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 JessicaSnowMeditation.com 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.