point in my life I wasn’t chasing any career goals. Early on in our training, we were introduced to the Sanskrit word bhavana, meaning yogic contemplation and visioning. We set lofty goals for ourselves and I wrote down what I wanted to be doing for a living and what I dreamed of. A week before training ended, I landed the job I envisioned at the start of training. You could say it was a coincidence but I don’t think so. If it wasn’t for training and my new way of thinking, I never would have scored an interview for the position. Training has also helped me further my practice. I am stronger than I have ever been, inside and out. I would recommend teacher training to anyone who is curious, wants a change or wants a challenge.
The experience is difference for everyone, so what will your experience be?
Get more info about teaching training here