Yin Yoga vs. Restorative Yoga: Relaxation 101

We all know the feeling of being worn out. Eyelids heavy, brain a little fogged, ambling through the day fantasizing about rest. It’s true that active movement, like a vinyasa practice, can help keep the energy up but when we’ve already hit a wall pushing the body isn’t always the best call.

This is where learning to relax becomes a key self-care practice. Yoga provides a myriad of tools to help us slow down and reset. If you’re healing from an illness or injury, exhausted, overworked, or stressed to the max consider a class that hits the pause button.

Classes that fit into this category include Restorative, Yin, Gentle, or Therapeutic yoga. The next question may be, how do you choose? In our new series Relaxation 101, we’ll be breaking down the differences in these ultra sweet and nourishing practices.

What is Restorative Yoga?

The term “adult naptime” is an occasional phrase offered to describe Restorative Yoga. The exciting part is that it is so much more! During a nap, the body and mind fall into unconscious rest, most likely in a traditional horizontal sleeping position. Restorative Yoga provides the same level of rest but helps to build awareness by keeping you mindful of the body. In a Restorative Yoga class, you will experience a small set of poses that rely on numerous props like blocks and blankets to help the body let go and relax. This process gives your body a supported, gentle stretch while allowing the nervous system to relinquish tension and stress built up through the day. Imagine the most luxurious Shavasana possible!

What is Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga is based on the ancient Taoist concepts of yin and yang. Introduced by Paul Grilley in the late 1980’s, Yin Yoga works synergistically with the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Yin yoga is much slower and gentler than a typically Hatha or Vinyasa class but still challenging in its own way. The focus of Yin is to dig deep into the health of joints, bones, ligaments, and fascial networks. Yin accomplishes this by taking a more active approach to gentle asanas (poses) like forward bends, happy baby, or child’s pose. Yin provides a deep satisfaction of feeling both intensity and relaxation within the body as muscles melt and ligaments release.

What are the main differences between Restorative and Yin Yoga?

Yin Yoga with Sarah Moody

Interested in trying a Restorative or Yin class? Check out our weekly Restorative and Therapeutic class schedule! 

We have a *Brand New* YIN class with Sarah Moody (featured in all of our lovely restorative photos above!) now Fridays at 4 PM at Namaste Yoga + Wellness Rockridge.


We Love Our Students: Meet Natasha

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
Hello! My name is Natasha and I’ve been practicing at Namaste since January.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
I’ve always been curious about yoga but I’ll admit, I thought it looked intimidating. I wasn’t so sure I could keep up or move my body in a certain way. However, after my first couple of classes, I realized that I really enjoyed how I felt during and after my practice.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Grand Lake

Favorite parts of taking a class at Namaste?
I love the staff at Namaste Grand Lake. The front desk staff is always so helpful and friendly, and the teachers are amazing. Every class has been a positive experience, from the moment you step onto your mat and throughout your practice. The instructors are super helpful and make you feel welcome and at ease.

What is your definition of wellness?
Doing what makes you feel good (mind, body, and spirit) and having fun while doing it! I think we should enjoy our wellness journey and have fun with it, take the time to relish in how it makes us feel and figure out what works for us individually and what doesn’t.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Grand Lake

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
For a couple of weeks in college, I did conservation work in the Costa Rican rainforest.

Favorite things you do to help make every day sacred?
I try to get outdoors as often as possible. On my breaks at work, I pop my headphones in and walk around downtown SF. When I get home, I try to get out for a walk in my neighborhood. The fresh air is a great way to decompress after a long day and to just take in a different view.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
Take it one day at a time. Make one change or incorporate a new habit/routine and stick to that for a week or two. Then gradually build up from there at your own pace.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Grand Lake

Don’t Leave Good Vibes on a Loaner Mat

Yoga mats are like magic carpets. The first few moments of being on your mat may inspire a sense of being home. But like a magic carpet, your mat has the ability to transport you to an entirely new internal landscape. This 6ft by 2ft piece of seemingly benign material can become a sacred space, a portal that unlocks the deepest feelings of serenity, insight, and growth.  Whether you finish your practice sweaty and tired or calm and rejuvenated – it is rare you leave your mat feeling the same as when you first stepped on.

] Your mat is like a friend you can carry with you throughout your health and wellness journey. It absorbs everything from good vibes to happy tears… and all the other less palatable buggers like bacteria, viruses, and dirt. This is why we can’t stress enough how important it is to GET YOUR OWN MAT!

So where do you start in finding the perfect practice companion? Follow our handy flow-chart and find your perfect match!

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Find Your Perfect Yoga Mat

Try a B Yoga Mat

• The stickiest mat we’ve found!
• A combo of natural and synthetic rubber, this increases durability and longevity of the mat.
• Synthetic rubber is a by-product of the plastics industry, reducing landfill waste.
• Mat finishing process is more environmentally-friendly than other methods of curing.

Try a Manduka X

• Designed with some thickness and texture to work for all kinds of mat activities, including yoga, pilates, and TRX
• High-density cushion
• Very grippy
• Made with recyclable materials
• Crafted without toxic glues or solvents

Try a Jade Mat.

• Made of rapidly renewable natural rubber • Made in the US
• Comes in 3 different weights
• Open cell technology for a sticky mat experience.
• Avoid exposure to direct sunlight.

Try a Manduka EkoLite Mat.

• Made of biodegradable natural tree rubber
• Free of toxic chemicals or dyes.
• Finished with a unique texture and gorgeous colors.
• For the longest life span, keep stored in a cool dry place.

Try a Manduka EkoLite Mat.

• Made of biodegradable natural tree rubber
• Free of toxic chemicals or dyes.
• Finished with a unique texture and gorgeous colors.
• For the longest life span, keep stored in a cool dry place.

Try a Manduka ProLite Mat

• Sticky mat takes a little time to break in, but it’s worth it!
• Closed cell technology makes for easy cleaning
• Excellent cushion
• Lifetime guarantee
• Gorgeous colors

In a high traffic yoga studio (we see over 2000 of you each week!) it’s nearly impossible to keep loaner mats 100% fresh and clean before each and every use. While we do our best to keep up – loaner mats are truly meant to be in emergency situations only.

Visit one of our three beautiful boutiques and ask one of our friendly front desk coordinators for help navigating our mat choices. We love to help you find the perfect fit.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Jade Yoga Mats 1

We Love Our Namaste Students: Meet Matthew

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
My name is Matthew Gordon. I have been practicing at Namaste Yoga + Wellness fairly often for the last year or two.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
I was searching for a way to help heal the physical ailments in my body. Since then yoga has become a practice for not just my body, but my mind and my emotional well being. It continues to help me find my peace and gratitude in life.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Berkeley Matthew 1

Favorite parts about taking a class at Namaste?
Well, to be honest, I really like a lot of the teachers at Namaste. I feel like they really love what they do and that they enjoy sharing the knowledge of their practice with others. I like practicing at the Berkeley studio because it is out of the way, hidden, quiet, and energetically, for me, it is a little calmer than many studios I have practice at.

What is your definition of wellness?
My definition of wellness is a state of mind and being that the practice of yoga and being in touch with nature continually help me to find and remember. It is calmness, peace of mind, and gratitude. That and eating all your fruits and veggies! Also, spending as much time in nature as I can help me to feel calm, restores my sense of balance in this fast-paced bay area life, reminds me not to take myself so seriously and that I am very lucky to be alive …. it is probably the biggest part of wellness for me

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
I like to travel a lot. I used to live in Hanoi for four years. No, I don’t speak Vietnamese, but I do enjoy pho.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Berkeley Matthew 2

Favorite things you do to help make every day sacred?
Coffee in bed. I cook. A lot. It’s a kind of meditation slash hobby for me. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
What has worked for me is to have a goal, to embrace the fact that reaching your goal will be a journey of many steps, and to remember that the setbacks along the way are not failures but reminders that the journey to wellness is a process and a lifelong endeavor. Also, spending as much time in nature can help me to feel calm, restores my sense of balance in this fast-paced bay area life, reminds me not to take myself so seriously and that I am very lucky to be alive …. it is probably the biggest part of wellness for me.

Anything you’d like us to share with our Namaste community?
I love to hike. If you see me around, ask me about trails or joining me on an adventure. I would love to find people to hike with!

5 Questions to Ask Before a Yoga Teacher Certification

If you’re on the mat regularly you know the power of the practice. But are you ready for a yoga teacher certification and training? Trainings have become increasingly popular – with different focuses on everything from social justice to healthy aging. If you know that you are ready to go deeper but are unsure if you need a yoga teacher training to accomplish this, reflect on some of the following questions:

1) Do you have a regular meditation or home practice?

Having a regular yoga or meditation practice is an important first step towards deepening your practice. Although maintaining a regular home practice can be difficult, it is something that most studios encourage before making a commitment to a teacher training. You don’t need to be practicing yoga every morning at 6 AM  – but you should spend time exploring a home practice and make a concerted effort to practice on your own as much as possible.

A good way to gauge if you have a healthy home practice is if you can say, with confidence,  that whenever you feel the need to tap into your body you know how to get there on your own, in a personal, sacred way. Learning how to make yoga personal and how to practice on your own are crucial building blocks for developing a practice that is meaningful and rich.

yoga teacher certification

2) Have you felt cues from other areas of your life encouraging you to dig deeper?

If your life feels like you are ready for a big shift, a teacher training may just be the spark you need. A teacher training will force you to focus, to dig down deep into your inner desires and values, and to learn how to express yourself in more authentic ways.

Often we may feel ready for a lifestyle change but are lacking the right environment or supportive community to help us achieve our goal. A teacher training can be a perfect opportunity to bond with fellow beings who are interested in curating a life of healthy choices and honest living.

3) Do you feel like you are in a supportive, stable place in your life?

A teacher training carries a lot of commitments. Not only will you be investing your money, but you will be investing a good amount of time, energy, and emotions. It is important to feel confident that your living situation, your personal relationships, and your finances are all in a stable place.

If it is a financial stretch, you are going through a rough breakup, or in the middle of moving – then taking a training right now may not be the wisest choice. Although it may sound like a fun distraction – the likelihood of you being able to tap into the inner wisdom you seek will be highly diminished. You want to be in a clear, stable place in your life where you can dedicate yourself fully to the teacher training journey.

yoga teacher certification

4) Are you feeling the desire to learn and become a student again?

Learning is a lifelong process. If you are feeling the burning desire to become a student again, there is no better way to answer the call than to take a teacher training. A yoga teacher training is an opportunity to not only advance your asana practice, but to dig into the philosophy and history of yoga. You will be in a classroom setting again, with fellow students whom with you can study, brainstorm and debate. You will be able to process all of your new knowledge under the guidance of experienced teachers. This will make the learning experience much more valuable than if you were to read the materials alone.

5) Is your yoga studio a place that feels like home?

This is the most important question. Is your yoga studio a place where you feel safe, accepted, and cared for? You will be spending a large amount of time there and will at moments feel very vulnerable. It is important that you vibe with the teachers, the atmosphere, and even the front desk staff. These people will become like family, and the relationships you have with them will either detract or enhance your teacher training experience.

yoga teacher certification

Namaste’s Every Day Sacred 200 Hour Teacher Training is right around the corner. If you are interested in expanding your practice, feel free to email us at tt@ilovenamaste.com or call us to find out more. Applications and more information may be found here. 

We Love Our Namaste Students: Meet Amiti

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
Hi! My name is Amiti & I’ve been practicing at Namaste since March.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
When I was younger & my mom first introduced me to yoga, I thought it varied between impossible and boring. At some point in high school, I started realizing that yoga was the perfect way to bring awareness to & strengthen my imbalances.

Best Yoga Studio Berkeley

Favorite parts of taking class at Namaste?
I love how the teachers promote individual exploration. While the form of each asana is important, to me the magic of yoga involves the small variations of how you distribute your weight on the floor, or the slightest tilting of your pelvis.

What is your definition of wellness?
Feeling calm and alive. Motivated to take on the world, while feeling centered and in tune with your breath.

Best Yoga Studio Berkeley

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
I’ve visited all 7 continents.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
Stop searching for answers in the world around you & start searching within yourself. Decide one habit to incorporate into your life & commit to trying it for 3-4 weeks & feel proud for loving yourself.

Best Yoga Studio Berkeley

Meet Your Staff: Tim Rubel

Introduce Yourself! What is your name, how long have you been at Namaste?
Tim Rubel. I’ve been at Namaste since January.

What is your favorite emoji at the moment? 
Tim Rubel. I’ve been at Namaste since January. My favorite emoji is a champaign bottle.

One thing someone may be surprised to know about you is: 
I can drive a fork lift. 😉

Best advice you’ve heard recently? 
Whatever happens on the mat is a paradigm for our lives.

How do you personally define wellness? 
Wellness is the state of being holistically healthy.

What are your favorite habits or rituals that help to make every day sacred? 
Coffee, 12 breaths, Looking up at the sky and smiling, a glass of wine with dinner, my home asana practice. Cooking dinner with my man.

Bay Area's Best Yoga Studio Now Hiring Front Desk Staff

The best interaction you’ve had with a student in the last 6 month? 
At Namaste, I have a growing friendship with a woman named Melissa Cadwalender. She is sassy, sweet and unapologetic and always makes me laugh. When I teach my own classes, I’d say that my best interaction has been when I see a student consistently attend class and drastically improve.

Favorite classes or teachers at the moment? 
My busy schedule has unfortunately kept me from taking any Namaste classes accept one. I look forward to this changing! I have amazing teachers elsewhere, however.

What are you up to when you aren’t in the studios?
I am a professional dance artist. I teach dance and direct my own contemporary dance company in San Francisco called Tim Rubel Human Shakes.

Anything you’d like us to share with our Namaste community? 
I am currently creating a new contemporary dance work with my company called “Alien.” I am co-choreographing this piece with a colleague of mine in Berlin named Elisabeth Kinder-Abali. We will premiere this piece June 14-16 2018 at CounterPulse and then tour to Berlin in September. You all can help if want! We have a gofundme campaign happening right now with some nice perks to support our efforts this season!  Check it out here: https://gofundme.com/alien18

Do you have a social media account we should check out? Give us your username! 
Tim Rubel Human Shakes on Facebook


Fashion Transparency

Fashion Transparency — No, I don’t mean mesh!

We live in a fast paced society where “new” is highly valued and the pace of production, in so many arenas,  is even higher. When it comes to fashion, we don’t often think of how the fast cycles of fashion and the drive for cheaper and cheaper products impacts and shapes the goods we consume.

The fashion world is taking this moment to honor the way that clothes are made by celebrating Fashion Revolution Week, a moment to pause and consider how companies can be more obvious about their manufacturing processes.

Here at Namaste we are thrilled to celebrate two lines that are quite thoughtful in their transparency.

Groceries Apparel

Built as a vertically integrated company, Groceries is doing everything in its power to forward its values based agenda. They make sustainable clothing while providing sustainable lifestyles for their employees. They cut, sew, and dye under one roof, operating their own factory in the US, thereby providing fair conditions to their workers and limiting the carbon footprint of their garments.  They use only organic and sustainable fabrics, like eucalyptus and hemp, recycled plastic, and organic cotton.Groceries shares the stories of its’ workers, their backgrounds and experiences, pairing lives and  faces to the products they create. They walk their talk, and we are proud to share their product line in our boutique.

“Doesn’t it just feel better to wear clothes that you know are made sustainably and in a safe environment for workers? For me it certainly does! When I heard about Groceries Apparel mission to value sustainability and honor their employees, I instantly wanted to try their products – and when I did it was a game changer. From locally sourced materials, to using vegetable dye, to 100% organic cotton, these products feel like something different, something that holds meaning and encourages one to ask the question of how products are made in an ever-growing, fast-paced fashion industry. To learn the stories of their workers was moving and inspiring – to know the background of their experience made the product feel all that more personal. To have been wearing an item knowing that it was in the hands of caring, honest, and hard-working people who are being treated well and valued, made all the difference. ” — Rhiannon Valdez-Bevan, Front Desk Coordinator (shown here wearing Groceries dress in black, and Groceries crop top in white with Project Social T wide leg crop pants)


Beyond Yoga

Dedicated to fashion transparency and ethics, Beyond Yoga is another brand we are proud to support. They believe in sustainability and strive to produce many of their garments locally in LA. “From the growing and harvesting of Pima Cotton to the final sewing and all the processes in between, our approach is always clean and responsible. All of our global partners are WRAP certified, an independent team of global social compliance experts who are dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing. We value the rights of workers and believe in fair and safe workplace conditions.”

Plus this brand is body-positive, makes super rad apparel for movement, and is much loved by our staff!

“I love Beyond Yoga!! When I finally bought my first pair, I quickly bought a few more because they felt soooo good! It has become my favorite yoga apparel company. Not only is the clothing well made, super comfortable and flattering, they are also a company I can trust. They ensure that what they are producing is sustainable, humane and environmentally conscious. I feel good on the outside and on the inside. Win-win!” — Bekah Andrews, Yoga Advisor (shown below in Beyond Yoga tricolor leggings and bralette)


Springtime Ayurvedic Wellness

As we slowly emerge from the chills of Wintertime and into the blossoming of Spring, we are welcomed not only by the warmer days, blooming flowers, and abundant sunshine but also by the mind and body’s need for rejuvenation and replenishing. With Spring comes the urge for a fresh start – a cleansing of the cozy, hibernating lifestyle held in Winter. While we move through this transition, the longer days and warmer temps are not the only things that are changing – our bodies are biologically set to make a shift as well requiring some focus and attention, self-care, detox, and reflection. Common habits of Winter include eating more and moving less. The chilly weather and decreased sunlight prompt us to seek out more food and eat it quicker – it is a primitive response in preparation for the colder months (although some may argue that the increase comes from more opportunities to eat due to the festivities of the holidays).

Whatever the reason may be, once these habits are adopted, it has a direct effect on overall health and well-being. In the western society, we most commonly refer to the seasons as four cycles in a year; Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. However, in Ayurvedic practice, these cycles break down into three seasons that also coincide with the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Leaving Winter means leaving Vata season, which is comprised of air and ether. This period is generally from late Fall into early Winter and is characterized by cold, dry, windy, and light (think airy) qualities. As Spring approaches, we head into the Kapha period which is from late Winter into Summertime and is made up of water and earth. It is characterized by heavy, slow, solid, and oily qualities. To prepare our minds and bodies for this shift and optimize health, we can use the wisdom of Ayurveda to guide us through this transition and on our way to joining the flowers in blooming.

Ayurvedic Spring Wellness Tips

First things first – let’s talk food! As mentioned, diet makes a huge shift with the season and so we must actively pay attention to not only what we’re eating, but how we are eating. This means adopting balanced eating habits that will be beneficial in providing nutrients that give us energy, help keep us full, and practice mindful eating. Eating mindfully is important because it affects digestion and how the body converts food into energy. For example, if you are feeling anxious or stressed while eating (i.e. sitting in traffic on your morning commute), your body will process your food differently than it would if you were sitting at the table eating slowly and paying close attention to your senses – how the food tastes, smells and feels. I invite you to give it a try and reflect on how it makes you feel.

Another nutrition-related tip is to eat foods that are in season and that will be pacifying to the Kapha Dosha. Decrease heavy or stimulating foods like caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and meat, and integrating pungent, drier, and warming foods and spices like turmeric, ginger, lemon, berries, sprouts, and greens, which are naturally cleansing for the body. These foods tend to be lighter than the comfort foods of Winter. Trying out new recipes and experimenting with new ingredients is always a fun way to discover your new favorite, healthy dish! And as always, stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water (might I suggest adding lemon?), and swap out coffee for refreshing herbal iced tea like hibiscus or blood orange.

Ayurvedic Spring Wellness Tips

Now that we’ve dabbled in food-related changes, we can move on to that mental, self-care part that I mentioned earlier (WOO!). Springtime is a time for cleansing, reflecting, and deciding to let go of what is no longer serving us in a bountiful and loving way. This can mean a number of different things ranging from simply cleaning out your closet to cutting off toxic relationships. Let this time be a period of reflection and self-inquiry – find yourself journaling and revisiting those goals you may have set at the beginning of the year, and if you never got around to it, set them now! Now is always a good time to start and remember not to beat yourself up if you’ve fallen off track, just keep on going with self-love and compassion.

Life can feel hectic with all this change and transition, so channeling your energy towards creating a routine for yourself is always a helpful practice. Create a morning and evening routine and stick to it! This could be taking time to really dive into your yoga practice (see class schedule here), meditation, reading a book, journaling, and speaking words of affirmation. Another practice to incorporate is pranayama like Bhastrika – or bellows breath which helps to increase the flow of prana throughout the body’s energy channels, removes excess congestion, and helps to lighten the mood. Strive to keep consistency within your daily routine and notice the benefits of your practice. Lastly, one of the best habits you can get into with the changing seasons is to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Aerobic activities as simple as going for a long walk or riding your bike can benefit the mind-body drastically – stimulating the brain and invigorating the body! Bask in the sunshine and breathe in the fresh air!

Taking the time your body needs to feel refreshed will have you feeling so grateful you did, as well as provide an incentive for you to continue on this path. Let this time be a transition into a greater, brighter, more self-loving you! Happy Spring!

Bay Area's Best Yoga Studio Now Hiring Front Desk Staff

Rhiannon is a true, wild adventurer pursuing wellness at heart, and a total lover of life. Originally from the Rocky Mountains of Denver, she came to the Bay Area in 2013 to finish her degree in Psychology and feed her hunger for exploration. She is on a journey pursuing Yoga Therapy and has recently completed trainings with the Art of Yoga Project based in the greater Bay Area, and her RYT-200 hour certification in Yoga Therapy and Alignment in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Her passion for the world of wellness is something that is deeply rooted in her everyday endeavors and something she wishes to share with her community and the world! Time well spent to her means practicing and teaching yoga, meditating, writing, snuggling her kitties, cooking yummy, healthy food, dancing, backpacking, rock climbing, and traveling. To learn more about her journey, and for some fun inspiration, follow her on instagram @truewildwell!

GOOD VIBES: Spring Challenge is HERE!

Good Vibes Spring Challenge

Kick-off spring with our Good Vibes community challenge!

Score points over the next six weeks by engaging with your Namaste Yoga + Wellness family. When you’ve accomplished nine activities turn your card into the front desk for a chance to win ONE MONTH OF UNLIMITED YOGA!

Step 1: Pick up a card on your next visit.

Step 2: Take ACTION to GET STAMPED by the front desk for things like coming to class. ENGAGE with a new friend to FILL IN THE BLANK and learn something new about someone. Practice self-care by savoring a cup of tea to CHECK IT OFF under SCOUT’S HONOR.

Step 3: Turn in your card at the front desk to receive a beautiful Namaste Reusable Shopping Bag and enter for a chance to win!

We will be choosing three winners on Friday, May 18th!

All participating students will receive a Namaste Reusable Shopping Bag.