November 12th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Meaghan

Meet Meaghan.

Soon after signing up for yoga teacher training in Costa Rica, Meaghan thought 'wait, am I crazy? This is not what responsible adults do!' Confused and second guessing herself, she began to talk herself out of the training. Then Meaghan got a sign from the universe – she stumbled on a giant billboard advertising a café with the same name as the training site in Costa Rica. She put her doubts to bed that day and hasn't looked back since.

Sometimes we spend too much time in our own heads; for Meaghan, yoga was a way out. Her world happens outside herself now, and her love of travel and cultural immersion has given her an awareness for the desperate need for access to education in countries that have limited resources. Recently, Meaghan got on her bike and rode across America for the organization Playing for Change. raising awareness and funds for schools and music education in developing countries.

Yoga has moved Meaghan to see her purpose of service. She has developed a reverence for her life and the people in it, making a conscious effort to serve people, the planet, and her own spirit.

We loved learning about Meaghan! And we want to learn about you, too. Tell us about yourself on our You Series page:

We can’t wait to meet you!

November 8th, 2012

The Universal Language Of Yoga

By Manduka Ambassador Chip Fieberg

Teaching AcroYoga and Slackline Yoga at the 2012 Korea Yoga Conference in Seoul, Korea was an unforgettable experience that was both educational and thrilling. Since our workshops consisted primarily of Korean students, some of whom did not speak any English, the first thing we had to get used to was working with a translator.

Luckily, we had some practice with how this works during the two weeks prior while assisting Ana Forrest's Advanced Teacher Training at Seoul's Forrest Yoga Studio. We learned that to achieve optimum translations, phrases need to be succinct and free of excessive adjectives. This showed us how little information needs to be actually spoken to convey effective instructions. We also found we had more time to think about our next cues, a luxury only afforded by waiting for a translator finish speaking.

Korean students are extremely polite, enthusiastic, and attentive proving how enriching it can be teaching in a new culture. Despite language barriers we did not have to repeat instructions. People payed very close attention and absorbed concepts easily. We enjoyed their love for taking video and photos during the workshops and at the end of every session, we had a line up of students eager to get their picture taken with us.

The Korean yogis surprised us with which skills they picked up the fastest. We are generally able to advance our material much quicker in AcroYoga classes, than with Slackline Yoga. This was the opposite for the Korean students. Because their culture isn't used to touching each other as much as westerners, there was a lot of giggling and goofing around in the AcroYoga workshops. Once we adapted our lesson plan accordingly, we broke down social barriers and the students had a lot of fun. In the Slackline Yoga workshops, the students advanced very fast and by the end we had most of them doing Warrior poses on the slackline- very impressive indeed!

Teaching on the opposite side of the planet was truly a cherished experience and enriched our lives in a meaningful way. While visiting a country as a tourist can be very enjoyable, immersing yourself in the culture and making close connections with the people who live there through teaching is a profound experience. We are very grateful for our time spent with all our new students and friends, and hope to return very soon.

November 5th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Gigi

Meet Gigi.

When she was 3, yoga was a game of copying mommy on the mat. By the time she was 14, she was going to yoga studios for class. As a high schooler, Gigi was competitive – thriving off the stress and desire to perform. By college, the rush of team sports was over and she needed a new outlet for her focus and energy. She revived her yoga practice, and this time it was much more than a physical experience.

Yoga has been the guiding energy in her lifestyle since then. These days you can find Gigi teaching yoga and spreading the love in one of the most notoriously loveless places in the country – the LA Freeway. Her car sports a custom paint job of inspirational mantras to help calm the mind in even the tightest jams. “You’re Too Blessed to Be Stressed,” “Each One Teach One,” “We Are All One,” and “Be the Change” -- they give people a reason to smile, like a moving meditation even when you're not moving so fast. It's also led to some great red light conversations!

Throughout the years, yoga has helped Gigi and her mom stay bonded, and the student has since become the teacher with Gigi sharing the tools of pranayama, meditations, and restoration with the woman who introduced her to yoga in the first place.

We are so grateful to learn more about Gigi Yogini. And we want to learn about you, too! Tell us about yourself on our You Series page:

We can’t wait to hear from you!

November 1st, 2012

Silence In The Storm

By Caleb Asch

Enlightenment hit me this morning while I was walking the dog. It wasn’t a dramatic thing. I didn’t stop drinking my coffee or walking the dog. It was a quiet realization that I had stopped my compulsive, repetitive, and incessantly negative thoughts.

Let me back up. I woke up having overslept so I couldn’t do my sitting practice, and while I wasn’t late, if I didn’t get sidetracked by anything I could get to the morning yoga class that I teach – on time. I noticed while in the shower how irritated I was with everything; I wasn’t getting what I wanted pretty much everywhere in my life. I was listening to my imaginary story about how I was being screwed over by everybody, and furthermore how they would continue to screw me over until I gave them my ultimatum and walked out! Oh what I would say to these people! Who do they think they are anyway! I could even hear my father’s voice in my head yelling, (he’s ALWAYS yelling) “THESE @#$%@ JUST WON’T LET US LIVE!!!”

So by the time I had gotten through the shower, shave, brushing my teeth, putting on my clothes, kissing my wife and daughter, pouring my coffee, and last but not least, walking the dog, I had a pretty good head of steam going. (Now I know where that expression comes from) I would master my domain by sheer domination. I am the Shadow Warrior! (my signature pose) I would lay to waste any fool that was stupid enough to happen into my way. Oh, and why is the Chihuahua sniffing around too much and peeing too little? Doesn’t he get that I have somewhere I have to be? C’mon, c’mon Melvin let’s get cracking here. I have students to decimate, c’mon get the lead out!

Finally the noise in my head got so loud and had so much momentum that I could step back a little and witness it. So simple a thing to do. So elegant. I am so grateful. The moment I could simple observe my thoughts like they were some body else’s they stopped! I couldn’t not see how self-righteous and angry they were. How self – perpetuating and at war with reality they were. How much of the time I live in that mind set. Blaming everyone and everything else for what’s not working in my life. It’s no wonder I feel like a victim most of the time. That’s the quality of conversation that’s going on in my head!

This morning I witnessed the noise and it dissolved. The noise just ceased. Peace. Freedom. How much easier it is to see just how much I have to be thankful for when it’s quiet. How shimmering blessed this life really is. How I am the source of my experience and no one else. How friendly and totally supporting this reality is.

This moment was brilliant and fleeting. The nature of experience is instantaneous. A pristine moment of now. The trap is to try to re-create it or live it again. To live in the past. Now that I’ve had an experience I know that it’s possible for me. Up until now I had only read about it. (And secretly coveted it) The pitfall here would be to grasp onto and identify with the past, which doesn’t exist and guarantees failure of ever having similar experiences.

Now my practice is to stay “the vigilant guardian of my inner space”. To cultivate and maintain the witness consciousness, and to trust the same process that led me to that moment to begin with.

October 29th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Theresa

Meet Theresa.

Theresa started yoga 11 years ago to help ease the process of quitting smoking. Little did she know that yoga would also eventually lead her to quit her job.

After spending decades as a reporter covering murder trials, Theresa had quite a hardened shell around her. But the consistent yoga practice she developed had started to chip away at the walls she had built up to reveal a softer, more open side of herself. She slowly started to realize that she wanted a major career change – one where she could help people and truly make a difference. After years of practice and training, she is now a Yoga Therapist in her very own studio. Her life now feels light and happy.

Theresa remembers a moment during her Adaptive Yoga for Disabilities training where she watched her instructor align a paralyzed student into Tadasana on her back on the floor, and actually seeing the student experience the pose, even though she couldn’t feel it in the traditional sense. That moment affirmed for Theresa the power of the inner-body experience of yoga. .

We loved learning about Theresa! And we want to learn about you, too.

Tell us about yourself on our You Series page: