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From The Heart

On Manduka I am able to build a solid foundation to allow me to fly and be free in my yoga.

-Michele Lauren
New York, New York

Giving Back

Manduka recognizes an organization or individual each month for sharing the gift of yoga with those in need by donating yoga gear to support their cause.

May 14th, 2013

P.S. 119

P.S. 119 in Brooklyn decided that incorporating an after-school yoga program would have a wonderful impact on their students. Having enough mats for each student to have their own sacred space was very important to them. With state testing coming up for the kids, the Principal and a devoted teacher named Laurie Basloe wanted to get this program started to make sure the students had a stress-free environment to practice focusing and breathing - skills that will surely translate well during the tests!

Manduka was happy to donate mats to support the after-school yoga program!

April 15th, 2013

Children’s Home & Aid Society of Illinois

Children’s Home & Aid Society of Illinois serves over 40,000 children and families in Illinois that have been victims of abuse, neglect, poverty and a host of other issues. The Excellence Academy is an innovative and unique program that serves at-risk foster children. The children come from varied backgrounds, but most have been shipped from one placement to another throughout their lives, never experiencing a sense of stability, community or confidence that youth with more traditional childhoods experience. As a result, many foster youth tend do poorly in school and lack independent living skills, which perpetuates their struggles well into adulthood.

The team at the Excellence Academy instructs and organizes classes and activities that assist the kids in comprehending crucial life skills. In addition to the sizeable struggles that they already face, many have not been taught basic self-care skills, severely impacting the likelihood of their success as they age. One of the lesson plans for 2013 is geared towards physical fitness and physical awareness.

The Excellence Academy has been determined to implement a yoga program for the youth, and has lined up a very motivated instructor to lead the classes, and when we learned that all the program was missing to start moving forward with yoga classes were mats, we were excited to offer our support!

March 15th, 2013

Joint Educational Project - USC

The University of Southern California has implemented a service learning organization called the Joint Educational Project which places university undergraduate students in struggling urban neighborhood schools in central Los Angeles. As part of their curriculum, they feel that the many benefits of yoga should be shared with the young people in the schools.

The Joint Educational Project will now be teaching yoga to 1st through 3rd grade students to help them learn the benefits of yoga breath, asanas and meditation. They are currently serving six after school programs and were in need of mats to help make sure their program could grow. We are happy to support their efforts in the community and have sent yoga mats to help them share yoga with children!

February 15th, 2013

Community HealthCorps

The Community HealthCorps clinic in Gaithersburg, Maryland provides lifestyle change counseling, education, and support for the clinic’s diabetic and pre-diabetic patients. The patients are encouraged to exercise daily, but can not always afford gym memberships or classes, have limited access to outdoor trails and nice places to walk, and often have difficulty taking time for themselves. Stress also plays a large role in their lives, as many of them have families to provide for, legal issues to work out, and, on top of everything, a handful of chronic diseases requiring extensive medications and seemingly unrealistic recommendations from a doctor.

The Community HealthCorps clinic has started to provide exercise classes, including yoga, as a means to relax, stretch, breathe, and exercise. In an effort to provide these classes for free once or twice a week to patients with diabetes, in English and Spanish, Community HealthCorps was in need of some yoga gear.

We were more than happy to support their efforts with plenty of yoga mats, and are so grateful to have them in our community!

January 15th, 2013

Yoga at San Quentin State Prison

We recently donated mats to San Quentin Prison, to help with their rehabilitation efforts. Jasmine, who teaches their yoga classes, has shared her insights on how beneficial yoga can be for the inmates:
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As yogis we can directly addresses our country's systemic social problems with violence, substance abuse, mental illness, and our shockingly high rate of incarceration. Yoga has and will be used to address these issues on a broader scale--I can see it happening before my eyes.

I serve as a clinical mental health social worker as my primary role at San Quentin. In addiction to providing mental health treatment, I started a yoga and stress reduction program within the mental health department. I teach yoga classes to groups of 10-15 inmates twice a week in a small classroom in the basement of the hospital.

These reception inmates in particular are in "protected custody" which means they are separated from the general public for safety reasons. This could mean the inmates fall under any any of the following categories: those with enemy concerns, gang drop outs, gay/transgender inmates, etc. Due to the nature of their safety concerns these inmates tend to be more vulnerable and fearful of their surroundings. Their yoga practice allows them 2 hours of freedom from their incarceration through a dedication of asanas and pranayama. This is their quiet space. Their safe haven. Their small sliver of peace of mind for the entire week.

As you can imagine, the practice has been extremely well-received by the inmates and we are hoping to greatly expand our program to include death row and lifer inmates for which there are some classes but not nearly enough to meet the demand.

We are in dire need of yoga material donations for the inmates. The inmates have nothing and up until now we have solely been practicing in modified chair and standing poses. The inmates would have the opportunity to greatly expand their practice with the use of these materials.
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We really connected with Jasmine's mission and have sent yoga mats for her program. To learn more about Jasmine's efforts, check out her blog.