Siempo City Guide: San Francisco
Introducing Siempo City Guides. Even in the world’s most bustling and chaotic environments, there is a layer of calm where you can find peace. Spaces that free your mind, events that cultivate wisdom, communities that inspire compassion. We want to share a few of our favorite experiences and encourage you to check them out.
With its natural beauty and history as the port of entry for eastern philosophy, the San Francisco Bay Area is an inherently mindful metropolis that makes you feel more grounded and balanced regardless of your daily lifestyle. Drive in any direction and you will encounter dramatic landscapes and recreational areas; walk through any park and you will experience the city’s open minded culture. Between 48 hills, moving meditation studios and communities with a mission to raise human consciousness, San Francisco encourages you to explore and live more intentionally. Put your phone on DND, hop on a scooter and go for an adventure!
Every year the Wisdom 2.0 conference draws thousands of attendees from around the world to talk about the use of technology as it relates to living a more intentional and healthy life. This year’s event takes place at the serene Palace of the Fine Arts in San Francisco from February 17–19, 2017. If you are interested in how to apply ancient wisdom to modern living, and perhaps discussing the impact of our growing dependency on technology, Wisdom is the community for you. Check out the full schedule of events, talks and workshops. Siempo will be there — let us know if you’ll be attending so we can connect!
Communities and Meetups
Consciousness Hacking is a community of makers, hackers, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and more, creating new tools to support deep human flourishing. Nearly 30 chapters holds monthly meetups with the purpose of sharing ideas focused on the evolution of individual and collective consciousness, inspiring us to build from the heart and deep wisdom. Interested in understanding how technology can help us become more evolved and spiritual beings? Or perhaps a talk on conscious dating might pique your interest. All curious individuals are welcome to enjoy these speaker series and hang with the consciousness hacking community!
The Center SF
The Center SF has become a home base for the yoga, wellness, communal living, and tea loving community. A dynamic social hub in a relaxed and refined atmosphere, The Center offers a curated selection of fine teas and like minded people. With 3 unique rooms and an outside patio, you can walk in on any given day to find workshops held by local healers, or a group of residents sharing tea in the tea room. The space provides a platform for residents or community members to share their art, practices and events with anyone who is interested. Stop by for a intention setting session, yoga class, or cacao ceremony. If you are lucky you may witness a musical guest or even a wedding in this magical space.
Set in the spacious hills of Marin county, Spirit Rock Meditation Center is an oasis from fast-paced city life. You can take a day trip up to the center from San Francisco or stay for week to month long retreats on the property. The programs promote Buddhism and mindfulness through the practice of insight meditation (vipassana). Choose to focus on personal growth, family, relationships, body & movement, or the teachings of Buddha as you embark on your studies. Anyone looking for some peace and quiet will find solace in the physical and emotional space that Spirit Rock provides. On your way home, make sure to stop by Wu Wei Tea Temple in Fairfax!
Imagine yourself resting in a silent, dark room. Gradually sounds start to fill the room building up to a mix of rhythms that bathe every inch of the space and your body. This is what a sound meditation experience feels like. Sound Meditation SF pops up throughout the city on a monthly basis to offer an hour of deep relaxation. Their events feature 38" Paiste gongs, over two dozen huge crystal singing bowls, Tibetan bronze bowls, shamanic drums, hang drums, Native American flutes, Koshi chimes, Tingshe chimes, bells, and more. As you enter the space it may seem like you have walked into a yoga class. Participants lay down mats close to their neighbor and rest in savasana pose to begin the meditation. The sound vibrations heal and soothe as you drop into a deep meditative state. Enjoy a session right before bed to end your day grounded and calm. The next event “The Sound Healing Symphony” will take place at Grace Cathedral on January 27th, 2017 at 8pm.
A trip to Angel Island is the perfect way to access nature and see breath-taking, 360° views of the San Francisco skyline, East Bay, Marin County Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. Situated smack in the middle of the bay and only accessible by boat or ferry, the island provides an arena to bike, hike, and camp year round. You can walk the fire road loop for a leisurely 5 mile stroll or hike to the summit where picnic tables and benches reside for a break at the top. Once a year Angel Island hosts a half marathon and 10k, which is a great way to visit the state park and get some exercise! Buy tickets in advance or at the kiosk by Pier 41, and arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure to ensure a spot as ferry space is first-come, first-served.
Step into a retreat in the middle of San Francisco at Onsen, a bathhouse complete with sauna, steam, cold plunge, and hot bath. Walking into the building you are transported into the rich culture and tradition around Japanese Onsen. Bathing rituals in Japan are ingrained in society. The experience is seen as essential to cleanse the body, mind and soul. Find balance between the hot and cool water and the dry and wet heats. After you purify in the spa you can stop by the restaurant for a delicious meal at their restaurant. The late night menu has a range of skewers similar to a yakitori restaurant in Tokyo or you can stop by for a cup of tea and complete your relaxation.
Coffee & Tea
Samovar Tea Lounge
Something about sipping tea requires the drinker to drop into the present moment. Steeping the tea appropriately, waiting for the temperature to cool, and inhaling the aromas ensure all of your senses are engaged. At Samovar tea lounge, tea experts walk you through an extensive menu of beverages and snacks and then leave you to relax with a cup or some friends. At the Yerba Buena locations, tea services are paired with menus ranging from an English tea service with earl grey, quiche and scones to a Chinese tea service with Pu’er tea, stir fry and dumplings. Both locations feel as if you have walked into a sacred tea ritual and rarely do you see people on phones or computers as they enjoy their tea and company.
There are only 3 rules when attending ecstatic dance. 1. Move however you wish. 2. No talking on the dance floor. 3. Respect yourself and one another. Attending your first ecstatic dance session is an exhilarating and vulnerable experience. Ecstatic dance brings you together in a community setting to get your dance on while connecting to your truest self. Whether you go alone or with a group of friends, you will find yourself leaving with a renewed sense of lightness, freedom, and creativity. Ecstatic Dance offers weekly workshops in Oakland and San Francisco, and welcomes all levels of dancers to join their freestyle dance movement.
Finding yoga in a new city can be hit or miss. If you don’t know about yoga at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco you would definitely miss it. Every Tuesday evening from 6:15–7:30 yogis come to the church to practice yoga under the stained glass of one of SFs most iconic buildings. This faith-agnostic practice encourages you to take in the dark, quiet surroundings to look inward and practice intentionally. As you begin class look around at all of the yoga mats as they fill the aisles, alter and labyrinth of the cathedral. Find peace as you connect with your movement and enjoy practicing asanas in an unfamiliar studio.
Ever wish you could escape to another place with the click of a button? SF’s homegrown Scoot Networks gives you that magical power. No motorcycle license is needed to access one of hundreds of red, electric scooters to whisk you away to your favorite park, view or hole in the wall. More than just a clean and efficient mode of transportation, Scoots give you the freedom to explore all corners of the city with ease. Our favorite spots to Scoot to include Grand View Park and Battery Godfrey — check out their favorite on the ride guide. Safe and happy scooting!
Here’s a way to see all this in a day
Begin your day with some movement. On Sunday mornings head over to Fillmore St. and join Ecstatic Dance for some early morning freestyle dancing. Any other day of the week stop by The Center SF for a mellow yoga flow and a cup of tea.
Grab a picnic (try The Vegan Hippy from Bi-Rite on Divisadero) and head down to the Embarcadero to catch a ferry to Angel Island. The ferry ride is a chance to get out on the water and into nature. As you float away from the city check out the Golden Gate bridge and breathe in the salty air.
Once you get to Angel island, either walk around the fire trail loop for a calm stroll, or embark on a hike to the summit where beautiful views of the entire bay area await. While on the island enjoy lunch alone or with friends and take a few moments for some breath or meditation work.
Plan in advance to finish your day at Onsen where you can soak in the warm pool and relax in the sauna and steam room. You can enjoy an evening meal at Onsen’s restaurant and slip into deeper relaxation with a shared pot of tea before bed. If the night leads to more activities make sure to check out Samovar tea lounge the following morning for a rejuvenating chai tea!
More about Siempo
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Cameron Cler is a traveler at heart, obsessed with seeing the world and discovering ways to contribute to positive global change. As a registered yoga teacher, she balances her constant travel and work in the startup world by channeling her inner yogi and welcoming peace in chaotic moments. Her passion is cultivating creativity and inspiration while sharing travel stories, yoga classes, wellness tips, and smiles with her friends, family, and students. Follow her latest adventures @ccler.