For this month's ODDLight, we bring you Mr. Armen Menechyan. Never taken his class? Expect details cues and thoughtfully designed sequences along with some laughs. Catch him at 8:15 on Saturday mornings in Eagle Rock for a FLOW. You're sure to come away with all the good feels.
Nick Name: I don’t have one.
Favorite Place: Barcelona, Spain
Favorite color: Yellow
What’s your sign? Gemini
Most embarrassing moment?
Accidentally farting in the 5th grade in front of my peers as I picked up my pencil from the floor and also during a yoga class in savasana (lentils are my fave).
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you?
I prayed for a sister and my parents saw me doing that. I got one 9 months later so the story goes.
Share a story or anecdote with us!
I like to tell the story of my last day in Nepal. I was taking my last cold shower in December and it was a few days before Christmas. I had this moment of shock and disbelief that I’d be home soon and even though I wanted to return, a part of me was quite content and at ease spending 30 days in a Buddhist monastery. By the way, I had no idea I was going to a Buddhist retreat when I first signed up for it. I simply thought it was a meditation course. It ended up being the real deal with Tibetan monks and 5am wake up calls. I digress. I realized that I hadn’t really thought about my return home. During that shower, I realized that I had left a pretty awesome job and that I’d return to nothing lined up. It was such a liberating and scary moment, and I constantly go back to that day to recognize that somehow it all worked out. I could’ve chosen to worry about an uncertain future or trust that it would all work out. I try to live every moment of unease or uncertainty like that day on the 15th of December, 2015. Somehow, it all works out if there is dedication and effort. Somehow, if I’m following my path, there is a sense of effortless effort. I return to Patanjalis sutra 2.42 often, especially when I need to ask myself those big questions during moments of grand transition. I think it’s pretty magical to be able to be guided by these teachings from 1000s of years ago in 2018.
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found?
Well, these days I am teaching middle schoolers full time. But, I’m either taking a walk in Los Feliz, hiking Griffith, having a coffee in Los Feliz or chilling at my parents house a few blocks away.
How do you define yoga?
Yoga is a practice of inquiry. More specifically, at this point in my practice it is an inquiry of the body and mind, and their intimate interrelationship. Yoga also provides for an observation of the Self (the ego powered concept of Self) and the self (the higher self). To be able to sit in stillness to observe the fluctuations of the mind is sitting in a state of yoga. Asana, which means “seat”, is also a great opportunity to sit within a shape and observe, be an inquirer of the mind’s reaction to the seat. Above all yoga is any practice that makes one a better human being, and even that is relative.
Why do you teach?
Because I learn better that way.
What brought you to become an instructor?
It just happened. I’ve been a classroom teacher for many years and I took some time off to study yoga.
What is your favorite song to play in class?
Anything sort of eclectic I guess with 45-65 BPM
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
My favorite pose is shoulder stand supported with a chair. For years, shoulder strand was my nemesis. But, I am learning to cherish it.
Memorable yoga moment?
There are so many. This is an unfair question. How do I do justice to all the teachers who have brought me to this point in my practice, I am not sure, but for those moments I had with them, I am grateful. I’ve been fortunate to have carved the time to learn from many teachers the past few years and continue to take part in intensives. Those “aha” moments are what I live for and sometimes they happen during a regular practice. For example, today, I felt something I had never felt after 15 years of practicing and it was in a standing forward fold. Go figure!
How did you first hear about One Down Dog?
Groupon. I had just returned to the states after living abroad for 6 years and I was back on the market. ODD was nearby and the newest studio in town.
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?
Im a blanket guy these days. Every class has a blanket. It’s important for me to be able to access seated postures with proper support for the pelvis. Is that too nerdy of a response?
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?
I love to be of service to the LGBTQ community. But, the most passionate work I’ve ever done is when my best friend and I founded a yoga and meditation initiative for social changemakers in the country of Armenia. That project was very dear and near to my heart. In short, we offered yoga and meditation to LGBTQ, Women’s, and Children’s rights organizations and their staff members.
Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings?
Would you more likely tell your boss they had food in their teeth or let it slide?
I’d definitely tell them. I think it’s rude not to.
What was the last book you read?
Currently I am reading Medieval to Modern Early Times, which is a 7th grade textbook. But, on the daily, I read Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening.
Do you dream? Lucid dream?
I usually have quite lucid dreams if I’ve had something heavy or salty to eat at night. Often, after an intensive yoga training weekend, I have very telling dreams.
If YOU were a color what color would you be? Red