Featured Studio: Namaste Yoga

October 6, 2015


Namaste Yoga, with locations in Oakland and Berkeley, strives to live up to their name by honoring all those who walk through their doors. Their studios center around the enrichment of their students by helping them to live their lives joyfully and in the moment, resulting in a better balance of life, family, work, and wellness.

Classes at Namaste Yoga are available in a multitude of styles such as Vinyasa Flow, Power Yoga, Prenatal Yoga and Yin Yoga. One particularly exciting and unique class is Nia Dance, which incorporates wisdom from martial arts, jazz, tai chi and modern dance into an exhilarating, yoga-based workout. In addition to their variety of yoga classes, they also offer wellness services including massage, acupuncture, Ayurveda and naturopathy.


They also serve their community through their Namaste SEVA program, which focuses on a new cause or charitable organization each quarter. In the yogic tradition, Seva is the idea of selfless service, improving the lives of others without any expectation of reward. Recipients of Namaste SEVA’s support have included food banks, housing charities, and organizations helping at-risk children and teens.

Namaste Yoga has been a long-time customer of Barefoot Yoga, and offers a number of our products including yoga mats, mat bags and yoga blocks. If you’re in the Bay Area, stop by one of their three locations for a warm and welcoming experience!


Yoga Revival – Week 13: Yoga Elation and the Mysore Practice Rug

October 2, 2015


I’ve discovered yoga practice can lead to feelings of elation. Endorphins are released, circulation palpably increases, and a peaceful synchronization occurs between mind and body. The cylinders are primed to fire at peak capacity.

I experienced some of this yoga elation the other day after finally dragging myself up and out for a morning hot Hatha Yoga class at YogaBliss on Mercer Island, lead by a seasoned instructor named Jonathan Bowra. His strength, lightheartedness, and insights helped push me through 90 minutes of mostly core movements, giving way to slippery sun salutations.

On the way out of my house, I grabbed my Manduka Pro yoga mat – considered by many the best of all mats. Its density provides a bouncing sensation that makes me feel like I have the strength of 10 Grinches when I practice on it. But in my hurry to get to class on time (nothing like a hurried yogi) I forgot to grab my rug – which is what I needed most – to lay on my mat and absorb all that sweat. And so I worked my core muscles hard to hold those sweat drenched downward dogs and triangles, but my feet did slip a few times, once in a way that felt dangerously close to causing a significant leg injury.

I’ve found the best surface for sweaty yoga is a thin or dense mat with a practice rug over it. So next time I won’t forget because the exhilaration of a hot yoga class is well worth it, and should be done in the safest way – on a non-slip surface.

For the rest of the day I felt heavily anchored to the ground, yet with energy surging upwards in kind of a perfect balance. Calmly elated simply to be!


6 Ways to Take Your Yoga Practice to the Next Level

September 25, 2015

Once you’ve discovered the wonders of yoga and found your style, your studio and your gear, it can be easy to take your practice for granted. It’s also easy to make excuses and miss a class, or fall into routines that don’t allow for growth. Here are some suggestions for taking your practice to the next level and getting the most out of your yoga:

1. Set a Goal for Yourself

If you’re having an “off” day, you might tell yourself that missing just one class won’t hurt. We’ve all done it! Sometimes it’s important to listen to your body and take it easy, but more often than not, you’ll feel much better if you push past the doubts and go to that class! To really boost your practice, try setting a goal to commit yourself to daily practice for a set period of time. Lots of studios offer 30-day challenges, and there are also tons of challenges on Instagram, Facebook and other social media. If you’d rather do it on your own, you can simply set a starting date and commit to practicing for at least a short period of time each day. Even 15 minutes of yoga every day will get you in the habit, and remind you of why you started practicing in the first place!

2. Try Something New


If you’ve perfected every pose in your current class, consider branching out and trying a new style of yoga. Got your Iyengar practice down? Try some gentle Restorative yoga or dynamic Vinyasa. Gone to the same studio or instructor for years? See what a different class has to offer! If you find that the new style isn’t for you, you can keep searching or return to what you like best, but you’re sure to gain some new knowledge along the way.

3. Go on a Retreat


For those with the time and money, a yoga festival or retreat can immerse you fully into your yoga practice. There are opportunities to gather and learn with other yogis almost everywhere, whether it’s a 2-week trip to Costa Rica or a weekend-long event in your home town. There are retreats geared to almost every level and ability, so you don’t have to feel intimidated! Practicing away from your daily distractions can help you really concentrate, gain perspective, and make some new friends in the process.

4. Live Your Yoga

Yoga doesn’t have to be all about asanas. Karma yoga, or the yoga of action, is an important way to bring the mindfulness of yoga into your daily life, and even improve other people’s lives in the process. Find a cause in your community that really speaks to you – yoga related or not – and see how you can help. Volunteering at a food bank or animal shelter, helping with a charitable fundraiser, or just taking a pot of soup to a sick friend can develop your spirituality, compassion and mindfulness.

5. Hit the Books

The practice of yoga has a rich history that’s available right at your fingertips. From ancient texts like the Bhagavad Gita to writings of modern yogis like Judith Lasater, there’s a wealth of information and inspiration to be found by reading up on the many and varied teachings of yoga.

6. Gear Up!

Product Mix Aug 2

Your yoga mat and props have seen you through countless classes, and you may want to stick with what’s working, but sometimes a new piece of yoga gear can enhance your practice, too! For example, using a yoga rug instead of (or in addition to) your mat can ground you, and help you to stop relying on your yoga mat to hold your poses. Using a block or strap can get you into poses that weren’t possible before, and help you work towards new levels of flexibility and precision.

Visit www.barefootyoga.com for all of the supplies you’ll need to enhance your yoga practice!