Green Yogi of the Month Kim Pickerell!


We are so excited to honor Kim Pickerell as our Manduka Sponsored Green Yogi of the month for September! Since September 2013 Kim has taken close to 200 classes and has been inspiring our entire team with her dedication and positive energy in the studio. Congratulations Kim!  We are honored to have you in our yoga family!

OCCUPATION: Healthcare Account Manager – AT&T

FUN FACT ABOUT YOU:  I’m from Kansas and when I’m not at yoga, love playing golf and shooting pool.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY?  Although I enjoy many instructors for different reasons, Tamal is my favorite.  I find his classes the most challenging and look forward to the thorough work-out, long shavasana while listening to him rocking out on the guitar.

WHAT IS YOUR INTENTION FOR YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?  Mostly to stay in shape –  both mentally and physically. Especially during the week – after work, I am in desperate need of a stress release and by the time I walk out of class, I forgot what I was so stressed about to begin with.  My intention is to practice yoga for the rest of my life.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE?  Warrior 3 – because it took me years to finally master!  I could hang out there now, for hours☺

WHAT SONG SHOULD BE ON EVERY YOGA PLAYLIST?  Vanilla Ice – “Ice Ice Baby” – but seriously, a regular old-school music yoga class would be incredible.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?  Positive energy, positive people.  I listen to Joel Osteen every week to get inspired as to how I can live a better life and appreciate all the blessings in my life.  One of my favorite quotes of his is “don’t let other people steal your joy.” It’s up to ourselves to wake up every day and choose to live with a positive, appreciative attitude.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING AND HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE?   I have been practicing yoga for about 12 years – although you might not know it by watching me.  Maybe in the next 12 years I’ll be able to finally master crow pose….!:)

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Berkeley Green Yogi of the Month: Signe Burns! (pronounced “Seen-ya”)

Signe Burns

We are so excited to honor Signe Burns as our Manduka Sponsored Green Yogi of the month for September! Since the end of January 2014 Signe has taken over 120+ classes and has been inspiring our entire team with her dedication and positive energy in the studio. Congratulations Signe!  We are honored to have you in our yoga family! Read on to Be Inspired. 

OCCUPATION: Mother. Before my son was born, I spent many years as an editor, as well as an aikido practitioner and teacher.

NICKNAME: People have called me Sig, Scene and Cygnus, among other things. My favorite nickname is “Mommy” as spoken by my son’s beautiful, musical little voice. When he says “Mommy,” the essence of love is contained within the word. I am lucky and grateful for this gift.

FUN FACT ABOUT YOU:  I used to be a piercing model for Fakir Musafar’s Body Piercing Intensive. This meant I received various piercings in front of groups of student piercers so that they could learn how to do them correctly. I worked a minimum wage job at the time, so in addition to satisfying my exhibitionist side, it was a means to support one of my passions in life.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY?  I have received such clear and generous instruction from every teacher at the Green Yogi, and I feel I’ve learned a huge amount in a relatively short period of time. Class is never easy for me, but I love how after each class, I feel strong and confident, and I have permission to eat! Which is one of my favorite things to do. ☺

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE? I always really enjoy Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana) and Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana). These poses make me feel like a lightning bolt, stretched perfectly taut, connecting the energies of heaven and earth. These concepts are also very important in aikido, so I am simultaneously practicing yoga and aikido when I move through these shapes. In fact, yoga and aikido are very connected in my mind and in my body. My practice of each art supports and informs the other.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?  Mary Strong! Mary has created a place with such inviting positive energy, a place that feels like home to me. I get the sense that she is surrounded by an almost magical, positive energetic force. I feel like she put a yoga studio in my path at the exact moment I needed it. I try never to miss her Saturday morning class. I am also super impressed that she has had so many successful careers. What a tremendous role model and teacher she is!

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING AND HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE? My son was born at home in San Francisco on Halloween, 2008, after a grueling 46-hour labor. It is fair to say that I now truly grasp the meaning of the word agony. To be sure, there is no harder yoga than labor and delivery. Nothing can prepare you for it. I took homebirth classes and did copious amounts of prenatal yoga—in fact, my water broke during a prenatal yoga class at Yoga Tree on Valencia when I was 41 weeks pregnant–but childbirth was its own unique experience.

Of course, having a new baby is another kind of yoga altogether. I had gained 55 pounds in pregnancy, and since I was alone with my son all the time, I had to find new physical outlets. I discovered running when I turned 40, racing with DSE Runners almost every weekend, and I made great use of all the outdoor fitness courses in San Francisco. I developed my own practice of pull-ups, push-ups and handstands, all of which I could also do with my son while I was bored at playgrounds.

When we moved to Berkeley almost a year ago, it no longer seemed feasible to race with DSE. I was feeling severely disappointed because I’d gotten fast, regularly coming in top five, and I was hooked. But running alone in the Berkeley hills felt lonely and pointless. My husband kept suggesting that I try yoga. My only real experience with yoga at that point was prenatal.

At the very moment I decided to seek out a local yoga studio, I spotted one on the way back from dropping my son off at school one morning. The timing seemed like magic. (Unbeknownst to me at the time, the studio had just opened.) I didn’t even know what “power vinyasa” was, but I tried out a class the very next morning. It was super hard, a great challenge for me! I have been coming to practice more mornings than not ever since. At the time of this writing, I have just completed my 14th consecutive morning class at Green Yogi.

Any time I’m feeling super challenged at a Green Yogi class, I can compare the experience to the birth of my son, which was the defining most difficult experience of my life. In parenting and in yoga, you must always remember to breathe!

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Teacher Trainings at The Green Yogi: Not Just for Aspiring Teachers!

I’m excited to re-feature one of our beloved Green Yogi teachers today on The Daily Greens Blog, Linda Baffa! Linda is truly an inspiration to our team, As a yogi, mother, wife, and friend, she can do it all, even lead AMAZING yoga teacher trainings, which she’s coined “Enrich Your Life Trainings.” The next one we have coming up is the 150 Hour Foundation Training with Linda and Wendy Garafalo, which starts September 12th and runs through February 22nd, click here for more details. These two ladies make an inspiring and nurturing team creating trainings that are truly life changing! Read on to Be Inspired and learn why yoga trainings are NOT just for aspiring yoga teachers but for everyone! ~Kelly





If you have been practicing yoga for more than a few weeks, you have probably noticed the countless flyers, Facebook posts, and magazine ads out there for Yoga Teacher Trainings.  You might be thinking (as my mother often does) “how many yoga teachers does the world really need?”

Well, I’m here to break it down for you:  Yoga Teacher Trainings are not just for teachers!  They are a deeper path towards enriching your life.  In fact, they should probably be called “Enrich Your Life Training.”  To this date, I have taken about ten different “teacher” trainings and every single one has made me a better person and a more conscious individual.

I am now a yoga teacher, however, my training journey did not begin with that intention.  When I took my first yoga teacher training I was at a crossroads in my life.  I was frustrated with my career, in my late-20s and trying to define my purpose.  Our lives constantly present us with different paths, and at that time in my life, all the paths were jumbled, and I felt very disconnected from my life and who I was.  I needed to move from a place of negativity and depression to a place of positive, peaceful truth where I could feel deeply connected to myself.  I really needed a BIG SHIFT.

After three hysterical breakdowns, I finally went to yoga where I came across a flyer for a yoga teacher training.  I thought to myself, I don’t know that I want to teach yoga, but if the experience can bring my spirit closer to the radiant, positive, loving energy that I feel every time I am on my mat, then I am IN!  Later that day, I emailed the teacher who was leading the training (the amazing Julie Rader) and by the next day, I found myself in her yoga class opening up into bridge pose with tears streaming down my face.  I felt a shift internally and KNEW Julie’s training would allow me to explore new pathways within myself.  Immersing myself in the practice of yoga,  opening my body and mind in such beautiful ways, and connecting more to my truth were exactly the shifts I needed in my life.

So, if you are like I was, and you aren’t really sure the teaching path is for you, here are a few reasons you should embark on a yoga teacher training ANYWAY :)

Linda Sunset

  1. Like me, you’re craving a big shift.  You don’t know what it is exactly, but you know you need a new, positive direction for your life, and you are eager to connect deeply to your truth.
  2. You want to practice yoga all the time, anytime.  You LOVE yoga, Period.  You just can’t get enough of it, and you crave a deeper knowledge of all the elements of the practice. There is a beauty and peace that comes from understanding how a class is structured: from calming the mind, to properly warming up and cooling down, to practicing safe alignment to go even deeper into poses, all of which can then lead you to a wonderfully rewarding home yoga practice anytime, anywhere, and anyway you need it!
  3. You’re craving a community and a group of like-minded friends you can create lasting relationships with.  One of my best friends in the WORLD is from my first yoga teacher training.  Two of my close friends that met in a yoga training just got married!  When you journey deeply into your body and mind surrounded by others who are doing the same, you are bound to connect in a profound way.
  4. You want to spread the yoga love.  It is not always about teaching classes or making money in the yoga business, it is about spreading healing wisdom and LOVE.  The things I have learned from my yoga trainings have made me a more grounded, connected, loving person and from that place, I not only am of service to myself, but to every single soul I encounter.  I am more compassionate, giving, and open-hearted.  I have probably helped as many friends and family members with mind and body needs as much as I have my private clients or those that come to my classes.  A simple conversation or a look at someone’s spine can help change someone’s health immeasurably.  So, whether you want it or not, you will inevitably become a TEACHER by spreading the yoga love.

Linda Baffa and Wendy Garafalo lead Yoga Teacher Trainings through Julie Rader’s Mukti Yoga School.  If you are ready to take this next step on your yoga journey,  you can join them this coming Fall for the 150-hour Foundation Teacher Training at The Green Yogi.  Class times meet on select weeks September 12th thru February 22nd ~ Fridays 7:30-10pm, Saturdays 12:30-6:30pm, and Sundays 12:30-4pm.  Early bird discount and Payment Plan pricing options available.  Click here  for more information and registration, or email any questions to Linda directly at

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Green Yogi of the Month: Synneve Andrena

Synneve 2

Meet Synneve Andrena, our manduka sponsored Green Yogi of the Month for Manhattan Beach! Since February 2014 Synneve has taken over 95+ classes and has been inspiring our entire team with her dedication and positive energy in the studio. Congratulations Synneve and read on to Be Inspired. 

OCCUPATION: Chief Love Spreader at Love Inside Out

NICKNAME: Synneve (pronounced Sin na va) is a difficult name, so I have many nicknames. Cinnamon, Cinnabon, Scent of a Woman, and Synne are a few of them.

FUN FACT ABOUT YOU: I’m only 10.5 years old. (I was born on Leap Year, February 29.)

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY? It’s difficult to pick a favorite Green Yogi instructor, because they are all unique and amazing. I like each instructor for different reasons. When it’s time to practice yoga, I find the one that fits my mood, schedule, and energy level.

WHAT IS YOUR INTENTION FOR YOUR YOGA PRACTICE? To fully align my mind, body, and spirit, so I can be the best version of myself.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE? Savasana. To me it’s the most important pose and I love taking the time to feel the benefits of the entire practice.

WHEN YOU AREN’T ON THE MAT, WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU? Walking on the Strand, riding my bike, playing golf, cruising around Manhattan Beach, and exploring LA – art museums, music venues, sporting events, and restaurants.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Traveling! I have an adventurous spirit and traveling is my passion. I love exploring this amazing planet, learning, gaining a new perspective, and soaking up all life has to offer.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING AND HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE? I discovered yoga 11 years ago while living in Hawaii. Yoga helps me be the fullest expression of myself, because it gives me energy, strength, confidence, clarity, peace, and joy.

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First Yogi of the Month in Berkeley! Antoinette Pietras

antoinette YOM

Meet Antoinette Pietras, our very first Green Yogi of the Month in Berkeley! She has been taking classes at the studio since almost the day we opened and has racked up more than 97 classes since January 2014. Antoinette’s energy and love is so inspiring to our team and we are filled with gratitude that she shares her yoga practice with us. Read on to Be Inspired. 

Occupation:  Affordable Housing Development Coordinator for the City of Oakland

Fun Fact About You: I always wanted to do stand-up comedy!

Who is your favorite instructor and why? My favorite instructor is the one I am practicing with at that moment!

What is your intention for your yoga practice? To become more connected to my spirit, inner strength and wisdom.

What is your favorite yoga pose? Hands down my most favorite and least favorite pose is Warrior II.

When you aren’t on your yoga mat where can we find you? Hanging out at the French Hotel Cafe in Berkeley.

How long have you been practicing yoga and how has it improved your life? I credit my mom for introducing me to my first Yoga practice about 15 years ago when she invited me to join her for a beginner’s yoga class at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA. I have to admit, I was not in total awe after my first yoga experience.  At that point in my life, I struggled with the slow pace and stillness required of the practice. Needless to say, I never joined her again.

However, a few years later a co-worker invited me to join her at a Bikram yoga class and to my surprise, I enjoyed the challenge of practicing in extreme heat and continued on for about 5 years.

Fast forward to December of 2013, I had a hair appointment at the Chop Shop, which is right next door to the studio and I noticed the FREE YOGA offer written in cool bright colors on the front window of the studio. At that time, I was grieving the sudden loss of my older brother, who  passed away in early December, so the timing of the offer was in my mind divine intervention. I attended opening day with Mary leading the class and honestly, I have been hooked ever since and consider the studio one of my favorite sanctuaries to retreat to and get re-energized.  I am extremely grateful and appreciative of Mary, her amazing team of instructors and studio hands who work tirelessly and effortlessly creating and maintaining the ultra eco-chic spa like studio vibe by taking the time to illuminate candles throughout the studio before class, wipe the floor with environmentally friendly refreshing orange scent, ensuring that hot and cold water is constantly flowing, replenishing the jar of uber delicious tea bags and offering up the little bottle of lavender oil to apply to my temples to aid me through a more joyful and good smelling practice. Of course, this goes without saying, all the love and energy Mary and her team put forth behind the scenes as well to ensure a pleasant studio experience, for which I say “thank you”.   What I can share about my yoga experience this time around is that after my first flow class with Mary, I was in a total blissful state. Flow class has now become a great metaphor for my grieving process. Over the last several months, I have been able to move through some very choppy emotional waters and continue to do so as we speak. However, what I am learning and experiencing through my flow practice is to not so much focus on all my losses in life, like how my brother is no longer physically with me or why I cannot hold tree pose on my left side or why my hair is going all grey but to now be more mindful and focus on all my gifts and gains in life, like the fact that I shared 45 years of my life with my first best friend, an amazingly loving, caring and comical brother with whom I shared great belly laughs, summers in Lake Tahoe, Barbequing, listening to music, sharing our joys and sorrows and so on and so forth. Unfortunately, I cannot predict what the next huge life curve ball will involve but I know one thing, I will definitely FLOW with it!

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Yogi of the Month July: Pam Fleischer

Meet Pam our Green Yogi of the Month!We are so excited to honor her as our Manduka Sponsored Yogi of the month for July! Since April Pam has taken over 60+ classes and has been killing it during our Summer Detox Yoga Challenge. Congratulations Pam!  We are honored to have you in our yoga family! Read on to Be Inspired, Kelly


OCCUPATION:  Business Management Consultant/Mostly Retired (lucky me)


FUN FACT ABOUT YOU:  I am an inveterate traveler.  If ever I go missing you will likely find me in Turkey, Greece, Spain or somewhere else on the Mediterranean

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY? I became an avid fan of the studio beginning in January 2014 so was mainly exposed to Amy and Chelsea.  Every instructor I have had at The Green Yogi has been exceptional, but Amy and Chelsea are the ones who inspired me with their constant smiles, warmth, solid instruction, spirituality and encouragement.


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE?  Headstand, especially because I am still working on it.

WHEN YOU AREN’T ON THE MAT, WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU? Riding my bike, running, at the beach, hiking in Sun Valley, Idaho, or enjoying a live music event somewhere in LA.  I could turn up just about anywhere =-).

WHAT SONG SHOULD BE ON EVERY YOGA PLAYLIST?  This is tough, don’t make me pick just one…I like selections from Moby and Buddha Bar music.  Breathe is a great one, though I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it played in class. =-)

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?  The sound and sight of the ocean, the abundant sunshine, and energetic people who are focused on goals but are living every moment to its fullest.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING AND HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE?I have dabbled off and on – mostly off for probably 5 years, until finding The Green Yogi.  The day I walked in to learn more about the studio, I was immediately impressed with Rachel’s inclusive, friendly and warm welcome; I knew I had found the place for me.  Every day I attend a class I feel refreshed, energized, emboldened, confident and happy.






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Soular Recharge

Want to recharge and reenergize your mind, body, and spirit? The Green Yogi in North Berkeley is hosting a NEW workshop Sunday June 8th from 3:30-5:30pm that is a multilayered journey and invitation for you to detox your body, declutter your mind, and reclaim your Being!

Experience a solar detox yoga flow that will safely generate heat and stoke your inner fire, while purifying and strengthening the body. Additional cleansing practices of pranayama, guided imagery, mantra, and meditation will support this whole body purification. Through playful inquiry and self-guided explorations you will connect to your inner wisdom and effortlessly discover your joy of Being. This workshop will strengthen your vessel, rejuvenate your senses, and lighten your spirit. All play levels welcome! Click here to sign up.

*This workshop counts as 2 classes towards the Yoga Challenge. All Yoga Challenge participants get $5 OFF, use promo code: YOGA CHALLENGE.

image via goodeyeblog

Be Inspired,


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