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 Steph Woods:
What is your name and when do you teach?
Steph Woods, Vinyasa at Namaste Grand Lake every Wednesday 9:30am, and Sundays at 11am.
How long have you been at Namaste?
I’ve been subbing for a handful of months, and practicing here for a year and a half. But brand new as one of your permanent teachers!
What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
So many things! I was most inspired to become a yoga instructor because the practice changed so much within me, I wanted to share that goodness with others.
Do you have any go-to yoga and wellness books or podcasts?
I love Osho’s book “Contemplation Before Sleep”, and I always enjoy exploring different translations of the Sutras.
Which teachers influence your practice?
Annie Carpenter, Brandon Osborne, and so many more. Also all the dance teachers I’ve ever had.
What does your yoga practice look like and how has it changed your life?
My yoga practice involves daily meditation, a daily physical practice of either yoga asana or dance, and mindful eating. The ways yoga has changed my life are too long to list in their entirety. But I’ll give you a snapshot. I used to be a bartender. I worked late hours, I drank every day, I partied a lot. I thought I had life figured out, because I was having “so much fun”. I was wrong. My spirit and heart were unfulfilled and eventually cried out to me, quite loudly. I had been a sporadic practitioner at Exhale yoga studio in Venice Beach, CA. But something shifted and I began to practice daily. I went through a Teacher Training and learned more about the philosophy and history of yoga. I traded my late nights for early mornings. I started reading books on yoga and asking my teachers more questions and letting myself learn internal lessons through the asanas. My heart cracked wide open, and the joy I contained as a child swept in, the love I was looking for embraced me, and my perspective on life shifted. I now live & practice to keep allowing that divine Joy & Love in, and share it with others as much as possible.
What is something you wish your students knew?
That they are already really, really perfect.
What is your morning or evening routine? (whichever is your favorite..or both!)
I love my morning routine! I wake up and proclaim “Today is a great day!” and usually say a couple things I’m grateful for. I do the usuals like wash my face/brush my teeth. Then I make some adaptogenic tea with coconut milk (so yummy!). Then I head to whichever studio I’m teaching at for the day, arrive before anyone else is there, and meditate until it’s time for me to open the studio and teach. Early mornings are my favorite!
What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
My heart gets filled over and over again each time I watch people move their bodies. I think movement is one of the most important ways we can connect to ourselves and to life. And so many people go through life completely unaware of their body. So when I see people in movement, waking up to their own body and connecting with it deeply – it’s just one of the most beautiful things in this world.
What are you involved with outside the studio?
I am a beginning aerial dance student, and I love it so much. It balances strength and flexibility in new ways, and challenges my mind and body.
What is your go-to movement that allows you to feel the most connected to yourself?
Asana and dance. I have a background in Modern dance and love to turn on some music and just flow in a free-form way that feels good to me.
What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The people! And all the trees.
Anything else you want to share?
I can’t wait to connect more with the beautiful community at Namaste Yoga. I moved to the Bay about a year and a half ago and fell in love with these studios. I wanted to enjoy being a student for a while, but now I am excited to be on the teaching end, and give back all the love I’ve experienced here.