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#ODDLight: Sarit Rogers

Name: Sarit
Nickname: I’ve been called a lot of things, but nothing stuck.
Hometown: Southside SM/Venice
Favorite place: The Darkroom or in a kayak on the ocean

What initially inspired you to become an instructor?
I have been practicing yoga off and on since I was around 7 or so. It was a tumultuous relationship. In 2012, I photographed the cover of 21st Century Yoga, and then began photographing a lot more yoga. I thought, hey, maybe i should learn more about teaching so I can shoot better. But then I became so inspired and was so encouraged during my training, both by my cohort and by the teachers, I leaned into my voice as a teacher.

Why do you continue to teach?
I love seeing the shift in folks when they take that involuntary deep breath as their nervous systems settle. I love being in community. I love holding space and inviting safety and resonance into the room. 

How do you define yoga?
There’s the literal meaning: union, right? But it’s so much more than that to me. It’s a pathway to the heart, to our breath, to a means of listening to our bodies. It’s connection. It’s music in motion. It’s an oasis that we have the power to create for ourselves where we don’t have to be anyone other than ourselves.

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)?
Hm…. I’m everywhere.Usually, I’m working in my role of Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner, seeing clients (adolescent and adult) or I’m photographing someone or something, or I’m snuggling my fur-babies, or managing teen drama.

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why?
To be honest, it’s contingent on mood, but i always love a reverse warrior. I have a weird adoration for triangle and chair pose (yes, i realize how weird the latter is) and child’s pose is simply magic. I love a good warrior flow. And i love a random dance party.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use?
The block is my best friend. I have short arms….. thank you, Block, for bringing the floor closer! I love props in general. I always use a blanket under my seat, and love a bolster under my knees in savasana or in child’s pose.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Most? eek. Well, there was that one time when was working on a film (used to costume for nearly a decade), and we were dressing Ru Paul. His manager had sent us the wrong measurements — his fem measurements, so they were particularly unusual, for example, 27 waist, 42 inseam. Um….. So, I’m in Beverly Hills with the designer and see these two extraordinarily tall guys in front of me. I ran up to them and siad, “Excuse me, this might sound really odd, but where do you buy your pants?” They both looked at me like I was completely nuts, but they answered me. As I turned around, I realized it was Vlade Divac.

What is your most empowering moment?
Discovering my truth and finding my feet on my mat, in my life, and in my profession(s). I had a particularly profound experience during my SE training that literally changed my life. SE has been empowering and lifechanging in general, so it’s been a culmination of moments. There was a momentum in my life that was propelling me forward, and it happened gradually but summed up to be a true sense of who i am in the world, my worth as an artist, and an almost unapologetic fierce compassion akin to Kali and Guan Yin,
What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? Being of service is the most important thing to me. It drives me and gives me great joy. But my all time favorite organizations are Homeboy Industries and Off the Mat, Into the World.
 
Find Sarit and her passion projects on the Soc-meeds! 
@saritphoto #notaweaponofmassperfection  
@lovemoremovement #choosejoy #lovemoremovement #compassionrevolution
 
All the love!

January #ODDLight: Jessica Rosen

Every January is special here on the ODD blog because we feature none other than our fearless leader/owner, Jessica Rosen! Rather than our usual interview style post, we’re instead bringing you the origin story of One Down Dog straight from the…horse’s mouth…(that phrase is really strange when you think about it). Grab yourself a nice hot mug of tea and sink into it!!

For most of my life I’ve known that I wanted to start a business based in service. I started out thinking that would be as a therapist – developing my own program for teens struggling to find their way in life. While in my masters program (I have a MA in psych) I found yoga and took my first teacher training right after graduation. I soon realized I enjoyed teaching yoga and leading groups far more than working as a therapist in a one-to-one capacity. I moved to LA, managed a yoga studio, and started to ideate ways I could make a living in the wellness space. I had this crazy wild dream of one day opening a yoga/wellness space, but I never gave it much thought because of layers on layers of self-doubt and negative self-talk along with the voices of many people in my life that meant well, but told me that my dream was basically impossible.

In 2008 I took a massive leap and moved to LA from Michigan where I was working as a substance abuse counselor and yoga teacher/front desk associate.  The studio were I worked was opening a location in LA and I moved out here to manage it and teach. A month into being in LA the economy crashed and the studio fell through. I was broke- I had no job and a mounting pile of debt. My MA in psych was basically useless as my license didn’t transfer to CA and I had no idea how I was going to survive. I just knew I couldn’t go back.

I hustled trying to find a job. I ended up working at American Apparel, and eventually (after a bunch of interviews) got a job at Lululemon in Glendale. I worked at YAS on Hyperion for a hot minute, almost became the manager of The Hub yoga studio in West LA, taught at Shakti Box in Los Feliz…I did whatever I could to get by.

While at Lululemon I had the assignment of writing a 10 year vision. I wrote something along the lines of… “I own a yoga studio in Los Angeles with 2 rooms, a room for wellness/massage services, an awesome retail space, and the most amazing community of students.” I laughed about how impossible that was and thought for sure that there was no way it would actually happen. That was August 2009.

Soon after, in January of 2010 I finally got to manage that yoga studio I moved out here for. I did that for a few years and started teaching and leading a group at a rehab facility for teens in Malibu. After about a year I realized it was time to form a business and decided to create my LLC  – which meant I needed a name. I wasn’t quite sure what the business would be, at the time I imagined that I would create a yoga program for addiction that I would teach throughout LA and train others to teach the program under my guidance. It didn’t quite work out that way, but that intention is what sparked the name, One Down Dog.

I was sitting at lunch with a friend of mine that was interested in by business concept and together we started brainstorming ideas for names. I was talking about what I wanted to convey – this idea that we don’t have to rush, it doesn’t have to be all at once, all or nothing – we can slow down and use our practice to find what we seek from within. We threw out a lot of ideas and then came back to what is said often in meetings and therapy – “take it one day at a time.”  The lightbulb went off! One Down Dog… at a time. I had no idea One Down Dog was ODD.  Thank you Universe (or whatever) .

Fast forward a couple of years – I left the yoga studio and started teaching yoga and working as a substance counselor at a private school. A student of mine asked if I’d like to teach yoga at her tae kwon do studio on the Westside. I met with the owner and found out that he is also renting a small space next to the studio that was empty at the time. All of a sudden, this crazy wild idea of opening a yoga studio one day became a possibility. After doing the drive twice, I said “this is not what my dream looks like” and ended up passing the space on to a friend that went on to open a studio there – sharing is caring.

It was in that process that my now sister in law, Chelsea,  suggested that if something like that existed on the Westside, it also had to exist on the Eastside. We went on Craigslist and found our first space – a 1 room space that we shared with an ashtanga teacher that only led classes from 5-10am. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t what I had visualized, but it was exactly what I needed to overcome all of the fear/doubt. Chelsea expressed interest in partnering and I was certain I couldn’t do it on my own, so we went into business together and got started on making One Down Dog. We didn’t have much money, or business experience, but for some reason people kept showing up. After a few months Chelsea realized business wasn’t for her. I cried a lot. I thought for sure it was all over. I told myself “see you are a complete failure, nothing you do will ever work out.” …and a whole lot of other horrible things. But something inside of me kept me going.

Chelsea and I worked our shit out and I took a leap on signing the lease on our current Silverlake space 9 months in to our venture. I had no idea how I would fund it / stay open, but I signed on the dotted line anyways. I managed to scrounge up enough cash to do a full build out between JFLA, an Indiegogo campaign, and a small loan from my parents. MAD LOVE TO THOSE EARLY SUPPORTERS!! One year from opening our temporary doors, One Down Dog Silverlake launched with a big opening/anniversary party. Raise your hand if you were there! I still have a hard time believing any of this is real. It often feels like a dream. But here we are, 6 years later with 3 locations and the most amazing crew of staff, teachers, and students. Let’s be real, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for all of you. Thank you for going on this journey with me… One Down Dog at a time <3

If you’d like to soak up some of Jessica’s awesomeness while simultaneously tapping into your own, be sure to sign up for her annual Make Awesome Happen workshop that’s kicking off on January 23rd. The four-week series is all about goal-setting and goal-crushing. You’ll spend the time learning tools to help you tap into your innermost fabulousness while basking in the amazing energy of the equally ambitious people around you. Sign up in any of the studios or online!


#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.

#ODDlight Mandee Miller

What you know about Mandee? Not enough, you say. Well, you’re in luck! This month’s #ODDLight feature is none other than the fabulous, hilarious, bootylicious Mandee Miller. If you haven’t met Mandee, she’s a beaming ray of light

Name: Amanda Miller

Nick Name: Mandee

Hometown: Byron, IL

Favorite Place: My home.

Favorite color: I’d have to say red 🙂

What’s your sign? Cusp Babe: Capricorn and Aquarius

Most embarrassing moment? There are so many it’s hard to pick! I recently taught a whole class with a hole in my crotch. Thankfully, I was unaware of the fact until the class was over. You’re welcome for the crotch show!

Fun Fact most wouldn’t know about you? I have an alter ego for my female mudwrestling group, Mud Queens of Chicago: Jane Wayne Gacy

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? I am mostly working throughout the city training private clientele, teaching at various Equinox clubs, and hanging at my home with my fiance and our cat, Shorty.

How do you define yoga? Unification in all capacities within oneself and with our world.

Why do you teach? It is a true passion of mine; I feel connected to it in a way I used to feel about acting, singing and improv.

What brought you to become an instructor? An instructor at LA Fitness who’s class I frequented approached me about teaching and I haven’t looked back since! Thanks Elise Cohen!

What is your favorite song to play in class? I’ve been playing a lot of ZHU remixes that match most of the varieties of classes I instruct: Ringos Desert Pt. 1

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? I love moving from Warrior 2 to Extended Side Angle and back up through Warrior 2 to Reverse Triangle.

What special causes or non-profits do you hold dear to your heart? I was paired up with Makeovers That Matter by ODD’s founder, Jessica Rosen, back in 2016 and have been working with their team in support and empowerment of our female veterans. Being able to make a difference in the lives of women who fought for our freedom has truly been a blessing and an honor.

Memorable yoga moment? Getting my very first yoga client in Chicago after graduating TT 🙂

How did you first hear about One Down Dog? Molly O’Neill told me about it when I moved to LA and met her at Wanderlust <3

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? I wear a mala bracelet made and gifted to me by Layla Guest of Layla Guest Designs.

Connect with Mandy via the gram! @mandeemillerfitness

If you’re looking to get some more Mandee in your life, be sure to check out her BUTT class on Wednesdays at 9:15AM in SIlverlake!

BONUS QUESTIONS!!!

Would you more likely tell your boss they had food in their teeth or let it slide? Tell them. Always.

If you could have any super power what would it be? To be able to fly

What was the last book you read? Stephen King’s short stories collection, Bazaar of Bad Dreams

Who or What is your spirit animal? Bill Murray

If YOU were a color what color would you be? Leopard Print

 

#ODDlight Feature – Amy McGuire

It’s Amy in the ODDlight! This babe has been rocking our worlds for about 2 years at One Down Dog. An important fitness oriented element and a woman who makes a point to learn everyone’s name. Smart, silly, and so damn strong – check her out!

Name: Amy McGuire

Nick Name: Mac

Hometown: Dumas Texas, Farmtown Oklahoma, Tempe AZ, Pasadena Ca haha

Favorite Place: In the sky or in the water

Favorite color: Orange

What’s your sign? Leo

Most embarrassing moment? Too many to have a most; they are just too frequent and my brain has waaaaay too much stuff going on up there to index that info.

When you aren’t at the studio where can you be found (favorite past time)? Skydiving!

How do you define yoga? I don’t think I do.

Why do you teach? I teach because people need the reminder of movement, peace, to pull away from the dog and pony show we live in daily.

What brought you to become an instructor? An injury. Yoga saved me from surgery and nasty scars.

What is your favorite song to play in class? Whichever one makes me cry or dance that week.

What is your favorite pose or flow? Why? I love a lotus mudra flow. It’s expressive, expanding and breathable.

Memorable yoga moment? Falling over in a wide-legged forward fold into a wall where I was then pinned during a public class.

How did you first hear about One Down Dog? Several of my co-teachers taught/teach there and I had to check it out.

What is your favorite yogi prop or piece to wear or use? (favorite mala etc) Aromatics! Gimme smoke, gimme oils!

What was the last book you read? The Luck Factor

Do you dream? Lucid dream? I dream a lot! Many of them seem real, which can be a good or bad thing given the subject matter!

If YOU were a color what color would you be? I am a color and it is YOU.