INTRO OFFER – 30 days for $50!*

#ODDlight Feature: Nicole Eber

Meet Nicole Eber! New to the #ODDfam but a long time teacher. She’s a teacher’s teacher, joke maker, and unique flow creator.

Check out her regular schedule in Eagle Rock:

Monday – FLOW –  9:45am
Friday – ALIGN –  9:45am
Friday – CHILL – 11

Name: Nicole

Hometown: Eustis, FL

Favorite Place:  Yosemite! We travel a lot and our family has fallen in love with National Parks and its really hard to choose.

Favorite color: Green

What’s your sign? Scorpio

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?

In a library checking out more books than I have time to read.

I teach because I love the body. I love how it moves and how movement makes me feel. My movement practice inspires me to teach, to share what I learn about my own body with others. Also getting people into weird shapes is pretty fun!

What brought you to become an instructor?

I finally felt like I had something to say and wanted to share my love of yoga.

 

What is your favorite song to play in class? Breathe by Sia

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?

My favorite pose is urdvha dhanurasana. I love backbends. They are so challenging but always make me feel so happy. They are also my favorite thing to teach.

Memorable yoga moment?

The first time I did a handsstand! I practiced kicking up at the wall every single day for 9 months. Then one at the end of a class I dragged my mat to the wall and starting kicking. My teacher at the time saw me and just yelled KICK and then I fnially yet up! It was so exhilarating.

How did you first hear about One Down Dog? Through fellow teacher Courtney Sauls

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?

My favorite prop is a block.

Would you more likely tell your boss they had food in their teeth or let it slide? Tell them!

If you could have any super power what would it be? I’d be invisible

What was the last book you read? Recursion by Blake Crouch (my 25th book of the year)

If YOU were a color what color would you be? Black

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?

Dog Rescues! Leo Love rescue, Deity Animal Rescue, Bullies & Buddies

#ODDLight: Niki Saccareccia

Meet Niki! She one of our newest teacher at ODD. If you haven’t taken class with her already, get on it! Find her on the schedule in Echo Park and Eagle Rock! In the meantime, you can brush up on all your Niki trivia by reading this post and learning more about the teacher, the student, the yogi, the human that is Niki Saccareccia.
Name: Niki Saccareccia
Nickname: The Great Pacifier, Lighthouse, Nikalini, NikNak, Nicolette, Curls
Hometown: Melbourne, FL
Favorite place: Anywhere in kind company with great food, music and fresh air.


What initially inspired you to become an instructor?
I was doing my summer internships at a sleep-away camp in upstate New York for at-risk and special needs youth. My colleagues and I were working 7-10 days straight through for 9 weeks, providing intensive 1:1 care to our campers. I saw how our entire lives/careers were going to hinge on self-sacrifice and burnout, just like every Psychologist and Therapist before us -t he need is always greater than those willing to help and it made me upset to think that the people spending their lives caring for other people’s children were destined for burnout. So, I started leading sunrise yoga classes so we could all get some self-care before our crazy, long days. I wasn’t formally trained yet, but knew I wanted the skills to help give back to my peers and other caregiver-types. I wanted to care for the caregivers.


Why do you continue to teach?
It’s rewarding to see immediate impact on people – I know I’m helping the world by sending people back into it feeling more grounded, cared for, seen and relaxed. It also uses every part of my talent and skill which keeps my spirit and mind sharp. Sometimes I teach 7-8 classes a day, but I always wake up happy because I’m doing what I love for a living, and continuing a lineage of applied philosophy that is more relevant than ever to the betterment of our planet and humanity. Plus, I can talk about poetry, philosophy, anatomy and physics in the same class and still be on topic. It’s so fun!


How do you define yoga?
Big Picture: Radical self-acceptance of what actually is.
Microcosm: The practice of balancing “doing” and “being” in one’s own agency, while being in relationship to all other things.


When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?
Entrepreneuring ways to bring more yoga to more people, cooking with my friends, petting all the dogs, hiking and traveling/exploring places.


Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something that you love to tell.

When I was in middle school, my parents and I were on a road trip in Florida, traveling on a toll road. As we were pulling up to the toll booth, I saw a small car in the lane next to us, moving but with no driver. I started to freak out, worried that the car would crash into the car ahead of it. Turns out, it was hitched to the tailgate of a giant RV that I couldn’t see because it was in the toll both area, already. My parents will still tease me about this, and it was over 20 years ago.


What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?

As a full time yoga/meditation teacher, I drive A LOT so I need counterbalance. I do Legs Up the Wall Pose everyday, at some point to counteract sitting upright. I also love Side Laying Savasana; it elongates the Psoas which is usually tight from holding my foot over the break pedal.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?
It never gets old how a simple blanket can be used for so much in terms of support, compression and balance training. I have at least 2 in my trunk at all times!

What is your most embarrassing moment?

I’m shy by nature, so I usually get embarrassed easily. Most recently, I learned that I’ve been saying the word “theater” wrong my entire life…if you ever hear me say “theer-ter” please correct me 🙂


What is your most empowering moment?
I’ve always been a clutz. The first time I ever did a vinyasa and it actually felt aligned, I had this surge of empowerment! I had an immediate download about why the vinyasa sequence is so essential and a comprehensive teacher in it’s own right. I suddenly understood what proper physical alignment can do to optimize our energy, how incredible our human architecture is, that I can hold every ounce of myself in a compromising position. It was the first time I ever felt athletic and graceful at the same time.

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?
Ramapo for Children is an incredible organization that gives at-risk youth and special-needs children in the greater NY area an opportunity to experience the outdoors in a summer-camp style setting with a counselor for every student. It was my first experience in an intentional-community focused on education, inclusivity and relational learning.
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a non-profit that is changing the conversation, politics, and access around medicines that have been wrongly placed on the FDA’s Schedule 1. MAPS is helping educate the public about the medicinal value of substances that would change the status-quo of western medicine, one controlled study at a time.


Connect with Niki on the social media!
#lightinsideyoga #relaxationresidency

#ODDLight: Sarit Rogers

Name: Sarit
Nickname: I’ve been called a lot of things, but nothing stuck.
Hometown: Southside SM/Venice
Favorite place: The Darkroom or in a kayak on the ocean

What initially inspired you to become an instructor?
I have been practicing yoga off and on since I was around 7 or so. It was a tumultuous relationship. In 2012, I photographed the cover of 21st Century Yoga, and then began photographing a lot more yoga. I thought, hey, maybe i should learn more about teaching so I can shoot better. But then I became so inspired and was so encouraged during my training, both by my cohort and by the teachers, I leaned into my voice as a teacher.

Why do you continue to teach?
I love seeing the shift in folks when they take that involuntary deep breath as their nervous systems settle. I love being in community. I love holding space and inviting safety and resonance into the room. 

How do you define yoga?
There’s the literal meaning: union, right? But it’s so much more than that to me. It’s a pathway to the heart, to our breath, to a means of listening to our bodies. It’s connection. It’s music in motion. It’s an oasis that we have the power to create for ourselves where we don’t have to be anyone other than ourselves.

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?
Hm…. I’m everywhere.Usually, I’m working in my role of Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner, seeing clients (adolescent and adult) or I’m photographing someone or something, or I’m snuggling my fur-babies, or managing teen drama.

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
To be honest, it’s contingent on mood, but i always love a reverse warrior. I have a weird adoration for triangle and chair pose (yes, i realize how weird the latter is) and child’s pose is simply magic. I love a good warrior flow. And i love a random dance party.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?
The block is my best friend. I have short arms….. thank you, Block, for bringing the floor closer! I love props in general. I always use a blanket under my seat, and love a bolster under my knees in savasana or in child’s pose.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Most? eek. Well, there was that one time when was working on a film (used to costume for nearly a decade), and we were dressing Ru Paul. His manager had sent us the wrong measurements — his fem measurements, so they were particularly unusual, for example, 27 waist, 42 inseam. Um….. So, I’m in Beverly Hills with the designer and see these two extraordinarily tall guys in front of me. I ran up to them and siad, “Excuse me, this might sound really odd, but where do you buy your pants?” They both looked at me like I was completely nuts, but they answered me. As I turned around, I realized it was Vlade Divac.

What is your most empowering moment?
Discovering my truth and finding my feet on my mat, in my life, and in my profession(s). I had a particularly profound experience during my SE training that literally changed my life. SE has been empowering and lifechanging in general, so it’s been a culmination of moments. There was a momentum in my life that was propelling me forward, and it happened gradually but summed up to be a true sense of who i am in the world, my worth as an artist, and an almost unapologetic fierce compassion akin to Kali and Guan Yin,
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? Being of service is the most important thing to me. It drives me and gives me great joy. But my all time favorite organizations are Homeboy Industries and Off the Mat, Into the World.
 
Find Sarit and her passion projects on the Soc-meeds! 
@saritphoto #notaweaponofmassperfection  
@lovemoremovement #choosejoy #lovemoremovement #compassionrevolution
 
All the love!

#ODDLight: Yoga Teacher Training Alumns Edition 3

Hello and Happy (almost) Winter Solstice everyone! Today the ODD blog is bringing you our third and final installment of YTT alumni features. If you, for some CRAZY reason, missed the first two installments, definitely go check those out!

Joscelyne Castaneda

Nickname: Don’t have one!

Hometown: L.A.

What’s your ODD love story?

Before I joined One Down Dog, I practiced yoga at my local gym or at the Bikram studio down the street from my house. Taking classes at ODD— mostly Flow, Sweat and Sculpt at the time— broadened my scope of what yoga could be. I then ventured into teacher training—not only was it life altering but it was also soul enriching. The beautiful people I met and get to call my friends is the cherry on top!

How do you define yoga?

I have found yoga to be the connection to my inner self. I have a tendency to make things complicated for myself, I’m a worrier and an overthinker. Yoga— in its my facets— allows me to ground down and stop floating in the clouds even for a moment. I’ve also found that I have gained a stronger connection, greater acceptance and respect for my body. Yoga allows me to come back home to myself.

What is one small fact that most wouldn’t know about you?

I was raised in 3 countries and learned Spanish early on. I was born to a Malaysian-Chinese mother and Salvadoran father. But also Pie over Cake any day.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Even though I’m afraid of heights, I’d probably love to fly. I’ve missed out on a lot of adventurous things because of my fear of falling. So, if I could fly, that’d be great.

What’s the biggest thing you’ve gained from doing teacher training at ODD?

Learning to listen to my heart and trust what I truly wanted for myself. I took a leap last year to make a career shift and I couldn’t have done it without teacher training. It also served as a jumping off point to deepen my understanding of Ayurveda, meditation and tarot. I’m also super grateful for the encouraging, supportive and loving friendships I have today because of teacher training. Couldn’t just narrow it down to one—sorry! Lol.

What is your favorite asana pose and/or sequence and why?

There’s too many to choose from. But wild thing is probably one of my favorites. I used to be so afraid of flipping over, but over the years, it’s become so freeing and fun.

Shelly Price

Nickname: Shells, Shell Bell, Belles

Hometown: West Covina, Ca – about 25 miles east of LA.  I’m a SoCal native!

What’s your ODD love story?

I avoided yoga for the first ~30 years of my life because I had created stories in my head that it wasn’t for me.  Up until then I was used to doing very intense workouts such as kickboxing and CrossFit because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin and felt the need to mold it into what I saw in society’s beauty standards.  My boyfriend at the time (now husband :)) dragged me to my first few yoga classes and eventually I started to see a shift in my body and mind.  Eventually through ClassPass I found One Down Dog and fell in love with the energy of the studio, and it has since propelled me so deeply into the practice of yoga.  Bonus points that the silhouette of Patrick, ODD’s mascot, looks like my dog Milo!   I was working in a very stressful corporate environment at the time and found myself at ODD any chance I could get for sanctuary.  Molly’s class was my church and making yoga a regular practice was the start of a journey that has transformed my life.  I can’t believe I’m now a yoga teacher, sharing these valuable tools high schoolers and students of all ages.

How do you define yoga? 

Yoga is connection – between the body, mind, spirit and emotion.  Cultivating my awareness better connects these to one another.  Yoga is our connection to one another.

What is one small fact that most wouldn’t know about you? 

My parents put me in school early so everyone in my graduating classes were older than me- I graduated high school at 16 and college at 20.  I survived college without a fake ID!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To be able to fly and soar above the clouds and see the world from an aerial view!  It would be so cool to be able to travel anywhere you want with your own wings (which metaphorically we can do now as humans!)

What’s the biggest thing you’ve gained from doing teacher training at ODD?

Self love. It has been eye opening to have the awareness to notice when my thoughts/negative self dialogue are spiraling, and bring myself back to the present moment.  It’s a practice and a constant learning experience, but I’m so grateful to be able to say I love myself (light and shadows).  In this love space is where I can give back to my community.   Speaking of –  the biggest thing I’ve been blessed with after YTT is gaining a group of friends that have become family.  I love my ODDYTTDAWGS <3

What is your favorite asana pose and/or sequence and why?

Forward folds – whenever I need to move my body I do a few of these and some halfway lifts and my energy shifts.  I also gain a different perspective when upside down 🙂

 

Haikaz Vardavarian

Nickname: Haik
Hometown: Los Angles
What’s your ODD love story?
I came to ODD after years of knowing I wanted to do yoga but being too afraid to start. Fear of strange new people, fear of trying something new, fear of judgement, the list continues. As soon as I decided to do what I knew is right for me things began to shift.
I am beyond grateful for the journey that going to ODD started me on.
Some of the things I found at/through/because of ODD include self-acceptance, self-love, self-confidence. All those “cliche” things we say and hear. It all starts there. You can do anything you want in life if you believe in yourself. You can manifest your dreams. It’s all true! And having a network of amazing people around you and supporting you with their actions, words and all around good energy makes things so much better and easier.
At ODD I found a community of people (teachers, students and staff) who are positive, caring, kind, open, accepting, encouraging, funny and all the good things. If I had to list all the friendly people I’ve met, I wouldn’t know where to end. The positive experiences helped me go from being afraid to really talk to any “stranger” to opening up to all the wonderful people there and in doing so I opened up more to life, to really living and fully experiencing this wonderful, beautiful thing we humans can do here while we’re on this earth.
And, I met the chillest most down to earth owner of any business I’ve ever met who authentically cares about and understands the importance (as well as challenges) of building connections, relationships and community.
How do you define yoga?
Yoga is a practice of introspection and reflection.
It is about movement, breathe and finding your deepest, truest self.
It is about trying to find balance in all things.
It’s about stretching and strengthening.
It is about getting tough while remaining soft.
Yoga is so many things, but to me more than anything it is a way of life.
What is one small fact that most wouldn’t know about you?
I can’t burp.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I already believe we all have super powers.  The power to make change, the power to make things better, the power to positively impact other peoples’ lives. The question is are we in touch with those powers and are we using them to serve the greater good.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve gained from doing teacher training at ODD?
Strangers that became friends who are now like family.
I never expected the training to force me so much to look at myself. To go to the deepest and darkest places that scare me the most and to come out stronger on the other side with a crew of people who embraced and supported me (and each other) every step of the way. The experience was really indescribable and I’m not even talking about all the feels. Something weird and magical happens when you put 20 people in a room together for 200+ hours with some really experienced guides and have them explore existence and the purpose and meaning of life.
It also helped me reconnect with so much ancient wisdom that I feel many of us have lost touch with. Mechanisms of the body and mind, natural methods of self-care and healing. Reconnecting with spirit. The list goes on and on.
I learned and continue to learn soo much from the teachers at ODD and their wealth of knowledge it’s crazy.
What is your favorite asana pose and/or sequence and why?
Warrior 2 – it just screams yoga. When you think yoga, you see warrior 2 (in your mind, on the cover of yoga magazines).
I also like that it’s a strengthening pose and empowers you to deal with any challenge life may throw your way.

#ODDLight: Yoga Teacher Training Alumni Edition 2

Hey ODDballs. We’re back this week with another round of #ODDLight Teacher Training alumni features. Keep reading to learn all the juicy details of their lives and as well as what they got out of doing teacher training at ODD! And if you’re really moved by what they have to say, the next round of ODDYTT starts in January!

Shaharyar

Nickname: Shari
Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan but my heart is in LA, so it is home

What’s your ODD love story?

My teacher training crew, aka oddyttdawgs, is quite the love story. It’s truly amazing to have the unconditional support of people who are always down to accompany each other on anything. You probably won’t find a group of 20 people that love each other more.

How do you define yoga?

In one word: devotion. It’s commitment to personal and spiritual growth. Basically, yoga is life.

What is one small fact that most wouldn’t know about you?

I usually overthink things but I am very impulsive, or should I say intuitive, when it comes to major life or financial decisions. I didn’t come to yoga or ODD through classpass or anyone I knew. One day I decided that I should practice yoga. I walked into ODD that evening, signed up for the new student special and took my first yoga class ever.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Ability to time travel!

What’s the biggest thing you’ve gained from doing teacher training at ODD?

Awesome teachers who are so knowledgeable and inspiring. They are mentors who continue to guide me through this journey.

What is your favorite asana pose and/or sequence and why?

These days I’m committed to pincha mayurasana. I love working towards a pose that seems impossible at first. Going from “I will never be able to do this pose” to “I will get there one day” is my favorite part of the asana practice.

Meg Bradbury

Nickname:
Hometown: Pasadena, CA
What’s your ODD love story?
Initially, I first came to ODD in 2014 for two reasons; one, I wanted a yoga studio that played music I loved and wasn’t stuffy or stuck. Two, at the time, I used yoga as cross training for all the running I did and I loved that ODD offered classes like SWEAT. While that second reason doesn’t exist anymore*, the first reason — contemporary relevance/perfect irreverence — continues to delight me, every time I unroll my mat.
*backstory: Several years ago I was dx’ed with an eating disorder that, among other behaviors, expressed itself in obsessive exercise. As I first approached recovery, I stopped running and then took a break from all forms of exercise, including yoga. As hard as this was, it was a vital part of my healing and gave me the insight into what my body really wanted and needed in terms of movement. I came back to ODD after just about a year away and it was coming home. I was welcomed back with such warm and open arms. Stepping into one of the ODD studios and unrolling my mat remains one of my most sacred and safest spaces.
How do you define yoga?
Yoga is remembering, with breath and with movement and with stillness, that I am whole, able to love and be loved, and connected to every living thing.
What is one small fact that most wouldn’t know about you?
I was a second gen Hollywood punk rocker circa late 70s (pre Henry Rollins, yo) and have so! many! stories! and got into so! much! trouble!
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I wish it were something magnanimous and in service to all humanity, but I seriously just really fucking want to fly.


What’s the biggest thing you’ve gained from doing teacher training at ODD?
Sangha. Totally. My YTT cohort and teachers have become not only friends but family, with all the messy, inevitable times of grief, self-reflection, doubt, fear, and vulnerability a close group goes through during yoga teacher training. We counseled and consoled and celebrated and cried and laughed and overshared and nicknamed and fell asleep during story hour and listened and heard and we became teachers. TOTALLY One Down Dog teachers. Together.  #bravespace
What is your favorite asana pose and/or sequence and why?
Right now it’s trikonasana. I find a lot of expression and openness there, and there’s a way my body just shines into it happily, like a belonging.  A slow, syrupy Sun A, too, feels full of love. The slower the better. Pleasure, grace, poetry.

 

Hannah Elder

Nickname: Banana, Banana Welder, Han, Han Solo, Hanzo
Hometown: San Antonio, TX

What’s your ODD love story?
I was a serial Groupon-er when it came to yoga until I realized a good chunk of my friends practiced at ODD. I fell in love with Cindy’s sweat class immediately but it was in one of Adam’s classes in November 2016 that I had what can only be described as a spiritual experience. I was so stressed and angry and confused and scared and when we were in savasana this wave came over me that just said, “You’re going to be alright. Everything is going to be alright.” I had never ever had an experience like that and I knew I was on to something special. Finding not only a practice that worked for me, but a community and a physical space has also been instrumental in my sobriety. I didn’t come to yoga to get sober but it’s definitely helped.
How do you define yoga? 
Self-study. Svadyaya is one of my favorite yogic ideas and it’s what I always come back to. I explore my body and my mind and a connection to a higher power and my mood and so many other things that I’ve only found access to through yoga (for now).
What is one small fact that most wouldn’t know about you?
I was born at home in the house my dad still lives in (bonus fact- the address is my IG handle)
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Flying! Or teleporting. But I think flying because then I could enjoy the ride and flying would be faster than driving anyway.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve gained from doing teacher training at ODD?
Community. It feels cheesy to say but it’s so dang true. We all brought such unique elements to the group and rely on each other for different reasons. It also pushed me to get more involved at ODD- introduce myself to front desk staff, go to more workshops, etc.
As I’ve also started to teach my own classes it’s been so helpful to be able to reach out to YTT friends and say, “Is this how it is for you? How do you handle this certain situation?” You learn it all in training but putting it into practice is a whole new ballgame.
What is your favorite asana pose and/or sequence and why?
Super into Warrior 2 right now. It’s a pose we do so often and I feel like it’s easily overlooked so I’m trying to be more aware in my home practice. In class lately it seems to be where I find the most gratitude. Sinking lower and stretching longer and trying to find new aspects of it and just so grateful I have a body that can do any of this.