Odisa Walker: My Dad, My First Teacher

I grew up in the 70’s in Southern California. My mom and dad emigrated here from South America (Colombia & Peru) in their early twenties. They came not to get away from their own countries but simply looking for adventure, something different, and they made the US their home. My mom was down to earth, dealing with how to pay bills, put food on the table make a good life. My dad was sort of the opposite. He was, and remains a seeker. He was also looking for the ‘the good life’ but that meant something completely different to him. He was always looking for meaning, and from my mother’s perspective, not concerned enough about the day to day realities of supporting a family.

My dad’s life (and ours) changed drastically around 1973 when he went to a party at our neighbors place. He was already a vegetarian and wasn’t interested in drugs or alcohol so he wasn’t thrilled about attending but he remembers seeing this couple dressed in white. He was immediately drawn to them and started a conversation.The couple were members of a group called La Fraternidad Universal. This group was pretty far ut but not all that unusual for the seventies. My dad remembers thinking, ‘These are my people!’ They were the perfect balance of science, astrology and spirituality and yoga.

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I remember being a little girl and seeing my dad so serious about his yoga. It was a way of life. My dad and uncle were both a part of this group and greeted each other and all members of the group not with a handshake but an upraised hand with thumb turned in towards the palm and the words ‘Pax, hermano.'(peace, brother.) I remember many gatherings, everyone dressed in white, lots of vegetarian foods (the odors of these foods I remember to this day.) Lots of philosophical discussions and then the actual yoga asana practice. At home my brother, sister and I loved lotus and headstand and laughed hysterically trying to do these poses. My brother, sister and I lived with our mom but on weekends this was our life. We were kids and so we put on bored faces and gagged over the smell of the food but this group planted seeds of profound awareness to something beyond the superficiality of life. My dad never stopped talking when he was with us, in the car, on a hike to the Griffith Park Observatory, or camping. As much as we tried to tune out his constant contemplation on the meaning of life he made each of his children not thrill seekers but peace seekers.

I avoided yoga for much of my twenties but always had a nagging feeling that I needed to get back to it. I tried prenatal yoga during my first pregnancy and was utterly bored. My mind and body were not ready to slow down. I took other Hatha Yoga classes that I thought were nice but did not make me want to come back. In my early thirties I walked into a step aerobics/yoga combo at the Oakland YMCA that blew me away. The yoga was so fast and strength based and I couldn’t keep up at all. I laugh now to think that’s what it took to get me to stop, listen and feel. I was exhilarated at the end of class and knew I had just stumbled onto something amazing. It was my first vinyasa yoga class. Shortly after trying my first vinyasa class I moved to the east coast and eventually made my way to a studio in Washington DC. It was a Power Vinyasa studio where the yoga was hot, humid, fast and furious. I remember hearing Om’s being chanted in the studio for the first time, feeling a little breathless and emotional and knowing I had finally come back in my own way and time to the teachings of my childhood. This was my place, these were my people. I can walk into any yoga class now (and I often do) and quiet my mind. It doesn’t have to be fast or hot but that is what brought me back. I love the practice of breath and movement. It slows me down and becomes a meditation and that is what I love to teach. We can call it Hatha or Vinyasa or flow but essentially it is simply and profoundly Yoga.

My sister and I are both yoga teachers. It is a practice that sustains us physically, mentally and spiritually. We always know we can talk yoga anytime, we are each other’s captive audience. I believe my brother finds yoga in his life among his everyday tasks and has a quiet strength and peace within. Even my mother who did not think much of ‘Yoga’ eventually became a student of mine and my sister’s as well as at her local gym. My dad is still talking, maybe not quite as much, but still very much in deep philosophical thought. A flower is not just a flower and a star not just a star there is deep meaning to everything. The spider walking up the wall should not be killed but gathered up in your hands and taken outside. In talking to him recently about writing this piece he was excited and is now sending me songs he wrote and his own remembrances of this time. The teachings continue…

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20

Greg and Jenya: A Yoga Love Story

First, let’s just say we absolutely adore our students. They are the reason behind everything we do. Recently, one of our dear students Greg  Hubbard, emailed us requesting to cancel his membership. Although normally this would be a sad occasion, Greg let us know it was due to the fact he had just welcomed a new baby with his wife who he met in Sadie’s class! 

We asked Greg and his wife Jenya to share their love story and how yoga has impacted their life. We hope you enjoy their sweet interview as much as we did!

1. What first drew you each to Namaste or the practice of yoga overall?
When I met Greg I was very new to yoga. I had moved back to the area and started a yoga membership as a way to get over the dissolution of a relationship. To give myself a new focus and a different experience. Greg, on the other hand, has been attending Sadie’s class for 8 years or so at this point, he loves stretching and strengthening his body and feels that her class is always evolving and left him feeling invigorated every Saturday.

2. How long had you taken Sadie’s class before you met and what was the catalyst for making that first connection?
So for Greg this was a typical Saturday morning in Rockridge at a Sadie class, and this was my first. Typically I would have attended something later than 9:30am on the weekend, but for some reason I was up and the description of the class sounded enticing. I noticed Greg right away immediately to my right :, and I felt that little pang of excitement in my stomach right away! Soon enough, Sadie asked us to partner up for an activity, and within 3 minutes I was getting a stretch assist from Greg! – yes!!! Greg says that Sadie is not often known for partner exercises, so this too was fortunate 🙂 And that is how the magic started

3. What is your favorite part about the Namaste community?
What we both really enjoy about Namaste is that it gave us a context to do a healthy activity together. We started taking classes together, and going to weekend yoga really became a part of our weekend routine to the point that having to miss a class for events or travel felt strange. We really enjoyed going to a class, chatting with folks after that we were getting to know, having a latte – starts of the day right!

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4. How do you feel yoga has prepared you for this next chapter in your life?
We just became parents on Wednesday (eeeek!) and are really recognizing how important it is to really focus on taking care of ourselves as well as baby Olivia right now. We are trying to get her to learn how to breastfeed and just today Greg said “man I need to go to yoga to loosen my back from all this twisting.” So we are trying to be more gentle with ourselves. Also, Greg was helping me take deep breaths during labor, the breaths we learned in yoga! So yes, tons of benefits from ongoing practice, now we just have to find the time and money for it all! 🙂

5. What is your favorite thing to do off the mat?
Off the mat, we love to take our doggie, an 85lb rescue mix, for walks, still have lattes together on Saturday mornings, and try out new recipes at home and local restaurants. Now we also really love to cuddle our very new daughter!

Have your own yoga story?

Share with us at marketing@ilovenamaste.com to be featured on our blog!

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20

Seeing Gentle as Advanced Practice

By Vickie Russell Bell

I woke up this morning after sleeping for 8 hours and I felt wrecked, like I’d been hit by a bus. No, I didn’t have too many drinks the night before and I hadn’t even been awake at 3:30 needing to read for awhile to shut off the chatter in my mind. But I had been dreaming vividly. And the dreams were a bit like a post apocalyptic video game. What I knew upon waking was that my mind had been working through some stress. The evening before, I had finally made the decision to be honest with a man that I had been dating for a couple months. We had been having fun together, kind of a “friend’s with benefits” set up. But, I had been having this unsettled, nagging anxiety. After spending an hour quietly practicing restorative yoga, and inviting in this unsettled feeling (the sensation was just a clench in my chest and a hollow feeling in my belly that quickly dissipated as I gave it space) I knew that I needed to stop my current behavior in order to make space for the kind of relationship I truly desire.

Is this a piece about being single or dating etiquette? Not really. This is a piece about what’s often missing in our yoga practice. In the current yoga culture some of us have confused the practice of yoga with working out. Don’t get me wrong, working out is great and has it’s place. But the physical benefits of the practice of yoga are what I consider to be side effects. Long, lean, strong and flexible are wonderful by-­products of showing up on our mat.

The other day I was talking with a colleague about the idea “gentle is the new advanced”. I wholeheartedly agree.

Our culture rewards us for going hard all the time. We feel worthy when we push and stress.

I tell myself I am important when I answer the question “how are you?” with the answer “I am so busy!” We learn to ignore our exhaustion, our discomfort and our heartbreak. We learn to abandon our deeper Truths and needs in order to be productive beings.

And there it is BEINGS! For a long time I was a doer who had forgotten how to be. I ignored the young parts of myself that needed my attention and my comfort. I pushed all of that away and ran on adrenaline. Until I couldn’t do it anymore. Slowing down felt scary like a little death.

IMG_0833When I learned about restorative yoga and my nervous system, I felt drawn to it and scared at the same time. How can I stop pushing? Who will I be? What if all those plates I’ve been spinning crash down around me…then what? The ease that I touched kept drawing me back. I craved the comfort of the props and the deliberate stillness and silence. The physical yoga postures feel amazing in my body. It is fun to work hard in practice and to learn new things. The asanas can invigorate and challenge; they can be sensual and soothing. Gripping and protection start to soften and my mind is more clear. After 26 years of practice, this softening and clearing is the entry, the invitation to sit or to lie still. To invite the feelings that have been pushed down or distracted against (that nagging sensation of anxiety that leads me to the tenderness of knowing that I want more from a relationship).

After my quiet practice this morning, I knew that I had made a decision that was filled with integrity and honored all my desires and needs. I also knew that even though I had slept for 8 hours, I had still been exhausted. Sleep and relaxation are not the same thing. My restorative practice honored my night of disturbed sleep and the sadness of disappointing another in order to care for myself.

Some days when I lie down I am faced with a whirlwind of thoughts and an almost pounding sense of my energy. What I know now after years of balancing active asana practice with stillness and meditation is that it takes a little time, a little patience and a light attention on the breath and little by little my whole being starts to quiet down. Some days the ease feels deep and wide, and others, I barely touch it. When the chimes ring after 22 minutes of sitting or watching my breath or doing a restorative pose, I am more spacious, more sane and sometimes I feel like I’ve had a healing vacation.

Give it a try. Silence, stillness and savasana. Set your timer for 20 minutes. Switch gears. Get still and quiet. It will change your life. What’s missing from your yoga practice?

11_monthlyrestorative-socialJoin Vickie Russell Bell for the first session in her Restorative Series:

This Sunday, March 26 | Opening to the Equinox with Vickie Russell Bell

Take time to open up the body, wring out stress and balance winter kapha energy. This practice will center on restorative twists and renewing poses that free the breath to prepare your entire being for springtime. Sign up today: http://ht.ly/acWN30aarC5

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20

The Thoracic Jacket

The thoracic jacket is a supportive tool that helps maintain healthy upper spine alignment. It keeps the shoulder blades relaxed away from the ears, the chest lifted, and encourages the head to lean back and line up with the upper back.  I used it daily, not too long ago, when I struggled with chronic nerve impingement.  I had lots of tingling, numbness and nerve pain down the arms.  The sensations were especially uncomfortable when I slept on my side – for a 6-month period, I didn’t sleep through the night because of nerve pain.  My condition was probably encouraged by years of working with microscopes and computers for long periods of time, and exacerbated by two car accidents.  It also wasn’t helpful that I folded up in a car, 4 days a week, to drive to work from Oakland to San Jose.  I had lost all the natural curves in my spine.  The thoracic jacket was helpful in scaffolding my upper back, supporting me in healthy alignment so that my body could relearn a better way of being.

If you’re looking for relief from neck pain or shoulder pain, or maybe you’re just trying to neutralize text neck, I hope you’ll put on the thoracic jacket and go about your usual activities. Give it a try and see how you feel.  I have found it useful on days when I do a lot of writing or when I learn a new chant with my harmonium.  It’s not so great on days when you have to dress up for the office, and it’s particularly annoying if you like wearing nicely pressed, wrinkle-free clothes.

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Known for her curiosity, playfulness and nurturing style, Poh offers yoga practices that cultivate spacious presence for the busy, modern life.  Poh comes to yoga with a career in tech at the intersection of engineering, law and business.  Her personal practice revolves around nurturing body, heart and mind towards homeostasis as she navigates a demanding world.  This is the flavor of her yoga classes.  Poh teaches from the heart and offers her unique blend of attentiveness to healthy alignment, courageous + compassionate self-inquiry, and deliberate relaxation.  Typically, there’s a splash of Bhakti and she sings.

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20

Manduka Yogi of the Month: Kathleen Rice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BIG LOVE TO YOU KATHLEEN.

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

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20

How to Love Fear

by Sonya Genel

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

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

Enter: Yoga.

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

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

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

The Wisdom Voice Inside:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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20

The Magic of Enjoyable Movement – Hooping!

by Kimber Simpkins

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

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

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

I felt silly. Ridiculous really.

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

It was exhilarating!

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

It didn’t happen overnight.

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

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

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

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

With love to you and your body, Kimber

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

 

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20

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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This post is in partnership witlogo-inverted

 

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20

The Yoga of Intimacy & Play

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
— A.A. Milne (Winnie-the- Pooh)

I love teaching Partner Yoga almost as much as I love Winnie-the- Pooh. But then, just like no two bodies or partnerships are alike, why even try to compare a PAIR with a BEAR, right? I hope you will consider joining me on July 9th for our Partner Yoga Playshop which is a celebration of our interbeing and interdependence. The benefits of partner yoga include increased self-awareness and a deepening of one’s own yoga practice while getting the added perk of honoring and witnessing the other person’s practice. Bringing all of that together and you get the best of both worlds and even more!

Whenever I get to offer some support to my partner in a pose or receive some extra hands on assistance from my partner while on the mat, there is something very healing and reassuring about the energy exchange. The synergy of intimacy that can build over the course of a partner yoga workshop is quite lovely and many participants have said it has helped enhance the level of trust and cooperation in a relationship, whether it is with a significant other, a friend or a family member.

July 9th will be the first time offering this playshop to the Namaste community and am very excited to bring the fun and challenge of the various partner poses but also adding to the mix an extended guided relaxation for each couple that I affectionately call a “Yoga We-dra” which will be accompanied by my partner Tim playing soothing and transcendental singing bowls.

I was interviewed a few years back by KTSF about the many benefits of partner yoga and hope you will check it out here.

And here is a testimonial from a recent partner yoga playshop participant:

“I came to Ken’s partner yoga class not knowing what to expect and boy was I blown away! He is incredibly down to earth which I really appreciated. Lots of room for laughter and for me to be myself in the workshop. Ken demoed several of the poses with his lovely partner Tim, which helped make the poses more accessible. On that note I was amazed at how seamlessly he was able to make a class that I really enjoyed as a teacher and other newer students were clearly having as much of a juicy good time in. Check out his next workshop- you won’t wanna miss it!” -Jeremi McManus,RYT, MFT

Jason triangle assist close upIf you are interested in attending and want to know more, please do not hesitate to contact me: kjbreniman@gmail.com

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Want to sign up? Follow us here to register for our upcoming Partner Yoga Playshop!

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20

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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