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August 13th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Jenn


Meet Jenn.

Jenn has no idea why she started practicing yoga so many years ago.

One day, she wandered into a yoga class at her university’s gym, and admits that at first she didn’t really like it: “All the things the teacher was asking me to do seemed entirely out of reach. Still my mind? Twist like what? Stand on my arm and head? What the? But for some reason I kept going back, and I kept unfolding and growing and after awhile I stopped doing yoga and yoga started doing me.”

These days, Jenn’s yoga practice is a "luscious love." She is heavily involved in Africa Yoga Project, an organization bringing jobs, improved health and leadership training to Africa's urban slums. What was supposed to be one teacher assistant opportunity at a Baptiste teacher training in Kenya in 2009 revealed her passions and new purpose. At a recent fundraising event in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Jenn helped raise over $50,000 for Africa Yoga Project and Children’s Hospital, someone told her it was the most inspiring day of their life. That moment brought everything into a new light.

Her practice has given her patience, deeper relationships, unexpected lessons everyday and maybe most surprisingly, a job! We loved getting to know Jenn, and we'd love to meet you too. Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page:Manduka.com/You

Every week we're sharing the story of another real yogi in our blogs, emails and even magazines. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here. Or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka

July 30th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Jennifer

Meet Jennifer.

She completely accepts herself. Acknowledges her insecurities, bares her flaws and loves them all. But it didn't used to be like this. That kind of self realization comes with practice.

For all that yoga has added to her life, maybe the most significant is what it took away: the judgment. "The first time I didn't judge myself based on those around me, the first time I practiced fully on my mat, fully with my breath. All of that came together in a moment I didn't grasp until I left the class and realized I didn't judge myself for a full 90 minutes."

She may have started yoga "to look like Madonna, of course," but her yoga became her path and her practice eight years ago, when she was both a new mom to her baby daughter and a daughter to her mom dealing with ovarian cancer. She learned a lot about the circular nature of life, and how to live fully present in the flow of it all. That is complete and total freedom.

We loved getting to know Jennifer, and we'd love to meet you too. Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page: Manduka.com/You

Every week we're sharing the story of another real yogi in our blogs, emails and even magazines. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here. Or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka

July 23rd, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Grayson

Meet Grayson.

Grayson is in high school. He's 16 to be exact. That's pretty young to have suffered a terrible sports injury. After breaking his back training for his most beloved sport, Grayson knew that his future in football was over. When he recovered, he was left with a football-shaped void in his life. He tried a few other sports – rock climbing, mountain biking, trail running, and then yoga. Unlike the other physical activities, yoga helped relieve the back pain leftover from his injury. It became his new center – with mentoring support from his mother Stacey, a yoga teacher and studio owner herself. After just one year of yoga practice, Grayson enrolled in a teacher training and now is one of the youngest RYTs in the country.

Before yoga, Grayson was 'a run of the mill jock,' as he puts it. He lived on protein shakes, used the weight room like a second home and couldn't touch his toes for miles. But yoga helped to break down all of his barriers -- while expanding his mind and body to places he'd never been able to reach, or even knew existed. It's been Divine.

Grayson admits having been a little 'ignorant to what yoga is' – assuming it was easy, a lot of people sitting around and chanting weird syllables. What he got from yoga instead was patience, love for all things, a non-judgmental outlook on others and incredible strength (he thought he was strong before, but now he's really IN his body).

We loved learning about Grayson. And we want to learn about you!

Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page: Manduka.com/You

Every week, we'll share the story of another real yogi. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here, or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka

July 16th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Jessie

Meet Jessie.

Jessie ran away from an abusive household, and ran deep into the mountains of Montana. Feeling “nerved up,” she turned to yoga on the recommendation of her new neighbors. 7 years later, her practice is the “place” she goes to get herself over her fears.

A lot of Jessie’s practice is about control – mind and body. Now her asthma doesn’t even bother her anymore. Yoga taught her to stand up for herself – and the world, from a place of responsibility instead of reaction. She has become an environmental steward, studying natural resource management alongside her husband, a timber faller. “Our world is like a garden; properly thinned, managed, and recycled the garden will flourish; left unchecked it will not thrive.”

As she likes to say, "today is done. Tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it. Live well and dwell little." Her practice has shown her how far she’s come, particularly from a difficult childhood, and empowers her to come to peace.

We loved learning about Jessie. And we want to learn about you!

Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page: Manduka.com/You

Every week, we'll share the story of another real yogi. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here, or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka

July 9th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Lashel

Meet Lashel.

Lashel started practicing yoga 10 years ago, and she says that she still learns something new every time she goes to a class. “That is what I love about yoga; the practice is never ‘finished’. There is so much to learn, and every teacher has his/her own unique qualities. I am inspired by teachers who understand that I am me, I am not like everyone else, and my practice is mine and doesn't look like everyone else’s.”

She still remembers the first time she shared an OM with a large group of people in a yoga studio. She felt the vibration of those OMs running through her and for a split second, she felt almost frightened. Then all she felt was joy spreading throughout her entire body. Even now Lashel still gets a tingle of excitement just before the first OM in class.

Lashel is passionate about taking care of the world we live in. She feels that the money we spend is our most powerful tool for change. “I try to think about the dollars I spend, and make them count for the things I want to see more of. I don't want my hard earned money to count for or invest in things that harm the world I live in.”

We loved learning about Lashel. And we want to learn more about you!

Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page: Manduka.com/You

Every week, we'll share the story of another real yogi. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here, or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka