#UnfoldYourTruth This May

May Studio Focus: Core Values

The first quarter of the year our monthly themes centered primarily around confidence. We honored our inner epicness, bathed in self-love, and cultivated courage in the face of uncertainty. Spring is here and with it new vibes for quarter two.

The springtime is about living with honesty and alignment. We’ve tapped into our inner power, and now we are ready to live with purpose. Last month our goal was to simplify and clean out any stagnant energy so that we can recognize what matters most. This month, we are using a clear mind space to examine what we believe in and what we represent.

MAY COMMUNITY PRACTICE: #UNFOLDYOURTRUTH

Values give us purpose. They allow us to filter our actions and choices through the lens of what makes us feel most connected, alive, and authentic.

By connecting to these core aspects of our self, what motivates us most, we can begin to stand for the things we love rather than feeling like we must be against all of the things we hate.

The beautiful thing about naming your core values are how they don’t need to be universal. Yes, things like respect and inclusiveness are vital, but when you are narrowing down what matters the most to you, right now, you may find qualities like bravery, trust, or thoughtfulness are more relevant to your current growth and journey.

Our value system can be an evolving, living thing – like the perennial lotus flower – that blossoms with new beliefs and focuses each season of our life.

Sometimes self-compassion may be important when we are building our confidence, but as the season passes, we become ready to let go and focus on something new. During May are inviting you to fill out your lotus flower with the values that let you live your truth.

#UnfoldYourTruth by printing the lotus below or picking up a printed version in the studio on your next visit!

Keep it close. Hang on your bathroom mirror, desk at work, or in our studio to see when you come in for class!

Share with us on social media using the hashtag #UnfoldYourTruth.

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.

Want to check out past months?

Catch up on all of our Year of Empowerment and join us as we continue the journey.

    

Using a Rental Mat? 4 Reasons to Get Your Own.

Most studios offer rental yoga mats for student’s who may have forgotten to bring theirs, visitors from out of town, or first-time students. Offering rental or communal mats is a way to ensure no one has to be turned away for lack of a mat, but it really shouldn’t substitute having your own. Yoga mats are spongy and porous making them great for cushioning your knees and wrists but highly susceptible to sweat and germ absorption.

Here are a few facts on why rental mats should be limited use only:

  1. Bacteria may be killed with anti-bacterial disinfectant – but viruses can live in mats for weeks. In order to really eliminate all germs studios would need to use high powered, highly chemical (note: toxic) cleaning solutions and these still don’t work on all viruses.
  2. Using heavy duty cleaning solutions run the risk of causing irritation and are harmful to the staff who labor to scrub the mats by hand each week.
  3. Studios (like Namaste) that run classes nearly all day do not have time to scrub the mats between class. While we do our best to cycle in clean mats before each class, it is not always a guarantee. This means regular mat borrowers inevitably end up with a dirty mat once in a while.
  4. Using a rental mat means you have nothing to practice on at home!

Your yoga mat is your sacred space. When you have your own, it becomes a portal to your practice, allowing you to roll it out anywhere and find a few minutes of connection with your body and breath. That’s why we are encouraging all of our students to find a mat that they love.

Read more:

Beware of Germs – Yoga Journal

Communal Yoga Mats – The New York Times

Is It Safe to Rent a Yoga Mat? – Popsugar

A Meditation on NYC and Clutter

When living in NYC, my husband and I renovated our small Chelsea apartment. Due to costs, we had to live in the apartment while it was being torn apart and renovated. It was a mess: walls were torn down, cabinets ripped out, possessions in boxes, plaster dust was everywhere. It was hard to sleep, with the air quality so poor. I believe those few months were the most difficult of our relationship, as I felt so aggravated by the dirt and disarray, I had a very short fuse.

I recognized that disorder comes in shades of gray, not black and white. Having a more extreme taste of disorder had such a potent impact on my well-being, that I recognized that smaller amounts of disarray also impact me, but less so. Nonetheless, the more I can keep my living environment clean and clutter-free, the more ease I experience. Accordingly, I make efforts to keep things tidy, and enjoy the benefits of living in a space that feels welcoming and calming. – Domonick Wegesin [Catch Domonick’s weekly classes!

If you are seeking to mesh mindfulness and the act of de-cluttering, we found this sweet meditation practice from ZenHabits founder Leo Babauta to be the perfect fix:

It’s a form of zazen — which is sitting meditation, but at its core zazen is really a way to practice being mindful. It’s a way to prepare us for dealing mindfully with the rest of the things we do in life. And really, anything can be used as a way to practice mindfulness. I’ve often used running and walking, but also washing dishes and sweeping.

And decluttering is one of the best mindfulness practices, in my experience. Here’s how I do it:

  1. Pick one cluttered flat surface. It can be a tabletop, countertop, shelf, the top of a dresser, floor of a closet, floor of a room (just a section of that floor to start with). Don’t worry about all the rest of your cluttered spaces for now — just pick this one space. Small is good.
  2. Clear that surface. Take everything off and pile it on the floor or another table. Clean the surface while it’s clear — wipe it with a cloth, slowly and mindfully.
  3. Take one object from the pile. Forget about the entire pile — just look at that one object. Ask yourself why you have it. Is it for emotional reasons, or do you really use it? Is it for “just in case”? When was the last time you used it? If you don’t really need or use it, put it in a box for donation or trash it. If you do really use it, put it in another pile to be put back on your now-clean surface. If you’re on the fence and can’t bear to give something up, put it in a “maybe” box and put that box away for six months (mark the date on your calendar).
  4. Repeat, one object at a time. Practice doing this mindfully. Make a decision with each object — keep, donate, or maybe box. No waffling or putting off decisions. Deal with each object once, then move on.
  5. Put the objects back, and make a “home” for each one. Each object needs to have a spot that is its home, and you should always put those objects back in their homes. If you can’t find a home for an object, you don’t have space for it. Donate the items in the donation box, and put away the maybe box. Eventually you won’t need a maybe box as you get good at this.
  6. Learn to focus on one thing at a time, mindfully, and deal with each object once. This is a good practice for doing things in the rest of your life.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts!

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.

Sacred Spaces with Tule Fog Candles

Candles have always had a soft spot in my heart. From their unique containers to their memory-invoking qualities, candles have been a large piece of creating a welcoming environment in my home and sacred spaces. Tule Fog Candles originated out of the need to have better quality candles for my spaces and rituals.

Tule Fog Candles | Namaste Yoga + Wellness

As industry would have it, the candle/beauty sector can be a bit scary. There are a lot of toxic chemicals used in everyday household items that are not disclosed to consumers. This did not sit well with us. Especially when it comes to burning things in our homes. Our promise at Tule Fog is to always use the best ingredients possible to keep our homes and lungs clean.

Since our inception, this January, Tule Fog has also played a large role in my yoga journey. Light and aroma are powerful tools when practicing yoga or sitting for meditation and can be transformative on and off your mat. Similar to essential oils, I have found that candles can ground, invigorate, relax, etc. Depending on the qualities you are seeking, lighting a candle can help lift your surroundings. Candles can also be impactful for sacred spaces around your home. Whether it’s a coffee table, night stand or alter, candles are a great way to create a conscious awareness of space for intention or prayer.

It’s never too late to take time for yourself and your space. And Spring is the perfect season to detox and refresh. Join us here at Namaste as we celebrate the season of simplifying and creating space. Light a candle, create your sacred space, and take time for you! Happy Spring!

Check out all of the beautiful Tule Fog creations here.

 

Tule Fog Candles is a passion project of our very own Front Desk Goddess Jackie! Be sure to ask her about her favorite scent next time you’re in the studio.

 

Grounding, Microbes, and Medicinal Herbs

Digging your fingers in the dirt will take you back to another age and time  — a time of wonder and simplicity.  While tending your garden, you can’t help but notice the seasonal changes in plants, the sweet little buds coming out and then turning into blooms, the first leaf joyfully coming into existence. It’s a wonder that translates to other compartments of life — teaching yourself to take the time to look and listen and be in wonder with other humans in our lives, other relationships, other moments of our day. Gardening teaches a cultivation of love for the little things.

There are some scientific reasons to back up the theory that gardening improves your life. Called “earthing” or “grounding” — gardening fulfills the task of touching the earth. The earth itself is masterful at removing excess positive charges in the body, which build up in our bodies over time from our modern lives full of cell phone and computer usage. Research is beginning to show that “earthing” can reduce inflammation and chronic pain, improve sleep, improve blood flow, support adrenal health, and more.


Gardening also puts you in contact with micro-organisms. Several continuing studies suggest that dirt helps one to develop a healthy immune system. Soil based micro-organisms have stronger strains of beneficial bacteria that can survive through the digestive system and provide the most benefit.

Finally, planting a medicinal garden will bring another layer of benefits. Not only will you have a sustained relationship with the earth and dirt, but you can grow flora that will further good health and immunity. Start your medicinal garden with chamomile, yarrow, lemon balm, echinacea, aloe, and peppermint, for use in teas, poultices, and salves.

Get out there in the dirt and the sunshine!

Stay tuned for next week’s upcoming posts!

This month’s detoxing and cleansing workshops:

Best Yoga Oakland and Berkeley | Namaste Yoga + Wellness   

Best Yoga Oakland and Berkeley | Namaste Yoga + Wellness   

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.

Breathe Yourself Better

Pranayama is an amazing way to improve your life and detox your body. If you have ever practiced pranayama, either alone or in a yoga class, you’ve probably experienced the buzz that comes with mindful breathing techniques. Our respiratory system works directly with our nervous system to help calm or energize our bodies. Conscious breathing gives us more connection and control over our body so that we can use it’s benefits to our advantage.

Yogic tradition believes that alternate nostril breathing helps connect you to specific sides of your brain, the right hemisphere through the left nostril for example. By alternating between your nostrils, you increase your ability to access and nourish your entire brain. Full activation of your brain helps to improve sleep, calm emotions, increase creativity, and reduce stress.

Pranayama can be a little like meditation. We know we should do it but creating that power habit can be another story. There are plenty of online resources available if you are curious about a particular pranayama technique. In light of our theme, we suggest keeping things simple. For the next 30 days try this one tip:

As soon as you wake up in the morning, before you get out bed, lay on your back or sit straight up with a soft gaze. Count even breaths, so four or five counts in and four or five counts out. Repeat this ten times. Then give yourself some love!

As time progresses you can add longer exhales or inhales; you can try alternate nostril breathing or something more advanced like lions breath! Just remember: to start a good habit we have to start simple. Carving out a few moments first thing in the morning will help you begin the day clearer and with more control.

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.

Simple Ways to Mix Yoga + Fitness

Yoga is the perfect complement to other types of fitness. It provides opportunities for strength building, flexibility, and increased mindfulness helping to prevent injuries. Keeping with April’s studio focus we’re offering a few simple tips on how to integrate yoga into your fitness routine.

I love to Run!

Running is all about keeping yourself balanced and maintaining proper form. We suggest focusing on integrating breath as you move through your pre and post run asanas. Notice your body and listen to your breath the way you would in a yoga class. Pick a few poses that really stretch out your legs and activate your core. This will help clear your mind and prepare your body for the next step.

I love to Cycle!

Cyclists know that strength and flexibility keep you injury free. Yoga increases your ability to stay on the bike longer by helping to lengthen and strengthen your body. Similar to running, find a few minutes before and after your route to connect with your breath for added benefits to your cycling routine. You can also take some quick breaks on your bike for side bends or whatever else feels good in the moment.

I love Strength Training! 

Weight training, whether with dumbbells or body weight, is one of the best things you can do to stay in shape. When working with weights it is particularly important to keep track of your form. Uneven alignment can quickly lead to injuries when you have added weight involved. Yoga is great for mindful activation of our muscles. Do a few rounds of cat/cow or downward dog to chaturanga before training. This will help warm up your joints and get you in touch with your breathing.

Stay tuned for this week’s upcoming posts and subscribe to our newsletter:

Wednesday: Breathe Yourself Better

Thursday: Get Earthy: Grounding, Microbes, and Medicinal Herbs

Friday: Top Hacks for Sound Sleep

This month’s fitness lover’s workshops:

  

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.

Healthy Body Basics

The season for shaking out stagnation is upon us. Now is the perfect time to take stock of all that has built up over the winter. Our focus this week is on the BODY. You know the feeling of eating unhealthy food or not getting enough sleep. We’ve all been there. This week our goal is to bring awareness to SIMPLE ways we can clean-up our nutrition, sleep, and self-care to help us live a little lighter.

Let’s get started with some basics:

1. Drink PLENTY of water. 

Namaste Tip: Slice up some lemon slices the night before and keep them in the fridge. As soon as you wake up, grab some lemon wedges and a glass of room temperature water. Your body is working hard to cleanse itself at night and we all wake up a little dehydrated. Drinking some fresh H2o first thing in the morning can help with grogginess, digestion, and mood. It’s simple and super effective.

2. Take at least two yoga classes this week!

Namaste Tip: Teachers tend to do a lot of work on detoxing and releasing during the beginning of Spring. Wring out any old tension and stagnation from winter with a lively vinyasa class. Vinyasa or Hatha Flow classes tend to have more movement and will help get your heart rate up. This increases blood flow and allows your body to cleanse itself of any lingering toxins.

3. Cut out the “good stuff” and replace with real food. 

Namaste Tip: Search “Detox Diet” on google and risk being sucked down the rabbit hole. Keep it simple. Consider taking a week off of one thing. Maybe it’s sugar or alcohol. It can also be white starches, like rice or bread, or habits like smoking. Don’t overcomplicate it. Stressing out about the right “meal plan” can reverse the benefits of healthy eating. Instead, just be mindful in your choices and think “How will this make me feel?” before deciding to nourish yourself with it.

Stay tuned for this week’s upcoming posts and subscribe to our newsletter:

Tuesday: Yoga for Fitness Lovers

Wednesday: Breathe Yourself Better

Thursday: Get Earthy: Grounding, Microbes, and Medicinal Herbs

This month’s detoxing and cleansing workshops:

Best Yoga Oakland and Berkeley | Namaste Yoga + Wellness   Best Yoga Oakland and Berkeley | Namaste Yoga + Wellness

Best Yoga Oakland and Berkeley | Namaste Yoga + Wellness   

Join our community Facebook groupYear 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.

Clean Living: Simplify Your Life

Spring is the time to focus on CLEAN LIVING.

The first quarter of the year our monthly themes centered primarily around confidence. We honored our inner epicness, bathed in self-love, and cultivated courage in the face of uncertainty. Spring is here and with it new vibes for quarter two.

April, May, and June are all about living honestly. We’ve tapped into our inner power, now is time to awaken our purpose.
This is why we are starting off with a community practice focused on getting real about what matters.

APRIL COMMUNITY PRACTICE: SIMPLIFY

Keeping with the theme, April will focus on simplifying one part of our life each week. Every week of April we will be emailing out journal prompts, tips, and advice on how to detox and simplify four areas of life: Space, Spirit, Body, and Time. 

Stay tuned for Monday when we begin focusing on simple ways to care for our bodies!

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.

Want to check out past months?

Catch up on all of our Year of Empowerment and join us as we continue the journey.

    

Prana Pies: Love Infused Baking

by Grey Aurore Marcoux-Sydow

Something that I appreciate about my parents was their dedication to always preparing delicious, healthy meals for my sisters and I. Sharing meal time brought us together as a family in
a fun and satisfying way. One night where as an angst filled teenager I revealed to my dad that I didn’t really want to eat a piece of steak ever again. Unlike many of my friend’s parents, who would have told their kid that they were going to eat it anyway- my father had a very thoughtful approach to meeting my palate change. He told me that I didn’t have to eat steak, and that he was going to make something else for me entirely.

That night he served me what is still one of my favorite things to eat: a large, tender portabello mushroom cap. He sauteed the mushroom in garlic, olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. When I took my first bite I knew that I’d never want to eat steak again and so began my love for mushrooms.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, that was the beginning of my transition towards vegetarianism. When ten years later I enrolled in a yoga teacher training, part of our training was
adopting a vegetarian diet for 6 months. I was excited to embrace this dietary change, and I noticed that not only was I feeling great, but some other benefits included saving money, and
feeling good about not contributing to the needless death of animals for food.

My transition to veganism came about 2 years ago, when my husband shared a list of the proven benefits of adopting a plant based diet. At first I was skeptical, being that we both ate eggs
for breakfast almost every morning and cheese pizza was our favorite food. I already ate a healthy diet, so why in the world would I possibly give these things up? Well, it turns out that embracing a plant based diet is remarkably good for your personal health and the planet, as well as the obvious benefit to livestock. After a short time, I didn’t miss eggs at all due to all the other delicious, energy fueling vegan breakfasts I had discovered. And although I do still miss cheese once in a while, the benefits of not eating it far outweigh going back to consuming dairy products. When you start to realize the devastating health effects and the detrimental effects of dairy production-it’s hard to unlearn it. Suddenly, you don’t want cheese so much anymore.

Having friends over for dinner and introducing them to all the delicious flavors and vegan dishes is favorite way of introducing people to veganism. After a bountiful meal made up of
ingredients from our CSA (provided by the Oakland based Phat Beets), I like to serve friends something special that I’ve been perfecting over the past year: homemade raw, vegan pies!

     

Not only have they been called “mouth-wateringly delicious”, but they are mostly whole foods and free of refined sugar. These pies are made from seasonal, organic ingredients which I infuse with loving intention while I make them. They are packed full of nutrients to give you the energy you need to help you thrive. Ingredients like nuts, spices, coconut meat, fruits, and even seaweed all contribute to a dessert that is abundant in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, good fats and proteins.

What I love most is that these sweet, beautiful treats are so tasty and healthy that they are a perfect treat for children as well! Although it feels strange to credit my fish and meat loving father with my path to a plant based diet, I feel incredibly grateful to him for introducing me to the delectable mushroom he put on my plate some 15 years ago. In fact, it was only a couple months ago that he randomly remarked “Hey, by the way- I’m really proud of you and your husband for going vegan. I’m not quite there yet, but I’ll tell you what: I’m quite sure it is the diet of the future.”

(You can find out more about Grey’s raw, vegan pie company by visiting her instagram at:Prana_Pies)
(You can learn more about veganism by watching the documentary Cowspiracy, and vistiting www.nutritionfacts.org)

About Grey Aurore Marcoux-Sydow: Grey was born and raised on the tiny island of Nantucket, Massachusetts. After graduating high school she postponed going straight into college choosing instead to travel to India where she immersed herself in yoga, meditation, volunteer work and traversing the Himalayas. Upon arriving back in the United States, she took a train to California and fell in love with the bay area which she has happily called her home for the past 10 years. Grey teaches mindfulness classes to children in schools and she is also a yoga teacher who firmly believes that yoga is something we do with our hearts and minds, not just our bodies. When she’s not teaching or working at Namaste you can find her rock climbing, cooking vegan food, writing short stories, foraging for mushrooms, and planning her next exotic vacation. Grey loves Namaste and feels fortunate to call such an awesome place “work”!