Using Your Yoga for Good

Ask Your Teacher: How do you use your yoga for good?

While there are many personal benefits to a yoga practice, there are also many ways that yoga can benefit the wider world. We caught up with some of our Namaste instructors to see how their yoga steps off their mats.

“Those areas where we notice we have capacity and capability are where we have surplus to give back to our community.” ~ Sierra Wagner

Using Your Yoga For Good

Posted by Namaste Yoga + Wellness on Monday, June 10, 2019

 

You can find Sierra teaching weekly public Gentle Yoga classes at our Berkeley studio. View her class schedule here.

 

“The deepest service is awakening.” ~ Satya Gita Aune

Give Your Life Meaning

"The meaning of life is to be of service." ~ @Satya Gita Aune

Posted by Namaste Yoga + Wellness on Monday, June 10, 2019

 

You can find Satya teaching weekly public Vinyasa classes at our Grand Lake and Rockridge studios. View her class schedule here.

“Yoga is a profound experience for all populations of people.” ~Vickie Russell Bell

Ask Your Teacher: How do you serve?

Vickie Russsell Bell teaches through a nonprofit to individuals with Parkinson's, offering the practice of yoga to an underserved population, and making a big impact.

Posted by Namaste Yoga + Wellness on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

 

Find Vickie on your mat in public classes here, or take your experience with her even deeper in her upcoming Restorative Yoga Training, where you can truly learn how and why it is important to be at ease in every moment.

Because we know the benefits of yoga are plentiful to each and every human, another way to pose this same question is, how can yoga benefit people who don’t have access to the practice or are part of underserved populations? Our upcoming program, Prison Yoga Project, led by James Fox, takes this question to task. This program is designed for anyone interested in creating a more humane and effective criminal justice system should take this training: therapists, social workers, lawyers, correctional officers, administrators, and, especially, yoga teachers who are ready to take their practice into the realm of service.

Yoga for Good | Prison Yoga Project

Are you interested in using your practice to serve in a bigger capacity? Learn more about the upcoming Prison Yoga Project and take your life’s meaning to a new level.

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Meet Your Staff: Victoria Russell

Photo by Ronnie Lee Hill Photography

When you arrive at Grand Lake, this face might be waiting to gracefully greet you. Take a moment to meet your staff Victoria Russell. There’s often a lot more behind the faces we see every day than first comes to mind. Victoria’s superpower: her skillfulness in holding space, particularly at the busy Namaste front desk. Her calm, collected nature will remind you to slow down and savor right where you are. Read on for some stellar life advice from Victoria.

What is your favorite emoji at the moment? 

The shrugging emoji or the cat with heart eyes.

What is one thing someone may be surprised to know about you? 

I used my prom money to take a solo trip to Canada when I was in high school.

What is the best advice you’ve heard recently? 

Meditate twice a day for 20 minutes each for two months and watch what happens.

How do you personally define wellness?

Bring the body and the mind will follow. Put yourself on the mat, in the room with the thought leaders you want, prepare the food you need to nourish you and surround yourself with it.

What are your favorite habits or rituals that help to make every day sacred?

• Meditation no matter what, even if it’s just one minute.

• Take a minute to enjoy every bite of food no matter what it is.

• Moisturize!

What is the best interaction you’ve had with a student recently? 

A student that had been prescribed yoga by her therapist did the New Student Special and then upgraded to an unlimited member. She was thrilled with the unexpected yet positive changes a consistent yoga practice brought to her life.

Who are the teachers that inspire you? 

Judith Lasater is my favorite teacher because she reads a beautiful poem at the end of the class and she is a wonderful author. She is also a proponent of doing NOTHING.

What are you up to when you aren’t in the studios?

Playing with my two orange tabby cats, watching a great tv drama, reading a delicious juicy novel, or most likely driving to one of my other jobs. I’m also a life coach!

Meet Your Staff Victoria Russell

Any books or podcasts to recommend?

Read Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach and watch Brene Brown’s Netflix special.

Follow Victoria on Instagram @AuntVicki83 and tell me Namaste sent ya! Visit my website at www.victorialeighrussell.com. Bring her a hello and a smile at the front desk when you see her, or make a connection.
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Meet Your Teacher: Ryan Stone

We know you have your favorite teachers , but we believe it’s great to mix up your practices to get new influences and perspectives. This Q and A with Ryan Stone will introduce you to one of our newest instructors. His story weaves together comedy, performance, and breathing, before landing him squarely in the practice of yoga. Welcome him into our Namaste tribe! He teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, and Gentle Yoga at UC Berkeley and Namaste. Meet your teacher Ryan Stone.

Q: What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?

A: My work in the Chicago improv comedy scene brought me to yoga as a way to manage nerves before a performance. Laughter and breathing share an interesting relationship.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

A: I love vicarious victories! Helping students with firsts, and watching their growth is a huge thrill for me.

Q: Which teachers have influenced / are influencing your practice?

A: Kim Wilcox, Annie Carpenter, Ava Roy and Darren Friesen are strong presences in my teaching style.

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

A: My practice is a marriage of learning how I teach myself something, and working to find language that removes the barriers I struggled to overcome. The poses that came easily to me are the hardest to teach.

Q: What is something you wish your students knew?

A: We will all need to teach the next generation how to put down their phones. Most of us need to become better at it ourselves first.

Meet Your Teacher Ryan Stone

Q: Do you have any yoga and wellness books or podcast recommendations?

A: Light on Life, Light on the Yoga Sutras are two current favorites. Both are by B.K.S. Iyengar.

Q: Are you a morning person or night owl?

A: Night owl! But I sometimes do get up early.

Q: What is your morning routine?

A: Coffee first. Wait, what was the question? [slurpslurp]

Q: What are you involved with outside the studio?

A: I participate in a comedy writing group, book club, and love watching the Warriors.

Q: What are your favorite ways to move? How do you hold on to the feeling of being embodied?

A: Dancing and biking are two favorite physical activities. I love partner and acrobatic yoga as well.

Meet Your Teacher Ryan Stone

Q: What is your guilty pleasure (if you have one)? Everyone is human and we want our students to know that.

A: I love good beer.

Ryan Stone | Namaste Yoga + WellnessQ: Anything else you want to share?

A: I sometimes struggle with pronoun politics. Educate me how best to address you, friend.

Please join Ryan for his weekly public classes at Namaste. You will be challenged and held with love wherever you are in your practice. Click here for his schedule.

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Kundalini Yoga: Find the Missing Sock in Your Soul!

By Sariah Sizemore

Housekeeping 

I love it when my house is clean. Everything is in its place and the thin film of dust that covered the tables and countertops has been wiped away exposing vibrant color and shine. The air is fresh and fragrant. As I move around my space, I actually feel the spaciousness inside of myself as a reflection of my external experience. I find things again! I’m no longer irritated and confused when I can’t seem to locate the one knee sock that goes with the other knee sock that perfectly goes with the dress I want to wear. I know, as they say, first world problems, but it can be maddening to not find the missing piece to your ideal outfit. For me, laundry always seems to be my downfall when attempting to keep a tidy home. 

I know you might be thinking that this is a blog on Kundalini yoga and energy so why the heck is she talking about cleaning her house and finding her socks! As I was contemplating what I wanted to share with you about my experience with Kundalini, I thought a lot about how developing a relationship with the life force in myself, the Kundalini energy, has allowed me to more directly clean, clear, and organize my internal experience.

Through practicing Kundalini Yoga, I have cultivated more spaciousness within myself. I have more access to the information my mind, body, and spirit has to offer me. Ultimately, I experience more clarity and awareness so I’m able to find the “sock” within myself, or I should say my soul, that completes my whole self.  

 

Kundalini Yoga

Yes, I’m saying that Kundalini Yoga will help you find the missing sock in your soul! It is an ancient technology that works to cleanse, balance, and activate the self-healing superpowers inherent within you. We humans are pretty complex beings with a lot of bells and whistles. The amount of information we process is mind blowing, literally, and we manage to do all this processing as we accomplish our daily tasks at work, spend time with our families, travel, plan for the future and tend to all of the other threads that weave our lives together. The way we manage all of this data is through the subconscious mind, and it’s called sub – conscious for a reason…it’s not conscious. If all of the info we take in on a daily basis was in the forefront of our consciousness it would in fact blow our minds. However, this does not mean that it is not contained within us. 

The Subconscious Mind and Autonomic Nervous System

Our subconscious is associated with the autonomic nervous system that manages all of the functions our bodies carry out without us having to think. For example, we don’t consciously tell our heart to beat-beat-beat, it just does that. We don’t have to tell our food to metabolize, or our cells to regenerate. These things just happen and they happen through the silent work of the autonomic nervous system. Our nervous system keeps us alive and functioning on all levels and using the subconscious, records all of the data it needs to diligently perform that duty.  Sounds good right?! Thank you Autonomic Nervous system! 

So what does all of this have to do with Kundalini Yoga and finding our socks? As evolving humans, our physiology is constantly changing to meet the needs of the modern environment we live in. Unfortunately, we haven’t quite managed to sync up. Actually, we haven’t changed that  much since the time of the cave man except for the ability to use language, which happened about 4,000 years ago. When we examine how our autonomic nervous system works, we gain some insight into this fact. The nervous system is categorized into two different functions: sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” mechanisms in our system. For example, if we are in the jungle and see a sabertooth tiger, this will activate your sympathetic nervous system which in turn fires up everything in your body to run or pick up a big stick and fight! The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for resting, regeneration, and relaxing. 

The subconscious starts recording information from the time we are in the womb and stores info on how to stay safe, comfortable, and out of danger. It saves the threatening experiences, imprinting trauma right into your system, so you will be activated to move away from that same danger again through the sympathetic nervous system. The problem is that in modern society we experience so much stress and pressure that our nervous system’s ability to recognize a real threat can be off base. 

Is it a tiger about to eat you, or just your boss breathing down your neck to finish a deadline? Our ability to switch between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system becomes abnormal when we experience our every day environment as a threatening place. This contributes to fear, confusion, disorientation, and anger. When spending more time activated into sympathetic nervous system response, our adrenal glands excrete high levels of adrenaline and cortisol hormones. These hormones increase blood flow, heart rate, and send more nutrients to our muscles so we can get the power we need to escape the threat. The problem is that it takes away resources from other bodily functions and that leads to lack of sleep, irregular metabolism, fatigue, and dis-ease in the body. 

When we are inundated with information that is not being processed appropriately and our nervous system is not regulated, we often have an experience of feeling blocked, cluttered, or not having enough space to execute on the things we want to accomplish. Fear can be a debilitating emotion and when you mix that with a lack of physical energy and resources, struggling may be more of your experience than fresh energy and spaciousness. Our minds may feel foggy, memory slow, and our ability to connect with ourselves and others becomes more difficult. When all of this is happening inside of us, it is very much like having a messy home with dust covering our color and shine and it’s very hard to find that missing sock or perhaps even know what we are looking for! 

Kundalini, The Healing Life Force Energy

Practicing Kundalini Yoga infuses you with fresh life force energy and regulates the nervous system. It is a practice that cultivates awareness and through that awareness, you have more choice in how to respond to your environment instead of being in the reactionary place of fight or flight. You are able to recognize the triggers that happen in your everyday experience that re-stimulate you into experiencing the trauma of the past, and consciously clear them instead of having them lay dormant in the subconscious continuously activating fear and protection. Soon your experience becomes more neutral, you are more embodied and present, and have more space to bring forth creativity from a deeper connection with the soul and our whole self. 

Kundalini YogaKundalini Yoga combines all of the aspects of yoga practice: physical, breath, sound, service, and intention to quickly and powerfully realign the energetic centers in the body connecting you with your whole self. It is a quantum technology that if practiced regularly will give you the ability to transcend time and space and create the life you want to have through the power of vision and directed positive thought. The life force energy, or Kundalini, moves from the base of the spine, through concentrated energy centers called the chakras up to the crown of the head and out into the aura, the electromagnetic field that surrounds the body. You can think of this energy as a healing salve that washes through entire system to regenerate you – mind, body, and spirit. This practice unlocks you in such a way where old trauma is brought up from the subconscious to the conscious so it can be healed and cleared. If you are looking for a yoga practice that gives you the full package of physical, mental, emotional, and nervous system fitness, give Kundalini Yoga a try. Because it’s so powerful, you might have a range of experiences with it. Sometimes it’s pure bliss and at times as it wears away the layers of fear and protection, it’s uncomfortable. Practicing yoga teaches you how to stay present with that uncomfortableness, however. In allowing that stuff to come up and move, you experience more presence, liberation, and ultimately more joy and expansiveness in your life. 

sariahheadshot

Want to learn more about Kundalini? Listen to Sariah speak further on the Spirituality 101 Podcast.

Please join Sariah at Namaste Grand Lake for weekly Kundalini Yoga classes and monthly workshops and events. You can see her schedule and preregister for class here. Sariah is a life coach offering private Kundalini Yoga sessions as a tool for quickly moving through the blocks that hold one back from experiencing a fully expressed and joyful life. Please visit her web site at ritualwork.com

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In Service: Veteran’s Yoga Project

Our focus on Service this month at Namaste is meant to shine a light on how we can all contribute to a kinder, better world. With Memorial Day quickly approaching, we wanted to highlight the Veteran’s Yoga Project, the work they are doing, and how you can be a part of it.

Perry Chattler is a registered yoga teacher and a certified yoga therapist, and is on the Northern California Regional Director for Veterans Yoga Project. He shared a little bit about why this project is important and how it is shaping the lives of veterans for the better.

Q: What inspired the Veteran’s Yoga Project?

A: Veterans Yoga Project (VYP) came about from the work done by Dr. Dan Libby, who at the time was a clinical PhD psychologist at the Veterans Administration. Dan had a yoga background and began practicing with veterans suffering from PTSD. He saw significant improvements in resilience and well being among the veterans he worked with. Soon thereafter, he created Veterans Yoga Project, a non-profit organization intent on bringing mindfulness practices to veterans, active duty military, as well as to the families of those groups.

What services do you provide as an organization?

VYP’s mission is to support recovery and resilience among our veterans, their families and their communities. We accomplish this mission by providing free mindfulness-based practices to veterans, by providing trauma-informed training for yoga teachers, and by offering healing retreats to veterans and their families. VYP is a nation-wide, non-profit organization offering classes and trainings through out the nation. We conduct nearly 130 weekly yoga classes around the country, serving approximately 2,200 veterans every week. Here in Northern California we provide twenty weekly classes for veterans, including 15 classes right here in the Bay Area. VYP also provides a practice library on our website enabling veterans to see videos and listen to audio guides for asana practices, meditations, and yoga Nidra practices.

Q: Why is this work is so important and valuable?

A: Many veterans return from conflicts suffering from Post Traumatic Stress, Military Sexual Trauma, and long term pain. Many turn to medication or substance abuse to deal with returning to the semblance of a day-to-day life. Vietnam veterans have been suffering in silence for a very long time. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans receive better, albeit limited, support. Mindfulness practices assist greatly in recovery for these veterans, providing practices and tools such as mindful movement (asana), breathing practices (pranayama), yoga Nidra, and meditation to assist in recovery. And, the VA is coming on board with a mission to bring these practices to veterans because the research shows that these practices work. Trauma-informed yoga practices not only improve relationships and help veterans integrate into society, but most importantly, these practices save lives.

Q: Can you share any inspiring stories?

Veteran's Yoga ProjectA: The stories are almost too numerous to count. I personally witness transformations taking place nearly every week in my classes.

Here are some words from a Vietnam veteran who struggled with alcohol and depression for far too long, finally diagnosed with PTSD, he says,

“Some words come to mind as I think about the positive effects yoga has had on my life – centered, balanced, breathing, being – being in the moment..being conscious and aware, not melancholy or depressed, but calm, hopeful and confident in how my day will unfold. Yoga has opened the door to a new way of life, to live in every moment. Yoga has benefited me greatly.”

Q: How can our community of students help?

A: Your students can help by donating to Veterans Yoga Project (VeteransYogaProject.Org). Donations go directly to supporting our programs, and being sure to earmark donations to help support our work right here in Northern California. We are always looking for volunteers (administrative tasks, marketing, fund raising, photography, video, etc.) to help support our efforts.

Q: How can our community of yoga teachers help?

A: Teachers can help in three ways.

  1. Bring awareness to how the practices of yoga (movement, pranayama, mediation) can serve veterans suffering from PTSD, insomnia, opioid addiction, and long-term pain.
  2. Second, by considering taking the VYP trauma-informed Mindfulness Resilience Training for yoga teachers, a 15-hour (CE) program where teachers learn about PTSD and how and why these practices work, and then joining our Northern California team.
  3. And finally, consider holding a donation-based yoga class either during the period around Memorial Day, or Veterans Day, or any time, or simply donate one of their regular weekly classes. Many students during these donation-based classes find inspiration in donating more to support our veterans.

Tell us about your upcoming events in the Bay!

Memorial Day event on June 2, 2019 on the USS Hornet in Alameda. We will have a veteran-led yoga practice on the flight deck of the Hornet, overlooking the SF Bay. Please come join us!

We will also offer our yoga teacher training in the Bay Area in the fall of 2019.

Please visit our website for details.

All photos courtesy of Veteran’s Yoga Project.
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Savasana as a Tool for Less Stress

Over Twired
By Vickie Russell Bell

How twired are you? First things first, what is twired? Twired = tired + wired. And it’s an epidemic in our society. We are running on empty. Some of us go to bed too late, don’t get enough sleep and then run on adrenaline all day. Others don’t sleep well (due to hormones, stress, alcohol) and then wake up, and move caffeinated and wired through the day. We don’t know how to rest. No one taught us. We think that zoning out to TV, or answering emails on the couch while we down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, or playing candy crush on our ipad is rest. Think again. Rest involves stopping and we don’t do that well. Some of us are so twired, we’re afraid that if we stop, we may not be able to start again (you know who you are!)

Being busy is the new addiction, and it’s actually a control mechanism that keeps us from feeling. It keeps the fear and the loneliness below the surface. Stopping to rest can be downright frightening. It might mean that we tap into a part of ourselves that we’ve denied and kept hidden for a long time. Stopping and feeling requires that we wake up.

So, how can we learn to rest? Yoga and savasana to the rescue!

Restorative Yoga and Savasana
Here’s What You Do:

Set a timer for 15-20 minutes. Place a folded blanket under your head as a pillow and a roll under your lower thighs/knees (or put your legs up on a chair or your bed). Place your arms a little away from your sides. Let the weight of your body drop into the floor. Notice your breath. Soften something that feels tense. Do nothing but rest. Attempt to relax, and stay awake. Feel + breathe + be.

Savasana lacks ambition. Savasana is receptive. Savasana is soft and kind. Savasana is about being and not about doing. Savasana is the practice of deliberate stillness. Savasana is the antidote to twired. 15-20 minutes will radically shift your nervous system. You will feel more relaxed, more at ease, more peaceful. The more you practice the easier it becomes, and it will change your life. Your friends, family and co-workers will thank you!

Want More? Try the 30-Day Challenge: 

For the next month 30 days, do 15-20 minutes of savasana every day, once a day. Drop the twired – be more at peace – get to know yourself. I promise you won’t regret it! (Oh yeah, let us know how it goes in the comments below…!)

Go Further: 

Dive deeper into Restoratives and their benefits for life with Vickie in her upcoming Restorative Yoga Training, Level 1+2, July 19-22, 2019. Get all the details here.

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Meet Your Teacher: Baxter Bell

Meet Your Teacher, Baxter Bell. He teaches several classes at the Namaste studios and is an integral part of our 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, as well as the instructor for the popular Yoga for Healthy Aging Course (and weekly classes!) we offer. He began teaching at Namaste shortly after the first studio opened on College Ave in the early 2000s! As a long-time instructor with quite a student following, we wanted to learn more about how he integrates his own practice into his life, how he came to teaching, his daily routines, and more. It’s more inspiring to see that, like ourselves, our beloved instructors are well-rounded individual with multi-faceted interests and passions.

Meet Your Teacher Baxter Bell YFHA Training

Q: What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?

A: As a busy Family doctor at the time I first started practicing yoga, I was immediately drawn to and grateful for the stress reducing effects of regular practice, in addition to the obvious physical benefits of strength, better balance and improved flexibility.

Q: Which teachers have influenced your practice?

A: In my early days, I studied with Rodney Yee, Richard Rosen, Mary Paffard and Patricia Sullivan, all faculty at the then Piedmont Yoga Studio. I had wonderful retreat experiences with Patricia Walden, Erich Schiffman and a month long training in India with TKV Desikachar in 2005. And my local teacher for many years was Donald Moyer in Berkeley.

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

A: My practice has much more meditation time now than when I first started to practice yoga. I still enjoy and use my pose practice to maintain my strength, flexibility, balance and agility, as well as to address minor musculoskeletal issues that inevitably arise living in a human body. But as time goes on, I am finding the more subtle practices more essential to mental-emotional well-being and equanimity, breath work, sound work and meditation.

Meet Your Teacher Baxter Bell

Meet Your Teacher Baxter Bell

Q: What is your morning or evening routine that connects you to your self?

A: I love to meditate right out of bed in the am, when my mind and the world is still quiet. Then a leisurely asana practice afterwards as my schedule permits. I also love to steal away for an hour in the mid-afternoon for a balanced practice of poses, breath and meditation.

Q: What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

A: I love to engage, educate and inspire my students, with a nice side serving of levity!

Q: What is something you wish your students knew?

A: I wear many hats — in addition to being a yoga teacher, I also maintain a complementary practice offering acupuncture and yoga therapy in Oakland. And I love playing music, being a life-long violinist.

Q: Can you recommend any inspiring reading or listening material?

A: I co-founded and have been a weekly contributor to the Yoga for Healthy Aging blog, which is on sabbatical right now, but has over 1700 archived posts on just about any topic related to health, illness, injury and yoga. I have a wonderful book that I co-authored on the same subject, Yoga for Healthy Aging (Aside: You can find this book in the Namaste boutiques!). I also have a growing library of free yoga videos on my YouTube Channel, Baxter Bell Yoga!

Q: What are you involved with outside the studio?

A: I travel the country and the world, offering workshops and retreats on Yoga for Healthy Aging and similar topics. As mentioned above, I love to play music and love to gather with friends to have jams on a regular basis.

Q: What other movement forms help you to feel connected to yourself?

A: In addition to yoga, I find dance, especially Salsa, quite energizing, as well as playing tennis with my sweetie!

Q: What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?

A: The fascinating array of people that come from all over the country and the world to live, work and study here. I love the diversity of Oakland, and the proximity to so much amazing natural beauty.

Please join Baxter for a class or intensive soon!

Find Baxter’s weekly class schedule here. You can learn more about his Yoga for Healthy Aging Training and the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training beginning in September 2019 on our website.

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Prep for Inversion Practice

Adam believes that building your core strength and opening your shoulders are keys to a successful inversion practice. In this sequence, he started in plank to build strength and warmth before coming into downward dog.

 

  1. From Plank Pose (can you hold it for one minute?), come into Downward Dog. Take a few slow deep breaths there.
  2. Flow into Warrior 1, then fold into Humble Warrior. This flow is built around both opening the shoulders and relying on core strength to balance in Humble Warrior.
  3. Coming up, move into Warrior 2, taking arm variations to continue to help open the front and back of the shoulders. In order to engage in handstand with strong and straight arms, this shoulder opening is necessary.
  4. Using a block if needed, move into Halfmoon and work on balance, which again helps to focus and activate your core strength.
  5. Fold down into a standing split, continuing to build strength and endurance, before flowing up into handstand. If you are trying this flow at home, be sure to practice in front of a wall for additional support. Rest in Child’s Pose when you are done.
  6. Be sure to try kicking up with both legs. You may find the experience different on different sides.

Inversions have many benefits! They are useful for changing our perspective, flushing our lymphatic system, helping support our immune system, and engaging with the playful side of ourselves. Don’t let your drive for a perfect inversion stand in your way, instead allow your playfulness to drive the practice.

Join Adam for his upcoming Upside Down Extended Practice to go deeper with your own inversions, build strength, and begin to overcome your fears of the upside down world. Beginners are welcome for this extended practice too, as variations to begin to orient you to upside down poses will be offered.

PS Legs Up the Wall is an inversion too!

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Namaste Mamas

On this Mother’s Day, we honor all the mothers, grandmothers, mother figures, Mama Bears, Mr. Moms, Mother Earth…

…We honor all those who pour their life energy into raising children, pets, plants, or ideas.

“Mother Energy” is all about love, unconditional love, nurturing, and birthing, but not necessarily only about children.

Yoga plays a role here, in how we pour our energy into things. We asked our teachers:  Are there poses or teachings from yoga that reflect the concept of motherhood or the idea of “mother energy?” Are any of the things you learned from your mother figure actually yogic concepts?

Ashley West Roberts

Namaste Mamas On MotherhoodAshley’s favorite pose these days:

Humble warrior!

“Is there a pose that more accurately describes the feeling of being a mama….

I don’t think so!”

See Ashley’s teaching schedule.

 

 

Elika Aird

Namaste Mamas On Motherhood | Elika Aird“My mom teaches me constantly, but one thing I’m still working on is having that energy of what we might call “tapas” in yoga, which is equal to the fire element or discipline. As a more laid back Cancerian, who loves to surf and enjoy lots of beach time, my mom is the opposite, a fiery Sagittarian who has a a natural drive to push through any challenges. She leads me by example when it comes to finding my “tapas.” I’m grateful for all the blessings she showered onto me through her selflessness and love, despite having a single mother, I never felt like I lacked anything.”

See Elika’s teaching schedule.

 

 

Karly Railsback

Namaste Mamas On Motherhood“Since my son could crawl, I’ve loved watching him crawl on my mat and play with my props while I practice. Small slices of yoga woven into the day was essential for my wellbeing as a new mom and a sneaky way of making yoga a part of his life. He loved to ride on my back in lunges, crawl under my down dogs and topple down my boat poses. Now, at 2.5, his favorite pose is tree, and he still loves to slide under my back for bridge, making me hold the pose far longer than I would otherwise.

Yoga poses are fun and goofy with my son, but the breath of yoga is my greatest yogic parenting tool. When I focus on breath, the world slows down and I’m able to be more calm and collected. The inherent wisdom within us all tends to be MIA when your child refuses to eat dinner or steals a toy from another kid, but the breath helps to bring it back. Just as my son likes to copy my down dogs and tree poses, he also instinctively copies my breath. When we’re having a “moment” the first thing I do is breathe, and encourage him to do the same. Once the breath is slowed down, there is more oxygen moving into that little noggin, and we can handle the matter at hand a little more mindfully and relaxed.”

See Karly’s teaching schedule.

Rachel Heron

Namaste Mamas On Motherhood“I became a mother in 2005, at the age of 35. Once I had a kid of my own, I noticed an immediate softening in relation to things such as students coming in late, falling away from their practice, or moving into Savasana early!

My whole outlook shifted when i realized that the people who came to my classes were people who lived in the world of jobs and children. For them, the yoga studio was a refuge and a sanctuary–a space in which they could connect to themselves in a deeper and quieter way. Prior to being a mom, I approached yoga with a certain asceticism, and with a strong focus on the outer manifestation of a pose. I’m grateful for the ways that motherhood has worn down this particular aspect of my younger yogi self, and helped me find more grace and compassion for myself and my students in the process.

See Rachel’s teaching schedule.

Sierra Wagner

Namaste Mamas On Motherhood“The main philosophical concept I learned from my mother that relates to the yogic teachings is about perfection. This relates to one of the ancient yogic teachings from the Rig Veda, Purna – meaning full, complete, not lacking anything, content.

When I asked my mom how this concept affected how she related with me she said, “The main thing was that I view our relationship as perfect and viewed my parenting as right. It is really easy for parents to doubt that they are being the best they can be, especially when their children are doing things they don’t want them to do or are harmful.”

I can only imagine how the world would be different if every mother felt this way about herself and her children.”

See Sierra’s teaching schedule.
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Staff Picks for Mother’s Day

You know it’s a winner when the person behind the front desk is wishing for it. Wondering what to do for your loved one for Mother’s Day? Besides getting them a nourishing and relaxing massage, which is always a delightfully received gift (purchase a gift card online here), we’ve got all the current staff favorites below to give you some inspiration.

Claire | Operations Manager

Inspire OmCali Oil

Gifts for Mother's Day Omcali Oils

“I love the light and silken feel of OmCali’s freshly made whole-plant skincare items. Inspire is made with calendula (an excellent remedy for inflamed skin), holy basil (one of the most holy plants in India and has powerful antifungal properties), and California poppy (a mild sedative which can reduce tension and anxiety).

I usually find myself using it out in the world, but it is a great option for bringing a mindfully aromatic element to the mat.”

 

Stephanie | Front Desk Associate

OmCali Dream Oil

Gifts for Mother's Day | Omcali Dream Oil“Vegan, cruelty free, organic, non-toxic and additive free, this line hits the mark on every key concern regarding skincare. A lot of skincare lines cut corners and have one key additive or preservative that is either a neurotoxin, allergan or carcinogen. Omcali is a local company with ethically foraged ingredients made by a botanical alchemist in Northern California. Inspired by Ayurveda, there is a very thoughtful, intentional, and healing focused element to every formulation. I adore Dream as a conduit for use with Reiki and massage, and also love to infuse my moisturizer with a few drops to enjoy the relaxing scent. Dream encourages calming of the nervous system, promotes lucid dreaming, psychic protection, restful sleep, and a calmer, clearer state of mind.

It can be used as a personal scent day or night, can be used for massage and healing work, or can be infused into a moisturizer for an added experience for the senses. I plan to use it specifically for dreamwork and dream journaling to convey the message to my unconscious mind that I am ready to recall my dreams in vivid detail.”

Helene | Brand Manager

Plant Apothecary Soaking Salts

Gifts for Mother's Day Soaking Salts

“I love the mission behind this company. All of Plantfolk’s botanical creations are crafted in mindfulness and gratitude from the purest ingredients available, using a variety of sustainably, ethically, organically, and locally-sourced herbs oils, waxes, essential oils, clays, botanical extracts, and hydrosols. They grow many of their own organic herbs in their gardens in northern New Mexico, and distill their own plant and floral waters using an artisanal copper still.

I like to think of ritual bath time as a way to make the everyday feel special and sacred.”

Alyssa | Front Desk Associate

Om Cali Sacred Skincare Rose Hydrosol

Gifts for Mother's Day Rose Spray“I have dry and sensitive skin that needs gentle and frequent moisture. I love misting the rose hydrosol on my face throughout the day. It smells lovely and keeps my skin feeling fresh and hydrated. It’s also a lovely way to take a moment to pause in a busy day and connect deeply.

Best for busy humans wanting ways to create moments of pause in their days.”

 

 

Victoria | Front Desk Associate

Brass Ganesh Deity

Gifts for Mother's Day Statue“I like the weight of the statues in my hand, they have meaning, purpose and gravitas.

Our little statues are perfect for those searching for items to add to their rituals and self care practice.”

 

 

 

 

Valerie | Front Desk Associate

Made By Rheal Concrete Hands

Gifts for Mother's Day Hands

“We carry several items by this local artist but my favorite are the concrete hands and these are multi-purpose. I bought one and have been using it for offerings at my altar at home. The hands without sparkle are food safe – how cute would it be to keep spices in them for a unique table setting! It’s also great for incense while practicing yoga at home.

As a gift, this would be a beautiful way to tell that special someone that you love what they have to offer the world!”

 

Tim | Front Desk Associate

Gifts for Mother's Day Yoga FAQ

Yoga FAQ by Richard Rosen

“Since first seeing this book on the retail floor several months ago, I was intrigued by the attempt to demystify the lineages of Yoga in a thoughtful yet accessible way that many people can understand. Richard Rosen is a very highly regarded yoga teacher.  It is certainly a book about Yoga, but I imagine, like Yoga, holds general life guidance as well.

Erica | Front Desk Associate

Girlfriend Collective Recycled Legging

Gifts for Mother's Day | Girlfriend Collective Leggings

“I really love their mission and the way they operate. They not only provide high-quality reasonably priced clothing, but they also treat their workers really well. They pay them 150% the local wage, free health care and onsite health check-ups. Not to mention that each pair of leggings is made out of plastic bottles!  They really put their money where their mouth is.

These are perfect for the hiker, the dancer, and the fashion lover who cares about sustainability.”

 

Carrie | Training Manager

Beyond Yoga Legging

Gifts for Mother's Day | Beyond Yoga Leggings“I love how versatile this brand is! I can wear them to work, to yoga and out for dinner all in one day and look good/feel comfortable doing so. Beyond Yoga is known for their long-wearing fabrics that are buttery smooth and comfortable, eco-conscious, and can be washed/dried traditionally.

Perfect for anyone looking for cozy + durable yoga / active-wear.”

 

 

Seble | Front Desk Associate

Backbeat Rags Vintage Black Tencel Robe

Gifts for Mother's Day | Backbeat Rags Tencel Jacket“The mission of this company really speaks to me. Most fabrics are made in California, are recycled, organic or sustainable and support small producers. The aesthetic is effortless and the company is owned by a woman of color, Isadora Alvarez who in fact immigrated from the Philippines! The models are ethnically diverse and it seems like a real effort has been made to include different shapes in order to provide something for many different body types. 

I just learned that Tencel is made from Eucalyptus cellulose! This fabulous tree is one of my favorites but is really invasive as well as fast growing so using it in this manner makes a lot of sense.”

Melissa | Rockridge Studio Manager

Everyday B Yoga Mat

Melissa Goble, ManagerGifts for Mother's Day | B Yoga Mat

“I love the texture, weight, durability and color choices for the B Mat. The texture is slip resistant but smooth, super grippy. It feels more like a soft pad vs a rough firm mat that offers more padding for the knees, which is really nice.”

Kenny | Grand Lake Studio Manager

Manduka Pro Mat

Gifts for Mother's Day | Manduka Prolite“Along with the fact that this mat has been my go-to mat for over a decade there are two unique aspects to the Manduka ‘Pro’ mat that I appreciate. The ‘Pro’ comes with a lifetime guarantee (which I couldn’t imagine ever needing), but which is intended to help reduce the amount of PVC mats that enter landfills every year and reduces overall mat consumption.. The second aspect is the ‘Pro’ mat feels robust – the mat’s size, weight and thickness provides a sense of comfort and support, even if it is a bit burdensome to transport. I feel anchored when I’m on this mat and am able practice with a sense of confidence and freedom that I seldom feel with other mats I have tried in the past.”

 

 

Need other ideas? Pop by our boutiques and ask our staff for some more ideas! They are happy to show you around our shops. Or purchase a gift card online that can be used at any of our locations for any of our products or services.

Shop local. Shop with intention.

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