By Marivir R. Montebon
For young businesswoman Kristina Castaneda, her newly opened Naam Yoga Upper West Side Center is the last stop to business.
This is it, she says, as we talked and seated in lotus position on the shiny wooden floor of the yoga center on the bustling 72nd Street of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Since she finished a college degree on Interior Design and worked in a Mexican restaurant thereafter, she had been running her own food chain of five Mexican restaurants, including Cafe Ronda and Cafe Frida, and very recently the Rigoletto Pizza.
The Naam Yoga UWS opened a month after Rigoletto Pizza, a thing which definitely made Kristina’s hands full, other than the fact she has to be mother to two boys Cemil, 10, and Omer, 8, and wife to businessman Bulent.
How do you do that, I asked. She laughed and said, I don’t know. I just tell myself relax, when in the thick of things.
The Naam Yoga is headquartered in Santa Monica in California, a spiritual and physical wellness center which operates 24/7 a week. The founder, Dr. Joseph Michael Levry, from Africa, has been widely respected for his Naam Yoga Therapies, the center of which is the Harmonyum Healing System (see separate story soon). Naam Yoga centers are also established in Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, and England.
Excerpts of our interview:
OSM!: Who introduced you to Naam Yoga and why did you embrace it?
Kristina: My friend of 20 years, Prima Vera Salva, who is also one of the yoga teachers of the center. Naam Yoga is life changing. Since I learned about it more than two years ago, it has changed my views in life. It changed how I think, speak, or act. It is amazing.
OSM!: What makes Naam different from the rest of the Yoga centers?
Kristina: Our founder, Dr. Levry, from Africa, has combined the influences of the East and West in the Naam Yoga. He integrated the philosophies of yoga which find its roots in Tibet with the western influence of Kabbalah.
Naam, by the way, means the word. We make sure that our modalities work on the sounds, a combination of singing, chanting, music, and action to create positive energy within us.
Our logo is the sun, because as you know, the sun is always up there, burning for us, giving light to all of us. This is also the reason why we are open seven days a week.
OSM!: What classes are being offered in the Naam Yoga UWS?
Kristina: We have Naam Yoga I and II, Vinyasa, Morning Meditation, Capoeira for Kids, Yoga for Kids, Yin Yoga, Tools for Self Healing, Power Naam, Shakti Naam, Jivamukti, Alignment, Restorative Yoga, Inner Look Book Club, and Ashtanga Yoga.
We also have free classes for the community, the Banis Meditation.
Right now, we are still filling up each class, and accepting teachers as well. But I am glad that the response to our Center has been overwhelming.
OSM!: Why did you say that the Naam Yoga Center would be the last stop to your business ventures?
Kristina: I find fulfillment in this business. This is actually my community offering. I am still with the restaurant business, which makes me so busy. But the Naam Yoga is my ultimate business. It is for me, and the complete healing for everyone, on the physical, mental, and spiritual. That is all we need.
(For more information on the Naam Yoga UWS, please log on to www.naamyogauws.com. Enroll for only $30/month within February 2013)