Our fearless leader, Kimberly Leo, talked with local blog 24East about the opening of our expanded Namaste Rockridge studio. We wanted to share a bit of the interview here before it is published. Take a peek into the inner workings of how Namaste has evolved and where we are headed.
1. What is Namaste’s approach to yoga?
Yoga was my sanctuary and it got me through a really difficult period in my life. Namaste was a way for me to give back to the community where I grew up. I wanted to create an urban refuge in which I could share this gift with others. From the beginning my intention was to create a space that was inclusive and accessible.
Over the last thirteen years Namaste has evolved but at our core we continue to approach yoga as a powerful tool for transformation. Among many things, I believe yoga can provide the mind body connection that is severely needed in today’s fast paced world; and as I witness on a daily basis, results in people going out into the world with a bit more understanding, kindness and compassion. I believe that if more people did yoga, the world would be a better place.
2. Could you explain the differences of the various classes?
Our mission is to serve the East Bay community, We do this with over 150 classes at three locations, and a diverse teaching faculty of more than 50 teachers. We don’t prescribe to any one style of yoga. We have classes ranging from Gentle, Therapeutics Yoga to the more rigorous Power Flow classes.
I am particularly excited about the more specific workshops that serve the changing needs of our society — such as Yoga for Anxiety, Yoga for Healthy Aging, and meditation and Mindfulness offerings. It is extremely gratifying to bring yoga to the complete beginner as well as serve the more experienced practitioner who is interested in diving deeper into our programs.
3. What is your advice on how we can begin and develop our own yoga practice?
Do not set goals that are unobtainable or discouraging. Make a commitment to your health and wellness by committing to just one class per week!
I find it best to sample a few classes and a few different teachers. The first class or teacher may not be the right one for you. You need to find a teacher that will motivate you and excite you enough to bring you back every week!
4. For a lot of us, it is difficult to carve out 1.5 hours for a yoga class, plus studio travel time. What do you offer for those who can’t devote so much time?
I am at the yoga studio daily and still find it difficult toget to a class! I’m a single mother and independent business owner.At the end of the day, I am tired and want to go home. However, if I don’t put my self care first, all other things – including how I treat loved ones and parent my son — will suffer. Commit to your health and wellness by committing to coming to one class per week. If you can’t make it to class once a week, take what you learn from class and practice at home — even if it’s 10 minutes in the morning or before you go to bed.
5. Namaste has built an incredible yoga community in the East Bay. How have you done that?
I have been blessed with an incredible tribe of teachers, staff, and students. I think when people work with us, they recognize our commitment to consistency, integrity and community. Because of this fact, we have been able to attract the best teachers in the East Bay. Our front desk staff is phenomenal. They are passionate about bringing yoga to people. The industry has changed dramatically over the last decade and I believe people resonate with us because we truly put our heart and soul into the studio. There is a lot of love and mutual respect around here and I hope it shows.
6. What upcoming plans do you have for Namaste?
It was never my intention to grow to three studios. We have responded to the demand for our services, and will continue to grow organically, as needed. The studio in Rockridge just finished construction and we’re thrilled to be expanding into the space next to us. We have built a new studio room, and we’ll have more space and more classes beginning this month.
Our yoga program is bigger than ever, and we continue to grow our trainings and immersions programs. This year we are launching our new 300 Hour Professional Teacher Training continuing our mission to help create and support the Bay Area teaching community. I am so proud of where we are and thrilled about the vision our team continues to manifest.
7. What does success look like for Namaste?
Getting more people to do yoga and watching them leave class with a clear mind and kind heart that goes out into the world and touches another.
8. What are some of your post yoga East Bay places to enjoy?
I am a proud Oakland native and my family has been in Oakland for multiple generations since the late 1800’s. I am excited for Oakland and all that is has to offer.
Lake Merritt is a gem and good people watching, and the Lake Merritt farmer’s market is a diverse mecca of all the beautiful people and colors that make up Oakland.
My son and I love to hike up in the Oakland Hills, and the $2.50 Tilden Train ride is one of the best deals around!