Camino and Hiking Events in September 2018

Below is lineup of upcoming Camino-related events and hikes for September 2018 in the San Francisco Bay Area.  But first, I would like to announce my new Wellness Tribe Newsletter, launched in September.  See first issue here. There are so many amazing events and resources to share, so this newsletter will feature wellness-focused topics, including:

  • workshops and retreats led by my favorite yoga teachers
  • free online courses, summits, and meditations
  • mindful practices for stress relief
  • yoga stretches for pilgrims
  • interesting tidbits I learn about in my continuing education
  • books that I recommend
  • fun events in the Bay Area
  • my upcoming classes (also listed at

The newsletter frequency will be no more than once per month. I take your privacy seriously, and never sell or share email addresses. You can opt out at any time by following the link at the bottom of each newsletter email. Subscribe now. 

Okay, here’s the lineup for September!

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, September 1, 10:30 AM to 12 PM

Join us on this walk that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. We meet at the Pergola (aka “The Columns”) on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 and start walking by 10:45. It’s a level, 3.3-mile walk around the lake that takes about an hour. Whether you’re a newbie or Camino veteran, everyone is welcome. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit! Below is a video of our last walk on August 4th.

Directions: Take BART to the Lake Merritt or 19th Street Oakland station and navigate your way to the Pergola.
Service Modification for Labor Day Weekend 9/1 – 9/3: For those coming from SF on BART, train service will stop at West Oakland with free AC Transit bus bridge to 19th Street. See the BART alert for details.

If you drive, make sure to give yourself enough time to find parking, as there are many activities on Saturday mornings in the Lake Merritt area. FYI: There is a small fee lot at the corner of Euclid and Grand Avenues that is close to the Pergola.

RSVP not required, but if you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

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What it means to be a UC Berkeley Wellness Ambassador

One of my intentions for 2017 is to serve as a wellness ambassador to help to create a culture of health within the workplace by promoting staff participation in UC Berkeley wellness programs, services, and events.  My colleague Veronica and I were recently featured on UC Berkeley’s Be Well at Work Newsletter and you can read our interview below. Yes, the Camino does come up in one of my responses. It seems that lately more things are a ripple effect of the Camino!

Be Well at Berkeley – March 2017

Veronica and I posting flyers in English and Spanish

Posting flyers in English and Spanish

Laurie and Veronica have always been advocates for fitness both at home and in the workplace, so it was no surprise when they decided to become Wellness Ambassadors for International House. Ever since Laurie started at I-House in 2005, she rallied co-workers to join lunchtime hikes on trails around campus. The camaraderie within this informal hiking club formed many friendships over the years. Last October, Laurie started teaching yoga to staff at lunchtime on Mondays. Veronica joined I-House in 2015 as a Human Resources Assistant. She is often the first person a new employee will encounter, and she makes everyone feel welcome with her positive attitude.

We recently chatted with them to learn how their advocacy for health and wellness have inspired and made a real difference in the lives of others within their department.

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Intentions for 2017

I might be a little delayed in this post as the talk of new year’s resolutions has mostly faded away by now. I do have a good reason: on January 5, I had a minor surgery which forced me to slow down and heal. All is well, and I have recovered rather quickly. However, I believe that it is never too late to set intentions. Each new year gives us the opportunity to set our intentions and reflect on the previous year. My intentions for 2016 included two of my passions: yoga and the Camino, both of which were transformative in different ways. Last year also threw some challenges and surprises my way: the unexpected illness; a change in travel plans; the presidential election results; a rekindling of my faith; and a renewed connection with a family member. I believe it is good to be flexible and not too attached to a particular goal because something better might come along! You can’t go wrong if you follow your heart and listen to your intuition. At the end of this post, I share a few tools that you might find helpful: a five-minute meditation; an article on setting intentions; a spiritual reading; and an intention template that you can download and customize.

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Coming out of the Camino Closet

The Camino has provided in more ways than I could ever imagine, and it keeps providing in the months after my return home. The executive director at my workplace was curious about my Camino as he and his wife have some friends who recently walked the Portuguese coastal route. They also lived in Greece and Germany so were somewhat familiar with the Camino. He surprised me by asking me to give a presentation about my Camino at an all-staff meeting. I was unsure at first because this was a personal journey and I have tried to keep my private life and work separate.

Arrival to work on day 1

Walking to work was great training!

My closest colleagues were familiar with the Camino from hearing me talk about it and seeing me train during lunchtime hikes. I was spotted with all my Camino gear when I walked to work three days in a row. But I was not sure if I could explain the Camino to people who have never heard of it, let alone share my personal experiences in front of a room full of people, many of whom I did not know. Was I ready to come out of the Camino closet?

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Finding my Balance with Standup Paddleboard Yoga

As some of you know, I am in yoga teacher training.  I teach yoga to staff at my workplace and intend to lead yoga sessions on my future Caminos. When I am not immersing myself in yoga during training weekends at the studio, I like to try different yoga classes in the Bay Area. I especially love to do yoga outdoors and seize any opportunity to do so. Variety makes any activity a pleasure to do!

A few months ago I tried a yoga class unlike any other: Standup Paddleboard Yoga, or SUP Yoga. I surfed when I was a teenager and tried Standup paddleboarding recently on vacations in Kauai and St. Thomas.  I have practiced yoga for eighteen years, so figured I was up for the challenge of yoga on the water. One of my favorite yoga teachers, Nicolette Tura,  turned me on to SUP Yoga in Alameda, where she led a half-day retreat.

Nicolette Tura, an amazing Yogi that teaches at UC Berkeley and on the San Francisco Bay!

Nicolette Tura, an amazing Yogi that teaches at UC Berkeley and on the San Francisco Bay!

Below is a video of my experience doing SUP Yoga, along with an interview Mike Wang, owner of Mike’s Paddle in Alameda.

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Bunk Bed Yoga Stretches for the End of Your Pilgrimage Day

I saw this on one of the Camino Facebook groups and thought it was too good not to share.  Elle Bieling, RN, RYT, Holistic Health Coach, shows how you can prevent injury on the Camino by doing basic stretches in bed.

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Immersing Myself in Yoga

Some of you may know that one of my intentions for 2016 was to start yoga teacher training. I had been meaning to take my yoga practice to the next level for a while, and I believe that teaching yoga could be good for when I’m a hospitalera (volunteer) on the Camino.image

Sometime last year, I watched the YOGAWOMAN documentary and was totally inspired. I was in awe of the women featured in the film who made a difference in communities all around the world. I was particularly impressed by a group that went to Kenya to teach young women how to teach yoga.

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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of HappinessToday in the United States, it’s Independence Day, a.k.a. the 4th of July. On this national holiday, we celebrate “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This well-known phrase comes from the United States Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776. We all have different ways of celebrating this day; many gather together with their families, have picnics, and watch fireworks. It’s summertime fun American style.

I want to take this opportunity to talk about independent traveling, specifically about walking Camino de Santiago alone as a female. When my family first heard about my wanting to walk the Camino on my own, they thought I was nuts; my mom in particular was afraid for my safety.

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108 Sun Salutations for Solstice

Happy summer solstice! In some yoga circles, it is traditional to celebrate the changes of seasons—the summer and winter solstice and the vernal and autumnal equinox—by doing 108 Sun Salutations. This practice is most often done in large groups and often as an offering, such as an offering of peace or unity (see The Global Mala Project, which facilitates collective yoga events typically including 108 Sun Salutations).i

What Are Sun Salutations?


Surya Namaskar (Sanskrit for Sun Salutation) is a series of yoga poses done in a continuous, flowing sequence, intended to improve the strength and flexibility of muscles. Sun Salutations are an excellent way for hikers to warm up and stretch their body. You can benefit with just a few rounds before any workout or hike. See below for the classic twelve steps of Surya Namaskar and a variation of the series that you can do without a mat. When on the Camino, I would start each day with a few rounds of half salutations, and I truly believe that they helped prevent injuries.

For a complete cardio workout, challenge yourself to do 108 of them upon the change of seasons.

Why 108?

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Self-Observation Poem and Camel Pose

Self-Observation Without Judgment

Release the harsh and pointed inner voice.

It’s just a throwback to the past,
and holds no truth about this moment.

Let go of self-judgment, the old,
learned ways of beating yourself up
for each imagined inadequacy.

Allow the dialogue within the mind
to grow friendlier, and quiet.

Shift out of inner criticism and life
suddenly looks very different.

I can say this only because I make
the choice a hundred times a day to release the voice that refuses to
acknowledge the real me.

What’s needed here isn’t more prodding toward perfection, but
intimacy – seeing clearly, and embracing what I see.

Love, not judgment, sows the
seeds of tranquility and change.

Danna Faulds, One Soul: More Poems from the Heart of Yoga

Do you have a favorite poem to share for Mindful Monday? Email me or share it in the comments below.

Yoga Pose of the Week

Camel Pose | Ustrasana
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