Saturday, December 24, 2016

Make This At Home! Ginger Chai Whoopie Pies

Ginger Chai Whoopie Pies by Jasmine De La Paz

If you are looking for a healthier holiday treat, then these whoopie pies are just for you. I'm not a huge fan of gingerbread houses or cookies, but this year the thought of a ginger treat sparked a craving, and I had to come up with a recipe to satisfy it. Once I get a craving, there is no stopping me!

Whoopie pies are considered to be either a cookie, pie, or cake! They are somewhat soft with a  cake like texture, and include a creamy filling that just melts in your mouth. These pies are made with fresh ginger, chickpea flour, tahini, and chai spices - making them vegan, gluten and refined sugar free. They are decadent, so I recommend sharing with family or friends or else it will be very tempting to devour them all yourself. I'm speaking from experience!

*I recommend making these whoopie pies 24 hours in advance, as they take time to prepare*

Ginger Chai Whoopie Pies (makes 16 stacked cookies)

Dry ingredients:
2 cups almond flour
2 cups chickpea / garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
Wet Ingredients:
1/2 cup yacon syrup or blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup tahini
2 chia "eggs" (2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp almond milk)
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
2 tsp vanilla extract
Chai Vanilla Cashew Filling
1 cup raw cashews
(soaked in water for at least 4 hours)
1/2 can coconut milk (chilled)
1/4 cup plant milk
(I used macadamia milk, but almond is just fine)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (sub vanilla extract)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom

Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl, then set aside. Make your chia "eggs" and let sit for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, add the chia egg and stir so all the wet ingredients are combined. Add your wet and dry ingredients together, mixing lightly with a fork until a dough forms. Chill the dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Drain and rinse the cashews, and add everything to a blender. Blend on high until everything is well mixed. Pour the filling into a bowl, cover and let sit in the fridge overnight or at least 4-6 hours. The filling will look a little thin at first, but will thicken and set in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and align a baking sheet with wax paper or foil. If using foil, lightly coat with coconut oil so the cookies don't stick. Using a 1 1/2 inch scooper or 1 tbsp, scoop out and make small balls with the dough, place them on baking sheet and lightly press the dough down flattening the cookie lightly. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Do not over bake, as you want the cookies to but soft. Let cool, and transfer to an air tight container.

Once the filling has set, apply 3-4 tbsp to the bottom of one cookie using a spatula, and gently add another cookie on top of the filling. Once all your cookies have filling and are stacked, I recommend transferring to the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to make sure the whoopie pies are in tact.

Keep stored in the fridge for 3-4 days, and enjoy!


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Make This At Home! Comforting Vata Moroccan Stew

Comforting Vata Moroccan Stew by Jasmine De La Paz

The last few weeks have been tough, to say the least. We are all highly sensitive beings, and it is so important to monitor how you feel, both physically and mentally, and honor what you need now, more than ever. 

Providing your body with warm and nourishing meals is one way to help maintain a state of balance during this time. In Ayervedic philosophy, Winter is associated with qualities of Vata - which are cold, air, dry, and light. Eating foods in season that are warm, moist, oily, and heavy will provide the comfort that your body needs. 

I love to make big batches of soups and stews. This Moroccan Stew was inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Green Kitchen Stories. I switched up the recipe and added a few different spices and veggies, but it includes all ingredients to meet your Vata needs - eggplant, okra, warm spices, oil, ginger, and avocado! I've already made this twice and have felt so good after each meal. I even made this for my husbands 95 year old Grandpa, and he loved it! 

Comforting Vata Moroccan Stew (serves around 4)

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • I large knob of fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 cups cho
    pped okra
  • 1 bunch chopped chard

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 14oz can garbanzo beans
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz can crushed tomatoes 
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried barberries 
  • (you can get these at most world markets) 
  • juice of half a lemon
  • dash of salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder 
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sumac
  • 1/4 tsp saffron 
Turmeric Cauliflower Rice 
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • dash of salt & pepper
Kale with Tahini Dressing & Avocado
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 avocado 
Add oil to a large pot and start by sautéing the garlic and ginger till fragrant (be careful not to burn)! Add in the eggplant and okra, and stir around for another 5 minutes or so till the veggies soften. Now, add the tomato paste and spices and stir frequently for a couple of minutes so it doesn't burn. I added a couple drops of water so it wouldn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Your house will smell so good at this point! Next, add in the tomato chunks, 2 cups of vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, and saffron. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cover for about 30 minutes, stirring every once in awhile. After 30 minutes goes by, add in the garbanzo beans, chard, raisins, and barberry. If needed, you can add the rest of the vegetable broth depending on how thick you like your stew. Stir around and let simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Once done, your eggplant will be soft and juicy. Add in the lemon juice right before serving! 

The cauliflower rice is super easy, and a great substitute to grains. Wash the cauliflower and cut into medium chunks. Add half of the cauliflower bits to a food processor, and pulse till you get a rice like texture. Pour this into a bowl, and do the same thing with the other half of the cauliflower. Warm up the oil in a pan, then add the riced cauliflower and spices. Stir frequently, until the cauliflower is warm and has lost some of it's moisture. 

Wash and dry your kale, roughly chop or tear with hands, add to a bowl, then drizzle with tahini, lemon juice, and crushed garlic. Massage the kale with the ingredients using your hands - don't be afraid to get dirty! Once the kale has softened and has soaked up the dressing, it is ready to be served! 

Add everything into a bowl, and top with avocado, a drizzle of tahini, pumpkin seeds, black sesame seeds, and more golden raisins. 



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Acro Yoga: What It Is + An Upcoming Workshop!

by Julio Badjuan

Let's be honest, as adults, we've completely lost touch with our inner child. But that ends here, it's time to Move, Connect, and Play! In this AcroYoga Basics workshop we will explore the fundamentals of the acrobatic & therapeutic sides of AcroYoga. As with any partner based activity, we must learn to communicate with our partner(s) in order to feel safe & supported, which today might just be simple cues in a few poses, but tomorrow in your day-to-day life that could mean talking with your spouse or boss or in any other facet of your life that challenges you to speak up for what you need.

As a whole, the practice of AcroYoga can mold the overall personality of the participant by improving mental, physical and spiritual aspects. Its athleticism, discipline, and concentration improve one’s personality, confidence, trust, and kindness. It also helps to lose weight and the Thai massage makes the skin glow.

Some of the benefits of AcroYoga include:

* Enhanced concentration, which helps to relieve stress and ease the mind of worries, leading to a more peaceful life.

* A stronger immune system and improved overall quality of life. It makes for a happy, satisfied and content life.

* It helps ease various chronic health conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, pain, etc.

* Improved digestion, boosts elimination of toxins, and improves blood circulation, thereby building stamina.

* Improved memory and capacity to recall.

* AcroYoga poses emphasize proper body alignment, relieve gas and constipation and help build an appetite.

Overall, AcroYoga promotes mental and physical health and a positive attitude towards life. Now enough read, let's MOVE, CONNECT & PLAY!!


for a special AcroYoga workshop with Julio Badjuan

Sunday, November 27th from 2:15-6:15pm

Skills Covered:
Understanding Weight Transfer & Partner Movement
ABC's of Acro: Acro Alphabet & Roles in Acro
Acro Basics: Solar
Acro Basics: Lunar
Acro Basics: Counterbalances & Trio Poses
And more!

About Julio Bajdaun

After a life on the baseball diamond, I desired to challenge my body in a new way and push passed my perceived limits. My calling... Handstands! All it took was one inversion and I was hooked!

Upon moving to California to start a company, I found Original Muscle Beach and knew I had met my tribe of monkeys. The daily inspiration I received from these professional acrobats, yoga teachers and experienced movers is what pushed me to evolve my movement practice.

My goal as a teacher is to empower a global community through the practice of divine play and healing touch. So basically get ready for lots of handstands & hugs! Now let's have FUN!

// AcroYoga® Teacher

// RYT 200hr Yoga Teacher

// Movement Coach

$45 Pre-Register
$50 Door Price


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rosemary Oil: Our Studio Signature

If you have practiced at Namaste Highland Park, you are sure to have noticed that we integrate a signature scent into our studio environment. In the bathroom, you will find rosemary soap and lotion, at the end of many classes students are offered rosemary oil during savasana, and we freshen our studios by spritzing rosemary oil into the air. Did you know that we didn't choose rosemary oil just because it smells good? Rosemary oil also offers countless health benefits!

Rosemary oil can improve mental health by relieving stress and anxiety, improving mental clarity, and enhancing memory. Scientific studies performed in both 2003 and 2012 indicate that rosemary oil improves mental performances, and improves speed and accuracy when performing mental tasks!

Rosemary oil also benefits the body by increasing circulation, curing headaches, boosting immunity, relieving joint and muscle pain, curing indigestion, and providing cold, flu, and cough relief. To take advantage of these benefits, simply massage rosemary oil into the affected part of your body. Whether it be to a cramp, your temples, stomach, or throat, the antiseptic and calming properties will help relieve discomfort.

Along with the physical benefits listed above, rosemary oil can also aid in hygiene, especially when mixed with carrier oils such as coconut, olive, peppermint, castor, or almond. It can be used to banish dandruff and stimulate hair growth. It may also be used as a mouth wash, to reduce cellulite, fade stretch marks, or clear up acne.

Rosemary oil also has benefits around our homes. It is an effective mosquito repellent, air freshener, cleaning spray, and natural insecticide!

Rosemary oil isn't the only oil with surprising benefits, and this Sunday we are proud to host a workshop with Lauren Hansen.

Lauren is a licensed Aesthetician with a post-graduate certification in Advanced Skin & Body Therapy from the International Dermal Institute in NYC. She is also certified in Reflexology, Aromatherapy & Thai Massage. Lauren has practiced skin care for the last 9 years, guiding people to feel confident and connected with their appearance and well-being. She incorporates essential oils therapeutically in her treatments, skin care line & daily lifestyle. Her purpose is to empower others toward better holistic health & personal care practices.

Join us and discover the many benefits and holistic uses of essential oils!

In this workshop we will explore:
Why essential oils are nature's best medicine
How to use essential oils safely & effectively for mind, body & emotions
How essential oils can be used in cooking and medicinal recipes
Tips for using oils with yoga & chakras
Home & cosmetic recipes, techniques & best practices
* Make your own perfume roller bottle to take home and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Make This At Home: Pumpkin Tumeric Tonic

Pumpkin Turmeric Tonic by Jasmine De La Paz

We finally have our first glimpse of slightly cold weather here in Los Angeles. Even though we may not be completely ready for hoodies and warm socks, our bodies can still feel a change and it's important to give ourselves warm and soothing foods to stay grounded and full of energy.

Nothing portrays Fall better than pumpkins, and not only are they delicious but they are nutrient dense and filling. I love to buy the small sugar pumpkins, de-seed, roast, and blend for a yummy puree to have on hand and use in a variety of recipes. Pumpkin pairs so well with many healthy ingredients including my favorite, turmeric.

Turmeric has grown in popularity, and there is a reason why this superfood has become so in demand. The root has anti-inflammatory properties, is a natural antibiotic, improves brain function, lowers the risk of heart disease, and can help prevent cancer (to name just a few)! When mixed with pumpkin, it retains the beta-carotene found in the squash (which gives you healthy skin and good eye sight). Turmeric is also fat-soluble, meaning your body is able to fully absorb all the benefits when combined with a healthy fat such as coconut milk / oil, or avocado. Lastly, adding a dash of black pepper enhances turmeric's bioavailability by 1,000 times.

I created the Pumpkin Turmeric Tonic below, not only with the idea of curling up with a warm healthy drink and a good book, but also to sooth the soul, and assist in staying grounded and comforted during this period of change.

Pumpkin Turmeric Tonic (serves 1) 

  1. 1 cup Almond Coconut Milk (I love Califia Farms toasted Coconut Almond Milk) 
  2. 1 heaping tbsp pumpkin puree 
  3. 1 tsp cold pressed coconut oil 
  4. 1 heaping 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  5. 1/2 tsp local honey (you can add more or less depending on how sweet you want it / substitute maple syrup for a vegan version) 
  6. 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1/8 tsp ginger powder
  8. 1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  9. dash of black pepper
  10. 1/8 tsp ashwanganda (optional) 
  11. couple dashes of ground vanilla (substitute a couple drops vanilla extract) 

Add all the ingredients into a small pot, and place over medium heat on the stove. As it warms, whisk all the ingredients together until it comes to a soft boil. Pour into your favorite mug, and add a dash of turmeric, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey on top. If you want a caffeinated version, just add to half a cup of coffee or mix with black tea. I'm enjoying this while reading 'Make Me One with Everything' by Lama Surya Das.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Without beginning or end - Supermoon Mahalaksmi Kirtan

by Lea Kraemer

“Without beginning or end, O Goddess,
Primordial energy, great mistress born of Yoga,
Sri Mahalakshmi, we bow to You.”

One of my favorite chants for many years is a beautiful hymn in eight stanzas called the “Mahalakshmi Ashtakam”. When I spend time doing this as a daily practice, the effect within me is to know that everything happens in attunement. The experience of prosperity for me is not about pulling stuff in, needing, wanting or demanding, it's about feeling thankful, sometimes even very surprised.

The "Mahalakshmi Ashtakam" is sung for prosperity and goodness in honor of the eight forms of the Goddess Lakshmi, an embodiment of beauty and giver of wealth, both earthly and spiritual. Mahalakshmi is the mother of all the worlds and you will see paintings and drawings of her seated as if floating on an open Lotus flower, symbolizing Ultimate Consciousness.

Please join me and Veronica DeSoyza to chant for Sri Mahalakshmi on the night of October 16th, the supermoon! This will be a sweet chance to hear or learn a longer Sanskrit chant and to receive its healing energy. We will have time for guided and silent meditation too, and a few closing mantras.

On this night the full moon will be in Aries and motherly compassion is the divine theme. I have been reading about how being with others in kindness and comfort will be very auspicious! It’s an opportunity to hear each other without judgment or the need to fix anything but to just accept and acknowledge each other. As this supermoon is all about spiritual abundance, and our truest inner power, the eight stanzas to Mahalakshmi are a perfect fit for our Kirtan, our group chant.

This supermoon also comes close to so many self-reflective holidays and a Hindu festival called Durga Puja in South Asia. Durga Puja celebrates the fierce Goddess Durga, or Kali, who destroys evil and always protects her devotees in the cosmic victory of Good over Evil! In India this festival is important and devotees offer vegetables like bananas, cucumbers or pumpkin.
Maybe we can too?

Event Information:
Supermoon - Mahalaksmi Kirtan
Sun, Oct 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm - 9:15 pm
Suggested $10 donation at door

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Make This At Home! Happy Baby Berry Beet Bowl

by Jasmine De La Paz

The Happy Baby Berry Beet Bowl

You know that feeling at the end of class, right before savasana, you do a happy baby and everything just feels so good. Well, this smoothie bowl has the same effect and is a perfect post-yoga snack or meal. 

Beets are so amazing, and are good to eat after working out. The nitrates in beets widen our blood vessels, which brings oxygen-rich blood to our muscles, and less lactic acid builds up. Basically meaning you won't feel as sore or fatigued after class! 

I added strawberries which compliment beets nicely in flavor, are low in sugar, and contain a ton of vitamin C. Goji berries are a superfood loaded with vitamins and antioxidants to keep you healthy. You can get goji powder, but I prefer the dried berries. I often use dates as a sweetener, as a little goes a long way, they are high in fiber, and classified with a low-glycemic index. 

Protein powder is optional, but I recommend it to help build muscle strength. Maca is a root that you can get in powder form. It is known for it's positive effects on hormone balance and energy levels. 

Lastly, coconut water is my favorite electrolyte, keeping you hydrated and energetic. The coconut milk helps thicken the smoothie, and is a yummy, healthy fat.

Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
  • 2 heaping cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 small beets (raw or frozen)
  • 2 tbsp dried goji berries
  • 4 small dates (medjool or honey dates) 
  • 1 scoop of protein powder (I use Organic Protein Plant Based Powder)
  • 1/2 tsp maca powder
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
Mix everything together in a blender. If you have a hard time blending, slowly add in more liquid until you get the consistency you like. You can enjoy served in a glass, or you can pour it into a bowl and top with more fruit, granola, etc. I recommend adding coconut shavings, strawberries, and bee pollen. 


Jasmine De La Paz

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to do a 200 Hour Teacher Training NOW!

By Dana Kraft

Yoga has changed my life. My yoga teacher training changed my life. I’m sure you have heard this statement before, not just once, but over and over again. It’s a grandiose statement to make, but there is a reason so many yoga teachers make it.  Yoga teacher trainings should be thought of as transformational, inward, profound journeys.  Yes you will learn about your body, you will understand alignment and learn to listen to your body in order to avoid injury, you will advance your practice and become a more skilled yogi, but more importantly you will evolve into the person you have been waiting to become.  This is what yoga teacher trainings are about. 

Even if you never plan on teaching a day in your life, here are my top 10 reasons as to why you should embark on a yoga teacher training now.

The way we practice on our mat parallels the way we live off the mat.  In yoga teacher training you learn to listen to what your body can physically handle on the mat each day.  Every day is a different day and we need to honor that. With your newfound body awareness you will be able to figure out what your body can handle and respect it.  As you continue to hone this skill, you will watch yourself become more present off the mat and listen not only to your body, but yourself, and others.

In your training you will be practicing for two hours at least and then required hours throughout the week. You will have Asana Labs in which you will dissect postures and understand how your body expresses them.  
Yogic anatomy helps you to understand your physiology on a deeper level and you become more aware of how your body works, how you can adjust your body on your own in your practice, and how you can work with injuries.

Yoga teacher training helps you with your public speaking skills. Whether you want to teach yoga or not, teacher training helps you overcome your fears of speaking in front of others. A safe community is created and with the support of friends and community cheering you on, you are able to teach a class confidently and given the skills to create a class on your own!

You will make lifelong friends. In teacher training a sacred space is built. The experiences you will have together as a group, are unique and unlike any other. New relationships will be forged and the emotional bonding that happens will last forever.

With a deeper understanding of the body through yogic anatomy and alignment, you will learn how to practice in a way that will keep your body safe. You will also learn to move through your life with better awareness and help yourself stay as injury free as possible!

Not only do you get to practice physical asana, you study the history of yoga, including the ancient texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras, and the Yamas and Niyamas.  With the combination of these texts combined with chanting and meditation practice, you will be sure to find spiritual transformation.

This is a given. With the amount of time dedicated to asana practice, studying under experienced teachers, you will find yourself being able to do postures you never dreamed of by the time you receive your certification.

Committing to a 10-week training where you are practicing physical asana, meditating, overcoming your fears of presenting in public, learning about your body, sharing with others, and doing outside homework while balancing your real world job will test your emotional, physical and mental strength. You will grow, and you will become even stronger than you already are.

Through physical practice, meditation, and the emotional commitment, you have no choice but to grow and figure out who you are. You will understand your wants and needs in life in a completely different way than you did when you entered the training. You will feel comfortable in your own skin. You will feel more confident.

If you are EVER in a situation where you do need to fall back on something you will always be able to teach, and it is something you love!

Don’t forget to pre-register for Namaste Highland Park’s 200 Hour Teacher Training’s Open House THIS SATURDAY September 17th, 2016, to find out more information about Fall Teacher Training starting October 15th with Dana Kraft and Jennifer Smith. 

Visit for more information on NHP’s 200 Hour program!


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Yoga and Knee Health

by Sondra Sun-Odeon

Most of us don't think about the body too much until something occurs--usually an injury--to focus attention on it. Having suffered through a few dance and yoga related injuries of the knee and hip, I think of my left knee lovingly as my constant reminder of how important it is to be as mindful of where your ego and thoughts are during practice as you are of your so-called form. If we learn to weave together a body-mind awareness with our practice of the physical postures, yoga can help strengthen and stabilize the knee, and keep us vibrantly mobile into our old age.

Yoga can be either preventative to knee trouble or a cause of injury -- whether it be dramatic or, more commonly, a chronic injury that is more subtle and difficult to detect until a cumulative tipping point.
Being aware of proper alignment of the knee and hyperextension throughout one's yoga practice can go a long way towards preventing common wear and tear injuries of the knee joint, and it can help strengthen and stabilize the knee even after injury.

Cultivating this awareness and a general awareness of the particular structure of one's own unique body through svadhyaya, or self-study, is as integral to our yogic practice as asana, the physical postures we more commonly know as "yoga".

Join me on Saturday, September 10 from 1:00-2:15pm for an intimate workshop in which we'll focus on proper alignment for knee health as well as learning how to modify yoga poses to support the knees in safe practice!

with Sondra Sun-Odeon
Saturday, 9/10, 1:00-2:30pm
Pre-register for $17
Drop-in for $25 


Friday, August 26, 2016

Meet Emily MacLean: Our Yogi Advisor

Meet Emily MacLean!

Many of you may recognize her from class, but she is also our Yogi Advisor! Emily helps the studio run smoothly by communicating with new students, handling member accounts, and overseeing the ongoings of the studio, and we are so grateful to have her!

Many thanks to Emily for being such an important part of the Namaste team since she started at the beginning of the year. If you see her around, be sure to say "Thanks!" and maybe someday you'll find yourself practicing next to her!

Photos by Dave Getzschman

Where are you from, and what brought you to Highland Park?
My family moved to Highland Park in 1978 from the East Coast.  So I was actually brought here by my parents.   In the past three decades I have lived in Davis, Boulder, Oakland, France, Philadelphia and a few other places but I have found my way back to HP 

What is the first thing you noticed about Namaste Highland Park?
That it existed.  I was delighted to see that the neighborhood had a yoga studio.  That was the sign that Highland Park was undergoing a renaissance. 

Do you remember your first yoga experience? What was your impression of yoga & what brought you back?
My first experience with yoga was in Boulder in 1993.  I took a one month course, 2 times a week.  I was fascinated by all of it; the movement, the meditation, the language.  I’ve been smitten ever since.

What's something you could talk about forever?
Urban Farming,  The Grateful Dead, Chaos Theory, Time Travel, Jane Austen & Eyre, Porch Dwelling, Puja, My Feet, Comedy & Tragedy, Yoga

For new student questions and questions related to your membership package, Emily can be reaching at!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Yoga and Pregnancy: How to Sweat when you’re Expecting!

Written by Dana Kraft

Although I have my certification in pre and post-natal yoga, the majority of yoga classes I teach are advanced level Vinyasa or mixed level flows. Throughout my years of teaching, many expectant mothers have come to my class or have wandered into a class where I have been a student and wanted to practice because they tried pre-natal yoga and didn’t get the workout they wanted. This is more common than one would think. Women who are expecting want to make sure they still feel just as active and healthy as they were before they became pregnant. The truth is, the body is going to change and there are necessary modifications that need to be made during a yoga practice. However, this does not mean that women cannot practice in an open level Vinyasa class while they are still in their first or second trimester, it just means that they need to KNOW and UNDERSTAND their modifications and their limits.

Undergoing changes while pregnant can bring up excitement, fear, discomfort, among other emotions, but knowledge is power! Yoga and meditation can help immensely during this time. If getting your sweat on is important to you, then knowing how to treat your body during practice is imperative because not all yoga teachers are pre and post-natal certified. It can be helpful to go to a few pre-natal classes if you have never practiced yoga before, or have a practice but don’t know your modifications for pregnancy. Always ask your doctor if you are cleared to practice before stepping on the mat after finding out you are expecting, and avoid heated yoga!

If you are interested in learning how to modify your practice for
pregnancy, join me for our August Workshop Series: Yoga for Pregnancy!

Pre-Register for a single class: $17
Drop-In for a single class: $25
Pre-Register for all four weeks: $60

* pre-register here on our website!

Week 1: August 7
Prenatal Yoga
This workshop is designed to educate, pregnant women, women who are planning to get pregnant and practice yoga and yoga teachers on how to safely practice yoga throughout pregnancy.
The workshop includes the effects of pregnancy on the body, benefits of yoga in pregnancy and postures to aid common discomforts. Modifications of yoga postures will be taught and discussed. Students will learn about the cautions of practicing while pregnant as well as what poses to avoid. Appropriate pranayama (breath) practices will be reviewed. This workshop is appropriate for those new to yoga, but also for seasoned practitioners and anyone else who is interested in understanding the complex changes that occur in pregnancy. This two hour workshop will include discussion and a vinyasa flow with modifications and adjustments for pre-natal practitioners.

Week 2: August 14
Chakras for Mamas

This workshop focuses on the comfortable, supported postures of Restorative Yoga. Through a chakra based pre-natal sequence we'll drop into a deep state of physiological relaxation that many women find to be helpful in increasing mental, emotional and physical comfort throughout pregnancy. By subduing the sympathetic nervous system's fight, flight or freeze response and igniting the parasympathetic nervous system, a birthing mother can surrender into a state of mindful connection and ease where her body opens more efficiently, comfortably and healthfully. Within this state of deep surrender, women find it much easier to draw on their primal birthing resources and remain more connected to their babies, partners and the power of this sacred transformation.

Week 3: August 21
The Power of the Squat: Preparing for Birth

This workshop is designed to help strengthen the muscles used when giving birth. Students will learn intelligent sequencing using their pelvic floor, kegel exercises, and appropriate pre-natal core work to help prepare them for birth. Anatomy of the pelvis and muscles of the pelvic floor will be discussed and activated to develop strength and stamina. Class will end with a peaceful meditation to counter act the fiery power of the squat.

Week 4: August 28
Child Birthing Workshop with Special Guest

Join us for a workshop with childbirth educator and doula Emily Herakovich. Get all the questions you might have about childbirth answered!

This workshop is designed to inform women about the details of labor and delivery. Students will learn about the basic physiology of birth and alternative techniques to coping with pain and discomfort. Further discussion will focus on the relationship of the baby's position and the mother's pelvis to the length and ease of labor. Class will end with a question and answer period, along with a show and tell of various items that can be brought with and used during labor and delivery.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Restorative Yoga Poses for Times of Tragedy

Today was the one week anniversary of the tragedy in Orlando. It has been a heavy, yet uplifting week in the studio as our staff and students have come together to practice. The word "Yoga" translates to "union", and it is our honor serve as a place for people to unify, breathe, and become rooted in their bodies. In this post you will find a few restorative yoga poses to use at home to help ground yourself during difficult times as you practice principles such as openness, breath, and presence, which have their place both on and off the mat.

1. Half Pigeon

Half Pigeon is a pose that is often dreaded because it can be uncomfortable. Half Pigeon is a pose that can be conquered, and even enjoyed, by focusing on breath. If Half Pigeon is a pose that causes your mind to race and your body to panic, focus on breathing in and out and deeply as possible, and imagine that energy channeling into where you're feeling uncomfortable. In Yogic tradition, hip opening poses are believed to birth new ideas and release pent up emotions, especially those related to control in our lives. Practice Half Pigeon and allow your body to melt into discomfort, breathe, and let go of control.

Option 2:

Try practicing Half Pigeon using the wall for some variety!

2. Supported Supta Baddha Konasana

Supported Supta Baddha Konasana is a subtle heart-opener, which is a type of post that encourages patience, compassion, and honesty. Because it is a supported position, it allows for full relaxation which destresses and lowers your heart rate. This is a pose that encourages the body to let go and encourages a subtle stretch in the hips and inner thighs. Spending anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes in this pose is like hitting a "reset" button.

3. Supine Twist

A favorite pose to practice just after Supported Supta Baddha Konasana is the Supine Twist. Placing a bolster or pillow between the knees will make this post even more restorative. Supine Twist is another pose that allows the body to relax and let go, while practicing calm and relaxed breathing. This is a pose that will help you learn how to "be" as you quiet your mind, release the lower back, open the shoulders, and elongate the spinal muscles.

We hope to see you in the studio soon! For class times and upcoming workshops, please visit our website.


Friday, June 10, 2016

New Teacher Alert: Meet Dana Kraft!

Meet Dana Kraft!  

She is our newest instructor as Namaste Highland Park and we couldn’t be more thrilled to call her a part of our team. We first met Dana two years ago when she did a workshop at our studio, and we are honored to have her teaching in our community regularly.

While Dana earned her BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Michigan and used to be an actress/professional singer, Dana’s journey in teaching first began in a high school classroom.  After finding herself at a crossroads in her life, she attended a yoga retreat in Costa Rica during her summer break. After her first class on the beach with Marco Rojas, she found her calling: teaching yoga. She maintains the perspective that our yoga practice parallels the obstacles faced in our daily lives, that by breathing through challenges on our mat, we can learn overcome them off the mat. She strives for her students to feel empowered, capable of working through discomfort, and motivated to grow in their practice as well as their lives. Dana’s personal practice currently includes meditation and asana, and she is eager to learn more about physical therapy to help other’s maintain a strong and healthy practice as they age.

Dana is currently teaching the following classes:
Wednesday, 4:30-6:00pm - Vinyasa: Advanced
Wednesday, 8:00-9:15pm - Vinyasa: Candlelight

Upcoming events with Dana:
August – Four Week Series: Yoga in Pregnancy
October – Yoga 108: 200 Hours of Mind, Body, & Spirit


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Community Recipe share: Hipster Biscuits

Another great share from our NHP community, check out Elizabeth Rosselle's blog, The Punk Sophisticate. She shares inspiring DIY projects, fashion, and even recipes like this one.

Elizabeth has been practicing with us since we opened our doors. You can regularly find her taking back-to-back classes, attending our gardening workshops, and chatting it up with our staff. She is one of the many students we are proud to grow with. Thank you for contributing so much to our community, Elizabeth!

We are particularly in love with this recipe as it uses our favorite ingredient: rosemary! We use rosemary throughout the studio to promote relaxation and memory. Here's a delicious way to incorporate it into your diet.

Lemon Rosemary Basil Hipster Biscuits via The Punk Sophisticate

¼ cup Earth Balance (I use the soy free Earth Balance. Whole Foods sells this)

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp finely chopped rosemary

1 tbsp finely chopped basil

½ tsp lemon zest

2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 3 tbs water (equals two egg yolks)

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup white rice flour

½ cup brown rice flour

⅓ cup almond flour

⅛ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

¼ tsp Xanthan Gum

1 ½ tsp Baking Powder

¼ tsp salt

Dust / Dip:

⅛ cup raw cane sugar

Mix well your flaxseed meal and water - set aside (re-stir if too thick after it gels)

Beat Earth Balance, olive oil, sugar, rosemary, basil, and lemon zest with electric mixer until creamy. Beat in flax/water mixture and vanilla.

Whisk together flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, coconut and salt in one bowl. Add to wet ingredients and beat until combined, or use hands to knead. Shape cookies into two 1-inch wide logs. If the batter is too dry and crumbly, add olive oil one tsp at a time. If it’s too wet, add more white rice flour one tablespoon at a time until consistency feels right. Logs should be firm enough to keep from collapsing but moist enough not to crumble. Wrap in wax paper or saran wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

Preheat oven to 325 deg F. Butter 2 baking sheets. Slice cookies into ⅓ in thick rounds. Press one side into sugar and place sugar side up on the baking sheet. Bake 15 min or until golden brown on bottom. Remove from oven and place very carefully on a cooling rack. Wait just a few minutes and then EAT! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ninja Spotlight: Anna

We've added some new smiling faces and helping hands to our Front Desk Ninja team. Get to know the folks saying hello: meet Anna!

Where are you from, and what brought you to Highland Park?
I am from Pomona, a suburb town about 30 miles east of LA. My first time in Highland Park I came to see a show at Permanent Records which was how I found out about Namaste.

What is the first thing you noticed about Namaste Highland Park?
First thing I notice was the gallery feature, thought that a yoga studio/gallery combo was a tenuous idea! 

Do you remember your first yoga experience? What was your impression of yoga & what brought you back?
First time I did yoga was during my 2 week run with the P90x program. I thought the yoga day was the hardest of the week haha! But I loved that I felt better after the class than I did before so that kept me coming back for more. 

What's something you could talk about forever?
Probably world travel or different ways to experiment with physically manipulating 35mm film.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Quickstart Meditation Guide: via Jessica Snow Meditation

Having been part of a number of yoga studios before, I can confidently say Namaste Highland Park has the widest diversity of talented, dedicated, wholehearted individuals of any community I've known. It is with continual humility that I hear of your work. From art, music, sculpture, writing, choreography, service and community work to intellectual pursuits and spiritual pursuits, you guys are true Renaissance women and men. 

In gratitude - Bethany

Jessica Snow regularly meets us on the mat for yoga. She also leads meditation groups in the Northeast Los Angeles area, teaching meditation to both beginners and regular meditators alike. Check out this Meditation Quick Start via her website:


1.     Show up with the intent to meditate. Set a timer or pick a piece of music or other audio that is as long you’d like your meditation to be.
2.     Find a nice space to sit or lie down and give your body permission to become still and just be.
3.     Softly let your eyes close.
Head on over to for a detailed look at the continued steps.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Teacher of the Month: Bethany Eanes

Bethany joined our teaching staff in 2013 after moving to the Eastside. She's moving back down South, but she loves us so much she'll still be here to see you all three times a week. Bethany is famous for saying, "No two of my classes will ever be the same," and that's why she fits right into our community of diverse interests and continued change. 

Namaste Highland Park: When and why did you start yoga?
"Empowering Teaching Immersion" this
 summer at NHP. Taken by Dave.
Bethany: I grew up in a small suburban town in Pennsylvania. A part of my father's family lived on the West Coast, and we referred to them as "The Crazy California Cousins." I remember my Uncle Bob trying to teach me sun salutations and later mocking him behind his back. I was a tomboy and an adrenaline junky through and through, playing soccer through college. Then, in a long string of very impulsive decision making, I ended up in Los Angeles after college, and I couldn't turn around without running into a yoga mat. Those people seemed to know what they were doing, and they looked pretty good while they were at it, so I bought a mat at Target and headed to a donation class to try and get some Jennifer Aniston arms prior to my wedding day.

NHP: Who was your great mentor?
Bethany: I still call my dear friend Julie Rader "my teacher." I met Julie at the perfect time in my life, when I was first learning to be my own person and create a life for myself. She gave me unconditional love and acceptance - she still does - and encouraged me to soften my boundaries and open to possibilities. Today, my needle has swung quite a bit back toward the more systematic approach to life. I no longer talk about lunar cycles and gemstones in class the way I once did, but I will be forever grateful to Julie for showing me there is more than one way to see things, for teaching me trust, and for helping me to see my own gifts.

NHP: What is your practice style and why?
Bethany: My yoga preferences have changes substantially over time. When I first started teaching, I was 26-years-old, newly sober, newly married, and really believed yoga had helped me figure things out. I wanted great music, sweat, and lots of movement; I believed in love and light. At 28, I was diagnosed with auto-immune metabolic disorders that took away my health and have shown me I know absolutely nothing. My practice and teaching have been dedicated to darkness ever since.

When I practice on my own, I hold poses for a very long time, stay with my breath, and focus on all the disappointment, longing and pain in my own life and in the world. I try to use it as inspiration, as a source for connection and compassion, and as a tool to bring me closer to my own humanity. I attempt to teach from this place. I also attempt to make it hilarious. We can only stay with darkness if we have a sense of humor about it.

NHP: What do you hope people take away from your class?
Bethany: On a surface level, I hope they find it interesting. I work hard to innovate new approaches in my personal practice and teaching to keep people on their toes. There's a deeper reason for this, though.

A friend once told me the most important message we can ever hear is, "Me, too." That's what I want people to feel in my class. I hope to use meditation, asana and breath as a way of feeling like a flailing, falling, desperate and beautiful human. I want us to connect through that shared humanity and not worry so much about rising above it or, to use a buzzword, "manifesting something better." I love Pema Chodron - I quote her all the time - and she compares the spiritual journey to climbing down a mountain rather than up it. She says that at the bottom, right down there in the thick of things, is where we will discover our salvation. I want people to feel like they're walking down the mountain together through our shared yoga journey. 

It may be a little ambitious for a 75-minute mat class. 

Things worked out with the boy.
NHP: What is something we'd be surprised to learn about you?
Bethany: Probably nothing, because I'm an absolutely open book with my students. But, if I had to guess, I'd say most of you don't know I planned on being a sports broadcaster after college. I studied writing and was the executive producer of my campus television show, "Wake Up Wash U!" I interned with the Rams and Fox Sports over my summers. Then I met this boy, and I followed him to California instead. Like I said, a little impulsive, but all told an absolutely excellent call on my part.

NHP: You have a training this month at NHP called "Safe Teaching for Every Body." What inspired this, and what can we expect?
Bethany: I work privately with a wide range of clients, including people seeking relapse prevention from addiction disorders, people in late stages of severe illness, and people with auto immune conditions like mine. It is inspiring but intensely challenging work. You have to adapt the practice to a very specific set of needs. 

The needs of those clients - along with those needs I've had to adapt to through my health conditions - is what inspired this training. We can all benefit from a more innovative, supported and individualized program. In this training, teachers will gain tools to make that possible for their clients.