Meet Your Teacher: Domonick Wegesin

Namaste Yoga + Wellness is a container for the Bay Area’s best yoga teachers to offer their incredible talent and wisdom to students of all backgrounds. These highly experienced teachers have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others and we couldn’t be more grateful. It is an honor to support them and to connect them with yoga practitioners like you.

We are excited to share this special new blog series focused on celebrating your yoga teachers and hopefully giving you a glimpse into the brilliant team that is the Namaste Yoga + Wellness family. We have over 55 teachers in our community and every single person offers something unique!

Meet Domonick Wegesin:

How long have you been at Namaste?
10 years

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
Yoga helped me face my fears of not being enough. I have always loved to teach, and realized I would love to teach something that had been so impactful in my own life.

Your favorite literature on yoga or meditation?
The writings of Pema Chodron and Mary Oliver.

Which teachers have influenced your practice?
David Goulet, Annie Carpenter, Janet Stone, Richard Rosen, Dylan Werner

How often do you practice?
Daily

What is your morning or evening routine?
Morning pranayama and chanting with my husband. We start each day in sync, every breath for the first 30 minutes of the day in tandem.

Your favorite self-care practices?
Hiking in Nature, soaking in our hot tub under the trees and sky, dancing, yoga.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
Crazy about our Schnoodle, love to dance.

Absolute favorite asana?
Wild Thing – love it’s beauty, curvilinear form and heart-offering expression.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The people who are the most accepting of any place I’ve ever lived.

Anything else you want to share?
So grateful to be in the Namaste Community to have a place to share the teachings of yoga and meditation. Thankful for Kimberly and her vision.

Also check out Domonick’s upcoming programming:

Yoga for Anxiety Series, begins Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, begins Wednesday, September 19, 2018

 

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How to Recharge Your Battery on Your Day Off

How to Recharge Your Battery on Your Day Off

It’s super exciting to have a day off in the middle of the week, it’s like a nugget of chocolate in the trail mix. It’s very easy to fall in to our habits, that’s why they are habits. But here, we propose something different. Think about your day off as the opportunity to truly recharge your battery, so that when you return to your daily grind you are inspired and hopeful.

Focus on One Thing at a Time

Work life is full of distractions and multitasking – take some time off from this type of engagement with the world. Whatever you are doing, do it with a single-mindedness. Feel the space that surrounds single-tasking: there is less mind clutter, less interruption, less thoughts clamoring for attention.

One entry point into this clarity of mind: meditation. Click here to try a short yoga nidra practice (meditation done while lying down).

 

Eat Well

Start things off right by making yourself a satiating, satisfying, hearty, nutritious meal. Energize yourself for the day. Our ideal: a rice bowl with greens and a poached egg on top. Power on.

For your eating pleasure, try this Quinoa and Rice Bowl With Kale, Kimchi and Egg recipe.

 

 

Move Your Body

 

It’s widely proven that exercise is medicine. The heart, the brain, and your mental state are all affected by exercise and movement. Parcel out some of your day off to take a walk in nature, put on some music and dance around your living room, go for a bike ride or find a yoga class.

(Above, Karly Railsback doing some core training.)

Make it Meaningful

Do you have that thing that you “want” to do even though it’s not a paying gig? Do you have a passion project (i.e. side hustle)?  Your passion project is something that brings you satisfaction and can put you into a state of flow. Devote time to it and connect to your Bigger Picture. It will give you a new frame to see your self in the wider world — it can add meaning and purpose to life. And, well, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Be Kind to Yourself

Does that mean taking time to take a bath, go to the beach, or schedule a massage? Or does it mean making a date with a friend and finding some time to really connect?

Yes. Do it. You will thank yourself later.

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” -Scott Adams

 

Take a Break from Social Media

Don’t worry about what you are missing — batteries get truly recharged when you find what you authentically want to do, and just do it. Who cares about what everyone else did today on their day off — you had the best and most resourceful day for your soul. Just revel in that.

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We Love Our Students: Teresa Marylander

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
Hi, I am Teresa Marylander. I have been practicing at Namaste for exactly one year.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
I looked for an exercise that benefits me physically and spiritually. Yoga can be very vigorous yet very calming at the same time.

Favorite parts about taking classes at Namaste?
I feel like part of a welcoming community when I come to yoga classes.

What is your definition of wellness?
Living with two teenagers, and being able to be calm:-)

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
I have done many things in my life varies from being a writer, a certified public accountant, an instructor of a software company, a computer manager at a university, a dog trainer, and now a preschool teacher.

Favorite things you do to help make every day sacred?
Practice yoga, chanting Buddha’s name, and tender my garden.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
It’s always hard to make the habit of exercising or eating healthy in the beginning. Just keep at it, and it becomes a passion or lifestyle.

Anything you’d like us to share with our Namaste community?
Both my children go to Oakland School for the Arts. The children’s performances are amazing, very professional. Check out their website to follow their events. It’s an amazing school with talented students of 10 different emphases, everything from vocal to fashion!

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Meet Your Staff: Raynetta Van

Introduce Yourself! What is your name, how long have you been at Namaste?
The name is Raynetta, but you can call me Ray 🙂 I’ve been at Namaste for a month now!

One thing someone may be surprised to know about you is:
My cat’s name is Mozzarella because I was genuinely thinking about pizza when I named her.

Best advice you’ve heard recently?
Love people where they are. Regardless of their issues and weaknesses, love them for who they are because they are deserving of love. My job is to love and here I am.

How do you personally define wellness?
Taking care of myself, spiritually, mentally, and physically so my body can be in tip-top shape.

What are your favorite habits or rituals that help to make every day sacred?
“The First Five” basically, after I wake up in the morning, I don’t check my phone or even glance at it, instead I give God my first 5 minutes. I’ve been trying to make God the center of my being. By doing this, I’m honoring Him and starting my day off with Him. It helps to center me and makes me want to be a good human in this world.

The best interaction you’ve had with a student in the last 6 month?
Well, this past month has been fun getting to know all the students. My favorite interaction has to be with Kay M. We have the shortest, but most fun conversations. I have a septum piercing and she asked if it hurt, and I told her not even. I suggested that she get one and her facial expression was priceless. You had to be there!

Favorite classes or teachers at the moment? 
Elissa Buchman’s Vinyasa class is a favorite of mine. It’s definitely because Elissa is the teacher. If you ever get the chance to connect with her outside of the studio, you’ll realize she’s a sweet pea. I’m in the midst of making my rounds to all the studios to try different classes.

What are you up to when you aren’t in the studios? 
I’m reading, hiking, or discovering new adventures with my friends or by myself. Most of the time, I’m snuggled up with my (fur) daughter, Mozzarella.

Anything you’d like us to share with our Namaste community? 
I like to write. I have a blog where I’ve been documenting my transition into adulthood from highschool, now in college. No doubt life is hard, but I find beauty in being raw and real. That’s what my blog is, raw & real. I’m a lover of community and doing life with people, feel free to hit me up so we can get coffee 🙂

Do you have a social media account we should check out? Give us your username! 
@ohirayyyy / if you’re in aesthetic, my Instagram is the place for you.

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We Love Our Students: Meet Natasha

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
Hello! My name is Natasha and I’ve been practicing at Namaste since January.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
I’ve always been curious about yoga but I’ll admit, I thought it looked intimidating. I wasn’t so sure I could keep up or move my body in a certain way. However, after my first couple of classes, I realized that I really enjoyed how I felt during and after my practice.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Grand Lake

Favorite parts of taking a class at Namaste?
I love the staff at Namaste Grand Lake. The front desk staff is always so helpful and friendly, and the teachers are amazing. Every class has been a positive experience, from the moment you step onto your mat and throughout your practice. The instructors are super helpful and make you feel welcome and at ease.

What is your definition of wellness?
Doing what makes you feel good (mind, body, and spirit) and having fun while doing it! I think we should enjoy our wellness journey and have fun with it, take the time to relish in how it makes us feel and figure out what works for us individually and what doesn’t.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Grand Lake

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
For a couple of weeks in college, I did conservation work in the Costa Rican rainforest.

Favorite things you do to help make every day sacred?
I try to get outdoors as often as possible. On my breaks at work, I pop my headphones in and walk around downtown SF. When I get home, I try to get out for a walk in my neighborhood. The fresh air is a great way to decompress after a long day and to just take in a different view.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
Take it one day at a time. Make one change or incorporate a new habit/routine and stick to that for a week or two. Then gradually build up from there at your own pace.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Grand Lake

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Don’t Leave Good Vibes on a Loaner Mat

Yoga mats are like magic carpets. The first few moments of being on your mat may inspire a sense of being home. But like a magic carpet, your mat has the ability to transport you to an entirely new internal landscape. This 6ft by 2ft piece of seemingly benign material can become a sacred space, a portal that unlocks the deepest feelings of serenity, insight, and growth.  Whether you finish your practice sweaty and tired or calm and rejuvenated – it is rare you leave your mat feeling the same as when you first stepped on.

] Your mat is like a friend you can carry with you throughout your health and wellness journey. It absorbs everything from good vibes to happy tears… and all the other less palatable buggers like bacteria, viruses, and dirt. This is why we can’t stress enough how important it is to GET YOUR OWN MAT!

So where do you start in finding the perfect practice companion? Follow our handy flow-chart and find your perfect match!

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Find Your Perfect Yoga Mat

Try a B Yoga Mat

• The stickiest mat we’ve found!
• A combo of natural and synthetic rubber, this increases durability and longevity of the mat.
• Synthetic rubber is a by-product of the plastics industry, reducing landfill waste.
• Mat finishing process is more environmentally-friendly than other methods of curing.

Try a Manduka X

• Designed with some thickness and texture to work for all kinds of mat activities, including yoga, pilates, and TRX
• High-density cushion
• Very grippy
• Made with recyclable materials
• Crafted without toxic glues or solvents

Try a Jade Mat.

• Made of rapidly renewable natural rubber • Made in the US
• Comes in 3 different weights
• Open cell technology for a sticky mat experience.
• Avoid exposure to direct sunlight.

Try a Manduka EkoLite Mat.

• Made of biodegradable natural tree rubber
• Free of toxic chemicals or dyes.
• Finished with a unique texture and gorgeous colors.
• For the longest life span, keep stored in a cool dry place.

Try a Manduka EkoLite Mat.

• Made of biodegradable natural tree rubber
• Free of toxic chemicals or dyes.
• Finished with a unique texture and gorgeous colors.
• For the longest life span, keep stored in a cool dry place.

Try a Manduka ProLite Mat

• Sticky mat takes a little time to break in, but it’s worth it!
• Closed cell technology makes for easy cleaning
• Excellent cushion
• Lifetime guarantee
• Gorgeous colors

In a high traffic yoga studio (we see over 2000 of you each week!) it’s nearly impossible to keep loaner mats 100% fresh and clean before each and every use. While we do our best to keep up – loaner mats are truly meant to be in emergency situations only.

Visit one of our three beautiful boutiques and ask one of our friendly front desk coordinators for help navigating our mat choices. We love to help you find the perfect fit.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Jade Yoga Mats 1

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We Love Our Namaste Students: Meet Matthew

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
My name is Matthew Gordon. I have been practicing at Namaste Yoga + Wellness fairly often for the last year or two.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
I was searching for a way to help heal the physical ailments in my body. Since then yoga has become a practice for not just my body, but my mind and my emotional well being. It continues to help me find my peace and gratitude in life.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Berkeley Matthew 1

Favorite parts about taking a class at Namaste?
Well, to be honest, I really like a lot of the teachers at Namaste. I feel like they really love what they do and that they enjoy sharing the knowledge of their practice with others. I like practicing at the Berkeley studio because it is out of the way, hidden, quiet, and energetically, for me, it is a little calmer than many studios I have practice at.

What is your definition of wellness?
My definition of wellness is a state of mind and being that the practice of yoga and being in touch with nature continually help me to find and remember. It is calmness, peace of mind, and gratitude. That and eating all your fruits and veggies! Also, spending as much time in nature as I can help me to feel calm, restores my sense of balance in this fast-paced bay area life, reminds me not to take myself so seriously and that I am very lucky to be alive …. it is probably the biggest part of wellness for me

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
I like to travel a lot. I used to live in Hanoi for four years. No, I don’t speak Vietnamese, but I do enjoy pho.

Namaste Yoga + Wellness Berkeley Matthew 2

Favorite things you do to help make every day sacred?
Coffee in bed. I cook. A lot. It’s a kind of meditation slash hobby for me. Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
What has worked for me is to have a goal, to embrace the fact that reaching your goal will be a journey of many steps, and to remember that the setbacks along the way are not failures but reminders that the journey to wellness is a process and a lifelong endeavor. Also, spending as much time in nature can help me to feel calm, restores my sense of balance in this fast-paced bay area life, reminds me not to take myself so seriously and that I am very lucky to be alive …. it is probably the biggest part of wellness for me.

Anything you’d like us to share with our Namaste community?
I love to hike. If you see me around, ask me about trails or joining me on an adventure. I would love to find people to hike with!

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We Love Our Namaste Students: Meet Amiti

Our Namaste students are the heartbeat of the studios. We love watching each and every individual learn and grow in their unique way. If you’ve ever wondered who is practicing on the mat next to you… here is your chance to find out!

Introduce yourself! What is your name and how long have you practiced at Namaste?
Hi! My name is Amiti & I’ve been practicing at Namaste since March.

What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
When I was younger & my mom first introduced me to yoga, I thought it varied between impossible and boring. At some point in high school, I started realizing that yoga was the perfect way to bring awareness to & strengthen my imbalances.

Best Yoga Studio Berkeley

Favorite parts of taking class at Namaste?
I love how the teachers promote individual exploration. While the form of each asana is important, to me the magic of yoga involves the small variations of how you distribute your weight on the floor, or the slightest tilting of your pelvis.

What is your definition of wellness?
Feeling calm and alive. Motivated to take on the world, while feeling centered and in tune with your breath.

Best Yoga Studio Berkeley

One thing people might be surprised to learn about you is?
I’ve visited all 7 continents.

Best advice you could give to someone who is struggling to start their health and wellness journey?
Stop searching for answers in the world around you & start searching within yourself. Decide one habit to incorporate into your life & commit to trying it for 3-4 weeks & feel proud for loving yourself.

Best Yoga Studio Berkeley

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Springtime Ayurvedic Wellness

As we slowly emerge from the chills of Wintertime and into the blossoming of Spring, we are welcomed not only by the warmer days, blooming flowers, and abundant sunshine but also by the mind and body’s need for rejuvenation and replenishing. With Spring comes the urge for a fresh start – a cleansing of the cozy, hibernating lifestyle held in Winter. While we move through this transition, the longer days and warmer temps are not the only things that are changing – our bodies are biologically set to make a shift as well requiring some focus and attention, self-care, detox, and reflection. Common habits of Winter include eating more and moving less. The chilly weather and decreased sunlight prompt us to seek out more food and eat it quicker – it is a primitive response in preparation for the colder months (although some may argue that the increase comes from more opportunities to eat due to the festivities of the holidays).

Whatever the reason may be, once these habits are adopted, it has a direct effect on overall health and well-being. In the western society, we most commonly refer to the seasons as four cycles in a year; Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. However, in Ayurvedic practice, these cycles break down into three seasons that also coincide with the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Leaving Winter means leaving Vata season, which is comprised of air and ether. This period is generally from late Fall into early Winter and is characterized by cold, dry, windy, and light (think airy) qualities. As Spring approaches, we head into the Kapha period which is from late Winter into Summertime and is made up of water and earth. It is characterized by heavy, slow, solid, and oily qualities. To prepare our minds and bodies for this shift and optimize health, we can use the wisdom of Ayurveda to guide us through this transition and on our way to joining the flowers in blooming.

Ayurvedic Spring Wellness Tips

First things first – let’s talk food! As mentioned, diet makes a huge shift with the season and so we must actively pay attention to not only what we’re eating, but how we are eating. This means adopting balanced eating habits that will be beneficial in providing nutrients that give us energy, help keep us full, and practice mindful eating. Eating mindfully is important because it affects digestion and how the body converts food into energy. For example, if you are feeling anxious or stressed while eating (i.e. sitting in traffic on your morning commute), your body will process your food differently than it would if you were sitting at the table eating slowly and paying close attention to your senses – how the food tastes, smells and feels. I invite you to give it a try and reflect on how it makes you feel.

Another nutrition-related tip is to eat foods that are in season and that will be pacifying to the Kapha Dosha. Decrease heavy or stimulating foods like caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and meat, and integrating pungent, drier, and warming foods and spices like turmeric, ginger, lemon, berries, sprouts, and greens, which are naturally cleansing for the body. These foods tend to be lighter than the comfort foods of Winter. Trying out new recipes and experimenting with new ingredients is always a fun way to discover your new favorite, healthy dish! And as always, stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water (might I suggest adding lemon?), and swap out coffee for refreshing herbal iced tea like hibiscus or blood orange.

Ayurvedic Spring Wellness Tips

Now that we’ve dabbled in food-related changes, we can move on to that mental, self-care part that I mentioned earlier (WOO!). Springtime is a time for cleansing, reflecting, and deciding to let go of what is no longer serving us in a bountiful and loving way. This can mean a number of different things ranging from simply cleaning out your closet to cutting off toxic relationships. Let this time be a period of reflection and self-inquiry – find yourself journaling and revisiting those goals you may have set at the beginning of the year, and if you never got around to it, set them now! Now is always a good time to start and remember not to beat yourself up if you’ve fallen off track, just keep on going with self-love and compassion.

Life can feel hectic with all this change and transition, so channeling your energy towards creating a routine for yourself is always a helpful practice. Create a morning and evening routine and stick to it! This could be taking time to really dive into your yoga practice (see class schedule here), meditation, reading a book, journaling, and speaking words of affirmation. Another practice to incorporate is pranayama like Bhastrika – or bellows breath which helps to increase the flow of prana throughout the body’s energy channels, removes excess congestion, and helps to lighten the mood. Strive to keep consistency within your daily routine and notice the benefits of your practice. Lastly, one of the best habits you can get into with the changing seasons is to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Aerobic activities as simple as going for a long walk or riding your bike can benefit the mind-body drastically – stimulating the brain and invigorating the body! Bask in the sunshine and breathe in the fresh air!

Taking the time your body needs to feel refreshed will have you feeling so grateful you did, as well as provide an incentive for you to continue on this path. Let this time be a transition into a greater, brighter, more self-loving you! Happy Spring!

Bay Area's Best Yoga Studio Now Hiring Front Desk Staff

Rhiannon is a true, wild adventurer pursuing wellness at heart, and a total lover of life. Originally from the Rocky Mountains of Denver, she came to the Bay Area in 2013 to finish her degree in Psychology and feed her hunger for exploration. She is on a journey pursuing Yoga Therapy and has recently completed trainings with the Art of Yoga Project based in the greater Bay Area, and her RYT-200 hour certification in Yoga Therapy and Alignment in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Her passion for the world of wellness is something that is deeply rooted in her everyday endeavors and something she wishes to share with her community and the world! Time well spent to her means practicing and teaching yoga, meditating, writing, snuggling her kitties, cooking yummy, healthy food, dancing, backpacking, rock climbing, and traveling. To learn more about her journey, and for some fun inspiration, follow her on instagram @truewildwell!

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GOOD VIBES: Spring Challenge is HERE!

Good Vibes Spring Challenge

Kick-off spring with our Good Vibes community challenge!

Score points over the next six weeks by engaging with your Namaste Yoga + Wellness family. When you’ve accomplished nine activities turn your card into the front desk for a chance to win ONE MONTH OF UNLIMITED YOGA!

Step 1: Pick up a card on your next visit.

Step 2: Take ACTION to GET STAMPED by the front desk for things like coming to class. ENGAGE with a new friend to FILL IN THE BLANK and learn something new about someone. Practice self-care by savoring a cup of tea to CHECK IT OFF under SCOUT’S HONOR.

Step 3: Turn in your card at the front desk to receive a beautiful Namaste Reusable Shopping Bag and enter for a chance to win!

We will be choosing three winners on Friday, May 18th!

All participating students will receive a Namaste Reusable Shopping Bag.

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