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




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




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




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




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





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.

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.

Mantra Meditation: Keep It Going

Today is the last day of our 14 Day Mantra Meditation practice. As the first month of our Year of Empowerment begins to fade into a new chapter – we want to encourage you to keep up your mantra practice throughout the rest of the year. Mantras can help remind us of our power, our inner peace, and our ability to weather change and resistance. They are malleable and can adjust to whatever we are facing in our life. You can have one mantra or many. You can say them aloud, our quietly to yourself.

The process of building a more empowered life starts by integrating practices that boost our self-confidence, support our mindfulness practices, and offer relief from fear and doubt. Over the next 12 months you can pick and choose what practices work best for you!

As a last harah we are sharing with you three more inspiring tips from our Namaste tribe:

Ashley West Roberts

The way I currently practice is by choosing weekly mantras that go on my calendar on the first day of each week.

I memorize and repeat them each morning before I get out of bed and throughout the day as needed. And that is often! My mantra (which I have already shared with my students this week) is from Judith Lasater…

“Relaxation is the process of observing your tension”
When I feel stressed or overwhelmed I pause and repeat this and notice how my body responds. Simple.


Annemaria Rajala

Annemaria Rajala

I love using mantras!
Here’s a mantra that I use with my Prenatal students as we work through a challenging moment:
Inhale: I am Strong, 
Exhale:I am Capable
I learned this from my good friend Julie Anne while pregnant myself and used it as labor got going. It was massively helpful and empowering.


Simona Balan

An empowering one that I really like and could qualify as a mantra is this quote from Pema Chodron:  You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.”
Otherwise, my favorite empowering mantra that is not in english is Om mani padme siddhi hum ri
– a reminder that, just like a muddy lake is home to the pure lotus flower, what we perceive as the “ugly” or “challenging” parts of ourselves are in fact our greatest opportunities for growth towards attaining pure joy, compassion, and inner peace. I sing this mantra often at the end of my yoga classes, during savasana.



How to Create Your Mantra:

Think about what you personally need to hear. Often Mantras begin as affirmations, “I am, I choose to be, I believe…” Mantras are statements, not questions, that enforce a value or belief about ourselves and the world.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and here of course for inspiration all month long. 

Mantra Meditation Inspiration: Part Two

Last week we announced our 14 Day Mantra Meditation practice. This is part two of our three part series featuring Namaste teachers and the mantras they use to keep themselves feeling grounded and empowered. If you are just picking your own mantra or affirmation now – no worries! You can join in the fun at any time. The prize is the same: feeling more present, engaged, and in love with your self.

Elika Aird

Catch Elika this Wednesday for her 30 Days to Thrive mini-immersion co-led with Naushon Kabat-Zinn.

View Elika’s weekly yoga class schedule.


Margi Young

Margi Young

My favorite mantra that I made up!

“What if this was savasana?”
(like during a hard pose, or a hard conversation, or listening to the news)


Another way of saying this would be:
“Can i rest in every moment?”



Sparkle Thornton

Sparkle Thornton

My personal theme for 2017  is Upgrade to Thrive. My personal mantras/affirmations can be condensed to this:

My 4 agreements for art and career in 2017:
my career is prosperous
my health is abundant
my creativity is endless
my life has direction
I say this often as I close my practice or meditations. See Sparkle’s weekly yoga class schedule or book a massage!



How to Create Your Mantra:

Think about what you personally need to hear. Often Mantras begin as affirmations, “I am, I choose to be, I believe…” Mantras are statements, not questions, that enforce a value or belief about ourselves and the world.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and here of course for inspiration all month long. 

Be Epic: 5 Workshops to Fuel Your Power

 This month our studio focus is:

Honoring Your Epic-ness.

We are choosing 2017 as the Year of Empowerment. There is an unprecedented amount of trauma and change happening in our communities here and throughout the world. We believe our practice is our power. It holds the key to understanding, strength, and the grace to use our own powers to serve the best good. We’ve chosen the word empowered because it is time for us all to tap into our wells of wisdom. We need balance and perspective more than ever. Workshops are a great way to deepen your practice. They can provide juice to fuel you through your weekly routines.

We’ve hand picked the workshops we believe will help you activate your practice and feel your most epic:


Awaken Your Creativity with Jerry Givens

Start your year off right by using your yoga practice to dive into your creative side! Train your mind to be more creative, learn the true source of creative blocks and how to overcome them, and discover the inherent connection between creativity and your yoga practice.

Jerry walks you through creative theory through the lens of classical yoga and meditation, drawing real-world examples and practices as you awaken your hidden creative potential.

Date: Jan 14, 2017 From: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Location: Rockridge





Goal Setting and Prosperity 2017with Cherie Carson

We will look at the roles of self-worth, empowerment and releasing negativity play in prosperity.

Studies by Russian molecular biologists have proven that when you speak the right words, in the right way, your DNA rearranges itself for the better. The traits that make you successful – like perseverance and self-confidence – become dramatically amplified. Wealth-destroying habits like fear, procrastination and greed, disappear. Learn the yogic approach to asanas, to meditations, to chanting that open you to your ‘Prosperity DNA’.

Sat Date: Jan 14, 2017 From: 1:00 PM – 3:30 PM Location: Berkeley





30 Days to Thrive with Naushon Kabat-Zinn and Elika Aird

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
~ Maya Angelou

Challenge yourself to THRIVE with 30 days of dedicated practice. We will use the tools of yoga, meditation, nutrition, self-care, self-reflection and mindfulness to deepen our awareness and create space for healthy personal growth. We will also have fun in the process as we support one another on this journey of not just surviving but THRIVING!

Wed Date: Jan 18, 2017 – Feb 15, 2017 From: 7:30 PM – 9:15 PM Location: Rockridge





Softness and Strength: Ashtanga Extended Practice

New monthly extended practice with Ava, designed for a dedicated group to ‘go deeper’. We will begin this two hour session with seated meditation and gentle preparation poses, followed by the ashtanga primary series. After completing the finishing inversions, we will shift into deep hip, heart and shoulder openers and longer held yin postures.

In this extended session, we will practice softening into intensity, seeking ease and deep release as well as building strength, stamina, and focus.

Three Sundays: January 22, February 26, April 30
Price: $25 single session, $65 for all 3





Press Resetwith Sadie Chanlett-Avery

Weaving together therapeutic movement, asana, and fitness training, this class dissolves the everyday toll on the body. We will flush out shoulder stress and unravel the hips, as we release the breath and reboot the core.With over 12 years of yoga and fitness experience, Sadie challenges and invigorates students of all levels. Leave this 2-hour class feeling worked out, relaxed, and energized.

Sat Date: Jan 28, 2017 From: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Location: Rockridge





Thrive: A Personal Self-Care Plan Worksheet

Decision Fatigue and The Unbalanced Life

Life is all about balance. Creating self-care habits that sustain us through life’s up and downs is essential to a healthy lifestyle. If our delicate life balance becomes unruly we may end up sick, burnt out, or depressed. It is when we are unbalanced we reach for stimulants to keep us awake, we crave unhealthy food packed with sugar, and we seek media consumption to numb our mind over healthy hobbies like reading, exercise, or meditation.

Think of it this way, each morning when we wake up we have exactly 100 decision tokens. Each choice we make – what clothes to wear, what to feed the kids, which route to take to work – takes 1 token away. By the end of the day, unless our self-care routine has become habitual, it becomes relatively impossible to think of some way to care for ourselves. When we run out of mental tokens we end up in a state of mindlessness – often beating ourselves up over not doing better.

Yoga teaches us how to create space for self-love and care on and off the mat – but once our mat is rolled up we eventually revert to our default mode of go, go, go.

This is why breaking out of a routine, recommitting to our practice, and networking with others for support is essential when we feel the need to hit the reset button. Sometimes all it takes is structure, guidance, and a renewed sense of inspiration to help us raise our motivation and energy levels. Self-care doesn’t need to be a big thing. As long as we plan ahead, we can create a whole week of self-care!


What Does Self-Care Look Like?

Self-care is different for everyone but we believe it has 3 main ingredients:

1) is enjoyable and loving.

2) nourishes or benefits your body, mind, or spirit in some way.

3) can be infused with intention for a balanced life.

For us, self-care can include:

  • 10 minute morning routine of dry brushing and oil massage with organic, cold-pressed oils.
  • Drinking a cup of hot water and lemon
  • 10 minute morning meditation
  • Taking an afternoon yoga class
  • Catching up with an old friend
  • Getting to bed before 10 PM
  • Going for a lunch break walk
  • Reading a new book

Self-care does not mean:

  • Beating ourself up for not sticking to a routine
  • Feeling stressed about ‘making time’ for self-care
  • Wishing we were different, not honoring ourself
  • Not being honest about our desires and intentions
  • Not taking time to reflect about our decisions
  • Taking on extra commitments because we feel we should

How can YOU get started?

Getting started it simple. You can begin by printing out the Namaste Weekly Self-Care Planner and filling it out! Find a few minutes throughout your day to commit to loving yourself in a way that feels personal and healthy for your unique self. If you are ready for a bigger reset, consider joining our 30 Days to Thrive tribe which begins Wednesday, January 18 with Naushon Kabat-Zinn and Elika Aird. The 30 Days to Thrive program is the perfect opportunity to dive deeper into your yoga practice, re-evaluate your relationship with food, learn new self-care techniques, and connect with others in your community who are striving to be their wisest, brightest selves.


Download PDF: Namaste Personal Self-Care Plan Worksheet

About our 30 Day to Thrive teachers:

Naushon_Kabat-ZinnNaushon has been a student of yoga since she was a little girl. Her challenging, yet compassionate Power Vinyasa classes are a wonderful way to cultivate strength, serenity, flexibility and balance.  Inspired by her studies with Baron Baptiste, Shiva Rea, Baba Hari Dass, and the teachings of Vispassana (Insight) Meditation, Naushon’s all levels classes emphasize the linking of movement with breath, cultivating our ability to be more fully present and awake in our lives, and navigate the challenges that arise with more grace and kindness.

ElikaProfileAGrowing up with a love for dance, sports and music, Elika was naturally fascinated by the fluid and liberating practice of Vinyasa Yoga. After a severe back injury led her to the practice in 1999, Elika initially studied Iyengar and Anusara yoga and began to see her body healing and knew she wanted to inspire others to trust the innate ability of the body to regain harmony~full of vitality and bliss. When you take a class with Elika, expect to be inspired and to move your body possibly in ways you’ve never moved, exploring your creative intelligence and connecting with your own Source. Experience a soulful and dynamic weaving of healing music, yoga philosophy, poetry and vinyasa flow informed mostly by her Prana Flow training with Shiva Rea. 

Mantra Meditation Inspiration: Part One

Today is the day! Our community is ready to put our 14 Day Mantra Meditation practice into action. If you’re still seeking some inspiration, no stress – we’ve got you covered. We asked our Namaste teachers to share with us mantras they are currently using to live a stronger, fuller life. We’ll be sharing these as the challenge progresses over the next two weeks. To get started, here is part one of three inspiring posts full of wisdom straight from the mouths of our Namaste teachers:

Jill Lindsay White

My favorite mantra is Ong Namo Guru Dav Namo.  Translated as: I bow to the creative energy of the infinite, I bow to the divine channel of wisdom.
I sing this to myself whenever I need a little boost.


Catch Jill teaching Therapeutic Yoga Thursdays 4:30-5:45 PM and Saturdays 8:30-9:45 AM at Namaste Rockridge. And for our Grand Lake students, don’t miss her Fridays 10:00-11:30 AM! squiggle-line

Kameko 11Kameko Shibata

atha yoga-anushasanam ||1||

अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥

atha yoga-anuśāsanam ॥1॥

“now, begins the exploration of yoga. ”

This is the first sutra of the yoga sutras. I have been chanting it in class with my students as the year begins. Discussing the symbolism of “atha” that auspicious “now”. “Now is the beginning, the “atha” is the bija or seed mantra to that whole sutra. Each time we get distracted and we forget our place, our breath, our way, on and off the mat, we can use “atha”, “now” I realize and begin again.

Yoga is non-judgmental.

She is always ready to take us back, to let us begin again and again.

In India my teachers always say,”Asana is for the body, pranayama for the breath and mantra for the mind”

That’s all to say, I’m all about the power of mantra. and often have students use “om” chanting and moving!

Catch Kameko Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at Namaste Grand Lake for 7:00-8:00 AM Morning Vinyasa!squiggle-line

Domonick WegesinDomonick Wegesin

I like the mantra “So Ham”.  Sanskrit phrase meaning “I Am That”. “I Am” signifies individual consciousness and “That” signifies Universal Consciousness.  Anything you see in the world is a reflection of universal consciousness.  The mantra helps the individual, small self, identify with all that is.

It also serves as a reminder that everything we witness in the world, whether pleasant or unpleasant, judged positively or negatively, is within us.   

It’s easy to judge others for their shortcomings, greed, hate, etc., but So Ham reminds us that we have those traits in us too, that we sometimes act from greed and hate.  It cultivates connection rather than separation.

Don’t miss a chance to practice with Domonick!  Mondays/Wednesdays 4:30-5:50 PM Hatha at Namaste Rockridge, 8:15-9:15 AM Pranayama and 9:30-11:00 AM Hatha at Namaste Grand Lake, and 9:30-10:50 AM Saturdays at Namaste Rockridge.




How to Create Your Mantra:

Think about what you personally need to hear. Often Mantras begin as affirmations, “I am, I choose to be, I believe…” Mantras are statements, not questions, that enforce a value or belief about ourselves and the world.


Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and here of course for inspiration all month long. 

Honor Your Epic-ness: 14 Day Mantra Meditation

Last week we launched our Year of Empowerment campaign catalyzing a new 12 month journey of community exploration into living an empowered life.

As promised, we’re ready for our first community practice of the year!


14 Day Mantra Meditation Challenge aimed at Honoring YOUR Epic-ness.

We’re sure you’ve noticed the flood of New Year, New You messages coming in hot from every corner of the web. Instead of worrying about what we want to change, we felt it was more important to notice the things we already LOVE about ourselves.

If we can’t honor the amazing parts of ourself – how will we be able to see with clear eyes what really needs to shift?

Let the anxiety of resolutions melt away into a month focused on simply honoring the beautiful, capable person you already are.

A practice that is helpful in boosting self-confidence and solidifying our feelings of inner epic-ness is the use of daily mantras. Mantras are powerful tools leveraging language to shape our consciousness. A mantra can be used in morning meditation, at the beginning or end of a practice, or even throughout the day during difficult or uninspired moments.



How to Create Your Mantra:

Think about what you personally need to hear. Often Mantras begin as affirmations, “I am, I choose to be, I believe…” Mantras are statements, not questions, that enforce a value or belief about ourselves and the world.



Think about the fact that YOUR narrative is what plays as the soundtrack to your life, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We’re pretty sure no one actively chooses mantras like “I am so behind” or “I messed up again” – but these are the thoughts we get stuck with more often than not.

Together, let’s begin changing our narrative to help manifest a story of heroic proportions.

Beginning THIS Wednesday, January 11th until Wednesday, January 25th 

we’re asking you to pick a sentence, a word, or a phrase that makes you feel strong, loved, and in control of your own story.


Here is how we want to support you:

  1. Pick up your personal Mantra Meditation card at the front desk on your next visit. Write your personal mantra on the card and keep close for reflection.
  2. Join our community Facebook group, Year of Empowerment Club  for weekly tips and journal prompts.
  3. Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips and mantras from your favorite Namaste teachers.

We are excited to share in this collective experience. Cheers to a strong, loving, and EPIC beginning to 2017.

Namaste’s Year of Empowerment

The new year may feel like a new start, but the truth is, we don’t begin again from scratch. We evolve from our past experiences into new ways of living in and engaging with our world. Aligned with the classical story of the hero’s journey, we believe 2017 is the perfect year for exploring how we’ve arrived in this moment and what steps can be taken towards living a truly empowered life. We’re focusing our 2017 practice on inspiring a lifestyle that carries our yoga from the mat to daily life with confidence and grace.

Most heroes begin their journey from humble beginnings – aware that they’re ready for a change but waiting for the right call to action. Consider this your call. We wish for all of our students to rise up and embrace the power we all hold to live our best life.

baxter-hero-gl-1 elika-hero-gl-1

hero-text-gl-1 dom-wehonor-gl-1

Toss out the idea of flimsy new year’s resolutions and instead join us in committing to 12 months of exploring a heroic life . We plan to dig into the nitty gritty – from facing down our shadows to defining what success really means to each of us as individuals.

Namaste is excited to help you create your unique heroic journey towards a more empowered life. We plan to facilitate this creation of your individual story through prompts provided on our blog, guided meditations from our Namaste teachers, focused workshops, thematic classes, and fun promotions throughout the year. Think of it as a sweet thread through all of the amazing things already happening within our studio walls.

This 2017 let your practice become your power. Next week we will be releasing our first challenge – a 14 Day Mantra and Meditation Practice – our first goal: Honoring Our Epic-ness.

Stay tuned and follow along by doing the following:

Happy New Year!