How to Empower Your Students

by Abby Tucker

A lot of my students and peers have been asking:

What IS Progressive Teaching and why does it make you a better teacher, empower your students and build a strong community of committed and consistent students?

The answer is really pretty simple.

Progressive teaching connects one class to another while reinforcing what’s been learned and expanding it into more.   Along the way, students become fully engaged in the process of learning, deepening, growing in their practices while developing bonds with each other.  Progressive teaching is sequencing not just over the course of a class, but over the course of a week, a month, a year, 5 years.

Progressive teaching weaves a thread of connection from class-to-class in a way that students can’t wait to find out what’s happening next.

You may have heard of or even become a devoted listener of the surprise runaway success podcast Serial.  Over the course of 12 weeks, journalist Sarah Koenig methodically and charismatically follows a single story.  Each week is built on the next and there’s really no way to just drop-in.  Listeners filled the social media-sphere with conversations, thought about it, tried to solve the mystery at home, and couldn’t wait until the next episode came out a long week later often gathering together with friends to do so.

Compare that, to say, a sitcom on TV. You can sit down, turn it on having never seen it before, watch it, laughing and thoroughly enjoying it, but an hour later, you’ve forgotten it and only occasionally remember to tune in next week.

Though it’s not exactly the same, by teaching yoga in a methodic and serial story format, your students are more likely to return week to week and to see their practice progress empowering them and exciting them to learn and practice more.

Students who are new to your class immediately sense that something is happening in these classes and your students become a magnet attracting more.

Please join us June 13 – 17 for The Art of Progressive Teaching. This 25-hour continuing education program for yoga teachers is designed to give you the tools to truly embody the role of teacher. Learn about the program here.

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Maternal Lineage Meditation

Maternal Lineage Meditation

This body-mind meditation is part restorative yoga posture/part guided meditation, a whole body offering to your lineage of maternal ancestors, and an embodied acknowledgement of the earth beneath you that holds you up.  This meditation was inspired from the wise words of my doula in a moment of birthing my son where I felt I had no reserves left to go on.  She came close to me, placed her hand over mine, looked me in the eyes and said:

“I need you to dig down deep and feel all the women who have done this before you.  I need you to feel their strength rooting you down and holding you up.”

Those words nourished my soul with the last drops of energy I needed to move forward in my labor.  And I often think of all the mothers before me, who have shared in this path of motherhood, when I am holding my son on one hip, tired at the end of the day.

About Lily Dwyer-Begg

Though she has had a committed practice since 2000, Lily’s most profound, direct, earthy, transcendent, and soul-altering experience of yoga in her lifetime was giving birth to her son Blaise in 2013. Lily has taught yoga since 2005 in Berkeley, CA; Berlin, Germany; and Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has brought her to work with hundreds of pregnant and postpartum mothers, in yoga studios internationally, with an NBA basketball team, an NCAA diving team, and to homeless women and children. Lily studied with Shiva Rea, Ana Forrest, Don and Amba Stapleton, David Moreno, yoga for scoliosis with Elise Browning Miller, Ayurveda with Kameko Shibata, Prenatal yoga with Marisa Toriggino, and Yoga for the Female Pelvic Floor with Leslie Howard.

Her approach to Prenatal Yoga is a signature balance of precise alignment based posture, slow flow, uplifting community building, and humble acknowledgement of the sacred inner strength, boundless love, and liberated consciousness within all mothers every step of their own motherhood journey no matter what shape it takes. She currently makes her home in Baltimore with her husband, Aaron and son, Blaise where she is the director of the YogaWorks Baltimore Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training.

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Style Stories: Practice On

Style Stories: Practice On

Rain or shine, make the space to get to your practice. Mine has been inspired lately by the rainy weather we have been receiving here in NorCal. I’ve been channeling all sorts of greys and greens and blues, followed closely by the pinks and yellows of the abundant gardens of the world. This rain has spring chomping at the bits.


Delighting in the moody blues. From left to right: Gossamer Zen double-sided printed yoga mat, Free People Moonshadow legging, Free People High Neck Crop Tank in Jungle Green, SaraLua recycled glass and rudrashka mala, Manduka tie-dye Yogitoes towel mat.


Blaze ahead. Keep your fingers activated on the keyboard with jewelry from this sacred geometry inspired line, Saraswati. New to our boutiques, this affordable brass jewelry will brighten up any spring look. Yeah, you might need to take this one off and set on the edge of your mat while practicing…but I couldn’t resist sharing!

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Lighten Up. Channel the colors and moods of Spring. From left to right: Manduka grey recycled yoga block, Free People pink turnout Legging, New Harbinger Buddha’s Brain, Magic Carpet printed mat, Onzie waterproof bra (doubles as a bathing suit on retreat!), Wolf Child Venom Vision tank.


Earthy Grounding. The softness of this faux suede shawl is the best reminder to soften into everything (even your warrior 2!). Plus with our NorCal weather, it’s always smart to have a light layer stowed away in your purse.

Signing off for now!

Helene Cotton, Creative Director of Namaste Yoga


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Manduka Yogi of the Month: Keely Burke

We’re so excited to announce our yogi of the month for March: Keely Burke.  Keely is a long time Namaste student (and all around awesome lady) that maintains a consistent practice with a full schedule. Read all about her below and send her some love in the comments!


I am an Expressive Arts Psychotherapist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  That means I use the arts: drama, movement, visual art, music, poetry, etc, as part of the way I help people heal their emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds.  My healing work is with adults, couples, families and children.  You can find me at Center for Creative Growth, in North Berkeley. 

Fun Fact About You?

I’ve been studying the fiddle for the last two years learning to play Oldtime, Celtic, Country and Bluegrass music…and I got to play at the Freight and Salvage last May for Manning Music Studio’s student concert.

What inspires you?

My joyful, sweet, loving and playful 12 year old Cairn terrier, Molly, and 2 nieces Collins and Talbot, are great sources of inspiration helping me in my Metta practice very much to love myself and bring more of my loving heart to the world.

When you aren’t on the mat, where can we find you?

Hiking in the hills or redwoods, walking Molly at Point Isabel, blues dancing at La Pena, fiddling at Manning Music, with friends making local veggie filled meals, or traveling – I made it to South India last fall.

Favorite East Bay business?

Besides Namaste?!  Vics Chat Shop, with delicious Masala Dosa, just like what I ate when I was in India in October.

How has your yoga practice shaped who you are?

My yoga practice has influenced every area of my life.  I’ve been practicing for nearly 20 years now.  I started in my teens as a way to exercise.  Over the years, yoga has helped me to focus, soothe, calm and strengthen my body and subsequently heart, mind and spirit.  Being able to do this for myself has made me a better person, friend, partner, family member, healer and citizen. Yoga has taught me to stay with my inner experience, to keep breathing in challenging poses or through sometimes very difficult emotions on or off the mat.  By breathing and staying with my experience in yoga, I always again find peace, connection, bliss and union with the Divine.  Then I can act from that place, with a clear, warm, deep heart.  These gifts of my practice I can then give to my clients and all people in my life. 

Favorite Asana?

Do I have to pick just one?

I love Arda Chandra Chapasana or Half Moon Pose with bow.  I love the combination of balancing on one leg, while doing a hip and heart opener.  I feel like my body can shine out in this pose.  I can never get enough of Viparita Karani (legs up the wall), though. My body loves to sink deep into the ground and get still.

Why do you love Namaste?

I can’t possibly name all the reasons I love Namaste.  Primarily it’s the community that creates such a healing, warm and loving space.  My primary teachers: Kimber, Margi, Abby, Elana, and Alexis, help me love my body and connect to my deepest, highest self.  Through an immersion with Kimber, I got to know deeply a large group of fellow yogis that I get to gets hugs and brunch with regularly.  The managers Christine and Tosha are such sweet and kind lights welcoming me to my classes or my massage.  I’ve gotten fabulous massages, especially with Nathan.  Overall, everyone is so kind!  I don’t know Kimberly well, but under her guidance, all three studios have such a calm, kind, and professional presence that create a regular place for me to tune in.

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Moon Flow Sequence by Abby Tucker

You’re probably very familiar with “Surya Namaskar”, or “Sun Salute”, but do you know the moon flow? If not, you’ll definitely want to check out the “Chandra Namaskar” or “Moon Flow” sequence below, a beautiful way to bring a sense of grounding and rest to the body when you’ve had too much yang energy or need to cool down heat and fire in the body. Modern yogis looking for a very active practice often seek out flows like Surya Namaskar, which builds heat and allows energy to rise, taking us deeper in to our practice. Chandra Namaskar, on a the other hand, invites in the opposite power of soothing and rest which actually replenishes our energy stores. Therefore, this moon salutation really brings us in to a balanced practice and lifestyle. If you feel like you’re lacking energy pay heed to that feeling and instead of doing a vigorous practice try a more meditative practice like Chandra Namaskar. Your body and mind will thank you!

Our resident “Moon Mama” Abby Tucker brings us this delicious sequence for the full moon and new moon dates, or anytime you feel the call of la lune. We’ve mirrored the flow in the sequence below for easy following along. May your nights be bright, shiny and balanced.


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Inspire Your Workday: Six Yoga Poses for Any Body

You can take a yogi out of her yoga clothes, but she takes yoga with her wherever she goes. Namaste teacher Poh Teng shares some easy office yoga postures to bring spacious presence into the body, heart and mind.  The best part is that this sequence is good for any body and and takes very little time, squeeze it in between meetings, during conference calls, or a few moments before lunch.


Pepper the postures throughout a busy day at the office, or incorporate the entire sequence into your routine by practicing at the same time everyday.  Hold each posture for five, deep breaths. If a posture has a left side and a right side, don’t forget about the second side.


To learn more about Poh, visit

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Namaste 2016 Desktop Wallpaper Calendar

Cultivate the seeds of the future. Now is the Time!

Set the tone for your new year with our free downloadable desktop wallpaper and take the opportunity to look forward and envision your next three months. Click on one of the download links below and then right click to save it to your computer.

What are your hopes and dreams for the year?

Download Desktop Wallpaper Full Size [3840×2160]
Download Desktop Wallpaper Full Size [1920×1080]

With lots of love and gratitude – we can’t wait to continue on this sacred journey with you all year long!

P.S. stay tuned for the Spring Calendar coming in April!

In peace,



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Finding a Kinder Practice- My Path To Therapeutic Yoga By Jill Lindsay

By Jill White Lindsay

I know what you’re thinking, therapeutic yoga sounds so…clinical.  But don’t get weirded out by the not-so-sexy name of the practice, I’m here to tell you that this style of yoga changed my life. 

I remember going to my favorite challenging yoga classes, ready for a great workout and especially excited to get so hot that I just had to strip down to show off my new lululemon sports bra.  In certain asanas, I would glance over towards my neighbor wishing I could go deeper into a pose like they were.

My yoga at that time was about pushing, comparing, and striving for that strong and perfect practice.  

I was able to let go of some of that ego when I earned my 200-hour certification, understanding that perfection is really not what yoga is about. But deep down, as hard as it is to admit, I was still trying to prove something. Because of that, I was attracted to practicing and teaching the more powerful disciplines of yoga. I was able to teach for a few years that way…until I had my one and only injury, blowing out my right shoulder.  I’m sure there were warning signs I could have listened to, and ways I could have modified, but my body finally said, “That’s it!  I can’t keep practicing this way!” I put a band-aid on it for a while, letting myself rest and heal here and there. But I still kept practicing and demo-ing those difficult postures, re-injuring myself again and again. When I finally admitted my defeat, I realized I was extremely limited in my practice and teaching.  

It wasn’t until I found a physical therapist and yogi that understood my shoulder from a yogic perspective, and that taught me how to strengthen and support the weak muscles that originally caused the injury that I was able to begin to heal.  I was embarrassed by how little I knew about the rotator cuff muscles and the glenohumeral joint. I was supposed to be an experienced instructor, after all!  This PT also taught therapeutic yoga classes, a discipline that immediately spoke to me. I felt calmer, more connected, and restored after class.  The need to prove flew out the window. I no longer felt frustrated by the poses I couldn’t do, but instead, felt empowered by what I was still able to do, and found myself going into poses that were still deep and opening, but in a safe and healing way.  Slowly, my shoulder regained its full range of motion and became even stronger through therapeutic yoga.  That PT (and my now mentor) is Harvey Deutch, and he and I still meet once a week where I assist him in his physical therapy clinic in SF.  Yes, I originally stumbled upon this form of yoga because of my injury, but I’ve made it my goal to show that therapeutic yoga is a practice for all body types, all ages, and all skill levels.  This rewarding practice is not just for the old or injured, it is a type of yoga that every body can benefit from.  

Please don’t misunderstand me. When instructed and executed correctly, those powerful yoga classes can be of great benefit to many bodies. I still enjoy a strong, sweaty class from time to time. But the hard truth is, many classes are taught too quickly without the proper experience behind the instruction to support and guide yogis though the movements in a safe way. Injury should not be a normal, accepted part of the yoga experience. Our yoga should not be about forcing or pushing ourselves into postures just so we can say we “got there.” In my opinion, the other hard truth is, a lot of the yoga out there is not a sustainable way to practice. It’s possible when bodies are young, strong, and flexible and they can withstand the more heavy repeated force of a fast flow or challenging power class. But I’m not sure I see myself doing chaturangas, handstands and arm balances into my older age.  I want a practice that can evolve with me. Part of what therapeutic yoga has taught me is to let go of what I used to be able to do. So what if I can’t do crow like I used to. At least I can say, I’ve sure never had a more safe and stable-feeling down dog than I do today because I’ve slowed down and learned more about body mechanics.

After receiving my 100-hour therapeutic yoga certification, I am a more well-equipped and better educated instructor in the studio, in addition to being a more receptive practitioner when I practice at home. I can now spot when someone who seemingly has a beautiful down dog is actually over-extending their hyper flexible shoulders instead of stabilizing those joints and trying to find more extension in their thoracic spine. Learning where to move from instead of going into our hypermobilities might help save a students shoulders before they give out like mine did.  

I’m not here to instill fear, and I’m not here to speak poorly of other forms of yoga. I am here to help you give yourself permission to slow down if that’s what your body is trying to tell you…mine sure was. Our yoga practice should be about listening to what feels good, and knowing when to pump the brakes when something doesn’t feel right.  I think more yogis could be practicing in a sweet and wise way. I think there could be more yoga out there that offers the practice as a healing modality, as a sort of therapy…not just a form of fitness. So come give therapeutic yoga a try with me, see what you think.  The only requirement is the desire to show up, to have a willingness to play, and learn something new about your body.  

Check out Jill’s classes on Tuesday and Friday.

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January Manduka Yogi of the Month: Alan Perlberg

We’re so excited to be partnering with Manduka to recognize a Namaste yogi each month that is a staple of our community and who inspires us daily! For our second month we’d like to recognize Alan Perlberg, someone who lifts our spirits when we see him and is extremely dedicated to taking his practice off the mat! We asked Alan to share a little bit more about himself below:


Learning specialist

Fun Fact About You?

I find joy in making music 

What inspires you?

Falling down and getting back up

When you aren’t on the mat, where can we find you?

Out walking and hiking and spending time with lisa, my wife

Favorite East Bay business (other than Namaste :)?

Sushi Park or the Aurora Theater

How has your yoga practice shaped who you are?

Having the mat as a sacred place to do my own practice and to be part of something bigger …and bringing my practice out into the world

 Favorite Asana?

Mountain pose

Why do you love Namaste? 

Feeling part of a community … lots of classes with wonderful teachers having varied styles … helpful and friendly staff … convenience of Grand Lake location … and great massage too!

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Manduka Yogi of the Month: Mimi Miller

We’re so excited to be partnering with Manduka to recognize a Namaste yogi each month that is a staple of our community and who inspires us daily! The first person we’d like to recognize is Mimi Miller, a dedicated yoga student with a long standing practice who has been with us since the beginning! Mimi shares a little bit more about herself below.

1. Current Occupation?
I have my own real estate business in San Francisco and Berkeley, and now that I am 74 I am gradually transitioning into retiring and becoming more immersed in yoga as a spiritual practice and as a way to serve the community, although I’m not sure how that might look yet.

2. Fun Fact About You?
I am a liberal Democrat and my husband is a conservative Republican, which creates a lively space for fire and forgiveness!

3. What inspires you?
I am inspired by my grandchildren, my daughters and their significant others, my husband, my two brothers my yoga teachers at Namaste and many of the students with whom I practice. What inspires me about my yoga teachers at Namaste is not only the quality of their teaching and their commitment to the path of yoga and to their students, but their willingness to be present no matter what is going on in their lives.

4. When you aren’t on the mat, where can we find you?
When I’m not on the mat my favorite times are spent with grandchildren, children and family. I love swimming, preferably in the ocean, but love swimming laps in an outdoor pool too. Backstroke is easy for me and I’ve recently learned how to do the Butterfly, which is quite thrilling. I love nature and gardening, advocating for animals and all wildlife, and drinking coffee with my Sweetie in the morning. (Well, too many interests to name them all.)

5.Why do you love Namaste and how has your yoga practice shaped who you are? 

Namaste is my favorite East Bay Business, which leads me to why I love it so much. First of all, as soon as I walk in the door, I am greeted with so much joy and enthusiasm at the front desk. Now this makes quite an impact on me, and it creates this beautiful quality of aliveness and happiness that stays with me during the day and evening. Then how scrumptious to go to class and to feel what it is like to be with my teachers who are so committed, attentive, helpful and kind. I have experienced a lot of physical and emotional healing at Namaste that continues daily. The passionate presence and lively humor of teachers and staff at Namaste have helped me to open my heart and feel compassionate acceptance and gratitude for all that is being revealed for healing, and to feel love, compassion and acceptance for each other, for animals, for all of creation.

Stay tuned for our next yogi of the month, it could be you! If you’d like to nominate someone please email

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