At Namaste, all kinds of students come through our doors. Some of them develop weekly or regular practices, some find their perfect teacher and stick with them, and some of our students find themselves called to share their passions by diving into our teacher trainings. Each student is special, like a gem waiting to be polished. Each student has a path awaiting them. Meet Namaste student and graduate of our 200 Hour Teacher Training Program, Adrienne Shamszad. She is a musician and yoga teacher. She began practicing at Namaste in 2012 and she did her very first teacher training with us in 2013-14.
What inspired you to begin a yoga practice?
I started practicing yoga seriously when I was in college. I needed help with chronic pain and depression that had followed me since childhood. It has taken years of dedication and mercy to be as healthy and happy as I am now. There will always be ups and downs in my body, mood, life, but yoga stays steady.
What type of yoga calls to you?
My favorite styles of yoga encourage gentleness, fluidity, thoughtfulness and are grounding. I like to be challenged physically in yoga classes. A yoga practice that inspires love, humility and patience is the yoga for me!
What makes Namaste so special for you?
The community at Namaste has been a big part of my life. I have met really wonderful, warm, kind and intelligent people in classes as fellow students and teachers that have inspired me and my practice. I also appreciate that Namaste strives for inclusivity and accessibility – donation based classes, classes for POC, diverse teachers and unique programming make it a safer place for me to practice.
What is your definition of wellness?
Wellness means that we have within us an energetic well of love that we can take a dip in for replenishment and to be reminded of our essential nature which is Love. Pursuing wellness is a path towards that sacred well within that gives us clarity when life is at its’ hardest.
What might we be surprised to learn about you?
Even though I am a very outgoing performer and love to make new friends, I am very introverted!
Favorite things you do to help make every day sacred?
I make music. Singing love songs for the Divine is insta-sacredness! I love singing first thing in the morning and then having a cup of tea. Being quietly in the trees is also a very sacred time. Many little songs emerge when I’m walking through the wilderness and feeling the breeze carry my voice out into the leaves and down the creek…
What makes you smile when you are out in the world:
When strangers do nice things for each other. It is the thing that gives me the most pleasure to witness and one of my favorite parts about being human. I also really love dogs whose faces always look like they’re smiling and babies in strollers at grocery stores that look at me in the eyes like they know me. What do you know, Baby?!
What is the best advice you’ve heard lately?
“Don’t get down about what I bring up in you,” Meher Baba said. When we are healing our lives, a lot of garbage and grief comes up to the surface. It’s easy to start putting ourselves down for all of our flaws and undesirable traits, but to God, it’s all gotta come up to be cleansed away. So when the wellness bug bites you, get ready to learn how to love yourself harder and deeper than ever, ESPECIALLY when you feel like everything is a mess. This path is polishing you like the gorgeous gemstone you truly are.
Just because we want to show how human we all are…Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Jelly Bellies!!! And campy female driven dramedies.
Tell us about your passion project!
I am a musician, songwriter and singer! I combine American folk, soul and blues with traditional Persian music and it makes for a really good time. Please visit my website and listen to things there. Performing music for people is a huge part of my spiritual path, it is my intention that others feel welcomed into the divine romance of the music at every show. Get your ticket to my upcoming show on August 3 at Freight and Salvage! I also teach private music lessons from my home and teach yoga publicly at Ojas Yoga Center in El Cerrito.
Like Adrienne, are you called to dive deeper and share your practice? Consider our upcoming 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training.