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…
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?
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.
David 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.