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April 29th, 2015

The Yoga Of Now

#NowStartsNow by Cora Wen

I started yoga practice as a young corporate banker making my way in the world. It was a way to exercise, focus my mind and direct my stressed out energy. I went for asana, movement and more on the mat, and in my life.

Now, as my practice has matured, I have found that asana has been a pathway to find deeper and deeper states of consciousness and awareness. After 30 years of practice, and 23 years of teaching, yoga is my life within every pore of my being. And my feet have been grounded to earth, as I have raised my arms and heart toward the sky.
Years ago, I came to each practice with fire and determination to “get” the asanas - Chakrasana, Kapotasana, Vrksasana, Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Tittibasana, and the rest of the more difficult asanas. The ones in the “back of the book”.

As the asanas came to me through practice, practice, practice, I have found more ease and stability in holding them longer and with more grace moving in and out. Now, I find myself lingering in the asana, instead of struggling into them.

Now, I can find the time and spaciousness in my chest, side ribs, paraspinal muscles without as much struggle. Though perhaps these days, it takes a bit more time as my body ages and changes. But now, I focus on the breath, the subtle alignment, the way I move into and out of an asana. The journey has certainly replaced the destination on my mat.

Now, I find myself breathing softer and quieter to find the stillness in each moment on my mat., and in my lie. Asana has become an offering to myself, and it is a pathway that leads me back to the seat of my heart.

As my lineage guru B.K.S. Iyengar always said -
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” Now, I have grown older with my practice, and my practice has grown with me.

Yoga has been my teacher, my friend, and my sanctuary for so many years. My practice has held me as I found and lost love, supported my triumphs and my defeats, soothed my heart on countless occasions and pulled me up in crisis and sorrow. Celebrations, disappointments, sukha and dukkha, all these have happened on my yoga mat, as a reflection of life’s journey here and now.

Every day we must come to the mat fresh and open to the practice that exists right now, right here. Every moment is here for us to experience the fullness of our practice, the fullness of our life.

What happens on the mat can reflect into your life, so find time to sit still as much as moving into fierce asana. Find time to move into the quiet and stillness that leads us back to ourselves. Find time to breathe fully and accept each moment as it truly is.

Now starts now.

Cora Wen is an internationally renowned yoga teacher. She lives her life in a manner that is kind. To herself and all beings. Life happens, so she stumbles like all of us, but the practice of meditation and yoga helps her become aware, and aware and aware... Visit her at CoraWen.com, on Twitter @CoraYoga or on Instagram @CoraYoga.

We want to hear about your now – how you are living this moment as your bold, beautiful, wild and true self. Explore off the mat, start something new, put your self out there and share on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tagging #NowStartsNow and @MandukaYoga. You might receive a custom gift of Manduka gear from the new spring collection as our thank you! Learn more here.

April 24th, 2015

A Celebration Of Nows, Part I

Life can be many things – beautiful, messy, sweaty, mysterious, still. But more than anything else, it’s now. Over the past three weeks, we’ve been celebrating your nows – those moments when you turn intention into action, let your heart do the driving, fully show up for everything that’s possible and put your practice into practice – beyond the mat.

#NowStartsNow is your invitation to the moment, and we’re inspired by what you – bright, brave, wild you – do with it. Here are some of your Nows that have inspired us along the way, including Christie McNabb, Liz Sherrer, Christine Durrant, Sarah Crowe, and Priscilla Ann who receive a special suite of Manduka gear as our thank you.



Christine Durant, @ChristineMDurant
Christine Durant
Yes!! Instead of sitting in front of the computer and stressing over my to-do list and then of course not getting any of it done, I biked to work! My bike, Cordelia, and I took a gorgeous trip all over the island I live on and had our first bridge crossing! At the end of the ride I taught a relaxing and loving restorative yoga class to help people close up their week and ease into a new one. I'm so happy that I fought my usual type A tendencies to get everything done that minute and make everything perfect. Instead I enjoyed the moment, got my body moving, and breathed in our salty bay air. Now I'm ready for Monday. #NowStartsNow


Sarah Ashkar
I've been stagnated in my job and am working to secure a new opportunity in a new city. I am scared of a huge change, even though I have made several HUGE changes in my young life. Now I have a child, my partner and I have dual careers to consider, and I feel somewhat settled. I know a change is the right thing for all of us, but getting there is terrifying. Yoga keeps me centered, balanced, and confident. I don't do it as much as I want or should, but I always feel better when I do. I would love some new gear to support my practice and move my family forward. Thanks for the chance. ‪#‎NowStartsNow‬‬‬‬


Misfit Yoga + Wellness
Misfit Yoga + Wellness
Need a little inspiration? Get outside, breath fresh air and open your eyes to nature. Beauty and grace are natural elements out there. #nowstartsnow



Leah Pennington

Leah Pennington
When I am following my heart, I am able to use the strength, compassion and courage I gain on my mat and go out into the world and make a lasting change. Last week I had a great opportunity to attend the Supporting Student Resiliency in Trauma-Sensitive Schools conference. There were some pretty amazing speakers and a national panel of educators all talking about the great changes they have made in schools. Hearing words like mindfulness, restorative practices, trauma compassionate & wellness centers, make my heart skip a beat. A shift is coming and I am so excited to see it happening. Change starts from compassion, it is fueled by passion and it lasts from connecting to others. Follow your passion, follow your heart, #NowStartsNow


@littleislandstudios
little island studios
I have spent years doing what i thought i should, or what everyone else expected of me. It left me lost and lonely. It took a dramatic event to awaken me. I found my passion & continue to move forward & reinvent myself…This is YOUR life. It is YOUR choice. No one will choose for you...and that is a beautiful thing.


Christie McNabb
Christie McNabb
When I originally heard about this contest, I dreamed of extravagant pictures in the woods, beautiful shots of yoga poses at sunrise and the like. But this is the truth of my now, the truth of how my yoga practice keeps me going.

In a year that has been tougher than most, I've experienced temporary homelessness, moving, relying on a bike for my sole transportation, cockroaches and now, in a gracious gift from my neighbor: bed bugs. My sweet, peaceful sanctuary in a crazy world has to once again be packed and bagged and piled. And, although I may sob while I do it, I'm trying to draw on that deep reserve of strength we begin to realize we contain while on the mat, and allow my breath to carry me through.

Here I sit in meditation amongst all my belongings, in trash bags destined for either the dumpster or the laundry mat.

It's not pretty, but it's real.

#nowstartsnow


Heather N, @holyyogiheather
Heather N
#nowstartsnow this is my practice right now. A season of savasana. A knee injury sidelined me 5 weeks ago. The morning of my injury I chose yoga over sleeping in. I had the most grateful & present practice. I was grateful for my body & amazed at what it could do. The night of my injury, as I lay on the snowy sidewalk waiting for the ambulance, I practiced as well. This time with deep, healing, ujjayi breaths. And for the past 6 weeks (and for a few more) I practice savasana. I rest in gratefulness. Grateful for that last "official" practice before I was hurt, grateful for the natural response of my body to use breath I have learned in yoga to keep me conscious & focus through the pain, grateful for a season of rest, and grateful for the coming season of getting back to my favorite asanas. (This photo is my savasana while my knee is being iced after a particularly tough and victorious session with my physical therapist.)


Sarah Crowe
Sarah Crowe
Easter holidays and taking a break from yoga teacher training to be a big kid with my son. Life's to short to be serious all the time, even on my manduka mat the odd laugh appears with a wobble and a face plant which is why I love yoga #nowstartsnow


Elisabeth T. Lilja, @etlyoga
Elisabeth T Lilja
When you wake up in the morning do you tell you tell yourself you are beautiful? Do you tell yourself that you are enough? Do you tell yourself you are absolutely perfect the way you are?
I invite you every morning to place your hand on your heart and tell yourself:
I am beautiful.
I am enough.
I am absolutely perfect the way I am.
This mantra doesn't mean that you can't grow...what it means is you should give yourself more love.
#NowStartsNow


Priscilla Ann, @kauailife
Priscilla Ann
Some #StopDropAndYoga in the middle of preschool P.E. a.k.a. awesome dance party. #BestJobEver #ECELove #NowStartsNow


Yulady Saluti, @yulady
Yulady Saluti
"What time is it?" I asked my son Wyatt. I couldn't see the clock. He said something that I couldn't hear. I got closer and asked again. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and said "It's now Mom." This concept is not new to my house so I shouldn't have been surprised. We talk to our children about the future and the past but are careful to explain that life happens this very moment, right now we say.

Through all of my health problems and surgeries (24) I have learned not to anticipate the future or dwell on the past. If I did that I don't think I would have ever made it. The Now is where I choose to hang out. It's so alive and vibrant here in the Now.

Here's to you my blessed son Wyatt Oscar Saluti.

Happy Birthday to a shining bundle of light and love. Tx you for reminding to suck the life out of each second I am on this earth.

#NowStartsNow @mandukayoga


Maria Laura Aguayo, @malauraaguayo
Maria Laura Aguayo
It takes courage to jump into the unknown, but you don't get to fly if you stand still. #NowStartsNow so take the leap!


Kristen O’Brien, @keobrien12
Kristen O’Brien
Did a short meditation once I got home today to clear my mind and set an intention. Friday and Saturday are my last days of class to become a certified academic language therapist. I have a book report and a huge paper to finish by Thursday. I am so excited for all my hard work to pay off. I can't wait to improve the lives of so many children during my teaching career. #NowStartsNow - I am driven to finish this & start the next chapter of my teacher career. I'm also super excited to drink a margarita on Saturday to celebrate!


Liz Sherrer
Liz Sherrer
We have this amazing opportunity to move to Germany. We have moved a lot throughout our marriage, but this upcoming move has by far been the most complicated. There are so many things we have to plan for, so many thing we have to do in preparation, it is HARD. I have an easy option, I could just not go. But in the end that would cause so much heartbreak, knowing I missed out on an amazing opportunity because it got a little hard.

Manduka (the company that makes my favorite yoga mat) is starting a movement. They are calling it “now starts now.” They are asking people to share what is stirring inside of them, how they are planning on showing up for life – it cannot be coincidence. I feel like I’ve just received the most timely invitation – to live life without fear of hard things, of pain, of disappointment. To live life full throttle with a zest for adventure and a spirit of love.

So with that said I’m going to do the hard things. I’m going to move overseas and live an adventure.

See Liz’s full blog post “I’m Saying Goodbye To A Fear Of Hard Things” here.



Now it’s your turn! We’re reading your stories, tweeting your Tweets and hearting your Instagrams. For three more weeks, we’ll choose five more yogis who share their #NowStartsNow to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new spring collection. Share your now as a post to our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and be sure to tag @MandukaYoga and #NowStartsNow.

Now is your one, wild & true life. What will you do with it?


April 21st, 2015

Now Tastes Good

#NowStartsNow by Whitney & Danielle of Sakara Life

You know when the volume of crazy in your day is so overwhelmingly loud that it leaves you breathless? Or when you can’t stand in line for a cozy cup of coffee (or tea!) without grabbing for your phone? How about when your phone battery dies unexpectedly - are you restless, stressed, and even a little frantic?

Unfortunately, our lives are constantly filled with distractions these days, rather than nourishment. And if there is one thing we’ve learned from living, working, and trying to achieve balance in NYC is how essential it is to nourish the NOW.

A huge part of nourishment is, of course, food– and being conscious of what you put into your body and how this affects every area of your life is integral not only to your health, but also your happiness. We consciously eat to nourish, not to fill emptiness. We consciously create rituals around food, bringing loving presence to the preparation and taste of these building blocks of our bodies. Now tastes good and now feels good.

Nourishing ourselves for optimal health also means investing in our creativity, curiosity, discovery, and relationships. Challenging yourself to learn something new, connecting with a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while, waking up half an hour earlier to spend some quiet time in your body, or resting just a bit longer in Savasana….all of these practices require slowing down, living in the present, and nourishing the now.

The word ‘sakara’ is Sanskrit for “the manifestation of thoughts to things”– bringing what you desire and think into creation. This is our North Star, our home base, and our inspiration– to turn intention into action and help people transform their lives by changing how they nourish themselves.

From food is the enemy to food is medicine; from I will to I am; someday to today. This shift in awareness is the first step in creating everything you desire. It can be a hard first step to take because it requires acknowledging that everything you want is already in you, you just have to make the decision to acknowledge it.

Right now, this very second, you can make the choice– head down in your phone or head up saying hello to the person in front of you. Holding your breath, or breathing. Nourishing your body with clean, whole foods, medicinal herbs, and love.

Your choice, your now.

How will you nourish it?

#NowStartsNow

Sakara Co-founders, Whitney and Danielle, grew up together in the beautiful town of Sedona, Arizona, where they were exposed to the benefits of natural eating and holistic health from an early age. After moving to New York, they knew they needed to share their knowledge with the fast-paced, delivery-loving, eat-outers of Manhattan. Get to know their organic meal delivery system at http://www.sakaralife.com/ and follow their adventures on Instagram at @SakaraLifeNYC.

We want to hear about your now – how you are living this moment as your bold, beautiful, wild and true self. Explore off the mat, start something new, put your self out there and share on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tagging #NowStartsNow and @MandukaYoga. You might receive a custom gift of Manduka gear from the new spring collection as our thank you! Learn more here.

April 21st, 2015

#Nowstartsnow – An Ode To This Moment (And Winning New Manduka Gear)


This moment is a gift.

Yes, this one, reading this blog over lunch, on your commute, in your PJs, wherever you are. It’s a gift that has never happened before. A brand new, undiscovered now – here comes another one, and another, are you seeing these? These moments are what our lives are made of.

So what will we do with it? How will we choose to show up?

#NowStartsNow.

This is your invitation to the moment. We’d like to see what you – bright, brave, wild you – do with it.

Share your now as a post to our Facebook wall, a Tweet to the universe or an Instagram for the ages. Tag @MandukaYoga and #NowStartsNow. Share what’s been stirring inside you for a long time, and where you go when your heart does the driving.

Over the next 6 weeks, we’ll be reading your stories, tweeting your Tweets and hearting your Instagrams. We’ll choose 10 yogis who share their #NowStartsNow to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new spring collection (you can tell us what grabs your eye, or let us choose based on your story), and feature many more here on the blog. So whether you’re applying for your first passport, getting into headstand, breathing through traffic jams or asking for a date, #NowStartsNow.

Life can be many things – beautiful, messy, sweaty, mysterious, still. But more than anything else, it’s now. Here’s to using this one of a kind moment for your one of a kind life.

Practice On,
Manduka


April 16th, 2015

Featured Retailer: Wefit Greece

Came back late from work? have no energy? not eating or sleeping well these days? These can only be excuses keeping you back.

At wefit.gr we want to motivate and inspire people to break their monotonous routines and follow a more active and balanced lifestyle with the end result being a sense a satisfaction and happiness.

Wefit was born a year ago in Athens, Greece by a group of friends willing to challenge their routines and follow their dream.

So the idea was born and the first three services are now complete and operational.
- A news service with original articles relating to fitness, health and nutrition aiming to motivate and inspire our readers
- A fitness directory with over 500 venues in Athens from which you can choose between gyms, clubs and studios where you can practice your sport, hobby or passion amongst similar minded people.
- An eshop where you can gear up with selected products all suitable to support your fitness needs.

Being an online retailer we rarely had the chance to meet and greet our clients but it all chanced since we started to stock the Manduka range. Our customers wanted to see and feel the products. By this way we got to know our clients who soon became our friends that share the same passions as we do, and we love it.

So if you are ever in the neighbourhood don’t hesitate to visit us.