Each month we feature and shine the #ODDlight on the bright lights that keep this place going.
Meet Micelle, she's your monthly breathwork teacher, the first Wednesday of every month in Silverlake. Catch an additional chance to breathe and heal this August 16th for a collaborative Breathwork + Soundlab with Michelle and sound healer Lauren Waggoner.
Name: Michelle D'Avella
Nick Name: Mishi, Chells, You should probably just call me Michelle if you don’t know me. :)
Hometown: Lebanon Township in good ‘ol New Jersey
Favorite Place: Joshua Tree
Favorite color: No favs. I tend to like pops of color. Bright pink. Burnt orange. Teal.
What’s your sign? Libra
Most embarrassing moment? The first memory that came up for me was when I peed my pants in kindergarten, but then I thought, “Come on, how embarrassed can you really be when you’re 5?” So then I thought of this time when I was around 25 and living in Philadelphia. It was around Christmas, and I was out shopping for gifts with my then boyfriend. I was broke, and he was broker. We were on our way home, and I got stopped in the street by a dude who proceeded to hustle me out of $20.
Unbeknownst to me, he and this woman had an act where he played some magic trick, and she pretended to keep winning double her money from him. They showed me several times, and my greed for some easy money won out. The moment I lost my heart sunk as I realized I’d been scammed. I didn’t care about the money, but my pride was bruised. I felt incredibly stupid and naive.
So how did I handle it at the time? Oh yeah, I yelled at my boyfriend for letting me do that, of course, and then proceeded to walk in front of him the whole way home. Oh man, who was that girl back then?!
Most empowering moment? The moment I realized that I don’t need anything from anyone else to heal. I don’t need my ex to apologize for how he hurt me. I don’t need to talk things through with the old flame who ghosted me. I don’t need Mom or Dad to understand x, y, or z about me. I don’t need anyone else to change in order for me to own who I am, heal myself, and create the life I want.
I credit Breathwork for opening me up to realize that I can move out of the place of being a victim and into the empowered position of creating everything I really want for my life.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I’m the oldest of 7 kids.
Share a story or anecdote with us - something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something thats ready to tell. I have always felt there was something more—more for my life and more that was underneath this all. I didn’t know what that meant except for the fact that the way I felt inside didn’t match the world I was living in. I spent most of my life frustrated and confused. When I was 27 my life was not going the way I wanted it to. I had broken up with my boyfriend and moved into a place in Philly with my brother. Three months into our lease my brother tells me he wants to move home to save money.
So at 27 I find myself in my parents’s basement, hanging up sheets from the ceiling to create a bedroom, and I’m miserable. I’m crying and feeling sorry for myself that I’m not in a happy relationship, that I don’t know what I want to do with my life, and that I’m back in bumble-fuck New Jersey relying on my parents for support.
Once I decide to get over myself and take advantage of the moment I start enjoying being with my family. I read a lot of books. Finally I decide to name this feeling inside me and just start sharing my writing. So Pushing Beauty is born, and I start letting my soul speak.
Not long after I move to Hawaii—on a whim. I start meditating more. I take time to get to know myself. I start to trust the signs that are coming to me, and I’m lead to move to LA. It’s there that I discover Breathwork and my entire life transforms. My soul work turns into my business, and I become the happiest I have ever been in my life.
This story is missing a lot of detail, but the point is that my lowest points have always turned into great opportunities. The more I learn to surrender and pay attention to what the Universe is showing me, the more fulfilling my life becomes. Wayne Dyer wrote a book called, “I Can See Clearly Now.” It’s about how as he looks back at his life he can see all of the dots connected. I feel the same way. I have been guided to exactly where I need to be. So anytime I judge where I’m at, make it a problem, or try to force something to be what it isn’t I remember this.
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? At Cafecito sipping a coffee, walking around Echo Park Lake having the best conversation with a friend, lounging in SIlverlake Meadow reading a good book.
How do you define yoga? An opportunity to get to know yourself more.
Why do you teach? I teach Breathwork, and I teach it because it’s the single practice that transformed my life in a way no other has. I teach because part of my calling is to help other people truly change their lives. I only teach things that have worked for me. Breathwork is the fastest catalyst for creating sustainable change. If you show up to do the work with a willingness to see the truth about yourself, you will transform.
What inspired you to become an instructor? It was part of the journey. I never had any grand plan to be a teacher. In fact, it was probably the opposite. I ended up doing a Breathwork training because I was following my intuition. I had no plans to teach, but something felt like it was calling me to do this training. So I did it. Then my roommate asked me, “Hey what was that thing you were doing the other weekend?”I guided him through a session, and it blew his mind. He was like, “Everyone needs to experience this work!” Pretty quickly, after doing sessions with everyone in my family from my 13 year old sister to my 58 year old father, I realized this was universal work. Everyone needs their heart to open more. Everyone needs to get out of their head. Everyone needs to heal in some way. So I started teaching.
What is your favorite song to play in class? I don’t have a favorite song. I make different playlists for each class. Probably one of my favorite songs to use in Breathwork right now in my own practice is The Promise by Tracy Chaplin. I have been known to throw in a Landslide rendition from time to time in class that almost always gets the tears flowing.
What is your favorite breathe, pose, or flow? Why? Breathing! Of course I’m speaking about the particular kind of Breathwork I teach, but for real it is my ultimate healing tool. I breathe every single day to open my energy, release stuck emotions, open my heart, and connect me to my truth. If there was only one practice I could do it would be this, and it’s the one thing above all else I recommend people begin to work with. Game changer.
Memorable yoga/breath moment? So many! I’ve been practicing Breathwork for about four years now so that has included many, many sessions. Each session is powerful in and of itself, and I’ve had too many incredible experiences to even remember. I recently had a session where I cleared out some abuse energy that was passed down in my family’s lineage, and that was a really incredible experience. My favorite moment in any private healing session is when the heart opens. It’s such a beautiful experience to witness someone let go of an old story and connect with who they truly are.
How did you first hear about One Down Dog? Ha! Actually my ex boyfriend was practicing at the studio so I started to check it out through his recommendation.
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala, oil, etc) I use my teacher’s blend of essential oils for the chakras. They really help to open things up, and I use them every day. If you’ve taken a class with me you’ve probably experienced me applying Open Heart or Expression.
Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings? My handle is @pushingbeauty and you can use #pushingbeauty