Getting Here: A Guide to Oakland Transportation

Getting here is a part of the journey to presence that yoga class affords us.

As we close our Berkeley studio and move much of our programming to our Oakland studios, we strongly encourage our Berkeley based students to maintain their practice by joining us at our Oakland locations. But…how to get there? We’ve shared some parking guidance via emails, but in the bigger picture, there are many ways to get to our Oakland studios and we wanted to share them with you. It feels important to both relish the urban life we have that is full of transportation options, as well as to reduce our reliance on cars.

Transportation

If parking is a concern for you, consider the many public transportation options available.

As one of our students gratefully pointed out, “Both studios are in incredibly transit rich and walkable neighborhoods.”

The Grand Lake studio is one and a half blocks from  a local and transbay bus stop (on Lake Park, in front of Heart and Dagger Saloon), with many bus lines. The  29 bus picks up about 50 feet from the studio and goes up and down Lakeshore. There is a Bay Wheels bike share station on Lakeshore, a block away from the studio, and scooters are everywhere in Oakland.

The Rockridge studio is a short walk from the Rockridge BART station. Bus routes abound on College Ave.

Carpooling / Rideshares

Of course, there are rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft if your concern is having to find parking in Oakland.

We also encourage saying hello to your classmates in the yoga studio. Have you considered making a friend that you might be able to carpool with? Sit and have a cup of tea after class and strike up a conversation with a classmate. Perhaps you are coming from the same neighborhood!

Parking

If you want to or must drive, here are some of our parking tips.

The Grand Lake studio at 3229 Lakeshore Ave has a free parking lot across the street, as well as neighborhood short term parking on surrounding streets (some of our faves to find parking on are Rand Ave, Wickson Ave, Glen View Ave, and Trestle Glen.)
Click for Map

Getting Here: Parking at Grand Lake

The Rockridge studio at 5416 College Ave has ample short term parking on surrounding streets. (Some of our faves are on Manila Ave, Kales Ave, and James Ave.)

Click for Map

We can’t wait to see you at our Oakland studios!

 

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Sacred Space: In Gratitude to Berkeley

In gratitude for our time at our Berkeley studio, we asked our teachers for their Berkeley memories. We’ve created a space for our students to share their gratitude for this space and how it has served all of us. Please contribute when you come by!

Sacred Space

Margi’s Berkeley haiku:

rooted in Berkeley
ears 👂 dripping over shoulders
my favorite Buddha

 

Anj Manitsas

Sacred Space

 

Ken Breniman

Sacred Space

“As both a yoga student and yoga teacher, the Berkeley studio has many fond memories. When I first moved to the Bay Area almost 15 years ago, the studio was still 7th Heaven but it is where I was introduced to Acroyoga and the exciting world of practicing with a partner. It is through those early classes that inspired me to become a yoga teacher. In 2014, I was invited into the Namaste community and had the honor of teaching at the Berkeley studio. In my heart, the Berkeley studio will always be a space of creativity, inspiration and community. In my grief, I acknowledge what is forever changing in our yoga community and I am eternally grateful for the synergy, support and celebration that manifested at Berkeley Namaste.”

 

David Moreno

Sacred Space

“My first time teaching at the Berkeley location was as a guest instructor when the studio was still 7th Heaven during the mid 1990s. At the time I was living and teaching in Santa Fe. I taught a “Partners Yoga Workshop” which at that time was one of the first—way before there was Acro Yoga! To my surprise, I ended up teaching at that studio for specialty classes for Namaste like “Men’s Kula: Yoga for Guys,” “Bolllywood Dance:Fit”, and teacher trainings.”

Karly Railsback

Sacred Space

“When I moved to the east bay I was pretty sad to leave the SF yoga community. There were so many amazing teachers and studios I had grown to love, that no longer worked living in Oakland. Then I dropped into Richard Rosen’s old Saturday morning class, Vicky’s restorative workshop and Margis noon flow and felt like I was entering the next stage of my practice, rather than losing it. The teachers, the students and the overall vibe of Namaste Berkeley felt so grounded; it was exactly where I was supposed to be.”

Please keep bringing your whole self to the Berkeley space through August 18. Let’s fill it up with all good vibes. Take a minute to share your favorite memory in our lobby.

Sacred Space

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Breath Practice to Reduce Worry

A quick practice to clear your mind of anxious worries.

For many people, anxiety seems to be an ever-present unwelcome guest.  Anxiety is on the rise, now the most common mental affliction in the United States.

Worry is a hallmark symptom of the anxious mind.  You spin your mental wheels imagining futures full of potential doom and gloom, thinking of the many ways you’re going to mess up or fall short.

Brahmari is a breathing practice that helps clear anxious worry from your mind.  Also known as the Bee’s Breath, it involves creating a humming sound like the sound of bees.   Brahmari helps calm your nervous system and can help induce sleep, which is helpful for anxious folks whose sleep is often disturbed.

Breath Practice for Anxiety

Breath Practice for Anxiety

Breath Practice for Anxiety

You can strengthen the calming effect of the Bee’s Breath by adding a mudra called Shanmukhi Mudra.  For this, bring the first two fingers of each hand together as one, and rest them lightly over your closed eyes.  Let your ring fingers rest on your face just above the upper lip like a mustache.  Let the pinky fingers rest lightly on the chin below the lower lip.  Use your thumbs to plug your ears, by foldinging the little flap of cartilage over the ear canal.

Breath Practice for Anxiety

Dr. Domonick Wegesin is a yogi-neuroscientist-dancer with a bent towards meditation and the healing arts. He moved to the Bay Area from New York City where he conducted neuroimaging research focused on the aging brain, as a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Columbia University. Domonick now trains the brains and bodies of his yoga students, helping them wake up to their mental, emotional and physical experience in a way that cultivates awareness, acceptance and ease. He has a ton of special offerings at our studios coming up in the next few months if you are looking to learn more: Pranayama Intensive, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Yoga for Anxiety, and Rumi + Restoratives Practice.

 

 

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How to Feel Safe: Practices for Soothing Anxiety

Many of us can attest to experiencing a feeling of vulnerability in a yoga class. There are many relationships between yoga and feeling safe, from practicing with good alignment boundaries, to feeling emotionally moved in a class as your physical body opens up. As Eclipse season is throwing many of us into the seas of change, we asked our teachers to share a practice that can help make us feel safe and held when we may be feeling vulnerable or anxious.

Hayley Ebersole

A sense of safety, security and belonging is represented in energetic anatomy by the root chakra. On my life long journey of inner cultivation I’ve yet to find a mantra that is more effective for relieving anxiety than the simple words “I am safe.”

Feel safe

Sarah Moody

Slow down your breathing.

Inhale to a count of 4, exhale to a count of 4.

Repeat several rounds.

Jaimi Patterson

Anne Koller

I hold my hands to a part of my body and chant “I am home in me” and remember that my safe space is within me.

Elana Morgulis

A simple practice to feel safe and held is to first find a really comfy position – this might be a gentle Restorative pose like supported child’s pose, it could be savasana, or it could be laying in bed or on the couch. Start to add cushions and blankets wherever you feel your body could be held and supported such as under your head, low back, under the knees, feet – anywhere and everywhere! The point is to have your body in contact with something soft and supportive. Next, wrap or cover yourself with a blanket – the heavier the blanket the better. Add some weight if that feels good to you, maybe another blanket. Close your eyes. Take several long, slow breaths and bring your attention to where your body feels the support of the cushions and blankets. Breathe that sensation in. Take in the wrapping of the blanket around you and softly say to yourself “Right now, I’m okay. I am safe. I am here.” If you do nothing more than wrap yourself in a blanket and say something kind to yourself, that’s more than enough!

Join these fine instructors for their weekly practice schedule. Click here to see Hayley, Anne, Elana, Sarah, and Jaimi‘s public teaching schedules at Namaste.

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Beyond the Mat: How Our Teachers Serve

Our teachers inspire us every day with their words, their wisdom, and their flows. Did you know that many of our teachers also do inspiring work out in the world with various populations of people? As part of our Yoga and Service series, we are highlighting the work our instructors do to take their practice off their mats. May we all follow their leads and be of service to the greater world.

Ada Lusardi

“I volunteer teach a weekly class for a local non-profit in service to seniors who wish to stay independent and connected in their later years.  There are several folks in their 90’s in this group. Can you guess which ones? I am inspired to the point my heart nearly bursts!  I learn so much about my future and the future of my younger students by working with these beautiful wise beings.”

See Ada’s class schedule.

Anne Koller

Yoga and Service | Anne Koller

“I have taught at The Healing Well in the Tenderloin for over two years.  When I teach in the mornings on Tuesdays, they drive my theme for my Tuesday night class at Namaste.  I tell Namaste students about what people are going through and talking about at The Healing Well in our meditation and art circle. We open with an emotion share, meditation, art expression, art share, mosaic creation and closing chant of sat nam.”

See Anne’s class schedule.

Sierra Wagner

“Those areas where we notice we have capacity and capability are where we have surplus to give back to our community. ”  Watch the video below to see where Sierra chooses to put her energy. You can view Part I of her video here to learn more about how Sierra describes the relationship between Yoga and Service.

Ask Your Teacher: How do you take your yoga off the mat?

Yoga and service are intimitely connected. In this Part II video with Sierra Wagner, she shares how she specifically serves our greater community. Check out Part I to get the big picture on how yoga and service are connected.

Posted by Namaste Yoga + Wellness on Wednesday, July 10, 2019

 

See Sierra’s class schedule.

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

 

Vickie shares her yoga knowledge with a group of people with Parkinson’s and tailors a practice to fit their needs. These efforts are supported by PD Active and the Yoga Dana Foundation, a nonprofit that supports yoga in underserved communities.

See Vickie’s class schedule.

Satya de la Paz

Her sliding scale classes for People of Color at Namaste are striving to create a safe space for yoga for this underserved population of people.

Ahimsa, or Non-Harming

Why is Yoga for People of Color relevant and important today? Join Satya for her weekly offering at Namaste Grand Lake.

Posted by Namaste Yoga + Wellness on Monday, January 21, 2019

 

See Satya’s class schedule.

How do you, or how would you like to, serve the greater good? Comment below!

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Invest in Rest, Reduce Your Stress

We all know that it pays to take it easy sometimes, whether that is through a restful day at home or a restorative yoga practice. But with the sun shining and the air full of sweet summer smells, our ability to take that life advice sometimes falls to the wayside. Neglecting to slow down comes at a high price though. Over activity and stimulation leads to many of our most common health problems such as back pain, heart disease, weight gain, adrenal fatigue, and mood swings.

The good news is there are simple ways to “mindfully relax” that help the body, mind, and spirit feel renewed and ready to keep taking on the world. These easy techniques are perfect for healing the body of injuries, letting the mind unwind, and giving yourself permission to emotionally just chill out for a few minutes.

Vickie Russell Bell knows plenty about relaxation and restoration. She is leading Namaste’s Restorative Yoga Immersion this summer and is passionate about sharing the importance of mindful relaxation with our community. A little R&R never hurt anybody, and let’s face it, who doesn’t want an excuse to just rest up?

Vickie gave us a few suggestions on how to tune in to tuning out the world. We encourage you to try one of these today!

 

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Leadership in Action: Prison Yoga Project

What does it mean to be a leader?

Leading the way as a business, as a country, or in an industry is a fearless enterprise. Leadership starts with recognizing where there is a problem, finding solutions to that problem, and finally, taking action to solve the problem. Leadership in action means being and modeling the change you hope to see in the world.

One of the fearless leaders of our time is James Fox, who began teaching yoga and meditation to prisoners at San Quentin Prison in 2002. His years of experience as a facilitator of victim/offender education, violence prevention, and emotional literacy classes for prisoners informed his work with prisoners. These experiences culminated in the eventual founding of Prison Yoga Project.

Prison Yoga Project is working to reform the criminal justice system from the inside out. Their “evidence-supported, trauma-informed approach to yoga and mindfulness supports people to face and release unresolved trauma safely and effectively. We provide resources and tools for recognizing and reducing aggression, impulsivity, reactivity, and despair. With these tools, they have a higher chance of taking personal responsibility and thinking and behaving differently. These tools and resources are the foundation for personal and social transformation.”

The video shared below tells the story of Prison Yoga Project, how James started teaching at San Quentin, the scope of the problem, and the struggles all prisoners have with violence and addiction.

James has since led practices and inspired the establishment of yoga programs in prisons and jails across the U.S. and internationally. Under his leadership, thousands of teachers have been trained to replicate PYP’s methodology in correctional facilities.

Leadership in Action

Our upcoming Prison Yoga Project training on August 10-11 is for anyone interested in creating a more humane and effective criminal justice system: therapists, social workers, lawyers, correctional officers, administrators, and, especially, yoga teachers who are ready to take their practice into the realm of service.

“I attended the Prison Yoga Project training at Namaste last summer and it has changed the way I teach as well as how I perceive my role as a teacher. I greatly respect and admire James Fox for creating this training and for personally doing this work of bringing yoga to prison inmates. My sister and I participated in the training together as we were both interested in expanding from teaching public classes at studios and gyms. This training helped me to understand how to teach anywhere where the majority of students will likely have experienced any form of trauma. It has also opened my eyes to teaching within the yoga studio as I have realized many students that come into yoga studios and gyms have also experienced trauma. I believe this is a great training for all teachers to become more sensitive to the needs of their students in any setting.”Odisa Walker, Namaste Instructor 

Leadership in Action Prison Yoga ProjectJoin us for this transformational program. Learn more here.

 

Photos courtesy of Prison Yoga Project.
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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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