Worth The Tea Time: November 15

With so much going on around the internet it is hard to zone in on the best articles pertaining to yoga and wellness. Forget about the quick posts that give you the top three reasons to do anything and instead, set some time aside with a nice cup of tea to read a few articles that dare to take us a little deeper. Starting now is our new series “Worth the Tea Time” where we provide you with three articles a week we feel are worth the extra five minutes of reading:

Why Are Americans So Fascinated With Extreme Fitness?

“The whole notion of pushing your physical limits — popularized by early Nike ads, Navy SEAL mythos and Lance Armstrong’s cult of personality — has attained a religiosity that’s as passionate as it is pervasive. The “extreme” version of anything is now widely assumed to be an improvement on the original rather than a perverse amplification of it. And as with most of sports culture, there is no gray area. You win or you lose. You leave it all on the floor or you shamefully skulk off the floor with extra gas in your tank.”  Read More…

The Meaning of Life

BY TIM WU       OCT. 15, 2014

“Beyond the beliefs, the practice of Buddhist mindfulness-centered meditation is also undeniably having a moment.Corporate mindfulness programs, such as General Mills’s pioneering at-work meditation program, in which participating employees begin the day listening to the sound of bells ringing, are increasingly popular. Google’s seven-week course for employees, “Search Inside Yourself,” is oversubscribed. Similar programs have begun to crop up in universities and public schools, as well as in the United States Marine Corps, to help deal with stress. The explicitly nonreligious nature of mindfulness meditation makes it an easier sell for those who are allergic to all things New Age; Buddhism has succeeded in part because it does not directly challenge the nation’s dominant Christian faith but still gives nonbelievers a spiritual centering.” Read More…

There’s More to Life Than Being Happy

BY EMILY ESFAHANI SMITH  JAN. 9, 2013

“This uniqueness and singleness which distinguishes each individual and gives a meaning to his existence has a bearing on creative work as much as it does on human love. When the impossibility of replacing a person is realized, it allows the responsibility which a man has for his existence and its continuance to appear in all its magnitude. A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how.” Read More…

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Namaste Teachers: Meet David Schlussel

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet David Schlussel

How long have you been at Namaste?
I first taught at Namaste Rockridge in 2003. I dropped my early morning class there when my second daughter was born. I have been teaching at the location that is now Namaste Berkeley since 2003.

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
My yoga practice helped lift the veil of conditioning that was running my life. I loved being in my body, being more present, and the gift that yoga is. I wanted to share it right away. I found that I was always talking and sharing about yoga with people after class, and found I had facility for translating my breakthroughs into words, and could help people with their practice. A yoga teacher friend suggested I practice sincerely for five years before I went into teaching, and that’s what I did.

Your favorite literature on yoga or meditation?
Tantric Quest by Daniel Odier

Best advice you have ever received relating to your practice?
Practice less, more often.

Your favorite self-care practices?
Standing barefoot in the garden, micro practices (just spending one second being present, noticing my breath).

What is your morning routine?
Morning cuddles with the family, breakfast, kids to school, micro practice, business…

David

What are you involved with outside the studio?
EcoGameChangers, trying to gamify the redirection of our culture from consumerism to environmentalism, spreading yoga to the underserved through United Playaz.

How often do you practice?
A little every day.

Absolute favorite asana?
Schlusselasana, it’s a twisted thigh stretched bound pigeon.

Do you have a favorite yoga story?
A student came up to me after class a few months ago, looking at me curiously, then looking at his thumb which he was bending and straightening, then looking back at me, back to his thumb, and so on. He said something like: “I injured my thumb in elementary school. I haven’t been able to straighten it ever since. Until today, in savasana. You were telling us to relax everything, even things that had been tight so long we thought they were bones, and it relaxed and opened. I always had this pain in my hand (pointing at muscle that when clenched to the point of pain would keep thumb from straightening). Thank you.” He left sort of stunned and amazed and grateful. It reminded me how simple it is… Just be willing to feel everything, to question all assumptions, and to let go.

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
That it’s a quality of being that seems to slice through all challenges when applied.

What is something you wish all of our students understood better?
That it’s a quality of being, not an exercise program. We use the challenges in the physical practice as a forum for cultivating that quality of presence. It doesn’t matter at all whether how well we achieve the poses. What matters is that when we feel challenged, can we still find our breath? Do we still love ourselves?

David

What is your favorite part of the Namaste community?
There is a bright optimism in everyone that works at Namaste. There is a broad approach to yoga: we host many styles and varieties. It goes deep and wide. We have excellent instructors in many styles.

Thoughts on where the yoga industry is headed?
My fear is that it is headed towards “fancy exercise”. My hope is that it is headed towards global awakening. It all depends on which one we feed.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The bay area is filled with openness, bright forward thinking, the brightest people, leading the charge in world change for what I consider to be the better. We have some of the best transformational courses, environmental activists, yoga teachers… Things are happening here.


DavidSchlusselProfileBDavid Schlussel is a yoga teacher, life coach, husband, and father. David experiences yoga as the practice of reconnecting with our wholeness. When we operate from our wholeness, we experience the incredible strength and flexibility that is our potential. David coaches his students from fixed ideas about what they can and can’t do, towards life as a playful exploration of possibility.

David began his exploration of yoga with Ashtanga, where he learned the benefit of regular consistent practice. He continued his training by studying Dynamic Yoga, where he discovered the deeper strengths available through activating along the muscular and energetic pathways of the body, and where he developed his passion for yoga philosophy. He is currently inspired by Anusara Yoga, which has infused his practice and teaching with an empowering understanding of alignment, therapeutics, and fun. David’s classes are a flowing celebration of our bodies, designed to exercise, educate, integrate, delight, challenge and recharge. He is known for his warm approachability, contagious curiosity, gentle and liberating hands on adjustments, facilitating healing of old injuries, and offering concepts that support his students both on the mat and in their daily life.

To contact David, email him at yogidavid@gmail.com or visit his website: yogilifecoach.com

View David’s Weekly Class Schedule

W & F  12-1pm at  Namaste Berkeley
VIDEO:
Stream David’s DVD YogaForDudes
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Namaste Teachers: Meet Erin Wimert

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Erin Wimert

How long have you been at Namaste?
I have been at Namaste 6 months.

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
It was the first thing that I really felt driven to do. It comes naturally to me and I’ve never taken this gift for granted.

Your favorite self-care practices?
My favorite way to care for myself is taking time to meditate and home practice.

Erin Wimert

What is your morning routine?
I recently got into juicing, which has given me so much energy and has been a great addition to my overall health.

How often do you practice?
Every day.

Absolute favorite asana?
I love back bending! I also really enjoy breaking it down and teaching it.

What is your favorite part of the Namaste community?
I love how receptive the students are.


Erin WimertMy name is Erin and I dove into the world of yoga in 2009. Less than six months later, I decided to take yoga teacher training and I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to leave my desk job and teach full-time. Soon after I was also certified to teach spin and barre classes as well.

I’ve spent a lot of time studying alignment and after taking a 100 hour Anusara immersion with Amy Ippoliti, I started to really find a nice balance between combining comprehensible alignment break-down with vinyasa flow. I also gained a great interest in learning about the chakra system and have enjoyed leading my own workshops as well as bringing this information into to my classes.

I feel in my heart that teaching yoga is my dharma and I look forward to sharing some time and space with you!

View Erin’s weekly class schedule.

 

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Sukkot, Yoga, and Packing Your Life’s Suitcase

by Aviva Black

Thousands make the pilgrimage, many fulfilling a lifelong dream. The weather’s balmy, so the revelry goes on all day and night with throngs of people engaged in the streets and lounging in open booths. You’re thinking Burning Man. But no, this is what Sukkot was like during Temple times. From what I gather, aside from people keeping their clothes on, Burning Man looks like a Girl Scouts’ convention in comparison. Good times. SukkahSukkot, the harvest festival we’re celebrating now, is one of three annual Jewish festivals (Shavuot and Passover being the others). We just got through kneading our souls and asking for forgiveness for all the rotten things we’d done in the past year. We’ve committed ourselves to delivering our best during this new year.

Sukkot is our exhale, giving us a break from intense soul searching work. It’s pure joy. Like the week spent in the sukkah, our days on this planet are temporary. So what should we pack in each breath? Put another way, if you had one suitcase for your life’s move, what would you fill it with? This is also a shmita year, the ‘sabbatical year’ 7th year of the planting cycle where traditionally, we’ve let the fields lay fallow. By taking a rest, the fields release what’s unnecessary and become more fertile and productive.

Take a step back and, without being harsh, evaluate what’s most vital to you. What stories have you been clutching and what have you been ignoring? What do you value most and what helps you deliver the best of yourself? On the yoga mat, this Sukkahis the perfect time to a) celebrate the practice that you do have and b) determine what you need to put on hold so that your body and practice can unfold more naturally. Do this and chances are you’ll feel better and your practice will actually deepen. Recently, the NY Times Styles section told of a traveling chuppah — a simple handmade wedding canopy that has been used by a web of family of friends for over a decade. People keep requesting this chuppah because it’s absorbed the love and hope of joint fulfillment from and for those that have stood beneath it.

You are not alone in your sukkah. More so, the shmita year attracts others to your open invitation. So choose wisely and make space for this bounty. Make the pilgrimage into the dwelling of your heart and see that it’s open, receptive and yearning to cherish and celebrate the most valuable pieces that make you and your life great. Aviva Black


aviva bAviva is a RK — a rabbi’s kid. Interweaving Judaism and yoga has enabled her to go deeper on the mat and in the sanctuary. She teaches conscious alignment and flow, and encourages students to take poses to the fullest, most optimal place in that moment. She asks students to trade in rigidity and self-doubt for discipline to see what’s possible, emphasizing that with patience and diligence, they can remain safe and still take amazing forms — folding, twisting, balancing and lifting off! Aviva has been practicing yoga since 1997 and began teaching in 2007. She is a former Anusara-Inspired teacher and I will never stop studying. She is so grateful for her main teachers: Sianna Sherman and Abby Tucker, with whom she is currently apprenticing, and her father, Rabbi Barry Friedman. Check out Aviva’s weekly class schedule at Namaste.

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Namaste Tribe: Meet Allison

Each week for the next few weeks we will be highlighting on 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 Front Desk Staffer: Allison Jones

Who are you?
My name is Allison and I am originally from Florida.

How long have you been with Namaste?
I have been with Namaste for just over 3 months!

What is your favorite style of yoga?
My favorite style of yoga is Bhakti.

Any big dreams you are close to actualizing?
I recently finished my Masters in Counseling Psychology and a mentorship with an Intuitive/Shamanic Healer. Right now I’m working to start my own intuitive healing practice, and it’s very exciting!

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I host a weekly hip hop radio show.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The people, the forests, and the fog.


AllisonProfileAAs a student of bhakti yoga, Allison comes to Namaste with an open heart and a love of service. Allison is a recent graduate of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and is drawn to spiritual and creative practices that facilitate the healing of past trauma. Allison is currently studying Intuitive Healing with her mentor and also helps run a grief-support non-profit (thedinnerparty.org). On her days off Allison can usually be found hiking in the Oakland hills or road-tripping to nearby hot springs or swimming holes.

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Namaste Tribe: Meet Sophie

Each week for the next few weeks we will be highlighting on 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 Namaste Studio Manager (and Goddess of All Things Namaste): Sophie Geaney

Who are you?
I’m Sophie and I am from Oakland, right near our lovely Grand Lake studio.

How long have you been with Namaste?
I have been with Namaste since February 2011, 2 and a half years!

What do you do here?
I am the studio manager of all of our locations. I work closely with our amazing front desk team as well as the studio director and owner to make sure we are bringing our clients the best services possible, while also having the most fun possible. Along with managing our desk staff, I manage our Wellness program which has recently expanded into our Berkeley location, I am very excited about it! I really love expanding my role each year to encompass more and more – we are constantly growing!

Best advice you have ever gotten?
“Find something you love and make a living out of it.”

What are your favorite self care practices?
I am prone to headaches so I am often indulging in nourishing self care practices to ease the pain. My favorites include yoga, epsom salt baths, reading, massages and napping.

What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday?
I will most likely be out exploring California by hiking, canoeing, swimming, picnic-ing or cuddling under the trees. Even though I have lived in the Bay Area most of my life, I am still in awe of the beautiful and diverse nature we have at our fingertips. My favorite places include Point Reyes, Mt Tam, Redwood parks anywhere anytime and Big Sur, but my list continues to grow…

What is your favorite thing about yoga?
Yoga does the one thing that is hardest for me to do: it slows me down. For that, I am SUPER grateful! It is my goal to walk through the world as I do post yoga- all the time.


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An Oakland resident for much of her life, Sophie’s love and respect for the city (i.e. the Oakland A’s) has never waned. One day in late 2010 as she made her usual Arizmendi run, she saw the sign for Namaste Grand Lake’s opening. Although still in the middle of undergrad at NYU, she had an auspicious feeling that this yoga studio would someday occupy a special place in her heart. Two years later, Namaste is her second home as she is studio manager for all three locations. Yoga is one of the most effective ways to ground this Air sign and she is eternally grateful for the growth, community and all around yumminess that Namaste offers her on the daily.

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