Meet Your Teacher: Domonick Wegesin

Namaste Yoga + Wellness is a container for the Bay Area’s best yoga teachers to offer their incredible talent and wisdom to students of all backgrounds. These highly experienced teachers have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others and we couldn’t be more grateful. It is an honor to support them and to connect them with yoga practitioners like you.

We are excited to share this special new blog series focused on celebrating your yoga teachers and hopefully giving you a glimpse into the brilliant team that is the Namaste Yoga + Wellness family. We have over 55 teachers in our community and every single person offers something unique!

Meet Domonick Wegesin:

How long have you been at Namaste?
10 years

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
Yoga helped me face my fears of not being enough. I have always loved to teach, and realized I would love to teach something that had been so impactful in my own life.

Your favorite literature on yoga or meditation?
The writings of Pema Chodron and Mary Oliver.

Which teachers have influenced your practice?
David Goulet, Annie Carpenter, Janet Stone, Richard Rosen, Dylan Werner

How often do you practice?

What is your morning or evening routine?
Morning pranayama and chanting with my husband. We start each day in sync, every breath for the first 30 minutes of the day in tandem.

Your favorite self-care practices?
Hiking in Nature, soaking in our hot tub under the trees and sky, dancing, yoga.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
Crazy about our Schnoodle, love to dance.

Absolute favorite asana?
Wild Thing – love it’s beauty, curvilinear form and heart-offering expression.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The people who are the most accepting of any place I’ve ever lived.

Anything else you want to share?
So grateful to be in the Namaste Community to have a place to share the teachings of yoga and meditation. Thankful for Kimberly and her vision.

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Meet Your Teacher: Danielle Woermann

Namaste Yoga + Wellness is a container for the Bay Area’s best yoga teachers to offer their incredible talent and wisdom to students of all backgrounds. These highly experienced teachers have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others and we couldn’t be more grateful. It is an honor to support them and to connect them with yoga practitioners like you.

We are excited to share this special new blog series focused on celebrating your yoga teachers and hopefully giving you a glimpse into the brilliant team that is the Namaste Yoga + Wellness family. We have over 55 teachers in our community and every single person offers something unique!

Meet Danielle Woermann:

When and where do you teach?
I teach Nia Dance at Namaste Berkeley!

How long have you been at Namaste?
5 years

What inspired you to become an instructor?
I was inspired to become a Nia teacher when I began taking classes 17 years ago in Oakland from Shelly Ross.

Do you have any go-to yoga and wellness books or podcasts?
I enjoy Gabrielle Roth’s Maps to Ecstasy.

Which teachers influence your practice?
My teachers are Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas who inspire me every day through their routines and teachings.

What does your Nia practice look like and how has it changed your life?
When I began my Nia practice, I wasn’t fully aware of my body’s sensations. Nia has taught me to be in sensation and to be able to heal myself emotionally, physically and spiritually.

What is something you wish your students knew?
I wish they knew that access to their self-healing potential is completely available.

What is your morning or evening routine? (whichever is your favorite..or both!)
I practice the Nia 5 Stages in the morning which is a short physical routine which increases mobility, strength and stability.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
Being able to share music, magic, and joy.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
Home life, beekeeping, volunteer work.

What is your go-to movement (asana, dance, hiking, etc.) that allows you to feel the most connected to yourself? *
I dance, hike and practice hula hooping. I attend weekly yoga classes and also enjoy the subtle healing of Breema technique.

I can never get over the diversity of the Bay Area and Oakland in particular. Best weather anywhere!

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Your Year in Review: 2017 Personal Inventory Worksheet


Memory is a funny thing. The more time passes, the more our recollection of the past shifts and evolves, taking on the hue of the present moment’s wisdom. Take some time this month before we welcome 2018 to document the highs and lows of 2017. What path did you take? There is no sweeter gift for yourself than creating space to touch in with your mind, body, and spirit. Try this ritual below to honor the closing of one year and the birth of another:

  1. Find a quiet space (or somewhat quiet space if you have roommates, children, excited pets).
  2. Light a candle or burn some palo santo.
  3. Pull out a special journal or some fresh white pieces of paper.
  4. Close your eyes, take 10 deep breaths in and out, watching your out breath. You can place your hand over your heart or rest gently on your thighs.
  5. Set an intention for this practice. A suggestion would be “I am grateful for all this year brought and open to honest reflection”
  6. Get writing! Save this worksheet nearby and check-in on it throughout next year to see how far you have come!

Download your very own Year of Empowerment Personal Inventory worksheet!

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

Join us for a New Year’s Day Benefit Class to support Habits for Humanity! The best way to kickstart your new year.

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Meet Your Staff: Rockridge Manager Holly Saitta

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

Featured here: Onzie velvet crop top and metallic leggings. Perfect for NYE dancing!

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 Studio Manager: Holly Saitta

Who are you?
My name is Holly and I am the Rockridge Studio Manager.

How long have you been at Namaste and what do you do here?
I have worked here for going on 5 months and began as a front desk associate then fell in love with this amazing place and community then took over as studio manager at Rockridge. I make sure all is well with the studio staff and clients helping create a sacred space for us all to be a part of.

Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in the Bay Area?
I grew up in a very tiny rest stop of a town in central Florida before moving to Gainesville Florida for college then graduated and have been living my California dream here in the Bay for about half a year now.

Favorite part of Namaste?
Namaste’s diversity of offerings; experiences, retail, and community wise.

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
Community! I specialize in bringing people together through the practice of Acro Yoga.

What are your favorite self-care practices?
The people, the forests, and the fog

What are you involved with outside the studio?
Outside of work I am a skater yogi and love to go to acro yoga jams. I also enjoy cooking healthy meals with my loving other half.

We know you love our teachers equally – BUT whose classes do you take the most?
I love Melina Meza’s class!

Want to work at Namaste Yoga + Wellness?

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The Season of Gratitude

[Photo of Namaste Teacher Danielle Woermann]

November feels like the beginning of the end. Blink twice and the holiday season will be here before we know it. The ceremonial death of one year while the birth of a brand new chapter rests on the horizon. This is the optimal time for inward reflection before the tizzy of celebrations pulls our energy into external events. This is why we’ve chosen, as routine as it may be, to focus on gratitude. Gratitude for the big things in life: family, friends, health in body, mind, and spirit. Gratitude for the small moments too: a warm cup of tea, the silent dark mornings of fall, or a smile from a stranger. We ask you to sit with gratitude in your practice and use it to fuel a more intimate connection to everyday life.

What does it mean to Make Every Day Sacred ?

Every Day Sacred was the name of our first yoga teacher training and the phrase has stuck around because we believe it encapsulates our vision and purpose. Every single day is a gift. We are awake, breathing, and engaged in a world that exists in a temporary and ever-changing realm. How lucky we are to be conscious and to have the power of choice! Each day gives us the opportunity to flex our resilience and perspective in order to shape our reality. Dedication to our yoga practice can be the constant that brings us back to this understanding of our inner strength and power.

To Make Every Day Sacred is to live with mindfulness and non-attachment. We notice, like a soft breeze, when something enters our threshold of awareness and triggers within us joy, pain, or an indescribable emotion. We watch our reaction and give thanks for the experience of connection to this very moment. Then, like an exhale, we release our grasp on whatever it was that came our way. We acknowledge the heartwarming of a kind act and just as simply we let it go – opening to the next experience. We actively choose to see the hidden beauty unfolding in every moment regardless of its tenor.

Community Practice:

Gratitude Meditations

How you can participate:

This month we will be offering journal prompts, inspirational videos, and opportunities to give back to the community. Take your first step by finding a sweet journal where you can begin making your daily notes of gratitude and growth!

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

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Summer Reading List: Volume 2

Stay Curious! Summer is a great time to catch up on your active desire to read more and be inspired. Here, we’ve collected some top yoga-relative reading from your fave teachers. So, before it’s too late, pick a book up from our boutiques or load up your kindle with some of these brilliant recs.

[bottom left] Carpenter: Richard Rosen’s newest book, Yoga FAQs. Local Yoga Legend, Richard asked his students what they wanted to know, and he answered! Its a fun, accessible and yet remarkably thorough — and profound — collection and everything we always wanted to know about Yoga, its past, present and future.

[bottom right] Domonick Wegesin: One recommendation:  Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert.  It’s more of a mindfulness book, but shares psychological insights into what makes us happy.  Insightful read.

[top left] Baxter Bell: I love the books by Stephen Cope, The Wisdom of Yoga, and Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, as well as Richard Rosen’s Original Yoga and his newest book, Yoga FAQ.

[top right] Julia Alexander: I would recommend poetry – invoking our imagination, reviving the inspiration, speaking the language of the heart…Hafiz, Rumi (of course), Rilke…Mary Oliver, David Whyte…

[bottom left] Nubia Teixeira: Gita Wisdom by Joshua Greene, Yogini by Janice Gates

[bottom right] Siri Peterson:  Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton, Disease Delusion by Jeffrey Bland

[top left] Vickie Russell Bell: The Mirror of Yoga by Richard Freeman, Yogabody by Mark Singleton (a controversial read!), Yoga FAQs by Richard Rosen

[top right] Claudia Florian McCaffrey: Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful, by Gurmukh, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Baby Massage, The Calming Power of Touch

Heads down people!

Learn more about our amazing teachers here.

(Including Jaimi Patterson, featured in pics in this post.)

Shop local and visit our boutiques where many of these books are available for sale!



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Using a Rental Mat? 4 Reasons to Get Your Own.

Most studios offer rental yoga mats for student’s who may have forgotten to bring theirs, visitors from out of town, or first-time students. Offering rental or communal mats is a way to ensure no one has to be turned away for lack of a mat, but it really shouldn’t substitute having your own. Yoga mats are spongy and porous making them great for cushioning your knees and wrists but highly susceptible to sweat and germ absorption.

Here are a few facts on why rental mats should be limited use only:

  1. Bacteria may be killed with anti-bacterial disinfectant – but viruses can live in mats for weeks. In order to really eliminate all germs studios would need to use high powered, highly chemical (note: toxic) cleaning solutions and these still don’t work on all viruses.
  2. Using heavy duty cleaning solutions run the risk of causing irritation and are harmful to the staff who labor to scrub the mats by hand each week.
  3. Studios (like Namaste) that run classes nearly all day do not have time to scrub the mats between class. While we do our best to cycle in clean mats before each class, it is not always a guarantee. This means regular mat borrowers inevitably end up with a dirty mat once in a while.
  4. Using a rental mat means you have nothing to practice on at home!

Your yoga mat is your sacred space. When you have your own, it becomes a portal to your practice, allowing you to roll it out anywhere and find a few minutes of connection with your body and breath. That’s why we are encouraging all of our students to find a mat that they love.

Read more:

Beware of Germs – Yoga Journal

Communal Yoga Mats – The New York Times

Is It Safe to Rent a Yoga Mat? – Popsugar

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Take a Break with Poh Teng

Imagine a busy work day in which you are the eye of the storm. Despite a packed schedule, you are calm and focused. Without baggage from the past or worries about the future, you are present with each task at hand. You solve problems and make decisions with clarity. You execute tasks with precision and juggle competing priorities with equanimity, all while being kind, patient and peaceful.

I can honestly share that this scenario is easier said than done!

When not teaching yoga, I work full-time managing intellectual property for a tech company. On most days, I am out of the house before dawn to beat the morning traffic. Although I’m typically home before rush hour begins in the evening, my work day can get extra long if I teach an evening yoga class. Too often, discrete moments transform into a cascade of events that crash into each other, blurring into a long, draining continuum.

Does this sound like a familiar experience?

On such busy days, a 90-minute yoga class with any of my teachers is an impossibility. I’m lucky if I’m able to squeeze in a 30-minute restorative yoga practice at home without my dogs worrying that I have died on the bedroom floor.

Fortunately, yoga teaches us that each moment is an opportunity to practice, to nurture that which we wish to become.

Atha yoga nushasanam, remember?

Each instance is a chance to return to our highest, truest selves. Even if all we have is just 5 minutes. When we remember to pause, we step away from the madness instead of being carried away by it. Instead of thinking-doing-solving, we
unwind, and
Even if we are in business attire and without a yoga mat.

Finding little moments throughout the day to pause is essential for cultivating balance. Not a work day goes by in which I don’t practice a couple yoga poses in an empty conference room, or use a lacrosse ball to self-massage my trapezius or gluteal muscles. Sometimes, I go for a walk outside.

Will you join me in taking 5-minute breaks in your busy everyday?

Visit TAKEABREAK.YOGA – my latest heart offering.

The site is a free resource that offers simple practice sequences to help you cultivate balance in a demanding world. No yoga props, special clothing or admission fee required. Visit the site often to be guided through practice.

To shake things up, a new sequence is unveiled every couple of weeks. So check back often, not only to see how a regular mini practice can change your day, but also to explore different yoga journeys.

Pencil in 5-minute breaks into your schedule. It could be while you wait for the coffee to percolate, or during much-needed down-time between meetings.

Get out of the office chair.
Stretch out the back.
Take deep breaths.
Rest the mind.
Iron out kinks in the body.
Create space to help you see clearly.

All you need is 5 minutes. TAKEABREAK.YOGA

Here is a sample practice from the site. Click here to download a high-res version for print.

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5 Workshop to ACTIVATE Your Self-Care

 This month our studio focus is:

Self Care Activism

This is the Year of Empowerment and this month we are focused putting our self-care first. Taking time for ourselves isn’t selfish, it is necessary for us to show up wholly for the ones we love. We do our best work when we are feeling loved and confident. Self-care is also contagious. When we see someone make the choice to create space for self-care, it gives us permission to do the same. All month we are asking you to stand up for self-care and inspire those around you to do care for themselves too!

Here are our top five picks this month for workshops that will help you fully embrace your self-care vibes:

Blissful Body with Adam Kurzfield and Kameko Shibata

The art of self-care is a radical practice that allows us to slow down, nurture ourselves and enjoy the transition of winter into spring. This three hour workshop has restorative yoga and hands on massage, accompanied by live music – perfect!

Date: Sunday February 12 From: 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM Location: Grand Lake




Self Care Sadhana with Kameko Shibata 

Take Valentine’s Day back with a week long sadhana geared towards cultivating radical self-care as an act of self-love. Activate your body with an all levels flow, pranayama, meditation and explore a take home self-care tool.

Sat Date: February 12-17 From: 6:30 AM – 8:00 PM Location: Berkeley




Big Little Bowl with Sonya Genel and Arasa Maram

A heartfelt yoga practice with LIVE music followed by a nourishing meal. Step into a rhythmic flow of body and sound, heighten your senses, and finish feeling profoundly revitalized.

Date: Sunday, February 12 From: 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM Location: Rockridge




Warm the Heart Sound Bath with Missy Felsenstein

Experience ultimate relaxation during the live sound savasana led by sound alchemist Missy Felsenstein. In this special sound bath evening, indulge in meaningful rest and a soothing mental calm while being “bathed” by the blended, meditative tones of Paiste gongs and quartz crystal singing bowls.

Date: Tuesday, February 14 From: 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM Location: Rockridge




Love Your Body with Kimber Simpkins

“Love Your Body” is easy to say and harder to feel. Get down-to-earth advice on relating to your body with a little more friendliness every day with Kimber Simpkins, author of 52 Ways to Love Your Body. Find lasting peace within your body, and learn how to be your body’s best friend, starting wherever you are

Sat Date: February 24, 2017 From: 1:30 PM – 6:00 PM Location: Grand Lake





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