Posts Tagged with: east LA
#ODDlight Feature: Jeff Van Ness
Name: Jeff Van Ness
Nick Name: Jeff Van Ness
Favorite Place: I can acclimate to most places so I have too many favorites ~ really, any place where I can sit and think without boundaries. I can be near an ocean, someplace exotic, near my family, anywhere ~ if there is space for my thoughts to move around I’m a happy guy.
Favorite color: Lets say gray. and if thats not good, how about blue? And why not a third? Green!
What’s your sign? Sagittarius
Most embarrassing moment? GEEZ! I’ll try to be brief, this took place when instant messaging was a thing. There was a girl from high school that I’d been after for a while and one night after some outing I took her home where we sat in my car listening to music ~ it was the kind of scene where If i’d had more courageous I would’ve tried to kiss her. I didn’t though, but I did notice that one of the buttons on her blouse was undone and I, foolishly, took it to be some strategy on her part to alert me that she was into me! It’s really stupid logic, but it seemed spot on at the time. Seeking encouragement from my friends when I got home, I wrote a long message retelling what happened in the car with the blouse, the whole thing. When I finished I quickly hit enter and it quickly appeared in the IM box. The conversation with my pals was pretty active so when I didn’t get a response I knew something was wrong and a second later I realized what had happened and proceeded to deal with that sinking feeling you feel when you’re embarrassed and stuck. I had sent HER the message with our story. Everything worked out alright, no real harm done ~ and the real plus is that THIS is my most embarrassing moment.
Most empowering moment? First thing that comes to mind: I used to give tours of the Universal backlot in spanish. It was a performers sort of job. Though I can do it fine, the performers hat isn’t a comfortable one for me ~ my first week giving tours was rough and on one tour I messed up a lot, but I realized that people got a kick out of it, and not in a “laughing at me” sort of way. People were supportive and they wanted me to do well they wanted me to be myself. A lot of the people on that tram were experiencing the attraction for the 100th time so when I’d lose the scripted stuff I’d get their attention. When I was up there just being me, thats what they wanted to see. That and Jaws and King Kong and the other stuff.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I used to be a fat kid. For real, a pretty heavy kid, 220 lbs. And I had a diet that supported that sort of weight. Cheeses, pizzas, mayonnaise, ranch, french fries, fast food ~ I wasn’t shy about enjoying all that stuff ~
Jeff, this is what happens when you dont send us photos… we turn to facebook.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I know a lot about cars. But not cool cars. I can’t tell you too much about an awesome BMW or a Tesla, but if you want to know the horsepower, or how many lbs of torque you’d get out of a sensible Honda Accord I’m your guy
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I think about music a lot, I’m constantly humming in my head or whistling or I’ll sing to my son (and he’ll sing back)
Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something that you love to tell.
This anecdote is a fresh one that no one, but me, really cares about. My family is Cuban, I am of Cuban descent, first generation American. Growing up, I distinctly remember a black and white image of the home that my grandparents left behind in 1962, it was a two story kind of L shaped home that stood by itself on what appeared to be a hill. I could describe it perfectly. For the past couple of years. Since relations with Cuba have improved several of my friends and family have gone to Cuba, I am jealous every time I learn of someones trip. Not because I am into seeing the sights, I don’t care about that, I want to find this house. My cousin recently went, he tried to find the house but couldn’t.
A few weeks ago a buddy of mine came back, I had known of his trip and encouraged him to look up a few AirBnB properties that I knew were well kept. Sometime between then and now I thought, why wouldn’t my families house be an AirBnB? I started my search, but couldn’t find anything ~ I searched google images of the town (an unincorporated area of east Havana), as many as I could find, but nothing. I scanned 3,000 hash tagged images, but couldn’t find anything that resembled the house. No two homes look alike. I was on Youtube watching videos from the town but couldn’t find it. A few days later I asked my Mom to send me a scanned image of the house; and I don’t know what it was about that image but my first search led me to the house immediately, which is in fact an AirBnB.
So expect me to request a few sub dates as I will be staying there soon.
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?
Oh, Im really into my family, I love love love my wife, my kid, my brother who lives nearby ~ so day trips with one or all of those mentioned; we’ve got memberships at every museum in town, maybe there. I’ve lately been doing hikes from a book called Secret Stairs. Its cool enough, a USC professor mapped out hikes connecting stairs all over the city. Finding new stuff to eat. New stuff to cook. Lots of stuff with the baby. There’s NOTHING more inspiring/enlightening than experiencing the world with an infant. It brings out the best in people, in strangers, and in me.
How do you define yoga? referring to a physical practice, its a tool that should help you develop awareness, encouragement, and compassion (in that order).
Why do you teach? Because its hard and because I can. I get anxious before I teach so its an obstacle that I enjoy overcoming. It doesn’t really get easier so I enjoy the spontaneity that comes from each group of students. Its also a great thing to share with people; I don’t actively give to charity and I don’t want to compare the two, they’re different. But I do hope that sharing things that I think are interesting or unique or hard will be valuable to people.
What brought you to become an instructor?
An ashtanga teacher who’s class I took a few times approached me and told me that I’d be a teacher. So a few years later I became a teacher.
What is your favorite song to play in class?
At the moment theres a live version of Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on home to me” thats got the best intro, the best a lot of stuff that I can think of right now. I love playing that.
What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
1/2 moon. Its the sort of pose that feels stretchy and long even when all of your muscles are turned on.
Memorable yoga moment?
Too many. I always get a kick out of being able to do stuff that I didn’t think possible ~ with the right instruction so much is possible.
How did you first hear about One Down Dog?
I got a message on FB just before the SL location opened asking to connect. I wasn’t able to at the time but was excited to now 4 years later!
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc)
Nah, I haven’t got stuff like that. I do love a good foam roller and would love to lead a class wherein we use foam rollers before and or after strenuous sequences. hint hint.
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?
Nothing specific. There are occasionally causes I send some money to, Standing Sioux for instance during the standing rock stand off ~ besides being vehemently opposed to inequality ~ I really want people to be informed. I spend a lot of time watching, what I think is, great reporting ~ there is a really great information out there, and not far either. The more you know the more informed your choices will be and the better those choices will be.
#ODDlight Feature Breathwork Teacher: Michelle D’Avella
Each month we feature and shine the #ODDlight on the bright lights that keep this place going.
Meet Micelle, she’s your monthly breathwork teacher, the first Wednesday of every month in Silverlake. Catch an additional chance to breathe and heal this August 16th for a collaborative Breathwork + Soundlab with Michelle and sound healer Lauren Waggoner.
Name: Michelle D’Avella
Nick Name: Mishi, Chells, You should probably just call me Michelle if you don’t know me. 🙂
Hometown: Lebanon Township in good ‘ol New Jersey
Favorite Place: Joshua Tree
Favorite color: No favs. I tend to like pops of color. Bright pink. Burnt orange. Teal.
What’s your sign? Libra
Most embarrassing moment? The first memory that came up for me was when I peed my pants in kindergarten, but then I thought, “Come on, how embarrassed can you really be when you’re 5?” So then I thought of this time when I was around 25 and living in Philadelphia. It was around Christmas, and I was out shopping for gifts with my then boyfriend. I was broke, and he was broker. We were on our way home, and I got stopped in the street by a dude who proceeded to hustle me out of $20.
Unbeknownst to me, he and this woman had an act where he played some magic trick, and she pretended to keep winning double her money from him. They showed me several times, and my greed for some easy money won out. The moment I lost my heart sunk as I realized I’d been scammed. I didn’t care about the money, but my pride was bruised. I felt incredibly stupid and naive.
So how did I handle it at the time? Oh yeah, I yelled at my boyfriend for letting me do that, of course, and then proceeded to walk in front of him the whole way home. Oh man, who was that girl back then?!
Most empowering moment? The moment I realized that I don’t need anything from anyone else to heal. I don’t need my ex to apologize for how he hurt me. I don’t need to talk things through with the old flame who ghosted me. I don’t need Mom or Dad to understand x, y, or z about me. I don’t need anyone else to change in order for me to own who I am, heal myself, and create the life I want.
I credit Breathwork for opening me up to realize that I can move out of the place of being a victim and into the empowered position of creating everything I really want for my life.
Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I’m the oldest of 7 kids.
Share a story or anecdote with us – something magical, changing, funny, or adventurous. Something thats ready to tell. I have always felt there was something more—more for my life and more that was underneath this all. I didn’t know what that meant except for the fact that the way I felt inside didn’t match the world I was living in. I spent most of my life frustrated and confused. When I was 27 my life was not going the way I wanted it to. I had broken up with my boyfriend and moved into a place in Philly with my brother. Three months into our lease my brother tells me he wants to move home to save money.
So at 27 I find myself in my parents’s basement, hanging up sheets from the ceiling to create a bedroom, and I’m miserable. I’m crying and feeling sorry for myself that I’m not in a happy relationship, that I don’t know what I want to do with my life, and that I’m back in bumble-fuck New Jersey relying on my parents for support.
Once I decide to get over myself and take advantage of the moment I start enjoying being with my family. I read a lot of books. Finally I decide to name this feeling inside me and just start sharing my writing. So Pushing Beauty is born, and I start letting my soul speak.
Not long after I move to Hawaii—on a whim. I start meditating more. I take time to get to know myself. I start to trust the signs that are coming to me, and I’m lead to move to LA. It’s there that I discover Breathwork and my entire life transforms. My soul work turns into my business, and I become the happiest I have ever been in my life.
This story is missing a lot of detail, but the point is that my lowest points have always turned into great opportunities. The more I learn to surrender and pay attention to what the Universe is showing me, the more fulfilling my life becomes. Wayne Dyer wrote a book called, “I Can See Clearly Now.” It’s about how as he looks back at his life he can see all of the dots connected. I feel the same way. I have been guided to exactly where I need to be. So anytime I judge where I’m at, make it a problem, or try to force something to be what it isn’t I remember this.
When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? At Cafecito sipping a coffee, walking around Echo Park Lake having the best conversation with a friend, lounging in SIlverlake Meadow reading a good book.
How do you define yoga? An opportunity to get to know yourself more.
Why do you teach? I teach Breathwork, and I teach it because it’s the single practice that transformed my life in a way no other has. I teach because part of my calling is to help other people truly change their lives. I only teach things that have worked for me. Breathwork is the fastest catalyst for creating sustainable change. If you show up to do the work with a willingness to see the truth about yourself, you will transform.
What inspired you to become an instructor? It was part of the journey. I never had any grand plan to be a teacher. In fact, it was probably the opposite. I ended up doing a Breathwork training because I was following my intuition. I had no plans to teach, but something felt like it was calling me to do this training. So I did it. Then my roommate asked me, “Hey what was that thing you were doing the other weekend?”I guided him through a session, and it blew his mind. He was like, “Everyone needs to experience this work!” Pretty quickly, after doing sessions with everyone in my family from my 13 year old sister to my 58 year old father, I realized this was universal work. Everyone needs their heart to open more. Everyone needs to get out of their head. Everyone needs to heal in some way. So I started teaching.
What is your favorite song to play in class? I don’t have a favorite song. I make different playlists for each class. Probably one of my favorite songs to use in Breathwork right now in my own practice is The Promise by Tracy Chaplin. I have been known to throw in a Landslide rendition from time to time in class that almost always gets the tears flowing.
What is your favorite breathe, pose, or flow? Why? Breathing! Of course I’m speaking about the particular kind of Breathwork I teach, but for real it is my ultimate healing tool. I breathe every single day to open my energy, release stuck emotions, open my heart, and connect me to my truth. If there was only one practice I could do it would be this, and it’s the one thing above all else I recommend people begin to work with. Game changer.
Memorable yoga/breath moment? So many! I’ve been practicing Breathwork for about four years now so that has included many, many sessions. Each session is powerful in and of itself, and I’ve had too many incredible experiences to even remember. I recently had a session where I cleared out some abuse energy that was passed down in my family’s lineage, and that was a really incredible experience. My favorite moment in any private healing session is when the heart opens. It’s such a beautiful experience to witness someone let go of an old story and connect with who they truly are.
How did you first hear about One Down Dog? Ha! Actually my ex boyfriend was practicing at the studio so I started to check it out through his recommendation.
What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala, oil, etc) I use my teacher’s blend of essential oils for the chakras. They really help to open things up, and I use them every day. If you’ve taken a class with me you’ve probably experienced me applying Open Heart or Expression.
Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings? My handle is @pushingbeauty and you can use #pushingbeauty
Spring Cleaning – Yoga Cleanse with One Down Dog
Yoga cleanse time! Spring is the perfect time to a cleanse both physically, spiritually, and get rid of a lot of shit… from your closet. East Los Angeles – check out what One Down Dog has to spring into Spring!
108 Sun Salutations & Yin Yoga – with Courtney and Bobbi – body yoga cleanse
Seriously – 108 Sun Salutations. Welcome the sun and cool it down with some yin. Yin & Yang has never been so much fun. Bring 2 mats.
Expect us to go downstairs for french fries and friends after!
Missed the event? Make sure to subscribe to our Facebook events!
Saturday’s 108 Sun Salutations workshop
CHakra Tune Up Meditation Series – with Adam – spiritual yoga cleanse
Part of your regular class package so you’ll need to pre-register to save your spot! You’ve missed the Root Chakra but jump in on ANY week. (follow us on Instagram to not miss a beat!)
Each week will have an affirmation to match the chakra and a bija mantra. Chakra meditation –
MONDAYS – Silverlake location (on the edge of Los Feliz) 7:15pm Starting March 20th
– Muladhara chakra (root chakra) –
“I am strong, stable, secure, and peaceful. ”
– Svadhisthana (sacral chakra) –
“The universes creative energy flows through me.”
– Manipura (solar plexus chakra) –
“My power source is the living universe, and unlimited.”
– Anahata (heart chakra) –
“The more I give, the more I open myself up to receive.”
– Vishudda (threat chakra) –
“What I speak, I manifest.”
– Ajna (third eye)
“My intuition leads the way.”
– Sahasrara (crown chakra) –
“I Am limitless.”
CLOTHING SWAP/Donation Drive April 9th – Physical/Karimic Yoga Cleanse
We are doing our favorite clothing swap and ending it with a donation drive with our Resister Sisters & Allies. Bring re-usable bags for donation. Bring any gently used clothing for swap/donation – please make sure at least one of these items you bring is on the list below.
Eagle Rock – Sunday April 9th –
SWAP – 7:30 – 9pm
DONATION DRIVE – 9 – 10pm (organize left clothes into appropriate donation channels)
SWAP for an hour and a half. Donation organization. Deliver the next day! If you’re interested in being involved in donations Downtown on Monday comment here or get in touch! Any clothes leftover from the swap and not added to donations for the Downtown Womens Center will be donated in bulk to appropriate shelters and Out Of The Closet.
Downtown Women’s Center Wishlist –
- Jackets & Sweaters – larger the better.
- Shoes – especially large sizes.
- NEW SOCKS
- NEW bra’s & Underwear
- Rain / Waterproof clothing
- Tote bags & Rolling luggage
- Sleeping Bags
- Bed Linens
- Personal Hygiene & Medical items
- GIFTS – they celebrate residence birthdays – any extra goodies like bathrobes, grocery store giftcards, birthday decorations will be set aside for the residents.