Keepin it Rheal

Featured Maker: Made by Rheal

Products we carry: Cast hands, coasters, concrete vessels, votives

Materials: Cast concrete objects

From the moment I saw these hands, I knew they were perfect for our boutiques. They speak of offering, they beg to have some precious object placed in them for reflection, they provide the sense of the sacred. Please don’t let this precious product pass you by. Bring a set home and let it remind you of what you offer the world every day. Or what you want to offer the world. The hands are a beautiful metaphor.

The hands were just the first step on my path of finding Rheal, the man behind the hands. He is inspiring! He is a local Oakland maker, with a little backyard studio on the Oakland/Emeryville border. He is immensely inspired by material – it is what lights him up. Currently concrete is the material he works with most consistently, but he veers off into resin and glass as well. He creates molds to cast his concrete menagerie. The concrete is amazing because it lends everything a weight, a heaviness. The cast object is actually there, in reality. You can feel it and touch it and fill it and empty it and start again. It’s earthy and feels grounding to hold in your hands.

I can’t get enough of his work, but perhaps you need to know what to do with it? It’s sculptural, so just enjoy it. But also…. I’m going to make you a list:

• Put the hands on your altar and put a precious object in them. A stone, a crystal, a leaf, an air plant, a flower, something seasonal, something that you value, something that represents your intention.

• If you get hands without sparkly touches, they are food safe. Offer your guests a dash of salt. Set a unique table.

• His “vessels,” tinged with a touch of sparkle, can be filled with soil and succulents. (Perfect wedding table objects anyone?)

• Clean up your workspace and upgrade to a really nice pen holder.

• Use a set of hands as an incense burner. I purchased a roll of charcoal discs and I break a little piece off of one and put it in the hands, light it up, and then drop little bits of loose flower-y incense on it. It’s heaven and perfect to set the mood before a little home yoga class.

• Moon coasters for your moon party!

Made by Rheal products can be found at both our Berkeley and Rockridge boutiques. Support local artisans and local businesses and shop at Namaste boutiques!

 

 

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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:

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Student Stories: Kiersten Anderson

This is YOUR community. We want to continue to make an effort to share the stories of our students and your fellow yogis. Get to know the people who practice next to you. Here is one of our newest stories to share about a yogi who gives back to our world by helping homeless animals. Enjoy!

1. How and when did you first get into yoga?

When I was in undergrad, I developed a nervousness and anxiety from all the major life changes happening to me and this turned into an eating disorder. I hate to say that I came to yoga because I was broken, but I’ve always known that there is more to life than the superficial surface layers. I grew up backpacking and hiking in the Santa Cruz/Big Sur mountains with my dad and felt so at peace in nature. When my anxiety developed and spiraled into a dark place in college, I sought solace in a small, independent yoga studio in San Luis Obispo owned and operated by a warm, knowledgeable and beautiful yogi who exposed me to wonderful physical and spiritual practices like Nia, kundalini, hatha and yin-my favorites to this day! I grew more and more curious about the other limbs of yoga and this “do no harm” lifestyle… I’m forever grateful to Amy and that sacred space she and the students created; it provided a strong foundation for my explorative and knowledge (of self, body and yoga philosophy)-seeking practice today.

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2. What brought you to Namaste? Any favorite teachers?

I came to Namaste seeking a diverse community of teachers, practices and students. I suffered from a really traumatic experience, resulting in the loss of a loved soul, while I was in the Peace Corps a few years ago. I literally searched online for “grief support/Berkeley” and found Ken’s workshop on working through grief through community and yoga. I am forever grateful to him, those I met in that space and the tools with which I came away to continue to process my loss. I love the variety of classes and am always so impressed and inspired by the variety of offerings-workshops, trainings and types of classes. Admittedly, my home base is the Berkeley studio, and I’m still relatively new to Namaste, but I gain so much from Abby Tucker’s classes. I love how she blends philosophy with movement, delivering both with clarity and intention. I walk out of her class with an elevated understanding of myself and others-or sometimes with an incredibly humble feeling of not knowing anything at all 🙂

3. We loved learning that you work for the SF SPCA and have been committed to living a philanthropic life. How does yoga support you in your non-profit career?

I worked with street animals while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Caribbean and feel beyond Kiersten Andersonlucky to have found my calling in life in animal welfare and hope to get back to working internationally with street dogs in the near future. I continue to be involved with the organization I started, The Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) and am so inspired by the local island community responding to our mission to lever kindness to all living beings. I’ve seen, and continue to experience, a lot of tough stuff-but yoga has been my compass. Be it deep belly breathing and meditation, physical asana that’s yang or yin focused, or choosing to practice ahimsa in how I live-yoga anchors me to stay true to my life-intention and brings me into balance when my heart or body are fatigued from working with shelter animals, as I do now. For me, a regular yoga practice brings forth the kind of person I want to be-compassionate, empathetic and continuously learning.

4. Anything else you want to share with our community?

I go through different phases, as I’m sure we all do, of getting lost in the surface level side of yoga-the final pose or those cute new pants that cost more than we know we should be spending. What I enjoy so much about a regular practice is that it reminds me that the beauty lies in the becoming-the process, not the result. As I age and my body changes, I find certain things now more challenging but it excites me to address these challenges and stay tuned into the “feel” rather than the “form”. What we think, we become. Yoga helps me think beautiful and compassionate thoughts about myself and others… reinforcing my life of service to those who cannot speak for themselves. Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu <3

Have a story you want to share?

Let us know! Shoot us an email at info@ilovenamaste.com with the subject “My Student Story”.

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On Sound Healing

I recently attended Sound Healing with Missy Felsenstein, which I can describe as being on an auditory journey into space. I thought it would be a restful, relaxing experience – but have to admit there were moments of unrest mixed in there for me. Still, i think it is an experience not to be missed! We all need to practice being more restful, and that is the whole point of the exercise.

It did make me wonder — how does it work?

According to current research, the vibrations of sound in various frequencies cause the brain waves to slow down and you start to move into Alpha brainwaves. This state of being is a state of relaxation, a restful place. If you have old injuries, you might feel some tingling in those areas. Once you become more practiced, it is possible that the sound might move you into the Theta brainwave state – this is one which is meditative, and which lives between awake and asleep.

Since no one processes sound in the same way, how this state feels to you and the experience you have will be different than the person next to you.

I found that I moved in and out of the Alpha state of relaxation. But when I would waken to reality, I couldn’t tell you where I had been. It didn’t feel like I had been asleep – it felt like my mind had been doing something – thinking thoughts or travelling down some path, or following the sounds as thought they were a path of footprints — but it was all lost to me when I would become aware of where I was.

Concentrating on sound helps to retrain your nervous system and your brain to learn how to relax. Here’s a tiny snippet of the experience. It’s big and booming, because the planetary gong Uranus was there, so go easy on the volume while you lay in a restful pose and take this auditory experience in.

Join Missy for her next Sound Healing with Restorative Yoga on Sunday, November 13. Sign up here!

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Voting as an Act of Love

Voting as an Act of Love

By Eliza Andrews Richmond

We can agree that the energy surrounding this turbulent election has brought a lot of suffering to our country, and most of the people in it. The passion felt by all parties and constituents has divided our nation into radical and polarizing extremes. In times like these it can be difficult to remain open to the feelings of others, particularly those on the other side of the issues. Now, more than ever, it is important to practice the principles of yoga off the mat: to practice non-violence, forgiveness, and compassion in the face of fear. After All, the purest metric of peace in our lives is how kindly we can speak to those with whom we do not agree.

Everyday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama practices a form of meditation known as Tonglen or “sending and receiving.” Similar to the practice of Metta from the Theravada Buddhist tradition, Tonglen is a way to make peace with suffering and open up to compassion. As you prepare to vote this Tuesday, I invite you to share this Tonglen practice with me:

 

  1. Begin in a comfortable shape, with your spine long, and both hands on your heart. Allow your breath to slow down and deepen. Closing your eyes, begin to feel into the center of deeper wisdom within you: the part of your being that is of knowing rather than thinking. Begin to imagine, as clearly as you can, that you are seated together with everyone who will vote this Tuesday. Though this may be challenging, try to see the faces of people who you disagree with compassionately.
  2. On every inhale, breathe in the suffering of yourself and other voters, brought on by this election. Breathe in the fear of the unknown: the results of the general election, and the effect you anticipate. Breathe in the anger you are feeling over the issues that have been brought up. Breathe in every kind of suffering that you are feeling, knowing others in this country who are feeling it too (including those who will vote for what you fear). Breathe it all in, but also breathe in the longing that we all have to feel safe, happy and free.
  3. On every exhale, send peace into your being, send it to your loved ones who are feeling this suffering, those in the nation who are feeling it, and those beyond our national borders. Breathe out loving-kindness for every being, everywhere who feels fear, anger, divisiveness, and intolerance. Breathe out the strength and wisdom to see one another fully in compassion, loving-kindness, and peace.
  4. Practice this for a few minutes a day, and notice how you regard one another. When you are triggered by something on the news, something you overhear on the street, or you are debating with a friend, take a breath, and let this practice help you find peaceful ground.

Whether or not this practice works to fix the world is something we can’t know, but what it will help us to see is the basic goodness of one another. If we are able to see that then maybe our votes won’t simply be an expression of our personal agendas, but a reflection of the love we have for our country and those who live beside us in it.  In the words of Marie Curie: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

1013027_475474802545693_1117117261_nEliza Andrews Richmond is Namaste Berkeley Manager, a yoga teacher, an avid adventurer, and an all around amazing gal.
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Kimberly Leo on the NEW Namaste Rockridge

Our fearless leader, Kimberly Leo, talked with local blog 24East about the opening of our expanded Namaste Rockridge studio. We wanted to share a bit of the interview here before it is published. Take a peek into the inner workings of how Namaste has evolved and where we are headed.

1. What is Namaste’s approach to yoga?

Yoga was my sanctuary and it got me through a really difficult period in my life. Namaste was a way for me to give back to the community where I grew up. I wanted to create an urban refuge in which I could share this gift with others. From the beginning my intention was to create a space that was inclusive and accessible.

Over the last thirteen years Namaste has evolved but at our core we continue to approach yoga as a powerful tool for transformation. Among many things, I believe yoga can provide the mind body connection that is severely needed in today’s fast paced world; and as I witness on a daily basis, results in people going out into the world with a bit more understanding, kindness and compassion. I believe that if more people did yoga, the world would be a better place.

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2. Could you explain the differences of the various classes?

Our mission is to serve the East Bay community, We do this with over 150 classes at three locations, and a diverse teaching faculty of more than 50 teachers. We don’t prescribe to any one style of yoga. We have classes ranging from Gentle, Therapeutics Yoga to the more rigorous Power Flow classes.

I am particularly excited about the more specific workshops that serve the changing needs of our society — such as Yoga for Anxiety, Yoga for Healthy Aging, and meditation and Mindfulness offerings. It is extremely gratifying to bring yoga to the complete beginner as well as serve the more experienced practitioner who is interested in diving deeper into our programs.

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3. What is your advice on how we can begin and develop our own yoga practice?

Do not set goals that are unobtainable or discouraging. Make a commitment to your health and wellness by committing to just one class per week!

I find it best to sample a few classes and a few different teachers. The first class or teacher may not be the right one for you. You need to find a teacher that will motivate you and excite you enough to bring you back every week!

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4. For a lot of us, it is difficult to carve out 1.5 hours for a yoga class, plus studio travel time. What do you offer for those who can’t devote so much time?

I am at the yoga studio daily and still find it difficult toget to a class! I’m a single mother and independent business owner.At the end of the day, I am tired and want to go home. However, if I don’t put my self care first, all other things – including how I treat loved ones and parent my son — will suffer. Commit to your health and wellness by committing to coming to one class per week. If you can’t make it to class once a week, take what you learn from class and practice at home — even if it’s 10 minutes in the morning or before you go to bed.

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5. Namaste has built an incredible yoga community in the East Bay. How have you done that?

I have been blessed with an incredible tribe of teachers, staff, and students. I think when people work with us, they recognize our commitment to consistency, integrity and community. Because of this fact, we have been able to attract the best teachers in the East Bay. Our front desk staff is phenomenal. They are passionate about bringing yoga to people. The industry has changed dramatically over the last decade and I believe people resonate with us because we truly put our heart and soul into the studio. There is a lot of love and mutual respect around here and I hope it shows.

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6. What upcoming plans do you have for Namaste?

It was never my intention to grow to three studios. We have responded to the demand for our services, and will continue to grow organically, as needed. The studio in Rockridge just finished construction and we’re thrilled to be expanding into the space next to us. We have built a new studio room, and we’ll have more space and more classes beginning this month.

Our yoga program is bigger than ever, and we continue to grow our trainings and immersions programs. This year we are launching our new 300 Hour Professional Teacher Training continuing our mission to help create and support the Bay Area teaching community. I am so proud of where we are and thrilled about the vision our team continues to manifest.

7. What does success look like for Namaste?

Getting more people to do yoga and watching them leave class with a clear mind and kind heart that goes out into the world and touches another.
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8. What are some of your post yoga East Bay places to enjoy?

I am a proud Oakland native and my family has been in Oakland for multiple generations since the late 1800’s. I am excited for Oakland and all that is has to offer.
Lake Merritt is a gem and good people watching, and the Lake Merritt farmer’s market is a diverse mecca of all the beautiful people and colors that make up Oakland.
My son and I love to hike up in the Oakland Hills, and the $2.50 Tilden Train ride is one of the best deals around!


Celebrate our NEW Rockridge Studio this month with all NEW Classes only $10.

Learn more. 

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The Collective Tarot: The Magician

“Self Empowerment and Action”

from The Wild Unknown.

The Magician breaks away from the major arcana modus operandi of highlighting stillness and insight, instead it pushes ACTION. Take stock in the resources around you and realize you have access to all of the elements necessary for taking charge. Be fearless like the wildcat and pounce on the initiatives you’ve been eyeing with grace, speed, and agility. Don’t be afraid. You are as powerful and sleek as the feline in the jungle.

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Greg and Jenya: A Yoga Love Story

First, let’s just say we absolutely adore our students. They are the reason behind everything we do. Recently, one of our dear students Greg  Hubbard, emailed us requesting to cancel his membership. Although normally this would be a sad occasion, Greg let us know it was due to the fact he had just welcomed a new baby with his wife who he met in Sadie’s class! 

We asked Greg and his wife Jenya to share their love story and how yoga has impacted their life. We hope you enjoy their sweet interview as much as we did!

1. What first drew you each to Namaste or the practice of yoga overall?
When I met Greg I was very new to yoga. I had moved back to the area and started a yoga membership as a way to get over the dissolution of a relationship. To give myself a new focus and a different experience. Greg, on the other hand, has been attending Sadie’s class for 8 years or so at this point, he loves stretching and strengthening his body and feels that her class is always evolving and left him feeling invigorated every Saturday.

2. How long had you taken Sadie’s class before you met and what was the catalyst for making that first connection?
So for Greg this was a typical Saturday morning in Rockridge at a Sadie class, and this was my first. Typically I would have attended something later than 9:30am on the weekend, but for some reason I was up and the description of the class sounded enticing. I noticed Greg right away immediately to my right :, and I felt that little pang of excitement in my stomach right away! Soon enough, Sadie asked us to partner up for an activity, and within 3 minutes I was getting a stretch assist from Greg! – yes!!! Greg says that Sadie is not often known for partner exercises, so this too was fortunate 🙂 And that is how the magic started

3. What is your favorite part about the Namaste community?
What we both really enjoy about Namaste is that it gave us a context to do a healthy activity together. We started taking classes together, and going to weekend yoga really became a part of our weekend routine to the point that having to miss a class for events or travel felt strange. We really enjoyed going to a class, chatting with folks after that we were getting to know, having a latte – starts of the day right!

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4. How do you feel yoga has prepared you for this next chapter in your life?
We just became parents on Wednesday (eeeek!) and are really recognizing how important it is to really focus on taking care of ourselves as well as baby Olivia right now. We are trying to get her to learn how to breastfeed and just today Greg said “man I need to go to yoga to loosen my back from all this twisting.” So we are trying to be more gentle with ourselves. Also, Greg was helping me take deep breaths during labor, the breaths we learned in yoga! So yes, tons of benefits from ongoing practice, now we just have to find the time and money for it all! 🙂

5. What is your favorite thing to do off the mat?
Off the mat, we love to take our doggie, an 85lb rescue mix, for walks, still have lattes together on Saturday mornings, and try out new recipes at home and local restaurants. Now we also really love to cuddle our very new daughter!

Have your own yoga story?

Share with us at marketing@ilovenamaste.com to be featured on our blog!

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Style Drishti: Friday Dressing

Friday dressing is an art form. The vibe is casual, but office-friendly. Finding the right balance of this professional, casual stance is critical. But I will share a secret with you, and the secret is called a jumper. What is it about a jumper? I can tell you 3 things that make a jumper magic:

  1. A jumper requires no matching. Put it on and voila, all you need are some shoes and a little sparkle. Top and bottom taken care of in one fell swoop.
  2. A jumpsuit is a statement. Without even trying, you will look polished and put together and like you are ready to take it all on. Again, does this have something to do with the top and bottom already matching?
  3. The playful aspect of a jumpsuit adds just the right touch of casual. It’s not a dress, so you can be active and move easily, but it’s not skinny jeans either, so you will stand out from the crowd.

Featured here on Xandra:

IMG_4256Tina+Jo Cowled Short Romper. Tina+Jo is designed and manufactured in LA and their styles feature hand dyes and urban ease. Head into our September heat waves with an effortlessly fashionable romper and make Friday dressing your own.

Leslie Francesca  Half Moon Necklace. Add a little sparkle to any outfit with one of Leslie Francesca’s raw gem understated pieces. As a gemologist, Leslie starts locally with the perfect druzy quartz or gemstone, sometimes plates them with fascinating iridescent finishes, and has them set in metals to her specs in South America. Add a little sparkle to your Friday, because admit it, you are closer to the weekend than ever.

Tina + Jo available at our Berkeley studio, Leslie Francesca jewelry available at all locations.

 

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The Collective Tarot: The High Priestess

“Acknowledge the Shadows”

From the Wild Unknown Tarot

The High Priestess reminds us to take our moment of stillness and look calmly at all that lays before us. Perhaps this manifests as ten minutes of quiet sitting in meditation. Let there be some un-doing this week. A mantra to repeat: May I see clearly.

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