Pair Your Practice with the Perfect Tea

Most yogis know yoga and tea are two peas in a pod. The practice of preparing tea dates back for thousands of years and has been used to cure ailments, cultivate community and provide deep moments of mindfulness.  Once you warm up your knowledge around teas you will quickly realize how each variety can provide unique healing properties. If you’re looking for a way to anchor your practice with a tea ritual then read on to find out which teas are the best fit for your practice.


Vinyasa Flow and Black Tea

Black Tea and Vinyasa Flow

Fine black tea is the perfect match for a sweaty, powerful vinyasa flow class. Vinyasa is a term used to describe moving continuously through a sequence of poses. Often Vinyasa classes tend to reflect this in the way students move quickly from one pose, or asana, to the next with very few breaks.

Caffeinated tea is perfect for keeping energy up. It has a compliment component, Theanine, which has been attributed to increasing GABA, lowering stress and taking the jagged edge off caffeine that you normally get with coffee or energy supplements.

Research also shows black tea is responsible for improved circulation and respiratory function without putting stress on the heart.  A great black tea to try is this Apricot Tea by Far Leaves Tea. The lightweight, sweet taste of apricots and Ceylon tea make for a perfect iced beverage this summer.

Mint Tea and Summer Practice 

We know it can be hard to practice in the blazing summer heat. Try a sequence that uses cooling breath work and less challenging poses matched with a mildly stimulating, cooling mint green tea.

Green tea is famous for its endless health benefits, one of which is helping tap into fatty acids for energy use, prolonging your endurance and resiliency in hot weather. Mentholated peppermint works to alert your body’s cold-sensitivity leaving you refreshed and grounded.

An awesome tea blend to stimulate and cool your practice down with is Moroccan Mint Tea served with a slight amount of organic cane sugar.

Brain Boosting Blend and Meditation

What goes better with tea than a healthy meditation practice? The process of making tea alone can be a mindfulness exercise but if you’re looking for a longer journey then consider a very slightly caffeinated, herbal blend. The caffeine will help to keep you alert while the blends of special herbs ground, open and support you as you tap into your inner being.

Simply brew, sit comfortably, set a timer and close your eyes for 10 to 20 minutes.Our favorite is this Mind Focus Tea filled with gently stimulating herbs, roots, legumes, and tea from around the world. Interested in a non-caffeinated option? Try this Herbal Chai Tea with flavors of ginger, pepper and cinnamon.

Relaxing Herbal Tea and Restorative Yoga

If you’ve ever felt challenged to chill during restorative yoga consider drinking some mellow herbal blends before class. Restorative yoga is class entirely dedicated to relaxation and gentle movements

Tea blends that include plants like chamomile, lavender, ginger and valerian root work magic on the mind and help relax the body without drowsiness. Research has shown one flavonoid in chamomile, apigenin, binds to the benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, causing a relaxant effect similar to prescriptions like Xanax – but without any nasty side effects.

Our go-to restorative tea is this beautiful Rest Well Organic Blend which is a sure fire way to mellow your mood.


Interested in learning more about our favorite tea house, Far Leaves Tea? Check them out!

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7 Perks of Working at a Yoga Studio

Not everyone is satisfied working in a restaurant or boutique. If you’re someone who values health and fitness, the clean scent of tea tree oil and a warm cup of tea – working at a yoga studio may be a great fit for you. At a yoga studio you have the honor of holding space for students as they practice. If you’re worried you don’t know enough about yoga, don’t sweat. One of the perks of joining a team of yogis is that acceptance is part of the job!

Free Yoga and Wellness Perks

What’s better than taking a yoga lunch break? The best perk of working at a yoga studio is the free yoga. Stay in shape and learn how to put self-care first with a job that emphasizes health and wellness. Most studios even offer employee discounts for bodywork, workshops and teacher trainings. Namaste Yoga + Wellness, for example, hosts monthly massage externs from NHI who offer complimentary massage to staff!

Friendly Faces

Unlike boutique or restaurant jobs where staff may only interact with patrons a few times a month, yoga studio employees build rich relationships with students. You will see the same smiling faces weekly (even daily!). Students will often learn staff’s names and rely on them as they would a friend to help choose classes, workshops and events that make sense for them.

Comfortable Work Attire

It’s no joke that wearing yoga clothes daily helps lower stress. Imagine the bliss of being able to throw on some yoga pants or comfy clothes and cruise to work. While keeping up an appearance is still part of the job – you can definitely say buh-bye to stiff pant suits or stuffy server’s outfits. Another perk? Many studios offer employee discounts ranging from 20%-40% off apparel and gear sold in studio boutiques.

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Being a Part of a Community

A job is just a job until you find an emotional connection. Yoga communities are known for their openness and warmth. Helping guide new students on their health journey makes you an integral part of their experience. Developing relationships with people in the studio makes you a part of the bigger yoga community as a whole – something that stays with you even when you’re clocked out.

Launching Your Teaching Career

If you’re interested in becoming a yoga instructor then working at a yoga studio is the perfect fit. Many yoga studio employees take on a position in order to get to know the in’s-and-out’s of the business. Being on the team can help you to understand how subbing works, what type of students you want to teach and give you access to discounted trainings.

Networking and Learning About Health and Wellness Industry

You may not be interested in becoming a yoga teacher but that doesn’t mean you’re ruling out all possibilities. The increase of interest in the health and fitness industry has created a boom in new job opportunities. Starting your career off at a yoga studio can expose you to all available avenues in the industry – from operations and management to marketing and sales.

Being Part of a Small Business

Jobs that pigeon hole you can be a drag. Working for a small business creates endless opportunities to break out of the box with creative solutions and ideas. Often you will be asked to wear many hats in a small business which will help you build your skill set and know what it takes to run your own company one day! Bonus, you often get to see the tangible results of the hard work you put in.

 

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Interested in working for Namaste? We are currently hiring! Send us your resume and cover letter to begin the journey of joining our Namaste community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Style Drishti: Unfold to the Positive

Style Drishti

A weekly feature from our boutiques

This week in the Bay we’re feeling the weight of the world. We’re hungry for positive fortunes to unfold, and looking for cozy layers in moments of transition to the world outside. If you’re looking for comfort here are my faves from the shop to infuse your everyday with some protection.

Wolf Child‘s Fortunes Told Tee. This dark and dreamy illustrated line of tees out of Portland fills me with hope. It’s a little art, a little devotion, a little darkness, and a little love all mixed up together. Throw it on and feel it all.

Nomad’s Hempwear Thrive Hoodie. There’s only one hoodie left in this fabulous color, so hurry if you are falling in love with it! But there’s plenty more to delight in from this line of sustainable wear out of Canada. They will take you from on the mat to off with no fuss at all. And you can feel good about your choice to practice in any of their hemp, bamboo, or organic cotton blends.

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Silver & Sage Labradorite and Apatite Mala. These strands of 108 beads are traditionally used in meditation as an aid for focus. Each bead represents a prayer or intention. Silver & Sage malas are made with stones and minerals that all carry meanings and qualities of protection or inspiration. Bring yourself a sense of peace and grounding with one of their special pieces of spiritual jewelry.

 

 

Good Hyouman Beanie. Go on, it’s summer but you know you just want to snuggle into that hat (when you go to the grey coast). Plus, it’s a good reminder to be “grateful” and “thankful.” We all need that right now.

Apparel styles available at Namaste Berkeley, 2820 7th Street, Berkeley CA. Silver & Sage available at Namaste Rockridge, 5416 College Ave, Oakland CA.

 

 

 

HeleneHelene Cotton is Namaste’s creative director and retail buyer. Swing by her office at the Berkeley studio and she will happily take you on a tour of our boutiques and show you what you should buy.

 

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Tea as an Anchor with Far Leaves Tea

by Brad Lebowitz

photo-4 (1)I write now having just taken a sip of some Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea from Taiwan. Tea has become an anchor in my life. Like brushing my teeth, mornings just don’t feel complete unless I take the time to sit with my tea. I love the whole process of making tea: from filling my electric water kettle, choosing the loose leaf tea to brew, waiting for the water to come to the right temperature for the tea of choice, rinsing whatever vessel I’ll be using for the tea, to brewing my cup, and then the “ahhhh” of taking that first sip of tea. Tea is more than just a beverage. The process of making tea has helped me slow down, focus, and bring awareness to and appreciate the present moments.

Did you know that tea is the second most consumed beverage, after water, in the world?

In fact, most cultures on this planet have some sort of tea tradition. The Asian cultures are suspected to have had the tea practice the longest. Legend has it that in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled drinking water, when some leaves from the tree blew into the water to become what’s now known as tea.

All teas come from the plant camellia sinensis, a species of evergreen shrub commonly known as tea tree or tea plant. Technically, herbal infusions like mint tea or chamomile tea are not tea given the lack of leaves from camellia sinensis. The unique quality of tea is that while it has caffeine, it also has other chemicals like theanine that at once stimulate yet relax the brain. It’s this ability to calm yet focus the mind that I find so unique of tea and so different from coffee.

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In the hands of a skillful tea farmer and artisan, healthful tea leaves can be crafted to produce brilliantly beautiful aromas and flavors categorized into what the tea experts at Far Leaves Tea call “kingdoms of tea”: white, green, oolong, black, puer, and, of course, herbal infusion. Each is unique in its proportion of caffeine content and flavor, to allow one to choose pending the mood and experience one is looking for in that moment.

I didn’t grow up in a tea culture. It had never had any meaningful place in my life. But once I started making loose leaf tea, and paying attention to the process of making the different infusions of tea that brewing loose leaf tea allows, a new door was opened, opening into a world that I could make my own.

Brad Lebowitz is a tea lover and aficionado. He has been serving, sharing, and educating the Bay Area community on tea with Far Leaves Tea for the last 15 years.


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We proudly serve Far Leaves Tea at our Namaste studios. Sourced from the finest sources and prepared with care, Far Leaves Tea is a local business who continues to provide the community with nourishment and peace through the tea experience.

 

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Art as Meditation

What began as a project to free the mind from its artistic block has come to be like an ongoing meditation. After many years of commercial art, my artistic process had become so gummed up with the idea of what people might BUY that I felt incapable of creating from the heart. I had to find a way to switch gears. A friend had returned some art supplies I once gave to him, many years ago, and I decided I would use what I had and do a little watercolor on this attractive block of paper he had given me.

IMG_5557My premise was that I could do nothing “wrong” and that I would just continue to layer and layer watercolor and ink until something beautiful or meaningful happened.

At some point in the process, I started some canvases that were like little studies, with blobs of watercolor that I could draw on top of. I delved into circular patterns, triangles, moon phases. It turned out to be so fun that I plucked a stack of nice paper from my stash and just let the colors melt together in fascinating circles on small pieces of paper.

Water – color – drying. Lots of papers lying next to each other on my art table. It was very therapeutic.

IMG_5569IMG_5591After some overnight drying, I could draw on top of them and little mandalas came pouring out. I would draw a bit, switch to a new one, let it simmer, walk away, come back later. I often try not to think about the patterns that I am creating, I just let them evolve over time and flow from another place in my Self, not my thinking brain. Some are inspired by specific ideas, like Ayurveda or elements in various systems of belief. The process is very freeing – like taking a hike outside with the wind blowing through the trees and whispering in your ear.

IMG_5562After an inspired framing idea, they felt ready to share with the world. You can see these tiny treasures in person too — they have a home on the walls of Namaste Berkeley. Come in to take a peek or take one home for your own altar. Focus your mind on the center and let it spill outward. They are full of love and a symbol of the freedom we all deserve.

 

 

 

 

10423645_10152253194114051_3455534993665733593_nHelene Cotton is Namaste’s Creative Director, responsible for all of our beautiful graphic design and all three Namaste boutiques. Helene is an integral member on the Namaste team and one of our all time favorite humans.

Interested in learning more about Helene? Check out her amazing website http://helenecotton.com/.

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Namaste’s Podcasts Picks for Yogis

Many of us know it can be hard to find time to cuddle up with a good book or watch a great documentary. If you’re looking to learn new things, reaffirm core beliefs, or receive gentle reminders on mindful living – podcasts may be the perfect medium for you. The reason podcasts are so great is that you can listen to them in the car, while you are cleaning, paying bills, the list is endless. Namaste is all about making health and wellness a lifestyle. Asana is only a small part of what it takes to connect to yourself and others. With love and consideration we have picked out some of our favorite thought leaders to help you take your practice off the mat and into your daily life:

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On Being with Krista Tippet

Why you will love it: On Being is an award winning podcast and website produced by American Public Radio for the intent of exploring the human condition. Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times best-selling author. In 2014, she received the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence. On the air and in print, Ms. Tippett avoids easy answers, embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.”

Start Here: David Whyte – The Conversational Nature of Reality 

 

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The Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields

Why you will love it: Jonathan Fields, founder of The Good Life Project, says “ A good life is not a place at which you arrive, it’s a lens through which you see and create your world.” This philosophy is woven throughout the podcast as Jonathan digs into the why and how individuals create a good life. This podcast, with over 350,000 subscribers, provides unscripted, deeply-inspiring conversations and insights from acclaimed artists, entrepreneurs, makers and world-shakers.

Start Here: Elena Brower: On Yoga, Love, Addiction and Grace

 

RICH-ROLL-PODCAST-GRAPHIC-640x640The Rich Roll Podcast 

Why you will love it: Rich has an amazing story of how he transformed from over weight, over worked lawyer to a vegan triathlete and wellness advocate. Each week Rich delves deep into all things wellness with some of the brightest and most forward thinking, paradigm busting minds in health, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship & spirituality. Intimate, deep and often intense, these are not interviews. They are conversations. A weekly aural dance designed to provoke, educate, inspire and empower you to discover, uncover, unlock and unleash your best, most authentic self.

Start Here: Jedidiah Jenkins: The Pursuit of Wonder, The Power of Story & Finding Truth in Adventure

 

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Wanderlust Speakeasy Podcast

Why you will love it: Wanderlust is of course one of the leaders in the yoga and wellness space. Their approach to broadening the yogic community and effort to include all aspects of health from food to music to the practice itself creates a vessel for wisdom. Immerse yourself in the inspiring ideas of thought-leaders at the Wanderlust Speakeasy. The intimate and casual lecture series covers topics ranging from holistic health to progressive politics, from personal empowerment to community betterment.

Start Here: Graham Hill: Less Stuff, Space, and Energy. More Time, Money and Freedom.

 

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10% Happier with Dan Harris

Why you will love it: After having a nationally televised panic attack, Dan *knew* he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, he realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head. Now each week he interviews meditation experts on how to bring the practice home in our every day lives.

Start Here: Episode #1: Dalai Lama 


Namaste-app-widgetWould you be interested in hearing short, weekly podcasts episodes featuring your favorite Namaste teachers? Let us know in the comments below!

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Yoga for Runners

Yoga for Runners

with Reba Gray

Springtime brings growth: plants in the garden get taller and the days grow longer. Many of us catch the excitement of spring energy by getting back to our outdoor athletic pursuits like running and cycling.

But before you take off like a hot rod, incorporate some small yoga movements into your routine and warm up your muscles with some dynamic movements. Moving in and out of a stretch increases the core temperature of your muscles and stimulates the neurological system.

After your run, take the time for some gentle static stretches. These can be held for 5 breaths or more. Static stretches prevent injury and increase flexibility. After a run when your muscles are warm is a perfect time to gently work some of these muscles.

PRE-RUN: DYNAMIC STRETCHING

1. Runner’s Lunge

Seems obvious, but, a key pose for runners. Important because we spend so much time sitting, and the hip is in constant flexion. Place hands on water bottles or yoga blocks for support. Straighten and bend the back knee a few times to get tension out of the hip flexors. Press into the ball of the back foot.

2. Two-limbed Pose

Make sure the spine stays neutral and the front ribcage does not drop toward your mat. Reach one arm forward and the opposite leg behind you. Bring lifted knee toward lifted elbow, and round your back toward the ceiling.As you inhale, reach forward again with the arm while reaching behind with your leg. Repeat 3-5 times, then switch sides.

3. Reclining Abdominal Twist

Runners’ quadriceps can get strong, so try strengthening the adductors (inner thighs) with this pose. Squeeze a yoga block between thighs, keep knees at hip height.As you exhale, legs turn to the right, inhale, come back to center, exhaling legs to the left, and center. Repeat, squeezing the block firmly.

POST-RUN: STATIC STRETCHING

4. Calf Stretch

Keep your knees bent as you fold forward. Alternatively, this pose can be done standing on the street or on a stair, let your heel hang off the curb or step’s edge.

5. Toes Pose

Take care of your feet! If there is too much sensation in this stretch, lean forward onto your hands.

6. Reclining Cow-Faced Pose

Cross the legs tightly, hug your knees in, holding below the knees, shins, or ankles. Pull the legs right to left away from each other. Feel the stretch in your outer hips and thighs. This pose helps to increase the range of motion in the hips.


rebagrayYoga for Runners with Reba Gray on April 8th.

Learn how to nurture your body in specific postures and sequences that benefit runners! Adding a little yoga to your running regimen will increase endurance, keep your joints healthy, and reduce your risk of injury. The first half of this workshop explores dynamic stretching to prepare for your run. The second half will contain yoga poses that support you after your run. We will also explore abdominal work that will improve your running posture.
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Human Connection in a Digital Age

It seems ironic that though yoga is about connection (yoga means “to yolk”), it is such a solo practice. Though we may practice in groups, yoga invites us to focus on ourselves: my sensations, my thoughts, my habits, my abilities, etc. Where is the yolking? Where is the connecting?

Our digital culture also fuels more isolated pursuits. Even our social time is spent independently staring at our digital devices replying distally to a widening array of “friends”. However, humans are social creatures by nature, and our increasing isolation is thought to be one cause of increases in anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Partner Yoga provides an opportunity to truly connect to another person through physical contact, through shared breathing, through shared goals of creating the partner poses. We learn to listen not with our ears, but with our proprioception (awareness of your body in space). Partner yoga provides an opportunity to be sensitive not to only your own flexibility and needs in a pose, but that of your partner. It gives us a chance to tend to another, to be kind to another, to develop our sensitivity to another. It gives us a chance to connect.

“Through the practice of partner Yoga, the duality of self/other begins to dissolve and we experience directly the essence of Yoga – union.”

Elysabeth Williamson

PARTNER YOGA: THE PLEASURES AND THE PRINCIPLES

One of the reasons Facebook and Instagram are more popular than old-school, in-person interactions, is that they are navigated on our own terms. We have less fear of messing up, saying the wrong thing, being unpopular, than we do with in-person interactions. Similarly, fear may keep us from pursuing Partner Yoga. The practice evokes our inner dialogues of not being enough for our partner: not skilled enough, or flexible enough, or strong enough or patient enough.

Our willingness to engage in something, even in the presence of fear, represents our courage. And, courageous action enhances our resilience. Of course, every pose doesn’t come off perfectly on its first attempt, or second, or perhaps ever. But, being in the practice enhances our sense of capability. We learn that we can navigate challenges peacefully. We learn to express our needs and listen to the needs of our partners kindly.

And with that sense of ability, our fear diminishes and we start to find the joy of being embodied, the joy of moving with another friend in a type of meditative dance. We develop a sense of accomplishment. And, most importantly for our sanity and happiness, we experience true human connection.

I am happy to offer another Partner Yoga and Thai Massage Workshop with my husband, Steven. Come join us for an afternoon of connecting. Bring a friend or loved one. Give yourselves the gift of some unplugged time together.

[Original Post on The Opener Blog]


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Partner Yoga and Thai Massage with Domonick Wegesin

No experience is required. Domonick will provide clear, easy-to-follow directions to create a safe environment for your exploration. Bring a partner with whom you feel comfortable being in close contact.

Saturday, November 11th at  1:30 – 4:00 pm at  Namaste Grand Lake

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Take Back the Morning

If you’re reading this post, most likely you’ve taken a gander at the first page of google results that pop up when you search “Best Tips for a Morning Routine”. It’s become a trend to promote the importance of routine, especially when it comes to setting the tone for the day. The problem is sometimes we just don’t have enough control over our schedules.

Work, kids, illness, or guests can keep us up late and result in a rushed morning. Getting to bed on time is the first step, but once your schedule becomes unstable, it’s hard to to get the routine train back on track. Starting small is the first step. In honor of Margi Young’s upcoming Morning Immersion series we wanted to offer some sweet ways to guide yourself back into a simple morning ritual.

Don’t jump out of bed.

Although it may be counter intuitive to stay in bed it’s the best way to gently wake yourself up. Arianna Huffington, who recently came out with the new book The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At a Time, recommends not even waking up with alarm! The reason she gives is that alarms can be violent and jarring, starting your morning with anxiety. Waking up without an alarm may not be an option for you – but giving yourself  a few moments to just gently wake up can change your whole mood.

To maximize the first 5 minutes awake try propping yourself up with pillows, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing for 20 counts. Think about your intention for the day and possibly a few things you are grateful for. Then hop out of bed.

Keep Movement Simple.

If exercise has been elusive or you prefer to sweat it out in the evening then keep your movement routine simple. Once you’ve hopped out of bed, role out your mat (or keep it out from the night before!), do a few cat-cows and work out those sleepy kinks. If you are feeling good, try 3 to 5 sun salutations. Don’t guilt yourself for not doing enough. Small wins are where it’s at. Once you stick to 5-10 minutes of movement you will naturally start to grow the practice of doing more.

Drink Water (Preferably with Lemon)

Slice up some lemon slices the night before and keep them in the fridge. As soon as you are done with your morning yoga grab some lemon wedges and a glass of water. Your body is working hard to cleanse itself at night and we all wake up a little dehydrated. Life is sustained by water and you will feel better the more hydrated you stay. Drinking some fresh H2o first thing in the morning can help with grogginess, digestion, and mood.

This entire routine should take no more than 15-20 minutes. Keeping it simple and working on being compassionate with yourself will help alleviate any tension and anxiety. Before you know it you will be looking forward to having your sweet morning ritual.


Still struggling to feel back on track? Try to incentivize with some social support.

Get your summer off to a great start by committing to your practice during this 4 day “mini retreat” at Rockridge. Each morning will have a physical theme, a philosophical theme, and will end with breath work and a short meditation. You will be given homework to practice during the day so that your practice on the mat becomes more integrated into your life off the mat.

margi-200Morning Immersion with Margi Young

Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu

Date: Jun 06, 2016 – Jun 09, 2016

From: 7:00 AM – 8:30 AM Location: Rockridge

 

 

 

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Sonya’s Bulletproof Morning Tea Blend for Allergies

by Sonya Genel

?✨⚡️Try my Bullet Proof Morning Tea Blend for Allergies/cold/sinus congestion? ✨⚡️?

Ingredients:

1 whole lemon
1 small branch of ginger
1 garlic clove
1 tea spoon of Bee Pollen
1 table spoon turmeric powder (or chop 1 small branch of fresh turmeric!)
1 table spoon of organic raw honey (ideally local wild honey will be the best medicine for allergies!)
Tiny sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Chop and Mix ingredients in a quart of boiled water.

For an extra boost option: add 2 bags of black breakfast tea at the end and steep for 3-5min, remove before drinking. Or drink with no tea bags to keep it caffeine free.

?✨⚡️? Enjoy!

sonyagenel-bSonya 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. Join her for her Friday 9:30am class at Namaste Berkeley! You can also connect with her at sonyayoga.com and on Instagram @sonyayoga

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