Spring Staff Picks

We labor here all day, in love. We are the eyes of the studio and see everything that comes to fruition. We are the ears of the studio and hear all that is whispered.  We are the tongue of the studio and speak its truths. We are the heart of the studio and feel its pulse.

Want to see what we see? Here are some of our staff favorites. Visit our boutiques and find YOUR fave!

  

Kristen Swehla, Grand Lake Assistant Manager

I LOVE the deities.  I love all things God/Goddess and I feel good seeing them at work everyday.

#shakti #shiva
#divinefeminine #sacredmasculine
#archetypes
    


Tosha Beverlin, Programming Director

I LOVE our OmCali oils. I use them every day! And I switch up which scent I use each season. I’m using Dream right now 🙂 I also started using the oil face wash and it is a DIVINE experience.

  


Eliza Andrews, Berkeley Studio Manager

High waisted, full length, space-dye Beyond Yoga leggings… Sometimes I do laundry just so that I can wear them sooner!

  


Christine Blackmore, Operations Manager 

My current retail fave is my red Manduka Pro-Lite mat.
It is a beauty. Light, easy to break in, and it gives me a sweet and comfy ride in class. I love my mat because it feels like it will last forever and…i can feel all that juicy life love energy being absorbed with every additional class I take. It is cushiony without losing the feeling of being grounded down to the Earth.
In seated positions it provides just a bit more cush so my sit bones are more comfortable too.
I also think it is a good value, it feels like such a durable mat that I know I will be practicing on it for ages!

   


Grey Marcoux, Berkeley Assistant Manager

The opal star & moon necklace by Leslie Francesca is just dreamy! Plus take a peek at the opal heart and hamsa necklaces, equally as adorable.

  


Sunny Koh, Rockridge Front Desk

Hard to choose but if I had to, it would be the colorful and textured bolsters, zafus and pillows we have by Chattra. They’re fun and such a sweet way to liven up a space.

  


Kelsey Garden, Rockridge Assistant Manager

I would have to go with local artist (and Namaste student) Mary Siegfried’s one of a kind women’s pin.  I love the vintage feel it has & that we are bringing back wearing pins! March is also National Women’s History Month so I think it’s the perfect gift to give a strong, powerful woman in anyone’s life. Available at Rockridge studio only!

  


Ezri Chioma, Bookkeeper

The Melody Furry Scarf – I would have one of each color if i could!

Take a Break with Poh Teng

Imagine a busy work day in which you are the eye of the storm. Despite a packed schedule, you are calm and focused. Without baggage from the past or worries about the future, you are present with each task at hand. You solve problems and make decisions with clarity. You execute tasks with precision and juggle competing priorities with equanimity, all while being kind, patient and peaceful.

I can honestly share that this scenario is easier said than done!

When not teaching yoga, I work full-time managing intellectual property for a tech company. On most days, I am out of the house before dawn to beat the morning traffic. Although I’m typically home before rush hour begins in the evening, my work day can get extra long if I teach an evening yoga class. Too often, discrete moments transform into a cascade of events that crash into each other, blurring into a long, draining continuum.

Does this sound like a familiar experience?

On such busy days, a 90-minute yoga class with any of my teachers is an impossibility. I’m lucky if I’m able to squeeze in a 30-minute restorative yoga practice at home without my dogs worrying that I have died on the bedroom floor.

Fortunately, yoga teaches us that each moment is an opportunity to practice, to nurture that which we wish to become.

Atha yoga nushasanam, remember?

Each instance is a chance to return to our highest, truest selves. Even if all we have is just 5 minutes. When we remember to pause, we step away from the madness instead of being carried away by it. Instead of thinking-doing-solving, we
breathe,
feel,
unwind, and
be.
Even if we are in business attire and without a yoga mat.

Finding little moments throughout the day to pause is essential for cultivating balance. Not a work day goes by in which I don’t practice a couple yoga poses in an empty conference room, or use a lacrosse ball to self-massage my trapezius or gluteal muscles. Sometimes, I go for a walk outside.

Will you join me in taking 5-minute breaks in your busy everyday?

Visit TAKEABREAK.YOGA – my latest heart offering.

The site is a free resource that offers simple practice sequences to help you cultivate balance in a demanding world. No yoga props, special clothing or admission fee required. Visit the site often to be guided through practice.

To shake things up, a new sequence is unveiled every couple of weeks. So check back often, not only to see how a regular mini practice can change your day, but also to explore different yoga journeys.

Pencil in 5-minute breaks into your schedule. It could be while you wait for the coffee to percolate, or during much-needed down-time between meetings.

Get out of the office chair.
Stretch out the back.
Take deep breaths.
Rest the mind.
Iron out kinks in the body.
Create space to help you see clearly.

All you need is 5 minutes. TAKEABREAK.YOGA

Here is a sample practice from the site. Click here to download a high-res version for print.

3 Workshops for Cultivating Curiosity

March Studio Focus: Embrace the Unknown

The third month of our Year of Empowerment is about recognizing when fear has taken hold of us and how we can nurture ourselves back to a place of understanding and self-care. Often our suffering is a product of our reactions to life events. When we become anxious about uncertainty we can work ourselves up imagining the worst or simply fantasizing about what we may want to happen. Both of these paths are dangerous and can lead to increased fear and disappointment.

If you want to practice combatting uncertainty, the best place to start is by cultivating curiosity. When we put energy into staying open and are willing to explore possibilities new doors can open for us. Trying new things is a perfect way to build our curiosity muscle. Get a little uncomfortable, make yourself a little vulnerable, and try something new this weekend!

Here are a few of our handpicked workshops that are totally worth a try: 

Bollywood Yoga Fit with David Moreno + Bulla Singh

Test out your dancing shoes.

Bollywood Dance Fitness is a fusion of traditional Indian classical, Bhangra dance styles, with Western styles like hip hop, jazz, and Latin. This high energy program will make you sweat, laugh, build strength, endurance, better smile muscles, and let your heart thump at a good clip! Date: Sunday March 5  From: 1:00- 3:00 PM Location: Grand Lake

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A Compassion Heart with Ashley Sharp

Explore Buddhist philosophy and self compassion.

Compassion for both ourselves and others in uncertain times can carry us through the storms we face. Everyday we are called to our highest potential of wisdom and compassion in order to save the world and our hearts. Take an afternoon to build and explore your compassion muscles. Date: Sunday, March 12 From: 1:00-4:30 PM Location: Rockridge

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Intro to Alexander Technique with Jaimi Patterson and Steven Moses

Get curious about your body!

The Alexander Technique is about movement and habit. It’s practical and embodied. The Technique acts as a vehicle to bridge the gap between that interference and our inherent design. Once bridged, it’s a skill that can be applied to any activity, including yoga. Date: Sunday, February 12 From: 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM Location: Rockridge

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A Poem for The Unknown

In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

By John O’ Donohue

Poem shared with us by Melina Meza. Join Melina for Yin Yoga this month. During all of March, she will be covering the 5 Elements over the 4 weeks as a way for students to learn more about self-care, Ayurveda, and our connection to nature.

Yin Yoga contains the ancient, and some say original, form of asana practice. The sages who pioneered the path of yoga used asanas to strengthen the body, so that they could sit for long periods in contemplative meditation. If you have ever sat for a long time with legs crossed, you know the hips and lower back need to be strong and open. The sensations you felt were deep in the connective tissues and the joints. These are the deep yin tissues of the body, relative to the more superficial yang tissues of muscles and skin. Yin Yoga opens up these deep, dense, rarely touched areas.


Recently Yin Yoga has been re-discovered, and more and more students of yoga are adding this challenging form of practiceto their regular sadhana. Years of a dedicated asana practice will make anyone healthier, stronger, and more flexible, but at some point the muscles will have reached their limit of flexibility. New depths in postures, deeper ranges of motion, or an increased flow of energy may only be achievable by focusing on the deeper tissues of the body. This is why so many students are finding Yin Yoga to be the perfect compliment and balance to their more active, yang practices.

Join Melina for Yin Yoga Tuesday’s 6:00-7:20PM at Namaste Berkeley.

March: Embrace the Unknown

Happy March!
Are you ready to EMBRACE THE UNKNOWN?

Over the last two months, we’ve honored our epic-ness, steeped ourselves in self-care, and now we are prepared to EMBRACE THE UKNOWN. Together we will cut through the anxiety of uncertainty by cultivating curiosity. We will foster intrigue and wonder through simple acts like exploring a new class, meeting new people, or going to new places.

MARCH COMMUNITY PRACTICE: CULTIVATE CURIOSITY

We’re excited to introduce a fun challenge: Class Stamp Cards.

The purpose of these cards is to provide inspiration and motivation to step out of our comfort zone by trying new classes, teachers, and class styles. Complete the card by taking five different class styles and return your stamped card to the front desk to become eligible for a chance to win a 90-minute massage.

Details on how to play:

  1. Come to class, grab a card, and ask the front desk for a stamp either before or after your class!
  2. Fill out as many cards as you want throughout the month! Each card is one entry for a chance to win a 90 min. massage. You can return filled cards to the front desk when you have received five stamps.
  3. Winner will be announced via email first week of April!

Over the next few weeks, we’ll keep providing you with tools and fun tips to keep your inspiration alive. Looking forward to testing new boundaries and finding ourselves cultivating curiosity in every aspect of our lives!

Join our community Facebook group, Year of Empowerment Club  for weekly tips and journal prompts.

Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips from your favorite Namaste teachers.

Self Care Ritual: Setting Boundaries

This month, our focus has been #SelfCareActivism. We are getting close to the end and wrapping up our One Daily Ritual practice. Our Namaste teachers have shared how they choose to love and care for themselves whether it is getting some time out in nature or developing a home practice, and now, we turn to turning off.

Setting boundaries mean learning when our health and energy is in jeopardy of being compromised and then taking steps to protect ourselves from burnout. It is easy to get swept up. The news is full of insanity lately. Our families demand our attention. Work can become unruly. Our ability to filter what is important wanes. A great metaphor is to think of our energy as tokens. We only have so many decision tokens per day. When we spend all of our tokens, we begin to make poor decisions, which can exhaust us making it difficult to live our best lives.

Our last installment of Self Care Ritual inspiration is full of insight on cutting back and focusing on your internal landscape. This week, practice saying no a little more often, unplugging, and practicing loving kindness for yourself and others.

Join our community Facebook group, Year of Empowerment Club for weekly tips and journal prompts.

Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips from your favorite Namaste teachers.

Self Care Ritual: Home Practices

This month, our focus is #SELFCAREACTIVISM. Our Namaste teachers have shared how they choose to love and care for themselves.

Last week we highlighted interesting facts and inspiration from our teachers on why it’s so important to get out in nature. This week, we are sharing some home care tips including morning practices and easy 15 minute breaks from your busy day.

Ready for the low down? Read on to hear from your teachers and get inspired on ways that YOU can create a home care practice.

Kameko Shibata: “We keep a tea warmer (just like the stand under the tea pots at grandlake) with a cup of oil in the bathroom and light the candle each morning when we get up. It heads up quickly & Then massage the oil on dry and sit to mediate for 15-ish minutes. That way the oil absorbs in and meditating w warm oil on your body is the best thing ever. I have a special pair of sweat pants for the occasion ”

Wendy Faith (Rivka): “I just returned from precious time on sacred land in Colombia… no cell phone, no email, no social media! I CONNECTED TO NATURE, felt the sun on my face, listened to the birds, basked under the moonlight… complete care to be in Union with Mother Earth.I was able to SING in the directions every sunrise and sunset, MEDITATE under the stars, PRAY with my community in temescal (sweatlodge) and PRACTICE YOGA OUTDOORS.

I am continuing these practices at home including an ongoing prayer circle tonite and one of my favorite forms of self-care, weekly DANCE, plus early morning CANDLE LIT BATHS WITH ESSENTIAL OILS and enjoying NOURISHING FOODS.How blessed we are to live in the Bay and have so much access to that which feeds our body, mind & spirit… including sharing the gift of yoga.”

Adam Kurzfeld: “Yes! I love [self-care]! Drum roll………… LEGS UP THE WALL!!! 15 min a day, keeps the Trump-slump at bay!” Legs up the wall is an amazing pose for achieving all the benefits of an inversion without the strenuous nature of flipping upside down. According to Yoga Journal, Viparita Karani or legs up the wall, helps to alleviate headaches, boosts energy, soothes menstrual cramps, and relieves lower back pain. Schedule yourself 15 minutes each afternoon for a quick break and a chance to increase circulation after sitting all day.

Jillian Schiavi: “Every single night: washing my face and putting on some yummy vegan skincare products (Arbonne) so I feel connected to my body, and feel incredible and hydrated when I wake up 🙂 I also frequently do complimentary skincare and selfcare workshops for groups of people, either in homes or in studios and businesses!”

Elana Morgulis: “Mmm, selfcare is my favorite!! I have to agree with Adam, Legs Up the Wall pose for 10 minutes any chance I get while at my day job, at the end of my yoga practice, or just to wind down in the evening is one of my favorite ways to settle and decompress. I also love taking 20 minutes or so on my porch with a cup of tea in the afternoon light. It’s so soothing on every level, I become quiet, reflective, still, and it connects me to myself. If I need to move, I’ll go for a walk through my neighborhood or a nearby trail for that quiet, soothing experience.”

We are excited to share in this collective experience. Cheers to a new month full of self-care inspiration.

Join our community Facebook group, Year of Empowerment Club  for weekly tips and journal prompts.

Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips from your favorite Namaste teachers.

5 Workshop to ACTIVATE Your Self-Care

 This month our studio focus is:

Self Care Activism

This is the Year of Empowerment and this month we are focused putting our self-care first. Taking time for ourselves isn’t selfish, it is necessary for us to show up wholly for the ones we love. We do our best work when we are feeling loved and confident. Self-care is also contagious. When we see someone make the choice to create space for self-care, it gives us permission to do the same. All month we are asking you to stand up for self-care and inspire those around you to do care for themselves too!

Here are our top five picks this month for workshops that will help you fully embrace your self-care vibes:

Blissful Body with Adam Kurzfield and Kameko Shibata

The art of self-care is a radical practice that allows us to slow down, nurture ourselves and enjoy the transition of winter into spring. This three hour workshop has restorative yoga and hands on massage, accompanied by live music – perfect!

Date: Sunday February 12 From: 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM Location: Grand Lake

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Self Care Sadhana with Kameko Shibata 

Take Valentine’s Day back with a week long sadhana geared towards cultivating radical self-care as an act of self-love. Activate your body with an all levels flow, pranayama, meditation and explore a take home self-care tool.

Sat Date: February 12-17 From: 6:30 AM – 8:00 PM Location: Berkeley

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Big Little Bowl with Sonya Genel and Arasa Maram

A heartfelt yoga practice with LIVE music followed by a nourishing meal. Step into a rhythmic flow of body and sound, heighten your senses, and finish feeling profoundly revitalized.

Date: Sunday, February 12 From: 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM Location: Rockridge

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Warm the Heart Sound Bath with Missy Felsenstein

Experience ultimate relaxation during the live sound savasana led by sound alchemist Missy Felsenstein. In this special sound bath evening, indulge in meaningful rest and a soothing mental calm while being “bathed” by the blended, meditative tones of Paiste gongs and quartz crystal singing bowls.

Date: Tuesday, February 14 From: 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM Location: Rockridge

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Love Your Body with Kimber Simpkins

“Love Your Body” is easy to say and harder to feel. Get down-to-earth advice on relating to your body with a little more friendliness every day with Kimber Simpkins, author of 52 Ways to Love Your Body. Find lasting peace within your body, and learn how to be your body’s best friend, starting wherever you are

Sat Date: February 24, 2017 From: 1:30 PM – 6:00 PM Location: Grand Lake

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Self-Care Ritual: Get Outside

This month, our focus is #SELFCAREACTIVISM. Our Namaste teachers have shared how they choose to love and care for themselves.

For the rest of February we’ll be calling out some of the best ways to practice self-love, from hiking to hiding away with a good book, all of our tips will be highlighted here.

First practice? GET OUTSIDE. Read on to hear from them and see some awesome research on why nature therapy is self-care gold!

The Bay Area is known for our immense amount of hiking and natural spaces, more than almost any other city in the US. We are cradled by the ocean and bay to our west, rolling hills full of red wood groves and chaparral meadows to the east. Getting outside can be a big adventure or a stroll to your neighborhood park. Need motivation? Here are some awesome benefits of being in nature:

    1.  Japanese researchers have shown that forest bathing, the practice of sitting in the forest, lowers your blood pressure, pulse, and heart rate variability. It has also been shown to decrease stress hormone levels.
    2. People who live close to nature experience less anxiety and depression. Walking in nature has been shown to improve mood and short-term memory in people with depression, as well as decrease rumination (repetitive, negative thoughts) and brain activity associated with mental illness.
    3. Being outdoors, and away from artificial lights, helps synchronize your biology to natural circadian rhythms. Scientists investigating chronobiology, the study of biological rhythms, have shown that our connection to natural light/dark cycles helps to regulate our sleep, our moods, our stress levels, and our hormones.
    4. One study found that children with ADHD showed significantly better concentration after taking a 20-minute walk in nature, compared to a walk in an urban setting. Another study showed that taking a walk in the park (or even just looking at green space) helped to ease brain fatigue and increase participants’ abilities to concentrate. Spending time outside makes us feel connected to a bigger picture of life.

We are excited to share in this collective experience. Cheers to a new month full of self-care inspiration.

Join our community Facebook group, Year of Empowerment Club  for weekly tips and journal prompts.

Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips from your favorite Namaste teachers.

Research Sources via MindBodyGreen. 

Self-Care Activism Starts NOW.

Last month we launched our Year of Empowerment campaign. We focused on Honoring Our Epic-ness and supported each other during our 14 Day Mantra Meditation Challenge. Our intention: to start the year off empowered to live a heroic life. Now we’re ready for month two – SELF-CARE ACTIVISM!

What is Self Care Activism?

We’ve all heard it before: Take care of yourself. We tell this to anyone we love. Our sick child, our stressed partner, our hurt friend – we say, “Slow down, be kind to yourself.”

Why then do we struggle to put our own needs first? 

We’re living in tumultuous times. It’s the perfect storm for self-care to take a backseat. Caught up in putting out fires and accomplishing lingering to-dos, self-care often feels like a luxury we can’t afford. We may feel that there are bigger tasks, more important causes, that need our attention. We put off self-care thinking we’ll have more time tomorrow…or maybe this weekend.

The truth is – staying run-down costs us. The more exhausted we become, the less we can critically think. We lose touch with our truth and power. We don’t show up as the people we want to be.

This month our intention is to change that. We’re bringing self-care front and center. We are calling on each person in our community to not only put their self-care first, but to share their self-care practices with others. Heres how:

Community Practice:

One Daily Ritual

Choose one simple practice, a daily ritual, that makes you feel loved and nourished. It can be something you already do or brand new. It can be small, like making tea each morning, or longer, like drawing a warm bath. Practice every day in February to ground in your right to enjoy being alive.

Now for the ACTIVISM:
Share with one friend or loved one each week. Proudly loving ourselves gives others permission to love themselves deeply too. Vocalizing our own practices encourages others to take the time out they need to replenish and reset. 

How can you share? Here are some tips:

  • Send them a text letting encouraging them to try your favorite practice.
  • Gift them an appointment.
  • Recommend your favorite tools (oils, dry brush, foam roller, tea brand) or practitioners.
  • Send them an email with the health benefits of your selfcare practice.
  • Post photos of yourself post-bliss or of your favorite product to use in your ritual.

Use the hashtag #SelfCareActivism to spread the word on why selfcare is SO important.

As we begin this week, I’ll keep providing you with tools to keep the energy alive. If you have any questions along the way – don’t hesitate to ask. This is meant to be collaborative. I look to you as the experts.

We are excited to share in this collective experience. Cheers to a new month full of self-care inspiration.

Join our community Facebook group, Year of Empowerment Club  for weekly tips and journal prompts.

Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips from your favorite Namaste teachers.