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August 2nd, 2013

The Power Of Living An Inspired Life

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?

1. Nature
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
6. Playing
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
4. Cheerfulness
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

Letting Go

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.

OUCH. Right?

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

#Innergps Giveaway: From Inner Peace To Staycations At Home

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!


@allisonlater


@downeastbecka


@hollyhaj


@ktluv


@polalove86


@sburns22


@yogawithsofie

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!

In gratitude,
Manduka

June 26th, 2013

Turn On Your #Innergps Giveaway

Summer has arrived. Sunshine is abundant, clothing is minimal and all the seeds we planted in the spring are coming to full bloom. Freedom and intentions are running high this time of year, so let's do something meaningful with them and all these extra hours of daylight. Where does your heart want to take you this summer?

Turn on your inner GPS. We're going on a journey within and beyond – it could be as far as across the country or as close as the backs of our eyelids. Let's use our practice to help us reveal the path and send postcards along the way. Over the next five weeks, we'll be exploring "places" to go this Summer: Inner Peace, Back to Nurture, the Thrill of Adventure, Another State and Coming hOMe.

Show us what those places look like to you. Follow @MandukaYoga on Instagram and check out that week's theme. Then share a photo using hashtag #innerGPS reflecting the place we're going, you could win a special set of Manduka gifts every week.

This week's theme is Inner Peace. Let's go there. Show us your Inner Peace and tag it #innerGPS. Next Wednesday we'll collect all #innerGPS photos and select our favorite that truly embodies that theme. That person will win the Inner Peace gift set including the Limited Edition Manduka PRO Black Bliss, Go Getter mat strap in Heather Grey and Practice Journal.

You can also follow the community's #innerGPS journey in the Facebook Gallery and see all the places we're going together. If you have any questions, please ask! Otherwise we'll see you on the path, taking photos along the way.

Practice On,
Manduka

May 31st, 2013

The Shama Yoga Rug Is A Reminder To Create A Life You Love

By Kee Kee Buckley, creator of the Shama Yoga Rug.

I didn’t set out to become an inventor, it just sorta happened. It happened during a time in my life when I looked around and realized I wasn’t happy. There were a lot of broken parts in my life, and I had grown tired of sludging through the murky undercurrent of stagnant and toxic energy that seemed to infuse every bit of my existence. It was 2003, and yoga was the one thing that seemed to bind all the broken pieces of my life together. It was my lifeline during a time when little else made sense. A six year relationship had just ended, leaving me moving out of the beautiful spacious Venice Beach house owned by my ex-boyfriend into a tiny 300 square foot hobbit hole. I was also working hard to digest the fact that my dream career was really just something that was leaving me feeling empty and unfulfilled. I needed to find a solution and fix my life. Not knowing where else to begin, I turned to yoga.

In fact, I dove head first into yoga and enrolled in yoga teacher training. Then, wanting to take my practice even deeper, I enrolled in the Yoga Philosophy program at LMU and joined a yoga philosophy study group with several well-known LA yoga instructors. As my body and spirit grew stronger through yoga, I began to challenge myself physically with a more advanced asana practice. Yet with more physically demanding asana came more sweat. As much as I would like to say I glow when I work out, I don’t. I sweat. Profusely. My face gets red and puffy and sweat drips from places one would think sweat should never ever drip. On the one hand, sweating felt good – like I was detoxifying all that toxicity in my life. On the other hand, sweating hindered my practice by causing me to slip on my mat. Wanting a non-synthetic solution, I turned to cotton yoga rugs. Unfortunately, although they helped, I still would slip. Yes, I sweat that much.

Although I hadn’t yet found a solution to fix the bigger problems in my life, I was bound and determined to find a solution to fix my problems with sweating on my mat. A conversation with a friend about how I would improve the yoga rugs on the market led to me impulsively getting on the internet and educating myself about the difference between the weft and the warp yarns in weaving. I decided my dream yoga rug would have a raised weft weave, leaving ridges that would not only help with alignment, but would also be big enough to serve as friction points to stop me from slipping at the same time as being small enough that they wouldn’t throw off my balance. In order to accommodate large hands and feet on taller people and smaller hands and feet on shorter people, I wanted these ridges to be spaced further apart towards the ends of the rug and closer together towards the center of the rug. India was the only country I knew of that had commercial handloom companies, so I shot off a few e-mail inquiries to several of them. The most accommodating was a family-owned business in New Delhi, and over the next year they would send me samples, I would make changes and then they would send me new samples. We did this several times until I finally had a production sample of my new yoga rug, which I promptly named the Shama Yoga Rug. Shama in Sanskrit means tranquility and peace, and because I was actively searching for inner-peace in my life, I thought this the most fitting name for my new rug. The next few years involved obtaining a utility patent on my yoga rug, setting up an online store, and eventually finding a home for the Shama Yoga Rug in the Manduka family of products.

Fixing my problem with my sweaty yoga practice taught me a valuable life lesson. When I find there is a problem in my life, then I should buckle down, find a solution, and fix things once and for all. Surprisingly, inventing a patented yoga rug was easier than fixing some of the other broken things in my life. But I’m getting much better at drumming up the necessary courage to create lasting healthy changes. Each time I practice on my Shama Yoga Rug, I’m reminded of the importance of being an active participant in creating a life I love.

Kee Kee Buckley lives and writes in Austin, TX. Visit her blog at www.seekingshama.com and follow her on twitter at @seekingshama.

Learn more about the Shama Yoga Rug.