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Fall into an Easeful Fall Routine with Paula Pister

This week on the ODD Blog, we’re bringing you a little wisdom nugget from yoga health coach and ODD FLOW instructor, Paula Pister. Although the temperatures in LA are slowly creeping back up, it is indeed fall. And as with any major shift, we need to set ourselves up to successfully ride nature’s new wave. Paula is helping us do just that with these three helpful steps for transitioning from Summer to Fall according to the principles of ayurveda.

This post is just a little taster of all that Paula has to offer so definitely head over to her website, Mind, Body, Bright, to read this article in full and check out some of the other amazing content that she has to offer.

STEPS TO TRANSITION FROM PITA SEASON TO VATA SEASON (SUMMER TO FALL)

By making a gradual adjustment of diet and lifestyle from summer to fall and enjoying seasonal routines and self care practices, you can make a healthy transition between seasons and prevent problems that may arise as we get further into fall. Keep in mind that what is happening outside is happening inside of you too. Like increases like, this is why we want to do the opposite to find balance in our body, mind and spirit.

1. CREATE AND STICK TO A DAILY SELF- CARE ROUTINE:

Do the same things at roughly the same times daily – When you wake up, eat, exercise and go to bed. The body loves predictably and routine. Because of the light, airy and drying qualities of this season, it’s important to balance it with grounding, nourishing and more structured practices.

Go to bed early – If we want to optimize our energy levels, our productivity and our attitudes we MUST be well rested. I see this “habit of sleep” as the one we build all our others habits on top of. If we’re not getting the sleep we need, we can’t fully operate at our greatest potential. If we’re tired, depleted and stressed out, we’re approaching each day in a state of fight or flight. We’re not making the best decisions on a regular basis, we’re not showing up in our relationships as awake, tuned in and accessible as we could be and most of all we’re at risk of all sorts of dis- ease and health issues. Ideally, we want to be going to bed by 10pm and waking up before 6am. Check out my blog on sleep for more detail.

Wake up early – Enjoy the magical early morning hours. This is the best time to tap into creativity, establish a mediation practice or journal. Use this quiet time to set your daily intentions, activities and connect to the bigger picture.

Rub oil on your body -This season can be very drying in many climates. Oil helps to calm the nervous system, ground energy and awaken the tissues. If you enjoy a little fragrance, vetiver, geranium, and citrus essential oils are great this time of year (either applying directly to the skin or using in a difuser). Using your own hands to heal your own body, tells your body that you’re paying attention and is also very grounding.

Move your body– The best times of day to exercise are in the early morning and evening hours (6–10 a.m. and 6–10 p.m.). Vata is very easily aggravated by fast, mobile activities, so instead think slower activities such as walking, hiking, swimming, biking, yoga, and tai chi. In the evening hours think more restorative and less energizing activities- even light housework, bouncing on a trampoline, going for a walk with friends or family.

2. TRANSITION INTO A FALL EATING:

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Think seasonally– This is my favorite season of foods with squashes, roots and late summer season fruits and veggies. The markets are vibrant and overflowing. Shop the outer aisles of your local grocery stores and choose what’s new in this season.

Consume less rawfood- Begin to shift from astringent foods such as raw salads to warmer foods and more cooked foods. Making this shift gradually will be easier on the system. Consider the warming and grounding qualities of root vegetables, soups and stews as you move though this new season.

Best foods for Vata season – Oily, nourishing foods that are high in protein, high in fat, brought to life with warming, stimulating spices, and served hot, will help to keep moisture in and help you stay grounded through the vata season. Favor the sweet, sour, and salty tastes. Breakfasts of cooked grains are perfect at this time of year. Lunches and dinners that include steamed vegetables, hearty grains, soups, and stews are grounding and moisturizing. If you eat meat and eggs, this is one of the best times of year to enjoy them. Dairy products and most nuts and seeds are also beneficial. In general, you’ll want to reduce your consumption of raw vegetables, cold and frozen foods, as well as the bitter, pungent, and astringent tastes.

Head over to Mind, Body, Bright to soak up more of this awesomeness!

#ODDBeats: Armen Menechyan

This month’s musical vibez are brought to you by the one and only Armeeeeeeeeeeeen Menechyan (*said in sports announcer voice*). Now, if you’re saying to yourself, “Who’s this Armen? He sounds great,” you’re in luck because he is this month’s ODD Teacher Feature and you can indulge in all of the intimate details of his life through this blog post.

Here’s something to put on in the background while you read:

#ODDLight: Armen Menechyan

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.

Name: Armen

Nick Name: I don’t have one.

Hometown: LA

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?

@packyourmat

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

#ODDBeats: Sabrina Howard

In conjunction with this month’s #ODDLight teacher feature, we are bringing you a playlist from none other than DJ Sabribri herself. This playlist is full of R&B goodness and is perfectly timed for an hour long home practice or an hour long jam session (or both at the same time if you’re into that) .

 

#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