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January 23rd, 2011

# Practice Weekly Inspiration

This week's social media highlights:

Walk in light (a line borrowed from Martin Luther King)
http://www.facebook.com/MandukaYoga/posts/186786798007192

Notable yogis Sting and his wife Trudie thank their daily practice – and look about 30 years younger than they are: http://www.facebook.com/MandukaYoga/posts/157185861000769

An intellectual debate on the ethics of yoga competitions: http://www.facebook.com/MandukaYoga/posts/182615811761992

Congratulations to the first winners in our series of #Practice Reverence giveaways; honoring the teachers and yoga styles that brought us to our path:

Vince Doss, winner of a Round airCore Bolster:
"I suffered a head injury from a fall 2yrs ago and during subsequent neuropsych evaluation, I mentioned my "feeling that there is more out there, a spiritual thing that I could not quantify/qualify", a Clinical Psychologist recommended reading anything by Jon Kabat-Zinn he said that meditation was the only way he made it through medical school. Reading "Full Catastrophe Living" by JKZ lead me to several other titles but one was "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga" by Deepak Chopra which lead to a Google search on Ayurveda in my region which came up with my first Yoga Instructor Michelle Fondin of The Ayurvedic Path. Her Meditation and Hatha Yoga class and gentle kindness has truly helped transform my life."

Hadji Jones, winner of a Black Mat PRO:
"The Prana-Flow(@ShivaRea students) brought me to my path of #Practice. But along the way I found @DoYogaPhilly & she's my guide!"

January 19th, 2011

#Practice 365 Golden Yogi Winner: Carrie Griffiths

What can you accomplish in 365 days?

In early September, we asked you to imagine the possibilities that a year of free-flowing asanas could open up. We wanted to bring more yoga into your every day, practicing anytime and anywhere – on us!

Our Golden Yogi, Carrie Griffiths, won a free year of yoga at a studio of her choice. She’s letting us follow her on this spiritual journey of #Practice 365 with monthly blog updates along the way.

Bio:
My name is Carrie Griffiths and I currently live in Alexandria, VA. My first yoga class was 12 years ago in a little studio overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I was instantly hooked.

I practice in a variety of studios, gyms, and workshops, both indoor and outside (the latter being my preference). I will try any style of yoga, although I prefer a challenging Vinyasa flow. I am currently quite dedicated to three instructors, each with their own style and each who inspire me differently.

At least every other month I consider taking a teacher training course. Not necessarily because I want to instruct, but because I think it would strengthen my own practice. Although teaching might be fun too!

I practice yoga simply because it makes me feel great. I have a few lifelong physical limitations, which have only been made better through my practice. My yoga helps ease pain. It challenges me to see how far I can push myself. It relaxes me. It reminds me to breathe. I feel taller, more grounded, more open and happy after I practice! I feel that these are all things I am able to take with me out of the studio and into my everyday activities. I'm so grateful that I have something in which I can continually grow and take with me wherever I go.

So thank you, Manduka! I'm really excited about this!

January 19th, 2011

The Road Back To Myself

By Eka Ekong

I remember my first time on a yoga mat. At the suggestion of my then-boss, a devout Ashtangi, I took my first yoga class. It was a new, strange, yet exciting experience. I liken it to Bambi trying to stand up on roller-skates, a mixture of fumbles and limbs, gasps and frustration. Although trying, it felt as if I was engaged physically and on a higher plane of being. I also intuitively felt, at a soul level, that this practice was very special. In many ways, and for the first time in a long time, I felt I like I had come home.

I practiced, practiced and practiced. The more often I practiced yoga, the more I came into a deeper understanding of myself. People, experiences, desires that were once appealing to me, seemed to fall away. Being on my mat I felt a wave of sacredness, and as if I was being held by the hand of the Divine. It wasn’t a church in the traditional sense, but I was in the temple of my own inner light and wisdom. I felt at ease in my own skin. Through the window of my physical asana practice, I walked through the door of my own heart.

Often I am asked, why do you practice yoga? I share that yoga saved my life, and helps me to remember I Am That(So Hum). Yoga teaches me to honor the Spirit within myself, and within all things- That we are all connected, not just in those moments of happiness and love, but even in those moments when we seem separated, whether by distance or conflict, misunderstandings or circumstances.

Whether on my mat or teaching, my intention is embody this sacred heart and possibility of yoga; to honor this tradition that has been passed down through the centuries; to share that yoga is not a fad, or something that needs to be constantly re-invented; It is a tried and true methodology that if practiced with vigor, persistence, love and openness, can and will help us gracefully navigate the course of our existence.

Last year, my dear friend and relative who introduced me to my then-boss, passed away. I often think of how blessed I am to have met her (she was a vibrant, loving spirit who facilitated the meeting that would lead me to my mat), and the many other beloved souls who guide, inspire, and encourage me daily in my practice.

Each time I bring my palms together in Anjali mudra, I honor my beloved, departed friend, my teachers, my ancestors, my students, loved ones, and this tradition. I am continually challenged, humbled, and awed by the richness of this practice, for through its’ grace, I was led back to my Self.

January 18th, 2011

How Do You #Practice Reverence?

Here's to a 2011 full of brilliant possibilities. New ways to practice and new places to see our practice reflected.

In the spirit of the early days of a new year, we asked our community to share their intentions for 2011 throughout the month. Anything is possible. We can be anyone we want.

How do you #Practice Reverence?

Check out some of these inspiring replies:

Arika Harman Cloud's intention.

Doc Rodrigues on his path to yoga.

Shared stories of the yoga journey.

Melissa Williams on her moment of gratitude.

Other highlights from the week include:

India’s recent kite fest with beautiful images of yogis in unison for miles.

Our post on yoga in prisons, where one Illinois paper took a surprisingly gracious look at the practice behind bars

January 12th, 2011

Yogis For Haiti: Off The Mat, Into The World

On January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the country of Haiti, devastating the capital and largest city, Port-au-Prince. A study by the Inter-American Development Bank as reported by the New York Times, estimated that the total cost of the disaster was between $7.2 billion to $13.2 billion, based on a death toll from 200,000 to 250,000. While public response was strong in 2010, there is much to do and Haiti needs us now more than ever. More than a million displaced people still live under tents/tarpaulins, reconstruction has been slow to start, and an outbreak of cholera and political unrest has made conditions worse and recovery difficult.

Off the Mat, Into the World believes in the power of the yoga community to come together to make a difference. Therefore, OTM is initiating the 2nd “Yogis for Haiti” day on this anniversary to demonstrate our solidarity and collective support for relief efforts in Haiti. Last year, the yoga community came together raising over $18,000 for organizations on the ground serving Haiti. This year, we’re uniting again on January 12th, 2011 to show our support and make a difference by taking our yoga off the mat and into the world.

To support this initiative, and in solidarity for these efforts, Manduka is offering 10% OFF ALL PURCHASES MADE ON JANUARY 12, 2011.

The coupon code is: Y4HAITI10 (This offer expires at midnight, January 12, 2011).