October 1st, 2013
By Patti Carr Cocciolo
Most of the time, our practice is very private, and very personal. Even in the most crowded classes at your local studio or gym, our teachers ask us to leave the outside world, come onto our mats, into our bodies and to focus on the breath. All of those cues help us to zero in on what should be a very internal event: our own yoga practice.
But sometimes, the practice moves outward. To a very public place, like Center Field.
This weekend, my family and I were part of Yoga Day at AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco, CA. After the Giants game (a loss, mind you, so most of us were already working through some serious, very recently-inflicted suffering….), about a hundred yogis and yoginis took to the field.
Now, I knew this was right up my alley. There are few things I love more than my family, my yoga, my Giants and my city. To be able to celebrate all of those things at the same time, Wowza.
What my family and I thought, was merely game turned out to be more than that. Hitting the field with mats in hand was just another incredibly generous gesture on behalf of my two exhausted, heartbroken children (did I mention the Giants lost that day?), and my already incredibly supportive, budding-yogi husband.
Here’s where the magic happened: by taking my practice, my very personal, private practice, to the outfield with my family, I went somewhere I’ve never gone before – I truly shared my practice with the people I love the most, and it was heaven... There was laughter, concentration, joy, wicked awful alignment, freedom, and lots of happy tears. In the moment, I found the joy of doing something I love with the people I love. And later, looking at the pictures, I was choked up to see my younger son meditating peacefully (to be fair – this was captured in between yoga-inspired bouts of breakdancing), and my older son, with his head tilted toward me in most every pose, watching, learning, truly making an effort to understand the outward shapes, in order to reach the inward space that his mother talks about all the time.
Do I want to practice every day with a 9-year-old baseball player and a 7-year-old breakdancer? Probably not. But what I learned on Saturday is that there is joy in sharing your most precious practice. That by opening yourself up to share, you rediscover why you do this in the first place. For me, I was reminded that I practice so I can be a better version of myself. That, in turn, makes me a better wife and a better mother. All of this came together on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in San Francisco- deep, deep in Center Field.
September 6th, 2013
This season we’d like to take you away. Out of your comfort zone and into a daring new place. Out of your head and into your body. Away to where real growth happens and your truest self comes out.
We want you to Go There.
We can’t tell you exactly where ‘There’ is - only you can do that. But Manduka will help, as we challenge you to try more, trust more and feel more. Go THERE.
And show us what it’s like.
Let’s Go There using Fall as inspiration to try something new and express yourself entirely. Then comes the bravest part: sharing a photo. Go There to Instagram tagging #LetsGoThere and @MandukaYoga, or upload to the special tab at Manduka’s Facebook page.
Every two weeks, one yogi whose photo helps us all Go There will receive a specially created Manduka gift set. To help guide your journey (and your photos), we will focus on a series of themes inspired by Manduka’s Fall color ways:
Starting today: THRIVE
Open your heart on or off the mat.
Starting September 23: VERVE
Reveal your real power and strength.
Starting October 7: EMBRACE
Go where your emotions flow.
Starting October 21: INDULGE
Treat yourself to the ultimate restoration.
And know that we’re always here to support.
August 2nd, 2013
By Manduka Ambassador Silvia Mordini
Do you wake-up inspired? How do you know? Well, if you feel physically tired, mentally fatigued, passionless, foggy, uncreative or distracted these are indicators that your inspiration is lacking. Happiness itself is a direct experience of enthusiasm. It is an outward expression to the world around us of how we feel inside. And it’s transportable, just like a backpack, it goes everywhere with us.
When we are living inspired lives our shared language is enthusiasm as is written in The Alchemist, “There was a language in the world that everyone understood. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love". The process of living demonstrates our quality of and love for life!
Love itself is an action. Therefore, staying inspired requires us to stay active. Once inspired we have to keep engaged and productive to keep the fire going. We must take the actions necessary to love our lives.
There are few things in life that we can control, but the one we can is the ability to harness the power of our minds and the spirit of our hearts to be excited about life. In all honesty I work hard at staying inspired. What are my inspirations these days?
2. Loving partnership
3. Possibility- living in the energy of imagination and visualizing my most audacious possibilities
4. Observing people and situations
5. Listening to people
7. Saying Yes more than I say No
8. Resting, napping, sleeping, savasana
And in particular I’m inspired by Art of Flight, Samsara, Game of Thrones, a 4 Hour Workweek, Brene Brown and Pema Chodron to name a few. Take a moment to reflect and discover what inspires you.
The power of living an inspired life has a multitude of benefits. Here are the Top 5 Benefits of Living Inspired:
1. More energy and enthusiasm. Zest for life!
2. Positive perspective. You view the world through the lens of freshness and opportunity
3. Motivation to make positive changes
5. An attitude of abundance in all aspects of life
When we feel inspired upon waking up we set the foundation for our day. Anything we plant in this fertile soil will grow, as it’s the spiritual law of life that things grow best in positivity. You too can live inspired! Every day can be the best day yet. In the words of Maynard James Keenan of “Tool” just say to yourself: "I embrace my desire to feel inspired, to fathom the power, to witness the beauty, to bathe in the fountain and be human."
Love yourself, love your day, love your life!
July 26th, 2013
By Annette Lyn O'Neil
"Let go of that which does not serve you."
It's easy to keep that piece of wisdom on the mat, isn't it? Relax your face; it's not going to help you in Hanumanasana. Release your shoulders. Don't clench; if you do, energy can't flow.
Off the mat, it's harder.
Two weeks ago, I was in Norway. I was hiking out to a classic BASE jump over the Lysefjord. I was high above a verdant Scandinavian paradise with beloved friends, I was bubbling with excitement, and I misplaced a step. I fell ten feet down a rock, bouncing three times before I stopped myself with my forehead.
I credit my yoga with the remarkable superficiality of the injuries I suffered from such a significant fall, and for the quickness of my recovery so far. However, weeks later, I still have a hulking hematoma on my right hip, some truly unsightly bruising and a right arm that chafes at the idea of doing pretty much anything. At the moment, though the situation is improving by the day, I can hardly move anything below the elbow. I certainly can't move through a Surya Namaskar or correctly land a parachute.
Today, I'm in Kemaliye, Turkey, where I was invited with a group of other BASE jumpers from around the world to do a demonstration of the sport at the regional Outdoor Sports Festival. The Turkish government has erected an incredibly unique BASE object in Kemaliye: hundreds of meters of metal cable, strung between two cliffs approximately 1,200' above the Euphrates river, with a ski-lift-style chair attached to it on rollers. Two or three BASE jumpers sit on this chair, which is then rolled out into the center of the canyon. There, the jumpers depart the chair by whatever means strikes their fancy (which, on account of the great height and the excellent separation from any strikeable objects, generally involves an inventive exit with lots of flips) and land in the canyon below. There is a small landing area against one of the canyon sides. Alternatively, the river in the center of the canyon is generally calm, reasonably clean and patrolled for the term of the event by professionally crewed safety boats. It's absolutely possible to land in it.
Here's the rub: there's a stigma against landing in the water at events like this. Landing in the water implies that you didn't deploy early enough, set up your landing well enough, and/or control your canopy with sufficient skill to land where the big kids land. If you land in the water, you get razzed. Heavily.
I knew when I arrived here that I'd be landing in the water. My right arm is too weak and too painful to complete the "flare" -- the final, critical part of the landing procedure -- with enough precision to land in a relatively small, uneven space. I risked far greater injury by going for the dry landing. Even so, sitting on the chair as it was cranked slowly out to the middle of the canyon, I had second thoughts. I was surrounded by some of the world's best BASE jumpers, not to mention news crews, helmet cameras and an eagle-eyed cadre of Instagram addicts. Couldn't I just give it a shot? Couldn't I probably squint and grunt and manage it?
"Let go of that which does not serve you."
I let the mantra roll with my breath.
Practicing with an injury was an excellent preparation for the yoga of that particular moment. A wonky practice -- one which, for the moment, can not even include chatturanga, high plank or a dog facing any direction whatsoever -- challenges the idea of what a yoga practice looks like. It forces the practitioner to embrace the body in its current iteration, as the body unsubtly demands, while opening the practice up to new challenges: for me, for example, a cleaned-up dolphin and a longer, stronger forearm plank. Fixating on forcing oneself into the poses the injured body can not enter does not serve the yogi; letting go allows the practice to help the body heal.
It is much the same in BASE. Letting go of the expectation that a successful BASE jump must end with a dry, tiptoe landing helped me embrace the fact that the only safe landing was a wet one. I stood facing the chair. I leaned back over the canyon, my heart open to the wide Turkish sky, and exited in an exultant backflip. When I landed in the water, I reveled in its cold and let it wash away the last of the thoughts that this wasn't the perfect way to end the flight.
July 3rd, 2013
Following our inner GPS leads us to the most amazing, life-changing places. Sometimes we have to travel far to get there, sometimes we just have to go deeper within. Our heart knows the way, and listening to it is one of the most fulfilling experiences this life can offer.
Last week, we asked you to follow your #innerGPS to Inner Peace and share that place on Instagram. Here are a few of our favorite photos, including from our winner, @CateBennetBurns, who will continue her journey with the support of a new Ltd Ed Manduka PRO Black Bliss, Go Getter Mat Strap and Practice Journal.
By @CateBennetBurns, who won last week's #innerGPS contest.
Here are some of our other favorites!
This week, our #innerGPS is pointing us to the ultimate staycation, finding OM right from home, or wherever home happens to be these days. Follow your inner GPS to hOMe and show us what it’s like there on Instagram using tag #innerGPS. Next week, we’ll select one winner to receive the expansive PRO Squared Mat, 2 Recycled Foam Blocks and 2 Cotton Yoga Straps.
It’s an honor to be part of your practice, and a joy to see your pictures. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments below!
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