This is Dedicated to Everyone in a Hurry

By Sparkle Thornton

Sparkle

Why is it so hard to slow down?

When I imagine slowing down it reminds me of a time when life was simpler and cheaper. I begin to wonder how much self-care, meditation, and yoga it would take to truly balance out the stress of modern urban life. But what’s underneath the idea of slowing down? For me it’s scarcity- the idea that if I treat myself to massages, healing sessions, yoga workshops and all the ‘retreats’ that I desire there won’t be enough…. money for bills, time for responsibilities, and chances to ‘catch up’.

Kameko and I share this, and we’re wondering whether this is the truth, or just pressure we feel. We want to keep that rebellious spirit that believes there is a way to truly live in alignment- a peaceful life that serves and inspires others while caring deeply for the body/mind/spirit in a way that allows us to do our best work.

Is it possible to be ‘still’ within the city? For moments, sure.. but can we claim enough time to experience our spiritual selves? Can we detach with love from the pace, pressure and productivity around us?

Let’s make a space to try it! That’s what the Blissful Body workshop is to us: An idyllic container for letting go, receiving, and escaping from the business.
I think we’re all wishing for an environment that feels spacious and slow while we lead busy, uptempo lives. Some of us have even gotten good at ‘getting’ it done’… whether that’s dinner, the day, or yoga practice. But life is to short, and the busier you are the faster life flies by.

Blissful

The other day I was pulling away from a loved one to check my email. I was that distracted, totally missing the point. I wouldn’t want anyone to miss one of these ‘special moments’. I wish I had slowed down. Slowing down is going to be uncomfortable. In fact, sometimes I think happiness is uncomfortable, but what we need doesn’t always make us feel good… at first.

So we’ve created this workshop. Dedicated to anyone who is in a hurry, and especially for those willing to try something new.

Kameko and Sparkle invite you to explore what happens when you choose self-care, self love, and the art of receiving. Please join us in exploring why it can be so hard to slow down in a very special Blissful Body 2/15 from 1:30-4:30pm at Namaste Grand Lake. This workshop is mostly restorative yoga with massage therapists offering therapeutic touch, some gentle flow (beginners very welcome), hot stones, aromatherapy, chanting, and a musical surprise.

Kameko Sparkle Hannah
Photo by Adam Kurzfeld

Join us this Sunday for Blissful Body with Kameko Shibata and Sparkle Thornton

Sunday February 15
1:30-4:30pm
Namaste Grand Lake

Please follow and like us:
20

Loosening the Grip: Yoga for Self Compassion

by Jill Satterfield

[This post originally appeared on Vajra Yoga & Meditation Blog]

Here’s what I have come to know as a fairly universal contemporary problem – many of us are a bit too tough on ourselves. We criticize our looks, our thoughts and emotions, our progress on the spiritual path, our practice quantity and quality. And, the fact is, that it’s not helpful!

If we add to our outlook, vocabulary, thoughts and emotions – tenderness – we can loosen the unhealthy grip of the overactive critic and relax into our lives and being a little bit more.

Just to inspire and remind you – one of the goals of practice besides alleviating suffering, is to be in the present moment. When you bring yourself into your body, you are in the present, when you absorb the natural beauty of the sky, you are in the present, when you hug someone you love, you can be in the present – there is plenty of beauty and things to appreciate in the present, anchor yourself in that.
Jack Kornfield says, “Buddhist texts describe compassion as the quivering of the heart in the face of pain, as the capacity to see our struggles with “kindly eyes”. Developing these kindly eyes allow for some faltering, some forgetting, some mistakes, and gently remind us to start again.

Gripping onto thoughts, feelings or anywhere in the body just causes discomfort and resistance. What we resist will persist. If we can soften around displeasure, discomfort and the occasional raw mistake, we can flow a bit more into the movement of life. Movement implies softness; nothing moves very far in constricted areas, or very easily through tight places.

Of course there’s a distinction between too tight and too loose, which was famously brought to light by the Buddha in the story of the sitar player. The musician asked him, “Should I maintain tight controls on my mind during meditation or should I let it flow?” The Buddha asked, “How do you tune your instrument?” The sitar play said, “If I tune the strings too tightly, they break. If they are too loose, no sound comes out.” “Just so,” replied the Buddha, “you should hold your mind in meditation.” If we are too loose with ourselves we won’t practice, or even attempt to be mindful – that would require too much effort. On the other hand, if we are too tight with ourselves, we create tension, guilt and will probably eventually give up on practicing.

Remember that a practice has room for creativity. Play around from time to time and see what the results are. Rigidity in form is not always the answer, some of us need a little freedom to experiment – to find out which technique works for us depending on our current situation, mood, state of health etc. So a creative practice might include gazing at the sky and sucking the blue of a light sky into your body, or walking in the woods or by the beach, or reading some poetry to inspire the next session of meditation.

Tenderness. Kindness. Creativity. Spiritual friends and teachers, ah the stuff of a great life, not too loose or tight but usually just right.


jill__0201-240x300Jill Satterfield is the founder of Vajra Yoga + Meditation, a synthesis of yoga and Buddhism that combines meditation, yoga and contemplative practices. Named “one of the 4 leading yoga and Buddhist teachers in the country” by Shambhala Sun Magazine, the VY+M trainings were the first to integrate Buddhism and meditation directly into asana practice in New York City in 2002. Jill has instigated mindful and creative educational programs for over 28 years.

Jill turned to meditation and yoga over 35 years ago to successfully heal from a debilitating physical condition with acute pain that she was told could never be healed. Her personal triumph became the inspiration and drive to guide as many people as possible in utilizing and understanding their own mind, heart and body to help themselves.

Jill’s next workshop is this weekend, Self-Compassion: The Ultimate Pursuit, November 15 at Namaste Berkeley. 

Please follow and like us:
20

Unlocking the Creative Process Through Yoga

by Jillian Schaivi

Yoga and creativity, for me, are indisputably linked. To flow from posture to posture, using the breath as a guiding force, and allowing the mind to clear itself from thought, is exactly how the creative process works. I start with the urge to move, to create something, anything. And then once that initial gesture is expressed, I’m able to take a step back, reflect, take a walk, look away, and then in coming back, color it in even more vibrantly. I’m able to see the piece as it really is – whether that’s something to continue pursuing, or to move on from.

In yoga, we’re encouraged to move energetically, to feel the body out, to test the waters and our limits within the postures. And then to reflect, to experience our experience, see things – ourselves – for how they truly are, and then to use that knowledge in an empowering way. Either to resist certain postures, or, for the time being, going into a deeper expression of them – or to continue down the path we’d started, accumulating sensation, walking our edge.

rumi-letter

Throughout all of this, both the creative and yogic journeys, the breath is the guiding force. The breath in yoga carries us safely within a physical sequence, it steadies the heart rate, slows the nervous system, it keeps us present. Not only that, but it allows for clarity, for one-pointedness, it takes us towards Dharana – the 6th limb of the Yoga Sutras.

In the creative process, the breath becomes an indicator of whether we’re on to something. Excitement and nervousness may show up through the breath in the same heightened way, but if we can begin to really listen to ourselves, there’s a difference between the forward-propelling breath of excitement, and the knotted-stomach breath of nervousness and hesitation.

Jillian

In creativity, flow is recognized as being in a place that’s beyond thought. The external world disappears, and all that’s prevalent, all that exists is the work before us – whether that be writing, drawing, painting, sculpture, music, etc. Our body takes over, the mind no longer holds the reign. And throughout the process, the breath holds the rhythm, steady, meditative, repetitive. In my own work, hand lettering and illustration, I use the breath to steady my hand, to prepare my body for the work, to ease into that flow.

Having a yogic background makes this a much easier transition, and one that I’m ultimately aware of. I know that when things in my creative work don’t flow quite as easily, or ideas, inspiration, motivation aren’t as flush, there must be a missing link in my yogic practice. That is often the case. On the flip side, I feel most creative and engaged and able to give in to flow in my yoga practice when I’m feeling more creative in my life outside the studio, or off the mat. The two inform each other, they relate to each other, and they create a beautiful sense of balance between the mental and emotional efforts that both yoga and art aim to overcome.


JillianProfileA

Check out Jillian’s Unlocking the Creative Process workshop this weekend at Namaste Rockridge! 

Jillian Schiavi took her first yoga class seven years ago, and has been continuously inspired ever since. After receiving her BA in English from New York University, she completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training at Yoga to the People (rys) in 2010. After a brief stint in Chicago, where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she recently relocated to the Bay Area to further explore her yogic journey as both a teacher and student. Alongside yoga, she runs a calligraphy and illustration design studio, jilly ink, and shares vegan skincare and nutrition as an Independent Consultant with Arbonne International. In her teaching, as in her life, she exudes positive energy with a passion for sharing the physical, mental and emotional benefits of yoga, art, and personal health.

Please follow and like us:
20

Yoga for Back Health: A Q&A

We had the chance to interview our lovely Poh Teng on her upcoming workshop Yoga for Back Health on November 1st – check it out and learn more about why back health is such a critical part of a balanced practice:

Yoga for Back Health is an offering dear to me. Over the years, I’ve hurt my back from falls, a car accident, moving heavy boxes and from habitual, asymmetrical ways of moving and being. Yoga was my main modality of healing. A little bit of self-care can go a long way, especially when you are hurt today but your doctor’s appointment is in two weeks. I’m thrilled to offer this special workshop again and I hope you’ll join me for a gentle afternoon of healing.

Q: What kinds of back injury have you experienced?

A: I’ve had scoliosis, sacroiliac joint dysfunction that lead to sciatica, neck and shoulder pain from falls and from a car accident, and facet joint inflammation.

Q: How is your back today?

A: My back is great! I am living with full mobility.

Q: How did yoga help you heal?

A: Yoga helped me address imbalances in the physical body, and in my life as a whole. It is a mindfulness practice that continues to teach me to be embodied, to drop in and tune in, rather than space out and tune out. It has helped me modify habitual ways of being which have brought me off-center (causing scoliosis). It has helped me nurture parts of my body that grip out of fear and of wanting to protect (from falling and whiplash). It has nurtured me so that I may relax and come back to a state of ease. It has also helped me strengthen parts of the body needed for spinal stability (to heal from sacroiliac joint dysfunction).

Q: Did you try other types of healing?

A: Yes – massage, chiropractic and acupuncture have also helped me heal in tremendous ways.

Poh Back Health

Q: Who would benefit from a workshop focused on back health?

A: This workshop is for anyone interested in a healthy back and in practicing self-care in a mindful and loving way. If you’re experiencing a new injury, acute pain or if you recently had surgery, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor and email me (breathe@PohmYoga.com) with questions.

Q: What can students expect to gain from this workshop?

A: Students will come away with soothing self-care practices to help them feel good in their bodies. Much of the yoga and self-massage practices that we will practice together can be practiced anywhere – at work, on a plane and at home. All it takes is a minute here and there, as you can spare, to gently nudge the body back to a state of ease. One doesn’t have to wait until the weekly 90-minute yoga class to work on all the contractions and aches that have accumulated in the body.

Q: Can people come to the workshop if they are not strong or flexible?

A: Yes! Yoga and self-care is for EVERY BODY. The goal is not to be strong/flexible, just as being strong/flexible is not a prerequisite for this or any yoga class.

Q: The workshop offers an afternoon of practice. How will I remember the practices after it’s over?

A: Every issue of my newsletter includes a Yoga Posture for Back Health. In this section, I include pictures and instructions of yoga postures that we practice during the workshop, and for back health in general. Visit this link to receive inspiration and instructions.


Yoga for Back Health
a healing workshop with Poh Teng, PhD, CYT, RYT 500
Nov 1, 1.30-3,30pm | Namaste Grand Lake

unnamed-1Yoga with Poh is an amalgamation of her education across multiple yoga lineages and life experiences.  She is trained in the Vinyasa and therapeutic styles, and continues to be inspired and informed by the Power, Shadow, Anusara and Forrest Yoga lineages. She is also guided by her Passage Meditation practice and her work as an academic scientist.  She has healed from scoliosis, osteopenia and back injury through yoga.  After over 10 years of practice, she is finally a mellow type-A.  Known for her curiosity, playfulness and nurturing style, she leads group classes through movement with breath, awareness, healthy alignment and safe, creative sequencing. With over 500 hours of training, she blends yogic tradition, intention setting, and current findings in biology and yoga therapy. Occasionally, there’s a splash of Bhakti and she sings. Because yoga is not one-size-fits-all, Poh also offers private yoga sessions for your specific wellness needs.

Yoga is a come-as-you-are-party.  Poh invites you to honor your truth in the present moment, and to breathe, strengthen, heal and play. Poh is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, a Certified Yoga Therapist for Chronic Physiological Conditions and a Cancer Yoga Therapist.  She is also a UCLA graduate with a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Get to know her better at PohmYoga.com.

Connect on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest and LinkedIn.

 

 

Please follow and like us:
20

Yoga for Back Health: A Q&A

We had the chance to interview our lovely Poh Teng on her upcoming workshop Yoga for Back Health on November 1st – check it out and learn more about why back health is such a critical part of a balanced practice:

Yoga for Back Health is an offering dear to me. Over the years, I’ve hurt my back from falls, a car accident, moving heavy boxes and from habitual, asymmetrical ways of moving and being. Yoga was my main modality of healing. A little bit of self-care can go a long way, especially when you are hurt today but your doctor’s appointment is in two weeks. I’m thrilled to offer this special workshop again and I hope you’ll join me for a gentle afternoon of healing.

Q: What kinds of back injury have you experienced?

A: I’ve had scoliosis, sacroiliac joint dysfunction that lead to sciatica, neck and shoulder pain from falls and from a car accident, and facet joint inflammation.

Q: How is your back today?

A: My back is great! I am living with full mobility.

Q: How did yoga help you heal?

A: Yoga helped me address imbalances in the physical body, and in my life as a whole. It is a mindfulness practice that continues to teach me to be embodied, to drop in and tune in, rather than space out and tune out. It has helped me modify habitual ways of being which have brought me off-center (causing scoliosis). It has helped me nurture parts of my body that grip out of fear and of wanting to protect (from falling and whiplash). It has nurtured me so that I may relax and come back to a state of ease. It has also helped me strengthen parts of the body needed for spinal stability (to heal from sacroiliac joint dysfunction).

Q: Did you try other types of healing?

A: Yes – massage, chiropractic and acupuncture have also helped me heal in tremendous ways.

Poh Back Health

Q: Who would benefit from a workshop focused on back health?

A: This workshop is for anyone interested in a healthy back and in practicing self-care in a mindful and loving way. If you’re experiencing a new injury, acute pain or if you recently had surgery, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor and email me (breathe@PohmYoga.com) with questions.

Q: What can students expect to gain from this workshop?

A: Students will come away with soothing self-care practices to help them feel good in their bodies. Much of the yoga and self-massage practices that we will practice together can be practiced anywhere – at work, on a plane and at home. All it takes is a minute here and there, as you can spare, to gently nudge the body back to a state of ease. One doesn’t have to wait until the weekly 90-minute yoga class to work on all the contractions and aches that have accumulated in the body.

Q: Can people come to the workshop if they are not strong or flexible?

A: Yes! Yoga and self-care is for EVERY BODY. The goal is not to be strong/flexible, just as being strong/flexible is not a prerequisite for this or any yoga class.

Q: The workshop offers an afternoon of practice. How will I remember the practices after it’s over?

A: Every issue of my newsletter includes a Yoga Posture for Back Health. In this section, I include pictures and instructions of yoga postures that we practice during the workshop, and for back health in general. Visit this link to receive inspiration and instructions.


Yoga for Back Health
a healing workshop with Poh Teng, PhD, CYT, RYT 500
Nov 1, 1.30-3,30pm | Namaste Grand Lake

unnamed-1Yoga with Poh is an amalgamation of her education across multiple yoga lineages and life experiences.  She is trained in the Vinyasa and therapeutic styles, and continues to be inspired and informed by the Power, Shadow, Anusara and Forrest Yoga lineages. She is also guided by her Passage Meditation practice and her work as an academic scientist.  She has healed from scoliosis, osteopenia and back injury through yoga.  After over 10 years of practice, she is finally a mellow type-A.  Known for her curiosity, playfulness and nurturing style, she leads group classes through movement with breath, awareness, healthy alignment and safe, creative sequencing. With over 500 hours of training, she blends yogic tradition, intention setting, and current findings in biology and yoga therapy. Occasionally, there’s a splash of Bhakti and she sings. Because yoga is not one-size-fits-all, Poh also offers private yoga sessions for your specific wellness needs.

Yoga is a come-as-you-are-party.  Poh invites you to honor your truth in the present moment, and to breathe, strengthen, heal and play. Poh is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, a Certified Yoga Therapist for Chronic Physiological Conditions and a Cancer Yoga Therapist.  She is also a UCLA graduate with a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Get to know her better at PohmYoga.com.

Connect on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest and LinkedIn.

 

 

Please follow and like us:
20

A Note on Yoga for Grief

by Ken Breniman

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something, who has passed away, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, spiritual, and philosophical dimensions. Source: Wikipedia 

I am very honored to be offering the Yoga for Grief: Healing Hearts/Healing Bodies gathering at Namaste Berkeley on Saturday, December 17th. I have been offering this workshop for the past six years throughout the Bay Area and have learned so much from the participants.

In the ancient story of “Kisa Gotami and the Mustard Seed”, Ms. Gotami realizes some form of loss has touched everyone. Over my years of leading grief healing sessions, I have realized this continues to be a truth in our modern-day society. In my experience, I have come to understand the main difference with societies understanding of grief today is how grief is quickly pathologized and so often grieving persons can feel isolated and not understood. Historically, the process of grieving has gone through many evolutionary changes due to pressure individuals receive to handle a loss in a way that is culturally acceptable.

The practice of embalming, which became standard in the funerary business around the turn of the 20th century, further dissociated us from death. Funerary directors, like doctors, became authority figures and took over the mourning process, while embalming changed how the body felt, looked, and smelled. “It’s amazing how we can block out the truth of death,” says Frank Ostaseski, who founded Zen Hospice in 1987 and the Metta Institute in 2004,  which are based in Northern California and offer educational programs about death, dying, and mourning. . “If you are surrounded by a family or a culture that says, ‘Don’t talk or think about it,’ it can hinder our capacity to acknowledge the loss.” – Excerpt from Grief is Good

My hope is that my workshop and other gatherings for the bereaved can help to normalize the grieving process. The gathering is here to provide space and create a supportive community setting for each person to show up with all their feelings and memories. Once individuals feel comfortable enough to recognize the feelings of loss we move into being able to tap into the healing powers of a yoga practice that is specifically modified to address many of the aspects of grief.

Please remember that if you are experiencing loss whether it is from early childhood or more recent, that grief can easily get stored in the body. And also remember that the human heart grieves all different types of loss. Never feel that somehow what you are grieving is ‘lesser than’ or doesn’t deserve healing. Loss can include the death of a person, death of a pet, a life transition such as a break up, a divorce, losing a job or moving. Many past participants have come to mourn the loss of a healthy happy childhood. The gathering is open to anyone who is experiencing any loss. In addition to yoga, breathwork and relaxation practices, there is also an optional ear acupuncture session offered at the end of the workshop during an extended Yoga Nidra.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the upcoming workshop or are interested in learning more about healthy grieving.


KenProfileAKen has practiced yoga for over 10 years and became certified with Yoga Alliance as a RYT-200 after graduating from Yoga Tree’s Yoga Teacher Training program in 2006. Yoga Alliance has recognized him as a ERYT-200/RYT-500 as he completed his Yoga Therapy training at Ananda Seva Mission in July 2010.   Ken is very excited to be joining the Namaste family.

In his classes, Ken provides eclectic non-denominational Hatha yoga guidance, honoring a variety of traditions, such as Iyengar alignment principles, invigorating Kudalini Kriya, and playful Acroyoga-inspired partner work.  He invites you to embrace SIMPLICITY, PATIENCE and COMPASSION as you deepen your practice and your connection with your true Self. Ken offers Yoga Therapy workshops on a variety of topics such as restorative yoga, grief, relationships, stress management and coping with chronic illness.  In addition to yoga, Ken also serves as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, clinical supervisor and a private practice yoga therapist in the Bay Area. Daniel Quinn and Paulo Coelho are among his favorite authors.

His life work of service is inspired by Ram Dass’ words:  “We are all just walking each other hOMe.”

Please visit Ken’s website at www.kenbreniman.com  or email him at kjbreniman@gmail.

Please follow and like us:
20

3 Reasons Yoga is Perfect Birth Prep

Preparing to give birth is an incredibly exciting and complex time. At Namaste, we are fortunate to have a thriving community of prenatal and postnatal mommies who continue to gather to celebrate the gift of life and the beauty of yoga. We love finding new ways to help our moms relax and flourish during this period of growth whether it is through our Prep for Birth workshops or creating a sacred space like our Namaste Lounge. Here are our top three reasons why yoga is our most recommended resource when preparing for birth:

Movement

Gentle movement and exercise are important during pregnancy. Many soon to be moms will realize that the exercise routine they had previous to becoming pregnant may no longer work with their new bodies. Yoga is a soft, nurturing way for pregnant women to become re-familiarized with their evolving bodies, increase overall vitality, and enhance both relaxation and mindfulness tools that can prove helpful in the delivery room. Yoga’s intimate way of achieving both exercise and personal connection to this special time in life is a gift which benefits include a boosted immune system, quicker recovery, and better sleep.

Connection

Whether it is a women’s first birth or not, having a new baby can bring up a lot of emotions, questions, and concerns. Having a strong community for support can be a lifesaver for new mothers. Prenatal yoga is a perfect way for women to connect with other like-minded mommies in the neighborhood. Having a community provides new moms with information that is tried and true. A strong network of prenatal and postnatal moms creates a forum where women can learn from each other and share what birth prep techniques have worked and which have not. Having more first-hand knowledge allows for the first time mothers to feel at ease and less fearful of the birthing process.

Love

Love is such a huge part of the birthing experience. Self-love, new love for the baby, compassion and love for your partner and support group all are important for creating a healthy, happy atmosphere for baby’s birth. Yoga teaches how to let go of judgement and criticism and instead practice compassion for ourself and others. Prenatal yoga is optimal for keeping this compassion in the forefront. With a growing and changing body, it is easy for women to sometimes feel not as great as they did pre-pregnancy. Hormonal changes can lead to erratic thoughts, and achy muscles may leave women feeling worn out. A regular yoga practice is a gentle reminder to be kinder to one’s self and to continue to cultivate love and appreciation.

Mae_Amelia


 

Weekly Prenatal Class Schedule:  Berkeley | Oakland

Please follow and like us:
20

Mama, I Hate You: A Lesson on Peace and Parenting

by Rebekkah LaDyne [This post originally appeared on Rebekkah’s blog, This Mindful Life]

Mama, I Hate You.

..said my little girl, looking up at me with sadness and anger in her eyes. This from a girl who really loves her mama. She’s my daughter who often says she does not want to go to school or even playdates because she would rather “be with mama.”

On the morning of her birthday party my daughter had a special breakfast at a restaurant with her grandmother – kind-hearted grandma who incidentally uses the word “hate” frequently. It’s a generational thing, I tell myself, and yet, when grandma is visiting, “hate” always seems to make a few cameo appearances in my daughter’s speech. But until this morning it had never been used to describe how she feels about me.

While she was out for her party day breakfast, I had been busy hiding surprises all over our yard. As grandma’s car pulled into the driveway, my husband jumped outside and called to me, “Stall them,” as he ran to our backyard to hide more surprises. I headed out front as casually as possible and kept everyone in the driveway interviewing them about their restaurant adventure. I commended myself for successfully acting nonchalant while inside I felt slightly frantic – I still needed to frost the cake, set out the snacks, and get my girls dressed. After the hiding was complete and everyone back inside, I rushed around like a slightly off-kilter tornado. As I whirled this way and that, I was all too aware that I needed to calm myself so I could provide the most important element of the party for my little girl, a settled and present mama. But centered mama was no where to be seen at that time. When my daughters started protesting about getting dressed for the party, I was quick to cut them off at the pass. Firm and uncompromising mama was now in residence, kids were going to get dressed and the stern tornado—me—was off to frost the cake. Birthday girl was not happy with the frosting. Her displeasure was made clear as she hid from her cake inside my apron.

Mama’s tornado was desperately trying to complete its tasks without leaving any rubble in its wake.

I was losing my patience despite my efforts to play it cool and be the friendly, calm, loving mama I wanted to be right then. While I attempted to smile and “fix it” (the cake), my tension was mounting and the rock in my back that appears when I am forgetting my mindfulness was pressing hard on my spine. Apparently the birthday girl felt tense too, because that’s when the dreaded declaration made its debut: “Mama, I hate you.” At first I felt startled. Then I felt frustrated with grandma, whom I blamed for re-injecting this high-octane word into our household. And finally, I was sobered. “Mama, I hate you” had been my mindfulness bell. It had pulled me out of the mindset of there and then — the party fun will begin out there in the yard (with all the fun things I’ve been breaking my back to hide) and the cake will be enjoyed then, during the fun, fun party we are about to have, (enjoying it now is of no importance). This mindfulness bell had brought me back to the here and now. The fun birthday celebration for my little girl was right now, not then, and right here, not there.

“Mama, I hate you” echoed in my head once again and I got what she was telling me. She hated how I was being. The rushed, frantic, short-tempered mama who was throwing this party was not the mama that my daughter wanted to spend her party day with. I was being a mama to be hated.

When I realized all of this I scooped her up in hugs, kisses and empathy. While we talked through the incident; each of us apologizing and conceding to use our kind words and calm bodies, something more important was being transmitted, and it did not come from what we were saying. As we were talking, my body was softening, my frantic energy was transforming into calm, and I was with my daughter for the first time since she’d come home. I was finally in the here and now. She responded right away to my presence and as we went to the kitchen to finish the cake together I was careful to sidestep any of my own inner reactivity at her delivery of this important message. While, “I hate you” is not the way I would have wished to receive her plea for me to return to her, those were the words she had at that time and so I chose to just hear her message. After I had returned to my body and my mindfulness, and saw clearly that what I had intended to do was very different from what I had actually been doing, the tornado flew away. I was relieved to be left there in the yard on a bright sunny day with my family and a lovely party ahead of us… and I can happily share that it turned out to be a truly wonderful day.


pic_aboutrebekkah

Rebekkah’s informal and accessible manner makes learning Mindfulness easy.

Rebekkah has been practicing Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga for over 20 years and been teaching these wisdom traditions for the last 15 years. She teaches Embodied Mindfulness by guiding each student to bring the practice not just into the head but into the heart and body as well. As director and lead teacher of a thriving Yoga and Mindfulness Center from 1998 – 2008 Rebekkah guided thousands of students to reconnect with their hearts, minds and bodies. She taught at Spirit Rock Meditation center as their ongoing Family Program Teacher from 2010 – 2013. Currently, through this mindful life, she delights in teaching Mindfulness to families, teens and adults through her private practice, workshops, and retreats.

Rebekkah is leading a Mother-Daughter Mindfulness Series beginning next week!

Wednesdays October 1 – 29
4:00-4:40pm
7-8 year olds + mom
Namaste Berkeley
Wednesdays October 1 – 29
4:45-5:45pm
9-10 year olds + mom
Namaste Berkeley
Please follow and like us:
20

Intro to Yoga: Heartfelt Advice for the New Practitioner

by Bethany Hobbs

1. Keep it simple.

The Intro to Yoga workshops offer the chance to become familiar in our studios, to explore a simple movement practice, to feel through the foundational element of breath, and maybe to get some ideas about which classes might be best for you, going forward.

It’s an afternoon during which a safe space is available for you to meet yourself where you’re at, to blast through the intimidation factor of taking that very first yoga class, and get to ask some questions from a Namaste teacher (in this case, me, who happens to love teaching Intro workshops). Enjoy yourself, make yourself comfy and arrive a few minutes early to put down your mat, have a cup of tea, and feel out the space.

2. Trust yourself.

There are a few things that I know with total certainty. One is that these bodies of ours never lie.

One reason I love teaching introductory workshops is because I get to witness people discovering new sensations and wisdom inside of their bodies. Yoga is largely about paying attention, whether it is your first class, or your millionth. Honor your body. Listen. Trust. The practice of trusting oneself will serve you for a lifetime.

Bethany_Intro_Blogpost

3. Stay curious.

I will always remember my first yoga class. I will always remember my first yoga teacher, the first yoga mat I bought, the first time I fell in love with a pose, the first time I truly found my breath, the first time I felt anchored into something deep, something real, through the physical practice of yoga.

Whatever your “firsts” are, hold them close to your heart. They matter. Remember the wonderment; hold your first-time self in a soft, kind way, and bring something of that fervor and openness with you each time you step onto your mat or your meditation pillow in the days and months and years to come.

Any disciplined practice requests a great deal of kindness from us. Observe, watch things change and rearrange and show themselves to you– if you choose yoga as a path of study and/or devotion going forward, I promise you this: you will never run out of things to learn. So: stay curious. Stay kind. Keep showing up.

4. Welcome Home.

For me, yoga has been the practice of coming home, coming back to a sense of authenticity and belonging.

After you attend the initial introductory workshop, I encourage you to seek out a class and teacher with which you align. What do you value? Who and what speak to your spirit? What pace does your body crave? You will more than likely find others who value (and teach) those things as well.
And, P.S., you’re already home– just let yoga remind you of that, should you ever happen to forget.


SONY DSC

The next Intro to Yoga workshop is:
Saturday September 6
1:30-3:30pm
Namaste Grand Lake
$30*, includes a week of free yoga!

Bethany Hobbs fell in love with her first savasana in 2003, and her life hasn’t been the same since. She has been committed to her yoga practice for over a decade, first under the tutelage of Rached Malouf in San Diego, and, later, her mentor Alice Joanou in Oakland, along with many other incredible yogis and healers in India and Oakland (including herbalist Atava Garcia Swiecicki and therapeutic yoga teacher trainer Antonia Fokken). Bethany’s classes hold space for the wholeness of each individual through breath, alignment, ritual, and joy.

Please follow and like us:
20

Creating a Home Yoga Practice

by Naushon Kabat-Zinn

Do you find it challenging to practice yoga and meditation regularly at home? Join the club!

There are many distractions at home, and so we often just don’t do it. With cell phones beeping at us, children or pets asking for attention, dirty floors that glare at you in downward dog, the list of possible things we can be doing besides yoga is endless! The fact is, once we commit, it can be such a beautiful thing to practice more consistently and be able to listen really to what your body needs. Even for just ten minutes a day. The key is to create a habit and stick with it.

If you feel that a home practice is a luxury, think about it this way: home practice is about listening to your body and catering to your individualized needs, exploring whatever it is that you want to work on for that day.

Going to a yoga class is valuable when you want to check-in on your alignment, learn new poses, or dive deeper with the assistance of an experienced teacher. Classes can provide an encouraging environment where you feel like you can go further and adventure in your practice.

That said, often we are so focused on keeping up with the class or advancing our practice that we start to lose touch with our breath and the ability to tune into our deep inner voice. A home practice opens up a world of creativity and freedom that becomes completely personal and intimate.

Taking your practice home allows you to keep the spontaneity of deciding what you want to work on rather than having to follow the flow of the class. It could be a practice geared toward relieving headaches, or a practice of preparing for handstands, or just a quick wake up and get energized flow to help you start your day right.

Practicing at home can bring more of a sense of balance and clarity and joy to our everyday lives.

So how to get started? Join Naushon Sunday August 24th for a fun and playful exploration of what Home Practice can look like and how we can work through the challenges and move towards a beautiful and rewarding process of getting on our mats at home or when we are traveling.


Naushon_Kabat-ZinnNaushon has been a student of yoga since she was a little girl. Her challenging, yet compassionate Power Vinyasa classes are a wonderful way to cultivate strength, serenity, flexibility and balance. Inspired by her studies with Baron Baptiste, Shiva Rea, Baba Hari Dass, and the teachings of Vispassana (Insight) Meditation, Naushon’s all levels classes emphasize the linking of movement with breath, cultivating our ability to be more fully present and awake in our lives, and navigate the challenges that arise with more grace and kindness.

Check our schedule for Naushon’s class schedule.

 

Please follow and like us:
20