Why is this New Moon So Special?

New Moons are always good times to set your intentions. But this new moon is extra powerful.

Wendy Faith gives us the details:

 

Join Wendy and Cyrena Giordano for their upcoming event on Sunday, September 9, 2:00-4:00pm at Namaste Grand Lake.

This slow flow practice will unwind the body while an array of live instruments quiet your mind. Relax your nervous system with the calming vibration of singing bowls, flutes, chimes and more. Practice includes a guided meditation and craniosacral / massage in savasana.

Sign up here.

Meet Your Teacher: Lucid Dawn

Lucid Dawn has been practicing since 1994 and was inspired to share her joy and wisdom with friends as she began her teaching journey.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

Yoga has supported me on all levels of life, professionally as a performer/ artist/ designer & mentally/ emotionally in all ways… It is not something i can keep to myself.. My teaching began to seep out into everything I do until people were asking me to teach for real and I had to get official.

Which teachers influence your practice?

I have been influenced along my path by Sianna Sherman, Janet Stone, Desiree Rumbaugh, Abby Tucker, Suzanna Sterling and more…So much grace and inspiration – and sisterhood in weaving other teachings into the practice! I am grateful for the work of Hareesh Wallis and Christopher Tompkins for bringing so much non-dual Tantra alive here and now.

What does your yoga practice look like and how has it changed your life?

I share all that i can – the way that it arises … I trust the way the shakthi flows through me and that I am alive to be a voice of reflection and informed practice. I study anatomy and ancient text as well as modern synthesis of things. Yoga has affected EVERY aspect of my life and improved them all. Mostly now the practice is its own teacher to me – I learn so much just by being in it and listening – new knowledge arises from within regularly – things I may have read in books and heard from teachers over the years – but now it arises from the prana, from my bones, drops in from the divine.

What is something you wish your students knew?

That they are absolutely allowed and encouraged to be ALL that they are – that NOTHING is wrong with them. I am not here to fix them–they don’t need to be fixed. All of our perceived brokenness, struggle and awkwardness is just here for us to learn and grow through.

What is your morning routine?

Asana Mantra Meditation w/ mudra, writing often, abhyanga (self-oil massage) if i have the time, at least 1-2x a week.

Do you have any go-to yoga and wellness books or podcasts?

I am pretty new to finding Podcasts but i do love The Yoga Healer – an ayurveda & yoga podcast.

Books! Oh! i could carry on endlessly there – but a few must haves:

Tantra Illuminated by Hareesh Wallis

Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga series by Ray Long

Light on Life by BKS Iyengar

What are you involved with outside the studio?

Music! Dancing! Theatre/ circus! Family! Nature! Travel! Event co-ordination, production, MC’ing, priestessing, ritual & ceremony creation and leading, energy healing, cooking, studying, reading, writing – poetry, songs, books (soon to come!), love notes..;), community building, world bridging, reclaiming traditions, & activism wherever however possible.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?

My favorite thing about the Bay Area is the level of health consciousness here, the level of spirituality and how most often there is an openness to difference, uniqueness and freedom of self expression. As a self identified freek / queer /ecstatic being, i have never felt more at home anywhere else – i feel it is my/ our work to ripple out the blessings of this area, that more people might feel at home wherever they are!

Join Lucid for public classes at Namaste:

Monday / Wednesday 4:00-5:15pm at Namaste Rockridge

Thursday 12:00-1:00pm at Namaste Rockridge

Yoga: It is an Honor to Meet You

by Rachel Heron

Rewind…October 1992

A rainy day in New York City. I walk into the Jivamukti Yoga Center on 2nd Avenue and 10th Street. The walls of the yoga studio are purple. There is an altar with pictures of Ram Dass, the Beatles, Jesus, and almost every guru in every lineage of every eastern mystical tradition. The heavy scent of Nag Champa incense is in the air. I am transported from the chaotic streets of Manhattan into…I don’t know what. A familiar feeling of recognition and home in myself, a feeling that I am absolutely in the right place…and I have no idea why.

25 years later…

 

My perspective is this:

Hatha yoga (the physical practice) is a gateway toward the more contemplative practices.

It grounds us in the physicality of being human. We learn to breathe and feel. We learn to tolerate a certain amount of discomfort, not as a value or an attachment to pain, but as an inevitable aspect of life and a way to cultivate our inner witness.

I teach from a place of honoring.

• I honor myself and what is true for me about the depth of this practice and the related practice of seated meditation

• I honor my students by offering gentle guidance and encouragement to explore their bodies and minds without bias or judgement

• I honor what is profound about embodying presence, and experiencing ourselves in physical form

• I honor the limits of our physical bodies and guide practitioners toward exploring meditation and other contemplative practices

Please join me in this inquiry. I look forward to meeting you, exactly as you are.

Rachel Heron will be teaching our upcoming 3-week Intro to Yoga Series.  She teaches from a place of deep intuition and a desire to share the potency of the practice.  “Yoga has given me many things, but one of its greatest benefits has been increasing my ability to tolerate challenge and it’s accompanying uncomfortable sensations.  I believe that when we can stay present in a pose, truly present to the fluctuations of energy, sensation, breath, thinking-we are able to take that experience into our day-to-day lives, and find a more harmonious relationship to the mystery of life unfolding.”

The Intro to Yoga series offers basic instruction of this contemplative movement practice, and the chance to explore the foundational elements of breath and mindful awareness. It also provides a way to become familiar with our studios and guide you toward the appropriate next level of classes going forward.

We’ll create a safe space where you can connect with yourself in movement and meditation, and be able to ask questions of a Namaste teacher (me!) who loves introducing people to this life-changing practice. Please arrive a few minutes early to settle in and lay down your mat. We invite you to have a cup of tea before or after class, and spend some time orienting to the studio.  Learn more about the Intro Series here.

Student Stories: Author Suzannah Neufeld

Recently, recommendations for the book Awake at 3am started rolling in from a few of our perinatal teachers. Turns out, not only is this book solidly relevant to our population of mamas and mamas-to-be, but the author is one of our very own Namaste students. We love supporting our student’s passions and projects, so you can find this small volume of wisdom in all of our boutiques.

What led to your book idea? Did you have a personal experience that led to its’ development? Or did it come more from your work with clients in the field of Psychotherapy? 

When my daughter was about six months old, a friend of mine who worked in publishing came to me and floated the idea of writing a book on mindfulness for pregnant and new moms. I was so excited that my fantasy of writing a book was now a possibility, but it felt hard to think about writing an inspiring book about mindfulness when I was in the thick of coping with my own mood and anxiety struggles in new motherhood (not to mention having no time to write!). It took me about a year to get going on the writing after that because I was so exhausted all the time. Then when I finally had the energy to start writing, I noticed that everything kept being so informed by how hard I had found that time period, as well as by the stories of the moms I was working with in my therapy practice.

As I got through about half of the writing, I had to go back to the publisher and ask if we could change the book to speak directly to the moms like me and my clients that struggled with mood and anxiety concerns.

I know you are a part of the Namaste community. How long have you been with us, who do you practice with? What attracts you to these instructors?

I first tried a class at Namaste 2.5 years ago after I opened the Rockridge Wellness Center, a counseling and health collective a block away. I knew about it from the wonderful Antonia Fokken, who had mentored me when I first studied yoga therapy. I would drop in here and there, but I started coming more regularly because my favorite teacher from when I lived in San Francisco, Sean Haleen, started teaching right at my lunch break. I love his alignment-based approach. He stopped teaching there earlier this year, and so I’ve had the pleasure of trying a few other teachers. I try to take Naushon‘s class every week. Her class is challenging yet something about how she teaches makes the practice feel simple and direct. No words or poses feel wasted or show off-y. And I always feel amazing afterwards. It’s also fun to take her class because so many of my therapist colleagues are in the room! I think it may be half therapists in that class–it’s like a therapist reunion.

What style of yoga do you like doing and why?

It’s hard to say what style of yoga I like doing because it seems to always be changing. In my 20s, I loved super challenging vinyasa classes–the thrill of learning new things, pushing my limits, and moving to music is what hooked me in to yoga. In my 30s, I had sustained a few injuries, and realized that I had turned the vinyasa classes into a form of striving. Those years, I focused on restorative, yin, and alignment-based practices, with a significant focus on meditation instead of asana as well. I loved prenatal yoga during my two pregnancies, and I studied yoga therapy. Yoga therapy teaches to the individual, and this shifted my yoga to a short home practice responsive to my needs each day.

In the past year, as I have moved into my 40s, I find it very full circle that I am drawn to vinyasa again. I crave that movement because I sit so much in my work as a therapist. I think I was afraid to try vinyasa again since I associated it with injuries and pushing myself. But ten years off from it steeped me in tools to move more mindfully, and I have been delighted to be able to approach vinyasa with less ego and more curiosity. I love that each decade of yoga seems to teach me new things.

Has your practice in general or your practice at Namaste specifically influenced you or this project?

About six years ago, I did a few yin intensives with Sarah Powers. She taught a vow at the beginning of her classes: “I commit now to developing awareness of this body, mind, and heart for my own or others’ well being. I affirm the immeasurable value of this practice, and I acknowledge that it is possible to practice inclusive of all feelings and circumstances.” I now say this commitment at the beginning of my own practice and every time I teach–because it sums up exactly how my practice has influenced my life, and by extension this project.

I view yoga as an awareness practice that benefits both me and those I go out in the world to care for–my kids, husband, friends, and clients. And I remind myself that if I think that I can’t “do” yoga because I am too sad or too out of shape or too whatever, then I have left yoga behind and am in the realm of judging mind. Yoga is not what we see on Instagram. It’s an awareness practice that can be practiced inclusive of all feelings and circumstances–including feelings of depression or panic and circumstances like when you have a crying baby in your arms in the middle of the night.

How do you personally define wellness for mamas?

So many moms struggle with “wellness” and blame themselves for not eating healthfully enough or doing “enough” yoga or working out some special way, when really the struggle has nothing to do with them and has everything to do with a society that offers so little support for new families. We drop off a casserole for a new mom, but then that’s it. We need to fight for things like better paid parental leave for both parents, subsidized childcare, and more places for moms and families to come together, talk in a real, unfiltered way, and support one another in hard times and in celebrations for all moms to have true access to wellness.

What is your favorite self-care tip for mamas?

Take a moment to stop, tune in to your own body, notice what you feel without judgement, and then let that guide you to what your body might need. One day, you might feel stiff from sitting all day and some simple movement could make all the difference. Another day, you might be exhausted and a nice restorative pose may be what your body is calling for. And let people in your life know when you need support, and then take it without guilt! People feel special and included if you let them be there for you.

How do you maintain a positive outlook when the world around you is changing or becomes difficult? As a psychotherapist, what advice can you give us for living in these difficult times?

I don’t always maintain a positive outlook. So much of what happens in the world and our community merits feeling upset! My advice as a psychotherapist is to make room for all feelings and thoughts that pop up–from sadness, to outrage, to fatigue. Let those feelings inform you in the community you build, the actions you take, and in choosing how to nourish and care for yourself as you take those actions.

Does your book have any relevance for men with babies or other populations of people?

The book is absolutely relevant for men–they just have to get past the word “mom” being used throughout the book. I’ve had a number of male friends who read the book and said that it spoke to them about their time with a new baby. And my husband, who is for sure not a yoga person, read it and said it has been helping him with his non-baby-related insomnia! Truthfully, I included in this book everything that I have to say about yoga, mood, and anxiety in general–even if these things have nothing to do with babies. I’ve had folks with no kids, adult kids, and everyone in between tell me that they read it and found it healing to read. And for sure, I think this book is wonderful for partners, family members, or health professionals who work with new moms.

Do you have a recommendation for a current podcast, website, or inspiring social media outlet?

I just started listening to Mom & Mind, which is a great podcast for moms about mood and anxiety issues in pregnancy and early motherhood. I also love The Longest Shortest Time–which not only has the best title for a podcast about parenting, but also has wonderful interviews.

Learn more about Suzannah at  www.suzannahneufeld.com, on instagram at @suzannahneufeld and Facebook as Suzannah Neufeld, Yoga + Therapy

Plus, as an occasional sub, you might find Suzannah teaching pre or post natal classes at our studios. Look out for her book, Awake at 3am, in all of our Namaste boutiques!

Meet Your Teacher: Domonick Wegesin

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 Domonick Wegesin:

How long have you been at Namaste?
10 years

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
Yoga helped me face my fears of not being enough. I have always loved to teach, and realized I would love to teach something that had been so impactful in my own life.

Your favorite literature on yoga or meditation?
The writings of Pema Chodron and Mary Oliver.

Which teachers have influenced your practice?
David Goulet, Annie Carpenter, Janet Stone, Richard Rosen, Dylan Werner

How often do you practice?
Daily

What is your morning or evening routine?
Morning pranayama and chanting with my husband. We start each day in sync, every breath for the first 30 minutes of the day in tandem.

Your favorite self-care practices?
Hiking in Nature, soaking in our hot tub under the trees and sky, dancing, yoga.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
Crazy about our Schnoodle, love to dance.

Absolute favorite asana?
Wild Thing – love it’s beauty, curvilinear form and heart-offering expression.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The people who are the most accepting of any place I’ve ever lived.

Anything else you want to share?
So grateful to be in the Namaste Community to have a place to share the teachings of yoga and meditation. Thankful for Kimberly and her vision.

Also check out Domonick’s upcoming programming:

Yoga for Anxiety Series, begins Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, begins Wednesday, September 19, 2018

 

Kundalini for Transformation

Kundalini means “creative potential.” It is a powerful form of yoga that can lead to transformation.

We wanted to know more.

We checked in with Sariah Sizemore for more details and to gain a deeper understanding.

“What can one expect from a Kundalini workshop?” Hear her description in her own words below.

 

Sariah’s offerings are an opportunity to heal in a focused way. Her upcoming event works with Kundalini Yoga and Breathwork to heal habitual unwanted patterns, however those may be revealed in your life.

Step 1: Identify Unhealthy Patterns

Take a moment to write down one or two habits that you want to release. These can be addictions like drinking or eating unhealthy food, or they could be more subtle patterns like watching too much TV, working too much, or getting angry while driving. Get clear on the pattern that you are looking to let go of.

Step 2: Breathwork Practice to Release Unwanted Patterns

 

Step 3: Join us

Sign up for Sariah’s upcoming workshop Healing Habitual Patterns: Kundalini Yoga and Shamanic Breathwork, on Sunday, July 15 to go deeper into the realm of transformation.

 

Yoga for Cancer Support

Yoga can help reduce anxiety and improve physical wellness in our stressful everyday.  The effects can perhaps be even more pronounced when one is in the experience of living with cancer.  Although not a cure, yoga can help soothe the nervous system and encourage the body to relax and heal.  Gentle movements linked with breath can help practitioners cope with challenges and uncertainty.  Try this home practice to help with your journey.

You can also catch Poh for weekly classes:

Sun 9 – 10.20AM Yoga for Beginners
Grand Lake

How to Recharge Your Battery on Your Day Off

How to Recharge Your Battery on Your Day Off

It’s super exciting to have a day off in the middle of the week, it’s like a nugget of chocolate in the trail mix. It’s very easy to fall in to our habits, that’s why they are habits. But here, we propose something different. Think about your day off as the opportunity to truly recharge your battery, so that when you return to your daily grind you are inspired and hopeful.

Focus on One Thing at a Time

Work life is full of distractions and multitasking – take some time off from this type of engagement with the world. Whatever you are doing, do it with a single-mindedness. Feel the space that surrounds single-tasking: there is less mind clutter, less interruption, less thoughts clamoring for attention.

One entry point into this clarity of mind: meditation. Click here to try a short yoga nidra practice (meditation done while lying down).

 

Eat Well

Start things off right by making yourself a satiating, satisfying, hearty, nutritious meal. Energize yourself for the day. Our ideal: a rice bowl with greens and a poached egg on top. Power on.

For your eating pleasure, try this Quinoa and Rice Bowl With Kale, Kimchi and Egg recipe.

 

 

Move Your Body

 

It’s widely proven that exercise is medicine. The heart, the brain, and your mental state are all affected by exercise and movement. Parcel out some of your day off to take a walk in nature, put on some music and dance around your living room, go for a bike ride or find a yoga class.

(Above, Karly Railsback doing some core training.)

Make it Meaningful

Do you have that thing that you “want” to do even though it’s not a paying gig? Do you have a passion project (i.e. side hustle)?  Your passion project is something that brings you satisfaction and can put you into a state of flow. Devote time to it and connect to your Bigger Picture. It will give you a new frame to see your self in the wider world — it can add meaning and purpose to life. And, well, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Be Kind to Yourself

Does that mean taking time to take a bath, go to the beach, or schedule a massage? Or does it mean making a date with a friend and finding some time to really connect?

Yes. Do it. You will thank yourself later.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” -Scott Adams

 

Take a Break from Social Media

Don’t worry about what you are missing — batteries get truly recharged when you find what you authentically want to do, and just do it. Who cares about what everyone else did today on their day off — you had the best and most resourceful day for your soul. Just revel in that.

We Love Our Students: Teresa Marylander

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, I am Teresa Marylander. I have been practicing at Namaste for exactly one year.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
I looked for an exercise that benefits me physically and spiritually. Yoga can be very vigorous yet very calming at the same time.

Favorite parts about taking classes at Namaste?
I feel like part of a welcoming community when I come to yoga classes.

What is your definition of wellness?
Living with two teenagers, and being able to be calm:-)

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
I have done many things in my life varies from being a writer, a certified public accountant, an instructor of a software company, a computer manager at a university, a dog trainer, and now a preschool teacher.

Favorite things you do to help make every day sacred?
Practice yoga, chanting Buddha’s name, and tender my garden.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
It’s always hard to make the habit of exercising or eating healthy in the beginning. Just keep at it, and it becomes a passion or lifestyle.

Anything you’d like us to share with our Namaste community?
Both my children go to Oakland School for the Arts. The children’s performances are amazing, very professional. Check out their website to follow their events. It’s an amazing school with talented students of 10 different emphases, everything from vocal to fashion!

Staff Faves in the Boutique

Summertime brings us fully out of our winter nesting to play in the sun and tromp through glorious nature. As we emerge into the light, our summer desires for brighter colors, thin breezy layers, and flowery scents abound. Here are the summer delights in our boutiques right now, curated by our sweet front desk coordinators.

  1. The Popcorn Poncho: Meet Linda, our front desk coordinator. She’s a firm believer that for this price, you should get two colors! You can’t go wrong with this easy-breezy layer that will bump up your cool quotient exponentially.
  2. Bamboo Halter Top: Seriously, it’s a staff favorite. You are likely to see 1-2 staff members on any given day donning this gem (see Cynthia, above!). It’s soft as a kitten, flattering in all the right ways, short and sweet for summer, and will help you show off your buff yoga shoulders. Pair it with anything high waisted for instant success.
  3. Copper Bottle: Set yourself up right to stay hydrated this summer with the prettiest copper bottle around. Plus, there are all sorts of Ayurvedic benefits to drinking from copper — such as improved immunity and digestion, skin/hair/nail health, arthritic support, disease prevention, and detoxification.
  4. OmCali Rose Hydrosol: You know when you walk by a rose and you have to stop and smell it? That is the essence of summer. Take home a bottle of summer distilled, with this deliciously scented product by one of our favorite local herbalist product creators. It’s perfect for a late afternoon lift — just gently spritz the face.
  5. Paula Carvahlo Token jewelry: Bracelets and necklaces with chunky links and hand stamped tokens are a fresh and casual addition to your summer fashion.
  6. Long Weekend: This book by Richelle Donigan and Rachel Neumann is full of the inspiration you need to create your next summer retreat. You know self-care is good for you, so make time for it. This book will fill you up with ideas of where to go, what to bring, and how to set aside time with friends.
  7. Hipstirr Pocket Belt: For all your summer festival needs — keep your shoulders free to tan. These locally designed belts have all kinds of secret pockets for holding your valuables while you are hands free.

Swing by any of our locations to shop our summer mix. Follow us on Instagram to see our newest products!