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#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

 

 

#ODDlight Feature: Adam Gericke

 

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, shoes
Name: Adam Joseph Gericke

 

Nick Name: Never really had one that stuck…

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling

Hometown: Hebron, Indiana – there’s literally only 1 stoplight in the town.

 

Favorite Place: My house – I love being home in my own space with my small family

 

Favorite color: Blue everything

 

What’s your sign? Virgo

 

Most embarrassing moment?

 

Most empowering moment? Realizing that I am not my thoughts, but I am a witness to thinking. All of a sudden there is a choice in which thoughts to follow – I ask myself which will lead me ahead in a positive path? It’s a choice, and I now choose to feed the light instead of the dark.

Image may contain: 1 person

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I grew up dancing, and that was my first career- a professional dancer. It was my ticket out of small town Indiana, and I never looked back. You can see me in the dance hit – STEP UP. And I’ve also been a working electronic music producer and if you look you can even find a few of my tracks for sale…- Dance music for life! utz utz utz utz

 

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? If you don’t find me practicing yoga or teaching, I’m probably hiking somewhere, hanging with my dog Frances and husband Blake, or making music in Ableton Live.

How do you define yoga? Yoga to me has been about changing my relationship with my small self, my higher Self, and the entire outside world.

Why do you teach? In teaching yoga, I hope to help share the shift that I have experienced in my life with as many people as possible. Through yoga I have learned to treat myself with the same compassion and kindness I shared with other people.

What brought you to become an instructor? Same as previous answer….

 

What is your favorite song to play in class? That’s impossible to answer – it literally changes daily. You will always get a mix of current tunes and my kirtan jams!  ( CHECK OUT HIS SOUNDCLOUD – DJ’ing MAY 19th at ODD  – https://soundcloud.com/user-987305689 )

 

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? My favorite yoga pose is my meditation seat. It’s what this practice is all about. As physical as the asana practice might show up on your mat, yoga is the stilling of the mind. And each of these physical postures strengthens or opens the body to sit for prolonged periods of meditation. If you haven’t found your meditation pose yet, meet me at 6:15 on Mondays in SL – let’s meditate together!

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

 

Memorable yoga moment? – This might sound cheesy, but a few months into practicing yoga I had a moment in savasana where I think I truly surrendered for the first time in my life. My physical body relaxed completey and in that surrender, the exact opposite of what I thought would happen, happened when I let go. I felt completely supported in that moment, and I still carry that inner support with me now.

 

Where did you first hear about One Down Dog? Where didn’t I hear about One Down Dog. I met Brianna, Ellina, and Bobbi all independently of each other. It was so sychronistic – One Down Dog is where I was meant to be! My husband works in television, and worked with Brianna’s husband – Brianna’s where the connection was first made. To make a long story short, I met Ellina and she asked me to DJ her store opening of Mairtri in Culver City. Bobbi was there helping with Ellinas party and we became friends. It was a natural progression that kept leading me back to ODD. It’s my LA yoga home and it’s where I was allowed to find my voice as a teacher. I have so much gratitude for Jess’ open arms.

 

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc) I always have my mala close – but you’ll only see me wear it, if I haven’t meditated yet that day. It’ll be my reminder, but I don’t like to wear it as fashion.

 

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart?  Anything to do with no-kill shelters….We used to support North Shore Animal League in NY, but haven’t sought out anything here in LA.

BABY FRAN!

 

Are there any links, @names, and #hashtags you would you like us to use in promoting you and your happenings? My website – adamgericke.com Insta – @wakeupmeditate

 

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!

Body

Kids yoga integrates their whole, entire body…from the crown of their head all the way down to their tippy toes!

  1. In asana, the physical practice of yoga, the use of simple yoga poses with kids helps with their balance, coordination, core strength, and flexibility.
  2. 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.
  3. When practicing poses on both sides of their body, the right and the left side, yoga contributes to their overall motor development.
  4. By practicing how to sit and stand “tall” in yoga, kids can develop good posture.
  5. Yoga relaxes the body and prepares it for a good night’s sleep.
  6. In kids meditation, sitting in quiet for a few moments enables them to pay mindful attention to the workings of their other senses.
  7. 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!
Breath

Practicing some breathwork or pranayama with your kids sets the tone for the class and helps them settle into the present, into the NOW.

  1. Depending on your kids’ moods, the right kind of breath will either calm and relax, or energize them!
  2. Simple breathing exercises prepare them for meditation.
  3. 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.
  4. A healthy breath means better circulation and more oxygen for the body!
Brain

Kids are constantly learning new things, and yoga helps with learning!

  1. Through mindful movements and focus, yoga can de-clutter your kids’ very busy brains, therefore increasing their attention span and improving comprehension.
  2. Yoga helps them retain information and improves their memory by learning postures through songs, yoga stories and yoga activities.
  3. By developing their motor skills on both sides of the body, yoga utilizes both sides of your kids’ brains as well!
  4. 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!
Buddies

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.

  1. Yoga games in class instill a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among your little one and his fellow students.
  2. 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!
  3. Being in a room with other kids of all sorts of personalities can improve their social and communication skills.
  4. 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.
  5. 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? 🙂

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.

Saturday March 25th Silverlake  6:15-8pm. onedowndog.com/workshops

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. ”

LAM

– Svadhisthana (sacral chakra) –

“The universes creative energy flows through me.”

VAM

– Manipura (solar plexus chakra) –

“My power source is the living universe, and unlimited.”

RAM

– Anahata (heart chakra) –

“The more I give, the more I open myself up to receive.”

YAM

– Vishudda (threat chakra) –

“What I speak, I manifest.”

HAM

– Ajna (third eye)

“My intuition leads the way.”

Aum

– Sahasrara (crown chakra) –

“I Am limitless.”

Silence

 

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 –
  • T-shirts
  • Pants
  • Jackets & Sweaters – larger the better.
  • Shoes – especially large sizes.
  • NEW SOCKS
  • NEW bra’s & Underwear
  • Rain / Waterproof clothing
  • Gloves
  • Tote bags & Rolling luggage
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Bed Linens
  • Food
  • 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.

Tips For The Timid Tarot Student

Five of Swords

Tips to calm the timid tarot student – 

by: Valerie Smith

Five of Swords

I hear it all the time: “Isn’t that black magic? Not like I believe in magic, but, you know…just in case…”

“I’ve always been interested in that, but I don’t want to do it wrong.”

“I mean, how do you even choose a deck??”

Folx, never fear. Your trusted Spinster teacher is here to ease your worries. This is a classic Five of Swords situation: and it’s time to tell those distracting voices in your head to chill out. If you are interested, then tarot is for you; and you won’t accidentally find out when you are going to die, either. If you are asking the questions—(and especially if you are asking me!)—you are on track to becoming a very capable reader yourself. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for those curious, but nervous or scared.

Tarot Deck

Finding that right deck establishes a healthy relationship with tarot. Curiosity drives this relationship. Shared language and mutual understanding fortify it. When you find a deck that calls to you, you’re more likely to play around with your deck, to get to know it, to draw cards for fun, and to trust it when you have a real question at hand. Through developing this relationship, you can more easily learn to trust yourself in your own interpretations of the cards.

  • Tarot is self-empowering, not dangerous. Tarot is a beautiful tool for personal growth. Without getting too deep into historical patriarchy against women’s wisdom, let’s just say that that tools that connect people to our own inner knowing have been derided either as “fake” and/or “evil” for centuries. Tarot is a method of self-care, self-knowledge, and self-empowerment. Of course endangerous to the status quo! But it has never led me astray. Though I have fought against some of its better advice, with time, I come to understand. Frankly, the rule I (jokingly) follow is: Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to. That said, watch your reaction or response to the cards you’re reading—often, this is just as important as the cards themselves. As you learn to trust yourself, to listen to yourself about things you may need to change, you may feel fear. But to explore this interior world is to become more self-attuned. We strengthen and we remedy our world; we see clearly; and we live our dreams.
  • If you are open to a discussion with the cards, there is not right or wrong way to read. The only common mistake is asking the cards to “prove” themselves. A skeptical person pulls a card without a thought, and is then disappointed when I begin to ask deeper questions. “Oh,” he said. “I thought it would just tell me something. I didn’t know I’d have to be involved.” Yep, sure do! Cards deal in intention, energy, and vulnerability. How can I walk up to a stranger and say: “Tell me something deep and meaningful about myself.” Wouldn’t happen! Instead, we introduce ourselves; we ask questions, we open, we share our views; we become vulnerable—and in that space, we grow. Same with tarot. There is no right or wrong way to have an interesting conversation. If you open and expose yourself to truth, so will the cards.

Tarot Reading

  • Follow Your Woah! The first card I pulled from the Ritual Tarot oracle deck said it all—Follow Your Woah. She writes, “Follow the things that light you up…they lead you to more good stuff, more joy, answers, enlightenment, fun.” That spark of curiosity that starts with finding the right deck moves into your life. What are you curious about the cards? Start there. Find all the cards that represent your friends. Create a spread using only cards from the cups suit. Pretend all the court cards are at a party together, and see how they interact. Get creative! Whatever urges you forward, do that.
  • Create your own practice. I’ve heard someone say, “Isn’t it true you should never read when you’re angry?” or “You need to pull a card every day, right?” Well, those aren’t rules I follow, but you can! The point is not to follow somebody else’s rules blindly. Do what feels right to you. Personally, when I’m angry is a great time to pull cards—it helps me to see things a little more clearly. But I certainly do not pull a card every single day—I tend to revolt with too much structure. If those ideas feel right, great; if they don’t, great! The point is to find the many ways that you and your cards work together. I trust you, and you should trust you, too.