Kundalini Yoga: Find the Missing Sock in Your Soul!

By Sariah Sizemore

Housekeeping 

I love it when my house is clean. Everything is in its place and the thin film of dust that covered the tables and countertops has been wiped away exposing vibrant color and shine. The air is fresh and fragrant. As I move around my space, I actually feel the spaciousness inside of myself as a reflection of my external experience. I find things again! I’m no longer irritated and confused when I can’t seem to locate the one knee sock that goes with the other knee sock that perfectly goes with the dress I want to wear. I know, as they say, first world problems, but it can be maddening to not find the missing piece to your ideal outfit. For me, laundry always seems to be my downfall when attempting to keep a tidy home. 

I know you might be thinking that this is a blog on Kundalini yoga and energy so why the heck is she talking about cleaning her house and finding her socks! As I was contemplating what I wanted to share with you about my experience with Kundalini, I thought a lot about how developing a relationship with the life force in myself, the Kundalini energy, has allowed me to more directly clean, clear, and organize my internal experience.

Through practicing Kundalini Yoga, I have cultivated more spaciousness within myself. I have more access to the information my mind, body, and spirit has to offer me. Ultimately, I experience more clarity and awareness so I’m able to find the “sock” within myself, or I should say my soul, that completes my whole self.  

Yes, I’m saying that Kundalini Yoga will help you find the missing sock in your soul! It is an ancient technology that works to cleanse, balance, and activate the self-healing superpowers inherent within you. We humans are pretty complex beings with a lot of bells and whistles. The amount of information we process is mind blowing, literally, and we manage to do all this processing as we accomplish our daily tasks at work, spend time with our families, travel, plan for the future and tend to all of the other threads that weave our lives together. The way we manage all of this data is through the subconscious mind, and it’s called sub – conscious for a reason…it’s not conscious. If all of the info we take in on a daily basis was in the forefront of our consciousness it would in fact blow our minds. However, this does not mean that it is not contained within us. 

The Subconscious Mind and Autonomic Nervous System

Our subconscious is associated with the autonomic nervous system that manages all of the functions our bodies carry out without us having to think. For example, we don’t consciously tell our heart to beat-beat-beat, it just does that. We don’t have to tell our food to metabolize, or our cells to regenerate. These things just happen and they happen through the silent work of the autonomic nervous system. Our nervous system keeps us alive and functioning on all levels and using the subconscious, records all of the data it needs to diligently perform that duty.  Sounds good right?! Thank you Autonomic Nervous system! 

So what does all of this have to do with Kundalini Yoga and finding our socks? As evolving humans, our physiology is constantly changing to meet the needs of the modern environment we live in. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite managed to sync up. Actually, we haven’t changed that  much since the time of the cave man except for the ability to use language, which happened about 4,000 years ago. When we examine how our autonomic nervous system works, we gain some insight into this fact. The nervous system is categorized into two different functions: sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” mechanisms in our system. For example, if we are in the jungle and see a sabertooth tiger, this will activate your sympathetic nervous system which in turn fires up everything in your body to run or pick up a big stick and fight! The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for resting, regeneration, and relaxing. 

The subconscious starts recording information from the time we are in the womb and stores info on how to stay safe, comfortable, and out of danger. It saves the threatening experiences, imprinting trauma right into your system, so you will be activated to move away from that same danger again through the sympathetic nervous system. The problem is that in modern society we experience so much stress and pressure that our nervous system’s ability to recognize a real threat can be off base. 

Is it a tiger about to eat you, or just your boss breathing down your neck to finish a deadline? Our ability to switch between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system becomes abnormal when we experience our every day environment as a threatening place. This contributes to fear, confusion, disorientation, and anger. When spending more time activated into sympathetic nervous system response, our adrenal glands excrete high levels of adrenaline and cortisol hormones. These hormones increase blood flow, heart rate, and send more nutrients to our muscles so we can get the power we need to escape the threat. The problem is that it takes away resources from other bodily functions and that leads to lack of sleep, irregular metabolism, fatigue, and dis-ease in the body. 

When we are inundated with information that is not being processed appropriately and our nervous system is not regulated, we often have an experience of feeling blocked, cluttered, or not having enough space to execute on the things we want to accomplish. Fear can be a debilitating emotion and when you mix that with a lack of physical energy and resources, struggling may be more of your experience than fresh energy and spaciousness. Our minds may feel foggy, memory slow, and our ability to connect with ourselves and others becomes more difficult. When all of this is happening inside of us, it is very much like having a messy home with dust covering our color and shine and it’s very hard to find that missing sock or perhaps even know what we are looking for! 

Kundalini, The Healing Life Force Energy

Practicing Kundalini Yoga infuses you with fresh life force energy and regulates the nervous system. It is a practice that cultivates awareness and through that awareness, you have more choice in how to respond to your environment instead of being in the reactionary place of fight or flight. You are able to recognize the triggers that happen in your everyday experience that re-stimulate you into experiencing the trauma of the past, and consciously clear them instead of having them lay dormant in the subconscious continuously activating fear and protection. Soon your experience becomes more neutral, you are more embodied and present, and have more space to bring forth creativity from a deeper connection with the soul and our whole self. 

Kundalini Yoga combines all of the aspects of yoga practice: physical, breath, sound, service, and intention to quickly and powerfully realign the energetic centers in the body connecting you with your whole self. It is a quantum technology that if practiced regularly will give you the ability to transcend time and space and create the life you want to have through the power of vision and directed positive thought. The life force energy, or Kundalini, moves from the base of the spine, through concentrated energy centers called the chakras up to the crown of the head and out into the aura, the electromagnetic field that surrounds the body. You can think of this energy as a healing salve that washes through entire system to regenerate you – mind, body, and spirit. This practice unlocks you in such a way where old trauma is brought up from the subconscious to the conscious so it can be healed and cleared. If you are looking for a yoga practice that gives you the full package of physical, mental, emotional, and nervous system fitness, give Kundalini Yoga a try. Because it’s so powerful, you might have a range of experiences with it. Sometimes it’s pure bliss and at times as it wears away the layers of fear and protection, it’s uncomfortable. Practicing yoga teaches you how to stay present with that uncomfortableness, however. In allowing that stuff to come up and move, you experience more presence, liberation, and ultimately more joy and expansiveness in your life. 

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Want to learn more about Kundalini? Listen to Sariah speak further on the Spirituality 101 Podcast.

Please join me every Thursday at 6pm at Namaste Grand Lake for Kundalini Yoga and meditation. I am a life coachcounselor offering private Kundalini Yoga sessions as a tool for quickly moving through the blocks that hold one back from experiencing a fully expressed and joyful life. Please visit my web site at www.sariahsizemore.com

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Namaste Teachers: Meet Sadie Chanlett-Avery

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Sadie Chanlett-Avery

How long have you been at Namaste?
I have been at Namaste for 7 years.

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I’ve always has a knack for teaching and found a passion for yoga. I haven’t found anything else that suits me better.

Best advice you have ever received relating to your practice?
Don’t get too attached to the yoga “magic” My teacher told me that those moments come and go but can throw you off track. Stay focused on the daily details of the practice.

Sadie-Chanlett-Avery-Biker

Your favorite self-care practices?
Sleep and shared meals.

What is your morning routine?
I drink herbal tea while I make breakfast and coffee. Then I often write and have social media time before practicing.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I serve as the In-House Yogi at Clif Bar Co. I lead kettlebell training, perinatal training, and the yoga program. I also try to write everyday.

Sadie

How often do you practice?
Daily.

Absolute favorite asana?
Dynamic movement: finding the space between the poses.

Do you have a favorite yoga story?
One time I did a private session with my friend’s mom. She was a timid, Midwestern lady and I remember demo’ Warrior I for her. She cowered, backed off a bit and wrung her hands, asking, “Did you say ‘Worrier’ pose?”

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
It really wants you to be you as you are. Messy. Amazing. Strong. Silly. Dedicated. Vulnerable. and Crazy Powerful.

What is something you wish all of our students understood better?
How completely perfect and whole they are already!


SadieProfileBSadie Chanlett-Avery, holistic fitness trainer, yoga instructor, and writer, was named a 2013 Athleta Sponsored Athlete. As the In-house Yogi at Clif Bar & Co. she directs the yoga and perinatal programs, trains with kettlebells, and serves on the Wellness Team. Sadie received her teacher certification from Ana Forrest and has immersed for months in the jungles of Costa Rica with Master Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Glenn Black. Her M.A. in Holistic Health Education and multiple fitness certifications lends antomical depth to her innovative and playful classes.

She appreciates the diverse expression of the human genome with the belief that people of all ages and sizes can benefit from exercise and heal with yoga. Teaching for over ten years, she applies ancient yogic principles to individual needs and modern lifestyles.

Join Sadie for her next workshop:
Intro to Yoga
Sunday, January 11 at Namaste Rockridge

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Namaste Teachers: Meet Hannah Franco

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Hannah Franco

How long have you been at Namaste? Hannah
Good question…

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
Yoga touches every part of my life. it always always reminds me who I am and I want to help other people cultivate that center.

Your favorite literature on yoga or meditation?
HERE ARE SO MANY GOOD ONES!!! But this is my fav… Desire: by Daniel Odier and The Path of Awakening by Adyashanti.

Best advice you have ever received relating to your practice?
Just be yourself.

Hannah

Your favorite self-care practices?
Abhyanga!!!! I go crazy for oils…

What is your morning routine?
I literally bolt out of bed and in to my yoga pants.  I adore community so I’m always taking classes of one kind or another and the morning time is my favorite!.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I’m so obsessed with yoga that I decided to design yoga pants for a living!!! I’m also a huge fan of dancing. I like all kinds, I’m not promising I’m any good though:) Outdoor time is key. I love hot springs, they just take you to a whole new place…and of course a good glass of rose! I’m often at Ordinaire or Boot and Shoe Service. I love supporting my community!!!

Absolute favorite asana?
UTKATASANA! It hurts so good…

Hannah

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
It really wants you to be you as you are. Messy . Amazing . Strong . Silly . Dedicated. Vulnerable . and Crazy Powerful.

What is something you wish all of our students understood better?
How completely perfect and whole they are already!

What is your favorite part of the Namaste community?
The fact that it is actually a community!


HannahProfileBHannah is yogi, an artist, and lover of dance. Her classes are a blend of Hatha yoga and energizing Vinyasa, and are suitable for all levels with an emphasis on creativity, steadiness and presence and a joyful celebration of life!

She took a transformational trip to India to deepen her studies in tantra and hatha yoga in 2009, where she was certified. Her focus as a teacher is to bring community together and harmonize the way we all interact with compassion and love for all our unique spirits.

As a yoga teacher and designer for Athleta she truly understands the dance to find balance in this busy world.

hannahfrancoyoga.com

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Namaste Teachers: Meet Naushon Kabat-Zinn

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a this blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Naushon Kabat-Zinn

How long have you been at Namaste
I have been at Namaste since the beginning… 11 years!

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I first fell in love with yoga when I was a teenager and then did a teacher training when I was 20 just to deepen my practice. After I finished my training, I taught my first class the very next day! I never thought I would be a full-time yoga teacher, but it felt like my true calling in life, and I couldn’t argue with what felt right.

Best advice you have ever received relating to your practice?
“Seek teachings everywhere”

Naushon_HomePractice

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I love to cook, share meals with friends, and spend time near, in, and on the ocean.

How often do you practice?
Everyday, in some form or another. Sometimes my practice is meditation and yoga, sometimes just meditation. Sometimes its a few poses, sometimes its a 2hour practice. And all of life is practice.

Absolute favorite asana?
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
Coming home to my truest self.

What is your favorite part of the Namaste community?
My students! They inspire me every day!


Check out Naushon’s sweet sequence on our blog for integrating a short morning practice into your routine and join us Sunday at Namaste Grand Lake for Fall in Love with Yoga: Bringing Your Practice Home Workshop!

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

“I have been teaching for the past 13 years. For me, yoga is life-saving. It grounds me when I feel disconnected, overwhelmed, and stressed out, and gets me back in my body when I feel stuck in my head. But mainly, yoga gives me perspective, reminding me to wake up and enjoy this beautiful life that I have been gifted…to realize that this moment, right now, is enough.”

Please visit naushonyoga.com for more information about Naushon’s workshops, retreats and booking private sessions.

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Namaste Teachers: Meet Poh Teng

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Namaste Teacher: Poh Teng

How long have you been at Namaste?
Since September 2013

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I benefitted (and continue to benefit) so much from yoga and I wanted to help others heal and feel good in their bodies. I was inspired onto a path of service by my meditation teacher, Eknath Easwaran. In “Essence of the Bhagavad Gita”, EE says, “… karma yoga is more than service. Service – work that benefits others – is necessary for every human being, the Gita maintains; it is incumbent on us to give back to life as we take from it. But this becomes yoga only when it is selfless: when we forget ourselves in that work and desire nothing from it for ourselves, not even recognition or appreciation. When we learn to act in this way, egotism shrinks and separateness gradually dissolves.” And so, I practice to be of service.

Poh Back Health

Your favorite literature on yoga or meditation?
Meditation by Eknath Easwaran
Feeding Your Demons by Lama Tsultrim Allione

Best advice you have ever received relating to your practice?
“You can flex, but no gripping.” ~ Chandra Easton
“Be present with all that arises.” ~ Mariana Caplan

Your favorite self-care practices?
Yoga retreats, hot baths and full-body scrubs, neti and nasya, and hiking with my dogs!


Join Poh Teng this weekend for her Yoga for Healthy Backs workshop! 

Poh Teng Yoga with Poh is an amalgamation of her education across multiple yoga lineages and life experiences.  She is trained in the Vinyasa and therapeutic styles, and continues to be inspired and informed by the Power, Shadow, Anusara and Forrest Yoga lineages.  She is also guided by her Passage Meditation practice and her work as an academic scientist.  She has healed from scoliosis, osteopenia and back injury through yoga.  After over 10 years of practice, she is finally a mellow type-A.  Known for her curiosity, playfulness and nurturing style, she leads group classes through movement with breath, awareness, healthy alignment and safe, creative sequencing. With over 500 hours of training, she blends yogic tradition, intention setting, and current findings in biology and yoga therapy. Occasionally, there’s a splash of Bhakti and she sings. Because yoga is not one-size-fits-all, Poh also offers private yoga sessions for your specific wellness needs.

Yoga is a come-as-you-are-party.  Poh invites you to honor your truth in the present moment, and to breathe, strengthen, heal and play.

Poh is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, a Certified Yoga Therapist for Chronic Physiological Conditions and a Cancer Yoga Therapist.  She is also a UCLA graduate with a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Get to know her better at PohmYoga.com.

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Namaste Teachers: Meet Reba Gray

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Reba Gray

Reba_Aug2013_print_jleahy-67How long have you been at Namaste?
I have been at Namaste for just over 1 year!

What inspired you to become a teacher?
My mom taught me about the importance of service to your community just by being who she is. I love this concept: seva (selfless service). So I started volunteering at a yoga studio, making sure the space was clean, answering questions, joking around to put people at ease, mopping the floor after the sweaty classes. I kept showing up, practicing, volunteering, which led to assisting teachers, which was great because I didn’t have to talk. After years of practicing, assisting, and training, I realized I had some stuff I wanted to say!

What is your favorite thing about yoga?Reba_Aug2013_print_jleahy-78 (1)
You can travel the world, find a yoga studio, and be welcomed into that community. I have sweated, laughed, and breathed with some amazing people in a yoga class.

What is something you wish all of our students understood about the practice?
There is something in yoga that everyone can take away for themselves. It doesn’t have to be asana.

Thoughts on where the yoga industry is headed?
When I started practicing, some institutes banned caffeine, sugar, etc. I like that modern yoga embraces doing what is appropriate for you. Come as you are, let transformation happen naturally.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
Choices.


Check out Reba’s Weekly Class Schedule!

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Namaste Teachers: Meet Bethany Hobbs

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Bethany Hobbs

How long have you been at Namaste?
I have been at Namaste for over 2 years.

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher– I’ve always taught– and yoga changed my life, so I wanted to share that with others. It came about very naturally.

Your favoriteliterature on yoga or meditation?
Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg, The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar, to name a few.

Bethany_IntrotoYogaBest advice you have ever received relating to your practice?
Be at home in yourself.

Your favorite self-care practices?
Sleep, prayer, burning sage and cedar, essential oils, taking walks.

What is your morning routine?
I wake up, make coffee (with real cream), climb back in bed with my coffee, and write. I love the quiet. It helps prepare me to teach.

Absolute favorite asana?
Supta virasana or reclining hero pose.


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Bethany Hobbs fell in love with her first savasana in 2003, and her life hasn’t been the same since. She has been committed to her yoga practice for over a decade, first under the tutelage of Rached Malouf in San Diego, and, later, her mentor Alice Joanou in Oakland, along with many other incredible yogis and healers in India and Oakland (including herbalist Atava Garcia Swiecicki and therapeutic yoga teacher trainer Antonia Fokken).

She is currently diving into the depths of tarot card and archetypal healing studies with local artist Guillermo Galindo, and has recently broadened her teaching horizons by offering wheelchair yoga classes to seniors. She weaves her background in holistic and self-empowered healing and wellness into all of her classes, whether restorative or flow.

Bethany’s classes hold space for the wholeness of each individual through breath, alignment, ritual, and joy.

View Bethany’s Class Schedule

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Namaste Teachers: Meet Kameko Shibata

[Above and below photo by Lindsay Isola]

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Kameko Shibata

Kameko 2How long have you been at Namaste?
I have been at Namaste for 3 years as an instructor and bodyworker. However I did trade front desk staff in college (at Namaste Rockridge) circa 2005.

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
The love of breath. The vastness of it all.

Your favorite literature on yoga or meditation?
Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar , is SO accessible for all levels, and really breaks things down. I recommend it to students all the time, use it in my courses and also read and re-read it anytime I need inspiration. I just open to any page and start reading! It has his translation of the Yoga Stutras in the back. Brilliantly simple! Dr. Vasant Lad is my go to for all ayurvedic literature, from laymen’s self-care books to his Ayurvedic textbooks and professional papers.

Your favorite self-care practices?
Involves a lot of oil! As a pitta- vata Ayurvedic practioner I am consistently using oil on everything! Oil (usually sesame or sunflower) on the skin daily in the form of Abhyanga, sometimes in the ears and nose as Nasya, mouth pulling with sesame oil in the morning, massaging the feet with oil in the evening, eating lots of ghee, olive oil and taking evening primose oil capsules. Making my nadi girl ayurveda salt scrubs with oils. And then mopping all the oil off my floor from my clients oily feet.

What is your morning routine?
As I mentioned,  it involves a lot oil and my daily yoga practice.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I dance around on a rope 25 feet in the air, and hang from one arm (part of my aerial arts practice).  I also love to play around with spices and succulents.

Kameko

How often do you practice?
I practice daily in the morning. I usually do asana/pranayama/chanting 4 days per week and often just surya namaskaras and meditation when I teach early. I also love an afternoon meditation and restorative practice which I manage a few days per week! Sometimes on Sundays I don’t do any yoga. My yogi partner and I sleep in, eat bacon, drink hot chocolate, and blast funk music. Gotta keep it real.

Absolute favorite asana?
Viparti Karani or legs-up-the-wall.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
Oakland and the racial and sexual diversity here.


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Kameko’s love affair with yoga has spanned ten years and five continents! And her teaching reflects her love, curiosity and dedication to yoga and the exploration of breath. Her delicious vinyasa classes invite you to come deeply into your breath and body through safe and challenging sequences combined with sound, breath, and core work.

She weaves her passion for the traditional yoga & ayurvedic practices of India with sweaty evolutionary movement, chanting and the occasional swear word for a refreshingly honest experience. Kameko strives to see her students– always offering individual attention and safe adjustments.

Her creative sequencing is inspired by studying the “vinyasa krama” system at the Krishnamaycharya Yoga Mandariam in India. As well as her 650 hours of Yoga Alliance training, from the Ashrams of India, to studying with Mary Paffard, Alice Jaunou and Ana Forest.

WELLNESS TREATMENTS WITH KAMEKO: Kameko Shibata combines her passion for ayurvedic medicine, bodywork and yoga into a comprehensive healing modality that empowers people to heal themselves. She received her Ayurvedic Practioner certification from the Dhyana Center of Health Sciences, where she went on to complete over 1,000 hours in a 2-year internship under her teacher, DeAnna Batdorff.

View Kameko’s Class Schedule

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