Namaste Teachers: Meet Erin Wimert

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 Erin Wimert

How long have you been at Namaste?
I have been at Namaste 6 months.

What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?
It was the first thing that I really felt driven to do. It comes naturally to me and I’ve never taken this gift for granted.

Your favorite self-care practices?
My favorite way to care for myself is taking time to meditate and home practice.

Erin Wimert

What is your morning routine?
I recently got into juicing, which has given me so much energy and has been a great addition to my overall health.

How often do you practice?
Every day.

Absolute favorite asana?
I love back bending! I also really enjoy breaking it down and teaching it.

What is your favorite part of the Namaste community?
I love how receptive the students are.

Erin WimertMy name is Erin and I dove into the world of yoga in 2009. Less than six months later, I decided to take yoga teacher training and I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to leave my desk job and teach full-time. Soon after I was also certified to teach spin and barre classes as well.

I’ve spent a lot of time studying alignment and after taking a 100 hour Anusara immersion with Amy Ippoliti, I started to really find a nice balance between combining comprehensible alignment break-down with vinyasa flow. I also gained a great interest in learning about the chakra system and have enjoyed leading my own workshops as well as bringing this information into to my classes.

I feel in my heart that teaching yoga is my dharma and I look forward to sharing some time and space with you!

View Erin’s weekly class schedule.


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Spotlight on Seva: RISE Yoga for Youth

Every quarter Namaste chooses a local non-profit organization to support as part of our SEVA program by raising awareness and donating our mat rental revenue. This quarter we are proud to partner with the RISE Yoga for Youth organization. RISE empowers adolescents to be agents of change in the world. Through the physical practice of yoga, wellness education, and community building, students develop inner resources to respond to life’s challenges in constructive ways.

RISE offers a comprehensive education in hatha yoga for high school students, which includes instruction in physical postures, mindfulness, and breathing practices, as well as a series of life skills workshops on non-violence, self-esteem, anger management, conflict resolution, nutrition, drugs and healthy relationships. Unique to the program is a focus on teambuilding activities designed to help students explore their relationships with themselves, each other and their communities.

[This post originally appeared on RISE’s blog]

RISE Meet Sophia Corbett, a RISE Yoga for Youth Teacher at George Washington High School in San Francisco. Here she describes her observations of what yoga has done for her students and why she thinks it’s so important to bring yoga to more youth.

At the beginning of the school year, watching, listening to my students in seated relaxation, I didn’t know how it would be possible to get them to sit still and be quiet. They fidgeted, made obnoxious noises, shouted out at times and were just typical teenagers, trying to get a laugh. Fast forward to May, about 8 months after practicing yoga , 4 days a week, and I saw the transformation. We had decided to start our practice out on the back field that day, as it was beautiful out, and had invited a 9th grade PE class to join us for a little intro to yoga. As my students sat in a large circle in seated relaxation, in the middle of the field, the PE classes started to file out onto the track, noisily running around the field we sat on. And I looked at my students, serenely breathing, eyes closed, bodies still and I knew they had been transformed. That they had developed the ability to find peace among chaos, through the gift of yoga. I welled up with joy and gratitude.

Its important to bring yoga to youth because it provides them incredible life skills. The ability to control one’s emotions, to respond instead of react, to listen to one’s body, and find inner peace amongst a often chaotic world, are priceless skills that are not taught anywhere else in schools (in my observation). Students walk away with an invaluable sense of self-efficacy, that helps provide them the confidence that they can handle any situation, as long as they breathe.


Learn more about Namaste’s SEVA program or make your own offering to the RISE Yoga for Youth Organization. 

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Sensory Motor Amnesia: What Have We Forgotten?

by Sadie Chanlett-Avery

Soap operas invoke “amnesia” as a clichéd plot twist that leaves the character vulnerable to old adversaries. Hours of sitting in front of screens generates a less dramatic but possibly more insidious forgetting: sensory motor amnesia.

Thomas Hanna coined this term for the neuromuscular atrophy that results from a lack of movement. Increasing stiffness limits our ability to consciously contract and relax our muscles. Hanna questioned the inevitably of aging and suggested that SMA causes our decline.

When teaching, I witness the consequences of SMA daily. With yoga newbies, I use slow and explicit cues. Beyond competency, out of shape folks need extra time to process instructions. One client actually repeated my directions out loud to figure out the movements.

With conscious training, we reclaim motor control and enliven dull tissues. After most classes, a student approaches me a realization, “Wow, I didn’t know my hips are so tight.”

I contend that SMA is more than a muscular or neurological condition. As we stop moving we lose the joy of dancing, the satisfaction of physical labor, and the rejuvenation of exercise. We no longer hear the whispers of the body. Many of us are paralyzed and stuck in pain. We lose a sense of self.

Even late into life we can dismantle the limited patterns that confine our physical expression. It’s as easy as going barefoot, playing with kids, trying a new sport, or practicing a martial art.

We start by moving and paying attention. Establishing a movement practice may not be as gripping as the soaps. Yet reconnecting our mind to our movements could alter our fate.

SadieProfileBSadie Chanlett-Avery, holistic fitness trainer, yoga instructor, and writer, was named a 2013 Athleta Sponsored Athlete. As the In-house Yogi at Clif Bar & Co. she directs the yoga and perinatal programs, trains with kettlebells, and serves on the Wellness Team. Sadie received her teacher certification from Ana Forrest and has immersed for months in the jungles of Costa Rica with Master Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Glenn Black. Her M.A. in Holistic Health Education and multiple fitness certifications lends antomical depth to her innovative and playful classes.

She appreciates the diverse expression of the human genome with the belief that people of all ages and sizes can benefit from exercise and heal with yoga. Teaching for over ten years, she applies ancient yogic principles to individual needs and modern lifestyles.

Sadie blogs at

Blog posts by Sadie: The Dark Side of Detoxing

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Yoga for Back Health: A Q&A

We had the chance to interview our lovely Poh Teng 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 ( 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.

Connect on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest and LinkedIn.



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Why We Love Dry Brushing

You wake up to misty morning dew and do your best to not hit snooze thinking how pleasant it would be to stay curled in your warm bed all day. This is the kind of morning that begs for warming self-care practices like a hot cup of lemon water and a stimulating dry brush routine! Never heard of dry brushing? Get ready to learn about one of your new favorite morning rituals.

Bathroom window_dry brushing

Dry brushing is a simple activity with incredible health benefits. With the help of a non-synthetic dry body brush, you take a few minutes to massage yourself from head to toe, sans water, usually prior to showering. One of your body’s largest organs and most important for detoxification is the skin. Responsible for a quarter of the body’s daily detoxing, your skin receives one-third of all the blood circulated throughout your body. This means it is usually the first also to exhibit signs of deficiency and imbalance. Dry brushing is the perfect way to aid your body in its detoxification process and helps as a quick warm up by kick starting circulation during chilly mornings.

dry brushing

The benefits of dry brushing include:

  • Removing layers of dead skin that can lead to acne, eczema, or psoriasis.
  • Removal of dead skin leads to better circulation and increases your skin’s ability to discharge metabolic waste.
  • Better circulation means more blood flow to the areas you are brushing, increasing the electromagnetic energy and leaving you feeling energized for the day.
  • Circular movement made while brushing, paired with increased blood flow, helps stimulate nerve endings and the movement of fat leading to better muscle tone. 
  • Stimulation of your oil glands and hormones helps the appearance of skin leaving you looking more youthful and decreasing cellulite. 
  • Most important, the process of massaging your outer organ helps to cleanse your lymphatic system, leading to an immunity boost and less mucoid matter in your organs.

Dry brushing is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Here’s how:

Purchase a non-synthetic dry body brush. You can usually find one at your health food store or online. Be gentle on injured areas or places with skin irritations and the breasts.

  1. Start at your feet and begin by vigorously rubbing in circular motions. The tingling feeling may feel slightly awkward or uncomfortable at first, but it begins to become enjoyable as you body warms up.
  2. Slowly and intentionally work your way up the body, rubbing in towards your heart center as you reach your arms and back.
  3. When you reach the abdomen, spend slightly more time and rub slowly in counter-clockwise strokes.

When you finish, simply bathe or shower and for added benefits consider a self-massage after your rinse with healthy body oils like our EarthBody oils, coconut oil, or sesame oil!


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Finding Your Inner Superhero with Annie Carpenter

by Annie Carpenter

[This post originally appeared in Origin Magazine]

Vira is a Sanskrit word translated variously as heroic, powerful, strong, excellent, eminent. It is the root of many other words, most notably perhaps, Virabhadrasana. If this word is familiar to you, then as a yogi, you probably know this word as ‘warrior.’ There are three warrior poses: Virabhadrasana I, II, and III. All are strong standing poses, which require physical strength and stamina, and a good dose of mental willpower to remain in the pose for an extended hold.

Lately, I’ve been encouraging my students to discern whether they are acting out of courage or heroism. Courage requires a suspension of doubt or fear, and enables a mental fierceness, sustaining one in a difficult moment. We learn to be courageous in simple accessible ways on our yoga mats, and without effort or even consciousness, we find ourselves being a bit more courageous in other settings.

Heroism, however, is a little different. I’m thinking superheroes! Whether Superman, the Amazons, or Virabhadra, all of these mythical beings have powers well beyond the ordinary human being. Superman has extraordinary strength and can fly through the air; the Amazons were a nation of all-female warriors from Greek mythology; and Virabhadra was a fierce and giant warrior with many arms from Hindu mythology, first noted in the Ramayama.

All of these heroic figures have one thing in common: They all transcend normal limitations.

Reading about superheroes and mythological gods is fun. What is most refreshing and inspiring about these tales are the moments where we suspend our belief systems. We are able to briefly inhabit a fantastic world where all is possible. The young boy reading about Superman in his favorite comic book believes for a moment that humans can fly and that good always triumphs over evil. While we don’t literally leap off a tall building and soar through the air; we may imagine that small miracles are annie2possible in our own lives. We won’t grow eleven arms to avenge the death of Lord Shiva’s wife as Virabhadra did, but we may need and evolve multiple methods to perceive and eliminate an old and nagging habit. While we certainly won’t cut off a breast to be a brave Amazon warrior, we may need to let go of old ideas of who we are and what truly matters to us. Ultimately, we are inspired to consider a life free of limiting ideas and habits. It then can become possible to imagine a courageous self who can seek out and slay our inner demons.

As yogis, we often consider ourselves spiritual warriors. Not with the intention to commit violence against one another (non-violence is our first “vow,” if you will), but we are battling our own ignorance and self-imposed restrictions. Enduring the challenge to see the limitations that we unconsciously place on our lives takes courage and willpower. Cultivating willpower in asana practice — sustaining those long holds in Warrior pose — literally gives us the stamina to investigate and root out unhealthy mental habits. Exploring courage by trying new poses without expectation of success, feeds our adventurous spirit to experiment with new attitudes and relationships both with others and ourselves. Practicing Warrior 1 and embracing the heroic spirit of Virabhadra we may begin to transcend our limitations, finding our inner super-hero!

Annie_Carpenter_3407_highrez-212x350Known as a “teachers’ teacher,” Annie’s yoga classes have evolved into an intelligent, organic SmartFLOW, marrying juicy movement with rigorous discipline. Annie believes that practicing yoga provides “points of dharana” — gateways to inner stillness and compassion.  Annie leads public classes, in-depth workshops and SmartFLOW teacher trainings (200 and 300/500) at Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice, CA. She is the author of “RelaxDEEPLY”, a CD of restorative yoga, and “ Yoga for Total Back Care” a DVD produced by Yoga Journal, and is a contributing editor for Yoga Journal. Practicing with Annie, expect intensity, honesty, laughter and love. 

Annie begins her weekly public classes at Namaste this tuesday! Join her for class Tuesdays, 9:30 AM at Namaste Grand Lake.

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Sukkot, Yoga, and Packing Your Life’s Suitcase

by Aviva Black

Thousands make the pilgrimage, many fulfilling a lifelong dream. The weather’s balmy, so the revelry goes on all day and night with throngs of people engaged in the streets and lounging in open booths. You’re thinking Burning Man. But no, this is what Sukkot was like during Temple times. From what I gather, aside from people keeping their clothes on, Burning Man looks like a Girl Scouts’ convention in comparison. Good times. SukkahSukkot, the harvest festival we’re celebrating now, is one of three annual Jewish festivals (Shavuot and Passover being the others). We just got through kneading our souls and asking for forgiveness for all the rotten things we’d done in the past year. We’ve committed ourselves to delivering our best during this new year.

Sukkot is our exhale, giving us a break from intense soul searching work. It’s pure joy. Like the week spent in the sukkah, our days on this planet are temporary. So what should we pack in each breath? Put another way, if you had one suitcase for your life’s move, what would you fill it with? This is also a shmita year, the ‘sabbatical year’ 7th year of the planting cycle where traditionally, we’ve let the fields lay fallow. By taking a rest, the fields release what’s unnecessary and become more fertile and productive.

Take a step back and, without being harsh, evaluate what’s most vital to you. What stories have you been clutching and what have you been ignoring? What do you value most and what helps you deliver the best of yourself? On the yoga mat, this Sukkahis the perfect time to a) celebrate the practice that you do have and b) determine what you need to put on hold so that your body and practice can unfold more naturally. Do this and chances are you’ll feel better and your practice will actually deepen. Recently, the NY Times Styles section told of a traveling chuppah — a simple handmade wedding canopy that has been used by a web of family of friends for over a decade. People keep requesting this chuppah because it’s absorbed the love and hope of joint fulfillment from and for those that have stood beneath it.

You are not alone in your sukkah. More so, the shmita year attracts others to your open invitation. So choose wisely and make space for this bounty. Make the pilgrimage into the dwelling of your heart and see that it’s open, receptive and yearning to cherish and celebrate the most valuable pieces that make you and your life great. Aviva Black

aviva bAviva is a RK — a rabbi’s kid. Interweaving Judaism and yoga has enabled her to go deeper on the mat and in the sanctuary. She teaches conscious alignment and flow, and encourages students to take poses to the fullest, most optimal place in that moment. She asks students to trade in rigidity and self-doubt for discipline to see what’s possible, emphasizing that with patience and diligence, they can remain safe and still take amazing forms — folding, twisting, balancing and lifting off! Aviva has been practicing yoga since 1997 and began teaching in 2007. She is a former Anusara-Inspired teacher and I will never stop studying. She is so grateful for her main teachers: Sianna Sherman and Abby Tucker, with whom she is currently apprenticing, and her father, Rabbi Barry Friedman. Check out Aviva’s weekly class schedule at Namaste.

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How to Use A Mala for Meditation

Malas have recently become more and more popular on the fashion scene, but their historic use and meaning is much more than just a beautiful piece of jewelry. Malas are tools for meditation and mental focus. Meditation, one of the healthiest practices you can have, is not always as simple as it seems. Finding the discipline to sit still, even for five minutes, can at times feel impossibly challenging. Curing fidgetiness and a busy mind are the exact reasons we love Mala beads. They provide as Ram Dass puts it, a “kinesthetic cue device” that allows you to continuously re-awaken and stay on course throughout the practice of meditation.

Mala beads, or Hindu Prayer Beads, are similar to Rosaries or other types of prayer beads and often used in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Traditionally a Mala is strung with 108 beads, a sacred number in many cultures, or 27 beads (1/4 of 108). Malas are used for keeping count while reciting, chanting, or mentally repeating mantras or deity names, a practice referred to as Japa in Sanskrit.

When simply meditating or chanting it can be easy for the mind to wander off. The act of passing the beads through your fingers while focusing on each breath or each mantra provides the opportunity to reawaken each time a new bead crosses the finger tips. It is a tactile reminder that you are here, participating in this moment, breathing and honoring each second of life as it passes through you.

There are a few ways to hold and move the Mala through your fingers as you meditate. In traditional Hindu use, you place the Mala in your right hand, with the first bead that you will count draped over your middle or ring finger. You then use your thumb to move the Mala as you count. The 108 “counting beads” meet in the center where there is a “guru bead” that hangs perpendicular and does not get counted or skipped but rather used as a point of reflection.

Mala Post

How to use a mala for meditation:

1) Find a comfortable seat. Take your mala in your right hand and take a few deep breaths. Notice the airflow as it enters in and out through your nostrils. Sweetly set an intention for this meditation or choose a mantra that you feel comfortable repeating. Repeat the mantra once or say your intention quietly to yourself out loud before beginning the count. Make sure that you know how many times you intend on repeating the mantra before so that you do not get lost in the counting process.

2) Begin by sliding the beads between your thumb and middle finger, repeating the mantra or focusing your intention with each bead and breath. When you reach the guru bead, pause and reflect, then reverse the direction of the beads as you begin to count again.

3) When you finish, take a moment of silence before getting up to continue your day. Feel gratitude for allowing yourself to practice and to do something loving and healthy for your body. Carry the peaceful feeling of the meditation with you for the rest of the day.

Interested in getting mala beads? Check out any of our three Namaste studio boutiques! We have hand-made malas from in various styles, lengths, and prices.


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Why You Should Always Practice Savasana

by Judy Rukat

[This post originally appears on]

I often remind students at the end of teaching a challenging and sweaty Hot Power Yoga Flow class that we show up to the practice for the Savasana.
It is the moment of surrender when the idea of self dissolves, when we release the burdens that plague the body, the fears that invade the mind, and the expectations we place upon ourselves–inviting liberation to awaken from deep within the psyche.

How Do I Get Liberation?

Freedom is the natural state. At the core of human existence, a primal need to survive motivates us to exist within the structures of society—creating boundaries and limitations through which we channel ambitions and desires, and confront personal, relational and global conflicts.

All of these are real, of course.However, just as there is no denying that sustaining a Warrior III pose is a definite struggle, the struggle alone does not define the experience of yoga or of life. If anything, I encourage a physically challenging practice to break down the walls we have in place that define who we are in the world.

Those walls construct the much-needed ego, without them I could not be I, nor you would not be you. These beautiful distinctions provide individuality and a medium through which we engage our unique selves…and coexist, fall in love, and break apart to keep the cycle in motion.

Who Do You Think You Are?

However, we are NOT merely who we THINK we are. Savasana puts us back in our place, so to speak. Practicing at least five minutes serves as a visit home, where we invite presence or an acknowledgment of being right here and right now into the moment.

This we do without projecting into an undefined future or remaining stagnant in memories.

A few moments of simply observing BEing nothing more than an infinite state of blossoming rejuvenates the spirit and invites freedom from the depths into everyday life.

Savasana is peace.
Freedom is peace.
You are peace. Nothing more.

JudyProfileAnewI teach yoga for the rebels, the rogues, the weak, broken, and damaged, the lost and hopeless, the underdog, the ones who only know struggle, the motherless, the addicts, and those who love too much. I am all of these, and I know that a vast ocean of peace lies beneath all this. I’ll never tell you what yoga is and isn’t, you decide for yourself. Just show up and find what liberates you on your mat! Connect with me on Instagram and Facebook.

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Namaste Tribe: Meet Allison

Each week for the next few weeks we will be highlighting on of our incredible Namaste tribe members! With so many inspiring, passionate folks working at Namaste we felt it was a crime to keep their shining personalities from the rest of the world.

Meet Front Desk Staffer: Allison Jones

Who are you?
My name is Allison and I am originally from Florida.

How long have you been with Namaste?
I have been with Namaste for just over 3 months!

What is your favorite style of yoga?
My favorite style of yoga is Bhakti.

Any big dreams you are close to actualizing?
I recently finished my Masters in Counseling Psychology and a mentorship with an Intuitive/Shamanic Healer. Right now I’m working to start my own intuitive healing practice, and it’s very exciting!

What are you involved with outside the studio?
I host a weekly hip hop radio show.

What is your favorite thing about the Bay Area?
The people, the forests, and the fog.

AllisonProfileAAs a student of bhakti yoga, Allison comes to Namaste with an open heart and a love of service. Allison is a recent graduate of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and is drawn to spiritual and creative practices that facilitate the healing of past trauma. Allison is currently studying Intuitive Healing with her mentor and also helps run a grief-support non-profit ( On her days off Allison can usually be found hiking in the Oakland hills or road-tripping to nearby hot springs or swimming holes.

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