December 31st, 2013
Hello to 2014 and 365 wide open, brand new possibilities – a fresh start we can make into whatever we want. We’re setting a New Year’s intention to help us put old lessons into new action, and there is no better place to let an intention come to life than on your yoga mat.
So today we ask you to make a matifesto for 2014 – the declaration you can take to your mat and let guide you through the year. What do you want to manifest in your life? To trust more? Find courage? Be a present parent? We want to support you. So declare it right now. Write it down in permanent ink. Then say it out loud every day. Because this is the year to take your mission into your practice and off the mat. It’s time for all of us to Live what MATters.
50 yogis who share their matifesto will receive a hand towel from the new yogitoes We Are One collection that’s launching next week! With your permission, we might also publish your story at Manduka.com, on Facebook or through our media partners.
So get those matifestos flowing, you’ve got yourself (and potentially millions of people) to inspire. We’re here if you have any questions.
Happy New Year,
December 26th, 2013
By Manduka Ambassador, Dana Damara
I love the holidays … I love decorating the tree, baking cookies with my daughters, pulling out holiday lights, lighting candles, the smell of pine cones and evergreen, pumpkin pie spice and the quietness at the end of the day that ends so early.
When I was a kid I loved baking with my mother, making decorations with my grandmother, eating homemade everything and running around the house with my cousins. I grew up around the corner from my “Auntie” and about six blocks from my grandmother. The holidays started the weekend before Thanksgiving and didn’t end until after the last football game was over on New Year’s Day.
I think that the holidays were the best part of my childhood. I was raised Catholic Italian in a family that was loud and boisterous. My grandmother’s home always smelled like spaghetti sauce and garlic, and when the holidays began it was a flurry of connecting, cooking and chaos. Actually it was always like that, holidays or not.
In the basement, my grandfather encased sausage and boiled live crab. Upstairs in the kitchen, my grandmother rolled out her homemade pasta, had her sauce going on the stove, basted the turkey in the oven, tended to the ham in the garage and us kids had to set the table and chop vegetables. My mother and my aunts talked and laughed a lot!
I can remember music playing, grown ups dancing, food and lots of wine. My grandmother sipped from the same glass of wine all day that had melting ice cubes in it. She had a house-coat for every meal, Jesus and Mary medallions around her neck, a Kleenex in her bra and her glasses on top of her head.
My family danced together, we laughed together, we teased each other, we fought loudly and we loved fiercely. We didn’t need the holidays to have a great time, the holidays just amplified everything.
There were several of us “little ones” who played pool, jumped on the beds, ran around outside without a coat, and played board games in the quiet of someone’s bedroom until we all fell asleep, usually on top of each other in one big bed.
A lot has happened since those days and times have changed. However, every holiday season comes and I feel the love from that time fill my heart. I can smell my grandmother’s homemade sauce, hear her voice singing in Italian while she worked in the kitchen.
I don’t “do” the holidays like my grandmother did; I wouldn’t even try! She was amazing! And unfortunately, I don’t have the opportunity to see my family over the holidays either. But the love I experienced during that time in my life fills me with such joy and gratitude.
Families move, they break up, they break down, they shift and they change. For many years I lived by the credo that “Your family can be one of blood or choice – either way, you have family.” I did this because when my family broke down I rebelled, I moved away, I made my own “family” and I did this to survive the pain I felt when all of that “connection, cooking and chaos” ended.
Now, some twenty odd years later, several thousands of hours on my mat, and at least hundreds of hours in church, I hold my family in my heart… my blood family. The ones that brought me into this world, that can trigger me and that love me unconditionally, even if I didn’t know that for years.
This year, give thanks for your family – the one that holds the reflection of who you were, who you are and maybe even a nugget of who you are becoming. There is nothing like family, nothing. When we deny our family we are denying our greatest gift. You needn’t see them, hang out with them, spend holidays with them – you can just love them.
December 17th, 2013
By Patti Cocciolo
The holidays are officially here – Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are just behind us, and Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner.
It’s easy for your yoga practice to lapse this time of year – it’s hard to find time to unroll your mat with so much going on. If you practice in the morning, a warm cozy bed can be hard to leave. If evening practice is your thing, holiday parties, shopping or increased workload often take priority. And if you travel at all over the holidays, all bets are off.
But here’s the thing – now is when you need your practice the most. It’s what will keep you peaceful when Aunt Bernice gives you yet another “hand crafted” macramé snowflake sweater or when your boss dumps a pile of work on you, Scrooge-style, on Christmas Eve. But if you can’t get to class, and a full home practice seems daunting, what’s a yogi to do?
Here’s a suggestion: choose something simple, whenever and wherever you need it. It might not be your whole practice, but it will connect you to your regular practice in a way that can be really powerful. Here are just a few examples to get you through the holidays, and tide you over until everything calms down a bit:
1. Sama Vritti Pranayama: This practice of even breathing (literally translated as “same breathing”) is a great starting point to find balance. The theory being, that if you can find evenness and balance in the breath, the mind will follow. And it’s super simple. In a seated position (at your desk or on a plane, train or automobile) or even standing (in line at the grocery store, or waiting for that plane, train or automobile…), find a long torso and spine. Now, breathe in for a count of five; breathe out for a count of five. Repeat. If counting is not your thing, chose a word or mantra to focus on, just make sure it’s the same on the inhale, as on the exhale. Taking just a few rounds of this breath can bring calm and clarity immediately, and you can literally do it anywhere, for any length of time.
2. Ardha Surya Namaskar: A few Half Sun Salutes can get your blood moving and get you focused again. Here’s the key: allow the breath to initiate each movement as you go through the linked poses. When we’re busy, our breath can get shallow and kind of lost – like it’s chasing after our body, trying to catch up. Give the breath a few minutes to be back in charge, and you’ll find your center again in no time. An added bonus? It takes only slightly more room than Tadasana. If your cubicle is big enough to stand in, it’s big enough for a half sun salute.
3. Prasarita Padottanasana C: In general, forward folds can relieve low back pain and calm the mind. In this version of the wide legged forward fold, the fingers are interlaced behind the back to aid in the opening of the shoulders, and the release of the head and neck. Try this after too many hours hunched over your computer, or standing behind a register at work. It’s also handy if you’ve just run past 10 gates at the airport, pushing a double stroller, with a giant toddler car seat slung over each arm. Just sayin’.
4. Apanasana and Simple Twist: When you finally hit the hay at night, even if it’s hours past your bedtime, give this one a go. Moving slowly, hug your knees into your chest, and let your knees fall to one side. Slowly bring them back up, and then let them fall to the other side. This simple action releases low back tension, aides in digestion, and it just plain ol’ feels good. It you practice Sama Vritti here too, it can ease an agitated mind and get you off to sleep a little faster.
5. Forward Fold: When it all gets to be too much, fold inward. You can pick your favorite: Paschimottanasana, seated, with your legs straight in front of you; Janu Sirsasana, seated, with one leg folded in to the midline; Uttanasana, a standing forward fold. And then there’s always sweet, delicious child’s pose. Whichever asana you choose, lead with your heart and bring your focus inside. This will keep the world at bay, even if just for a moment. Close your eyes to remove visual distractions and bring you even deeper into your center. Sama Vritti is dreamy here, too.
The most important thing to remember is that your yoga practice is exactly that: YOUR yoga practice. Find simple movements, asanas and pranayama to keep you connected to what you value most from your time on the mat. That should be enough to sustain you through the holidays and into the New Year.
Happy holidays, everyone! XO
December 16th, 2013
Fine Yoga (FineYoga.com) – Owner Sherri Rao (mainland China). Co-Founded by Anders Baadsgaard Pedersen (Andy).
- Our website has 1000+ unique visitors/day.
- Founded in 2002 by Sherri Rao (China) & Anders Baadsgaard Pedersen (Andy) (Denmark).
- 2 studios in Beijing (capital of China): Blue Castle and CBD Van Palace.
- 1 retreat center in China’s central Hubei province (FineYogaRetreat.com)
- 1 chinese online video channel (tv.fineyoga.com) with 600 members and 1000+ views per day.
- 1 chinese Taobao on line shop.
Total 20 teachers in the 2 Beijing studios.
Blue Castle: 650 SQM / 4 class rooms (incl. 1 flex room). Largest room holds 60 practitioners. Lobby. Dressing rooms w showers.
RETAIL space: 20 SQM possible to expand. In connection with our lounge lobby.
Studio location: Just opposite Beijing’s premier upmarket ShinKong shopping center. Beijing’s central business district.
CBD Van Palace: 800 SQM / 4 class rooms. Largest room holds 40 practitioners. Lobby. Dressing rooms with showers.
RETAIL space: 25 SQM possible to expand. In separate room / lounge next to lobby.
Studio location: Just opposite Kerry Center and World Trade Center. Bejings central business district.
Fine Yoga Retreat Center: 5000 SQM / 5+classrooms. Largest room holds 100 practitioners. Hotel room- and bamboo hut accommodation with private facilities for 180 people. Restaurant, Lounge, Reception, Lobby. RETAIL space 50 SQM possible to expand.
Retreat Center location: Hubei province (near Wuhan) The center is sitting in a bamboo forest surrounded by own lotus fields and with a view to its private lake.
Fine Yoga has around 1000 members in each of the two Beijing studios. And we have 5000 Yoga students from any corner of the Peoples Republic of China in our mailing list. Those 5000 Yoga students have participated in our workshops and/or our TTC (YA & IYF registered). Our TTC is currently the largest in China with about 50-100 people attending every month. We are very proud of our TTC and know that Fine Yoga graduates are first choice as teachers in other studios across China.
Workshops: Since the birth of Fine Yoga we have invited world renowned Yoga teachers to give workshops in China. In 2014 we are going to run workshops with more than 11 International top class teachers. Those workshops primarily attract Yoga teachers from all over China. Fine Yoga is a strong and very important education base of Yoga in China. We have a strong Ashtanga foundation but are running courses in almost all main Yoga styles. Fine Yoga is a diverse Yoga school welcoming all with a big smile.
Retail / wholesale:
Fine Yoga is both retailer and wholesaler for Manduka. (ref.June Pai / Sky Meltzer).
Clothing: Fine Yoga is currently selling the brands: Easy Yoga, Fashion Yoga, Life Yoga, BD Yoga and Yoga Hyde. Sales are primarily generated by our studios and retreat. Every month our TTC course pulls hundreds of fresh faces from all over China into our retail spaces. We believe that we have the largest clothing/mat sales volume of any Yoga studio in China.
From time to time a friend of ours has taken Lululemon clothes from Hongkong to our shops. And stock always sold out within a day or two. Therefore we know that Lululemon and the Lululemon quality/design is in great demand.
DVDs and books:
Sherri Rao has translated several DVDs and one book. In our shop we sell the Ashtanga Yoga book by John Scott, John Scott’s Ashtanga DVD, David Keil’s two Yoganatomy DVDs and Jennifer More (Wolfe) Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga DVD. All translated by Sherri Rao.
We do not plan to produce our own brand of Yoga products. We always go for the original and that is what our students like.
Blue Castle studio, Beijing:
CBD Van Palace studio, Beijing:
Fine Yoga Retreat, Central China:
Om & Kind regards
Sherri Rao & Anders Baadsgaard Pedersen (Andy)
www.FineYoga.com / www.FineYogaRetreat.com / info@FineYoga.com / +86 139 1176 7529
December 12th, 2013
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.
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