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May 11th, 2015

A Collection Of Nows, Pt 2

Over the last 6 weeks, we’ve been reading your stories, tweeting your Tweets and hearting your Instagrams in celebration of the moment and all the amazing ways you choose to show up for it. Thousands of you have shared your #NowStartsNow – your testament to life’s messy joys, mysterious beauties and most of all its nows.

We also teamed up with teachers who inspire us on what #NowStartsNow is all about:
Now is a Practice of Courage & Kindness, by Talia Sutra.
Say What Needs To Be Said, by Daniel Scott.
Being Where You Are, Not Where You’re From, by Hadji Jones.
Now Tastes Good, by Danielle and Whitney of Sakara Life.
The Yoga of Now, by Cora Wen.
To Be Or Now To Be Here Now, by Rocky Heron.

Here are a few more of your Nows that have inspired us along the way, from springing into action to choosing to pause and reflect. This list also includes Erin Noguchi, Jaime Neal Kaminski, Karen Krieger, Ladybirds Lynn and Marissa K, who win a suite of Manduka gear as our thank you for being present and participating.

Erin Noguchi, @enronnn


I'm graduating from University of California Santa Cruz in a few short weeks I'm so thankful for the opportunity for a higher education & I've fallen in love with Northern California. I wanted to take these last few weeks I have left up north to explore & appreciate time seems to be speeding up so it's all I can do to live in the moment & cherish every minute #nowstartsnow here's to graduating, making it to the top of this mountain in beautiful Carmel & taking over the world peace by peace.

@yogaracheal


Ohana | I've been caring for my baby cousin the past few days and it's really opened my eyes to the beauty and roughness of motherhood. Two days with him and I'm already tired hahaha! But now I'm pretty excited for my time to have a family. Nervous excited for the future, but I'm thankful for these moments now.

@healthandstrength808

Bless all the Mothers who carry the heavy load...who give unconditionally...who nurture the children...who selflessly endure through the trials and tribulations. You are Love. #9Months #NowStartsNow

Marissa K, @Marissaksnow


Solo in the Sierras. Wet feet from ankle deep snow. No plans. Just a pack. If I go with nothing I'll be back in two hours. If I go with a pack, double that time. At least. If I brought a sleeping bag, I'm afraid I'd never come down. #Nowstartsnow

Jaime Neal Kaminski
jamie.jpg

Take time to enjoy yourself. Listen. Everything you need to hear is right there. "The quieter you become, the more you can hear. #NowStartsNow

@areyoga

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hands of man. Places where your soul feels alive but your mind is quiet. Places to love deeply, breath softly, and live simply. The human spirit needs places where the only moment that matters is the moment you are in right now.

Marti Nikko, @martinikko


Hey. It's time! #nowstartsnow

Monica Palomino, @presenceandplants
presenceandplants.jpg

I am currently studying for several cumulative finals that I do not feel prepared for. In a few months my lease will be up, and I don't know where I'll live. I have no long-term post-graduation career plan. I'm not quite sure how I will be able to support myself. In so many ways, life is asking me to be afraid. But I'll be damned if I let worries of the future, a place that is never guaranteed, jade the beauty of this present moment. The rush of this inhalation, the surrender of the exhalation. All is well. #NowStartsNow

@jessclimbs
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My new favorite spot. I will visit here often to get away from the hustle of life.

@whiskeyjill


My sweet little boy falling asleep outside.

@innerspaceyogamiami

In sobriety I find Mother's Day to be bitter sweet. How does one junkie make it when another parishes? My mother was an addict most of her life. She flirted with recovery and I clearly remember going to 12 step meetings as a child. But she couldn't manage to get and stay clean. She died with a system so full of drugs her little body just couldn't take it anymore. You would think that I would have learned from that... Instead I took a long slow journey into my own addiction. Alcohol to pills to coke to meth. Eventually I had a needle in my arm on a daily basis. Just like her. In the soul of every addict there is a hole. Something happened to us by way of nature or nurture that left us unable to love ourselves and hence unable to well love anybody else. We are selfish creatures, trying desperately to fill the void. In the end our self-absorption is pure misery. Some addicts follow this path until the inevitable end of jails, institutions or death. A very few of us addicts are granted a desperation so deep that we snap out of it before we kill ourselves. Why did I receive this gift? When I too could have died alone in a cold dark bathroom, how did I manage to wake up from the nightmare? I don't think it will ever be completely clear how I pulled back from the brink of complete self annihilation. This is what make my life miraculous. Somehow it clicked into place that #nowstartsnow, that I could leave the past alone, and live in the light of the present moment. I do know that my mother will always been present with me and I remember the words "I love you Kiddo" as her final refrain. This is her true legacy to me. Souls are complicated. Hers was broken somewhere along the line and even though she couldn't love herself very well, I know she meant it when she said these words to me, that she was trying as hard as she could to have a heart that wasn't so defeated. I think that in my darkest moment, it was her voice that echoed in my ears. "I love you kiddo." I believe that the hole in the heart of this addict is filling with love, a little more each day.

Karen Krieger, @thekkriegs
thekkriegs.jpg

The magic moments of the morning. The light returns to refresh the earth from the darkness of the night. The air feels full of possibility- full of thoughts that haven't been taken yet, experiences you can't foresee, and opportunities that could change your future. Did you miss it? Don't. Be here now. Breath in every moment.

Here’s to putting our practice into practice, way beyond the mat. This one of a kind moment and your one of a kind life. Starting now.

Practice On,
Manduka

May 7th, 2015

Congrats To The Winners Of Our Yoga Studio Challenge!


Thank you to all the studio's who participated in our Practice. Share. Win. Challenge!

We asked our yoga studio community to celebrate our yogitoes Towel Collections by sharing their practice using a different theme each week. Our yoga studios shared how they #practiceunity with the We Are One Collection, #practiceexpression inspired by the Feeling Groovy Collection, #practicemindfulness in honor of the Earth Collection and #practicepeace with the Peace Collection.

We received so many captivating photos, and each week we had to choose only one to win 10 free yogitoes Towels of the studio’s choice.

Congratulations to our winners, Luma Yoga and Family Center, Bikram Yoga Athens, Sunset Yoga Hawaii and Zen Hot Yoga Virginia Beach!

Week 1: #PracticeUnity with Luma Yoga and Family Center

Week 2: #PracticeExpression with Bikram Yoga Athens

Week 3: #PracticeMindfulness with Sunset Yoga Hawaii

Week 4: #PracticePeace with Zen Hot Yoga Virginia Beach

May 6th, 2015

To Be Or Not To Be Here Now

#NowStartsNow by Rocky Heron

I find it difficult to write about the “now.” While I sit typing this I am aware that others will be reading my words in the future, which truthfully, makes me feel a bit anxious. And much of what I feel called to write about is recollections of memorable moments from my past. I’m aware that the process of writing, and much of anything else can only be done in the “now,” but how can I effectively discuss what it means for me to be in the present moment, when the process of doing so seems to send my mind moving in every direction other than right here, right now? The irony is, when I find myself truly immersed in the present, in pure experience and in direct contact with this eternal moment, the last thing I feel called to do is talk about it. But I am up for the challenge and wish to carry out this task skillfully. So tell you what. I’m going to pause, quiet my mind (as best I can), and arrive in this moment that is all around me. When I return I will articulate to the best of my ability whatever my heart and mind are able to convey. Be right back…

Ok. Here we go.

The now is ever changing, shifting, and moving from one moment to the next, and all of our power to create lies in the spaces between, the transitions that carry us endlessly toward the culminations of all that are in process of becoming. When we sink into the satisfaction of each moment, it becomes clear: all is well, all is available to us, and all is forever becoming more. To be content in the moment means to be non-attached. Not in the sense of attachment to outcome, but attachment to permanence, since every moment is gone the moment you realize you are in it. It is in our attempt to control the chaos - the beautiful, messy, entropy of life - that we resist the blissfully powerful dance of creation and destruction, for each moment contains both. We are evidence of this relentless cycle of birth and death, and our bodies are not immune to this rhythm.

As I write this I am breathing in new molecules and breathing out the old. My body is dying and regenerating and I am never the same as I just was. As you read this you are doing the same. Fighting this process seems to bring suffering, for it is one we cannot win; while yielding to it’s intimate relationship with your physical nature can make for a satisfying and exciting exchange with life.

My practice, both on and off the mat is forever one of arriving. Arriving into harmony with this truth and acclimating to who and what I am in each moment. When I let go and surrender into myself and the life that is manifesting around me, I am offered a more graceful and satisfying journey from one moment to the next. It feels better, and it seems to work better.

To become all that you are is a lifelong and worthwhile pursuit, but understand that all that you are is always increasing. So dig in to each moment and mine it for the rich nuggets of sights, smells, sounds, tastes and feelings that are potently being offered to you. Wake up to the richness of life that is unfolding within and around you and let this string of joyful nows be the building blocks to a joyful life.

Each moment is so brief, and yet they unfold as an endless string of opportunities to find and experience joy. Regardless of how commonplace, temporary or even frustrating any one moment may initially appear. That is the paradox: that the joys of life are both ephemeral and long lasting when we can surrender to each moment fully and its transition into the next. It can render us appreciative of the simplest thing to the most complex. We too are ephemeral, and our existence brief. So if you could only exist for one moment, regardless of what you are doing, would you not want it to be a joyful moment?

Get lost in the sensations around you, let go of the habitual stories you may tell about the context of your experience. In each moment you can refresh and start anew but it requires you to make the choice. So remember: Be here now! I’ll do my best to meet you there. If not, hang out for a little while and I’ll be there as soon as I too remember :)

Peace,

Rocky Heron

Rocky Heron, is a world-traveling yoga teacher known for uncanny wisdom and skillful instruction. His teaching is informed by years of study in nearly every yoga style dedicated to helping students deepen and inspire their practice, while consciously expanding in all directions. Visit him on Facebook, on Instagram @YogaWithRocky or at YogaWithRocky.com.

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 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?