Green Yogi of the Month, Manhattan Beach: Chandler Smith!

manduka yogi of the month

A huge congratulations to Chandler Smith for winning the Manduka Yogi of the Month for July in Manhattan Beach! We’re pretty sure he hasn’t missed a Sunday Yin Relaxation class since about 2010. We truly love seeing his friendly smile every week. We’re honored to have you in our yoga family, Chan!

chan smith yogi of the month

OCCUPATION: Maritime Satellite Communication Services

NICKNAME: Chan

FUN FACT ABOUT YOU: I’m a geography geek!

WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY? Matt and Chelsea Rothert are my favorites because they bring out the best in everyone who knows them, me included.

WHAT IS YOUR INTENTION FOR YOUR YOGA PRACTICE? Peace and health for the people I care about most.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE? Supported bridge / inversion

WHAT SONG SHOULD BE ON EVERY YOGA PLAYLIST? IZ’s cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow / It’s a Wonderful World”

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Nature in all its varied forms.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING AND HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE? Five years, one month and 6 days, but who’s counting? :) I have greater physical and mental flexibility, lower stress levels, and I have met many interesting people through the yoga community.

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Green Yogi Of The Month, Berkeley: Heather Kerrihard!

manduka yogi of the month

We are so excited to honor Heather Kerrihard as our Manduka Yogi of the month for July! Heather has only been with us at The Green Yogi for five months and she has already taken over 130 classes! She inspires our Green Yogi community with her strong practice (often doing more than one class per day!), humble heart, and cuddly companion, Ginger!  We’re honored to have you in our yoga family, Heather!

OCCUPATION: Musician and Music Teacher

NICKNAME: The Groovemaster, or Heather-Bo-Bether

FUN FACT ABOUT YOU: My little dog, Ginger, is the love of my life. She goes with me everywhere. You will see her at the studio with me. Any morning you don’t see me here at the studio, it means I am taking her for a run through the forest (Tilden Park, my other favorite place). It also means I will probably be at the studio that afternoon or evening!

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY? I love all of them. I do not play favorites. Every teaher at this studio has given me something very special, that I could not possible have received from anyone else. They all have a unique gift that only they can share.

WHAT IS YOUR INTENTION FOR YOUR YOGA PRACTICE? To feel my connection to all life on this planet. We are all energy. I feel that.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE? Again, I don’t play favorites. I am learning to find the joy in every pose. It’s the flow between them and the breath of life you out into them that matters. That is where the energy is.

WHAT SONG SHOULD BE ON EVERY YOGA PLAYLIST? “Gravity” by Vienna Teng.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? The beautiful and amazing people I have met at this studio. They are some of the most kind, genuine people I have ever known. I am surrounded by a truly loving and caring community here, and that is the most inspiring thing I can imagine. When I am here, I remember that none of us are alone in our human experience.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING AND HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE? I have been practicing for almost two years now. Yoga has improved my life in every way imaginable. I have found my true self. I have become a more complete person. I have learned what truly matters. It has revolutionized my understanding of my own existence. I have become who I really am. It has healed me in a way nothing else ever has.

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Meet Anne Spinner!

Today we’re chatting with Green Yogi instructor and Talent Specialist, Anne Spinner! Her approach to yoga makes us smile, and we’re so inspired by her outlook on life. Get to know a little more about this friendly face you see every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4:30 PM!

ANJALI MUDRA (PRAYER MUDRA)

Where did you grow up?

Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota

What are your hobbies?

I love to surf and downhill ski, equal love for the ocean and mountains. I love walking my two golden retrievers. And travel…getting out there. Spend your time and money now! Who knows how long you’ll be here.

How did you get started with yoga?

I first started with yoga in college, with an art teacher who guided us thru meditations and breathing techniques. The physical practice came next. It helped me balance out my active lifestyle.

EKA PADA RAJAKAPOTASANA (ROYAL PIGEON)

What pose was most challenging for you to learn?

A correct down dog; getting the proper alignment and sticking to it.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by everyone around me; how dedicated our community is to the studio and their own personal practice. It keeps me motivated to teach interesting, inspiring classes.

What are your classes like? What’s your teaching style?

Lots of flow with alignment (and good music!). I like to think they’re challenging but accessible to everyone. I like to make people laugh and get them to loosen up when I can. It’s just yoga!

anne spinner

What’s your favorite quote?

All things Rumi but here’s a good one:

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

Do you have any inspiring stories/moments from your teaching or practice?

There’s a young lady I’ve been working with for two years now. I constantly feel inspired by her youth and connection to staying with yoga. But honestly, every person in class inspires me to keep doing this. I love to give the gift of freedom of the mind, heart and soul. I also just love seeing people get a pose for the first time and their own excitement. It’s so awesome!

Want more of Anne? Find her on Instagram, Facebook, or her website.

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Reaction vs Response: Part 1

by Green Yogi Alex Behrens

Do you remember the last time you jumped to anger? Frustration? A simple annoyance turned into an all out, adrenaline-fueled rage? In the heat of that moment, did you ever think of stepping back, taking a few deep breaths and reevaluating the situation?

anger

This instinctive leap to anger and frustration is a learned behavior leftover from when fighting, be it physical or mental, may have meant life or death. It is a reaction. As human beings, we are accustomed to reacting to a situation. In our modern life, some of us move through the world “waiting” for the next annoyance; the next issue that we “know” is hiding around the corner to be discovered. The idea that we need to protect ourselves as a way of “dealing” with unforeseeable events with irritation, or irrational anger, is a common fallacy – because currently, we see this thought process as a natural, modern way of life.

What if, though, we were able to consistently deal with conflict by taking one breath, a mere half a second, to allow a developing dilemma to register within? To consider the scope of the so-called problem and recognize that in most situations, a jump to anger will have no positive outcome – on the solution or on the relationship with the news-bearer? This way of dealing with life’s ups and downs is called response. Responding to problems takes a higher brain function than the simple good/bad, happy/angry reaction pattern. It requires us to have control over an element of our subconscious emotional state and to use that power to decide how to move forward.

peaceful

Now that we have discovered the fundamental differences in reaction vs. response, can you identify a time in which you reacted rather than responded? Consider these situations where anger may strike:

  • Receiving bad news; a broken contract, a disappointing business or personal development
  • Dealing with frustrating or complicated bureaucracy (cable/internet are big ones!)
  • Driving situations – especially (but not limited to) Los Angeles freeways (!)
  • Family matters (good, bad, all of it…)

As these times are fresh in your mind and you can recognize a time where you feel as though you reacted, ask yourself if there may have been a better way of dealing with your feelings. Maybe taking a breath, stepping back, and silencing your lips and opening your mind would have changed the outcome of the situation. Can you visualize another way of behaving?

Think about talking to a loved one with compassion – does your response to the cable man have a different tone? Do you have an extra second to repeat a Starbucks drink order? Most likely, you will see that we have a chance to decide how to react or respond to thousands of situations everyday – and the very first step in the shift towards kind responsiveness is recognizing that you have a choice as to how you will act.

badakonasana

As you move throughout your life for the next couple of weeks, try to become aware of the way you react or respond to conflict, and cultivate a sense of mindfulness. Set an intention to find this shift within and begin to take into account all interactions with family members; bosses, coworkers or employees; service professionals and complete strangers. In time you will see where your strengths and weaknesses for this behavioral pattern lie and you will be able to cultivate an even deeper subconscious response practice!

Do you tend to be more reactive or responsive? Let us know what you think and how you may change your life with this simple technique! Also, make sure to check back for part two: Practical Ways to Overcome “Reaction” and Live a More Responsive Life for more tips and tricks as to how to make these patterns flourish in your world!

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Green Yogi of the Month Manhattan Beach: Amanda Wilkman!

manduka yogi of the month

We are so excited to honor Amanda Wilkman as our Manduka Sponsored Yogi of the month for June! 

amanda wilkman yogi of the month

OCCUPATION:

Nurse Practitioner

FUN FACT ABOUT YOU:

As an athlete growing up, I thought yoga was a joke of a “sport” (and often made fun of it)…until I was challenged to do it consistently for a month. It’s one of the most difficult “sports” I have tried and I’m totally hooked.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY? 

I LOVE to start my mornings in gratitude with Heather Archer and end my days in humility with Tamal Dodge.

WHAT’S YOUR INTENTION FOR YOUR YOGA PRACTICE?

Mindfulness, strength, and poise.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE?

It’s a tie between crow pose and eagle pose (and the irony here is that these are both bird poses and I have a serious bird phobia, haha!).

WHAT SONG SHOULD BE ON EVERY YOGA PLAYLIST?

The instructors here put together great playlists – however the only song I have gone home to download has been Jubel by Klingande, I could do yoga to this song for hours. Would be fun to do a standing sequence to Van Morrison too :)

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

My best friend;her dedication to practicing and her encouragement help gets me to yoga…especially at 7am on Tuesdays and Thursdays (she is also one of the best people I know).

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING AND HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE?

About 2 years now. It has taught me to be comfortable in the midst of discomfort (holistically).

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Green Yogi Of The Month, Berkeley: Maggie Mode!

We are so excited to honor Maggie Mode as our Manduka Sponsored Yogi of the month for June! Maggie has only been with us at The Green Yogi for eight months and she has already taken over 100 classes! She inspires our Green Yogi community with her day-brightening smile, and how quickly she becomes “best buds” with every other Green Yogi in our community.  She brings us all out of our shell with renewed zest for life. We’re honored to have you in our yoga family, Maggie!

maggie mode YOM

OCCUPATION: I was a Grants & Contracts administrator in higher education and in non-profits for over fifteen years. I wrapped up my most recent position in March, and am taking a break until I decide what to do next. I may change direction altogether!              

NICKNAME: Maggie!

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE INSTRUCTOR AND WHY? I can’t name a favorite instructor, because there are so many good teachers at Green Yogi, but I do have a favorite class time. Because of my schedule, I am limited to morning classes, so I usually attend the 9:30 class. The natural light in the studio is just gorgeous then, which adds so much to my practice. I particularly enjoy the Saturday morning class. It’s always packed with yogis, and the energy is great. Then, when the heat kicks in and we start moving, the vibe is always wonderful. Mary’s Saturday flows are absolutely magical. It’s the best possible way to start a weekend. 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA POSE? Half-moon. It’s a challenging posture for me, but I love the feeling of being fully balanced in it, on the rare occasions that happens. I first learned it in a class back in Boston. I fell down doing it class, so I asked the teacher for help afterwards. First she explained that balance is one of the first things we lose with age! Then, she showed me how to do it against the wall. It felt so great I could have stayed there all day. I’ve never forgotten that feeling, but now I understand that a pose can feel different every day, and that it’s not a matter of perfection.

 WHAT SONG SHOULD BE ON EVERY YOGA PLAYLIST? By Your Grace, by Krishna Das. Thanks to Megan for playing it a lot, recently. Also, Aad Guray Nameh, by Deva Premal, which I was introduced to one savasana during Aleta’s class.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Many things inspire me. A good book always inspires me, and so does good photography. Both take me to new places. I do my best thinking on early morning walks when the light is pretty, and I love fog. I’m passionate about issues around women, children, and equal access to education, and am totally inspired by those who find a way to do something about them. Finally, though I am not a marathoner, another thing that comes to mind is how inspired I was year after year by the Boston Marathon. The event is not only thrilling to watch, but is a city-wide community event like none I’ve ever experienced.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PRACTICING AND HOW HAS YOGA IMPROVED YOUR LIFE? I took my first yoga class over twenty years ago, but never got serious about it until six months ago. I’m amazed at how deep it can go, if you let it, and all the dimensions it opens: mental, spiritual, physical, emotional. I’ve encountered lots of life lessons on my mat, and learned a great deal about taking yoga off the mat, too. I’ve learned how to face challenges differently, how to let go, and how to go to the edge feeling more empowered.

The words to the song Aad Guray Nameh summarize where I am with my practice:

Aad Guray Nameh                        I bow to the Primal Wisdom,

Jugaad Guray Nameh                  I bow to the Wisdom through the Ages,

Sat Guray Nameh                         I bow to the True Wisdom,

Siri Guru Devay Nameh             I bow to the great, unseen Wisdom within.

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Meet Berkeley’s Reba Gray!

Today we’re chatting with the lovely Reba Gray from The Green Yogi North Berkeley! Reba teaches there on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30pm. Get to know her by checking out the Q&A below!

reba gray

Where did you grow up?

Ellsworth, Maine

What are your hobbies?

Hiking, diving, motorcycling, and…wait for it, wait for it…YOGA!

reba gray

How did you get started with yoga?

I kept walking by this heated power yoga studio in Boston. In the dead of winter it looked so cozy because the windows were fogged up with condensation. When they would open the glass door, sweaty people would flood out in a cloud of steam. Like rock stars. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

What pose was most challenging for you to learn?

Warrior I. Still. And wheel.

What inspires you?

Witnessing transformation in myself and others, conversations with loved ones, nature, meditating, music, teachers, my hubby.

reba gray

What are your classes like? What’s your teaching style?

Before I started teaching, I did hands-on assisting. I still love assisting. Touch can be clearer than words. When students describe my classes they say: welcoming, sweaty, fun, gentle, balanced and meditative.

Do you have any inspiring stories/moments from your teaching or practice?

I’m constantly inspired by yoga communities; by seeing yogis get to know each other, breathe together, support each other. Recently, me and the whole class signed a birthday card for a student on his 82nd birthday, and two years ago, he came to class not knowing anyone.

Keep in touch with Reba on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or her website!

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