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December 12th, 2013

No Rest For The Weary: Ways To Recharge During The Holiday Season

By Dana Damara

As a single momma of two busy young girls, I have had to find ways to recharge daily! Some days I feel like I have entered warp speed time zone and will need an extra slow motion replay in order to see what really happened. The holidays just speed things up a little bit for sure. We can’t slow down time; we can’t manage time; we can’t control what’s happening “out there” but we can manage our energy.

And personally, I like to use “energy management” as opposed to “recharging” because recharging would mean that I am depleted and I try not to ever be completely depleted. It’s nice to catch it before it gets to that point, wouldn’t you agree?

So here goes … a few ideas to manage your energy while the world bustles around you:

1. Get up a little early and meditate. Yes, that is correct. Leave your comfortable bed, wrap yourself in a blanket or robe so there is no complaining, and sit for a bit in the morning. You can breathe, chant, pray, visualize, manifest… whatever you want to do…do it. But claim that morning time for yourself. When you get up early you are empowered and you have said, “I’m in control of my day.” (yes, you can trick the mind with this one.)

2. Eat a healthy breakfast. Mine usually consists of a green juice or a protein shake. And have some tea or warm drink.

3. Do not answer every text, email, Facebook message or tweet as they happen. Listen, this is good advice anyway, at any time of the year but especially during the holidays. A lot of those messages you are getting are scheduled and sent from a computer and is an ad telling you about something you don’t have and need to get this minute. Set up scheduled times when you answer or delete these items and do it only during those times. NO EXCEPTIONS unless it’s important stuff having to do with family members of course.

4. Do something for you at least once a week. Paint your toenails, take a bath, go for a run or a hike, do nothing if you want. And then don’t justify it to anyone. Know what’s important and make a weekly schedule for yourself… make sure you are on it.

5. Read a book or magazine before bed. Do not let the television or the computer be the last thing you look at before you go to bed. Make a “cut-off” time and stick to it. Maybe it’s 10:00pm, maybe it’s 9:00pm. Whatever it is, stick to it and then read, chant, sit with your legs up the wall or cuddle next to your favorite person before drifting off to sleep.

This time of the year can mean different things to different people. For some it brings joy, others sorrow, others anger. Conserve your energy as you head out on a daily basis. You never know who you are going to run into and you want to be awake and alive to it all with grounded feet and an open heart.

Dana Damara

December 10th, 2013

Top 5 Foods To Indulge In During The Holidays

By Rosie Acosta

The key to indulging during the holidays is to enjoy the most decadent, best-textured most divinely delicious foods, be around your most favorite people and just be totally blissed out. Most of the time when we think about indulging we cringe at the thought of the impending food coma. The good news is that it doesn’t necessarily have to end on a bad note. Here are a few foods that you can indulge in without the baggage:

1. Indulge in Laughter: Being a primary food, laughing will not leave you feeling like you over did it. I mean, I've never heard anyone get up from the dinner table and say “Oh man, I really shouldn’t have laughed at that last joke there at the end.. that really put me over the edge..” I know you can’t “eat” laughter, but let me tell you.. Have you ever tried smiling when you’re not feeling well? Or when you’re not having a good time? Its pretty incredible how a little laughter can change any given situation. Being with family and friends can be very exciting or at times highly stressful, but allowing yourself to have a good time regardless of where your at will never end badly. This I can assure you.

2. Get Your Greens In: If its green, and if it’s a whole food then its fair game. Leafy greens, tasty veggies, cruciferous plants can really just make for a very indulgent meal. Sure they may not be as “fun” as pecan pie or chocolate cake but is that really true? {I digress} Cruciferous veggies {say Cruciferous out loud, it’s the best word ever} are great for detoxifying the body. Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Kale are all antioxidant-rich vegetables that aid your body’s natural detoxification system and reduce inflammation. Broccoli for example neutralizes and eliminates toxins while also delivering a healthy dose of vitamins. Broccoli is a versatile veggie so don’t be afraid to dress it with some tasty seasonings like red pepper flakes, olive oil, ghee or curry powder.

3. Enjoy The Citrus: Our citrus friends like grapefruits, oranges and mandarins pack a Sweet, tangy flavor that is fiber-rich, it helps lower cholesterol, prevent kidney stones and aids the digestive system. Adding them to an appetizer salad or just on their own can be a nice treat. Plus it’s a great way to neutralize odd flavors if you’ve been taste testing for a few minutes.. or a few hours.

4. Make Your Own Cheese: I recently got addicted to making cashew cheese. I don’t normally eat dairy but I do miss my cheese. This is a great replacement for the traditional stuff and it has awesome health benefits. Oleic acid, the same fat found in olive oil, is very high in cashew nuts. Eating around an ounce of cashews per week greatly reduces the possibility of gallstones and because they are dense in energy and high in fiber, cashews make a great weight loss aid.

UpWard Frog Cashew Cheese
• 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked in water 2-3 hours)
• 1 lemon
• 2-3 T. Nutritional yeast
• 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt

Soak the cashews for several hours (or overnight) to soften them, drain the water off and add to a food processor or a blender with a few tablespoons of juice from the lemon. Pulse together, scraping away from the sides occasionally. Add in the yeast, salt and any herbs you would like to add.

5. Go for the Hot Chocolate: I opt for this instead of the Egg Nog. The primary ingredients of this traditional holiday delight are milk, cream, and eggs. Dairy products have been known to cause inflammation and have the potential to pack on the extra calories with or without the liquor. Homemade hot chocolate is a much better viable option, using a dairy substitute will be easier on your digestive system. Here is a yummy hot chocolate recipe you can indulge in without feeling guilty.

GO There Hot Chocolate
• 1 C Coconut Milk (Almond, Rice or Soy work also)
• 1-2 T Cacao (to taste)
• 1 T Agave or liquid sweetener of your choice (or more to taste)
• Sprinkle of Cinnamon.

Combine all ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender. The blender will thicken it nicely. You can keep it raw by heating it to about 116 degrees. If you want the traditional variation you can heat as desired.

Being able to live a little and indulge a little this time of year is a real treat. This too is part of our practice, to be able to live a little instead of always abiding by rigid rules. It is a great time to be around loved ones, and to be around those who need a little love from us. Indulging in foods that make us feel good is the key. When we eat foods that don’t make us feel good we are more likely to not enjoy this precious time. So be mindful, be present, and enjoy every single second.

Go for the Hot Chocolate

December 4th, 2013

10 Old Ways To Create A New Sense Of Freedom

By Manduka Ambassador Brian Hyman

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were compiled thousands of years ago as a collection of 196 teachings about yoga. The Sutras are divided into four sections: Contemplation, Practice, Accomplishments, and Absoluteness. Within the Practice portion of this revered yogic text, the yamas and niyamas are discussed.

Yamas are moral instructions; niyamas are self-disciplines. When these 10 timeless lessons are combined and observed, a path toward inner and outer transformation is forged. When the yamas and niyamas are practiced with sincerity, illumination is the reward.

The following interpretations of the yamas and niyamas are drawn from my personal experience as a yoga teacher and student. I have practiced them to the best of my ability in all areas of my life for many years. This has been a path of spiritual progress, rather than spiritual perfection. Fortunately, there is no right or wrong way to practice these ethical precepts and personal observances.

Let us look now at these ancient guidelines as a present-day roadmap to joy, happiness, and freedom. Let us pick up these spiritual tools laid out at our feet and use them to create a gateway to peace. And let us practice these principles in all of our affairs to find balance, serenity, and overall well-being in the present moment, and especially during the upcoming holiday season.

YAMAS

1) Ahimsa – non-violence or non-harm toward all beings, animals, and nature. Ahimsa is to replace violent states of mind with contrary thoughts and actions.

2) Satya – truthfulness or authenticity. Satya is to consider how we speak to others; it is to strive for honest communication at all times. Satya is to no longer keep secrets or tell half-truths.

3) Asteya – non-stealing. Asteya is to not take what is not given, hoard objects, misappropriate affections, or misuse others’ time. It is to not borrow items for prolonged periods, use objects for divergent purposes, or enter into debt.

4) Brahmacharya – proper use of sexual energy. Brahmacharya is to be responsible within intimate relationships; to respect oneself and others. Brahmacharya is to avoid depletion of vital energy, which results in fatigue and inability to focus.

5) Aparigraha – non-greed or non-hoarding. Aparigraha is to not amass goods that are inessential for survival. Aparigraha teaches trust for the abundant nature of the universe. Aparigrahareleases attachments and encourages preservation.

NIYAMAS
1) Saucha – purity or cleanliness. Saucha is to purify the inner and outer body. Yoga and meditation are means to accomplish this objective.

2) Santosha – contentment. Santosha is to abide in a peaceful state, no longer attached to people, places, or things as sources of happiness or disillusionment. Neither success nor failure harms a contented person.

3) Tapas – inner fire. Tapas is disciplined use of energy. Tapas rids impurities from the mind and body. Tapas develops restraint and moderates craving and attachment.

4) Svadhyaya – self-study. Svadhyaya is to cultivate self-awareness. Svadhyaya is to examine individual purpose and discover the Atman, or Inner Self.

5) Isvarapranidhana – surrender to God (or the Divine in infinite forms). Isvarapranidhana is to devote time and energy toward contemplation of God (or the Divine). It is to surrender Egoic thoughts and self-will. When we become one with our Creator, fear no longer exists.

What is your experience with the yamas and niyamas? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Sending blessings of health, love, and light from my heart to yours. Happy holidays!

Namaste.

10 Old Ways to Create a New Sense of Freedom. Blog written by Manduka Ambassador Brian Hyman.

November 1st, 2013

Let’S Go There – Indulge And Onward

Over the past 8 weeks, we’ve asked you to Go There with us. To that place a little outside our comfort zone, where we boldly dare to let ourselves come out to play, explore and grow. To Go There is a powerful thing, and nearly 1,900 of you did through photos shared on Instagram and Facebook.

In this last theme, we explored Going There through self-care: INDULGE. An indulgence is a gift. It restores, uplifts and allows us the peace to play. Here are some of your indulgent moments:

Here is the photo from our winner, @annlevine who won a decadent PRO Squared Mat, blocks, and towels.


@annlevine - Winner!

And here are some of our other favorites!


@courtneyvale


@elyzzi


@4om_shanti_


@5panini_


@picturequeen1lv76


@southcoastyoga


@southeryogi

Now we continue onward, to There. Out and beyond, with a special warmth for the THRIVE, VERVE and EMBRACE that helped us on the path. Feel free to share your thoughts about below.

It’s an honor to be part of your practice.

With love,
Manduka

October 18th, 2013

#Letsgothere And Indulge This Fall

This Fall is about returning to YOU, allowing yourself to indulge and provide that self care that you so greatly deserve. It’s about giving yourself permission to receive, taking in a quite moment and welcoming delicious and decadent goodness into your life, body and practice.

Over the past two weeks we’ve been lucky enough to receive a glimpse of how our yoga community embraces the moment, welcomes life with open arms and proudly accepts and embraces their uniqueness.

Thank you to all who opened their hearts and shared your inspiring stories with us.

Here is a photo of our winner, @Kaysqui embracing herself as a US soldier and yogi and a few of our other favorite #LetsGoThere Instagrams:


@Kaysqui - Winner!


@AnnLevine


@Evayogi


@courtneyvale


@em_edson


@filleduparadis


@jaime_0416


@kati21bug


@lillianjyoga


@mayamina


@mysticbluewave


@nicoleschoettmer


@njcleary


@picturequeen1lv76


@sidneyhawkins


@socialc


@southcoastyoga


@southeryogi


@trigger_happy_sol


@tropicl05

Over the next two weeks, we’d love to see how you pamper yourself and give into your indulgent dreams and wishes. Tag your Instagram photos with #LetsGoThere and @MandukaYoga so we can see your journey. We will be selecting a winner to receive a luxurious home yoga sanctuary of their own – The PRO Squared, two unBLOKs, and two eQua hand yoga towels.

#LetsGoThere and Practice On,
Manduka