GOOD VIBES: Spring Challenge is HERE!

Good Vibes Spring Challenge

Kick-off spring with our Good Vibes community challenge!

Score points over the next six weeks by engaging with your Namaste Yoga + Wellness family. When you’ve accomplished nine activities turn your card into the front desk for a chance to win ONE MONTH OF UNLIMITED YOGA!

Step 1: Pick up a card on your next visit.

Step 2: Take ACTION to GET STAMPED by the front desk for things like coming to class. ENGAGE with a new friend to FILL IN THE BLANK and learn something new about someone. Practice self-care by savoring a cup of tea to CHECK IT OFF under SCOUT’S HONOR.

Step 3: Turn in your card at the front desk to receive a beautiful Namaste Reusable Shopping Bag and enter for a chance to win!

We will be choosing three winners on Friday, May 18th!

All participating students will receive a Namaste Reusable Shopping Bag.

Community Classes: 5 Facts to Inspire YOU

Namaste offers community sliding-scale donation classes at all three studios on a weekly basis. I was inspired when asked to teach the Thursday night donation class because of the power of community. Comunity is a great refuge in these uncertain times.

At Namaste, let’s inspire and uplift each other and the broader community. Let your friends and family know about the healthy chance to practice yoga and meditation together! Our Thursday night Yoga + Meditation class at Namaste Rockridge is donation-based and no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. It’s the perfect opportunity to bring your friend or loved one with you.

When I feel the need to be reminded of how important community is I seek out inspiration like the piece below transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network, based on the work of Milton Olson:

Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in V formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help, and we give our help to others.

Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities, and unique arrangement of gifts, talents, or resources.

Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those in front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help or protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.Bay Area's Best Yoga Teacher

Boutique Styles: Spring Trends Now Landing

I’ll be honest – I love Spring for bringing the lightness into our wardrobes again! Let our skin warm with sun rays and the breezes tickle. Spring is the transition zone, so of course, don’t forget to carry your extra layer. Pieces landing now in our boutiques speak to the following trends:

Match Set: Yep. Matching sets and jumpsuits abound. You know the best part of this trend? Less decisions to make when dressing!
(Berkeley Studio Manager Kelsey Garden in new Patrons of Peace jumper (above) and maxi dress (below), available at Namaste Berkeley.)

Maxi and more: Maxi dresses are a thing, especially over tees. We’ve got both flying in to our boutiques.

Pattern: Pattern is a go. Get out of the black and grey wintery doldrums with some sweet flower patterns.
(Below: Yoga Instructor Rosy Schlussel in Gypsy Junkies blouse, Kelsey in Gypsy Junkies flare pant, available at Namaste Grand Lake)

Soft colors: Just think of ice cream colors – sweet and sweeter.
(Below: Rosy in Gypsy Junkies blouse, available at Namaste Berkeley)

More spring /summer trends to come! This is what the future holds:

The Stripe: Is it a nautical thing? The stripe in summer just always feels right.

Silhouette: The silhouette of the season is crop tops with wide legs. Think you can get with it?


 Helene Cotton is our Namaste Boutique Buyer and Manager. She’s keeping her finger on the fashion pulse for all of us, plus taking lots of pics with our community to share our offerings with you.

Meet Your Teacher: Simona Balan

Namaste Yoga + Wellness is a container for the Bay Area’s best yoga teachers to offer their incredible talent and wisdom to students of all backgrounds. These highly experienced teachers have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others and we couldn’t be more grateful. It is an honor to support them and to connect them with yoga practitioners like you.

We are excited to share this special new blog series focused on celebrating your yoga teachers and hopefully giving you a glimpse into the brilliant team that is the Namaste Yoga + Wellness family. We have over 55 teachers in our community and every single person offers something unique!

How long have you been at Namaste?
About a year and a half – a little over a year as a regular instructor

Bay Area Best Yoga Teachers Simona Balan

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I’m a planner by nature, but I become a yoga teacher purely by chance. Comes to show you some things are just meant to be :).
I was first introduced to yoga as a child back home in Romania. Interestingly, I’ve later learned, yoga used to be banned in Romania, and yoga teachers and practitioners were looked down upon like near-terrorists up until a few years before my mother had me try it out to help with my scoliosis. After those initial lessons, the opportunity to take yoga classes didn’t arise again until I traveled nearly halfway around the world to pursue a PhD at UC Berkeley.

With $10 a semester I was able to take unlimited yoga classes at UC Berkeley’s Recreational Sports Facility (RSF). Thursdays 5:30 pm with Shy Sayar became my regular weekly yoga class (I now have been teaching it for about 10 years). In that massive, loud basketball court, with bright fluorescent lights and stinky mats, surrounded by up to a hundred other students, I fell in love with yoga. I loved how it made my body feel. How it improved my performance in other physical activities. How it helped me deal with the stress of culture shock and the demands of a PhD program. Even though I could only take classes once or twice a week due to my schedule, I right away started practicing daily. Less than a year into my daily practice my teacher was contemplating offering his very first teacher training and gave me a partial scholarship to help make it happen. This fairly unusual teacher training – 100 hours in the sun, wind and hail of Death Valley over Spring Break, and 100 hours on a remote property in Southern Oregon – was truly transformational, and I began teaching yoga soon after.

Bay Area Best Yoga Teachers Simona Balan

Do you have any go-to yoga and wellness books or podcasts?
My favorite yoga and wellness books include Timothy McCall’s Yoga as Medicine and Darrell Wolfe’s Healthy to 100. But my go-to books whenever I need some inspiration, guidance, or clarity are Pema Chodron’s The Places That Scare You and When Things Fall Apart.

Which teachers influence your practice?
My main teachers have been Shy Sayar and the Niroga Institute’s teachers (including Baxter Bell), but pretty much all the teachers I’ve taken classes with have influenced my practice and my teaching to one degree or another.

What does your yoga practice look like and how has it changed your life?
My yoga practice changes organically. The only constant is that I practice asana every morning, even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes before I catch the 6:30 a.m. train to Sacramento for work. I have a mini-studio at home complete with foam roller, massage balls, yoga balls, bosu ball – and I take turns incorporating them into my practice. Some days I explore more restorative or therapeutic poses, other days Vinyasa flows. I have a full time desk job, so I intersperse my day with stretching and moments of mindfulness. In the evenings I tend to practice self-massage and myofascial release.

Yoga has changed my life in too many ways to list here. The most obvious one is that I now live in the Bay Area. It was my introduction to the Bay Area’s yoga community that eventually made me get past the culture shock and feel more at home here than anywhere else I’ve lived before.

Bay Area Best Yoga Teachers Simona Balan

What is something you wish your students knew?
Limitations are impermanent, like everything else. Never underestimate the transformational effects of mindfulness, relaxation, and practice. Yoga poses that seem impossible now may simply be poses that the body-mind doesn’t yet understand.

What is your morning or evening routine? (whichever is your favorite..or both!)
It varies somewhat, but tends to involve yoga asana practice and purring cats.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
Teaching yoga is immediately satisfying for the part of me that wants to heal the world, in particular the human relationship with the environment. I’ve spent years studying and working as an environmental scientist, but I often feel more of service teaching yoga. It’s helped me realize that any transformation of our relationship with the environment must start with an internal transformation of our relationship with ourselves, and with an experiential understanding of our connection to everything else.

Bay Area Best Yoga Teachers Simona Balan

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I’m an environmental scientist working as a civil servant for the state of California to implement the Safer Consumer Product Regulations. Basically, my group researches chemicals of concern in consumer products to regulate them as needed. Most of my work thus far has been on a class of fluorinated chemicals used in a wide variety of consumer products, including in stain- or water-resistant clothing and furnishings, and in greaseproof food packaging. If you’re interested, you can learn more about my work in this short webinar: https://www.healthandenvironment.org/partnership_calls/95944

What is your go-to movement (asana, dance, hiking, etc.) that allows you to feel the most connected to yourself?
Yoga asana, with its many forms, and Aikido, a Japanese martial art focused on achieving harmony to resolve conflict. I’ve had the opportunity to travel twice to Japan and train in the little town of Iwama, where the style of Aikido was developed. I train several times a week at the Aikido Institute in Emeryville.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The diversity of people and activities. The Bay Area vibe resonates so well with me that I’ve chosen to make this my home, even though I didn’t intend to when I first come here to start my graduate studies.

 

Meet Your Staff: Rose Barkley

Rose is modeling some of our newest apparel from the Namaste Boutiques.

Featured here: Joah Brown black tank and Beyond Yoga high waisted leggings. Perfect to go from the studio to the street.

Each week for the next few weeks we will be highlighting one of our incredible Namaste tribe members! With so many inspiring, passionate folks working at Namaste we felt it was a crime to keep their shining personalities from the rest of the world.

Meet Your Staff: Rose Barkley

How long have you been at Namaste and what do you do here?
I started in August 2017 and I am the Assistant Manager at GL

Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in the Bay Area?
Originally from Kansas City, I gravitated to the Bay Area in 2013.

Favorite part of Namaste?
The community, daily practice of kindness, and seeing people’s bliss radiate after a yoga class or massage session.

Best Bay Area Yoga Jobs

Best advice you have ever gotten?
Be true to who you are, everything else will fall in place.

How often do you practice?
Daily practice!

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
The experience of reconnecting with my own body and mind, finding connection through community and experiencing a happier more fulfilled self.

Best Bay Area Yoga Jobs

What are your favorite self care practices?
Aromatherapy and a long steamy shower

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I teach yoga, run my on small business where I make soft goods and hang out with my fur children

We know you love our teachers equally – BUT whose classes do you take the most?
this is so tough…I honestly have been trying out anyone and everyone but totally dig Jaimi Patterson

Best Bay Area Yoga Jobs

Meet Your Namaste Healer: Patrick Stockstill

Keeping a consistent wellness routine is more important than just feeling great, it truly keeps your body in working condition. Regular bodywork reduces stress, inflammation, stiffness, and blood pressure. Everything from your immune system to your energy levels improves when you allow for serious self-care time.

Our experienced and deeply knowledgeable healers work with each client to hear their specific needs and create treatment sessions customized for their body. Plus, with the help of cold-press, locally grown, adaptogenic oils from OmCali our therapists are well equipped to offer an experience of complete bliss and rejuvenation.

Since we are in love with each and every Namaste Healer we thought you may want to get to know them a little better too. We hope you enjoy this fun blog post series of Meet Your Healers!

MEET YOUR NAMASTE HEALER: Patrick Stockstill

Hi Patrick! Where do you offer your healing services? 
I offer my healing services at Namaste Yoga + Wellness Berkeley Thursday and Friday 10am-3pm.

How long have you been at Namaste?
Offering bodywork since September 2017, practicing since 2008 (with a long hiatus).

What type of healing modalities do you offer?
I am certified in Esalen massage, a deeply relaxing, full body integrative offering, and in Deep Bodywork, a slow, structural approach to deep tissue massage.

What inspired you to become a wellness practitioner?
I took my first massage class out of curiosity, but I immediately realized how powerful and necessary healing touch is in my life. I’ve discovered an endless journey of self-discovery and possibility as I connect with other people and learn new approaches to touch-based healing.

What are a few of your favorite self-care tips for the winter season?
I try to spend a good amount of time outside every day, even if it’s cold and wet. Natural light and air help me immensely. I also try to devote some time to pure self care, whether a massage, a yoga class, or time with a good book.

What does a typical day look like for you in regards to your personal self-care/movement practices?
I try to run most days, and I have had a steady vinyasa yoga practice for about 10 years. After acquiring some injuries in the last few years, I’ve been using weight training and rock climbing to strengthen and stabilize.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I have a young daughter, so parenting takes up most of my free time. I also love to cook and am always tinkering with my garden.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The amazing breadth of food available (which is, of course, dependent on the diversity of peoples living together here!)

Patrick Stockstill Bay Area Massage Therapy

Natural Flu Season Remedies: Protect Yourself!

Sitting on BART hearing your fellow riders cough and sneeze can be nerve-racking – especially during the colder months of the year as this indicates the looming and ominous illness we all know as the common flu. There is a longstanding question of why the flu typically appears strongest during winter months and many studies have taken place to test this correlation. The term “influenza” is an Italian word that historians believe to have originated in the mid-18th century as “influenza di freddo” which translates to “influence of the cold.”

There are many theories as to why this virus is so common in the winter time versus other seasons of the year. These include things like lack of abundant sunlight, meaning a deficiency of vitamin D and melatonin which compromises the immune system’s ability to fight off illness, as well as various research explaining that the nature of the virus thrives in colder, drier climates than in warmer, humid ones. Flu season begins roughly around late October, peaks in January and February and can last as long as May in the Northern Hemisphere.

In order to understand this virus and how to prevent it, we must first understand what it is and how it spreads. Influenza is a viral, highly contagious respiratory illness that is easily spread through airborne transmission such as sneezing and coughing, close contact with an infected
person, or by touching a surface where the virus lie present.

So what are some natural, preventative measures we could take to help protect ourselves and others from this chilly and vicious illness? The good news: there are SO many!

Yoga being the amazing life elixir that it is, is one way to ward off this nasty illness. Various poses have physiological effects that strengthen the bodies ability to improve immune, adrenal, and nervous system function and keep us at optimal health.

These include poses like:
● Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall) – this inversion pose helps to increase circulation of lymph fluid throughout the body boosting the immune system;
● Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) – a go-to pose that allows for circulation and energy boost;
● Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge), Matsyasana (Fish), and Bhujangasana (Cobra) – all of which are heart openers that allow for the decongestion of the lungs and sinuses.

Other tips include:
● Washing your hands with soap and warm water, often and for at least 20 seconds!

● Using a humidifier in your bedroom or house to create a warmer, more humid environment where flu cannot easily spread

● Choosing natural Green Tea as your morning kick instead of coffee so as to keep stress off your adrenal glands

● Get sufficient rest each night (8 hours)

● Stay hydrated! People tend to drink less water during colder times of the year but it is even more crucial to drink plenty of water especially during this time as it helps to keep the bodies organs lubricated and working at their full potential

● Warm lemon water in the morning is a great way to start your day and also helps get your digestion started (plus it tastes yummy!)

GET A MASSAGE! Research shows that getting a massage regularly can help to fend off sickness (HUZZAH)! As an immune booster, massage helps to lower the production of stress hormones like cortisol and maximize functionality by increasing production of good hormones like serotonin and dopamine leaving you feeling at your best!

Massage is a natural approach to stimulating your lymph system to help maximize functionality and thus decreases your chances of coming down with something nasty! It also boosts oxygen-rich blood flow and lymph circulation throughout your body allowing it to work more effectively and remove toxin build up.

Looking to stay healthy and feel your best? Try out our Intro to Wellness package that includes three 60 minute massages for $249 – $51 of savings and a great way to show yourself some love and care in the winter months!

Bay Area's Best Yoga Studio Now Hiring Front Desk Staff

Rhiannon is a true, wild adventurer pursuing wellness at heart, and a total lover of life. Originally from the Rocky Mountains of Denver, she came to the Bay Area in 2013 to finish her degree in Psychology and feed her hunger for exploration. She is on a journey pursuing Yoga Therapy and has recently completed trainings with the Art of Yoga Project based in the greater Bay Area, and her RYT-200 hour certification in Yoga Therapy and Alignment in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Her passion for the world of wellness is something that is deeply rooted in her everyday endeavors and something she wishes to share with her community and the world! Time well spent to her means practicing and teaching yoga, meditating, writing, snuggling her kitties, cooking yummy, healthy food, dancing, backpacking, rock climbing, and traveling. To learn more about her journey, and for some fun inspiration, follow her on instagram @truewildwell!

Meet Your Healer: Rhea Borromeo

Keeping a consistent wellness routine is more important than just feeling great, it truly keeps your body in working condition. Regular bodywork reduces stress, inflammation, stiffness, and blood pressure. Everything from your immune system to your energy levels improves when you allow for serious self-care time.

Our experienced and deeply knowledgeable healers work with each client to hear their specific needs and create treatment sessions customized for their body. Plus, with the help of cold-press, locally grown, adaptogenic oils from OmCali our therapists are well equipped to offer an experience of complete bliss and rejuvenation.

Since we are in love with each and every Namaste Healer we thought you may want to get to know them a little better too. We hope you enjoy this fun blog post series of Meet Your Healers!

Meet Your Namaste Healer: Rhea Borromeo

Hi Rhea! Where and when do you offer massage? 
Rhea Borromeo, I work at the Grand lake location on Tuesday 10-3, Thursday 3:30-8:30p.m and Sunday 2:30-7:30p.m

How long have you been at Namaste? 
Joining the team recently, but been practicing massage since 2004.

What type of healing modalities do you offer? 
My style is a combination of Deep Tissue, Thai stretches, Acupressure, and Swedish. Hot stone, Lomi Lomi, thai herbal, and prenatal massages.

What inspired you to become a wellness practitioner? 
I had health concerns and I wanted a life filled with purpose. Massage Therapy was a beautiful way for me to become more connected to my body and how it can heal itself.

What are a few of your favorite self-care tips for the winter season?
Taking bath soaks filled with healing herbs and essential oils.

Can you share a favorite nourishing recipe for winter? 
My homemade Elderberry Syrup!

What are you involved with outside the studio? 
Making my own herbal infused oils, plant-based concoctions, herbal classes. kids school activities.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area? 
Nature

Anything else you want to share?
I am the mother of two beautiful wild kids.

Meet Your Teacher: Satya Gita Aune

Namaste Yoga + Wellness is a container for the Bay Area’s best yoga teachers to offer their incredible talent and wisdom to students of all backgrounds. These highly experienced teachers have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others and we couldn’t be more grateful. It is an honor to support them and to connect them with yoga practitioners like you.

We are excited to share this special new blog series focused on celebrating your yoga teachers and hopefully giving you a glimpse into the brilliant team that is the Namaste Yoga + Wellness family. We have over 55 teachers in our community and every single person offers something unique!

Meet Satya Gita Aune:

What is your name and when/where/what do you teach?
My name is Satya Gita Aune and I teach Vinyasa, Hatha, Therapeutic, Yin, Restorative.

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I wanted to share and facilitate for others the total magic I experience both physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Which teachers influence your practice?
Sharon Gannon and David Life from Jivamukti NY.

What does your yoga practice look like and how has it changed your life?
Dancing through life, flowing with the breath supports me to come into the present moment in my body. Sensing and being present to my experience, letting my consciousness hold my practice with an attitude of love, care, and curiosity.

East Bay Yoga Teacher Sita Gita Aune

What is something you wish your students knew?
The magic of being embodied. Treating the body as a temple and living life as a prayer.

What is your favorite morning routine?
Morning: Sipping a cup of warm coffee or tea while journaling, study inspirational books, meditating, shower, yoga practice. Getting ready for the day to be of service and shine the light.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
Getting to teach and inspire my student’s awareness of self-care and self-love, see them realizing them self in a deeper way, laughing and being creative.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
Deeply engaged in a mystical school called Diamond Approach, offering spiritual counseling and bodywork, energy work and hands-on Inquiry, dancing, playing music, hiking, traveling.

East Bay Yoga Teacher Sita Gita Aune

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
Diversity, creativity, and the physical bay.

Anything else you want to share?
I am passionate about teaching yoga and inspired to share the love. That has been my work for past 25 years!

Winter Recipes: Rhea’s Elderberry Syrup

Looking for delicious, nourishing, and supportive recipes for Winter? We have it covered. We went straight to the experts, our Namaste Healers and Teachers, and have curated some of their favorite tonics, treats, and tinctures to take while we wait for the season to warm back up!

Rhea’s Elderberry Syrup

A simple Elderberry syrup is perfect for the fall and winter seasons with changes in temperatures and shifting energy patterns can make us vulnerable to colds and the flu. Elderberries are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, Iron, and flavonoids.



To make the syrup, combine the berries and herbs with cold water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow herbs to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and mash the berries in the liquid mixture. Allow to cool then strain the berries and herbs through cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice. Measure the liquid and add an equal amount of honey. Gently heat the honey and juice for a few minutes until well combined. Do not boil! Bottle in sterilized glass.