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April 21st, 2015

Now Tastes Good

#NowStartsNow by Whitney & Danielle of Sakara Life

You know when the volume of crazy in your day is so overwhelmingly loud that it leaves you breathless? Or when you can’t stand in line for a cozy cup of coffee (or tea!) without grabbing for your phone? How about when your phone battery dies unexpectedly - are you restless, stressed, and even a little frantic?

Unfortunately, our lives are constantly filled with distractions these days, rather than nourishment. And if there is one thing we’ve learned from living, working, and trying to achieve balance in NYC is how essential it is to nourish the NOW.

A huge part of nourishment is, of course, food– and being conscious of what you put into your body and how this affects every area of your life is integral not only to your health, but also your happiness. We consciously eat to nourish, not to fill emptiness. We consciously create rituals around food, bringing loving presence to the preparation and taste of these building blocks of our bodies. Now tastes good and now feels good.

Nourishing ourselves for optimal health also means investing in our creativity, curiosity, discovery, and relationships. Challenging yourself to learn something new, connecting with a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while, waking up half an hour earlier to spend some quiet time in your body, or resting just a bit longer in Savasana….all of these practices require slowing down, living in the present, and nourishing the now.

The word ‘sakara’ is Sanskrit for “the manifestation of thoughts to things”– bringing what you desire and think into creation. This is our North Star, our home base, and our inspiration– to turn intention into action and help people transform their lives by changing how they nourish themselves.

From food is the enemy to food is medicine; from I will to I am; someday to today. This shift in awareness is the first step in creating everything you desire. It can be a hard first step to take because it requires acknowledging that everything you want is already in you, you just have to make the decision to acknowledge it.

Right now, this very second, you can make the choice– head down in your phone or head up saying hello to the person in front of you. Holding your breath, or breathing. Nourishing your body with clean, whole foods, medicinal herbs, and love.

Your choice, your now.

How will you nourish it?

#NowStartsNow

Sakara Co-founders, Whitney and Danielle, grew up together in the beautiful town of Sedona, Arizona, where they were exposed to the benefits of natural eating and holistic health from an early age. After moving to New York, they knew they needed to share their knowledge with the fast-paced, delivery-loving, eat-outers of Manhattan. Get to know their organic meal delivery system at http://www.sakaralife.com/ and follow their adventures on Instagram at @SakaraLifeNYC.

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 14th, 2015

Being Where You Are, Not Where You're From

#NowStartsNow by Manduka Ambassador Hadji Jones.

We spend so much time wondering ‘what if,’ when it’s much more powerful to ask ‘what now?'

This very moment has the power to unfold your dreams - all of your possibilities are already with you right here, right now. So what are you waiting for? What’s stopping you? Why are you delaying your destiny?

These are questions that I asked myself for years. I grew up in Philly - born and raised and proud. This city had (and still has) a strong effect on who I am, so it was important to me to be part of it, an ambassador of Brotherly Love with a hand on the heartbeat of the community. For 5 years, all my ‘nows’ were dedicated to bringing yoga to the city. After all, healing doesn’t know ethnicity, size, age or social stature, healing only knows now.

I became a staple on the yoga scene, exactly like I wanted. "The Black Yogi” became a personality, taking interviews in the local papers, doing photoshoots in art museums. I was working hard for every now, and it was working.

There were a million reasons why I could never leave Philly, even when I stopped being happy there. So much of who I was was wrapped up in Philly, so who would I be if not in Philly? In the cradle of liberty, I had clipped my own wings. I gave myself every excuse why it wasn’t meant for me to move, even when I spent my every inner spark on dreaming about somewhere new.

One day I hit the reset button on my thoughts and my whole perspective shifted. It started with my ritual practice of yoga. The practice that reminds us: take leaps, try something new, stay true to who you are, and ultimately to listen to your heart.

My heart was telling me to do the scariest thing in my life: leave everything I knew. It was the biggest #NowStartsNow of my life.

That is the power of #Now - it is the only moment we truly get. Life isn’t happening ’someday,’ it’s happening here and now - and it needs you in it. Yes, the you with all those hometown memories and comfortable routines. Now needs you.

It needs you to start what’s been burning inside you for a long time. Now has everything you need to be happy and fulfilled - but the first step is yours to take.

So as I write this, in sunny Atlanta, with a new full-time teaching practice in a new community in a peachy city with a very different heartbeat, I am happy in completely new ways. #NowStartsNow is about getting to your TRUTH and doing something about it. Now is for you to shine.

Follow Hadji on Instagram at @TheBlackYogi or at Facebook.com/TheBlackYogi.

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 10th, 2015

Say What Needs To Be Said

#NowStartsNow by Daniel Scott

Now starts now. Not later, and once past, never again.

Many nows ago had me back in NYC, old stomping grounds before life as a traveling yogi took hold. Reconnected with an old friend with whom silence had long replaced warmth for some sincerely forgettable reason. It was time to put the past where it truly belonged— behind us— and blow the dust off a once illustrious friendship sadly gone quiet.

The afternoon before the long-awaited meeting to finally share said feelings, he was hit by a car and died. Distance is easier to handle by choice. Uncontrolled loss is overwhelmingly unbearable. So much to say, all dressed up, nowhere to go.

A few hours after the accident, I received a call from his girlfriend. He was an immensely charismatic and talented man with countless friends, of wonderful tribe and family. She and I had only met once a few years back, and did not how she found me.

“Josh has died today,” she softly trembled, “He would have wanted you to know how you meant the world to him."

I wanted to scream, not in anger but love. Of all things possible, of all people to contact, of all Nows to engage. She acted on behalf of both when one couldn’t while the other lost. Her words were his, his feelings mine, our kinship so eloquently reflected in that endless moment.

Now might not always feel like the right time, but it is time and therefore never wrong. Now is the hourglass neck through which each grain of sand must pass, whether to build a castle or be washed away. Now What became Right Now because she took the chance others were unable to.

For this, I’m eternally grateful. For Josh, for life, for the opportunity to honor instead of regret. Now starts now, ready or not. Make the call, cross that bridge. Say what needs to be said. Share your beautiful now with truth and compassion so others may do the same.

#NowStartsNow.

Daniel Scott is yogi provocateur offering a fresh alternative to the traditional “yoga voice”. With light heart and open mind, Daniel focuses on moving into postures, not through them. He enjoys barefoot running, street art, good coffee, large quantities, and great qualities. Deeply dedicated to sharing in the immense journey from self-conscious to self-aware, Daniel strives to answer the ever-present question: are you moving, or being moved? Find him at DanielScottYoga.com or on his high flying Instagram.

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 6th, 2015

Now Is A Practice Of Courage And Kindness

#NowStartsNow by Talia Sutra

The way we perceive time is a direct reflection of the state of our mind-body-heart.

Imagine, for instance, being told you have just one more year to live– your relationship to yourself and to time would surely change.

Many of us grow up to become desensitized to our physical, emotional and mental bodies. However ‘sleeping through life’ usually leads to some sort of alarming wake up call. Sometimes it takes a monumental hardship to finally get us to wake up and realize that our time here in our bodies - on this earth and with the people we love - is deeply precious (and in this body, limited).

Yoga teaches us that there is a constant, a oneness threading together our fleeting sensations, countless thoughts and passing moments; that we are in fact here to come together, to love one another.

Practicing yoga cultivates tremendous awareness - the ability to see the constant, to hear all sacred sounds, and to feel an overwhelming gratitude for life. Gratitude sheds light on the beauty and perfection that resides within each being. In order to experience this level of consciousness, one has to be aware of the constant, and this union with the constant is NOWNESS.

We can make nowness practical by starting a practice of simple self-observation: our thoughts, tendencies, and patterns. With time, our observation and understanding deepens, and judgment of ourselves and others will detach and fade.

Mindfulness, compassion, meditation and yoga will remove all illusions– all that is not NOW.

Developing a more compassionate lifestyle will also sharpen your awareness abilities. Know the affects of your food on yourself and on the earth. Commit to a yoga practice or a meditation practice. It will require some discipline in the early stages. Surround yourself with kind, supportive people and watch out for judgment or expectations (usually a sign of holding on to the past).

Let now be a practice of courage and kindness.

Love yourself unconditionally and see how this love shifts your relationship to the earth and all its manifestations. See how it moves your body; see how it enlightens your mind. Let now be the joy of being with the people you love. Let it be realization that you and they and we are enough.

Let now start now.

Talia Sutra is a New York City based yoga teacher and curious citizen of the world. She believes that with a joyful heart and an open mind, anything and everything is possible. Find her at TaliaSutraYoga.com or on her fascinating Instagram account, @Talia_Sutra.

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 1st, 2015

#Nowstartsnow – An Ode To This Moment (And Winning New Manduka Gear)


This moment is a gift.

Yes, this one, reading this blog over lunch, on your commute, in your PJs, wherever you are. It’s a gift that has never happened before. A brand new, undiscovered now – here comes another one, and another, are you seeing these? These moments are what our lives are made of.

So what will we do with it? How will we choose to show up?

#NowStartsNow.

This is your invitation to the moment. We’d like to see what you – bright, brave, wild you – do with it.

Share your now as a post to our Facebook wall, a Tweet to the universe or an Instagram for the ages. Tag @MandukaYoga and #NowStartsNow. Share what’s been stirring inside you for a long time, and where you go when your heart does the driving.

Over the next 6 weeks, we’ll be reading your stories, tweeting your Tweets and hearting your Instagrams. We’ll choose 10 yogis who share their #NowStartsNow to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new spring collection (you can tell us what grabs your eye, or let us choose based on your story), and feature many more here on the blog. So whether you’re applying for your first passport, getting into headstand, breathing through traffic jams or asking for a date, #NowStartsNow.

Life can be many things – beautiful, messy, sweaty, mysterious, still. But more than anything else, it’s now. Here’s to using this one of a kind moment for your one of a kind life.

Practice On,
Manduka