Meet Your Staff: Raynetta Van

Introduce Yourself! What is your name, how long have you been at Namaste?
The name is Raynetta, but you can call me Ray 🙂 I’ve been at Namaste for a month now!

One thing someone may be surprised to know about you is:
My cat’s name is Mozzarella because I was genuinely thinking about pizza when I named her.

Best advice you’ve heard recently?
Love people where they are. Regardless of their issues and weaknesses, love them for who they are because they are deserving of love. My job is to love and here I am.

How do you personally define wellness?
Taking care of myself, spiritually, mentally, and physically so my body can be in tip-top shape.

What are your favorite habits or rituals that help to make every day sacred?
“The First Five” basically, after I wake up in the morning, I don’t check my phone or even glance at it, instead I give God my first 5 minutes. I’ve been trying to make God the center of my being. By doing this, I’m honoring Him and starting my day off with Him. It helps to center me and makes me want to be a good human in this world.

The best interaction you’ve had with a student in the last 6 month?
Well, this past month has been fun getting to know all the students. My favorite interaction has to be with Kay M. We have the shortest, but most fun conversations. I have a septum piercing and she asked if it hurt, and I told her not even. I suggested that she get one and her facial expression was priceless. You had to be there!

Favorite classes or teachers at the moment? 
Elissa Buchman’s Vinyasa class is a favorite of mine. It’s definitely because Elissa is the teacher. If you ever get the chance to connect with her outside of the studio, you’ll realize she’s a sweet pea. I’m in the midst of making my rounds to all the studios to try different classes.

What are you up to when you aren’t in the studios? 
I’m reading, hiking, or discovering new adventures with my friends or by myself. Most of the time, I’m snuggled up with my (fur) daughter, Mozzarella.

Anything you’d like us to share with our Namaste community? 
I like to write. I have a blog where I’ve been documenting my transition into adulthood from highschool, now in college. No doubt life is hard, but I find beauty in being raw and real. That’s what my blog is, raw & real. I’m a lover of community and doing life with people, feel free to hit me up so we can get coffee 🙂

Do you have a social media account we should check out? Give us your username! 
@ohirayyyy / if you’re in aesthetic, my Instagram is the place for you.

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Relaxation 101: The Difference Between Yin and Restorative

We all know the feeling of being worn out. Eyelids heavy, brain a little fogged, ambling through the day fantasizing about rest. It’s true that active movement, like a vinyasa practice, can help keep the energy up but when we’ve already hit a wall pushing the body isn’t always the best call.

This is where learning to relax becomes a key self-care practice. Yoga provides a myriad of tools to help us slow down and reset. If you’re healing from an illness or injury, exhausted, overworked, or stressed to the max consider a class that hits the pause button.

Classes that fit into this category include Restorative, Yin, Gentle, or Therapeutic yoga. The next question may be, how do you choose? In our new series Relaxation 101, we’ll be breaking down the differences in these ultra sweet and nourishing practices.

What is Restorative Yoga?

The term “adult naptime” is an occasional phrase offered to describe Restorative Yoga. The exciting part is that it is so much more! During a nap, the body and mind fall into unconscious rest, most likely in a traditional horizontal sleeping position. Restorative Yoga provides the same level of rest but helps to build awareness by keeping you mindful of the body. In a Restorative Yoga class, you will experience a small set of poses that rely on numerous props like blocks and blankets to help the body let go and relax. This process gives your body a supported, gentle stretch while allowing the nervous system to relinquish tension and stress built up through the day. Imagine the most luxurious Shavasana possible!

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga is based on the ancient Taoist concepts of yin and yang. Introduced by Paul Grilley in the late 1980’s, Yin Yoga works synergistically with the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Yin yoga is much slower and gentler than a typically Hatha or Vinyasa class but still challenging in its own way. The focus of Yin is to dig deep into the health of joints, bones, ligaments, and fascial networks. Yin accomplishes this by taking a more active approach to gentle asanas (poses) like forward bends, happy baby, or child’s pose. Yin provides a deep satisfaction of feeling both intensity and relaxation within the body as muscles melt and ligaments release.

What are the main differences between Yin and Restorative Yoga?

Interested in trying a Restorative or Yin class? Check out our weekly Restorative and Therapeutic class schedule! 

We have a *Brand New* YIN class with Sarah Moody (featured in all of our lovely restorative photos above!) now Fridays at 4 PM at Namaste Yoga + Wellness Rockridge.

 

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We Love Our Students: Meet Natasha

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
Hello! My name is Natasha and I’ve been practicing at Namaste since January.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
I’ve always been curious about yoga but I’ll admit, I thought it looked intimidating. I wasn’t so sure I could keep up or move my body in a certain way. However, after my first couple of classes, I realized that I really enjoyed how I felt during and after my practice.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Grand Lake

Favorite parts of taking a class at Namaste?
I love the staff at Namaste Grand Lake. The front desk staff is always so helpful and friendly, and the teachers are amazing. Every class has been a positive experience, from the moment you step onto your mat and throughout your practice. The instructors are super helpful and make you feel welcome and at ease.

What is your definition of wellness?
Doing what makes you feel good (mind, body, and spirit) and having fun while doing it! I think we should enjoy our wellness journey and have fun with it, take the time to relish in how it makes us feel and figure out what works for us individually and what doesn’t.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Grand Lake

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
For a couple of weeks in college, I did conservation work in the Costa Rican rainforest.

Favorite things you do to help make every day sacred?
I try to get outdoors as often as possible. On my breaks at work, I pop my headphones in and walk around downtown SF. When I get home, I try to get out for a walk in my neighborhood. The fresh air is a great way to decompress after a long day and to just take in a different view.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
Take it one day at a time. Make one change or incorporate a new habit/routine and stick to that for a week or two. Then gradually build up from there at your own pace.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Grand Lake

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Don’t Leave Good Vibes on a Loaner Mat

Yoga mats are like magic carpets. The first few moments of being on your mat may inspire a sense of being home. But like a magic carpet, your mat has the ability to transport you to an entirely new internal landscape. This 6ft by 2ft piece of seemingly benign material can become a sacred space, a portal that unlocks the deepest feelings of serenity, insight, and growth.  Whether you finish your practice sweaty and tired or calm and rejuvenated – it is rare you leave your mat feeling the same as when you first stepped on.

] Your mat is like a friend you can carry with you throughout your health and wellness journey. It absorbs everything from good vibes to happy tears… and all the other less palatable buggers like bacteria, viruses, and dirt. This is why we can’t stress enough how important it is to GET YOUR OWN MAT!

So where do you start in finding the perfect practice companion? Follow our handy flow-chart and find your perfect match!

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Find Your Perfect Yoga Mat

Try a B Yoga Mat

• The stickiest mat we’ve found!
• A combo of natural and synthetic rubber, this increases durability and longevity of the mat.
• Synthetic rubber is a by-product of the plastics industry, reducing landfill waste.
• Mat finishing process is more environmentally-friendly than other methods of curing.

Try a Manduka X

• Designed with some thickness and texture to work for all kinds of mat activities, including yoga, pilates, and TRX
• High-density cushion
• Very grippy
• Made with recyclable materials
• Crafted without toxic glues or solvents

Try a Jade Mat.

• Made of rapidly renewable natural rubber • Made in the US
• Comes in 3 different weights
• Open cell technology for a sticky mat experience.
• Avoid exposure to direct sunlight.

Try a Manduka EkoLite Mat.

• Made of biodegradable natural tree rubber
• Free of toxic chemicals or dyes.
• Finished with a unique texture and gorgeous colors.
• For the longest life span, keep stored in a cool dry place.

Try a Manduka EkoLite Mat.

• Made of biodegradable natural tree rubber
• Free of toxic chemicals or dyes.
• Finished with a unique texture and gorgeous colors.
• For the longest life span, keep stored in a cool dry place.

Try a Manduka ProLite Mat

• Sticky mat takes a little time to break in, but it’s worth it!
• Closed cell technology makes for easy cleaning
• Excellent cushion
• Lifetime guarantee
• Gorgeous colors

In a high traffic yoga studio (we see over 2000 of you each week!) it’s nearly impossible to keep loaner mats 100% fresh and clean before each and every use. While we do our best to keep up – loaner mats are truly meant to be in emergency situations only.

Visit one of our three beautiful boutiques and ask one of our friendly front desk coordinators for help navigating our mat choices. We love to help you find the perfect fit.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Jade Yoga Mats 1

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We Love Our Namaste Students: Meet Matthew

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
My name is Matthew Gordon. I have been practicing at Namaste Yoga + Wellness fairly often for the last year or two.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
I was searching for a way to help heal the physical ailments in my body. Since then yoga has become a practice for not just my body, but my mind and my emotional well being. It continues to help me find my peace and gratitude in life.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Berkeley Matthew 1

Favorite parts about taking a class at Namaste?
Well, to be honest, I really like a lot of the teachers at Namaste. I feel like they really love what they do and that they enjoy sharing the knowledge of their practice with others. I like practicing at the Berkeley studio because it is out of the way, hidden, quiet, and energetically, for me, it is a little calmer than many studios I have practice at.

What is your definition of wellness?
My definition of wellness is a state of mind and being that the practice of yoga and being in touch with nature continually help me to find and remember. It is calmness, peace of mind, and gratitude. That and eating all your fruits and veggies! Also, spending as much time in nature as I can help me to feel calm, restores my sense of balance in this fast-paced bay area life, reminds me not to take myself so seriously and that I am very lucky to be alive …. it is probably the biggest part of wellness for me

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
I like to travel a lot. I used to live in Hanoi for four years. No, I don’t speak Vietnamese, but I do enjoy pho.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Berkeley Matthew 2

Favorite things you do to help make every day sacred?
Coffee in bed. I cook. A lot. It’s a kind of meditation slash hobby for me. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
What has worked for me is to have a goal, to embrace the fact that reaching your goal will be a journey of many steps, and to remember that the setbacks along the way are not failures but reminders that the journey to wellness is a process and a lifelong endeavor. Also, spending as much time in nature can help me to feel calm, restores my sense of balance in this fast-paced bay area life, reminds me not to take myself so seriously and that I am very lucky to be alive …. it is probably the biggest part of wellness for me.

Anything you’d like us to share with our Namaste community?
I love to hike. If you see me around, ask me about trails or joining me on an adventure. I would love to find people to hike with!

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We Love Our Namaste Students: Meet Amiti

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
Hi! My name is Amiti & I’ve been practicing at Namaste since March.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
When I was younger & my mom first introduced me to yoga, I thought it varied between impossible and boring. At some point in high school, I started realizing that yoga was the perfect way to bring awareness to & strengthen my imbalances.

Best Yoga Studio Berkeley

Favorite parts of taking class at Namaste?
I love how the teachers promote individual exploration. While the form of each asana is important, to me the magic of yoga involves the small variations of how you distribute your weight on the floor, or the slightest tilting of your pelvis.

What is your definition of wellness?
Feeling calm and alive. Motivated to take on the world, while feeling centered and in tune with your breath.

Best Yoga Studio Berkeley

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
I’ve visited all 7 continents.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
Stop searching for answers in the world around you & start searching within yourself. Decide one habit to incorporate into your life & commit to trying it for 3-4 weeks & feel proud for loving yourself.

Best Yoga Studio Berkeley

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Springtime Ayurvedic Wellness

As we slowly emerge from the chills of Wintertime and into the blossoming of Spring, we are welcomed not only by the warmer days, blooming flowers, and abundant sunshine but also by the mind and body’s need for rejuvenation and replenishing. With Spring comes the urge for a fresh start – a cleansing of the cozy, hibernating lifestyle held in Winter. While we move through this transition, the longer days and warmer temps are not the only things that are changing – our bodies are biologically set to make a shift as well requiring some focus and attention, self-care, detox, and reflection. Common habits of Winter include eating more and moving less. The chilly weather and decreased sunlight prompt us to seek out more food and eat it quicker – it is a primitive response in preparation for the colder months (although some may argue that the increase comes from more opportunities to eat due to the festivities of the holidays).

Whatever the reason may be, once these habits are adopted, it has a direct effect on overall health and well-being. In the western society, we most commonly refer to the seasons as four cycles in a year; Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. However, in Ayurvedic practice, these cycles break down into three seasons that also coincide with the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Leaving Winter means leaving Vata season, which is comprised of air and ether. This period is generally from late Fall into early Winter and is characterized by cold, dry, windy, and light (think airy) qualities. As Spring approaches, we head into the Kapha period which is from late Winter into Summertime and is made up of water and earth. It is characterized by heavy, slow, solid, and oily qualities. To prepare our minds and bodies for this shift and optimize health, we can use the wisdom of Ayurveda to guide us through this transition and on our way to joining the flowers in blooming.

Ayurvedic Spring Wellness Tips

First things first – let’s talk food! As mentioned, diet makes a huge shift with the season and so we must actively pay attention to not only what we’re eating, but how we are eating. This means adopting balanced eating habits that will be beneficial in providing nutrients that give us energy, help keep us full, and practice mindful eating. Eating mindfully is important because it affects digestion and how the body converts food into energy. For example, if you are feeling anxious or stressed while eating (i.e. sitting in traffic on your morning commute), your body will process your food differently than it would if you were sitting at the table eating slowly and paying close attention to your senses – how the food tastes, smells and feels. I invite you to give it a try and reflect on how it makes you feel.

Another nutrition-related tip is to eat foods that are in season and that will be pacifying to the Kapha Dosha. Decrease heavy or stimulating foods like caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and meat, and integrating pungent, drier, and warming foods and spices like turmeric, ginger, lemon, berries, sprouts, and greens, which are naturally cleansing for the body. These foods tend to be lighter than the comfort foods of Winter. Trying out new recipes and experimenting with new ingredients is always a fun way to discover your new favorite, healthy dish! And as always, stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water (might I suggest adding lemon?), and swap out coffee for refreshing herbal iced tea like hibiscus or blood orange.

Ayurvedic Spring Wellness Tips

Now that we’ve dabbled in food-related changes, we can move on to that mental, self-care part that I mentioned earlier (WOO!). Springtime is a time for cleansing, reflecting, and deciding to let go of what is no longer serving us in a bountiful and loving way. This can mean a number of different things ranging from simply cleaning out your closet to cutting off toxic relationships. Let this time be a period of reflection and self-inquiry – find yourself journaling and revisiting those goals you may have set at the beginning of the year, and if you never got around to it, set them now! Now is always a good time to start and remember not to beat yourself up if you’ve fallen off track, just keep on going with self-love and compassion.

Life can feel hectic with all this change and transition, so channeling your energy towards creating a routine for yourself is always a helpful practice. Create a morning and evening routine and stick to it! This could be taking time to really dive into your yoga practice (see class schedule here), meditation, reading a book, journaling, and speaking words of affirmation. Another practice to incorporate is pranayama like Bhastrika – or bellows breath which helps to increase the flow of prana throughout the body’s energy channels, removes excess congestion, and helps to lighten the mood. Strive to keep consistency within your daily routine and notice the benefits of your practice. Lastly, one of the best habits you can get into with the changing seasons is to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Aerobic activities as simple as going for a long walk or riding your bike can benefit the mind-body drastically – stimulating the brain and invigorating the body! Bask in the sunshine and breathe in the fresh air!

Taking the time your body needs to feel refreshed will have you feeling so grateful you did, as well as provide an incentive for you to continue on this path. Let this time be a transition into a greater, brighter, more self-loving you! Happy Spring!

Bay Area's Best Yoga Studio Now Hiring Front Desk Staff

Rhiannon is a true, wild adventurer pursuing wellness at heart, and a total lover of life. Originally from the Rocky Mountains of Denver, she came to the Bay Area in 2013 to finish her degree in Psychology and feed her hunger for exploration. She is on a journey pursuing Yoga Therapy and has recently completed trainings with the Art of Yoga Project based in the greater Bay Area, and her RYT-200 hour certification in Yoga Therapy and Alignment in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Her passion for the world of wellness is something that is deeply rooted in her everyday endeavors and something she wishes to share with her community and the world! Time well spent to her means practicing and teaching yoga, meditating, writing, snuggling her kitties, cooking yummy, healthy food, dancing, backpacking, rock climbing, and traveling. To learn more about her journey, and for some fun inspiration, follow her on instagram @truewildwell!

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GOOD VIBES: Spring Challenge is HERE!

Good Vibes Spring Challenge

Kick-off spring with our Good Vibes community challenge!

Score points over the next six weeks by engaging with your Namaste Yoga + Wellness family. When you’ve accomplished nine activities turn your card into the front desk for a chance to win ONE MONTH OF UNLIMITED YOGA!

Step 1: Pick up a card on your next visit.

Step 2: Take ACTION to GET STAMPED by the front desk for things like coming to class. ENGAGE with a new friend to FILL IN THE BLANK and learn something new about someone. Practice self-care by savoring a cup of tea to CHECK IT OFF under SCOUT’S HONOR.

Step 3: Turn in your card at the front desk to receive a beautiful Namaste Reusable Shopping Bag and enter for a chance to win!

We will be choosing three winners on Friday, May 18th!

All participating students will receive a Namaste Reusable Shopping Bag.

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Community Classes: 5 Facts to Inspire YOU

Namaste offers community sliding-scale donation classes at all three studios on a weekly basis. I was inspired when asked to teach the Thursday night donation class because of the power of community. Comunity is a great refuge in these uncertain times.

At Namaste, let’s inspire and uplift each other and the broader community. Let your friends and family know about the healthy chance to practice yoga and meditation together! Our Thursday night Yoga + Meditation class at Namaste Rockridge is donation-based and no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. It’s the perfect opportunity to bring your friend or loved one with you.

When I feel the need to be reminded of how important community is I seek out inspiration like the piece below transcribed from a speech given by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Development Network, based on the work of Milton Olson:

Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in V formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help, and we give our help to others.

Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities, and unique arrangement of gifts, talents, or resources.

Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those in front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help or protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.Bay Area's Best Yoga Teacher

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Meet Your Staff: Rose Barkley

Rose is modeling some of our newest apparel from the Namaste Boutiques.

Featured here: Joah Brown black tank and Beyond Yoga high waisted leggings. Perfect to go from the studio to the street.

Each week for the next few weeks we will be highlighting one of our incredible Namaste tribe members! With so many inspiring, passionate folks working at Namaste we felt it was a crime to keep their shining personalities from the rest of the world.

Meet Your Staff: Rose Barkley

How long have you been at Namaste and what do you do here?
I started in August 2017 and I am the Assistant Manager at GL

Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in the Bay Area?
Originally from Kansas City, I gravitated to the Bay Area in 2013.

Favorite part of Namaste?
The community, daily practice of kindness, and seeing people’s bliss radiate after a yoga class or massage session.

Best Bay Area Yoga Jobs

Best advice you have ever gotten?
Be true to who you are, everything else will fall in place.

How often do you practice?
Daily practice!

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
The experience of reconnecting with my own body and mind, finding connection through community and experiencing a happier more fulfilled self.

Best Bay Area Yoga Jobs

What are your favorite self care practices?
Aromatherapy and a long steamy shower

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I teach yoga, run my on small business where I make soft goods and hang out with my fur children

We know you love our teachers equally – BUT whose classes do you take the most?
this is so tough…I honestly have been trying out anyone and everyone but totally dig Jaimi Patterson

Best Bay Area Yoga Jobs

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