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May 2011 Archive

May 23rd, 2011

Tuning Our Response - Ability

By Kia Miller

Are we so caught up in to-do lists that we have lost the ability to respond to life with spontaneity and presence? I teach yoga and talk to people all day long about taking pauses and time out of time. However, this remains one of the most elusive things in our culture, which is addicted to HAVING and DOING. In fact we value Having and Doing more than simply Being. When was the last time you congratulated your friend for doing nothing? Or took some time with absolutely no agenda? If you did take time, how kind was your thinking process, did you judge yourself and feel lazy?

It is easy to get caught in the cycle of acting from our sense of responsibility rather than purely responding to what the moment brings. Our lives become a laundry list of things to do, to the point where we move onto automatic pilot. Life gets juicy and exciting when we realize that being responsible is not some task to perform or an obligation to be met. To me the ability to respond is to be free to love and serve in each situation, and therefore each moment is different and unique and wonderful.

On this day I encourage you to take a pause. Pause before speaking, before acting, or even pausing between your inhale and exhale. Do not take a moment for granted. Show up and meet the moment in the spirit of being of service with love.

May 17th, 2011

#Practice Clarity

I recently took a break from my Manduka. It didn't do anything wrong. It didn't treat me badly, or not take me to expensive dinners. I was feeling burnt out, and found it very hard to be on my mat or in a yoga studio.

I remember being in relationships where my partner suggested we take a break. I would kick and scream, hearing that cliche "the break comes before the breakup" resonating in my ear.

Reluctantly, I took a couple of days off of my asana practice(the longest I had been off my mat in years.) I ate pizza, watched movies, and spent time with my loved ones. What I realized was that in several ways I was hiding from myself and my life off my black mat. I was resting in what had always felt comfortable for me, doing what was easy, not taking a risks. But just like in an asana, growth comes from stepping out of our comfort zone and moving towards our edge.

I am happily now back on my Manduka. We didn't break up, we just needed some space. Our time apart enabled me to embrace my life and practice with newfound passion and vision. I am more present in my life, and my practice is deeper than it was before. Taking a break isn't necessarily the end, but can be a new beginning. In the space, in those pauses in between, we can see more clearly and move forward powerfully.

My Manduka helps me #practice clarity. What does your Manduka help you #practice?

Here's how some others are powerfully #practicing:

Teamstretchyoga
"I #practice perseverance. I #practice moment to moment. I #practice service. I #practice Love. I #practice on my Manduka!"

Eunice_cu
"@MandukaYoga helps me practice stillness........"

Pinmoneygirl
"I make it a point to #practice poses that scare me."

Lisa Boise
"I laugh on it. I cry on it. I sweat on it. (Boy! Do I sweat on it!) I find peace on it. I work through anger and frustrations on it. On occasions I ignore it. I stretch on it. I pray on it. I jump on it. I use it and abuse it. And every time I step on it, I feel a welcoming energy from it. My soul can be free on my mat."

Stela Balaban
"The space created each time I unfold my Manduka becomes a safe place, a quiet place, a peaceful place, where there's no judgement and no expectations. And then the fun can begin."

EmilySaurette
"Dear Soul Mat, thank you for being so steady when I felt like breaking -you are my bestfriend."

May 11th, 2011

#Practice 365 Golden Yogi Winner: Carrie Griffiths

I’m really trying to learn to listen to my body. In light of my ongoing hip issues, I forced myself to take a break. Two weeks later, the rest of me became restless and so I thought, maybe I just need to make some changes. At the suggestion of one of my teachers, I decided to take a restorative class. I’ll admit I was hesitant; certain that it would be too easy and I would be bored. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t and I wasn’t. In fact, I found it to be rather blissful. The pain in my hip actually made a couple poses somewhat challenging and a bit uncomfortable, and I had to pull back even more. But once I was settled into a pose, I sort of just drifted away. It was as though I’d been transported to a far away land and everything around me disappeared. It was great. I could have stayed there forever. And these feelings stayed with me as I subtly shifted from pose to pose, a slight smile glued to my face.
What a nice balance this is for my practice. In my regular vinyasa practice, I will often resolve to breathe in the moment and relax a little, only to find myself pushing harder and getting lost in the details of a challenging pose. It’s really difficult for me to take it easy, even when I know I need to. I know that there is more to yoga than a vigorous practice. I never thought that discovering the other facets of it all would start with a new class. I’ve begun going to restorative regularly, and I’m happy to say it’s now an important part of my yoga practice.

May 9th, 2011

My Soul Mat

9 years.
Some days I drip my insecurity all over it, and it doesn't mind. No judgment. No eye rolling. No pull yourself together looks..

My Soul Mat: My Black Mat PRO.

Have you found yours?

These yogis have found their Soul Mat, and we couldn't be happier:

Stela Balaban
"My friend and yoga teacher has had her Manduka for 7 years. When I tried it for the first time I knew I had to have one."

Melissa Baker Gentile
"I opened this link in my blog reader: http://www.fitsugar.com/What-Best-Yoga-Mat-13852241?page=0%2C0%2C4#4 ... the description sounded perfect for me! I'm an exclusively-at-home yoga practitioner due to mobility issues and was looking for shock absorption. I bought the Black Mat Pro in Black Beauty - a gift from my husband for Valentine's day. His, "Please honey, buy it" was the best V-Day gift ever. He showed me how much my yoga practice mattered to him ♥ He also encouraged me to buy the color version rather than the black ... sometimes I have to struggle through pain and fatigue to make the choice to practice and he knew that the color would make me smile!"

Kim Puente
"It was SO not love at first sight. I had heard how much everyone loved the Manduka Pro, so I decided I would "try one out" to help me advance my practice. Rolled it out, and we had a "lunch date". Short and sweet. Too slippery. Read what I needed to do. So next was a "spa date" or a rub down with sea salt, lots of sea salt. Our love/hate relationship kept up about a week. I knew if I got to know my Manduka I would eventually fall in love. Which of course I did! One magical day all of the quirks worked out and I have seen my practice soar. Now instead of dreading our "dates" I count the time until the next one!"

May 3rd, 2011

#Practice Being Who You Are

I was blessed with the opportunity to see H.H the Dalai Lama in a lecture series this week. He is such a joyful, loving and truthful spirit! Regardless of the energy of the surrounding environment, there was never not a time where he was acting inauthentically or not speaking from his heart, mind and soul.

There wasn't any smoke or mirrors, or words minced. H.H wasn't afraid for others to see who He is, even when situations weren't going smoothly.

When we are willing to show ourselves fully and completely, we not only create a space for others to let down their guards and open their hearts, but we are also able to see ourselves in each other.

We're able to truly see that we are not really that different after all.. Separation lessens, and true fellowship is created.

I am #practicing being myself(warts and all). What does your Manduka help you practice?

Here's how others are #practicing authentically:

Ami Spencer
"Consistency. Finding a way to spend time going inside. Every. Single. Day."

From @MandukaYoga
"Bloom! Shedding the winter layers and finding the color underneath."

From @MandukaYoga
"You help me practice remembrance of my strength and the still space within!"

Patty Shine
"At my house we had a day of no TV, no video games, no radio. We spent time outside helping a neighbor with their garden.Some play time at the park. We did our best to have a relaxing yoga session though my 6 yr old son cannot "relax" for more than a minute so we called it jumping bean yoga. Though I didn't get my normal relaxed feeling from my yoga, I got that inner glow that only quality time enjoying my children can give."

Youngmee Ahn Hand
"Wash and hang all my laundry outside for the beautiful sun to dry aswell as sanitize my clothes without having to use energy from machines."

Jen Erickson Strating
"Composting all my veggie/fruit scraps, growing as many veggies as I can, biking or walking to do errands, getting my food locally through a wonderful CSA, being mindful and frugal with energy consumption and spending time in nature honoring this beautiful earth!"