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June 1st, 2011

Sri, Sri, Capri...

Sri is defined as radiance or resplendence. The nature of the world is beautiful, and as we brighten our inner fire, we can see this beauty more clearly, even in those moments that don't necessarily feel so divine.

Here's how our amazing community is finding beauty and paradise in their surrounding world:

Laura Mannino-Gabriel
"My yoga paradise is finding that amazing balance between breath and stillness, where absolutely nothing exists, but I feel the entirety of my body heart and mind filled with exhiliration, peace, warmth, and stillness."

Lucy Reynolds
" My yoga paradise at the moment is sharing yoga practice with my nearly-three year old daughter who likes to 'do yoga like mummy' and tells me Downward Dog is her favourite! I'm far from a perfect yogi and our shared practice never lasts that long but fills my heart with immense joy."

Amanda Huff
"My yoga paradise is when the way I feel about myself and others while I'm on my mat follows me off the mat and I know I'm becoming a better person with each practice."

Christine Harless-Fairbourne
"My yoga paradise is when I see my five year old twins, 11 year old or 21 year old, practicing yoga and knowing they are bringing peace and calmness to their spirits and bodies."

Sondra Bloxam
"My yoga paradise is at my local hot yoga studio, in child's pose leaving my stresses at the corners of my mat, breathing deeply, and living in the moment, ready to take the first vinyasa :D"

Jennifer Aiksnoras
"My yoga paradise is always and everywhere within me."

Tonya Fox
"My yoga paradise is Savasana with my precious little dog lying beside me doing her own Savasana....pure bliss........."

Mary Beth Bender
" Practicing yoga in peru near macchu picchu."

Jessica Sloan
"I recently found my place in the world to practice while in Kenya on a study abroad trip. There is nothing more rewarding then teaching yoga to children who experience little joy in their lives."

Jeff Dawson
"As long as I am with my mat it is always yoga paradise. I am taking my mat to tahoe for wanderlust."

Y is for Yogini
"Paradise is laughter and the ability to find my path, practice, and the humor in anything. ;)"

Ashley Watrous Yost
"At our cottage in Ludington, MI on the beach facing the sand dunes ♥"

Jennifer Cayouette
" My yoga paradise is in my mind. I see pictures of yogis and I'm impressed and intimidated by all those head stands and Pretzel-like poses, and then I swear to myself I will do it one day, but for all the reasons in the world, never got to it. maybe the first of that "one day" is this Friday morning at the community centre's yoga class..."

Britney Call Mellen
"My yoga paradise is my living room floor, first thing in the morning every morning. Even with all the kids' toys scattered around and dust bunnies under the couch, my mat is always a little piece of heaven! (And would be even more heavenly with this gorgeous new mat)!!"

Angel Marie
"Love being surrounded by woods. I hike through Old Stone Fort..do a bit of yoga near the waterfalls..its so peaceful out there. It doesnt get better than that :) The birds, sound of water, even those annoying little cicadas make it enjoyable. The world truly is a beautiful place."

Hayley Bustos
"I practice yoga on the back of my horse. Theres no better feeling than a back bend on the back of your best friend! :)"

Mellissa Lyle
"My yoga paradise would be on a patio overlooking the ocean, somewhere near the equator. Palm trees, waves crashing, Capri-colored water, white sands, and my Manduka mat there to greet me =)"

Ken Wilkens
"My yoga paradise is any time I choose yoga "practice" over "perfection."

Chris Di An
"There is no paradise but yoga."

May 23rd, 2011

Tuning Our Response - Ability

By Kia Miller

Are we so caught up in to-do lists that we have lost the ability to respond to life with spontaneity and presence? I teach yoga and talk to people all day long about taking pauses and time out of time. However, this remains one of the most elusive things in our culture, which is addicted to HAVING and DOING. In fact we value Having and Doing more than simply Being. When was the last time you congratulated your friend for doing nothing? Or took some time with absolutely no agenda? If you did take time, how kind was your thinking process, did you judge yourself and feel lazy?

It is easy to get caught in the cycle of acting from our sense of responsibility rather than purely responding to what the moment brings. Our lives become a laundry list of things to do, to the point where we move onto automatic pilot. Life gets juicy and exciting when we realize that being responsible is not some task to perform or an obligation to be met. To me the ability to respond is to be free to love and serve in each situation, and therefore each moment is different and unique and wonderful.

On this day I encourage you to take a pause. Pause before speaking, before acting, or even pausing between your inhale and exhale. Do not take a moment for granted. Show up and meet the moment in the spirit of being of service with love.

May 17th, 2011

#Practice Clarity

I recently took a break from my Manduka. It didn't do anything wrong. It didn't treat me badly, or not take me to expensive dinners. I was feeling burnt out, and found it very hard to be on my mat or in a yoga studio.

I remember being in relationships where my partner suggested we take a break. I would kick and scream, hearing that cliche "the break comes before the breakup" resonating in my ear.

Reluctantly, I took a couple of days off of my asana practice(the longest I had been off my mat in years.) I ate pizza, watched movies, and spent time with my loved ones. What I realized was that in several ways I was hiding from myself and my life off my black mat. I was resting in what had always felt comfortable for me, doing what was easy, not taking a risks. But just like in an asana, growth comes from stepping out of our comfort zone and moving towards our edge.

I am happily now back on my Manduka. We didn't break up, we just needed some space. Our time apart enabled me to embrace my life and practice with newfound passion and vision. I am more present in my life, and my practice is deeper than it was before. Taking a break isn't necessarily the end, but can be a new beginning. In the space, in those pauses in between, we can see more clearly and move forward powerfully.

My Manduka helps me #practice clarity. What does your Manduka help you #practice?

Here's how some others are powerfully #practicing:

Teamstretchyoga
"I #practice perseverance. I #practice moment to moment. I #practice service. I #practice Love. I #practice on my Manduka!"

Eunice_cu
"@MandukaYoga helps me practice stillness........"

Pinmoneygirl
"I make it a point to #practice poses that scare me."

Lisa Boise
"I laugh on it. I cry on it. I sweat on it. (Boy! Do I sweat on it!) I find peace on it. I work through anger and frustrations on it. On occasions I ignore it. I stretch on it. I pray on it. I jump on it. I use it and abuse it. And every time I step on it, I feel a welcoming energy from it. My soul can be free on my mat."

Stela Balaban
"The space created each time I unfold my Manduka becomes a safe place, a quiet place, a peaceful place, where there's no judgement and no expectations. And then the fun can begin."

EmilySaurette
"Dear Soul Mat, thank you for being so steady when I felt like breaking -you are my bestfriend."

May 11th, 2011

#Practice 365 Golden Yogi Winner: Carrie Griffiths

I’m really trying to learn to listen to my body. In light of my ongoing hip issues, I forced myself to take a break. Two weeks later, the rest of me became restless and so I thought, maybe I just need to make some changes. At the suggestion of one of my teachers, I decided to take a restorative class. I’ll admit I was hesitant; certain that it would be too easy and I would be bored. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t and I wasn’t. In fact, I found it to be rather blissful. The pain in my hip actually made a couple poses somewhat challenging and a bit uncomfortable, and I had to pull back even more. But once I was settled into a pose, I sort of just drifted away. It was as though I’d been transported to a far away land and everything around me disappeared. It was great. I could have stayed there forever. And these feelings stayed with me as I subtly shifted from pose to pose, a slight smile glued to my face.
What a nice balance this is for my practice. In my regular vinyasa practice, I will often resolve to breathe in the moment and relax a little, only to find myself pushing harder and getting lost in the details of a challenging pose. It’s really difficult for me to take it easy, even when I know I need to. I know that there is more to yoga than a vigorous practice. I never thought that discovering the other facets of it all would start with a new class. I’ve begun going to restorative regularly, and I’m happy to say it’s now an important part of my yoga practice.

May 9th, 2011

My Soul Mat

9 years.
Some days I drip my insecurity all over it, and it doesn't mind. No judgment. No eye rolling. No pull yourself together looks..

My Soul Mat: My Black Mat PRO.

Have you found yours?

These yogis have found their Soul Mat, and we couldn't be happier:

Stela Balaban
"My friend and yoga teacher has had her Manduka for 7 years. When I tried it for the first time I knew I had to have one."

Melissa Baker Gentile
"I opened this link in my blog reader: http://www.fitsugar.com/What-Best-Yoga-Mat-13852241?page=0%2C0%2C4#4 ... the description sounded perfect for me! I'm an exclusively-at-home yoga practitioner due to mobility issues and was looking for shock absorption. I bought the Black Mat Pro in Black Beauty - a gift from my husband for Valentine's day. His, "Please honey, buy it" was the best V-Day gift ever. He showed me how much my yoga practice mattered to him ♥ He also encouraged me to buy the color version rather than the black ... sometimes I have to struggle through pain and fatigue to make the choice to practice and he knew that the color would make me smile!"

Kim Puente
"It was SO not love at first sight. I had heard how much everyone loved the Manduka Pro, so I decided I would "try one out" to help me advance my practice. Rolled it out, and we had a "lunch date". Short and sweet. Too slippery. Read what I needed to do. So next was a "spa date" or a rub down with sea salt, lots of sea salt. Our love/hate relationship kept up about a week. I knew if I got to know my Manduka I would eventually fall in love. Which of course I did! One magical day all of the quirks worked out and I have seen my practice soar. Now instead of dreading our "dates" I count the time until the next one!"