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#ODDlight Feature: Nadia Diamante

We’re featuring a local favorite ODD teacher, Nadia Diamante!

Catch her at two upcoming ODD workshops. >>

Hey, Nadia! Got any nicknames?

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. 

What was the last book you read?

On Earth, We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. It is sublime. 

Do you dream? Lucid dream?

I used to teach lucid dreaming workshops. I love to dream, which is one reason I am addicted to yoga nidra (the yoga of sleep). I almost never have nightmares. Always just alternate life dreams. 

Meet Nadia at one of her two workshops in Echo Park this month!