May 3rd, 2011
I was blessed with the opportunity to see H.H the Dalai Lama in a lecture series this week. He is such a joyful, loving and truthful spirit! Regardless of the energy of the surrounding environment, there was never not a time where he was acting inauthentically or not speaking from his heart, mind and soul.
There wasn't any smoke or mirrors, or words minced. H.H wasn't afraid for others to see who He is, even when situations weren't going smoothly.
When we are willing to show ourselves fully and completely, we not only create a space for others to let down their guards and open their hearts, but we are also able to see ourselves in each other.
We're able to truly see that we are not really that different after all.. Separation lessens, and true fellowship is created.
I am #practicing being myself(warts and all). What does your Manduka help you practice?
Here's how others are #practicing authentically:
"Consistency. Finding a way to spend time going inside. Every. Single. Day."
"Bloom! Shedding the winter layers and finding the color underneath."
"You help me practice remembrance of my strength and the still space within!"
"At my house we had a day of no TV, no video games, no radio. We spent time outside helping a neighbor with their garden.Some play time at the park. We did our best to have a relaxing yoga session though my 6 yr old son cannot "relax" for more than a minute so we called it jumping bean yoga. Though I didn't get my normal relaxed feeling from my yoga, I got that inner glow that only quality time enjoying my children can give."
Youngmee Ahn Hand
"Wash and hang all my laundry outside for the beautiful sun to dry aswell as sanitize my clothes without having to use energy from machines."
Jen Erickson Strating
"Composting all my veggie/fruit scraps, growing as many veggies as I can, biking or walking to do errands, getting my food locally through a wonderful CSA, being mindful and frugal with energy consumption and spending time in nature honoring this beautiful earth!"
March 14th, 2011
Yogamatters was born in 1996 when yoga teacher, Paul Walker sold yoga mats out of the boot of his car. Today, Yogamatters is the largest yoga retailer, providing yogis worldwide with thousands of products that will help serve their yoga journey.
Yogamatters are committed to offering the best customer service and value for money – delivering almost anywhere in the world to fulfill this. Comprised of practicing yoga teachers (there are seven working at Yogamatters), beginners and long-term yoga lovers, the Yogamatters team actively participate in the yoga community and enjoy sharing their passion for yoga in support of their customers. With such a vast range of yoga practice, experience and styles between them, the Yogamatters team pride ourselves on an integrity and expertise unrivalled in the yoga marketplace.
Although Yogamatters cater to customers all over the world, they also have a shop in North London where many customers while away the day browsing the book collection or testing out mats in the Yogamatters in-house yoga studio. They love meeting their customers, so if you’re in the area do pay them a visit.
2011 marks Yogamatters’ 15th birthday and they’ll be celebrating with special promotions and events throughout the year – why not sign up to their monthly newsletter so you don’t miss out?
February 10th, 2011
Yogashala Stockholm is an autenthic ashtangayoga studio that follows the traditional method as taught in Mysore by Sri K Pattabhi Jois, R.Sharat Jois and Saraswati. Comitted, professional with highly experienced teachers, Yogashala Stockholm is one of the biggest ashtangayoga schools in Sweden. The studio was founded in year 1999 by Maria Boox. Since July 2009 it´s owned and run by the sisters Lisa and Lotta Lalér.
January 4th, 2011
In the spirit of preparing for the New Year, I have been spending more time in my practice dedicated to self-study (svadyaya). I have heard this process of deepening self-awareness described as a process of making the invisible visible. In other words: “What are my patterns (samskaras)? Which ones are serving me? Which ones do I need to change?” Essentially, I am getting ready to make my New Year’s resolution, or in yoga-speak, I’m looking for my sankalpa for the new year.
I have often been amazed at how the yoga practice has helped me on my life path, and on how many levels my practice has given me insight into my samskaras.
On a purely physical level, those new to the practice come face to face with that which was hidden fairly quickly. The posture (asana) practice has a knack for making us aware of our strengths and weaknesses quite quickly. I often see students who find a strength in their practice and want to work on their strengths every time they practice. Many students also prefer to avoid or neglect working on some of their weaknesses. We also tend to, while avoiding weaknesses, sacrifice proper alignment in order to get “deeper” into a pose. We tend to exploit openings and focus on destinations, usually to the detriment of the quality of our breath and other parts of body that often could use more attention. But many of us, over time, also realize that the recognition of these weaknesses, our acceptance of them, and our willingness to work with them, are at the very heart of a yoga practice that is beginning to gain depth. “Sthiram sukham asanam.”
These physical samskaras are easier to identify and address. Where yoga has a largely hidden value is in addressing the more subtle subconscious patterns. Yoga also helps to make the invisible subconscious patters visible and then provides us with the tools, similar to the asana practice, to reshape and re-pattern these, as well.
As a mindfulness practice, the yoga practice helps us observe our mind’s patterns. First, we begin to recognize our narratives on the mat. Then as our practice expands into our lives, our narratives out in the world become more apparent. At least this has been my experience. Some patterns I had, I had become resigned to. I didn’t know how to address them. I simply thought that that was the way I was. It wasn’t until I was presented with the tools to work with my patterns that I realized that I could change long standing behaviors. My first teacher, Yogi Vishvketu taught me that to change a behavior, we need to foster an opposing behavior. In other words, to get out of your rut, create new ones, more positive ones. If you find yourself in conflict with others put yourself in service to people. If you are stuck in your head, move through your heart. Karma Yoga.
As for changing the way I think, changing behaviors will help shift thought. But to eliminate the kernel of the initial thought, the source of the behavior, yoga offers an even more subtle tool. My guru, Rod Stryker, has taught me that mantra is the means by which we can shift on a deeper, more subtle level, the very seeds of our thoughts. Plant positive seeds so that they may take root and alter the landscape of your mind. There are many kinds of mantras. Some, japa-mantras, are given to us by our teachers, these remain secret and have a particular purpose in our practice. Others are mantras we can choose to help us affect change in areas of our lives where we need a shift.
You see, we all have many mantras already. Many of us say: “I can’t”, “I won’t”, “I hate” or something that puts us into a negative or defeated mindset. Others among us fall into habitual patterns like the need to feel wanted, special or even the need to be against. These are attitudes which keep us invested in or attached to the ego and often focused on difference rather than union.
Whatever your own mantras are, we lay the groundwork for our thoughts and behaviors through these kernels or seeds that grow and infect our days and our lives. Adopting a new positive mantra to help you shift a behavior can serve a purpose in shifting your attitude towards those around you, which can in turn affect those around them. Mantra can help you be the change you wish to see in the world.
The mantra I have decided to begin my day with and share with my classes to spread more happiness and peace for the new year is: “LOKAH(HA) SAMASTA(HA) SUKHINO BHAVANTU” – “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words and actions, of my own life, in some way, contribute to their happiness and freedom.”
My experience with mantra is that, fundamentally, most of them point to the same truth: Through love and understanding for ourselves and others, we come to the realization that we are all divine. Yoga.
Here’s to a successful new year sankalpa!
January 4th, 2011
A very ‘off the mat’ piece in today’s Colorado Springs Gazette on slowing down. “Can you go slow when you’re back in your work pants and heels? Can you breathe deeply when you have to wait through three cycles of a traffic light?” We completely understand – this takes #practice.
The lone Indian in yoga class. Did you hear this fascinating piece on @MorningEdition today?
‘The sweet simplicity of OM’ - @Yoga Journal blogs remind us to keep it real and come back to what matters.
Today we practice gratitude – telling the people in our lives how much they mean because gratitude only does good when it is expressed. What does Manduka help you #practice?
‘Extreme Yoga Positions’ in today’s @LA Times. Love the amazing things the human body can do. If photo 10 looks familiar, it’s because Manduka was there. Some images are ‘extreme’ because of contortionism, some are extreme because of who or where they feature. Still beautiful to look at.
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