#ODDLight: Sabrina Howard
Name: Sabrina Howard
Nick Name: Sabwinkles, DJ Sabribri on the mic. Sab-nasty. (Okay, the last one isn’t actually a thing but I want to make it a thing so spread the word.)
Hometown: Chi City
Favorite Place: See answer above. I also love Crete, Greece. And Southern Italy.
Favorite color: Greeeeeen
What’s your sign? Leo
Most embarrassing moment? Last week when my right boob waved hello to the kind folks at LAX. You can ask me in person for full details.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I played the violin for about 8 years (first-eighth grade). Some of my greatest hits included My Heart Will Go On and Under the Sea.
Share a story or anecdote with us: Earlier this year, I went to Thailand for the first time. While in Chiang Mai, I visited one of the elephant sanctuaries outside of the city. Our last activity with the elephants is bathing them in the pond. At the end, one the elephants sprayed me with her trunk. I giggled, somewhat shocked but also amused. Then I realized that my prescription sunnies had fallen off and into the water. One of the trainers tried to help me find them but it only took a minute for one of the elephants, Stella, to wrap them in her trunk to give them back to me. My glasses are all scratched up now but they hold such a fond memory.
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? Either in the kitchen making something yummy or at the coffee shop communing with my dissertation and a matcha latte.
How do you define yoga? Connection.
Why do you teach? To help students locate the tools that they already possess for cultivating their own happiness.
What brought you to become an instructor? I don’t generally consider myself to be a creative person but yoga inspires me to challenge myself and try new things. Teaching has become a wonderful complement to my academic life because it serves as an outlet through which I can express myself in a very different way.
What is your favorite song to play in class? This is always changing. Right now, it’s “Oya” by Obeyi. I recently saw them at the Afropunk music festival in Brooklyn so I’m v v into it.
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? Um…I love a few good rounds of Suria Namaskar B! Sun As are overrated.
Memorable yoga moment? Trying to figure out how to hop from bakasana into chaturanga. I do it all the time now but I honestly still don’t know understand it.
How did you first hear about One Down Dog? I was a Groupon baby.
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? I’m very into bolsters right now. I don’t do anything fancy with them but I love one under my knees during savasana. I’m also planning to invest in one to keep in my bed.
Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings? @girlwiththehipsterglasses on the ‘gram.
If you could have any super power what would it be? I’m a travel junkie so definitely teleportation.
What was the last book you read? Non-academic? Little Fires Everywhere
Discovering Your True Dosha
Hey ODD fam,
Have you heard of Ayurveda? It’s the sister medicinal science of yoga. It is rooted in the idea of creating balance and harmony between the body and the environment through diet, herbal treatments, and breath. Now that you’re clear on that, you should probably learn more about your dosha, or the energies that govern our physiological activity. Keep reading to learn more about ayurvedic doshas from our resident ayurveda expert, Eleni Tsikrikas!
Kapha (Earth and Water)
Pitta (Fire and Water)
Vata (Air and Ether)
Recently, I had the opportunity to interview over 30 students concerning their individual struggles in implementing Ayurveda into their lives. Again and again, the students revealed that they felt confused and unsure about their constitutions. This was in spite of the fact that many had previously studied Ayurveda and/or taken online ‘guess your dosha’ tests.
It reminded me that I, too, had taken many online tests and struggled for years to determine who I was according to Ayurveda. There were some questions whose answers jumped right out, things that I was certain about. Other areas, such as my digestion, elimination, weight and certain aspects of my personality, remained a mystery. When I finally had a personal ayurvedic assessment with my teacher, I vehemently disagreed when she informed me that I had more Pitta and less Kapha than my self diagnosis. Looking back, the intensity with which I disagreed with her assessment only validated the predominance of Pitta she spoke of.
Here are 5 problems with online dosha quizzes:
- Quizzes are reductionist. All three doshas exist in varying degrees in each individual.
- They conflate symptoms ( vikruti) with your long term healthy patterns (Prakruti)
- They provide a snapshot of whats going on for you right now, rather than your long term patterns.
- They don’t take into account how your current diet, lifestyle, age and environment affect your dosha.
- They play to our tendency to answer based on an idealized versions of ourselves, i.e., who we want to be rather than who we are.
Truth be told, online tests rarely reveal who we really are. I equate dosha tests with a daily online horoscope. There are 12 zodiac signs and 9 billion people. Your zodiac sun sign is a general way of describing you. Its not accurate, it cant be, as it simply doesn’t take into account your unique personality based on all the planetary alignments at the exact time you were born. If you’ve ever had your complete natal chart done, you provided the astrologer with all the information needed to precisely determine who you are. The same professional assessment, based on the necessary information, offers a deeper understanding of your dosha.
Online tests don’t provide a context that outlines the specific role the doshas perform.
Vata manages Air and Ether and is responsible for all our physiological functions, like thinking, moving, speaking, breathing, digesting, eliminating and more. Pitta manages the elements of Fire and Water and is responsible for converting and metabolizing food, sunlight, visual impressions, thoughts, etc into a form our body can use. Kapha manages the elements of Earth and Water and is responsible for our physical structure, such as skin, muscles, bones, organs and all fluids in the body.
Your constitution ( prakruti) defines your unique Psycho-physical makeup and functional habits. In other words, it describes your healthy long-term patterns. The doshas, however have unlimited ways of expressing themselves, hence why we call Ayurveda an individualized system of classification. What works for one person may not work for someone else.
To truly get a sense of who you are requires an analysis of your physical, functional, mental, emotional and spiritual layers. Far more than just your appearance, your regular long-term patterns of diet, lifestyle, relationships and the many ways you interact with your environment are assessed.
The goal of an Ayurvedic practitioner is to identify and treat the presenting pathology( vikruti) as well as the root cause of disease. Once the pathology has been balanced, your constitution will reveal itself. For example, if you frequently experience digestive symptoms of bloating and gas, this is an imbalanced aspect of Vata dosha. These symptoms,( vikruti) mask your deeper, more permanent constitution( prakruti). The root cause of your symptom may be what you are eating, or it may be driven by other factors such as your emotions.
What we currently present, is what we mistakenly associate as our constitution, when in actual fact its the imbalances that are masking our constitution. Simply put, what we currently present may not be who we truly are.
Think about it. How well do you truly know yourself? Its taken me ages to get a better understanding of who I am…and truth be told, even now, my husband, friends and mother see aspects of my personality that I am still unaware of. I have concluded (reluctantly) that I may not always be the best qualified person to assess who I am. This fact, combined with my deep respect for this modality, is why I have an ongoing relationship with a professional Ayurvedic practitioner.
Your dosha describes everything about you. I liken it to a road map to wellness and disease. It can reveal everything about you, including physical and psychological functions, psycho spiritual aspects, personality, health challenges, exercise preferences, choice of friends and partners as well as how you dress, spend money, furnish your home, optimal career choices, preferred climate, physical environment and more.
Clearly, there is no way that a dosha test can determine those aspects of you. Its a wonderful fun way to play and get an idea, but its not complete, because you are a wonderful complex unique individual. Online quizzes are simply not the standard for dosha analysis, so don’t be surprised if your practitioner tells you your dosha is different from the results of your self-test.
All my love and gratitude,
All my love and gratitude
If you’d like to dive into your dosha more substantively, check out this week’s ayurveda workshop at ODD Silverlake with Eleni herself! Ask all the questions! Make all the discoveries! Heal all of the bodies!
#ODDlight Mandee Miller
What you know about Mandee? Not enough, you say. Well, you’re in luck! This month’s #ODDLight feature is none other than the fabulous, hilarious, bootylicious Mandee Miller. If you haven’t met Mandee, she’s a beaming ray of light
Name: Amanda Miller
Nick Name: Mandee
Hometown: Byron, IL
Favorite Place: My home.
Favorite color: I’d have to say red 🙂
What’s your sign? Cusp Babe: Capricorn and Aquarius
Most embarrassing moment? There are so many it’s hard to pick! I recently taught a whole class with a hole in my crotch. Thankfully, I was unaware of the fact until the class was over. You’re welcome for the crotch show!
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I have an alter ego for my female mudwrestling group, Mud Queens of Chicago: Jane Wayne Gacy
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? I am mostly working throughout the city training private clientele, teaching at various Equinox clubs, and hanging at my home with my fiance and our cat, Shorty.
How do you define yoga? Unification in all capacities within oneself and with our world.
Why do you teach? It is a true passion of mine; I feel connected to it in a way I used to feel about acting, singing and improv.
What brought you to become an instructor? An instructor at LA Fitness who’s class I frequented approached me about teaching and I haven’t looked back since! Thanks Elise Cohen!
What is your favorite song to play in class? I’ve been playing a lot of ZHU remixes that match most of the varieties of classes I instruct: Ringos Desert Pt. 1
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? I love moving from Warrior 2 to Extended Side Angle and back up through Warrior 2 to Reverse Triangle.
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? I was paired up with Makeovers That Matter by ODD’s founder, Jessica Rosen, back in 2016 and have been working with their team in support and empowerment of our female veterans. Being able to make a difference in the lives of women who fought for our freedom has truly been a blessing and an honor.
Memorable yoga moment? Getting my very first yoga client in Chicago after graduating TT 🙂
How did you first hear about One Down Dog? Molly O’Neill told me about it when I moved to LA and met her at Wanderlust <3
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? I wear a mala bracelet made and gifted to me by Layla Guest of Layla Guest Designs.
Connect with Mandy via the gram! @mandeemillerfitness
If you’re looking to get some more Mandee in your life, be sure to check out her BUTT class on Wednesdays at 9:15AM in SIlverlake!
Would you more likely tell your boss they had food in their teeth or let it slide? Tell them. Always.
If you could have any super power what would it be? To be able to fly
What was the last book you read? Stephen King’s short stories collection, Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Who or What is your spirit animal? Bill Murray
If YOU were a color what color would you be? Leopard Print