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.

Please follow and like us:
20

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.

Please follow and like us:
20

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.

If you are interested in going even deeper, try out Domonick’s Pranayama class Thursdays 8:15am at Namaste Grand Lake, Every 2nd Tuesday Pranayama with Annie Carpenter 8:15am at Grand Lake, or Anna’s Smooth Qi workshop this weekend!

Looking for a detoxing and cleansing this week?  

Best Yoga Oakland and Berkeley | Namaste Yoga + Wellness   

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

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

Friday: Top Hacks for Sound Sleep

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.

Please follow and like us:
20

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.

Please follow and like us:
20

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.

Please follow and like us:
20

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.

    

Please follow and like us:
20

Manage Stress Mindfully

Stress is something everyone faces on a daily basis. Stressful situations, whether it’s getting stuck in traffic or tripping over the dog, all activate the same fight-or-flight response. This chain of events initiates what is called the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis or HTPA axis). Triggering our HPA axis leads to a flood of stress hormones released by three primary endocrine glands: pituitary, hypothalamus, and adrenal. Stress hormones include cortisol and adrenaline, which act to increase our heart rate and suppress our immune response.

Famed researcher Robert M. Sapolsky wrote a whole book on the subject, titled Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers. In his book, he says, “A significant percentage of what we think of when we talk about stress-related diseases are disorders of excessive stress-responses.”

Sapolsky emphasizes that our stress response drives illness, not necessarily the exposure to stress itself. Managing stress means understanding how we respond to challenging situations. How can we slow the stress before it starts? One way is with mindfulness. That is where Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) comes into play.

mindfulness-based stress reduction

MBSR involves paying attention to your present experience, including your thoughts, emotions and sensory experiences. Mindfulness helps you to be more accepting of what’s happening and struggle less with your experience. MBSR is the perfect blend of scientific and spiritual practices taking techniques from Buddhist philosophy, meditation, psychology, and medicine to create a balanced practice that is scientifically proven to reduce stress-related illness.

mindfulness-based stress reduction

How can you practice more mindfulness? We recommend coming to class on a regular basis, finding a few minutes a day to foster your meditation practice, and considering an MBSR course. To get started right away, here are three of our favorite MBSR Techniques:

  1. Reframe everyday tasks as “a challenge rather than a chore and thus turning the observing of one’s life mindfully into an adventure in living rather than one more thing one “has” to do for oneself to be healthy.”
  2. Meditating in the morning and evening for as long as you can. Don’t get stuck on “not thinking.” Instead, focus on noticing thoughts when they arise and gently letting them float back into the ether.
  3. Take time think about challenging situations and practice the art of non-judgement. See your impulses to react to things with either joy or distaste. Instead, try to practice neutrality around experiences that often prove to be upsetting or stressful.

In our upcoming 8-week series, Domonick Wegesin, our resident neuroscientist and 200 Hour Teacher Training faculty member, will share the science behind how mindfulness can change your brain to be more peaceful and less reactive. Research has found that this training increases the density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy. 

We only have a few spots left so make sure to sign up as soon as possible!

mindfulness-based stress reductionu

Please follow and like us:
20

3 Workshops for Cultivating Curiosity

March Studio Focus: Embrace the Unknown

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

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

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

Bollywood Yoga Fit with David Moreno + Bulla Singh

Test out your dancing shoes.

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

registernow-R2c

 

 

A Compassion Heart with Ashley Sharp

Explore Buddhist philosophy and self compassion.

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

registernow-R2c

 

 

Intro to Alexander Technique with Jaimi Patterson and Steven Moses

Get curious about your body!

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

registernow-R2c

 

 

Please follow and like us:
20

March: Embrace the Unknown

Happy March!
Are you ready to EMBRACE THE UNKNOWN?

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

MARCH COMMUNITY PRACTICE: CULTIVATE CURIOSITY

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

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

Details on how to play:

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

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

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

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

Please follow and like us:
20

Self Care Ritual: Setting Boundaries

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

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

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

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

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

Please follow and like us:
20