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April 24th, 2015

A Celebration Of Nows, Part I

Life can be many things – beautiful, messy, sweaty, mysterious, still. But more than anything else, it’s now. Over the past three weeks, we’ve been celebrating your nows – those moments when you turn intention into action, let your heart do the driving, fully show up for everything that’s possible and put your practice into practice – beyond the mat.

#NowStartsNow is your invitation to the moment, and we’re inspired by what you – bright, brave, wild you – do with it. Here are some of your Nows that have inspired us along the way, including Christie McNabb, Liz Sherrer, Christine Durrant, Sarah Crowe, and Priscilla Ann who receive a special suite of Manduka gear as our thank you.



Christine Durant, @ChristineMDurant
Christine Durant
Yes!! Instead of sitting in front of the computer and stressing over my to-do list and then of course not getting any of it done, I biked to work! My bike, Cordelia, and I took a gorgeous trip all over the island I live on and had our first bridge crossing! At the end of the ride I taught a relaxing and loving restorative yoga class to help people close up their week and ease into a new one. I'm so happy that I fought my usual type A tendencies to get everything done that minute and make everything perfect. Instead I enjoyed the moment, got my body moving, and breathed in our salty bay air. Now I'm ready for Monday. #NowStartsNow


Sarah Ashkar
I've been stagnated in my job and am working to secure a new opportunity in a new city. I am scared of a huge change, even though I have made several HUGE changes in my young life. Now I have a child, my partner and I have dual careers to consider, and I feel somewhat settled. I know a change is the right thing for all of us, but getting there is terrifying. Yoga keeps me centered, balanced, and confident. I don't do it as much as I want or should, but I always feel better when I do. I would love some new gear to support my practice and move my family forward. Thanks for the chance. ‪#‎NowStartsNow‬‬‬‬


Misfit Yoga + Wellness
Misfit Yoga + Wellness
Need a little inspiration? Get outside, breath fresh air and open your eyes to nature. Beauty and grace are natural elements out there. #nowstartsnow



Leah Pennington

Leah Pennington
When I am following my heart, I am able to use the strength, compassion and courage I gain on my mat and go out into the world and make a lasting change. Last week I had a great opportunity to attend the Supporting Student Resiliency in Trauma-Sensitive Schools conference. There were some pretty amazing speakers and a national panel of educators all talking about the great changes they have made in schools. Hearing words like mindfulness, restorative practices, trauma compassionate & wellness centers, make my heart skip a beat. A shift is coming and I am so excited to see it happening. Change starts from compassion, it is fueled by passion and it lasts from connecting to others. Follow your passion, follow your heart, #NowStartsNow


@littleislandstudios
little island studios
I have spent years doing what i thought i should, or what everyone else expected of me. It left me lost and lonely. It took a dramatic event to awaken me. I found my passion & continue to move forward & reinvent myself…This is YOUR life. It is YOUR choice. No one will choose for you...and that is a beautiful thing.


Christie McNabb
Christie McNabb
When I originally heard about this contest, I dreamed of extravagant pictures in the woods, beautiful shots of yoga poses at sunrise and the like. But this is the truth of my now, the truth of how my yoga practice keeps me going.

In a year that has been tougher than most, I've experienced temporary homelessness, moving, relying on a bike for my sole transportation, cockroaches and now, in a gracious gift from my neighbor: bed bugs. My sweet, peaceful sanctuary in a crazy world has to once again be packed and bagged and piled. And, although I may sob while I do it, I'm trying to draw on that deep reserve of strength we begin to realize we contain while on the mat, and allow my breath to carry me through.

Here I sit in meditation amongst all my belongings, in trash bags destined for either the dumpster or the laundry mat.

It's not pretty, but it's real.

#nowstartsnow


Heather N, @holyyogiheather
Heather N
#nowstartsnow this is my practice right now. A season of savasana. A knee injury sidelined me 5 weeks ago. The morning of my injury I chose yoga over sleeping in. I had the most grateful & present practice. I was grateful for my body & amazed at what it could do. The night of my injury, as I lay on the snowy sidewalk waiting for the ambulance, I practiced as well. This time with deep, healing, ujjayi breaths. And for the past 6 weeks (and for a few more) I practice savasana. I rest in gratefulness. Grateful for that last "official" practice before I was hurt, grateful for the natural response of my body to use breath I have learned in yoga to keep me conscious & focus through the pain, grateful for a season of rest, and grateful for the coming season of getting back to my favorite asanas. (This photo is my savasana while my knee is being iced after a particularly tough and victorious session with my physical therapist.)


Sarah Crowe
Sarah Crowe
Easter holidays and taking a break from yoga teacher training to be a big kid with my son. Life's to short to be serious all the time, even on my manduka mat the odd laugh appears with a wobble and a face plant which is why I love yoga #nowstartsnow


Elisabeth T. Lilja, @etlyoga
Elisabeth T Lilja
When you wake up in the morning do you tell you tell yourself you are beautiful? Do you tell yourself that you are enough? Do you tell yourself you are absolutely perfect the way you are?
I invite you every morning to place your hand on your heart and tell yourself:
I am beautiful.
I am enough.
I am absolutely perfect the way I am.
This mantra doesn't mean that you can't grow...what it means is you should give yourself more love.
#NowStartsNow


Priscilla Ann, @kauailife
Priscilla Ann
Some #StopDropAndYoga in the middle of preschool P.E. a.k.a. awesome dance party. #BestJobEver #ECELove #NowStartsNow


Yulady Saluti, @yulady
Yulady Saluti
"What time is it?" I asked my son Wyatt. I couldn't see the clock. He said something that I couldn't hear. I got closer and asked again. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and said "It's now Mom." This concept is not new to my house so I shouldn't have been surprised. We talk to our children about the future and the past but are careful to explain that life happens this very moment, right now we say.

Through all of my health problems and surgeries (24) I have learned not to anticipate the future or dwell on the past. If I did that I don't think I would have ever made it. The Now is where I choose to hang out. It's so alive and vibrant here in the Now.

Here's to you my blessed son Wyatt Oscar Saluti.

Happy Birthday to a shining bundle of light and love. Tx you for reminding to suck the life out of each second I am on this earth.

#NowStartsNow @mandukayoga


Maria Laura Aguayo, @malauraaguayo
Maria Laura Aguayo
It takes courage to jump into the unknown, but you don't get to fly if you stand still. #NowStartsNow so take the leap!


Kristen O’Brien, @keobrien12
Kristen O’Brien
Did a short meditation once I got home today to clear my mind and set an intention. Friday and Saturday are my last days of class to become a certified academic language therapist. I have a book report and a huge paper to finish by Thursday. I am so excited for all my hard work to pay off. I can't wait to improve the lives of so many children during my teaching career. #NowStartsNow - I am driven to finish this & start the next chapter of my teacher career. I'm also super excited to drink a margarita on Saturday to celebrate!


Liz Sherrer
Liz Sherrer
We have this amazing opportunity to move to Germany. We have moved a lot throughout our marriage, but this upcoming move has by far been the most complicated. There are so many things we have to plan for, so many thing we have to do in preparation, it is HARD. I have an easy option, I could just not go. But in the end that would cause so much heartbreak, knowing I missed out on an amazing opportunity because it got a little hard.

Manduka (the company that makes my favorite yoga mat) is starting a movement. They are calling it “now starts now.” They are asking people to share what is stirring inside of them, how they are planning on showing up for life – it cannot be coincidence. I feel like I’ve just received the most timely invitation – to live life without fear of hard things, of pain, of disappointment. To live life full throttle with a zest for adventure and a spirit of love.

So with that said I’m going to do the hard things. I’m going to move overseas and live an adventure.

See Liz’s full blog post “I’m Saying Goodbye To A Fear Of Hard Things” here.



Now it’s your turn! We’re reading your stories, tweeting your Tweets and hearting your Instagrams. For three more weeks, we’ll choose five more yogis who share their #NowStartsNow to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new spring collection. Share your now as a post to our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and be sure to tag @MandukaYoga and #NowStartsNow.

Now is your one, wild & true life. What will you do with it?


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.