Keepin it Rheal

Featured Maker: Made by Rheal

Products we carry: Cast hands, coasters, concrete vessels, votives

Materials: Cast concrete objects

From the moment I saw these hands, I knew they were perfect for our boutiques. They speak of offering, they beg to have some precious object placed in them for reflection, they provide the sense of the sacred. Please don’t let this precious product pass you by. Bring a set home and let it remind you of what you offer the world every day. Or what you want to offer the world. The hands are a beautiful metaphor.

The hands were just the first step on my path of finding Rheal, the man behind the hands. He is inspiring! He is a local Oakland maker, with a little backyard studio on the Oakland/Emeryville border. He is immensely inspired by material – it is what lights him up. Currently concrete is the material he works with most consistently, but he veers off into resin and glass as well. He creates molds to cast his concrete menagerie. The concrete is amazing because it lends everything a weight, a heaviness. The cast object is actually there, in reality. You can feel it and touch it and fill it and empty it and start again. It’s earthy and feels grounding to hold in your hands.

I can’t get enough of his work, but perhaps you need to know what to do with it? It’s sculptural, so just enjoy it. But also…. I’m going to make you a list:

• Put the hands on your altar and put a precious object in them. A stone, a crystal, a leaf, an air plant, a flower, something seasonal, something that you value, something that represents your intention.

• If you get hands without sparkly touches, they are food safe. Offer your guests a dash of salt. Set a unique table.

• His “vessels,” tinged with a touch of sparkle, can be filled with soil and succulents. (Perfect wedding table objects anyone?)

• Clean up your workspace and upgrade to a really nice pen holder.

• Use a set of hands as an incense burner. I purchased a roll of charcoal discs and I break a little piece off of one and put it in the hands, light it up, and then drop little bits of loose flower-y incense on it. It’s heaven and perfect to set the mood before a little home yoga class.

• Moon coasters for your moon party!

Made by Rheal products can be found at both our Berkeley and Rockridge boutiques. Support local artisans and local businesses and shop at Namaste boutiques!

 

 

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Student Stories: Kiersten Anderson

This is YOUR community. We want to continue to make an effort to share the stories of our students and your fellow yogis. Get to know the people who practice next to you. Here is one of our newest stories to share about a yogi who gives back to our world by helping homeless animals. Enjoy!

1. How and when did you first get into yoga?

When I was in undergrad, I developed a nervousness and anxiety from all the major life changes happening to me and this turned into an eating disorder. I hate to say that I came to yoga because I was broken, but I’ve always known that there is more to life than the superficial surface layers. I grew up backpacking and hiking in the Santa Cruz/Big Sur mountains with my dad and felt so at peace in nature. When my anxiety developed and spiraled into a dark place in college, I sought solace in a small, independent yoga studio in San Luis Obispo owned and operated by a warm, knowledgeable and beautiful yogi who exposed me to wonderful physical and spiritual practices like Nia, kundalini, hatha and yin-my favorites to this day! I grew more and more curious about the other limbs of yoga and this “do no harm” lifestyle… I’m forever grateful to Amy and that sacred space she and the students created; it provided a strong foundation for my explorative and knowledge (of self, body and yoga philosophy)-seeking practice today.

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2. What brought you to Namaste? Any favorite teachers?

I came to Namaste seeking a diverse community of teachers, practices and students. I suffered from a really traumatic experience, resulting in the loss of a loved soul, while I was in the Peace Corps a few years ago. I literally searched online for “grief support/Berkeley” and found Ken’s workshop on working through grief through community and yoga. I am forever grateful to him, those I met in that space and the tools with which I came away to continue to process my loss. I love the variety of classes and am always so impressed and inspired by the variety of offerings-workshops, trainings and types of classes. Admittedly, my home base is the Berkeley studio, and I’m still relatively new to Namaste, but I gain so much from Abby Tucker’s classes. I love how she blends philosophy with movement, delivering both with clarity and intention. I walk out of her class with an elevated understanding of myself and others-or sometimes with an incredibly humble feeling of not knowing anything at all 🙂

3. We loved learning that you work for the SF SPCA and have been committed to living a philanthropic life. How does yoga support you in your non-profit career?

I worked with street animals while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Caribbean and feel beyond Kiersten Andersonlucky to have found my calling in life in animal welfare and hope to get back to working internationally with street dogs in the near future. I continue to be involved with the organization I started, The Vincentian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (VSPCA) and am so inspired by the local island community responding to our mission to lever kindness to all living beings. I’ve seen, and continue to experience, a lot of tough stuff-but yoga has been my compass. Be it deep belly breathing and meditation, physical asana that’s yang or yin focused, or choosing to practice ahimsa in how I live-yoga anchors me to stay true to my life-intention and brings me into balance when my heart or body are fatigued from working with shelter animals, as I do now. For me, a regular yoga practice brings forth the kind of person I want to be-compassionate, empathetic and continuously learning.

4. Anything else you want to share with our community?

I go through different phases, as I’m sure we all do, of getting lost in the surface level side of yoga-the final pose or those cute new pants that cost more than we know we should be spending. What I enjoy so much about a regular practice is that it reminds me that the beauty lies in the becoming-the process, not the result. As I age and my body changes, I find certain things now more challenging but it excites me to address these challenges and stay tuned into the “feel” rather than the “form”. What we think, we become. Yoga helps me think beautiful and compassionate thoughts about myself and others… reinforcing my life of service to those who cannot speak for themselves. Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu <3

Have a story you want to share?

Let us know! Shoot us an email at info@ilovenamaste.com with the subject “My Student Story”.

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Voting as an Act of Love

Voting as an Act of Love

By Eliza Andrews Richmond

We can agree that the energy surrounding this turbulent election has brought a lot of suffering to our country, and most of the people in it. The passion felt by all parties and constituents has divided our nation into radical and polarizing extremes. In times like these it can be difficult to remain open to the feelings of others, particularly those on the other side of the issues. Now, more than ever, it is important to practice the principles of yoga off the mat: to practice non-violence, forgiveness, and compassion in the face of fear. After All, the purest metric of peace in our lives is how kindly we can speak to those with whom we do not agree.

Everyday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama practices a form of meditation known as Tonglen or “sending and receiving.” Similar to the practice of Metta from the Theravada Buddhist tradition, Tonglen is a way to make peace with suffering and open up to compassion. As you prepare to vote this Tuesday, I invite you to share this Tonglen practice with me:

 

  1. Begin in a comfortable shape, with your spine long, and both hands on your heart. Allow your breath to slow down and deepen. Closing your eyes, begin to feel into the center of deeper wisdom within you: the part of your being that is of knowing rather than thinking. Begin to imagine, as clearly as you can, that you are seated together with everyone who will vote this Tuesday. Though this may be challenging, try to see the faces of people who you disagree with compassionately.
  2. On every inhale, breathe in the suffering of yourself and other voters, brought on by this election. Breathe in the fear of the unknown: the results of the general election, and the effect you anticipate. Breathe in the anger you are feeling over the issues that have been brought up. Breathe in every kind of suffering that you are feeling, knowing others in this country who are feeling it too (including those who will vote for what you fear). Breathe it all in, but also breathe in the longing that we all have to feel safe, happy and free.
  3. On every exhale, send peace into your being, send it to your loved ones who are feeling this suffering, those in the nation who are feeling it, and those beyond our national borders. Breathe out loving-kindness for every being, everywhere who feels fear, anger, divisiveness, and intolerance. Breathe out the strength and wisdom to see one another fully in compassion, loving-kindness, and peace.
  4. Practice this for a few minutes a day, and notice how you regard one another. When you are triggered by something on the news, something you overhear on the street, or you are debating with a friend, take a breath, and let this practice help you find peaceful ground.

Whether or not this practice works to fix the world is something we can’t know, but what it will help us to see is the basic goodness of one another. If we are able to see that then maybe our votes won’t simply be an expression of our personal agendas, but a reflection of the love we have for our country and those who live beside us in it.  In the words of Marie Curie: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

1013027_475474802545693_1117117261_nEliza Andrews Richmond is Namaste Berkeley Manager, a yoga teacher, an avid adventurer, and an all around amazing gal.
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Kimberly Leo on the NEW Namaste Rockridge

Our fearless leader, Kimberly Leo, talked with local blog 24East about the opening of our expanded Namaste Rockridge studio. We wanted to share a bit of the interview here before it is published. Take a peek into the inner workings of how Namaste has evolved and where we are headed.

1. What is Namaste’s approach to yoga?

Yoga was my sanctuary and it got me through a really difficult period in my life. Namaste was a way for me to give back to the community where I grew up. I wanted to create an urban refuge in which I could share this gift with others. From the beginning my intention was to create a space that was inclusive and accessible.

Over the last thirteen years Namaste has evolved but at our core we continue to approach yoga as a powerful tool for transformation. Among many things, I believe yoga can provide the mind body connection that is severely needed in today’s fast paced world; and as I witness on a daily basis, results in people going out into the world with a bit more understanding, kindness and compassion. I believe that if more people did yoga, the world would be a better place.

New Rockridge

2. Could you explain the differences of the various classes?

Our mission is to serve the East Bay community, We do this with over 150 classes at three locations, and a diverse teaching faculty of more than 50 teachers. We don’t prescribe to any one style of yoga. We have classes ranging from Gentle, Therapeutics Yoga to the more rigorous Power Flow classes.

I am particularly excited about the more specific workshops that serve the changing needs of our society — such as Yoga for Anxiety, Yoga for Healthy Aging, and meditation and Mindfulness offerings. It is extremely gratifying to bring yoga to the complete beginner as well as serve the more experienced practitioner who is interested in diving deeper into our programs.

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3. What is your advice on how we can begin and develop our own yoga practice?

Do not set goals that are unobtainable or discouraging. Make a commitment to your health and wellness by committing to just one class per week!

I find it best to sample a few classes and a few different teachers. The first class or teacher may not be the right one for you. You need to find a teacher that will motivate you and excite you enough to bring you back every week!

Em and Kim

4. For a lot of us, it is difficult to carve out 1.5 hours for a yoga class, plus studio travel time. What do you offer for those who can’t devote so much time?

I am at the yoga studio daily and still find it difficult toget to a class! I’m a single mother and independent business owner.At the end of the day, I am tired and want to go home. However, if I don’t put my self care first, all other things – including how I treat loved ones and parent my son — will suffer. Commit to your health and wellness by committing to coming to one class per week. If you can’t make it to class once a week, take what you learn from class and practice at home — even if it’s 10 minutes in the morning or before you go to bed.

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5. Namaste has built an incredible yoga community in the East Bay. How have you done that?

I have been blessed with an incredible tribe of teachers, staff, and students. I think when people work with us, they recognize our commitment to consistency, integrity and community. Because of this fact, we have been able to attract the best teachers in the East Bay. Our front desk staff is phenomenal. They are passionate about bringing yoga to people. The industry has changed dramatically over the last decade and I believe people resonate with us because we truly put our heart and soul into the studio. There is a lot of love and mutual respect around here and I hope it shows.

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6. What upcoming plans do you have for Namaste?

It was never my intention to grow to three studios. We have responded to the demand for our services, and will continue to grow organically, as needed. The studio in Rockridge just finished construction and we’re thrilled to be expanding into the space next to us. We have built a new studio room, and we’ll have more space and more classes beginning this month.

Our yoga program is bigger than ever, and we continue to grow our trainings and immersions programs. This year we are launching our new 300 Hour Professional Teacher Training continuing our mission to help create and support the Bay Area teaching community. I am so proud of where we are and thrilled about the vision our team continues to manifest.

7. What does success look like for Namaste?

Getting more people to do yoga and watching them leave class with a clear mind and kind heart that goes out into the world and touches another.
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8. What are some of your post yoga East Bay places to enjoy?

I am a proud Oakland native and my family has been in Oakland for multiple generations since the late 1800’s. I am excited for Oakland and all that is has to offer.
Lake Merritt is a gem and good people watching, and the Lake Merritt farmer’s market is a diverse mecca of all the beautiful people and colors that make up Oakland.
My son and I love to hike up in the Oakland Hills, and the $2.50 Tilden Train ride is one of the best deals around!


Celebrate our NEW Rockridge Studio this month with all NEW Classes only $10.

Learn more. 

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Yoga for Grief

“I so wish I didn’t have to be here, and I am so glad I came!”

This was the heartfelt wisdom that a participant shared at our last Yoga for Grief gathering. I have been holding sacred space for bereaved folks for almost a decade and I could not have said it any better. Why is it that the deeper we love or the fuller we live, inevitably we each must enter into the healing ground of grief one way or another?

Each gathering that we have held has reminded me that while grief is a universal teacher, that everyone has their own unique way of coping with loss. By acknowledging this and other paradoxical truths in the grieving process it can be very disorienting and baffling at first but as we map out our own path we grow more confidently aware that we do indeed hold internal resources and resiliencies that help us along the way. It is like stumbling around in the darkest of rooms knowing that there is a flashlight, candle and matches or a light switch somewhere. We are not sure how we will find the light but we must search nonetheless. In the yoga for grief gatherings, participants get to have their own nest and safe space to deepen their yoga practice and at the same time be witnessed and bare witness along with other group members. Mary Oliver shares with us yet another one of those unavoidable and paradoxical realities in her poem “In Blackwater Woods”:

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it
go,
to let it go.

I am honored to hold space so that participants can circle up in a way that allows the ancient and evidence-based practices of yoga and other healing rituals can nurture our bereaved minds and bodies. As you read this, trust the part of you that intuitively knows if this is the right gathering for you or for someone you know. Trust that if it does not feel like the right time to join that just by contemplating these paradoxical truths about our mortality you are already part of our circle. And trust that if it does feel like the right time to join us, that you will be held and supported by me and the other group members. It is in this gathering that the light of other members often helps us realize that we can indeed find the light within, even in the darkest of rooms.

There is indeed a time for all things and this is the time for you to trust your heart and know you are on the right path. Thank you so much for taking the time to open your heart just now. And may you deepen your breath into what ever thought or emotion arises in this moment, because that is a gift you can always offer to yourself.

Join us and learn more about Ken’s next Yoga for Grief workshop.

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Style Drishti: Friday Dressing

Friday dressing is an art form. The vibe is casual, but office-friendly. Finding the right balance of this professional, casual stance is critical. But I will share a secret with you, and the secret is called a jumper. What is it about a jumper? I can tell you 3 things that make a jumper magic:

  1. A jumper requires no matching. Put it on and voila, all you need are some shoes and a little sparkle. Top and bottom taken care of in one fell swoop.
  2. A jumpsuit is a statement. Without even trying, you will look polished and put together and like you are ready to take it all on. Again, does this have something to do with the top and bottom already matching?
  3. The playful aspect of a jumpsuit adds just the right touch of casual. It’s not a dress, so you can be active and move easily, but it’s not skinny jeans either, so you will stand out from the crowd.

Featured here on Xandra:

IMG_4256Tina+Jo Cowled Short Romper. Tina+Jo is designed and manufactured in LA and their styles feature hand dyes and urban ease. Head into our September heat waves with an effortlessly fashionable romper and make Friday dressing your own.

Leslie Francesca  Half Moon Necklace. Add a little sparkle to any outfit with one of Leslie Francesca’s raw gem understated pieces. As a gemologist, Leslie starts locally with the perfect druzy quartz or gemstone, sometimes plates them with fascinating iridescent finishes, and has them set in metals to her specs in South America. Add a little sparkle to your Friday, because admit it, you are closer to the weekend than ever.

Tina + Jo available at our Berkeley studio, Leslie Francesca jewelry available at all locations.

 

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Style Drishti: August Action

Feels like we are all dying to work out in the summer sunshine, so action is our muse this week. Fire yourself up in clothes that move and breathe, then take action and get sweaty. This week’s style focus will take you there.

Good hYOUman Purpose Crop Sweatshirt. Motivate yourself to live your life with purpose and positivity with Good hYOUman’s inspirational apparel. Good hYOUman is a US designed and manufactured lifestyle brand infused with intention.  This simple crop sweatshirt with the text Do all things w/ purpose will make you feel comfortable yet confident to take on anything that comes your way.

Omgirl Nomad Legging. Take on the remaining days of summer with ease while wearing the most versatile legging in the universe. We do not say this lightly! The Omgirl Nomad Legging with its attached skirt has got you covered (literally!). This pant can take you from yoga into the beyond – dress it up with a cute flowy tunic for nighttime. Since Omgirl recently went out of business, this is your last chance to get this amazing pant. We stocked up before they were all gone, and it would be wise for you to do the same.

Beyond Yoga Cut Out Cami. Accomplish your goals for the rest of summer with athletic clothing that makes you feel good about who you are. Beyond Yoga is an eco-friendly activewear brand based in Los Angeles. The Cut Out Cami is a staple workout piece with a cute back that can spice up or splash a pop of color into any outfit.

Good Hyouman styles available at Berkeley and Grand Lake boutiques. Omgirl and Beyond Yoga can be found in all of our shops!

alexandra-300static1.squarespaceBrought to you by Alexandra, Namaste’s finest intern, and Helene Cotton, Namaste Creative Director. We love a good photo shoot.

 

 

 

 

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The Collective Tarot: Six of Wands

“The more pressing question is, Where will you go with your new set of wings?”

From the Wild Unknown Tarot

Rise up and take flight, people! Now is the time to step into your truest self and leave behind the tough bits that got you here. Let this be our mantra for the week: May I be winged and soar.

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Style Drishti: The Waning and Waxing

Unbeknownst to me at the time of my choosing, the moon has guided me this week, rising slowly and shining brilliantly over our style feature. This outfit makes me want to meditate with the morning sun, and then dance under the moon.

Joah Brown Half Moon Tank. The clothing from this line might be the softest fabric I’ve ever experienced, and once you try one piece, it will be the staple of your closet. The clever structure of this Half Moon tank is breathable and flattering (see the cool back above left). I’m going to throw a good yoga bra on underneath and be ready for practice, then take this little tank out on the town.

Teeki Seven Crowns Bellbottoms. Take me out to dance under the moon, careen through the woods with a willow wand, or get deep in my practice with these dramatic and gorgeous pants. Teeki apparel is made from recycled plastic bottles, so this choice is greener than green.

Takara Halfmoon Necklace. This jeweler straight off the coast of Marin takes handmade silk peace thread from India, dips it in natural dyes, and hammers brass around it into the most beautiful shapes. Think of her halfmoon necklace as a symbol of of waxing moons for attracting positivity, and waning moons for forgiveness and letting go. That’s a mantra to get behind: Attract + Forgive.

Joah Brown styles are available at all locations. Other styles available at Namaste Berkeley, 2820 7th Street, Berkeley CA.

Helene Cotton is Namaste’s creative director and retail buyer. Swing by her office at the Berkeley studio and she will happily style you for your next big thang.

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7 Perks of Working at a Yoga Studio

Not everyone is satisfied working in a restaurant or boutique. If you’re someone who values health and fitness, the clean scent of tea tree oil and a warm cup of tea – working at a yoga studio may be a great fit for you. At a yoga studio you have the honor of holding space for students as they practice. If you’re worried you don’t know enough about yoga, don’t sweat. One of the perks of joining a team of yogis is that acceptance is part of the job!

Free Yoga and Wellness Perks

What’s better than taking a yoga lunch break? The best perk of working at a yoga studio is the free yoga. Stay in shape and learn how to put self-care first with a job that emphasizes health and wellness. Most studios even offer employee discounts for bodywork, workshops and teacher trainings. Namaste Yoga + Wellness, for example, hosts monthly massage externs from NHI who offer complimentary massage to staff!

Friendly Faces

Unlike boutique or restaurant jobs where staff may only interact with patrons a few times a month, yoga studio employees build rich relationships with students. You will see the same smiling faces weekly (even daily!). Students will often learn staff’s names and rely on them as they would a friend to help choose classes, workshops and events that make sense for them.

Comfortable Work Attire

It’s no joke that wearing yoga clothes daily helps lower stress. Imagine the bliss of being able to throw on some yoga pants or comfy clothes and cruise to work. While keeping up an appearance is still part of the job – you can definitely say buh-bye to stiff pant suits or stuffy server’s outfits. Another perk? Many studios offer employee discounts ranging from 20%-40% off apparel and gear sold in studio boutiques.

Girls At Rockridge

Being a Part of a Community

A job is just a job until you find an emotional connection. Yoga communities are known for their openness and warmth. Helping guide new students on their health journey makes you an integral part of their experience. Developing relationships with people in the studio makes you a part of the bigger yoga community as a whole – something that stays with you even when you’re clocked out.

Launching Your Teaching Career

If you’re interested in becoming a yoga instructor then working at a yoga studio is the perfect fit. Many yoga studio employees take on a position in order to get to know the in’s-and-out’s of the business. Being on the team can help you to understand how subbing works, what type of students you want to teach and give you access to discounted trainings.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Rockridge

Networking and Learning About Health and Wellness Industry

You may not be interested in becoming a yoga teacher but that doesn’t mean you’re ruling out all possibilities. The increase of interest in the health and fitness industry has created a boom in new job opportunities. Starting your career off at a yoga studio can expose you to all available avenues in the industry – from operations and management to marketing and sales.

Being Part of a Small Business

Jobs that pigeon hole you can be a drag. Working for a small business creates endless opportunities to break out of the box with creative solutions and ideas. Often you will be asked to wear many hats in a small business which will help you build your skill set and know what it takes to run your own company one day! Bonus, you often get to see the tangible results of the hard work you put in.

Interested in working for Namaste? We are currently hiring! Send us your resume and cover letter to begin the journey of joining our Namaste community.

 

 

 

 

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