blog

September 17th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Gregory

Meet Gregory.

At 6’4, 230 lbs., Gregory spent much of his life worrying that he was in someone’s way. Concerned with how much space he was taking up, if the person behind him couldn't see - he just wasn't at ease. With yoga, that anxiety is gone now. A dedicated Forrest yoga practitioner (with an 85" Black Mat PRO to boot), Gregory no longer hesitates to use as much room as he needs to feel free and move freely.

Gregory turned to yoga after being laid off from his job — where he'd worked devotedly for 10 years. He experimented with as many styles of yoga as he could find, and felt most at home with Forrest yoga. Because of his size, Gregory had always subconsciously placed a ‘heaviness’ on himself and always assumed he’d never be able to do handstands or more advanced poses. What he discovered was that he could be both big and heavy, AND light and graceful. Ana Forrest once told him during a tough workshop, “you take care of so many of us, you are such a big presence and person… and so is the world! The world is huge and cares for all of us, yet it still floats in space, gracefully spinning.”

Sometimes things happen for a reason. Gregory’s dedication to his yoga practice has "paid off" in a way he didn’t expect: he is now the Creative Services Director/Artist in Residence for the Forrest Yoga organization. He is feeling lighter than ever with the opportunity to combine his two passions, yoga and art.

In addition to his practice and his career, Gregory is also committed to bringing yoga to the LGBT community. He volunteers through Street Yoga and teaches at SMYRC (Sexual Minorities Youth Rescue Center) in Portland. His passion for unifying and uniting the yoga community and the LGBT community is bringing new tools for transformation and new perspectives for beautiful consideration.

We loved learning about Gregory! And we’d love to learn about you, too. Tell us about yourself on our You Series page: Manduka.com/You.

Every week we're sharing the story of another real yogi in our blogs, emails and even magazines. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here. Or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka

September 10th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Christopher

Meet Christopher.

In the summer of 2010, Christopher attended a yoga retreat held by Tim Miller in Mt. Shasta, CA. He was fresh out of a tumultuous relationship, and his guard was up – but he was ready to experience all that the retreat had to offer. From the moment he met another attendee named Suzy, he felt something different than he had ever felt before. They clicked instantly, and were inseparable during the retreat.

A few days in, Christopher was getting some help with bodywork from another attendee who couldn’t help but notice how tight his upper back was. It was like ARMOR. So she asked, “what are you protecting your heart from?” Christopher didn't know how hard that hit him until the next morning, when he awoke in tears, crying uncontrollably. Something in his yoga practice that weekend was melting his armor, little by little.

Then he realized he was falling in love.

At the end of the retreat, knowing that Suzy would be flying home to the east coast, Christopher was too scared to share his true feeling with her. But they kept in touch, and after a year of long distance friendship and dating, Suzy moved to California to be with Christopher. They got engaged, and were married just this past August in Mt. Shasta, CA. Christopher's heart is more open than ever and were it not for yoga, this opening may never have happened.

We loved Christopher’s story, and we’d love to hear your story, too. Share it with us on our You Series page, Manduka.com/You. We can’t wait to meet you!

Every week we're sharing the story of another real yogi in our blogs, emails and even magazines. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here. Or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka

September 3rd, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Christa

Meet Christa.

Christa used to manage broadway shows for a living. That's how she found yoga.

A musician working on one of the shows also happened to teach Iyengar yoga, and could sense the stress and pressure that Christa was under. He ended up offering her private instruction for close to 6 months – all he asked in return was that she ‘pay it forward’ to someone else in need.

Christa took that request and ran with it. She has opened a non-profit organization called Compass Yoga, teaching free yoga classes in New York City to people who don't otherwise have the opportunity, or the funds, to begin a yoga practice.

This past spring, Christa went on her first trip to India. It was an experience that broke her down and built her back up completely new, and more powerful. She now refers to her life in two eras: her life before India, and now her life after India. She returned home with a newfound gratitude for all of the opportunities she has available to her, and feels more determined in her purpose to spread the benefits of yoga and meditation to more people.

Yoga has truly been therapeutic for Christa. It has helped her to work through her father’s passing, and to let go of the guilt she still carried from their rocky relationship. Yoga taught her that we don’t have to wait for healing, it is within us and available to us all the time. We have all the answers and all the knowledge we need; we just need to tap into it.

We loved learning about Christa. And we’d love to learn about you, too! Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page: Manduka.com/You

Every week we're sharing the story of another real yogi in our blogs, emails and even magazines. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here. Or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka

August 27th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Sachi

This is Sachi.

Sachi started practicing yoga when she was living in Hawaii. It was at a free community class, deep in the green tropical rainforest, Sachi felt overpowered with the notion that every person and every life on this planet is connected through air, and through breath. This was where liking yoga became loving yoga and being yoga. Now, as a teacher, her focus is to create moments that profoundly connect her students' spirit with nature.

Yoga gave Sachi one of the happiest moments in her life. On a rock climbing trip to British Columbia this summer, she was on a cliff right over Lake Revelstoke – and she paused. It was a crazy place to be: vertical rock, tiny handholds, completely exposed over the water. But Sachi was totally in her world, among nature's stunning elements and with a beautiful friend. An eagle passed by, the wind was calm, and the water was singing. They meditated and chanted, right there while hanging in the air. If the rest of her life can have more moments like this, it will be hard to make Sachi any happier.

Sachi admits that when she first started practicing, her busy life and her attitude made her feel the need to fill every single minute of the day with some sort of task or activity – stillness wasn't an option. Yoga gave her the opportunity to ‘do nothing’ and come back to the purest form of herself.

We loved learning about Sachi. And we’d love to learn about you, too! Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page: Manduka.com/You

Every week we're sharing the story of another real yogi in our blogs, emails and even magazines. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here. Or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka

August 20th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Richa

Meet Richa.

Richa started practicing yoga because when you're 3 years old, you do what your Nana says. And Nana told 3-year old Richa to practice right next to her, in padmasana, on the traditional cow-dung floor in their Indian home. Yoga started as a practice of not only discipline, but of love and trust.

When Richa got older, she moved to the West, and rebelled against everything associated with Indian culture. But we can't ignore our roots forever, and they always have an odd way of growing back. She came to re-embrace her culture and religion, which in turn came to inform her calling in life. When she came back to yoga, she felt like she came back home.

Yoga has taught Richa to be fearless, or at least brave, and has inspired her to look over the edge. Her rediscovered practice has helped her branch way outside her comfort zone, trying new things like kite boarding and rip skating (photo evidence below!). She feels happy and alive — and people call her that all the time. And Richa knows that the best is yet to come.

We loved getting to know Richa, and we'd love to meet you too. Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page: Manduka.com/You

Every week we're sharing the story of another real yogi in our blogs, emails and even magazines. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here. Or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.

--Manduka