Meet Your Teacher: Steph Woods

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.

East Bay Yoga Teacher Steph Woods

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.

East Bay Yoga Teacher Steph Woods

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.

East Bay Yoga Teacher Steph Woods

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.

Meet Your Teacher: Rachel Heron

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 Rachel Heron:

What is your name and when do you teach?
My name is Rachel Heron on I teach Wednesdays at 5:30pm at Namaste Rockridge!

How long have you been at Namaste?
I began subbing last year and now have two weekly classes!

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I starting practicing in 1992, and was incredibly moved by all aspects of this path. I knew right away that I wanted to teach asana, and share the love of embodied spiritual practice.

Do you have any go-to yoga and wellness books or podcasts?
Tara Brach dharma talks and Jason Crandell’s yoga podcasts

Which teachers influence your practice?
Desiree Rumbaugh, Siri Petersen Cavanna, Abby Tucker, Sianna Sherman, Ana Forrest

What does your yoga practice look like and how has it changed your life?
I practice asana and/or meditation in some form almost every day. These practices have become the baseline of self-inquiry and self-care. Each day is different (of course), but it’s my way of awakening mindful awareness and physical/energetic vibrancy.

What is something you wish your students knew?
That sitting still for just 5 mins a day can be life-changing.

What is your morning routine?
Sit for 30 minutes, 15 mins of flowing sun salutes, 15 chaturanga push-ups!

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
I love sitting with people in stillness and silence. I love being able to guide us into potent deep and non-verbal spaces.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
My husband Bill, 12-year-old son Jai, giving bodywork and counseling sessions.

What is your go-to movement (asana, dance, hiking, etc.) that allows you to feel the most connected to yourself?
Anything that gets my heart pumping. I love it all and do it all.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
Easy access to nature, beauty even in my urban environment, and ease of getting around by bike.

Anything else you want to share?
Practice is my passion. I feel most blessed to be sharing this passion with my students and clients at Namaste.

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.

Meet Your Teacher: Danielle Woermann

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 Danielle Woermann:

When and where do you teach?
I teach Nia Dance at Namaste Berkeley!

How long have you been at Namaste?
5 years

What inspired you to become an instructor?
I was inspired to become a Nia teacher when I began taking classes 17 years ago in Oakland from Shelly Ross.

Do you have any go-to yoga and wellness books or podcasts?
I enjoy Gabrielle Roth’s Maps to Ecstasy.

Which teachers influence your practice?
My teachers are Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas who inspire me every day through their routines and teachings.

What does your Nia practice look like and how has it changed your life?
When I began my Nia practice, I wasn’t fully aware of my body’s sensations. Nia has taught me to be in sensation and to be able to heal myself emotionally, physically and spiritually.

What is something you wish your students knew?
I wish they knew that access to their self-healing potential is completely available.

What is your morning or evening routine? (whichever is your favorite..or both!)
I practice the Nia 5 Stages in the morning which is a short physical routine which increases mobility, strength and stability.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
Being able to share music, magic, and joy.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
Home life, beekeeping, volunteer work.

What is your go-to movement (asana, dance, hiking, etc.) that allows you to feel the most connected to yourself? *
I dance, hike and practice hula hooping. I attend weekly yoga classes and also enjoy the subtle healing of Breema technique.

I can never get over the diversity of the Bay Area and Oakland in particular. Best weather anywhere!

Meet Your Teacher: Sita Devi

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 Sita Devi:

What is your name and when/where/what do you teach?
Sita Devi. I teach vinyasa and power vinyasa and lead kirtan at Namaste Rockridge and looking forward to starting classes at Grand Lake next year.

How long have you been at Namaste?
2 months

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
Seva: selfless service.

Do you have any go-to yoga and wellness books or podcasts?
I love the calm app. Awesome daily meditations and nighttime sleep stories. Best wellness app hands down.

Which teachers influence your practice?
Govind Das, Bryan Kest, Janet Stone

What does your yoga practice look like and how has it changed your life?
My practice is constantly evolving and transforming. I was a dancer and performer for many years and yoga was my rock, my foundation. Yoga reminds me how precious every moment is. It is my greatest teacher.

What is something you wish your students knew?
The Beatles were Hare Krsnas.

What is your morning or evening routine? (whichever is your favorite..or both!)
Dinacharya, my morning practice consists of 10 minutes of meditation, oil pulling and abhyanga.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
Hearing, “this is exactly what i needed” after class. Helping people heal.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
Nature, Retreats, Festivals, Travel.

What is your go-to movement (asana, dance, hiking, etc.) that allows you to feel the most connected to yourself?
Ecstatic Dance

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
Everything.

*Monday, Friday, and Saturday classes begin January 1, 2018!

Meet Your Teacher: Melina Meza

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 Melina Meza:

How long have you been at Namaste?
Almost three years in total

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I was asked to be a yoga teacher by a friend who wanted to open a studio in Seattle back in 1996. After much consideration, I said YES and was inspired to do so because of how much I loved yoga and the way it made me feel. After one year of teaching a lot of classes, I took my first pause and moved to Maui to study with Gary Kraftsow for the winter. During my first year of teaching, I felt I taught everything I learned from my first teacher and exhausted my resources. On Maui with Gary, I found what was missing….my home practice. Since then, my home practice is what continues to inspire me to teach.

Your favorite literature on yoga or meditation?
Tough question…but if you’re looking for an entry point into yoga and meditation, I recommend, The Heart of Yoga by Deskichar for yoga and A Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield for meditation.

Which teachers influence your practice?
Kathleen Hunt (Seattle based teacher), Gary Kraftsow, Sarah Powers, Tias Little, Jin Sung, Scott Blossom (listed in the order of when I studied with them)

How often do you practice?
My practice of yoga extends beyond the yoga mat into my life. I consider all the times I wake up and do my meditation + Ayurvedic cleansing routines, hydrate, and eat right for my constitution as part of my practice. When I’m actively listening to another, or walking mindfully by myself, I also consider this part of my yoga practice. The asana portion varies for me but in general, I do sequences at home every other day and outdoor activities like walking or tennis on alternating days.

What is your morning or evening routine? 
The morning starts with tongue scraping, brushing teeth, rinsing eyes with Ayurvedic Rose Water drops, Nasya Oil in the nose, hydrate then meditate for 10-20 minutes. After meditating….a leisure cup of coffee before celebrating the day. Depending on the season or travel schedule, I give myself an oil massage every other day or when traveling everyday before showering.

Your favorite self-care practices?
Eating when I’m hungry and not eating when I’m not hungry, oil massage, 20-minute naps, staying hydrated and eating soup often, being creative every day, getting 8 hours of sleep.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
At the moment….photography, tennis, cooking, and a little guitar.

Absolute favorite asana?
Downward Dog

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
Sunshine and the variety of avocados!

Your Year in Review: 2017 Personal Inventory Worksheet

HONOR YOUR PATH

Memory is a funny thing. The more time passes, the more our recollection of the past shifts and evolves, taking on the hue of the present moment’s wisdom. Take some time this month before we welcome 2018 to document the highs and lows of 2017. What path did you take? There is no sweeter gift for yourself than creating space to touch in with your mind, body, and spirit. Try this ritual below to honor the closing of one year and the birth of another:

  1. Find a quiet space (or somewhat quiet space if you have roommates, children, excited pets).
  2. Light a candle or burn some palo santo.
  3. Pull out a special journal or some fresh white pieces of paper.
  4. Close your eyes, take 10 deep breaths in and out, watching your out breath. You can place your hand over your heart or rest gently on your thighs.
  5. Set an intention for this practice. A suggestion would be “I am grateful for all this year brought and open to honest reflection”
  6. Get writing! Save this worksheet nearby and check-in on it throughout next year to see how far you have come!

Download your very own Year of Empowerment Personal Inventory worksheet!

Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips from your favorite Namaste teachers.

Join us for a New Year’s Day Benefit Class to support Habits for Humanity! The best way to kickstart your new year.

Meet Your Staff: Rockridge Manager Holly Saitta

Holly is modeling some of our newest apparel from the Namaste Boutiques.

Featured here: Onzie velvet crop top and metallic leggings. Perfect for NYE dancing!

Each week for the next few weeks we will be highlighting one of our incredible Namaste tribe members! With so many inspiring, passionate folks working at Namaste we felt it was a crime to keep their shining personalities from the rest of the world.

Meet Studio Manager: Holly Saitta

Who are you?
My name is Holly and I am the Rockridge Studio Manager.

How long have you been at Namaste and what do you do here?
I have worked here for going on 5 months and began as a front desk associate then fell in love with this amazing place and community then took over as studio manager at Rockridge. I make sure all is well with the studio staff and clients helping create a sacred space for us all to be a part of.

Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in the Bay Area?
I grew up in a very tiny rest stop of a town in central Florida before moving to Gainesville Florida for college then graduated and have been living my California dream here in the Bay for about half a year now.

Favorite part of Namaste?
Namaste’s diversity of offerings; experiences, retail, and community wise.

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
Community! I specialize in bringing people together through the practice of Acro Yoga.

What are your favorite self-care practices?
The people, the forests, and the fog

What are you involved with outside the studio?
Outside of work I am a skater yogi and love to go to acro yoga jams. I also enjoy cooking healthy meals with my loving other half.

We know you love our teachers equally – BUT whose classes do you take the most?
I love Melina Meza’s class!

December Honors The Empowered Life

[Photo of Namaste Teacher Odisa Walker]

What does it mean to live The Empowered Life?

At the beginning of 2017 we committed ourselves to a 12-month journey of empowerment. We spent each month unpacking the practices and elements, from self-care to bravery, that allowed us to live with confidence, compassion, and calm. Our motto in January was “My Practice Gives Me Power”. Now we want to reflect on what we’ve done with this power.

Practicing presence and engagement throughout the seasons of our lives opens us up to a deeper connection with ourselves and the world around us. Our hope, as a studio, is that you have found value in these explorations and been inspired to reflect and grow in your own unique ways.

So what exactly does it mean to live “The Empowered Life”? We believe the definition is unique to each person but ultimately it goes beyond simply feeling empowered. It is a life of unwavering integrity and confidence.

Confidence that we have the power to face whatever comes our way. Integrity to act in ways that empower others. Confidence that we are whole and good. Integrity to live our truth.  The confidence we can tackle the sticky, dark corners of life with grace, patience, and love. The ability to return from the shadows whole and decent.

The Empowered Life means we strive to make every day sacred.

Take a look back on our 2017 year and get ready for an even more amazing 2018!

 
November: Giving Gratitude  | December: The Empowered Life

Why I Teach Prep for Birth

When I was pregnant with my first child I remember facing the unknown of giving birth. It felt like it didn’t matter how much I read, I still couldn’t get a handle on what the first, second and third stages of labor might look and feel like. This created a background feeling of tension and unease that I was only barely aware was there.

Second time around, I not only had the benefit of having been through the experience, but I also took HypnoBirthing® classes. These classes offered several fantastic tools that, in part, inform my upcoming Prep for Birth workshop. Having immersed myself in the world of prenatal yoga after having two children I feel passionate about bringing these tools to new mothers.

Combining experiential exercises, including some gentle partner yoga, as well as informational pieces, the main focus is on practices supporting relaxation.
In our busy modern lives, being able to relax is a skill that can take some training, especially in the face of a brand new, unknown experience.

Another important piece is to make sure you’re not sweeping concerns under the rug like I was that first time. When we have the time, space and support to explore those background worries and bring them to light, we get to either find action steps or see that we’re holding on to something unnecessarily and can let it go.

My favorite part of the class is a couple of simple exercises to bring you and your partner into a deeper connection. I love hearing from the couples that I work with that, in the course of their preparations, these exercises have them come back to the very reason they are bringing this amazing new life into the world together. It’s not uncommon in committed relationships (and even more so for those already parents), to have that deeper connection fall by the wayside.

So this class will not only give you tools to take into a relaxed and easeful birth, but can support you going forward in your relationship too!

In three hours, you’ll connect sweetly and deeply, you’ll learn, move and relax. I look forward to meeting you and supporting you on this very special journey.

Rosy Moon Schlussel

 

With love,
Rosy Schlussel

This class is an opportunity to come together with your partner and learn some foundational tools to support the mother-to-be in the lead up to delivering her baby.