June 26th, 2013
Summer has arrived. Sunshine is abundant, clothing is minimal and all the seeds we planted in the spring are coming to full bloom. Freedom and intentions are running high this time of year, so let's do something meaningful with them and all these extra hours of daylight. Where does your heart want to take you this summer?
Turn on your inner GPS. We're going on a journey within and beyond – it could be as far as across the country or as close as the backs of our eyelids. Let's use our practice to help us reveal the path and send postcards along the way. Over the next five weeks, we'll be exploring "places" to go this Summer: Inner Peace, Back to Nurture, the Thrill of Adventure, Another State and Coming hOMe.
Show us what those places look like to you. Follow @MandukaYoga on Instagram and check out that week's theme. Then share a photo using hashtag #innerGPS reflecting the place we're going, you could win a special set of Manduka gifts every week.
This week's theme is Inner Peace. Let's go there. Show us your Inner Peace and tag it #innerGPS. Next Wednesday we'll collect all #innerGPS photos and select our favorite that truly embodies that theme. That person will win the Inner Peace gift set including the Limited Edition Manduka PRO Black Bliss, Go Getter mat strap in Heather Grey and Practice Journal.
You can also follow the community's #innerGPS journey in the Facebook Gallery and see all the places we're going together. If you have any questions, please ask! Otherwise we'll see you on the path, taking photos along the way.
June 18th, 2013
By Manduka Ambassador Silvia Mordini
"People of accomplishment rarely
sat back and let things happen to them.
They went out and happened to things."
~ Leonardo da Vinci
I am a born underdog. I have lived much of my life a step behind the rest. Whereas some might need to make 50% effort to move forward I often need to make a 150% effort to get to the same place.
Maybe part of this is the heritage of being an immigrant and the philosophy that nothing is free. You only create success through hard work. Work harder, and your possibilities expand. My family partly defined success as leaving the family an impressive legacy of means, higher education and respectability. We are expected to “do something” with our lives now so that the next generation has an even easier time to “do something” bigger. Inaction is not an option. Don Miguel Ruiz sums up my parent’s philosophy precisely:
“Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way that we deny life. Inaction is sitting in front of the television every day for years because you are afraid to be alive and to take the risk of expressing what you are. Expressing what you are is taking action. You can have many great ideas in your head, but what makes the difference is the action. Without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results, and no reward.”
DO SOMETHING NOW
If you wait until you are “ready” and things are “perfect,” you will get stuck in the inertia of inaction. Get started by taking small steps toward your intentions within the next 24 hours. Do not let self-doubt cripple you. Once you begin, keep acting on your goals a little at a time. The smallest efforts keep the momentum going and create powerful change. As they say in South America, “little by little one travels far.”
DON’T GIVE UP
When things don’t go as planned, it is easy to be really hard on ourselves. When this happens, amp up your efforts to persevere. Like the pristine Lotus Blossom, which somehow manages to rise up through a muddy swamp toward the sun, keep striving toward your vision. Florence Scovel Shinn writes, "Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding to the vision, and often just before the big achievement, comes apparent failure and discouragement." Let us be lotus blossoms, and manifest the most joy-filled, peaceful and healthful lives we can envision.
My parents taught me daily to practice gratitude with enthusiasm. It is important to maintain your motivation by sharing your gratitude for your attempts as well as your achievements. A positive attitude may get you started in the right direction, but appreciation for others is what sustains it.
My yoga practice continually reminds me of all three of these aspects to living an inspired life. I get on my Manduka mat each day and “do something.” I do not give up my practice when life is inconvenient, and I certainly give thanks to all who made it possible for me to move, breath and live in this moment! In turn, this stokes my rebel spirit to go out and happen to things. Love yourself, love your day, love your life!
June 12th, 2013
Denise and Eric Antonini are the owners and co-founders of You and the Mat, an independent yoga studio and gallery for yoga inspired fine art, located in Laguna Niguel, CA. Their collective vision is to share the art of yoga with everyone who has ever longed to unwind, unplug, and connect with a deeper, more authentic version of the self. Through You and the Mat they make yoga accessible to students, instructors, and the community through their daily classes, art & music events, "Support Local" and Master Teacher Workshop Series. Honoring yoga as a fusion of art forms, You and the Mat celebrates visual poets, melodymakers, storytellers, soundtrackers of sunsets and creatives who share its vision ~ creating moments of calm, glimpses of now, and flashes of inspiration.
More about Denise:
Denise Antonini ~ Manduka Ambassador
Dynamic, soulful, and empowering, Denise pours inspiration and creativity into her teachings, using her expertise in health psychology to elevate an ancient practice to a state-of-the-art yoga experience. Yoga is her art of movement, mindfulness, her art of attention, and awareness, her art of intention. At Stanford University Denise studied psychology and the mind-body connection graduating with honors. At Chicago Medical School her thesis and doctoral work in clinical psychology focused on maintaining health, improving quality of life and achieving wellness.
As a therapist, consultant and professor she has helped people create the life they want to be living. As a yoga instructor her invigorating, fluid yoga sequences challenge the body helping students to disconnect from the busyness of day-to-day life-- tuning in to their intuition by stabilizing the mind with the breath. Denise effortlessly guides anyone who comes to the mat to a place of meditative calm--finding the perfection of the present moment.
Visit You And The Mat.
May 31st, 2013
By Kee Kee Buckley, creator of the Shama Yoga Rug.
I didn’t set out to become an inventor, it just sorta happened. It happened during a time in my life when I looked around and realized I wasn’t happy. There were a lot of broken parts in my life, and I had grown tired of sludging through the murky undercurrent of stagnant and toxic energy that seemed to infuse every bit of my existence. It was 2003, and yoga was the one thing that seemed to bind all the broken pieces of my life together. It was my lifeline during a time when little else made sense. A six year relationship had just ended, leaving me moving out of the beautiful spacious Venice Beach house owned by my ex-boyfriend into a tiny 300 square foot hobbit hole. I was also working hard to digest the fact that my dream career was really just something that was leaving me feeling empty and unfulfilled. I needed to find a solution and fix my life. Not knowing where else to begin, I turned to yoga.
In fact, I dove head first into yoga and enrolled in yoga teacher training. Then, wanting to take my practice even deeper, I enrolled in the Yoga Philosophy program at LMU and joined a yoga philosophy study group with several well-known LA yoga instructors. As my body and spirit grew stronger through yoga, I began to challenge myself physically with a more advanced asana practice. Yet with more physically demanding asana came more sweat. As much as I would like to say I glow when I work out, I don’t. I sweat. Profusely. My face gets red and puffy and sweat drips from places one would think sweat should never ever drip. On the one hand, sweating felt good – like I was detoxifying all that toxicity in my life. On the other hand, sweating hindered my practice by causing me to slip on my mat. Wanting a non-synthetic solution, I turned to cotton yoga rugs. Unfortunately, although they helped, I still would slip. Yes, I sweat that much.
Although I hadn’t yet found a solution to fix the bigger problems in my life, I was bound and determined to find a solution to fix my problems with sweating on my mat. A conversation with a friend about how I would improve the yoga rugs on the market led to me impulsively getting on the internet and educating myself about the difference between the weft and the warp yarns in weaving. I decided my dream yoga rug would have a raised weft weave, leaving ridges that would not only help with alignment, but would also be big enough to serve as friction points to stop me from slipping at the same time as being small enough that they wouldn’t throw off my balance. In order to accommodate large hands and feet on taller people and smaller hands and feet on shorter people, I wanted these ridges to be spaced further apart towards the ends of the rug and closer together towards the center of the rug. India was the only country I knew of that had commercial handloom companies, so I shot off a few e-mail inquiries to several of them. The most accommodating was a family-owned business in New Delhi, and over the next year they would send me samples, I would make changes and then they would send me new samples. We did this several times until I finally had a production sample of my new yoga rug, which I promptly named the Shama Yoga Rug. Shama in Sanskrit means tranquility and peace, and because I was actively searching for inner-peace in my life, I thought this the most fitting name for my new rug. The next few years involved obtaining a utility patent on my yoga rug, setting up an online store, and eventually finding a home for the Shama Yoga Rug in the Manduka family of products.
Fixing my problem with my sweaty yoga practice taught me a valuable life lesson. When I find there is a problem in my life, then I should buckle down, find a solution, and fix things once and for all. Surprisingly, inventing a patented yoga rug was easier than fixing some of the other broken things in my life. But I’m getting much better at drumming up the necessary courage to create lasting healthy changes. Each time I practice on my Shama Yoga Rug, I’m reminded of the importance of being an active participant in creating a life I love.
Kee Kee Buckley lives and writes in Austin, TX. Visit her blog at www.seekingshama.com and follow her on twitter at @seekingshama.
Learn more about the Shama Yoga Rug.
April 30th, 2013
This is a celebration of space: physical, mental and spiritual.
Space is where the breakthroughs happen, where we give ourselves the freedom and permission to explore. What will we have room for when we choose to make space?
There are places that specifically set us up to unblock. Freeing our bodies, energies and intentions. We’re talking about neighborhood yoga studios - the spaces, and the teachers, who know that our next epiphany might be one Triangle Pose away.
So that Triangle Pose ought to be magical. Manduka developed a new kind of yoga prop, made from recycled materials, and built the way your body is built – way outside the box. We call it unBLOK, and we hope that’s exactly what it helps you do.
To celebrate unBLOK, and the yoga studios that do just that, we’re turning to you. Tell us through Facebook about your favorite studio and why it’s a special place to practice. What is it about this space that brings you clarity during class and in the 22½ hours that follow?
We’ll thank you for sharing with a gift toward your next purchase at Manduka.com, and thank our 5 favorite yoga studios for helping yogis clear their paths with a full-class supply of soulfully engineered Manduka gear – plus an unBLOK Kit (unBLOK, PRO Mat and Strap) for the yogis who nominated them. Later, you can vote for the studio that inspires you too – we’ll throw an unBLOK Party for the studio with the most votes, complete with yoga, music, dancing and Manduka gifts for the whole block.
It’s much easier to see where we’re going when we clear the path. So let’s have an unBLOK Party!
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