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August 11th, 2015

Manduka X 2015 Special Olympics World Games

his year’s World Games took place in our own back yard, so we didn’t want to miss the chance to support these global athletes with a yoga practice to help them reset for the big competition. They are runners, swimmers, cyclists, gymnasts, rowers, tennis, baseball and basketball players living in the margins of the mainstream because of birth, accident or simply chance. But stepping onto a yoga mat is freedom from those restrictions, an opportunity to explore the edges of your mind and body. They competed in honor of their countries, their teammates and them selves - breaking personal records and social expectations. In yoga we practice unity, acceptance and joy, and there is no better teach than these athletes. A special thanks to the World Games committee for including us, and to Manduka Ambassadors Mia Togo and Vytas Baskauskas for leading the class!

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
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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
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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
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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.