Yoga is more than a pose and a physical practice. The connection of community and care is what lifts this practice up off the mat. Acts of service now build your Karma for the future.
In collaboration with Alleviate Skid Row, One Down Dog rallied donations and built care kits at our ODDgiving Community Event to hand out to individuals in downtown Los Angeles experiencing homelessness.
Donations of snacks, clean socks, warm clothes, and toiletries, poured in. In under 2 hours over 100 care kits of reusable bags were made. ::goosebumps::
The energy of the day was active, productive, and organized. Absolutely incredible how engaged each person was with the task all while enjoying each other.
Alleviate Skid Row then gathered with volunteers the following Sunday to distribute the care packs to those in need. If you feel called to volunteer- contact them! They are so kind, welcoming, and organized. We are SO VERY thankful for all that they do.
Get Involved in Our Next Community Event
We’re hosting a clothing swap with a local Mom’s group on December 14th at our Eagle Rock location at 3pm if you’d like to donate clothing and come swap for more of your own. There will be a raffle and an auction to raise funds for a local mom going through cancer.
Any extra clothing will be donated to the Downtown Women’s Center. It’s a great way to cut down on the fast fashion impact, raise money for a woman in need, and connect with the community. Join us!
Hey, it’s Sofie! Your friendly ‘Director of Steez’ at ODD.
Over the last year or so I’ve been focusing on stocking great brands that you will feel great about owning and supporting. The majority of the products we stock are women-owned, local, eco-conscious– or awesome combinations of all three!
Find all of these great gifts and more at our studios in Silverlake, Echo Park, and Eagle Rock.
Here are my top picks for you this holiday season!
10 Gifts Under $15:
1. Cocofloss Maybe a weird flex, but I’m obsessed. This floss is honestly amazing, comes in really fun flavors (mint, of course, coconut, cara cara orange, and strawberry!?!), and it has turned me in a regular flosser! Everyone could use a good floss right?
2. Death Valley Nails This non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free nail polish comes in such cool and unique colors that are perfect for all those cool and unique people in your life. You really can’t go wrong here.
3. Alder Single Use Face Masks I mean who doesn’t love a good face mask? To me it is the epitome of self-care. I really love the brightening one 🙂
4. Baggu Reusable Bags Plastic sucks and how much more fun would life be if we all had cute and colorful bags for trips to the grocery store, etc. ALSO hot tip – you can wrap other gifts in these by putting stuff in and just tying up the top how cute is that?
5. Massage Balls: Everyone (whether or not they know it) needs a pair of massage balls in their life and that’s just a fact.
6. Meow Meow Tweet Bar Soap The pink rose clay face soap is my personal fave but I’ve used pretty much all of them at this point and they are all amazing.
7. Worthwhile Paper Notepads January is coming in hot and we all want to get our shit together – making lists helps + plus these are made with 100% recycled paper!
8. Scrunchies: I pretty much exclusively use scrunchies at this point in my life and it is something I am extremely proud of. These are also made of scrap fabric from @breeziestardust bathing suits!
9. Cuccio 2oz. Sprays An excellent stocking stuffer for that die-hard yogi in your life, always good to have mat spray and this stuff smells so good!
10. Lulu Organics Dry Shampoo I can go THROUGH some dry shampoo, so we like this woman-owned, eco friendly option, opposed to an aerosol spray. It comes in great scents like lavender, jasmin, and rose musk. Absorb oil while adding extra smell-good body to your hair.
5 Splurgeworthy Gifts
1. Beyond Yoga Beyond Yoga Spacedye pants are just my absolute favorite yoga pants in the world. They are so soft and luxurious and come in really lovely colors. Plus this brand is women-owned and size-inclusive. 10/10 would recommend.
2. Nipomo Blankets These blankets are beautiful and perfect for the beach, the park or displaying in your home. You can also use them for your home practice if you’ve got sensitive knees (and even if you don’t!) 🙂 Fun Fact: I was sitting on my Nipomo blanket at the beach when I got engaged!
3. Sheisme Stone Necklaces I love giving these as gifts – each stone symbolizes something different which makes them feel super personalized plus they also look great. I wear mine every day as a reminder to stay calm when I get anxious!
4. Baggu Fanny Packs I LOVE FANNY PACKS. They’re perfect for traveling, hiking and also just looking awesome all the time.
5. Tulz These have changed my life. I carry them with me everywhere! I can’t remember the last time I had to use a plastic utensil and that is perhaps the greatest gift we can someone 🙂 Not only are these functional, but they are also so chic!
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we launched a campaign called Nipple Mafia. Beyond Yoga had a conversation about it with One Down Dog CEO, Jessica Rosen.
WHY THE NIPPLE MAFIA?
After a review in 2016 called out that our studio used the word “nipple” without the ick factor, we felt it was important to address why it is we feel you should be able to use the word “nipple” freely.
So, some of our ODD teachers shared their reasons it’s important this month and every month to talk about your nipples!
1. THE WORD NIPPLE IS MORE SPECIFIC THAN THE WORD “CHEST”
“It is a very specific cue that makes a lot more sense than ‘left chest.’ Honestly, I think if we are taking our shirts off in class we should be able to cue nipples without a lot of drama.” -Molly O’Neill
2. NIPPLE IS A BODY PART, EASY AS THAT
“As long as no one is saying ‘blossom your anus to the sky’ I feel like it’s fine. Personally, I’d rather be part of getting rid of the sexuality and shyness of these parts we all have. We’re in the body business. We all have nipples and butts, just like we have toes and shoulders.” -Caitlin Randolph
3. NIPPLES GIVE LIFE AND THAT IS SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL
“In all seriousness, I’m really grateful to have a safe and supportive place where breastfeeding in public never seems scary cause a little nipple ain’t no thang.” -Jennifer Jordan
4. THE WORD MIGHT MAKE YOU LAUGH AND THAT’S OKAY—LIFE SHOULDN’T BE TAKEN SO SERIOUSLY
“Anytime I hear “nipple” in class, I get tingly and giggly because using the word “nipple” in public is awesome. Maybe we take it one step further, areola? Too much?” -Arielle MillerAs an inclusive and welcoming studio, we’re turning this review around and partnering with non-profit Keep A Breast to help raise awareness around breast cancer prevention, which includes learning how to give yourself breast and chest exams. Buy one of our Nipple Mafia shirts online (a percentage of the proceeds go to Keep A Breast) and/or attend our donation flow for Fit 4 Prevention (a campaign run by Keep A Breast) on October 29th, 7:30 to 8:30 at One Down Dog in Echo Park.
My Kundalini spiritual name is Hari Satya. It basically means Abundance and Creativity is my Truth to Spiritually Communicate.
Tell the nice people where you’re from.
Chicago, IL but I’ve lived in LA since I was 8!
Where are your favorite places?
England and Scotland; Vancouver, BC. The Huntington Gardens. The library, any library. A really large shopping mall that smells like pretzels.
If YOU were a color- what color would you be?
If I personally was a color and not just my favorite color, I think I would be a dark electric purple or a deep jewel-toned crimson. I have a very bold personality, but with depth and refinement. I am more luscious than loud. A bit of a primadonna with a heart of gold and good social decorum. Definitely not for everyone but not outrageously annoying. 🙂
What’s your sign?
Gemini with a Leo Rising and a Scorpio Moon!
Tell us about an embarrassing moment.
I actually got voted “Least Likely to Be Embarrassed” in high school, so not many. I don’t often get embarrassed by my own actions. I have done some crazy, embarrassing things in my life with equal amounts of joy and panache. 🙂
What’s a fun fact most people wouldn’t know about you?
Probably that I’m a huge Anglophile? I love British culture – music, television, movies, literature, British accents. I will watch Love Island religiously just so I can hear a Scouse or Essex accent. I love British period pieces, and I am absolutely obsessed with everything Doctor Who.
Tell us a story!
When I was 18, I ran away to Manchester to marry someone I met on an internet chat room and be in a rock band. This was in 2000 before people actually did these sorts of things. I managed to get a passport without a parent at the age of 17 by throwing a weeping temper tantrum at the social security office in Westwood.
I told my mom I was leaving for England three days before I left. I did it over Persian food. I had a great time in England being super broke, going to underground goth clubs in Leeds, taking psychedelic mushrooms while I hiked the canals and eating cheese on toast and frozen KitKat bars from train station machines and washing it down with cider! I don’t ever remember drinking water.
One time I got stuck in Scotland because it rained so hard the trains were stopped for three days, so I busked on the streets of Glasgow with some street musicians who were also sleeping on the train station benches until things dried up. This was before cell phones, so I had to spend the little money I had at cyber cafes emailing my boyfriend that I was safe and then I took the rest of the money I made busking and spent it on a few cheese and pickle sandwiches, a used copy of a science fiction novel and an overpriced bag of loose Assam tea! Priorities!
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found?
Going to drag shows. I love drag queens. For me, personally, they are a better investment than therapy.
How do you define yoga?
Remembering the Infinite. Remembering you are the beginning, the end, everything, and everything is all connected. Taking a psychic and energetic machete to the programming. And just deep nervous system restoration and relaxation. You can’t knock that.
Why do you teach?
Teaching helps me show up for myself by showing up for others.
What inspired you to become an instructor?
When I started my trainings, especially the very esoteric practice of Kundalini, I never thought someone like me could be a teacher. I didn’t think I fit the yoga teacher mold. I wasn’t skinny or serene or “a hippie” or super athletic either. I am a queer, curvy woman of color, and I didn’t find myself fitting into the yoga scene at all.
I love pop culture, fashion and some materialistic aspects of life a lot. I came from a rock ‘n roll background wearing all black in classes full of white robes, purple hair instead of a turban and have a very “do what makes you happy” approach to my practice.
But the deeper I got into my training, the more I realized that there was a place for someone like me. That somewhere, there would be students just like me who wanted to try a very mystical practice like Kundalini (or my other concentration, Yoga Nidra) and would feel daunted by the ritual or theatre of it. If they saw a modern woman teaching that wasn’t so traditional but still respectful, they could take the technology and heal from it without feeling intimidated. That is my goal, hope, and wish!
What is your favorite song to play in class?
I play so much music in class, so really it depends on the mood but I love to play Sylvester or Chelsea Wolfe. Too very different musicians, I know! I get the most questions about who I played when I use any Electric Guest song for a dance break.
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
My favorite pose is supta baddha konasana, which is not a Kundalini pose, so I’d say my fave KY pose is guru pranam. I like restorative poses that do a lot of big work with just subtle shifts of the body.
Memorable yoga moment?
Umm, when I was in an Iyengar class many years ago and my boobs were getting in the way of shoulder stand so the (male) teacher came with a yoga strap and strapped them down super fast. That was a super Iyengar moment! So happy the weird male energy is dissipating from yoga in 2019. I love that practice, but it is intense.
The first time I did kundalini yoga was memorable because I was on day 20 of a juice fast! It was super trippy. I left and ran about 5 miles in Griffth Park. And then came home and ate an entire pizza. Also, the exact one time I ever did a handstand without the wall. This was approximately 18 years ago and I haven’t done one since.
How did you first hear about One Down Dog?
I signed up for a membership many years ago to take Buti, which I was horrible at but addicted to for many months and then just fell in love with the feeling of community and the fun ethos. Take Buti if you haven’t yet! So fun!!
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?
God, who doesn’t love a good bolster moment? In a restorative or yin class, when you are on a bolster, it’s like, do you ever want to peel yourself off the bolster? Can I just live my life hugging a bolster? I even like it when the bolster smells like some other person’s essential oils. It feels like hugging 100 bodies that have come before me. And while I am reticent to hug 100 strangers, I feel great hugging a bolster that feels like 100 strangers.
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?
I used to volunteer at 826LA (the one in Echo Park!) and I still donate because it’s such a magical experience to liberate these young people’s minds and lives with creativity. I also love the work they are doing at the One Archives Foundation for queer history. Oh, and Sante D’Or Foundation is where I got my youngest kitty, and they have kitty yoga!
Where can we follow you?!
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I love comic books, so…I have thought about this a lot and even thought my parents were Rouge and Gambit from the X-Men at the age of 12. I would want the power of persuasion and the ability to make anyone feel profound bliss through a simple touch. I think if you could just tell someone to stop unnecessary violence with a look or a word, what a great power that would be.
Bhāvanā translates to “development,” “residence” or “cultivating,” – it is part of the yoga’s understanding of imagination. An emotionally charged visualization of the future.
Whether you root for manifestation or good planning or something in between – having a way to stress free plan your dreams is an asset.
Bhāvanā is a tool for making awesome happen. It feels great and really really freaking works.
The hardest part: figure out what you want.
If you’re not sure – start with what you want the future you to feel like and just start writing until the rest comes to fruition.
Figure out the job, the location, the family, the pets, the piles of money. What support did you have? What things did you learn?
Dream big, boo.
When you know what you want – PUT YOURSELF THERE.
This is the fun part. Let’s get imaginative. You’re YOU – but 5, 10 years down the road. Write a letter as your future self. Write it to a loved one. Tell your loved one about what it feels like to be where your dreams are. Tell them how you got here…
The rules of Bhavana
You have to be specific, positive, and concrete.
Specific – You want piles of money? What is that? Give it a dollar amount and a deadline. You want a happy marriage? What is that? Is that hand holding on dog walks? Independent and collective yearly vacations? Get specific.
Positive – Manifestation doesn’t want to know what you’ve stopped – it wants to know where you’re going. Positive thinking only! Write how happiness looks specifically, not what it looks like to no longer feel sad.
Concrete – Give us something we can put our hands on. Want abundance? Is that a house, clothes in the closet? Want love? Is that a best friend since highschool or a lover you met on tinder?
I am off to Italy for yet another international yoga training I am leading. I applied for that JFLA wellness loan to sign up for teacher training 5 years ago in 2019. Their $2500 loan covered the whole thing besides the deposit. I put the $500 deposit down not knowing how the rest of the money would make it there but One Down Dog’s fundraiser for JFLA opened the door to an opportunity. It took 3 years of regular LA classes to be confident enough to start creating content for youtube, instagram, and partnering in these online classes with other brands and yoga teachers. But I found my style and voice as a teacher. I have learned I have something valuable to share on accessibility and fun and that’s why there’s so many Europeans meeting me in Florence this week to learn how to create accessible yet challenging classes! Thank you for staying at my house and taking care of my 2 dogs and cat. They miss me, but love you! p
DOESN’T THAT SOUND LIKE FUN!
PUT YOURSELF IN THE FUTURE. FEEL IT. BRING IT INTO REALITY.
We’ll be meeting Thursday for Make Awesome Happen with Jessica Rosen to get aligned with goals and how to make them happen.
Sunday we’ll be meeting with 3 panelists in the wellness community moderated by Jessica Rosen. These panelists are a master of building wellness brands and also maintaining accessibility for their own wellness journeys. SIGN UP – you’ll learn how to apply for the wellness loan to get $2500 for your own wellness journey.