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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Glimpse the Magic of Natural Healing

People always ask me how I became a Healer and Herbalist? Who did I study with and where? Granted I do hold a Masters of Science degree in Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine but before graduate school I spent over a decade doing fieldwork as a “desert rat” taking three journeys a year to different locations in the high deserts of California and the Southwest.

A desert rat is a term of endearment for all of us who might sight one another far off in the distance or at a general store picking up supplies in lost towns in dusty remote regions. Recognizable to each other by our clear eyes, fast instincts and disdain for having to interact with other humans.

I would pack up my truck in Oakland and leave for 10-day desert immersions. With maps in hand (no gps) and sheer gut instincts I would venture out into the high desert and learn the deep skill of listening; from plants, the winds voice or from a coyote encounter.

Annually, I would return to sleep in a tufa cave at 4,ooo feet elevation. The cave, which I came to call “my pod”, was one of my biggest Teacher’s. One late night while perched on the top of my cave pod I watched the night stars bright as gemstones and inhaled the Artemisia tridenta on the winds. Young and apprenticing I was just learning how to “be” on the land. The night Owl decided to gift me a lesson, they screeched and flew so fast with talons out trying to take me down. I fell back down into my pod hiding as to not be attacked by the ferocity and precision of the Owls aim. The Owl was teaching me to be aware that I was a visitor and this was there territory.

The desert not only taught me Herbal Medicine it made me brave and willing to face my shadow over and over again and return annually for profound and magical teachings.


Ratka-Mira

Ratka Mira has over 25 years of healing experience – we are thrilled to welcome her to Namaste!

My clients appreciate the way I treat them as a whole person. I recognize that injuries often have their origins in a variety of sources: physical, psychological, or spiritual. I use a combination of massage, breath work and various manual therapies to address the immediate needs of my clients and create healing plans that bring relief to current pain and address root causes.

She is at Namaste Berkeley on Wednesdays 10am-3pm. Find our next available appointment today.

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Style Drishti: August Action

Feels like we are all dying to work out in the summer sunshine, so action is our muse this week. Fire yourself up in clothes that move and breathe, then take action and get sweaty. This week’s style focus will take you there.

Good hYOUman Purpose Crop Sweatshirt. Motivate yourself to live your life with purpose and positivity with Good hYOUman’s inspirational apparel. Good hYOUman is a US designed and manufactured lifestyle brand infused with intention.  This simple crop sweatshirt with the text Do all things w/ purpose will make you feel comfortable yet confident to take on anything that comes your way.

Omgirl Nomad Legging. Take on the remaining days of summer with ease while wearing the most versatile legging in the universe. We do not say this lightly! The Omgirl Nomad Legging with its attached skirt has got you covered (literally!). This pant can take you from yoga into the beyond – dress it up with a cute flowy tunic for nighttime. Since Omgirl recently went out of business, this is your last chance to get this amazing pant. We stocked up before they were all gone, and it would be wise for you to do the same.

Beyond Yoga Cut Out Cami. Accomplish your goals for the rest of summer with athletic clothing that makes you feel good about who you are. Beyond Yoga is an eco-friendly activewear brand based in Los Angeles. The Cut Out Cami is a staple workout piece with a cute back that can spice up or splash a pop of color into any outfit.

Good Hyouman styles available at Berkeley and Grand Lake boutiques. Omgirl and Beyond Yoga can be found in all of our shops!

alexandra-300static1.squarespaceBrought to you by Alexandra, Namaste’s finest intern, and Helene Cotton, Namaste Creative Director. We love a good photo shoot.

 

 

 

 

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Manduka Yogi of the Month: Kathleen Rice

Each month we partner with Manduka to honor one member of our Namaste community. Our July student, Kathleen Rice, has been a staple at Namaste Rockridge. We have admired her dedication to her body and bright personality. It is always a joy to see her in the morning. We asked her a couple of questions to get to know her and share her loveliness with the Namaste Tribe! Our photo features her complimentary Manduka Ekolite mat (Thanks, Manduka!).

WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION?
I have a consulting company, K L Rice Consulting and am an Educator, Trainer, & Facilitator supporting social change agents, particularly around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion on the individual, group and organizational levels.

I am also a Junior Associate with Luna Jiménez Seminars: Transformational Leadership for a Just World, and a teacher with the Bay Area UNtraining: Healing Personal and Social Oppressions.

MandukaYogiFUN FACT ABOUT YOU?
I love being an aunt to 12 incredible nieces and nephews.

WHEN YOU AREN’T ON THE MAT, WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU?
Taking long walks and eating along the way with my partner or un-training my white liberal racism.

FAVORITE EAST BAY BUSINESS?
Sliver, Mariscos la Costa, Townhouse Bar and Grill, Caffe Trieste, Caffe Strada.

HOW DID YOU FIND YOGA? WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START A PRACTICE?
I have had on off-and-on practice (mostly off) for about 15 years and finally made a regular commitment to yoga in the past year or so. First I fell in love with NIA at Namaste and gradually made a commitment to go three days a week in Rockridge. Then I decided to go to the yoga class at the same time on the other two weekdays and am so glad I did!

HOW HAS YOUR YOGA PRACTICE SHAPED WHO YOU ARE?
My practice that combines NIA and yoga has had a BIG impact on me. I have more joy in my life. I am physically stronger and more flexible, emotionally more present and expressive, and more aware when I am not. I meet more of life’s challenges with an expanded capacity to be with what is. I have never been very athletic until now in my mid-50s!

FAVORITE ASANA?
Honestly? Shavasana! At least when I truly let myself be in the pose and let go of thinking about what I need to do next.

WHY DO YOU LOVE NAMASTE?
The one hour classes and the people: Grey and Kristin at the Rockridge desk, and my teachers, Reba, Karly, Annemaria, Shelly and Alexis – all amazing and so full of life and full of love of life.

Shelly and Alexis express such untethered joy when they dance. It is contagious. The encouragement of my yoga teachers and hearing them reflect back changes they can see in my practice has been incredibly motivating. I have built connections with several other inspiring dancers and yogis as well.

BIG LOVE TO YOU KATHLEEN.

Who’s going to be next? Only the magical manduka wizard may know…

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How to Love Fear

by Sonya Genel

If you are like most people then you don’t like to feel fear, anxiety, or sadness. But what if there is nothing wrong with having these feelings? What if these feelings are actually the keys to your most radical freedom and happiness? There is no way out, but there is a way through! It is a difficult way, but it is also indescribably beautiful, and well worth the walk.

There was a time in my life where I felt like a failure if I wasn’t happy, energetic, and productive constantly. I realize now that it is ridiculous to expect such an existence, and in fact, it would be boring even if it could be attained. The truth is we need our lows just as much as we need our highs. We need to contract before we expand. We need to die before we can be re-born. We need contrast and texture in our lives. It is the fertile ground from which our souls can blossom. And yet simply Sonya Genel knowing the hidden value of difficult emotions is not enough. Many people, myself included, have struggled with the reality of actually encountering and transmuting them.

Enter: Yoga.

The practices of yoga have risen up to support me in the most difficult moments of my life. I am deeply grateful for the teachers and for the mysterious turns of fate which brought me to yoga. I am honored now to serve as a teacher and guide for others today. Yogic practices give us very real tools for navigating the inner landscape of our consciousness. This body and mind doesn’t come with a driver’s manual, and many of us get through life by coping, not by thriving. Yoga connects us to a greater sense of self, aligns us with our natural rhythms, and gives us the strength and courage to move through our most frightening inner shadows.

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
~Joseph Campbell

In the very center of our pain is the key to our liberation. If we listen carefully and patiently to our difficult emotions, we will recognize them as allies on the spiritual path.

The Wisdom Voice Inside:

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 11.13.50 AMLet’s take for example, the difficult emotion of anxiety. Who likes to feel anxiety?? Not me! But try this… think of anxiety as a crying baby, and approach it with patience and love, rather than shame or anger. Listen to it, and as the crying slows down, the anxiety reveals an important message. The first time I heard the wise voice of my anxiety was in meditation. Instead of running around trying to fix my external life in a hopeless effort to calm my fears, I finally just sat down and began to meditate. And then my anxiety said this to me: “the earth is calling you to come down”. My eyes popped open in astonishment. Who said that? The message rang clear and true like a voice from heaven. I went outside and laid belly down on the earth. I breathed in the smell of dirt and grass. I allowed my bones to be heavy. A flood of connection and relief washed over me. I could once again feel my place in the family of all things. I knew what i had to do, and my anxiety lifted with a gentle sweetness.

What I learned is how to move energy through my subtle and physical body. When all your energy is in your head, your mind and emotions spin to the point of exhaustion. This leads us to feeling scattered, disconnected, restless, tired… The sense of anxiety which occurs in this state, is actually your body calling you to come home. When you feel anxious it means you quite literally need to ground! Getting into your body by connecting with the breath is an easy and extremely powerful way to “come down to earth”. Slow mindful breath soothes the mind and allows the parasympathetic nervous system to turn on. It is in this space that all deep healing and restoration happen. But how would we ever enter this state if their was nothing calling us down?

Thank you, anxiety. I promise to always honor you and all my feelings.

Fear becomes an indispensable friend who tells us to pay attention. Sadness teaches us about compassion. Worry shows us where we are leaking energy. Envy reminds us to stop giving away our power. Depression may just be asking us to grieve or process and unfelt loss. There is great wisdom in your shadows. Yoga can help you uncover it.

This post originally appeared on Sonya Genel’s personal website. 

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Sonya Genel, ERYT500, joyfully embraces the power of yoga not only to heal and transform the body but also to heighten human consciousness and to create a radiant life. In her classes, Sonya weaves precise anatomical alignment with flowing movement. Always approaching her students with authenticity and humor. Sonya’s intention is to hold space for a direct embodied connection with Spirit. When she is not teaching yoga, Sonya can often be found drawing or painting. As an artist, she notices the profound effects yoga has on her creativity, and she has dedicated herself to enthusiastically guiding others toward enhancing their own unique life path through yoga.

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The Collective Tarot: Six of Wands

“The more pressing question is, Where will you go with your new set of wings?”

From the Wild Unknown Tarot

Rise up and take flight, people! Now is the time to step into your truest self and leave behind the tough bits that got you here. Let this be our mantra for the week: May I be winged and soar.

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The Magic of Enjoyable Movement – Hooping!

by Kimber Simpkins

When I picked up my first hula hoop as an adult (more than ten years ago), I was sure it was broken. It wouldn’t stay up around my hips the way the video showed it was designed to. False advertising. A lemon.

I remembered how easy it was to do as a kid. Not anymore.

It was frustrating, but I kept trying. Every day I went out into the backyard and spent just three minutes spinning the hoop around my middle and seeing what happened.

I felt silly. Ridiculous really.

My body and the hoop were in a circular argument about who was in charge. But one day it magically stayed there for a whole 30 seconds… before dropping back to my feet.

It was exhilarating!

Slowly, the hoop and I came to an understanding where it agreed to hang out around my waist for as long as I asked it to. Most of the time.
Since that day, my hoop has become a beloved friend, and one of my body’s favorite forms of movement.

It didn’t happen overnight.

In fact, when people ask me where my hula hoop skills come from, I tell them about my hooping teacher from many years ago, who taught me all kinds of fun ways to play with the hoop.

Now I want to bring that spirit of fun and play to you and your body.

Whatever age you are, whatever success (or otherwise) you’ve had with a hoop–even if you’re sure you can’t do it–I can help you find a new way to move your body that’s energizing, wonderful exercise, and is good for your body, mind, and heart. We’ll integrate yoga and dharma into the practice as well, helping you find your center and work through any “I can’t”s to explore a new way to enjoy your aliveness.

Starting next month I’m teaching a six week hooping series called “Love Your Hoop” at Namaste Berkeley. It’s Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:45 pm from Aug 23 – Oct 4 (no class Sept 6). Space is limited to 12 people, so sign up soon. Hoops will be provided! Find out more and sign up here.

With love to you and your body, Kimber

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Kimber Simpkins: The wisdom of Buddhist and Tantric philosophy, the insights of physics and psychology, storytelling, and music continuously resonate through Kimber’s teaching and the experience of her students on the mat. She comes from a long line of lay preachers, teachers, singers, and healers and is happy to be walking a path that blends all of these roles. Kimber is the author of the Award-winning memoir Full: How one woman found yoga, eased her inner hunger, and started loving herself, and 52 Ways to Love your Body.

 

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Style Drishti: The Waning and Waxing

Unbeknownst to me at the time of my choosing, the moon has guided me this week, rising slowly and shining brilliantly over our style feature. This outfit makes me want to meditate with the morning sun, and then dance under the moon.

Joah Brown Half Moon Tank. The clothing from this line might be the softest fabric I’ve ever experienced, and once you try one piece, it will be the staple of your closet. The clever structure of this Half Moon tank is breathable and flattering (see the cool back above left). I’m going to throw a good yoga bra on underneath and be ready for practice, then take this little tank out on the town.

Teeki Seven Crowns Bellbottoms. Take me out to dance under the moon, careen through the woods with a willow wand, or get deep in my practice with these dramatic and gorgeous pants. Teeki apparel is made from recycled plastic bottles, so this choice is greener than green.

Takara Halfmoon Necklace. This jeweler straight off the coast of Marin takes handmade silk peace thread from India, dips it in natural dyes, and hammers brass around it into the most beautiful shapes. Think of her halfmoon necklace as a symbol of of waxing moons for attracting positivity, and waning moons for forgiveness and letting go. That’s a mantra to get behind: Attract + Forgive.

Joah Brown styles are available at all locations. Other styles available at Namaste Berkeley, 2820 7th Street, Berkeley CA.

Helene Cotton is Namaste’s creative director and retail buyer. Swing by her office at the Berkeley studio and she will happily style you for your next big thang.

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