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From The Heart

My Manduka products have stood the march of time, seeing me through countless practices, classes and workshops, like good friends helping me each step at a time. That the company is as committed to providing the community with the highest quality materials as it is to the environment makes them one I am happy to support.

-Angela Tomassetti
Chicago, IL

Giving Back

Manduka recognizes an organization or individual each month for sharing the gift of yoga with those in need by donating yoga gear to support their cause.

May 15th, 2014

Karma Yoga: Discovering Your Self in a Third World Country

This month Manduka was able to donate to Lake Tahoe Yoga who traveled across the world to Cambodia to share the mats and other goodies on the Karma Yoga Retreat.

Here is the letter we received in return from Jenay Aiksnoras, Director, Lake Tahoe Yoga about her journey:

In 2013, One World Travels director, Susan Glasson, and I casually began to toss around the idea of a Karma Yoga Retreat to Cambodia. Susan is an experienced traveler who had previously visited Cambodia three times. After her last trip, she shared photos and stories with me and I immediately began pondering how to work a trip into my schedule. From what she had shown and told me, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do a service retreat. I didn't want to take people on an expensive "yoga vacations," I wanted to go on a real deal yoga retreat.

If you are unfamiliar with the history of Cambodia, it's worth taking the time to watch the videos on YouTube. National Geographic did a story on the building of Angkor Wat (City Temple). There are also videos illustrating the trials of the Khmer (Cambodian) people throughout various civil wars and, of course, the Pol Pot Regime (or Khmer Rouge). The country has been built and destroyed over thousands of years. Its current status is only a little over 30 years old. The genocide and destruction that occurred during the Pol Pot Regime cannot be undone. The people of the country have been displaced from their homes, their families, and their livelihoods. They are still learning how to survive while holding on to as much of their culture as they can. (See photo below of the pagoda and mass graves at the Cheung Ek Killing Field Museum)

Karma Yoga is the practice of conscious action. It is to behave in such a way that begins with the consideration of how your actions affect the world, others and yourself. To act in this way is to remove Karma or "unconscious habit." In Yogic theory, if all Karma is removed (good and bad) then we are ready for enlightenment. To participate in a Karma Yoga Retreat is to do something somewhere for someone that is with no expectation of praise, reward or return. This was the goal of the project.

Due to her connections from previous visits to the country, Susan was able to help us link up with two Non-Government Organizations (NGO's). An NGO is a non-profit organization, typically set up by ordinary citizens, that benefits a group or community of people. In addition, Susan was able to establish connections with an orphanage and a hospital. The plan was to make material, energetic and in-kind donations to each location and to speak with, connect with and learn more about each one.

Upon arrival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capitol, we immediately headed to the Killing Fields in order to learn about the culture and country in which we were staying. A museum of sorts, this monument is dedicated to the memory of those who were murdered during the Pol Pot Regime. The bones of thousands are stored in a large pagoda where visitors can view them, pray and offer blessings. In addition, visitors can walk the grounds and see mass grave sites, trees upon which children were beaten, read about Pol Pot and his followers, and view a short video that explains the devastation caused by the regime.

With knowledge of the country and its history, our group set out to practice Karma Yoga. Our first visit was to Nataraj Yoga; a yoga studio supported by seven partner organizations. Krama Yoga, their NGO, focuses on healing and teaching through Yoga. The Khmer word “krama” means “systematic.” Through a generous donation from yoga equipment company Manduka and help from Lake Tahoe Yoga (LTY) practitioners, we made a donation of a dozen Manduka yoga mats, 20 hand-made organic lavender eye sachets and 20 hand-made yoga straps. In addition, Jenay, offered two by-donation classes at Nataraj studio. Lake Tahoe Yoga will be continuing their relationship with Krama Yoga through special events and the sale of Cambodian rice paper Yoga mat bags (available exclusively at Lake Tahoe Yoga).

The travelers and practitioners at Lake Tahoe Yoga are grateful for the support we received from Manduka. To be able to travel across the world and donate high quality products was an honor. The studio, leaders and practitioners at Nataraj were overjoyed to receive such generous gifts.

- Jenay Aiksnoras, Director, Lake Tahoe Yoga

To read about the rest of this retreat or to join in on the next, visit Lake Tahoe Yoga.

November 15th, 2013

SoulShine Colombia

SoulShine Colombia is an organization whose mission is to empower and inspire girls and women to believe in their strength and dreams through yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. SoulShine Colombia is teaming up with Waves for Water, a non-profit organization whose aim is to provide access to clean drinking water to anyone who needs it.

This November, SoulShine Colombia will be traveling to Cartagena, Colombia to work with one of the most impoverished communities in Colombia. This journey will involve teaching the young mothers and pregnant women yoga, meditation, and mindfulness helping them tap into their inner strength and life force. Manduka was happy to donate yoga mats for the participants to use. Together with Waves for Water, they will also be going to the slums to bring water filters, and to teach them how to use the filters in their homes.

These filtration systems are portable, easy to use, easy to pack and effective. One filter can provide 100 people with clean water for up to 5 years. With these filters, dirty water becomes instantly clean – and drinkable.

If you would like to learn more about Soulshine Colombia or Waves for Water, or if you would like to see how you can support, visit: www.wavesforwater.org

October 15th, 2013

Heal the Bay

Earlier this year, Manduka pledged to support World Water Day by donating our time to Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental group working to restore Santa Monica Bay as well as neighboring beaches. Manduka employees were excited to get their hands dirty sifting through the sand to collect trash and recyclable items to help keep our beaches clean. The team spent a few hours at one of our local beaches, ensuring that we left the beach looking clean and safe for all to enjoy.

According to Heal the Bay:

"The population of Los Angeles has skyrocketed in the past 100 years, and it's putting a lot of pressure on our environment. In the mid 1980s, improperly treated sewage led to dead zones in the Bay and harmful water quality. Thanks to the efforts of Heal the Bay and its supporters, the EPA mandated stricter sewage treatment processes, resulting in greatly improved water quality.

Despite the amazing gains, your Bay faces ongoing challenges, from marine debris to overfishing. Our ocean faces many challenges, and Heal the Bay works every day on a number of different issues. By addressing the many facets of ocean pollution, we make real and positive change possible."

If you would like to find out how you can support Heal the Bay, or to learn more, visit their website at healthebay.org

September 24th, 2013

People to People

Jamie Surya Yoga Studio in Sparkill, NY recently held an event to support a local organization called People to People that has one of the largest goods pantries available to help struggling individuals and families in the area through difficult times.

Through yoga and silent auctions, the studio was able to donate 100% of their proceeds to People to People. Manduka was happy to provide yoga gear for the silent auction to support the studio's efforts, as well as our Ambassador Ashley DiMeglio who helped to coordinate this event.

This even helped raise over $2200.00 for People to People.

Photo Credit: John Nantes

August 15th, 2013

Cancer Support Community

Cancer Support Community – Redondo Beach offers a free program for cancer patients, and their families and loved-ones. CSC's goal is to help as many cancer patients as possible recover from the physical and emotional effects of cancer to the greatest extent possible. CSC's psychological support and educational programs are designed to address the loss of control, hopelessness and social isolation that cancer patients and their families often experience.

One of the supportive offerings at CSC is free yoga. Throughout the summer, they have been hosting Yoga on the Pier, a free yoga class on the Redondo Beach Pier for the community to enjoy together.

Manduka was happy to donate yoga gear for the use of not only the Redondo Beach location, but various locations throughout Southern California that were in need of quality yoga gear.

Check out the Yoga on the Pier events, as the Cancer Support Center will also be raffling off some Manduka goodies to raise money for all of their supportive endeavors.

To learn more, visit: www.cancersupportredondobeach.org