June 15, 2020
Dear Namaste Community,

This is my final farewell letter.  There is really no way to capture in a letter the magnitude of what is happening right now or the emotions I’ve experienced this past month.

Packing up the business I’ve built for over 16 years has been a practice of deep surrendering. Trying to navigate these changes during a global pandemic and civil rights crises has made the process even more surreal.

The grief I feel around losing Namaste is nothing compared to the anger and pain felt by our nation around racial injustice. My hope is that we look back at this time to a time when history was made, and our Black brothers and sisters can be out from under the social inequities and living in fear. 

In the midst of immense change, we are shown what really matters. Namaste was a beautiful container that provided the space for people to open their hearts and to create, transform and change.  Now is the time for change; to listen to our hearts and communities, and to commit to action.  While our studios may be closed, the people who made them special are still doing the work. Let us use this time as a chance for renewed commitment to walking the path of healing together and towards ending the suffering that is happening in the world.

What comes next is still unknown. Many of your Namaste teachers are offering their own classes, which you can find by contacting them directly or viewing their new teacher-driven website, Oakland Yoga Collective. I encourage you to keep supporting their work as they’re increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of our changing landscape. 

As for myself, I will be taking some space to figure out where I am needed most in the world. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family, especially adventuring and traveling with my son when the time is right. 

Deep gratitude and respect to all the teachers for their inspiration and partnership.  Big love and extra heart to my staff for their undying support of me, all the students, and the Namaste mission.  And to you all — a final deep bow to the vast and large East Bay yoga community for allowing me to be of service for all these years.  I walk away with great pride in knowing that this work has positively impacted thousands upon thousands of lives, and that its positive effects will continue to serve and ripple out into the world.

The divine in me sees and honors the divine in you.

Two hands together,
Kimberly Leo
Owner/Director of Namaste Yoga + Wellness

 

May 12, 2020
Dear Namaste Community,

It is with great sadness that I announce today that after more than 16 years of business, I will be closing Namaste on June 14, 2020.

The compounding pressures of closing our Berkeley location, our transition to a teacher employee model due to AB5, and now COVID-19 have put the business and community under too much stress. I do not see a sustainable future for us and must make the choice to close this chapter.

This has been an incredibly hard decision for me. I know this choice has deep ramifications for you — our dedicated students — as well as our teachers and staff.

Namaste has served as a place of refuge for tens of thousands of people over the years. We’ve offered a space to let go, to be vulnerable, to shed tears of joy and sorrow. We’ve danced, prayed, sung, and celebrated the beauty of sharing this life, this path, with one another.

When I started Namaste in 2003, it was to share the gift of yoga with the neighborhood.  Never did I imagine it to become the incarnation it is today, nor to encounter so many people who have become so near and dear to my heart. I will forever cherish all that was created within our walls.

We will continue with our virtual classes for the next month — with our final class day being Sunday, June 14th. We hope you will continue to join us, support our teachers, and share your memories of what Namaste has meant to you.

We’ve created an F.A.Q. resource for you but please feel free to email me at info@ilovenamaste.com with any questions that are not addressed there. Your stories and well wishes of love and support are welcome too. ❤️

Importantly — after Namaste closes, please continue to support our teachers. We have created a website page with all of their web sites so that you may continue to follow them.

It has truly been one of my biggest honors and privileges to be of service and to hold space for the Namaste community. Thank you to all my staff, our amazing teachers and to you all — the students who helped make Namaste such a thriving community. I strongly hope that you will continue doing yoga, and that the legacy of Namaste lives on through your self care practices.

The divine in me sees and honors the divine in all of you.

In service and with deep gratitude,
Kimberly Leo
Owner/Director of Namaste Yoga + Wellness