The Collective Tarot: The High Priestess

“Acknowledge the Shadows”

From the Wild Unknown Tarot

The High Priestess reminds us to take our moment of stillness and look calmly at all that lays before us. Perhaps this manifests as ten minutes of quiet sitting in meditation. Let there be some un-doing this week. A mantra to repeat: May I see clearly.

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Glimpse the Magic of Natural Healing

People always ask me how I became a Healer and Herbalist? Who did I study with and where? Granted I do hold a Masters of Science degree in Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine but before graduate school I spent over a decade doing fieldwork as a “desert rat” taking three journeys a year to different locations in the high deserts of California and the Southwest.

A desert rat is a term of endearment for all of us who might sight one another far off in the distance or at a general store picking up supplies in lost towns in dusty remote regions. Recognizable to each other by our clear eyes, fast instincts and disdain for having to interact with other humans.

I would pack up my truck in Oakland and leave for 10-day desert immersions. With maps in hand (no gps) and sheer gut instincts I would venture out into the high desert and learn the deep skill of listening; from plants, the winds voice or from a coyote encounter.

Annually, I would return to sleep in a tufa cave at 4,ooo feet elevation. The cave, which I came to call “my pod”, was one of my biggest Teacher’s. One late night while perched on the top of my cave pod I watched the night stars bright as gemstones and inhaled the Artemisia tridenta on the winds. Young and apprenticing I was just learning how to “be” on the land. The night Owl decided to gift me a lesson, they screeched and flew so fast with talons out trying to take me down. I fell back down into my pod hiding as to not be attacked by the ferocity and precision of the Owls aim. The Owl was teaching me to be aware that I was a visitor and this was there territory.

The desert not only taught me Herbal Medicine it made me brave and willing to face my shadow over and over again and return annually for profound and magical teachings.


Ratka-Mira

Ratka Mira has over 25 years of healing experience – we are thrilled to welcome her to Namaste!

My clients appreciate the way I treat them as a whole person. I recognize that injuries often have their origins in a variety of sources: physical, psychological, or spiritual. I use a combination of massage, breath work and various manual therapies to address the immediate needs of my clients and create healing plans that bring relief to current pain and address root causes.

She is at Namaste Berkeley on Wednesdays 10am-3pm. Find our next available appointment today.

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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.

Poh-thoracic

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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Style Drishti: August Action

Feels like we are all dying to work out in the summer sunshine, so action is our muse this week. Fire yourself up in clothes that move and breathe, then take action and get sweaty. This week’s style focus will take you there.

Good hYOUman Purpose Crop Sweatshirt. Motivate yourself to live your life with purpose and positivity with Good hYOUman’s inspirational apparel. Good hYOUman is a US designed and manufactured lifestyle brand infused with intention.  This simple crop sweatshirt with the text Do all things w/ purpose will make you feel comfortable yet confident to take on anything that comes your way.

Omgirl Nomad Legging. Take on the remaining days of summer with ease while wearing the most versatile legging in the universe. We do not say this lightly! The Omgirl Nomad Legging with its attached skirt has got you covered (literally!). This pant can take you from yoga into the beyond – dress it up with a cute flowy tunic for nighttime. Since Omgirl recently went out of business, this is your last chance to get this amazing pant. We stocked up before they were all gone, and it would be wise for you to do the same.

Beyond Yoga Cut Out Cami. Accomplish your goals for the rest of summer with athletic clothing that makes you feel good about who you are. Beyond Yoga is an eco-friendly activewear brand based in Los Angeles. The Cut Out Cami is a staple workout piece with a cute back that can spice up or splash a pop of color into any outfit.

Good Hyouman styles available at Berkeley and Grand Lake boutiques. Omgirl and Beyond Yoga can be found in all of our shops!

alexandra-300static1.squarespaceBrought to you by Alexandra, Namaste’s finest intern, and Helene Cotton, Namaste Creative Director. We love a good photo shoot.

 

 

 

 

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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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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. 

sonyagenel-a

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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The Collective Tarot: Six of Wands

“The more pressing question is, Where will you go with your new set of wings?”

From the Wild Unknown Tarot

Rise up and take flight, people! Now is the time to step into your truest self and leave behind the tough bits that got you here. Let this be our mantra for the week: May I be winged and soar.

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