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#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.