Ayurvedic Spring Practice

As we are interconnected with Mother Nature, we can more powerfully keep in tune with ourselves by attuning to her seasonal rhythms. In Ayurveda, Spring is the season to consider ridding the body and mind of some ‘ama’ to experience the highest and brightest energy of spring.

Ama describes the toxic waste, sticky gooey sludge that builds up in the channels of the body.

This occurs when your digestive fire (agni) becomes weak due to improper food combining, too many cold liquids mixed with your meals, overeating, stress, or a compromised immune system. Our body, just like nature, needs space. The lack of space in the digestive channels eventually leads to slower movement of food down the GI tract and decreased absorption of the essential nutrients from the food we eat. In Ayurveda we believe that protecting your digestive fire is the most important factor in maintaining your physical and mental health and will be the primary discuss for our workshop.

Typical treatments to move ama out of the body include one or all of the following practices:

  • Elimination diet
  • Sweating
  • Oil massages
  • Yoga asanas

Consider including a yoga sequence like this into your practice this month to help improve circulation, increase your core temperature, and reduce ama in the body.

Ayurvedic Spring Practice

Ayurveda for SpringJoin Melina for her upcoming Ayurveda for the Spring workshop, on April 28, which will cover all of the poses listed below and more!

  • Sun salutes
  • Joint rotations
  • Wide leg lunges
  • Kapalabhati breathing
  • Squat variations

Melina Meza has been sharing her knowledge of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, and whole foods nutrition with yogis around the world for over 20 years. Melina pioneered Seasonal Vinyasa, an innovative multi-disciplined approach to well-being, and is the author of the Art of Sequencing books, creator of the Yoga for the Seasons – Fall Vinyasa DVD, and co-director of 8 Limbs Yoga Centers 200- and 500-Hour Teachers’ Training Program in Seattle, Washington. Join Melina for her public classes at Namaste.

 

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Manage Stress Mindfully

Stress is something everyone faces on a daily basis. Stressful situations, whether it’s getting stuck in traffic or tripping over the dog, all activate the same fight-or-flight response. This chain of events initiates what is called the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis or HTPA axis). Triggering our HPA axis leads to a flood of stress hormones released by three primary endocrine glands: pituitary, hypothalamus, and adrenal. Stress hormones include cortisol and adrenaline, which act to increase our heart rate and suppress our immune response.

Famed researcher Robert M. Sapolsky wrote a whole book on the subject, titled Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers. In his book, he says, “A significant percentage of what we think of when we talk about stress-related diseases are disorders of excessive stress-responses.”

Sapolsky emphasizes that our stress response drives illness, not necessarily the exposure to stress itself. Managing stress means understanding how we respond to challenging situations. How can we slow the stress before it starts? One way is with mindfulness. That is where Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) comes into play.

MBSR involves paying attention to your present experience, including your thoughts, emotions and sensory experiences. Mindfulness helps you to be more accepting of what’s happening and struggle less with your experience. MBSR is the perfect blend of scientific and spiritual practices taking techniques from Buddhist philosophy, meditation, psychology, and medicine to create a balanced practice that is scientifically proven to reduce stress-related illness.

mindfulness-based stress reduction

How can you practice more mindfulness? We recommend coming to class on a regular basis, finding a few minutes a day to foster your meditation practice, and considering an MBSR course. To get started right away, here are three of our favorite MBSR Techniques:

  1. Reframe everyday tasks as “a challenge rather than a chore and thus turning the observing of one’s life mindfully into an adventure in living rather than one more thing one “has” to do for oneself to be healthy.”
  2. Meditating in the morning and evening for as long as you can. Don’t get stuck on “not thinking.” Instead, focus on noticing thoughts when they arise and gently letting them float back into the ether.
  3. Take time think about challenging situations and practice the art of non-judgment. See your impulses to react to things with either joy or distaste. Instead, try to practice neutrality around experiences that often prove to be upsetting or stressful.

Mindfulness Based Stress ReductionIn our upcoming 8-week series, Domonick Wegesin, our resident neuroscientist and 200 Hour Teacher Training faculty member, will share the science behind how mindfulness can change your brain to be more peaceful and less reactive. Research has found that this training increases the density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy.

 

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This is How We Roll: Piriformis Release

Self massage can be an amazing and inexpensive tool for working with tight muscles and releasing the fascia, which is a thin web of connective tissue that covers your muscles and organs.

Are your spring activities getting you in places you forgot about? One common area that gets tight from cycling and running is the piriformis, which helps with hip rotation and runs diagonally from the lower spine and connects to the upper part of the femur. The sciatic nerve runs underneath or through this muscle as well. Follow along with Sarah Moody and this therapeutic roll out of the piriformis.

This is How We Roll: Piriformis Release

The piriformis helps with hip rotation and runs diagonally from the lower spine and connects to the upper part of the femur. The sciatic nerve runs underneath or through this muscle as well. Follow along with Sarah Moody and this therapeutic roll out of the piriformis.

Posted by Namaste Yoga + Wellness on Monday, April 8, 2019

 

Note: like anything that has the power to heal, misuse and overuse can cause harm. Start with small doses – 30 seconds on each muscle group you want to roll. If you have more time, try doing three sets of 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between. Also, try to decipher the difference between pain and discomfort in your body. Rolling should feel something like a deep tissue massage, but never painful. Stay in the middle space between effort and ease, making sure that your breath is smooth and that the muscles on your face are relaxed.

 

Join Sarah for her regularly scheduled weekly classes, including Roll+Release, Yin Yoga, and Restorative.

 

Spend a little more concentrated time with Sarah and attend her upcoming Roll Release and Restore workshop on Saturday, April 13.

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This is How We Roll: Quad Release

Thighs feeling tight? This is how we roll out the quads.

Rolling is an incredible self-care tool.

It helps you become a student of your own body. As you roll, you learn where you habitually store stress, and in the process start to release those layers of tension.

The top 5 reasons to incorporate rolling into your current movement discipline:

  1. Reduce muscle pain and fascial tension
  2. Warm up your muscles
  3. Boost recovery time
  4. Improve posture
  5. Bolster the immune, respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems

In spring, as we start to pick up our outdoor pursuits like cycling and hiking, it’s our legs that need a little extra loving attention, Follow along with Sarah Moody in the video, as she guides you through the quad release your legs have been needing.

This is How We Roll: Release Your Quad

Grab a massage ball or two and follow along with Sarah Moody as she walks you through a roll-out for your quadracep.

Posted by Namaste Yoga + Wellness on Friday, March 22, 2019

 

Note: like anything that has the power to heal, misuse and overuse can cause harm. Start with small doses – 30 seconds on each muscle group you want to roll. If you have more time, try doing three sets of 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between. Also, try to decipher the difference between pain and discomfort in your body. Rolling should feel something like a deep tissue massage, but never painful. Stay in the middle space between effort and ease, making sure that your breath is smooth and that the muscles on your face are relaxed.

 

Join Sarah for her regularly scheduled weekly classes, including Roll+Release, Yin Yoga, and Restorative.

 

Spend a little more concentrated time with Sarah and attend her upcoming Roll Release and Restore workshop on Saturday, April 13.

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Heart Talks

Valentine’s Day can spark a lot of emotion and feeling for people and not everyone wants relationship advice. 

If you are single, it can bring about feelings of loneliness or longing or celebration as one may be choosing to not be in a partnership at the moment. If you are in a partnership, each may be wondering, “what can I do to make this day special for my partner?”

Which ever is the case, the celebratory day of love and romance is upon us! As a Love Coach, I wanted to share a little relationship advice about how to build intimacy.

Intimacy is all about deep connection, vulnerability, mutual trust, caring and acceptance. It involves feelings of emotional closeness and connectedness with another person and the desire to share each others innermost thoughts and feelings. Intimacy, connection and love are so important in our lives. It is why we are all here. How to build intimacy? Being vulnerable, deep listening and having Heart Talks. 

Heart Talks involve deep listening.  If you have something in the shape of a heart, use it as a talking stick. The person doing the talking, holds the heart. A timer is set for 1-2 minute and the person shares from the heart using “I” statements. Anything that is said during this share is sacred and cannot be brought up during an argument. Any complaint about the partner should be turned into a need and not an accusation. The person not talking listens. When the person talking finishes, the listener, shares what they heard.

Relationship Advice | Heart Talks with Jennevieve Ybarra

Viola! I use this in my relationship and give this as a tool to others to use in theirs and it works wonders to help build intimacy. If you do not speak your truth, a distance will grow between the two of you and love will disappear from your relationship.

I hope you get a chance to build Heart Talks into your relationships. May we all have the life, love and intimacy we desire. We are the creators of our world and not the other way around.

Relationship Advice | with Jennevieve YbarraJennevieve Ybarra is a Love Coach, as well as one your beloved teachers here at Namaste.

Find her for weekly classes at Grand Lake on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 7:30-8:45pm.

Join her in March for her program “LOVE YOURSELF TO THE BONE-A PATHWAY TO EXTRAORDINARY PARTNERSHIP AND INTIMACY or visit her website for more info.

 

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Slowing Down to the “Slowest Part of Me”

Q+A with Ken Breniman

Ken Breniman teaches weekly Gentle Yoga classes at our Grand Lake and Berkeley studios.

Q: Did you make any New Year resolutions or intentions? If so, can you share with us?

A: My intention is equanimity and it is a ‘carry over’ from last year as it was profoundly powerful in guiding me through the twists and turns of life.

 

Q: Will your practice be useful in these intentions / resolutions? If so, how will you use it?

A: I practice a tonglen meditation. It is a Buddhist tradition in which one breathes into the suffering or discomfort (i.e. impatience, callousness, anger, jealousy) and transmute the energy with the out breath which honors the complimentary force (i.e. patience, compassion, forgiveness, comparison). It is quite the powerful meditation and helps me find equanimity.

Q: Do you have any inspiring advice for the new year?

A: I have been singing the chorus from the Karen Drucker song “Gentle with Myself” which goes “I will only go as fast as the slowest part of me.” I find this quote to be chuck full of wisdom in honoring the youngest or most tender parts of self that might otherwise get overlooked in the fast paced society we live in. The song reminds me how important self-compassion is in my on-the-mat and off-the-mat practices.

 

Swan Dive with Intention

A short practice with Ken Breniman for when you are confronted with grief.

Posted by Namaste Yoga + Wellness on Monday, December 3, 2018

Q: Can you recommend one inspiring book or podcast?

A: “Die Wise” by Stephen Jenkinson

 

Q: Can you recommend any nice winter self care rituals?

A: Sensory Deprivation or Float Tanks are a great way to warm and relax the body. It is like a 60-90 minute long savasana (corpse pose) and some people describe it like floating in the ‘void’ or returning to the womb. Please note: some folks newer to floating need to confront their discomfort with smaller and/or quiet spaces. It is the ultimate mini-hibernation for cold weather!

 


Catch Ken on Monday, 10-11:30am, Gentle Yoga at Grand Lake or Thursday, 5:30-6:45pm, Sliding Scale Gentle Flow at Berkeley

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Teachers Talk: Inspired Winter Rituals for Self-Care

Our goal this year is to inspire you in your yoga evolution.

Each of us will take our own journey, follow our own twisted path to becoming better or kinder people, feeling more presence in our bodies, tapping into a more sustainable practice, or simply finding inviting self-care rituals.  Since winter is the season of compromised immune systems, and the new year provides us the opportunity to dive back into our daily routines with gusto, we thought it was time for some self-care.

We asked our teachers to share their favorite winter rituals.

Ada Lusardi

I use my neti pot daily, especially when traveling, and use a homemade sea salt and sesame oil scrub in the shower a couple times a week to keep my skin glowing.

Inspired? Find Ada’s classes here.

Skeeter Barker

Wrapping up warm and going to the ocean with a hot flask of tea.

Inspired? Find Skeeter’s classes here.

Ken Breniman

Sensory Deprivation or Float Tanks are a great way to warm and relax the body. It is like a 60-90 minute long savasana (corpse pose) and some people describe it like floating in the ‘void’ or returning to the womb. Please note: some folks newer to floating need to confront their discomfort with smaller and/or quiet spaces. It is the ultimate mini-hibernation for cold weather!

Inspired? Find Ken’s classes here.

Rachel Heron

  1. REST.
  2. Eliminate sugar after the holiday abundance of treats.
  3. De-clutter spaces, get rid of extra stuff and enjoy the spacious beginning of a new cycle.

Inspired? Find Rachel’s classes here.

Naushon Kabat-Zinn

I take baths a lot. I put epsom or other salts and essential oils and float, rest, soak, and zone out. Its very very nourishing.

Inspired? Find Naushon’s classes here.

Elana Morgulis

A weekly sea salt or epsom salt bath. Particularly at the end of the week as a way to cleanse your physical and energetic body of stress and tension taken on during the week and start the weekend fresh and clear. Baths have a way of relaxing the muscles, yet create a feeling of lightness. A ritual I love to do at the end of the bath is to let the all the water drain while still lying in the tub and feeling that all stress and energy that no longer serves me is draining from my body with the bathwater. Then rinse off with a cool shower.

Inspired? Find Elana’s classes here.

Rosy Moon + Jill White Lindsay

Ahbyanga — the practice of  self massage, is fantastic for not only healthy, soft skin in the winter months, but helps with circulation and hydration.  If you run cold like I (Jill) do, use refined sesame oil and massage the entire body before you shower, then rinse off excess oil. After, you’ll feel like you’re wrapped up in a warm cocoon of healing!

Inspired? Find Rosy’s classes here and Jill’s classes here.

Margi Young

Be kind. Always. If that leaves your realm of possibility, get onto your mat or meditation cushion or go outside and do lions breath, or eat chocolate, or call a friend, or do whatever you can do to re-boot. Try again. Kindness.

Inspired? Find Margi’s classes here.

Thank you to our teachers for the wisdom they so willingly impart.  

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Be fearless: Fall Cleanse Q+A

Q+A with Ayurvedic Practitioner Kameko Shibata

Why cleanse in the fall? 

The theme of this cleanse is nourishment! Summer is fun, hot, dry and full of play. All the can leave up feeling pretty depleted in the fall. The dry and windy nature of Fall is deeply taxing for the skin, joints, nerves and adrenals. In Ayurveda, Indian classical medicine, we practice gentle detoxifying practices and then nourish and rebuild our tissues. It’s also a great time re-set from summer. Fall can be irregular- weather is hot then cold, schedules shift, so it is the perfect time to create more regular and balanced routines.

Will I be eating only cabbage for a week?

No, that would be boring and likely to give you gas.

What will I be eating?

Red lentils, or moong beans, quinoa, non-soy miso soup, cooked greens, cilantro, medicinal pesto, AVOCADO, fruit on its own.

What won’t I be having?

Alcohol, refined sugars, caffeine, meat, excess social media.

Is it all about food?

No, thank you for asking. Food is part of it, but cleansing is an ancient Ayurvedic art, that includes the mental and emotions systems as well as the physical body. You will be asked to do a guided daily meditation and pranayama practice to sooth the nervous system. You will be asked to practice self care- oilinate your skin and use a neti pot. You will be asked to journal/reflect on your patterns and emotions related to food, stimulants and self-care. This cleanse is a holistic experience!

Is this a fad diet?

No, Ayurveda is a lifestyle. Most yogis/ayurvedic practitioners/ spiritual followers, abstain from sugars, caffeine, alcohol, gluten most if not all of the time. I hope you find the food to be delicious and cleansing, and the self-care practices to be something you will continue to use over time. It can just be nice to have some quick-start support, which is what the cleanse does.

Will I be fasting?

Nope, its healthier to keep the digestive system working at a slower reduced rate than to suddenly shut it off altogether. There is an option to only take liquids (miso, broth, soups, juice) for one day, but I only recommend that to more kapha/pitta clients, or if you have the day off. No major work deadlines on juice!

Will I lose weight?

Depends on how different this diet is to your normal diet. The goal is not to lose weight, this is an opportunity to cleanse and relax the system not lose weight. if you struggle with weight what this cleanse offers is an opportunity to cut back on unhealthy habits to notice where you have patterns and attachments to food. Going forward you might not choose to use so many foods/substances that trigger you.

Will it be hard?

The first 3 days are usually the hardest especially if you are cutting out caffeine and sugar for the first time in awhile. those affect our endorphin levels and we feel bummed without them. After about 3 days your body normalizes and you no longer feel so cravey and dependent of substances. This is why its nice to do it with the support of a group. We can email each other-like “damn I was crabby, but now I’m feeling better”

Will I levitate?

Not likely, although if you fast you might fall over . But it could happen. I do believe in possibilities!

What if I miss a meeting?

The final meeting is not a big deal, its just a post fun celebration. If you need to miss the main first meeting email me, I maybe able to phone/email chat with you to get you up to speed.

What if I need to cheat on Wednesday?

Do it with grace! Choose your poison.

What if I’m raw..gluten free…vegan etc?

Email me before it starts we can work around it. The cleanse is already gluten free and vegan (although you have the option of ghee) Raw is a little harder, as ayurveda is all about cooked , simple,warm and easy to digest foods, but it would be a fun challenge.

What will I tell my friends?

That you are taking a week to reset your digestive system, and balance your mental and emotional health to come out of summer feeling grounded and nourished. Ask them to join you. Tell them you are taking responsibility for your own health.

What will I feed my kids?

This maybe the hardest one. Try to have some things pre-made for them. Kids may not like lentils, but the veggie pesto, fresh fruits, miso soup you can often get them to go for. Explain what you are doing so they feel included and interested. Try not to yell at them in the first 3 days!

basil-829776_640 *Go to Hydration Pesto Recipe:  blend like regular pesto in a food processor adding oil as you go. You can add water to thin it out but you must eat it within 3 days if you use water. Use this pesto as a dip w/ veggies or a smear for wraps or thin it out w/ extra olive oil or water for a dressing.

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 bunch basil (if in season)
  • ¼ bunch dandelion greens or arugula
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • ½ RAW seeds or nuts (tahini also makes it super creamy)
  • 1-2 juiced lemons
  • olive oil , spices, salt and water to taste

 

 

After reading this you will probably feel ready to join up for Kameko’s Fall Cleanse that begins Saturday, September 29. Don’t be scared, join us in changing your habit and in turn positively influencing your life! Sign up for Kameko’s Fall Cleanse here. 

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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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Meet Your Namaste Healer: Patrick Stockstill

Keeping a consistent wellness routine is more important than just feeling great, it truly keeps your body in working condition. Regular bodywork reduces stress, inflammation, stiffness, and blood pressure. Everything from your immune system to your energy levels improves when you allow for serious self-care time.

Our experienced and deeply knowledgeable healers work with each client to hear their specific needs and create treatment sessions customized for their body. Plus, with the help of cold-press, locally grown, adaptogenic oils from OmCali our therapists are well equipped to offer an experience of complete bliss and rejuvenation.

Since we are in love with each and every Namaste Healer we thought you may want to get to know them a little better too. We hope you enjoy this fun blog post series of Meet Your Healers!

MEET YOUR NAMASTE HEALER: Patrick Stockstill

Hi Patrick! Where do you offer your healing services? 
I offer my healing services at Namaste Yoga + Wellness Berkeley Thursday and Friday 10am-3pm.

How long have you been at Namaste?
Offering bodywork since September 2017, practicing since 2008 (with a long hiatus).

What type of healing modalities do you offer?
I am certified in Esalen massage, a deeply relaxing, full body integrative offering, and in Deep Bodywork, a slow, structural approach to deep tissue massage.

What inspired you to become a wellness practitioner?
I took my first massage class out of curiosity, but I immediately realized how powerful and necessary healing touch is in my life. I’ve discovered an endless journey of self-discovery and possibility as I connect with other people and learn new approaches to touch-based healing.

What are a few of your favorite self-care tips for the winter season?
I try to spend a good amount of time outside every day, even if it’s cold and wet. Natural light and air help me immensely. I also try to devote some time to pure self care, whether a massage, a yoga class, or time with a good book.

What does a typical day look like for you in regards to your personal self-care/movement practices?
I try to run most days, and I have had a steady vinyasa yoga practice for about 10 years. After acquiring some injuries in the last few years, I’ve been using weight training and rock climbing to strengthen and stabilize.

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I have a young daughter, so parenting takes up most of my free time. I also love to cook and am always tinkering with my garden.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The amazing breadth of food available (which is, of course, dependent on the diversity of peoples living together here!)

Patrick Stockstill Bay Area Massage Therapy

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