We’re so excited to be partnering with Manduka to recognize a Namaste yogi each month that is a staple of our community and who inspires us daily! For our second month we’d like to recognize Alan Perlberg, someone who lifts our spirits when we see him and is extremely dedicated to taking his practice off the mat! We asked Alan to share a little bit more about himself below:
Fun Fact About You?
I find joy in making music
What inspires you?
Falling down and getting back up
When you aren’t on the mat, where can we find you?
Out walking and hiking and spending time with lisa, my wife
Favorite East Bay business (other than Namaste :)?
Sushi Park or the Aurora Theater
How has your yoga practice shaped who you are?
Having the mat as a sacred place to do my own practice and to be part of something bigger …and bringing my practice out into the world
Why do you love Namaste?
Feeling part of a community … lots of classes with wonderful teachers having varied styles … helpful and friendly staff … convenience of Grand Lake location … and great massage too!
A conversation with Reba Gray and Poh Teng about their must have self care practices:
Poh: I love seeing what you’re up to on Instagram. Your self-care practices are random mid-day reminders for me to do self-care. What are some of your favorites?
Reba: Asana practice of course! Also massage, reading in a quiet space, and getting pedicures. In general, doing things more slowly and mindfully.
Poh: You do always have nicely pedicured feet! And you went to southern California this summer?
Reba: Yep, my hubby and I went to San Diego & Santa Barbara. My favorite moment was lunch on the beach with my toes in the sand, laughing with good friends and enjoying the sea breeze. We also got to visit Cold Spring Tavern, a saloon from the 1860s. We shared a really delicious cold beer. Having moments like that are so rejuvenating for me, creating sense memories, you know? I can remember the feeling of toes in the sand, the taste of that cold beer after traveling on a hot, dusty day… Tell me about your favorite self-care practices.
Poh: My favorites are yoga, massage and hiking with my dogs. But really, anything that helps me let go of stress buildup in the body, heart and mind. Last week, I took an hour-long savasana in a sensory deprivation tank. It was my first float. I had the best rest in a very long while. It was much needed as I had recently struggled for a few weeks with minimal sleep due to a nerve impingement injury. The injury is related to my history of neck and shoulder trauma, and was triggered when I broke up a dog fight on a hiking trail. Early this year, I started a new job that requires a long commute, which aggravates the injury. During recovery, I practiced yoga and self-massage daily in addition to receiving regular bodywork. Super thankful for my personal practice, the support of friends in my wellness community and for the body’s ability to heal. What are you working on in your yoga practice?
Reba: I’m really inspired by breath work and meditation lately. I’ve been taking 5-30 minutes a day to sit and observe my breath, or to do some favorite breath practice, like kumbhaka pranayama (breath retention). Breath retention helps me feel less anxious, helps me stay present – I tend to get ahead of myself with planning stuff that’s way off in the future.
Poh: I’ve been really inspired by breath and meditation, too. There’s two parts to the practice for me right now: 1) dharana – resting the mind on the rise and fall of the body, using the body as home base; and 2) svadhyaya – contemplating the habits of the mind that I noticed from the meditation practice.
Reba: And I love sweaty vinyasa with inversions. Home practice is sweet, but I really like the energy of practicing with a whole bunch of yogis in a studio.
Poh: Me, too! Throw in a handful of arm balances and I’m happy.
Reba: You know what else is also self-care? Always having my favorite foods in the fridge. Buying or growing food we like is a really important way to take good care of ourselves. It’s something I struggle with, but when I take the time to slow down and carefully prepare my own food, it is so worth it. I always have spinach, yogurt, Frog Hollow apricot conserve, cheese, and eggs in the fridge.
Poh: Yum! I always have eggs, too. And coconut water, kale, several varieties of hot sauce… and soy milk or soy pudding. My constitution is predominantly pitta-vata. I was advised by ayurveda practitioners to decrease intake of hot sauce and soy, to be careful I don’t go into pitta and vata overdrive. I struggle to give up hot sauce because I’m a child of Malaysia, and I can’t give up soy because it’s a part of my family’s diet for generations. I’m practicing mindfulness and moderation of my habits, slowing down to notice if the foods I choose nourish me or deplete me. It’s all a practice.
Make time for yourself – join Reba and Poh in Power Up + Power Down, an extended, self-care practice. You will power up with joyful and supported back bends, and power down with guided meditation and deep hip openers. Discover stillness in power, and power in stillness.
Anna Landauer is hands-down the Namaste guru on outdoor adventures. We all turn to Anna when we are looking for a little outdoor inspiration, good recommendations or a buddy to hit the trails with. Below, Anna shares a few of her favorite photos and tells us a little bit about what inspires her, where she’s been and what she has in store next.
Anna will be leading two group hikes this summer. They will include a refreshing all levels vinyasa practice, a peaceful walk through the trees, and an opportunity to sit quietly and reflect on your experiences.
Saturday May 17 and Sunday June 22 Learn More
Namaste: When did your adventurous spirit of exploration begin?
Anna: I distinctly remember falling in love with the outdoors on my 7th grade camping trip to Yosemite Valley. I grew up locally and at the time was in Ms. Davis’ class at Albany Middle School. I was also fortunate to grow up with a mom who was an Environmental Studies major at UC Berkeley. I remember playing in the creeks at Tilden Park and especially being fascinated by the water bugs scooting across the surface.
Namaste: Do you have a favorite place to hike, somewhere that feels like ‘your’ spot?
Anna: The first place that comes to mind is Lyell Canyon in Yosemite National Park, and it expands from there into the high country of the Sierras, Tuolumne Meadows and south to Mt. Whitney, the high mountain passes. I feel most at home, alive and vibrant above 10,000 ft. in the Sierras. I love the wide open spaces, the endless sea of granite and powerful contrast of water flowing over smooth glacial polished stone.
Namaste: What is the most inspiring place you’ve ever visited?
Anna: Would it be boring to say Yosemite? Now you can tell pretty clearly where my favorite place on earth is. I am also in awe of and inspired by the Grand Canyon. Rafting down the Colorado for three weeks through the Grand Canyon tops my list of amazing adventures. I love the feeling of utter insignificance I experience being a small human creature in such a vast space.
Namaste: What’s left on your bucket list?
Anna: Hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. Climb El Capitan. Run an ultra, maybe the Leadville 100 or Western States. Hike in the Alps. Trek in Nepal and Tibet. Take my niece backpacking…
Namaste: How do your big adventures impact your everyday life?
Anna: Every part of my life is a big adventure. My time in the wilderness feeds my spirit, keeps me nourished and vibrant. It is my time to recharge and connect with myself, with nature, with that which is grander and bigger than all things. Creation. Universe. Love. It reminds me that I am a living breathing, experiencing, being residing on this beautiful planet. This feeling of passion and enthusiasm for life is what I hope to carry back to my everyday life, my work and my community.
Right here at Namaste Berkeley, we are lucky to have a Naturopathic Doctor at our fingertips. Dr. Amy is incredibly knowledgable, personable and so passionate about her work. This week we are launching a workshop series led by Dr. Amy called Women’s Wellness Wednesdays. To kick off the series we sat down with Dr. Amy to learn more about what makes her such an amazing practitioner.
What drew you to Naturopathic Medicine?
I grew up in Miami, FL with conventional medicine being the only medicine I knew of. In college, I became interested in alternative healing options like nutrition and herbal medicine. I enjoyed sharing simple natural strategies with my family and friends, such as echinacea to shorten the duration of a cold. Meanwhile I was completing a business degree, never thinking I wanted to go into medicine.
Then, my mom sent me an article about this profession called “Naturopathic Medicine” and I became fascinated by the blend of science and nature. I loved learning about how the body works, including the detailed nutritional and hormonal biochemistry. My medical school training focused on evidence-based natural approaches to treatment while still making room for mind-body-spirit aspects of wellness. Now as a naturopathic doctor, I feel so lucky to practice a type of medicine that treats the whole person and is rooted in promoting the body’s ability to heal itself.
What health topic are you most passionate about?
Empowerment. I see too many women suffering from symptoms that they assume are “normal” or have been given treatment options that they don’t want to follow (ie RX drugs). Our current medical system is so disease focused that it is not well equipped to help us optimize our health. I love helping women with hormonal imbalance to improve their energy, sleep, mood and weight, especially around perimenopause.
I’m also very involved in the world of endometriosis… as a patient, as a doctor and as a board member of the Endometriosis Association. In all women’s health issues, I take a strong stand for patients to take their health into their own hands, and learn to listen to their own bodies’ signals. If one doctor doesn’t give you the help you need, find practitioners, treatments and self-care practices that work for you, so you can feel great and truly enjoy life to it’s fullest!
How has being a Naturopath Doctor influenced your role as a mother, or vice versa?
My son just celebrated his seventh birthday, so I have a real compassion for busy women who are trying to balance their own health in the mix of a million other things. After 8-1/2 years in a busy group practice in San Francisco, I’ve shifted my work life to be closer to home and my schedule now allows me to spend more time and focus with each patient. I’m delighted to have my office at Namaste (Berkeley) in a very healing environment with yoga right in the next room.
What do you do to relieve stress?
A great perk of being at Namaste is the short commute to yoga class! I also love my morning walk/jog around the park and I wind down at night with a foam roller neck/shoulder relaxation routine. I’ve been through adrenal fatigue a few times now, so I’ve learned that stress management is a crucial part of everyday living. Other favorite pastimes include playing with my son, throwing the frisbee and spending time outdoors, especially when the sun is shining!
What other women’s wellness support do you offer in addition to your private practice?
My website DrAmyDay.com is a great place to learn more about my online offerings, such as “The Busy Woman’s 2-Week Recharge” wellness program. I’m also very excited to be bringing together small groups of women locally to learn, heal and create supportive community. I have a one-day rejuvenation retreat in SF on Saturday March 29 with solyogatrips.com and, at Namaste, we are launching a monthly workshop series starting on March 19. “Women’s Wellness Wednesdays” will take place one Wednesday evening per month and will be a great way to get my support on a variety of topics. Attendees will also have the chance to share and learn from other health-conscious women while enjoying herbal teas and chocolate!