February Manduka Yogi(s) of the Month: Ravi and Shanti

This month we had a hard time choosing just one Manduka Yogi of the month and instead chose one of Namaste’s yoga power couples, Ravi and Shanti! Both are dedicated practitioners and are in a class almost every day of the week, and when you read their Q+A’s below you’ll see how truly amazing that is with all of the cool stuff that they do. We love having you at Namaste Ravi and Shanti, thanks for adding to our community with your focus and commitment.

Meet Shanti:

Occupation?

I teach high school Math and Computer Science

Fun Fact About You?

I love Salsa dancing! 

What inspires you?

Cooking a warm, nutritious meal and spontaneous singing! 

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

Tinkering with Arduinos! They are like tiny computers that help you make DIY projects such as interactive art or robots!

Favorite East Bay business (other than Namaste :)?

Transports and Mariposa baking company.

How has your yoga practice shaped who you are?

It reminds me of the luxurious beauty of doing one thing at a time, with care and joy.

Favorite Asana?

Extended side angle.

Why do you love Namaste?

I love the teachers at Namaste! I often feel like I have taken a workshop on something very specific and tangible even after a regular class. The level of detail and attention that teachers bring to the class is a true treasure to behold

Meet Ravi:

Occupation?

Software engineer in a health startup in SF. 

Fun Fact About You?

I love running. 

What inspires you?

Travel – learning about new cultures.

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

Hiking in a park nearby. 

Favorite East Bay business (other than Namaste :)?

Cheeseboard pizza. 

How has your yoga practice shaped who you are?

Made me self aware – taught me to listen to my body and better understand my thoughts.

Favorite Asana?

Half-moon pose. 

Why do you love Namaste?

Great teachers! A loving and helpful community.

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The Path to Happiness

General Vivek Murthy, the US Surgeon General says that there is one factor that leads to health and success in life – happiness.  He defines happiness not as hedonistic pleasure, but as emotional well-being that comes from fulfillment, social connection and love. He says that “happiness is protective,” and reduces our risk of illness and death from illness if we do become sick. Further, our happiness is not due to external factors in life, but from our own internal response to life events and circumstances.  Scientific research shows that this state of emotional well-being can be cultivated by practicing gratitude, kindness, exercise, meditation and social connection. These simple practices lead to a healthier and stronger world.  

The Buddha taught these very same principles 2,000 years ago. Our own well-being and ease arises from how we respond to the ups and downs of life. He taught gratitude as one of the paramis – a “perfection” of the heart. Kindness is considered to be at the pinnacle of human development.  Meditation teaches us to work with our minds.  Community is a sanctuary and refuge in this life.  

These days you can find mindfulness in many settings such as the workplace or a hospital with no mention of the Buddha who was the original teacher of mindfulness.  In large part this is because research has shown the effectiveness of meditation.  Yet many of us still don’t understand what is meant by mindfulness meditation and we feel that we can’t do it because of some perceived fault such as impatience. Mindfulness meditation is not about coming to a kind of blank thoughtless state – in actuality, it is not about coming into any particular state at all.  Mindfulness meditation is way of observing and experiencing moment by moment whatever is arising.  Mindfulness meditation allows us to practice non-contentiousness with everything that arises during the meditation including impatience, grief or peace. We practice not judging whatever comes and cultivate the habit of non – reactivity. When the mind is clear and free then wisdom and intuition arise naturally. The capacity to respond rather than react to whatever we may meet in daily life grows through practicing doing this while meditating.  We create more peace and less suffering.  We learn, as General Murthy says, our well-being is not due to external circumstance, but to our response. Meditation gives us a chance to practice responding with wisdom.

The Buddha taught community as a refuge in this life and recommended that we surround ourselves with others that are committed to waking up.  Research shows that we are deeply influenced by the people around us, our community. In the same vein, General Murthy also recommends social connection for happiness.  

Want to dive deeper? Join Ashley Sharp for a deeper look into yoga, meditation and mindfulness in a 10-month Yoga and Dharma immersion combining exercise (yoga asana), meditation and social connection in one program.  This program is a deep immersion into the cultivation of happiness and emotional being through the ancient teachings of both yoga and meditation. Learn about the many forms of meditation and which types work best for your mind. Practice yoga asana, breathing exercises and sacred mantra.  Do what needs to be done to cultivate peace and create a better world for us all…

Learn more about our Yoga and Dharma 65 Immersion with Ashley Sharp!

 

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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,

Namaste

 

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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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