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October 27th, 2014

Inspired By Gangsters

Manduka has been humbled to work alongside many inspiring yogis who share their practice with the world. We were touched by Jodi Weiner's passion to support others and commitment to putting her practice into practice. Through Yoga Gangsters Jodi has been sharing yoga with those who might not otherwise have the opportunity. We were deeply inspired by her blog post and wanted to share these heartwarming words with you:

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The room is a blank canvas waiting to support the connection and love about to unfold, empty but for a few chairs, books and a bin of yoga mats with a stale odor. The chill in the air is nice on a hot summer day, but short lived when the youth come in and heat it up. It’s bright with natural and florescent light; kill the lights – check. Light the incense – check (no more stinky feet issues), set the music to a recurring simple AUM…Immediate curiosity happens as they begin to trickle in to see their YG’s seated, calm and smiling.

“What is that smell?” – yup, got em now! “Why does it feel so calm in here?”

The youth we serve are beautiful, eager, jaded, cautious and sometimes resistant. But when the trust is given and they look you in the eye and share your heart with them, this is when magic happens. You see a softening, then you feel it in your heart, your belly and then your eyes share it back. That is the magical moment of pure connection. Maybe it takes a few weeks; maybe it occurs the 2nd visit. As a YG volunteer I stay open to the magic that unfolds when the mat unrolls and the sweet lights (youth) step upon their magic carpet. I continue to enjoy the energetic and spontaneous moments of a free form beat box throw down on the mat, keeping it fun, connective, invigorating, interesting and FREE spirited. When we shift to what we think it should be, we lose the essence of service, we lose the visceral experience and stay stuck in our own mind.

We have so many beautiful gifts to share; otherwise we would not have been called to service on this path. Whether we serve anonymously, boldly or somewhere in between, we heard the call, felt the pull and had that gut sensation to share our heart. We continue to serve wholeheartedly and would love to share the indescribable journey service brings to your life.

For our volunteers who have had the courage to step on the mat with youth, thank you. For those still toying with the idea, know what you bring with your heart will win out every time. When we show up completely present, to serve, to play and empower we all connect and walk away smiling, softened, grounded and floating all at the same time…nothing quite like a service high!

October 13th, 2014

This Is My Yoga – A Look Back At Week 4

It’s been a month of celebration and reflection— we asked what your yoga means to you when it is most raw and true, and you answered. Thousands of you shared, reconnecting us all to the unfiltered root of this transformational practice. It’s been an honor to witness to your strength, warmth, and wisdom, to reflect + connect as a community. This is what yoga is really about. To see your community in action, have a look at what your fellow yogis are sharing using #ThisIsMyYoga on Instagram, Twitter or at Manduka.com/thisismyyoga. Here’s a brief glimpse into the soul of the fourth week of #thisismyyoga.

Courtney Cronis, @tiny_yogini (who, as a thank you for sharing her story, will receive a suite of gear from our new Fall Collection, plus a gift for the yogi she tagged next, Brandi @omyogasana)

#ThisIsMyYoga My yoga is connection. Finding connection and learning about my own body and my own soul and emotions. Connecting to the earth around me, to nature, to all creatures and being able to now see the life and importance of each and every own of them. Connection and appreciation to all of the people in my life, being able to be kinder and more compassionate not only to them, but to everyone I meet. Connecting to music, to good people, to food, to books and wise words, to truth. Connecting to my own open mind and open heart and being able to live my yoga off of my mat so that I not only have a flexible, strong, and balanced body, but an even more flexible, strong, and balanced soul. Yoga is the way that I discovered how to connect to the entire universe around.

Holly Oldroyd Wielechowski, @yoginiwildandfree

Getting to the edge of everything and then letting go... #thisismyyoga

Justin Wolfer, @justinwolferyogi

The beauty of yoga is that message is simple and universal - Practice and be full aware and unattached to what surfaces. Over time you will discover where you've placed the barriers preventing you from discovering that which you are seeking. Want to find love? Then practice being the most attentive unconditional lover you know how to be. Soon you'll start to see your conditions for love.... So what are you seeking? #ThisIsMyYoga

Cristina Michalski, @cristinamichalskig

Healing from the inside out #thisismyyoga

Herna Mohari, @herrrna

When I am on my mat, I am free to be ME. I feel beautiful; not because I have sexy legs nor a bendy body, but because I am able to create and put into shapes and movements, the beautiful person I feel inside. My movements powered by my breath, full of energy; Prana. When I practice, I feel so strong, joyous and free, capable of doing things I never thought I could. Everyday, somebody tells me I look underweight/skinny/sick/anorexic. In fact, I feel quite the opposite. Yoga does not judge nor hate, it is pure love. #thisismyyoga

Jeanie Hay, @jeaniehay

The photos I usually post are genuine expressions of my open heart and my joyful physical practice, and yet I have been holding back from showering certain parts of my practice with that openhearted love. My ego encourages me to post mostly pictures of poses I am "good at." Those headstands and wild things are beautiful, but I am ready to find and show my shadow sides, the places that I keep hidden because I judge them unworthy. Yoga can be intimidating to many people who have never tried it. It's easy to look at a photo of an experienced Yogini in an advanced pose like handstand and think "I can't do that with my body so yoga must not be for me." As a yoga sharer, I want to spread the idea that yoga meets you right where you are and is accessible to everyone. Start where you are, with what you have, a body. Sit and breathe. Move and breathe. Release your harsh self-judgment about what it looks like. Notice how it feels, stay with the sensation, and see what happens. In service of this idea, I will be posting photos of myself practicing the poses that I find challenging. I will use this waning moon cycle to release my ego's need to look accomplished and I will allow my self to be vulnerable. Here we go! This is my full expression of forward fold - I feel strong sensation in my hamstrings, my low back, my upper back and neck here. Today I cannot fold myself all the way over my legs. Today I can make this version of this shape and I can sit with it and I can breathe with it. This is my yoga.

Kirsten McCormick, @eatfoodlovelife

| C L I M B I N G | my way through fear, boundaries and thoughts of impossibility #thisismyyoga (on a rock) #firstclimb

@Yoganea

I travel to the Swedish mountains to be soothed, healed and to have my senses put back in order. This is the view from my mat right now. The colors of the sky above. The sound of the river below. I am forever grateful for this beauty of nature all around. Thank you. #ThisIsMyYoga

Allyson Pfeifer, @allypfeif

#thisismyyoga :: remembering that i am here to grow, to love, to heal. that i am peace, gratitude, and love. that i have the strength to remind someone else that they are already whole. that i fall and forget, and that makes me unwaveringly human. that i too am strong, resilient, and whole. forgetting and remembering, over and over again.

Rikie, @Rikster

little pinch action in front of this awesome wall piece in Wynwood #ThisIsMyYoga

Britta Farr, @brittabearr

Just hanging out with the clouds #ThisIsMyYoga

@freedivegirl

We often hear yoga referred to as a "soul sport", a hobby enjoyed on so deep a level that even the soul becomes dialed into the movement. Each day we bring a new body to the mat, some areas are stiff, some need strengthening, other bits need lengthening. And each day this ratio of tightness to spaciousness changes so we must bring total awareness to all parts of our being and then "dial in" our practice to meet the needs of the body in that moment. Yoga is my soul sport.

@yogaandartjourney

Go to yoga like you mean it! #thisismyyoga

The beauty of this community is that we are here, lifting one another when we are in the midst of regaining our sense of purpose in our practice, and this conversation remains open. We encourage you to keep sharing what your real yoga means on Instagram or Twitter with tag #ThisIsMyYoga.

Practice On,
Manduka

October 6th, 2014

9 Questions With The Ironyogi

Let’s talk about yoga. Do you think of bending and stretching and breathing? Do you think of Indian gurus or suburban Californians? Do you think of NFL Quarterbacks and Olympic medalists?

There are 20 Million Americans who regularly practice yoga – and we think you should be one of them. You read Outside Magazine (and even open its sponsor emails), you value physical wellbeing, you like cool gear.

Allow us to introduce ourselves. We’re Manduka, and we’re honored to be the world’s leading creator of eco-conscious yoga gear. This summer, we debuted LiveON – the first ever 100% recyclable, 100% reclaimable yoga mat. Lightweight, versatile and attainably priced, this mat was especially designed for the ‘yoga curious.’

Recently we had a candid conversation with an unexpected yogi: a former professional Ironman triathlete, two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion and the creator of Vega – the leader in clean, plant-based nutrition.
Brendan Brazier – our IronYogi – offered us a window to his yoga:

M: Your athletic performance record is extremely impressive – where does yoga fit in for you?

B: Well for a long time, I felt okay about my training. Just ok. I didn’t think I was recovering as well as I could have, so I wasn’t training as efficiently as I wanted to be. Short races are all about talent, but these longer events are about how hard and well you work. That’s when I started getting into nutrition and thinking more holistically. Thankfully, I lived in Vancouver, BC – yoga was pretty normal there. I saw it as a way to loosen up my hip flexors and hamstrings, upper back and shoulders.

M: But there are lots of things you can do for hips and hams, why yoga?

B: I’m a curious person. I want to know why I feel a certain way, what it’s connected to and how to feel good consistently for life. Yoga is a great bridge for understanding this. Plus, I lived right across from the first lululemon store in the late 90s, so I was face to face with yoga every time I stepped outside. I could just look at these yoga poses and see how they made sense.

M: Was it what you expected?

B: The class experience was, but how my body felt was unexpected. I was a professional athlete, but yoga was asking my body to do things that were harder than a lot of my training. I could feel the difference right away, even after that first class I knew something was happening, and it was much bigger impact than I thought it would be.

M: Did you feel comfortable being there?

B: No, not at first, because my body was pretty uncomfortable holding these positions it wasn’t used to being in. But I guess that’s part of yoga – learning to breathe through discomfort. Focusing on the breath and what you can control and letting everything else fall away – I think that even helped me with the mental challenges of racing.

M: So is yoga a physical practice for you, or something else?

B: Physical first, for sure. Those are the benefits I needed and noticed the most. I run and I bike, and those for me are like an active meditation. My mind goes places when I do those things. But in yoga, I do feel focused on it. Right on the edge of what my body can do. Yoga sort of shuts off my wandering mind, which is a helpful skill.

M: What did you notice changing after you started yoga?

B: Immediately I felt like I could take higher quality, deeper breaths. A lot of people don’t really appreciate breathing – it’s just this automatic thing. But when you’re in tune with it, you’re getting a lot more oxygen in your lungs. It’s even helped me sleep better. Then there’s the injury prevention – obviously I can’t say what injuries I didn’t get because of yoga. My Achilles tendons have been tight for a long time, and I know they’d be a lot tighter if I wasn’t practicing. Yoga has been part of my training for 15 years, without it I don’t think I would still be doing this, and still improving.

M: 15 years in, what is your practice like now?

B: A little something every day or every other day. Even just a few minutes of twists and hip opening sequences I’ve been using since my first classes. I travel a lot, so my yoga studio is usually in a hotel room or a friend’s place. I think of myself as a work in progress, the yoga is a way to keep progressing.

M: Why do you think more runners and athletes don’t take up yoga?

B: I’ve heard some people say time. Or not knowing where to start. I think also there might be doubt that it will actually do anything. But I’ve seen it help – with reducing the risk of injury, with speedy recovery, with lengthening my career. You know, a lot of professional athletes are trying hard to squeeze another year or two out of their careers – this should be part of anything you do to be good at a sport.

M: How would you describe yoga to someone who’s never heard of it?

B: That’s a tough question. It’s easier to describe the outcome than the process. Maybe yoga is a process of becoming more aware, able to move more fluently, and think more clearly.

M: Namaste to that.

October 6th, 2014

#Thisismyyoga—Reflecting On Week 3

The movement continues – this collective pause to reflect and connect from the heart, as a community, about what our yoga practice really means. #Thisismyyoga is all about your yoga, beyond the mat and towel, the green tea and leggings. You shared that your yoga is family, service, integrity, being present to ourselves and each other on the mat, on the road, in the kitchen or in a giant pile of autumn leaves. Explore what yoga is to real yogis on Instagram, Twitter or at Manduka.com/thisismyyoga. Here are some of the brave, beautiful portraits of how yoga is happening:

Jess Braccia, @jessbraccia (who, as a thank you for sharing her story, will receive a suite of gear from our new Fall Collection, plus a gift for the yogi she tagged next, Rebecca Schneider @itsbeccc)

This is my yoga. Yoga is knowing upon waking that the day will only be as good as I make it, so I better make it a great one. Yoga is knowing upon waking that there is a reason, a purpose, for having one more day on this earth. Yoga is knowing that it gets better. Yoga teaches me to bend so that I don't break. Yoga has given me a second chance to share the wealth. My yoga is healing; my yoga is self-love; my yoga is teaching others to know their yoga.

Sophia Bush, @sophiabush

…as of late, yoga has meant giving myself a gift. Something just for me. For my health. My wellness. My soul. Learning to listen to my body, and to give it what it needs. Because I'm learning that I'm worth it. I deserve to sweat, strengthen, meditate, and breathe. I deserve to love myself now, in this moment. Not when I become/achieve/do "that thing." Now. #THISisMyYoga

Jenny Reitz, @jenny_reitz

#thisismyyoga Watching the rain storm with my grandpa. This is our yoga today.

Carolyn, @wateryogini

My yoga is simple. Sometimes it is strong, sometimes it is soft. Sometimes it is physical but now I am learning that often times it is mindful. My yoga brings me back down to the ground with the sun on my shoulders and the earth between my toes. It releases everything else swirling on around me and brings me back to my center. I'm learning how to use my yoga like a mirror to reflect upon my inner self without judgment. My yoga is my journey.

Sadiya Marie, @Sadiyamarie

#thisismyyoga Trusting everything that life throws at me is for my own benefit. In the end, it all works out exactly how it was supposed to.

Tim Seutter, @yogafirenz

Yoga had opened a whole new world for me and given me FREEDOM! Freedom to be myself, my true self. Yoga helped me gain the confidence to live life for each moment and to take my family and move around the world. My old self would have never dreamt of leaving a stable, well paying job, a nice house and vehicles, a cabin on a lake and leave on a whim to New Zealand. I still don't know why I ended up in NZ but one day the answer will come. Yoga taught me to be ok with the unknown, ok with being myself and ok with giving up all I have known to start a journey of self-discovery and many unknowns. The people I have met, the inspiration that other yogi/yoginis give me every day has been such a blessing. Showing a person that a posture is attainable not through strength alone but belief in oneself has been such a treasure to watch. Thanks to everyone on my yogic journey who have impacted me so much. That is the most memorable part of this all. #ThisIsMyYoga.

Vlada-Diana, @Vladayogini

My practice is 2.5 years old and I started yoga to ease my back pain, since I have severe scoliosis. Back then I couldn't have even imagined how yoga would change me. Yoga is much more than exercise. It has 8 limbs, but no boundaries. There is a yoga style for everyone. No matter how flexible and bendy and strong you are - there is yoga for you. No matter if you are man or woman - there is yoga for you. Now I realize that I am here to serve. I love and embrace my nature of a woman and I am eager to share it with you. Here I am bringing quotes and photos for you, encouraging you, inspiring you. But, always assume, all that I do, here and there, I do with love. I love you

Kim Stetz, @kimstetz

#ThisIsMyYoga I teach meditation at Rikers prison to women inmates and COs weekly. My yoga is daily and just this breath. [At my studio #savasanastation] I do not charge for mat use - starting in Nov I will ask for $1 donations for mat use so at our year anniversary in April I can donate our gently used mats to the prison program and buy new ones at the studio.

Briohny & Dice Iida-Klein, @BryceYoga

#thisismyyoga ... I am serious about my Yoga practice but my practice doesn't have to be serious. I practice when I can and welcome my kids (and dogs) to join in whenever. If I had it my way, I would practice at home all of the time (I hate being away from my kiddos). But my mom told me that when I'm away, if she tells #babysyd that I'm doing Yoga, he's cool with it.

Rosie Acosta, @rosieacosta

I'm always fascinated by the incredible beauty of Nature. I always say that I find it most powerful & nourishing to be outdoors surrounded by a lush green landscape or close to a body of water. To repeatedly return back to the source of our being and to be able enjoy every magical moment of this planet one breathe at a time. Connecting to nature helps me find the courage to trust the wisdom within my heart…my teacher. #thisismyyoga what's yours?

Melissa Lee, @pocketdwarf

"While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about" I am completely blown away by how much my mini has learnt just be watching what I do. I never would have guessed she would start walking her feet up a wall at the age of Two after watching me do this. My heart is full. It brings me so much joy watching her do yoga and seeing how happy she is when she shows me what she can do. "Look mommy, I do yoga." #thisIsMyYoga ~ sharing my mat with my mini and being totally amazed by her every day. She inspires me to get on my mat everyday.

Jacki Carr, @jackicarr

Hiking in Banff National Park today, I recognized the neon green moss and decided to go ahead and just lay down on it. #thisismyyoga in nature for a beautiful pause to watch the breeze through the trees as the clouds pass and truly allow my body to be held by Earth. And obviously, I call it, moss-vasana. Highly recommended.

Join us! Share your real yoga on Instagram or Twitter with tag #ThisIsMyYoga. Show your community what your practice is really about, and tag another person to share theirs and keep the conversation going. Next week (our last week) we’ll select one yogi to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new Fall Collection, plus gifts for the yogi who tagged them and the yogi they tagged next.

Practice on, 

Manduka

September 29th, 2014

#Thisismyyoga – A Look At Week 2

Over 1,800 of you have shared your yoga so far. You have opened your hearts, thought deeply and gotten extremely creative. Just have a look at this hashtag in your Instagram or Twitter feed or see what people are sharing at Manduka.com/thisismyyoga to see the range of ideas, energies and especially joys.

Keep going, because this is our time to talk. We’re flowing from asana to rawsana: real honest conversation about what yoga is and how it can help us create the beautiful world we want to live in. This is less about digging into our hamstrings and more about digging into our heartstrings.

Here are some of the things you shared last week:

@livinglifeupsidedown (Kelli Davis, who, as a thank you for sharing her story, will receive a suite of gear from our new Fall Collection, plus a gift for @marlakasilag who tagged Kelli, and @pauladhy and @lizlovelaugh, who she tagged next.):

My yoga... I was searching for the perfect words...there is no such thing in yoga. My yoga is not perfect but it doesn't have to be. Yoga to me is love, kindness, non-judgemental, happiness, authentically caring, and learning to let.it.goooo. Let all the shit go. For me personally, I love the strength that come with the asana (pose) practice part. I wouldn't be on this yoga journey if I didn't step into that one yoga class that taught me my first arm balance. My yoga is changing. I am learning to breathe, to be still, to love, to meditate, all these wonderful things beyond the asana and it's pretty freaking amazing.

@blackbearsongwn (Jolene Rachelle)

My yoga is tuning into the eternal rhythms of life that move my breath, my body, the seasons, the planets, the universe. It's showing up on my mat to release the fears and inadequacies that hold me back from showing up in my daily life with love in my heart and light in my eyes. It's being broken open over and over and over again and accepting with grace what I find in those broken places. It's learning that physical and emotional strength and flexibility cannot be separated and that the deeper I move into the asanas, the deeper I move into myself, and the deeper I move into myself the deeper i move into love. And I think at the core of it all that's my yoga; the practice of love, and the realization that in the end that's all there is. We dance with the light and we dance with the dark and in the end it all just goes back to love.

@nerguita (Laura G)

For me yoga is not a pose, it's a journey with my body, it's not a perfect asana, it's the daily lesson of learning how to read, listen and understand my mind, my thoughts, my emotions, my balance in the physical, and the subtle energy of my soul... It means accepting the gift I receive in my mat, accepting what happens inside myself and specially accepting what goes on the outside.. Yoga means patience, energy, quietness and abstraction, it means concentration and focus, it means I can control my mental screen, what goes in and what I need to remove, it means let go, it means inhale and exhale, it means a smile and a mouth shut, it means being humble, it means health in my mind, my body and my soul .. It means so much in the mat and way too much out of the mat.

@mango_twee (Thuy Dockendorf)

Yoga to me is gratitude. Its the practice of kindess, patience, love, compassion, and understanding. It is the candle that lights up the darkness within me. It is a service to be better toward myself and toward others. It is the mouse that clicks the close button on all the tabs I have open in my brain. I used to be lost and incredibly insecure till I started my practice. I was afraid to be vulnerable and now I am no longer afraid to be broken open. Yoga for me is choosing love over fear and knowing to trust myself and my abilities. I am incredibly grateful I found my practice and my passion.

@rosieacosta (Manduka Ambassador Rosie Acosta)


#lifeoutdoors #thisismyyoga

@pamesantillana


1. El amor existe. 2. Amo mi carrera 3. Amo construir el amor 4. Amo estos chocolates #thisismyyoga
(translation: 1. Love exists. 2. I love my work. 3. Love begets love. 4. I love these chocolates. #thisismyyoga)

@mollyoneillyoga

My favorite practices take place at home, moving my body wherever it wants to go, stopping to appreciate the love around me. And my yoga is letting go of perfection, not freaking out if my arm looks fat or my back isn't straight or my hair is messy. It's being in the moment, feeling what I feel and rolling with whatever comes up.

@cherylmyoga (Cheryl Maslar)

Yoga helps to keep me grounded and focused. Yoga challenges me to keep growing both on and off of the mat. Yoga helps me to not be so hard on myself and to realize that I am a work in progress. Yoga makes me feel strong, calm, playful, balanced and humble ( among many other things). Yoga gives me the opportunity to help others.

@yogi_in_the_pines (Hilary Andrews)

#thisismyyoga | 6 months ago I was struggling to figure out who I was and what I really wanted out of life. I was facing big decisions without any hope or confidence in myself. I knew I had to change something. I had always wanted to try yoga but never could find the time. I stumbled across a documentary on Netflix called "Yoga Is" and started following the beautiful @laurasykora and @kathrynbudig on IG and realized I needed to MAKE the time. So for a month I took a beginners foundation course at @hotasana in Southern Pines, NC and began my awakening. Yoga is more to me than flexibility and burning calories (although I love those things too). It's about surrender. My yoga is accepting my flaws, accepting the things I can't control, and finding peace with it. My yoga is for my daughter: building MY confidence and self-love so that SHE grows up to love herself for everything she is. My yoga has brought me strength, courage, and, most importantly, my path. I am so grateful and happy I have found an amazing community to share my passion with!

@michmcm (Michelle McManus)

Turning frowns upside down since the beginning of time. I always remember this moment when life gets cray and things get wack.

@sarahtvrussell (Sarah TV Russell)

Sharing the passion for outdoor adventure and instilling the urge in my daughter to #strikeapose anywhere #thisismyyoga

@jmeltz (Jessica Meltzer)

Yoga is my home away from home. Brings me the comfort and calmness that little else can. I'm a (may-juh) work in progress, but aren't we all?

Join us! Share your real yoga on Instagram or Twitter with tag #ThisIsMyYoga. Show your community what your practice is really about, and tag another person to share theirs and keep the conversation going.
We’ll continue to select one yogi every week to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new Fall Collection, plus gifts for the yogi who tagged them and the yogi they tagged next.

Practice on,
Manduka