San Francisco's Top Wellness Gurus Share Their Secrets To Success

Laura Eckstein Jones | April 20, 2021 | Lifestyle Feature

Health is the new wealth as more and more people focus on what matters most. We polled the Bay Area’s top experts for an inside look at how they stay in top form.

PHOTO BY CHRIS HENRY FOR UNSPLASH

KELLY RYAN

Anchor Meditation founder Kelly Ryan strives to make meditation simple and more accessible to all.

PORTRAIT COURTESY OF ANCHOR MEDITATION

“My ultimate goal through Anchor Meditation is to help people experience a great sense of ease and bliss,” says founder Kelly Ryan. “I believe as we tap into peace within ourselves, we make our greatest contribution to world peace.”

“The founder of Lifestyle Meditation, Mandy Trapp, offers incredible meditation teacher certifications.” lifestylemeditation.com PHOTO: BY ELLY FAIRTALE/PEXELS
“The founder of Lifestyle Meditation, Mandy Trapp, offers incredible meditation teacher certifications.”

Ryan, who opened her Cow Hollow studio in 2019 after spending 20 years working in commercial real estate, first became interested in meditation and wellness while taking a class.

“This local SF company provides a beautiful monthly subscription box full of goodies to support us to practice being present.” Resonance Apothecary, maryamhasnaa.com PHOTO: BY BETHANY PUTERBAUGH
“This local SF company provides a beautiful monthly subscription box full of goodies to support us to practice being present.” Resonance Apothecary; “These 100% organic, locally manufactured cushions are what I use in my home meditation space, as well as what we use in our classes at Anchor Meditation. They are super cushy, supportive and allow for many different seating options.” Project Full meditation cushion sets

“The instructor shared anecdotes that many of us spend the majority of our time wishing the past were different or better than it was or worry about a future that is beyond our control,” she says. “I realized this was happening to me.” After the class, Ryan felt more relaxed than she had in decades. “I immediately knew that my wellness would thrive if I committed myself to experiencing these relaxing sensations daily.” Like many others, Ryan—who is certified as a meditation teacher, breathwork facilitator and reiki healer—had to pivot during the pandemic, and now, she and her team offer a multitude of classes online. Whether it be through online classes or ones in person at the Union street studio (which will hopefully start up again soon), Ryan’s objectives for her students are the same.


“I wish this could be required reading for every parent! This book has massively influenced my family.” The Awakened Family by Shefali Tsabary, Yellow Kite PHOTO: COURTESY OF BRAND
“I wish this could be required reading for every parent! This book has massively influenced my family.” The Awakened Family by Shefali Tsabary, Yellow Kite

“Through my studio’s classes, I help people befriend themselves, release stressful thoughts and emotions, relax, open their hearts and align with their highest potential,” she explains. “I provide tools to ‘anchor yourself’ in the present moment, have compassion for oneself and others [and] choose love over fear.”

VANESSA ALTMAN-SIEGEL

Sophisticated and nourishing clean food ignites private chef Vanessa Altman-Siegel’s passion for nutrition and exploration.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALI PFLAUM

As a highly sought-aft er private chef for some of the Bay Area’s power players, Vanessa Altman-Siegel works her love of food and nutrition into every bite. “I’ve always had a precise palate and cared a lot about what I eat,” she says. “I’ve always loved going to farmers markets and farms and getting my hands in the dirt, literally.” Like many teenagers growing up in the ’90s, Altman-Siegel had some eating issues, so she began cooking for herself to control ingredients. “Thankfully, I recovered from that phase, but eating healthy and thoughtfully with consistent exercise became a life habit,” she says.

“Feral is a local wetsuit company by guys who surf Ocean Beach every day. They make the best wetsuits for women who are serious about surfing.” feralsurfing.com PHOTO: BY INES ALVAREZ FOR UNSPLASH
Feral is a local wetsuit company by guys who surf Ocean Beach every day. They make the best wetsuits for women who are serious about surfing.”

A backpacking trip around Europe led to Altman-Siegel attending culinary school, and in turn, stints in restaurants. “I loved working with my hands and moving my body, and freaked out over cool ingredients,” she says. Eventually, she got a job working as a private chef, and the rest is history. Beyond “being fast with a knife and knowing how to cook almost anything,” Altman-Siegel loves that her job allows her to support small local farms, ranchers and fishermen who respect animals and the earth. It also opens up her world. “I value the incredibly broad knowledge and limitless learning that food gives you, from oyster farming practices to mango varieties, to charcuterie technique, to natural wine yeasts, to seaweed harvesting and on and on,” she explains. Besides cooking healthy food, Altman-Siegel works plenty of other wellness-related activities into her routine, including surfing, yoga, a daily gratitude practice and more. And San Francisco is the perfect place to thrive.

“Meditation legends Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach offer a free 40-day class that’s funny, relatable and life-changing and only 10 minutes a day.” soundstrue.com PHOTO: BY JARED RICE FOR UNSPLASH
“Meditation legends Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach offer a free 40-day class that’s funny, relatable and life-changing and only 10 minutes a day.” Sounds True; “Avasol uses natural medicinals and ethnopharmacology to develop its fair-trade sunscreen. It feels great on the skin, doesn’t run into your eyes and stays on aft er extended time in the water.” Avasol Environmental Defense cream pump

“I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” she says. “From the exquisite produce of truly local farms to being deep in the woods looking for mushrooms or other wild edibles within a 20-minute drive, to getting whole salmon straight off the boats at Fisherman’s Wharf or crabs and clams straight from the sea myself, living here is ever-inspiring.”

“Almost every chef has a classic folding Opinel picnic knife. It is sharp, has long edge life and is ridiculously affordable at $15. The mushroom knife takes it a step further with a curved blade to cut foraged edible and medicinal mushrooms, and has a boars hair brush to wipe away dirt.” Opinel No. 08 stainless-steel mushroom knife, opinel-usa.com PHOTO: COURTESY OF BRAND
“Almost every chef has a classic folding Opinel picnic knife. It is sharp, has long edge life and is ridiculously affordable at $15. The mushroom knife takes it a step further with a curved blade to cut foraged edible and medicinal mushrooms, and has a boars hair brush to wipe away dirt.” Opinel No. 08 stainless-steel mushroom knife

RASHEEN SMITH

Flexpower founder and chief product officer Rasheen Smith’s mission—helping people feel better in their daily lives—inspires him to keep pushing forward.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THAYER GOWDY FOR FLEXPOWER

Growing up in South Central L.A., Rasheen Smith was a very active kid. “You would always find me outside—sprinting and racing with other kids up and down the block, playing football, baseball and basketball,” he says. “I also played a multitude of sports in high school, but it wasn’t until my first year of college that I became particularly interested in wellness.”

On days when I ride, I start off with Flexpower Warm to ease the tendinitis in my knee and to loosen up my lower back. Afterward, I take a Soothe bath because the anti-inflammatory arnica is the ideal way to ease back from intense activity to everyday motion.” Flexpower Soothe bath salts with lavender and chamomile, flexpower.com  FLEXPOWER PHOTO COURTESY OF THAYER GOWDY FOR FLEXPOWER
On days when I ride, I start off with Flexpower Warm to ease the tendinitis in my knee and to loosen up my lower back. Afterward, I take a Soothe bath because the anti-inflammatory arnica is the ideal way to ease back from intense activity to everyday motion.” Flexpower Soothe bath salts with lavender and chamomile.

His time at UC Berkeley—where he was involved with the Cal men’s basketball team—exposed Smith to fitness, training and nutrition at a high level, and planted the seed for the company he founded nearly 20 years ago, Flexpower. “The goal was to create a powerful alternative to taking oral medication for pain, in the form of a scent-free cream,” Smith explains.

"The Oov works by activating core stabilizing muscles while also gently extending the spine tostimulate disk lubrication. In the words of my PT, ‘The Oov is cool because you can think about just normal exercises you might do, but once you add an Oov, suddenly it gets much more interesting.’” theoov.com  PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
"The Oov works by activating core stabilizing muscles while also gently extending the spine tostimulate disk lubrication. In the words of my PT, ‘The Oov is cool because you can think about just normal exercises you might do, but once you add an Oov, suddenly it gets much more interesting.’”

“Since my world was heavily centered around sports, the focus was to deliver a potent solution that would help world-class athletes manage pain that came from intense training at a high level.” Over the years, the company has grown exponentially and is used by some of the best athletes and teams in the world, including the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA, Olympic training centers and more.

“Basketball has, for a long time, been my favorite sport, and I have continued playing up until the pandemic” BASKETBALL COURT PHOTO BY JEAN PHILIPPE DELBERGHE FOR UNSPLASH
“Basketball has, for a long time, been my favorite sport, and I have continued playing up until the pandemic” ; “We originally bought a Nintendo Switch as a gift for our three young kids, but then it became a fun fitness tool for the whole family.” Nintendo Switch Ring Fit Adventure

But Smith and his team began to realize that people other than athletes could benefit from using the products, and now the brand is evolving, developing a complete wellness line. “What drives me the most is the fact that Flexpower is truly helping folks get through their day,” Smith says. “Flexpower is providing confidence in athletes that their body is ready to perform at an optimal level... and providing relief for individuals suffering from pain so they can comfortably go for a walk or tend to their garden, activities that many of us take for granted,” he continues. “[It is] helping people sleep at night. All of these things are extraordinarily fulfilling.”


The Tarmac is a 15-pound thoroughbred with great precision handling and electronic shifting, and is a complete joy to ride—all on top of being a stylish and gorgeous bicycle!” Specialized S-Works Tarmac, specialized.com PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
The Tarmac is a 15-pound thoroughbred with great precision handling and electronic shifting, and is a complete joy to ride—all on top of being a stylish and gorgeous bicycle!” Specialized S-Works Tarmac



Photography by: Top to bottom:
PHOTO BY CHRIS HENRY FOR UNSPLASH
PORTRAIT COURTESY OF ANCHOR MEDITATION
PHOTO: BY ELLY FAIRTALE/PEXELS
PHOTO: BY BETHANY PUTERBAUGH
PHOTO: BY STEVEN RATLEY
PHOTO: COURTESY OF BRAND
PHOTO COURTESY OF ALI PFLAUM
PHOTO: BY INES ALVAREZ FOR UNSPLASH
PHOTO: BY KJELL VAN SICE
PHOTO: BY JARED RICE FOR UNSPLASH
PHOTO: COURTESY OF BRAND
PHOTO COURTESY OF THAYER GOWDY FOR FLEXPOWER
FLEXPOWER PHOTO COURTESY OF THAYER GOWDY FOR FLEXPOWER
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
BASKETBALL COURT PHOTO BY JEAN PHILIPPE DELBERGHE FOR UNSPLASH
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRANDS