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 Elissa Buchman:
What is your name and when/where/what do you teach?
Elissa Buchman–I teach Vinyasa Flow at Namaste Grand Lake on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7 – 8 AM
How long have you been at Namaste?
I was subbing at Namaste for about a year and a half before I began teaching regular weekly classes at Namaste Grand Lake in January.
What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I think I need to answer that question in three parts. Part one is, of course, that I loved yoga and wanted to share it with others. Part two extended beyond my reverence for the practice: I am a lifelong learner, a voracious reader, and a writer. Teaching yoga allowed me to creatively mesh those things together in a way that could actually make a difference in people’s lives, whether that was through providing someone a little bit of relief for 60 minutes or a whole lot more.
Part three is less flattering, but also deeply human: I wanted love. I saw how loved my teachers were, and I wanted in. I was 20 years old, lost and unsure of where I wanted to focus my vulnerable array of passions and interests. Teaching yoga, with its seemingly endless rainbow of external validation and love, seemed like something I could get behind.
Looking back, I don’t see any of those desires as negative or even misguided. Through my teaching and my practice, I have indeed found my passion and focus in life. Though it didn’t take long to realize there was no rainbow of admiration at the end of the teaching rainbow, I have absolutely found love through the extraordinary communities and connections I’ve been able to form with others.
Do you have any go-to yoga and wellness books or podcasts?
One word: Yogaland! Andrea Ferretti happens to be the wife of my teacher Jason Crandell, but she’s a badass, amazing woman all on her own. I listen to the Yogaland podcast religiously and love how it inspires my teaching and my practice. She interviews all sorts of yogis, yoga teachers, and wellness professionals who leave no stone unturned when it comes to the world of well-being.
Which teachers influence your practice?
Every single teacher I’ve ever taken has influenced my practice whether they’ve been my cup of tea or not, and I’m not just saying that! Though my primary teachers are Jason Crandell, Sean Haleen and Annie Carpenter, I make it a point to escape the echo chamber of my tried-and-true favorites and explore all kinds of other teachers and styles that keep me fresh and inspired.
What does your yoga practice look like and how has it changed your life?
Yesterday, my yoga practice looked like a powerful 90-minutes of chaturangas, arm balances, and inversions. Today, I rolled around awkwardly on my mat for 15 minutes in ways that could only vaguely be likened to asana, then proceeded to halfway relax into a 2 minute Savasana interrupted by my vibrating cell phone. Point is my practice changes all the time. Currently, it’s a pretty balanced combination of home practice and attending public classes, but had you asked me a few month ago my answer would have been entirely different. Yoga has made me both more disciplined and less rigid all at once. I am wholly committed to practicing yoga in some form or another for the rest of my life but know that what that practice looks like will remain in constant flux.
What is something you wish your students knew?
If your yoga teacher asks you in the beginning of class to “set an intention for your practice” and you draw a blank, this one is my go-to: I am a human, humans make mistakes; I am allowed to be human and make those mistakes on my mat. The world can be harsh, and capitalizing on failure as a tool for growth is a privilege we don’t always get to take advantage of in our day to day lives without serious consequences. When you get on your mat, the world has essentially given you a blank canvas, a bunch of paint, and a blindfold to throw on. Don’t be afraid of making a mess–you may be pleasantly surprised at what you’re able to create, or at the very least have a good laugh in the process.
What is your morning or evening routine? (whichever is your favorite..or both!)
Oh, wow. My answer to this could not be more mundane. The only things I do every morning or evening with enough frequency to call it a “routine” is brush my teeth, change my clothes (either into or out of my pajamas,) and possibly look at pictures of french bulldogs on Instagram.
What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
The ability, and arguably the necessity, of wearing so many hats! As a teacher, I get to be a poet, a creative thinker, an academic and a scientist. It’s like someone found an old manifesto from my childhood entitled “What I Want to be When I Grow Up” written on bright pink construction paper, then handed it back to me as an adult and said, “go for it.”
What are you involved with outside the studio?
This has changed hugely for me in the last six months. Right now, I’m in the early stages of becoming a clinical psychologist. And by early stages I mean, EARLY. I’ve only just submitted by applications to doctoral programs, and am currently enrolled in a few fascinating prerequisite courses before I begin the processes of getting my degree. Aside from that, I’m usually immersed in some sort of teacher training program, reading a wonderful novel, or watching a terrible Netflix horror film with my girlfriend.
What is your go-to movement (asana, dance, hiking, etc.) that allows you to feel the most connected to yourself? *
Yoga [asana] Though my yoga practice is not always asana-based, when it comes to movement, asana is my kryptonite.
What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
I was born and raised in the Bay Area, which I understand makes me somewhat of a unicorn (thanks, rent control!) I love the diversity, the culture, the people, the passion, the nature, the yoga, and my mom, who still lives in Oakland (if you met her, she’d probably be your favorite thing about the Bay Area, too.)