Meet Your Teacher: Lindsay Dombrowski

The newest addition to our teaching community, meet your teacher Lindsay Dombrowski.  As a former dancer and sometimes story teller, she has spent over a decade with yoga; first in New York City, later in Los Angeles, and now in the Bay.

How long have you been at Namaste?

I’m new to Namaste! I recently relocated to the bay.

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?

The brazen confidence of youth? I was in my very early twenties in NYC and had some deeply feeling experiences with myself moving and breathing.

The newest addition to our teaching community, meet your teacher Lindsay Dombrowski.  As a former dancer and sometimes story teller, she has spent over a decade with yoga; first in New York City, later in Los Angeles, and now in the Bay.

Which teachers have influenced your practice?

Maia Heiss and Julia Planine-Troiani. I’m also inspired by what and how Nevine Michaan, Ada Lusardi, and Annie Carpenter discover and share. Annemaria Rajala is a favorite teacher to discuss all things yoga with…

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

It looks daily and continual. Right now, in terms of yoga asana it looks like ashtanga. I couple this with some restorative yoga when I’m taking good care of myself. Sometimes it just looks like sitting and breathing. I think the practice is the path we take towards understanding life. Life and death, really. And beyond.

What is something you wish your students knew?

We are all light beings having a human experience.

Are you a morning person or night owl?

Since aṣṭāṅga, morning person. Before, night owl.

Meet Your Teacher Lindsay Dombrowski

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

Being a student.

Do you have any go-to yoga and wellness books or podcasts?

Ramesh Menon’s modern renderings of classical Hindu stories

What are you involved with outside the studio?

Food. Family. Friends. Nature as much as possible. I’m a New Yorker at heart, so I am reveling in my first yard – planting things, watching them grow, eating them when applicable 🙂

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?

currently? Vik’s Chaat.

Lindsay DombrowskiCatch Lindsay on Thursdays at noon at Rockridge and Thursday 7:30pm and Saturday 4:30pm at Grand Lake. View her schedule and sign up for classes here.

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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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Meet Your Teacher: Sierra Wagner

Meet Your Teacher Sierra Wagner! Her heart-felt intention is to develop her students’ potential and help them to experience greater confidence and contentment. Her particular yoga leaning is toward Therapeutic Yoga, which is for anyone…and for everyone! But in particular, therapeutic yoga can be useful for those working with an injury or managing a health condition. Yoga therapy classes can serve your self-healing and help you do yoga safely. We are happy to share more about Sierra and her life both on and off the mat.

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?

I started taking Iyengar yoga classes at 13 and by 18 my mentor and teacher was encouraging me to teach, because I was fascinated with the possibility of healing myself and others with the tools. I love yoga and couldn’t imagine a better thing to do with my life.

Which teachers have influenced you?

Katchie Ananda, Will Kabat-Zinn, Sean Feit-Oakes, Kathleen Generaux, Angela Farmer, Shiva Rea and Sarasawati Devi.

Meet Your Teacher Sierra Wagner

What does your yoga practice look like? How has it shaped your life?

Most days I spend about 20-30 minutes with yoga, myofascial release self massage and other forms of physical therapy and 20-30 minutes with meditation. I also go to a sangha to meditate about once a week.

I consider my volunteer work an essential part of my practice. I volunteer as an assistant specialized yoga classes, as well as for a non-profit based food distribution program.

I am also practicing my yoga everyday when I cultivate mindfulness in my relationship to myself and others.

Over time, my practice has changed a lot. I include much more of my life in my practice now than I used to. It can’t be separated from the daily life. It has grown steadily from not having a home practice at all for the first 10 years of my journey, into a steady home practice. I didn’t meditate much until I took my first yoga teacher training with Katchie Ananda, who is also a dharma teacher. These practices were also more sporadic for me at first but has since become a daily habit. I have devoted more time to meditating in times of grief or transition, and have found it so helpful.

Tell us about your yoga-related everyday habits.

I’ve started doing more meditation and restorative yoga at night instead of watching TV. Mornings almost always consist of a green smoothie.

Meet Your Teacher Sierra Wagner

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

It is the shift I see in my students, and sometimes even myself, from the beginning of class to the end. . .  from tension to relaxation, and dis-ease to ease.

What is something you wish your students knew?

The right way to do yoga is what makes sense to you. A teacher is there to assist you not tell you what to do. You must honor yourself over any instruction.

There are so many other things I would like my students to know, so I bring themes into my classes to help continue their expanding awareness.

What are some favorite non-yoga activities that are on your rader?

My friends and family are very important to me and I make sure to spend time with my community and support those around me whom I love. I enjoy traveling in nature, like going for hikes in the wilderness, riding my bike and feeling the wind while I’m on my scooter. My sangha is an important commitment that I prioritize. I also love dancing, hiking, giving and receiving Thai massage, and riding my bike.

What wellness books or podcasts can you recommend?

Food For Thought Podcast

Light On Yoga by BKS Iyengar

The Places That Scare You and When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

Meet Your Teacher Sierra WagnerWhat is your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate by far. . . hands down!

Learn more about Sierra on her website Sierra Laurel Yoga, which includes information about the launch of her newest online program, Yoga for Aging Gracefully.

Please join her for her regularly scheduled public classes at Namaste. Click here to see her schedule and sign up online.

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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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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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