Make 5 Minutes: Pranayama with Jerry Givens

Jerry’s teachings focus on balancing energy in the body and mind through the scientific sequencing of postures and breathwork. Join him here for a 5-minute Pranayama Practice to calm the body and clear the mental airwaves. Five minutes is a great and palatable way to start a daily practice. We waste more than that amount of time on countless daily tasks. Make these five minutes worth every second, the benefits abound. Find a comfortable seat, and press play.

5 minute Pranayama Practice

Jerry Givens is a 500-hour certified teacher of Tantric Hatha Yoga and Meditation. He began practicing in 2006 and has been teaching since 2008. With over a decade of experience working in corporate offices, running businesses, and leading culture at tech companies and small businesses alike, he focuses on bridging the gap between personal values and actions in the business world through corporate wellness programming. His methods are informed by both modern and ancient psychological models of Self-understanding.

Join him for his weekly public class offerings, monthly Yoga Nidra offering (you can use your class pass or drop in to attend), or his upcoming Connecting to Self Energy workshop.

Jerry’s Weekly Class Schedule at Rockridge studio:

Monday 7:30-8:45pm Yoga + Mindfulness
Thursday 7:00-8:15pm Yoga + Mindfulness (Sliding scale class)

 

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Mantra Meditation Inspiration: Part Two

Last week we announced our 14 Day Mantra Meditation practice. This is part two of our three part series featuring Namaste teachers and the mantras they use to keep themselves feeling grounded and empowered. If you are just picking your own mantra or affirmation now – no worries! You can join in the fun at any time. The prize is the same: feeling more present, engaged, and in love with your self.

Elika Aird

Catch Elika this Wednesday for her 30 Days to Thrive mini-immersion co-led with Naushon Kabat-Zinn.

View Elika’s weekly yoga class schedule.

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Margi Young

Margi Young

My favorite mantra that I made up!

“What if this was savasana?”
(like during a hard pose, or a hard conversation, or listening to the news)

 

Another way of saying this would be:
“Can i rest in every moment?”

 

 

Sparkle Thornton

Sparkle Thornton

My personal theme for 2017  is Upgrade to Thrive. My personal mantras/affirmations can be condensed to this:

My 4 agreements for art and career in 2017:
my career is prosperous
my health is abundant
my creativity is endless
my life has direction
 
I say this often as I close my practice or meditations. See Sparkle’s weekly yoga class schedule or book a massage!
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How to Create Your Mantra:

Think about what you personally need to hear. Often Mantras begin as affirmations, “I am, I choose to be, I believe…” Mantras are statements, not questions, that enforce a value or belief about ourselves and the world.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and here of course for inspiration all month long. 

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Mantra Meditation Inspiration: Part One

Today is the day! Our community is ready to put our 14 Day Mantra Meditation practice into action. If you’re still seeking some inspiration, no stress – we’ve got you covered. We asked our Namaste teachers to share with us mantras they are currently using to live a stronger, fuller life. We’ll be sharing these as the challenge progresses over the next two weeks. To get started, here is part one of three inspiring posts full of wisdom straight from the mouths of our Namaste teachers:

Jill Lindsay White

My favorite mantra is Ong Namo Guru Dav Namo.  Translated as: I bow to the creative energy of the infinite, I bow to the divine channel of wisdom.
I sing this to myself whenever I need a little boost.

 

Catch Jill teaching Therapeutic Yoga Thursdays 4:30-5:45 PM and Saturdays 8:30-9:45 AM at Namaste Rockridge. And for our Grand Lake students, don’t miss her Fridays 10:00-11:30 AM! squiggle-line

Kameko 11Kameko Shibata

atha yoga-anushasanam ||1||

अथ योगानुशासनम् ॥१॥

atha yoga-anuśāsanam ॥1॥

“now, begins the exploration of yoga. ”

This is the first sutra of the yoga sutras. I have been chanting it in class with my students as the year begins. Discussing the symbolism of “atha” that auspicious “now”. “Now is the beginning, the “atha” is the bija or seed mantra to that whole sutra. Each time we get distracted and we forget our place, our breath, our way, on and off the mat, we can use “atha”, “now” I realize and begin again.

Yoga is non-judgmental.

She is always ready to take us back, to let us begin again and again.

In India my teachers always say,”Asana is for the body, pranayama for the breath and mantra for the mind”

That’s all to say, I’m all about the power of mantra. and often have students use “om” chanting and moving!

Catch Kameko Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at Namaste Grand Lake for 7:00-8:00 AM Morning Vinyasa!squiggle-line

Domonick WegesinDomonick Wegesin

I like the mantra “So Ham”.  Sanskrit phrase meaning “I Am That”. “I Am” signifies individual consciousness and “That” signifies Universal Consciousness.  Anything you see in the world is a reflection of universal consciousness.  The mantra helps the individual, small self, identify with all that is.

It also serves as a reminder that everything we witness in the world, whether pleasant or unpleasant, judged positively or negatively, is within us.   

It’s easy to judge others for their shortcomings, greed, hate, etc., but So Ham reminds us that we have those traits in us too, that we sometimes act from greed and hate.  It cultivates connection rather than separation.

Don’t miss a chance to practice with Domonick!  Mondays/Wednesdays 4:30-5:50 PM Hatha at Namaste Rockridge, 8:15-9:15 AM Pranayama and 9:30-11:00 AM Hatha at Namaste Grand Lake, and 9:30-10:50 AM Saturdays at Namaste Rockridge.

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How to Create Your Mantra:

Think about what you personally need to hear. Often Mantras begin as affirmations, “I am, I choose to be, I believe…” Mantras are statements, not questions, that enforce a value or belief about ourselves and the world.

 

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and here of course for inspiration all month long. 

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Honor Your Epic-ness: 14 Day Mantra Meditation

Last week we launched our Year of Empowerment campaign catalyzing a new 12 month journey of community exploration into living an empowered life.

As promised, we’re ready for our first community practice of the year!

JANUARY’S FOCUS:

14 Day Mantra Meditation Challenge aimed at Honoring YOUR Epic-ness.

We’re sure you’ve noticed the flood of New Year, New You messages coming in hot from every corner of the web. Instead of worrying about what we want to change, we felt it was more important to notice the things we already LOVE about ourselves.

If we can’t honor the amazing parts of ourself – how will we be able to see with clear eyes what really needs to shift?

Let the anxiety of resolutions melt away into a month focused on simply honoring the beautiful, capable person you already are.

A practice that is helpful in boosting self-confidence and solidifying our feelings of inner epic-ness is the use of daily mantras. Mantras are powerful tools leveraging language to shape our consciousness. A mantra can be used in morning meditation, at the beginning or end of a practice, or even throughout the day during difficult or uninspired moments.

my-mantra-example

 

How to Create Your Mantra:

Think about what you personally need to hear. Often Mantras begin as affirmations, “I am, I choose to be, I believe…” Mantras are statements, not questions, that enforce a value or belief about ourselves and the world.

 

 

Think about the fact that YOUR narrative is what plays as the soundtrack to your life, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We’re pretty sure no one actively chooses mantras like “I am so behind” or “I messed up again” – but these are the thoughts we get stuck with more often than not.

Together, let’s begin changing our narrative to help manifest a story of heroic proportions.

Beginning THIS Wednesday, January 11th until Wednesday, January 25th 

we’re asking you to pick a sentence, a word, or a phrase that makes you feel strong, loved, and in control of your own story.

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Here is how we want to support you:

  1. Pick up your personal Mantra Meditation card at the front desk on your next visit. Write your personal mantra on the card and keep close for reflection.
  2. Join our community Facebook group, Year of Empowerment Club  for weekly tips and journal prompts.
  3. Keep up with us on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook where we’ll be sharing tips and mantras from your favorite Namaste teachers.

We are excited to share in this collective experience. Cheers to a strong, loving, and EPIC beginning to 2017.

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On Sound Healing

I recently attended Sound Healing with Missy Felsenstein, which I can describe as being on an auditory journey into space. I thought it would be a restful, relaxing experience – but have to admit there were moments of unrest mixed in there for me. Still, i think it is an experience not to be missed! We all need to practice being more restful, and that is the whole point of the exercise.

It did make me wonder — how does it work?

According to current research, the vibrations of sound in various frequencies cause the brain waves to slow down and you start to move into Alpha brainwaves. This state of being is a state of relaxation, a restful place. If you have old injuries, you might feel some tingling in those areas. Once you become more practiced, it is possible that the sound might move you into the Theta brainwave state – this is one which is meditative, and which lives between awake and asleep.

Since no one processes sound in the same way, how this state feels to you and the experience you have will be different than the person next to you.

I found that I moved in and out of the Alpha state of relaxation. But when I would waken to reality, I couldn’t tell you where I had been. It didn’t feel like I had been asleep – it felt like my mind had been doing something – thinking thoughts or travelling down some path, or following the sounds as thought they were a path of footprints — but it was all lost to me when I would become aware of where I was.

Concentrating on sound helps to retrain your nervous system and your brain to learn how to relax. Here’s a tiny snippet of the experience. It’s big and booming, because the planetary gong Uranus was there, so go easy on the volume while you lay in a restful pose and take this auditory experience in.

Join Missy for her next Sound Healing. Sign up here!

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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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10 Minute Morning “Primer” for Gratitude

A common myth around meditation is that there is a right and wrong way to approach it. Often we believe we must sit perfectly still in order to reap the full benefits of the practice. The truth is, mindfulness can lead to similar results and may appease some of us who are just too energized to sit and focus on one thought (or lack of thought). We first heard of the gratitude meditation, or morning priming exercise, from the motivational speaker Tony Robbins.

Here is our suggestion for how you can get started!10 Minute Morning Gratitude Meditation

End your meditation practice by honoring yourself for taking the time out of your day to tune in. A healthy, clear you is what helps makes this world a better place.

[Photos taken from our friend Alaia at Localwise Jobs]

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How to Love Fear

by Sonya Genel

If you are like most people then you don’t like to feel fear, anxiety, or sadness. But what if there is nothing wrong with having these feelings? What if these feelings are actually the keys to your most radical freedom and happiness? There is no way out, but there is a way through! It is a difficult way, but it is also indescribably beautiful, and well worth the walk.

There was a time in my life where I felt like a failure if I wasn’t happy, energetic, and productive constantly. I realize now that it is ridiculous to expect such an existence, and in fact, it would be boring even if it could be attained. The truth is we need our lows just as much as we need our highs. We need to contract before we expand. We need to die before we can be re-born. We need contrast and texture in our lives. It is the fertile ground from which our souls can blossom. And yet simply Sonya Genel knowing the hidden value of difficult emotions is not enough. Many people, myself included, have struggled with the reality of actually encountering and transmuting them.

Enter: Yoga.

The practices of yoga have risen up to support me in the most difficult moments of my life. I am deeply grateful for the teachers and for the mysterious turns of fate which brought me to yoga. I am honored now to serve as a teacher and guide for others today. Yogic practices give us very real tools for navigating the inner landscape of our consciousness. This body and mind doesn’t come with a driver’s manual, and many of us get through life by coping, not by thriving. Yoga connects us to a greater sense of self, aligns us with our natural rhythms, and gives us the strength and courage to move through our most frightening inner shadows.

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
~Joseph Campbell

In the very center of our pain is the key to our liberation. If we listen carefully and patiently to our difficult emotions, we will recognize them as allies on the spiritual path.

The Wisdom Voice Inside:

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 11.13.50 AMLet’s take for example, the difficult emotion of anxiety. Who likes to feel anxiety?? Not me! But try this… think of anxiety as a crying baby, and approach it with patience and love, rather than shame or anger. Listen to it, and as the crying slows down, the anxiety reveals an important message. The first time I heard the wise voice of my anxiety was in meditation. Instead of running around trying to fix my external life in a hopeless effort to calm my fears, I finally just sat down and began to meditate. And then my anxiety said this to me: “the earth is calling you to come down”. My eyes popped open in astonishment. Who said that? The message rang clear and true like a voice from heaven. I went outside and laid belly down on the earth. I breathed in the smell of dirt and grass. I allowed my bones to be heavy. A flood of connection and relief washed over me. I could once again feel my place in the family of all things. I knew what i had to do, and my anxiety lifted with a gentle sweetness.

What I learned is how to move energy through my subtle and physical body. When all your energy is in your head, your mind and emotions spin to the point of exhaustion. This leads us to feeling scattered, disconnected, restless, tired… The sense of anxiety which occurs in this state, is actually your body calling you to come home. When you feel anxious it means you quite literally need to ground! Getting into your body by connecting with the breath is an easy and extremely powerful way to “come down to earth”. Slow mindful breath soothes the mind and allows the parasympathetic nervous system to turn on. It is in this space that all deep healing and restoration happen. But how would we ever enter this state if their was nothing calling us down?

Thank you, anxiety. I promise to always honor you and all my feelings.

Fear becomes an indispensable friend who tells us to pay attention. Sadness teaches us about compassion. Worry shows us where we are leaking energy. Envy reminds us to stop giving away our power. Depression may just be asking us to grieve or process and unfelt loss. There is great wisdom in your shadows. Yoga can help you uncover it.

This post originally appeared on Sonya Genel’s personal website. 

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Sonya Genel, ERYT500, joyfully embraces the power of yoga not only to heal and transform the body but also to heighten human consciousness and to create a radiant life. In her classes, Sonya weaves precise anatomical alignment with flowing movement. Always approaching her students with authenticity and humor. Sonya’s intention is to hold space for a direct embodied connection with Spirit. When she is not teaching yoga, Sonya can often be found drawing or painting. As an artist, she notices the profound effects yoga has on her creativity, and she has dedicated herself to enthusiastically guiding others toward enhancing their own unique life path through yoga.

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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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