#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.
Yoga Teacher Training – Continuing Education in East LA
July is a month of yoga teacher training continuing education at One Down Dog. Open to any yoga teachers or teachers in training we have a range of opportunities for you to remain a student. Learn and work alongside fellow teachers to grow your practice and what you have to offer your students.
Hands On Assisting and Seeing w/ Janine Glass
July 13th 1:45 – 3:15
This workshop is for yoga teachers and teachers in training.
Awaken your intuitive “seeing” skills in order to strengthen your ability in giving hands-on assists while teaching and working with private clients.
This workshop will cover theory, demonstration, and training of safe and effective hands-on yoga assists
What you get:
- “Seeing” skills training: “seeing” blockages and brightness in bodies.
- Hands-on assisting theory and injury Q&A
- Guidance and coaching in assisting with partners
- Working with injuries and clearing pain
only 20 spaces available onedowndog.com/workshops
Restorative Yoga Teacher Training – Level 1
This is Sam’s second visit with this training. Take level 1 now, she will be back for level 2 again within the next year! Check out the first group of ODDfam that attended.
She will also be offering a 2 hour Restorative class open to the public and the students who attended the workshop. It will be delicious!
Join the relaxation revolution!
Restorative Yoga is a healing practice that brings the body, mind, and nervous system into balance. Learn to teach Restorative Yoga, guided by Samantha Akers (formerly Joseph) (E-RYT 500) (C-IAYT), creator of the TheraYoga Method. Sam is passionate about the immensely powerful practice of Restorative Yoga, since it has been a major part of her own journey to health. These trainings are for teachers & students who are looking to deepen their knowledge of Restorative Yoga!Teachers receive a certificate of completion once all homework and assisting is completed.Level 1 of this training covers the main poses of Restorative Yoga, how to adapt them for a variety of students, how to use props, how to design a satisfying class, and more. Special attention is given to therapeutic applications of Restorative Yoga, and how the practice can benefit people with special needs, or simply relieve stress. The training also includes discussion of the three Ayurvedic Doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) and how to build a Restorative and breath practice to best suit the needs of all three. You will also learn the basics of a mindful awareness practice to aid those with anxiety and trauma disorders, helping to keep students feeling more grounded, clear and balanced during their experience of Restorative Yoga and beyond. Students will receive a manual and a reading list.
These trainings are designed to prepare current yoga teachers to teach Restorative classes in studios and other environments. These weekends are also open to students simply wanting to deepen their knowledge, and for those in allied professions (massage therapists, those in the mental health care field, etc.) as a vital part of their practice with clients.
The goal is ‘happy kitty face’ here.
$400 prior to July 1st
DATES & TIME:
Friday July 14th 5-8pm
Saturday July 15th 9-5pm
Sunday July 16th 10-5:30pm
Samantha is currently under the private direction of her teacher George Haas as well as being a student in his 11 month program, A Meaningful Life. She completed Community Trauma Resiliency training, through the Trauma Resource Institute, in August of 2014. Her Restorative practice has been influenced by her teachers Judith Lasater and Leeann Carey. – Learn more about Sam in her bio under the workshop.
Hands-On Savasana Adjustments
7/25 + 2-3:30pm
Did you know we had a massage therapist at One Down Dog? Did you know she’s a yoga teacher!?
Want to give your students that little extra love in Savasana? Need a refresher course or brand new on feeling comfortable palpating and moving areas of the body? Then this workshop is for you! We will…+ Review basic structural anatomy
Where to apply pressure, where not to…+ Simple massage therapy techniques
Help ease muscle tension after an intense practice
+ Carefree joint mobilizations
Traction and movement to areas of the body without
assistance from student
+ Savasana Sequence
Learn a quick sequence outline that allows you to add your own flavor throughout
Kids Yoga – One Down Dog – Yoga for Your Little Ohm-ie
Starting an early yoga practice with your kid benefits them holistically and gives them the tools they need, within themselves, to thrive in a busy world. Grown-ups have all sorts of priorities and concerns on their plate, and kids do too! Kids live in a world where technology is at their fingertips, knowledge and information are accessible, and all sorts of messages are easily exposed to them. This overstimulation can be very distracting and can make it difficult for them to focus on a single task at hand, let alone all the things that are expected of them on the academic and social levels. With just a few moments of yoga and consistent practice, your little ones will develop healthy bodies, fuller breaths, brains geared up for learning, and the values that contribute to a happy life with their buddies!
Kids yoga integrates their whole, entire body…from the crown of their head all the way down to their tippy toes!
- In asana, the physical practice of yoga, the use of simple yoga poses with kids helps with their balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility.
- Kids develop better body awareness when they learn postures or play yoga games by identifying what body parts to stretch, bend, twist, lower, or lift.
- When practicing poses on both sides of their body, the right and the left side, yoga contributes to their overall motor development.
- By practicing how to sit and stand “tall” in yoga, kids can develop good posture.
- Yoga relaxes the body and prepares it for a good night’s sleep.
- In kids meditation, sitting in quiet for a few moments enables them to pay mindful attention to the workings of their other senses.
- When they feel good moving in their body, they can do more with their body! More sports, more dancing, more fun outdoor activities! A healthy body image and body appreciation can stem from a healthy yoga practice with your little one!
Practicing some breathwork or pranayama with your kids sets the tone for the class and helps them settle into the present, into the NOW.
- Depending on your kids’ moods, the right kind of breath will either calm and relax, or energize them!
- Simple breathing exercises prepare them for meditation.
- Taking a few moments to pay attention to their breath is a great way to stimulate their concentration, especially when they are doing challenging poses like balances or holding postures for a longer amount of time.
- A healthy breath means better circulation and more oxygen for the body!
Kids are constantly learning new things, and yoga helps with learning!
- Through mindful movements and focus, yoga can de-clutter your kids’ very busy brains, therefore increasing their attention span and improving comprehension.
- Yoga helps them retain information and improves their memory by learning postures through songs, yoga stories and yoga activities.
- By developing their motor skills on both sides of the body, yoga utilizes both sides of your kids’ brains as well!
- Kids yoga is all about using the imagination to create movement and shapes with the body. By practicing yoga, kids will widen the scope of their creativity and might even come up with creative ideas of their own!
Yoga is also about relationships and how we connect with others. The values learned while practicing yoga teaches our little Ohm-ies beautiful things about themselves, other living beings, and how to live in this world together.
- Yoga games in class instill a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among your little one and his fellow students.
- The process of learning and practicing a yoga pose helps kids become more compassionate and helpful towards other kids who are also trying their best. There is never any competition in yoga…just a safe space where kids can practice, do their best, laugh it off, and try again!
- Being in a room with other kids of all sorts of personalities can improve their social and communication skills.
- Kids are allowed to feel what they feel, and mindful practice helps them acknowledge their emotions and puts them in a healthy place to deal with certain things in their own peaceful way.
- Yoga helps kids to embrace their uniqueness and unique skills, therefore instilling a sense of respect in our kids; respect for themselves, respect for other people, and respect for their surroundings.
Yoga fills you up with life, light, peace, and joy…and all of that spreads quickly as you share your yoga gifts with your little ones! Kids yoga benefits the grown-ups, too! Take some moments to simply have fun, be silly, color outside of the lines, play make-believe, be spontaneous, and let your inner kid shine! Wouldn’t the world be an even more beautiful place if we all learned how to play nice? 🙂
Restorative Yoga with Samantha Akers
Restorative Yoga; What is it and why should we practice? Cant I just lay down and rest at home?
This is what I asked 17 years ago before taking my first class.
In this busy culture and time that we live in, a restorative practice is more important than ever. Restorative poses support or should support our entire systems; body, mind, spirit and energy. Using props such as bolsters, blocks, blankets, and sandbags (which she will be bringing) we prop the body so that it is completely comfortable in long held, peaceful asana postures.
Our nervous systems are in some state of flight or flight almost all of the time, even when we are resting, we might be anxious or over thinking – leading to a bit of high alert in the body and mind. Restorative yoga is a deliciously relaxing practice. We are supported in each posture for several minutes, while learning to follow their breath with mindfulness techniques.
With in minutes, the nervous system begins to relax, we gain a sense of spacious joy and release. In the workshop, we will be practicing cooling poses, readying the body and mind for the hot summer months. You may find you sleep better, breath better and feel more general positivity, just after one class!
Restorative Yoga healed me, supported me through chronic pain, fibromyalgia and Lymes disease. It is a powerful tool that will kindly and gently support and heal anyone that is ready to melt into themselves and develop friendliness towards their own hearts.
Interested in Restorative Yoga Teacher Training?
Taking a training in this style of yoga is vital for teachers to begin to see where students need that support and how to fill the space so that they can completely relax and let go, nourishing their nervous system into blissful and healing rest. This practice keeps dis-ease as bay, helps with sleep as well as mental disturbances such as anxiety and depression.
We move so very much, we must balance with rest. TheraYoga Method training in this modality will teach practitioners to guide a skilled practice with alignment, breath work and guided meditation. Learning the subtle art to teaching, along with the science of stretching and the fascial system will enhance teachers ability to be in the top of their field of yoga therapy as it is a growing need for our population. Plus, we have so much fun playing with props and learning about one another’s bodies!
Read more about Samatha Akers, her background, her work, and what you will get from her coming 2 hour workshop AND her weekend training at the end of July. – Sign up and ask questions – http://onedowndog.com/events-workshops