Namaste Teachers: Meet Poh Teng

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Namaste Teacher: Poh Teng

How long have you been at Namaste?
Since September 2013

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
I benefitted (and continue to benefit) so much from yoga and I wanted to help others heal and feel good in their bodies. I was inspired onto a path of service by my meditation teacher, Eknath Easwaran. In “Essence of the Bhagavad Gita”, EE says, “… karma yoga is more than service. Service – work that benefits others – is necessary for every human being, the Gita maintains; it is incumbent on us to give back to life as we take from it. But this becomes yoga only when it is selfless: when we forget ourselves in that work and desire nothing from it for ourselves, not even recognition or appreciation. When we learn to act in this way, egotism shrinks and separateness gradually dissolves.” And so, I practice to be of service.

Poh Back Health

Your favorite literature on yoga or meditation?
Meditation by Eknath Easwaran
Feeding Your Demons by Lama Tsultrim Allione

Best advice you have ever received relating to your practice?
“You can flex, but no gripping.” ~ Chandra Easton
“Be present with all that arises.” ~ Mariana Caplan

Your favorite self-care practices?
Yoga retreats, hot baths and full-body scrubs, neti and nasya, and hiking with my dogs!

Join Poh Teng this weekend for her Yoga for Healthy Backs workshop! 

Poh Teng Yoga 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

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Namaste Teachers: Meet Reba Gray

Our Namaste Tribe is a powerhouse of wise, talented, and experienced teachers who have dedicated their lives to sharing the gift of yoga with others. We are constantly in awe of the incredible offerings our teachers bring to this community. We are excited to share a new blog series focused on celebrating our teachers and hopefully giving you all a glimpse into the talented team that makes up Namaste Yoga + Wellness.

Meet Reba Gray

Reba_Aug2013_print_jleahy-67How long have you been at Namaste?
I have been at Namaste for just over 1 year!

What inspired you to become a teacher?
My mom taught me about the importance of service to your community just by being who she is. I love this concept: seva (selfless service). So I started volunteering at a yoga studio, making sure the space was clean, answering questions, joking around to put people at ease, mopping the floor after the sweaty classes. I kept showing up, practicing, volunteering, which led to assisting teachers, which was great because I didn’t have to talk. After years of practicing, assisting, and training, I realized I had some stuff I wanted to say!

What is your favorite thing about yoga?Reba_Aug2013_print_jleahy-78 (1)
You can travel the world, find a yoga studio, and be welcomed into that community. I have sweated, laughed, and breathed with some amazing people in a yoga class.

What is something you wish all of our students understood about the practice?
There is something in yoga that everyone can take away for themselves. It doesn’t have to be asana.

Thoughts on where the yoga industry is headed?
When I started practicing, some institutes banned caffeine, sugar, etc. I like that modern yoga embraces doing what is appropriate for you. Come as you are, let transformation happen naturally.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?

Check out Reba’s Weekly Class Schedule!

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Style Story: Love Yourself

It’s raining outside (finally!), a sign to cozy up inside, both literally and metaphorically. This story is all about dwelling in kindness and love…This Valentine’s, be decadent and delicious with yourself (AND your loved ones).

These gifts for self (and sweeties), and much much more, available at the boutiques at Namaste.

Hold yourself dear. [Jewelry by Whitley Designs and Marit Rae, available at Namaste Grand Lake and Rockridge studios].
Delight in hot tea and a journalling session. [Rudrashka Mala wrapped on wrist by Saralua, available at all our studios]
Treat yourself. [Jewelry by Whitley Designs and Marit Rae, available at Grand Lake and Rockridge studios.]
Snuggle into the pillow pile. Give yourself a little squeeze. [Gorgeous bolsters, zafus, and zabutons by Chattra, available at Namaste Grand Lake.]

Your skin is a sponge. Let it soak up the good love. [Earthbody Massage and Body oils, set of travel size oils, available at Namaste Berkeley and Grand Lake studios]
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This is Dedicated to Everyone in a Hurry

By Sparkle Thornton


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.


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
Namaste Grand Lake

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