September 29th, 2014
Over 1,800 of you have shared your yoga so far. You have opened your hearts, thought deeply and gotten extremely creative. Just have a look at this hashtag in your Instagram or Twitter feed or see what people are sharing at Manduka.com/thisismyyoga to see the range of ideas, energies and especially joys.
Keep going, because this is our time to talk. We’re flowing from asana to rawsana: real honest conversation about what yoga is and how it can help us create the beautiful world we want to live in. This is less about digging into our hamstrings and more about digging into our heartstrings.
Here are some of the things you shared last week:
@livinglifeupsidedown (Kelli Davis, who, as a thank you for sharing her story, will receive a suite of gear from our new Fall Collection, plus a gift for @marlakasilag who tagged Kelli, and @pauladhy and @lizlovelaugh, who she tagged next.):
My yoga... I was searching for the perfect words...there is no such thing in yoga. My yoga is not perfect but it doesn't have to be. Yoga to me is love, kindness, non-judgemental, happiness, authentically caring, and learning to let.it.goooo. Let all the shit go. For me personally, I love the strength that come with the asana (pose) practice part. I wouldn't be on this yoga journey if I didn't step into that one yoga class that taught me my first arm balance. My yoga is changing. I am learning to breathe, to be still, to love, to meditate, all these wonderful things beyond the asana and it's pretty freaking amazing.
@blackbearsongwn (Jolene Rachelle)
My yoga is tuning into the eternal rhythms of life that move my breath, my body, the seasons, the planets, the universe. It's showing up on my mat to release the fears and inadequacies that hold me back from showing up in my daily life with love in my heart and light in my eyes. It's being broken open over and over and over again and accepting with grace what I find in those broken places. It's learning that physical and emotional strength and flexibility cannot be separated and that the deeper I move into the asanas, the deeper I move into myself, and the deeper I move into myself the deeper i move into love. And I think at the core of it all that's my yoga; the practice of love, and the realization that in the end that's all there is. We dance with the light and we dance with the dark and in the end it all just goes back to love.
@nerguita (Laura G)
For me yoga is not a pose, it's a journey with my body, it's not a perfect asana, it's the daily lesson of learning how to read, listen and understand my mind, my thoughts, my emotions, my balance in the physical, and the subtle energy of my soul... It means accepting the gift I receive in my mat, accepting what happens inside myself and specially accepting what goes on the outside.. Yoga means patience, energy, quietness and abstraction, it means concentration and focus, it means I can control my mental screen, what goes in and what I need to remove, it means let go, it means inhale and exhale, it means a smile and a mouth shut, it means being humble, it means health in my mind, my body and my soul .. It means so much in the mat and way too much out of the mat.
@mango_twee (Thuy Dockendorf)
Yoga to me is gratitude. Its the practice of kindess, patience, love, compassion, and understanding. It is the candle that lights up the darkness within me. It is a service to be better toward myself and toward others. It is the mouse that clicks the close button on all the tabs I have open in my brain. I used to be lost and incredibly insecure till I started my practice. I was afraid to be vulnerable and now I am no longer afraid to be broken open. Yoga for me is choosing love over fear and knowing to trust myself and my abilities. I am incredibly grateful I found my practice and my passion.
@rosieacosta (Manduka Ambassador Rosie Acosta)
1. El amor existe. 2. Amo mi carrera 3. Amo construir el amor 4. Amo estos chocolates #thisismyyoga
(translation: 1. Love exists. 2. I love my work. 3. Love begets love. 4. I love these chocolates. #thisismyyoga)
My favorite practices take place at home, moving my body wherever it wants to go, stopping to appreciate the love around me. And my yoga is letting go of perfection, not freaking out if my arm looks fat or my back isn't straight or my hair is messy. It's being in the moment, feeling what I feel and rolling with whatever comes up.
@cherylmyoga (Cheryl Maslar)
Yoga helps to keep me grounded and focused. Yoga challenges me to keep growing both on and off of the mat. Yoga helps me to not be so hard on myself and to realize that I am a work in progress. Yoga makes me feel strong, calm, playful, balanced and humble ( among many other things). Yoga gives me the opportunity to help others.
@yogi_in_the_pines (Hilary Andrews)
#thisismyyoga | 6 months ago I was struggling to figure out who I was and what I really wanted out of life. I was facing big decisions without any hope or confidence in myself. I knew I had to change something. I had always wanted to try yoga but never could find the time. I stumbled across a documentary on Netflix called "Yoga Is" and started following the beautiful @laurasykora and @kathrynbudig on IG and realized I needed to MAKE the time. So for a month I took a beginners foundation course at @hotasana in Southern Pines, NC and began my awakening. Yoga is more to me than flexibility and burning calories (although I love those things too). It's about surrender. My yoga is accepting my flaws, accepting the things I can't control, and finding peace with it. My yoga is for my daughter: building MY confidence and self-love so that SHE grows up to love herself for everything she is. My yoga has brought me strength, courage, and, most importantly, my path. I am so grateful and happy I have found an amazing community to share my passion with!
@michmcm (Michelle McManus)
Turning frowns upside down since the beginning of time. I always remember this moment when life gets cray and things get wack.
@sarahtvrussell (Sarah TV Russell)
Sharing the passion for outdoor adventure and instilling the urge in my daughter to #strikeapose anywhere #thisismyyoga
@jmeltz (Jessica Meltzer)
Yoga is my home away from home. Brings me the comfort and calmness that little else can. I'm a (may-juh) work in progress, but aren't we all?
Join us! Share your real yoga on Instagram or Twitter with tag #ThisIsMyYoga. Show your community what your practice is really about, and tag another person to share theirs and keep the conversation going.
We’ll continue to select one yogi every week to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new Fall Collection, plus gifts for the yogi who tagged them and the yogi they tagged next.
September 22nd, 2014
It’s time to talk – and the conversation has begun. All week you’ve been sharing what YOUR yoga really means. You cracked the surface, dug in, reflected and connected to something amazing.
This is what happens when we peel back the layers and put our practice into practice. Thousands of us came together to bring #ThisIsMyYoga to life. When we break through the noise that distracts us from what really matters, on and off the mat, this is what it looks like…
“This is where I come to clear the chaos in my mind. This is where I find my patience as a mother when it just isn't coming naturally. This is where I come to laugh at myself, honor my body, lay down emotion, and shed my tears. It is here that I accept the things I cannot change. This is where I have learned and continue to learn to speak less, listen more, and consider other viewpoints. This is where I learn to breathe. This is where I find my strength AND my weaknesses, and try to find balance between them. This is where I have learned to look at myself in the mirror and feel happiness. This is the coal to my fire. I am a trailblazer in the heavy brush that is life. This may not be a traditional path, or practice, but it is my own. Therefore, this is perfect. This is my yoga.”
“For me, yoga isn't just a way to see what the body is physically capable of doing on the mat. It's also about taking what I've learned mentally through practice and applying it to everyday life. The heart feels more full yet open, the mind is more aware and accepting and the feelings of gratitude and love are constantly overflowing both to and from others.”
DJ Townsel (from the NFL!), @dade2shelby
"Yoga is a way to tap into a spiritual, physical, and mental deposit that I didn't think was accessible when playing football or weightlifting. Yoga allows me to unify my mind, body, and soul. Mentally focusing on becoming a better person, physically focusing on becoming a moving work of art, and spiritually focusing on becoming a contagious inspirational force of energy that can positively impact the lives of others. A feat that I just knew wasn't possible 2 years ago, I have proven myself and others wrong by breaking the so-called "limitations" of what a man with my background, race, and physical stature is capable of. Yes, a black man from the hood that plays football and lifts weights daily is capable of being a force of spiritual energy that can twist and bend his body with the best of them. It is possible for me, and YES, IT IS POSSIBLE FOR YOU! Just believe in yourself. The body achieves what the mind believes!!!!"
“Love isn't something you do, it is something you are. Because love is a way of being. It is a way of showing up in each and every moment of your life, present and grateful for being apart of something much bigger than yourself. When you are love, you attract love.”
"I was trying to think of a fancy inversion pose to post, but when I really think about what yoga means to me, it's not a fancy asana. I came to yoga as a way of quieting the vicarious trauma of my work as a social worker & rape crisis counselor. Being on the mat and focusing on my breath allowed my body & brain to heal. The more I moved physically on my mat, the more I learned about myself and how we can transform trauma into energy for the fight against injustice and oppression. This led me to yoga teacher training which has led me back, full circle, to trauma work. Yoga is healing. Yoga is empowerment. Yoga is a radical way of making us whole again; quieting the outside world so we can dive inward, making space for us to connect with our true selves and our community. While I love me a fancy inversion pose, my yoga spans beyond the mat, into the real world to help heal others."
Jesse Roberts @jesseroberts108
“Did you know about 40% of our Navajo Indians on the reservation live without tap or toilet in their homes? The water they do have easy access to is loaded with Uranium. You don't just ignore things to make them go away, you help make people's lives better. I am helping bring easy access to clean water to our Native American Indians. #thisismyyoga @mandukayoga @digdeepwater”
Jessica Biel, @jessicabiel
“To me Yoga means finding balance between taking yourself seriously and not seriously at all!”
Judy Greer, @missjudygreer
“#thisismyyoga hanging with this beast makes me so calm, happy and relaxed. Even when he farts.”
Christy Turlington, @cturlington
“I love asanas & mudras like the ones in this photo by #irvingpenn for #Vogue but to me yoga is about so much more than the physical. Yoga is union with all things, Self, All Other Beings and Nature.”
Laura Sykora @laurasykora
"At first yoga was strictly a physical practice or "way to exercise" for me... Also, I'd be lying if I didn't say, it was a way to learn some really cool stuff. As I've moved forward in my yoga practice off the mat, it has also given me strength and confidence that I never knew existed within me. I've developed FAITH in myself where there once was not a lot. Yoga has taken me out of my comfort zone and has molded me into the person I am today... A better person, wife, mother, friend, teacher... It has taught me to let go of a lot of bull that I've held onto over these years. It has taught me to BE ME... And to BE ME PROUDLY! Yoga makes me feel like a super hero everyday... One who can tackle anything in life and come out on top with a smile. #ThisIsMYYoga"
Jessica Glines, @jessicaglinesyoga
"25 years ago today, my sister passed away in an auto-bike accident. The following spring, the middle school we attended planted this tree in her honor. Thanks to a daily yoga and meditation practice this past year, I re-opened parts of my heart that had been closed since that day. I uncovered anger, sadness and grief that had been hidden in those dark corners of my heart. I realized that I had spent most of my life living in a state of fear. It hurt like hell to open my heart and I've felt the physical pain of scar tissue receiving breaths fresh air. I've shed more tears on my mat than I can count. Clearing out those cobwebs made space... I have felt more love and joy than I can remember. I am grateful. For healing. For love. For joy. For my heart. My dear friends, be grateful for your heart. Honor every single emotion you feel. Each one has its purpose."
Rocky Heron, @yogawithrocky
“#thisismyyoga: THE WILLINGNESS TO MAKE THAT WHICH SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE, POSSIBLE... AND HELP OTHERS TO DO THE SAME. This dear woman attended my presentation at the a Mega Event in Japan and seemed in complete disbelief of her ability to practice handstand when I presented the possibility. I came down into the crowd to show her it was possible, and the joy she experienced and the celebration that ensued amongst her community of fellow participants was incredible to witness. This truly is my yoga. I have also dreamed of traveling the world for some time now and finding ways to share and connect with cultures outside of my own, but this too has seemed somewhat impossible without knowing just where to begin and even if I was capable. This year has shown me that this dream is a possibility and that I do have what it takes to be of value to people around the world, and that despite language and cultural differences, the gift of yoga is one that can impact and benefit everyone.”
Bogie T. Bulldog @bogiethebulldog
“@ninitta walked in on me mid #downdog and was like, ‘what are you doing?’ And I was like, ‘dude, Mom, #thisismyyoga.’”
"#thisismyyoga …When I arrived in Saratoga, the first thing that I did was walk into a yoga studio and it quickly became my temple. I started to breathe my way through my constant anxiety; I started to strengthen parts of my body that had become weak over the years; repair my organs. I started to clear the constant chatter in my head and I started to feel like a whole person again. The practice, the philosophy, and the gift of yoga slowly started to take over my life as I started to replace all my bad habits and negative thinking patterns with new, healthy ones. I started to enjoy taking care of myself and my relationships with others strengthened."
"Yoga is healing. Through difficult situations I have been able to maintain balance around the center of the emotional spectrum instead of dropping into the extremes because of yoga. By incorporating the practice into my life through asana, breath work, meditation and the idea that yogic principles can be weaved into all aspects of my life, on and off the mat, my head, heart and soul have healed. With asana I find stability, strength and grace that I do not find elsewhere in my life. With pranayama and meditation I find balance, energy and peace that I can incorporate into all aspects of my life. In taking my practice off the mat I find connectedness, love, patience and compassion that have changed me in ways that I never imagined. #thisismyyoga @mandukayoga Thank you, Heidi, for asking me to participate @heidiyogi. Kellie, please share your yoga @doodledog."
"#thisismyyoga – a fun way to work out. "
(and IN, we always say!)
Mchelle, we were so moved by your story that we’d love to gift you with a suite of Manduka gear, as well as send gifts over to Heidi, who tagged you and Kellie, who you tagged next.
Join us! Share your real yoga on Instagram or Twitter with tag #ThisIsMyYoga. Show your community what your practice is really about, and tag one other person to share theirs and keep it going. Let’s open our awareness together and dust off those values we may have forgotten beneath all the tangible and intangible Stuff.
As a thank you for taking this conversation forward, we’ll continue to select one yogi every week to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new Fall Collection, plus gifts for the yogi who tagged them and the yogi they tagged next. Read more about #thisismyyoga on our last blog.
You can follow the #ThisIsMyYoga thread on our Instagram. Feel free to tag us at @mandukayoga when you share – we’re looking forward to joining you for another week of reflection. Let’s get back to the root, together.
September 14th, 2014
It’s time to talk.
Something has been brewing inside many of us for a while. We know you feel it, and so do we. Consider this: if an alien visited Earth to report back on what yoga is, what would they say?
That it’s moving your body around on a rubbery rectangle until you get sweaty? Or balancing on your forearms with your legs behind your head, going to sleep, rolling over and wiggling your toes? Maybe yoga is a heated discussion about stretchy pants and selfies and green juice.
Is this really what we want to stand for as a global yoga community or is this all we want the world to think yoga is?
It’s time to reflect and connect. What is your yoga? Is it peace under pressure or gratitude over grievances? Is it watching your baby grow up or choosing to love what you see in the mirror? Let’s talk about what yoga is – to all of us.
Share your real yoga on Instagram or Twitter with tag #ThisIsMyYoga. Show your community what your practice is really about, and tag one other person to share theirs and keep it going. Let’s see what it looks like when we stretch into our hearts more than our hamstrings.
As a thank you for taking this conversation forward, we’ll select one yogi every week to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new Fall Collection, plus gifts for the yogi who tagged them and the yogi they tagged next. All of the season’s new gear is inspired by this very desire to reflect & connect as a global yoga community. The metallic mats that reflect light, the performance towels that grip to what matters, the bags that carry our practice into the world. They all came from this idea of putting our practice into practice.
You can follow the #ThisIsMyYoga thread with Manduka Ambassadors on our Instagram. Feel free to tag us at @mandukayoga when you share – we’re excited to witness what happens next.
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.
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