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More Stories of Transformation #MadeForYoga

It’s been a week of incredible #MadeForYoga messages pouring in from around the world– yogis sharing their journeys through moments of triumph, grief, compassion and learning. Here are three of your stories we had to share. Thank you Heidi Zoltak, Kami Price, and Carly Stong. Read on to the bottom of this page to see how to share your transformation story.

Heidi ZoltakHeidi Zoltak

It all started 8 years ago. I attended yoga classes after work at a rec center for exercise twice a week. I liked it but didn't think much beyond that. Then in 2012, my life changed in an instant. I was in a horrid rope swing accident that left me bedbound and then homebound for 6 months and completely debilitated as my leg was crushed. I was alone a lot, as my husband and children eventually went back to school and work. Life went on. As I worked through my recovery, therapies, countless surgeries and infections, I started a daily home practice. It began with lots of yin and meditation and eventually led into a modified asana practice. Though I couldn't walk without assistance, I could go to my mat... it was there for me unconditionally in a new world of conditions. I moved, I felt, I healed from the inside out. I began to find peace in that my life was different. I learned how to surrender and I became completely liberated and empowered by the new circumstances. I looked at life with new eyes and a full heart. I learned how to process my frustrations and embrace myself with love. I stopped blaming myself and I made a decision to take my life back. 6 months ago, I amputated my leg. I traded in agony for life. I sacrificed a small piece of my physical self that no longer served me... I let go. Yoga saved me; I am whole again. I was #MadeforYoga.

Kami PriceKami Price

This was the moment for me.
The moment that changed everything.
A tipping point that divided my life into two parts.
Before this moment.
After this moment.
Because nothing would ever be the same.
Before Feb 25th, 2014, the world seemed to be so black and white. Good and bad. Right and wrong.
You see my sister, Heather, was a drug addict. A junkie... At least those were the labels our society had given her.
I'm ashamed to admit, but the labels I had given her.
But in this moment the world spiraled into a million shades of gray. I realized the division those labels had created. I realized she wasn't just a "junkie". Or a bad person.
In this moment I realized how beautiful and "good" her heart was. That she was simply human and flawed. She made mistakes and "bad" decisions the same way I do.
This was the moment I finally began to understand the reality of her disease. She wouldn't have chosen this life. This amount of suffering for herself or anyone else.
This was the moment I began to really understand what compassion meant. Understand how much I had been withholding it. Over the next few days while my sister was on life support, I begged her to forgive me for my judgements, but she never woke up. On March 2nd, 2014 she took her final breath in this life.
I never got to hear her say "I forgive you".
I know she has, though, because Heather had the biggest heart of anyone I have ever known. She loved without limit or condition.
My sister's death led me to yoga...
Her heart led me to teaching it.
My deepest desire is to spread awareness, love and compassion in her memory. To maybe even be a source of healing for others. That maybe her death wasn't in vain... That it can serve a greater good.
I miss you Heather. Everyday I miss you. Thank you for changing the way I see the world. For teaching me compassion. I promise that for the rest of my life, I will do my best to share your message with the world.

**If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please seek professional help. Know that you are loved and that you are worthy of happiness.


Carly StrongCarly Stong

I started on this journey towards balance shortly after I underwent major brain surgery to remove a tumour when I was 17 years old. In University, I came home to myself and became eager to delve deeper into this practice. I discovered that the truest parts of me had not been altered by this trauma and that I was not lost, just hiding. This understanding brought me back to life. On and off the mat I was, and continue to be, transformed through the inquiry of yoga in ways I could never have anticipated. 
As I developed into this yogic lifestyle as a bigger bodied woman, I found that a lot of teachers don't know how to accommodate for thighs that touch or a belly that is always in the way. In 2012, I took a leap into the role of a teacher of yoga for bigger bodied women. I began teaching regular "Yoga for Bigger Bodies" classes that were passionately embraced by the community, which encouraged me to organize weekend retreats for this dynamic group and evolve to teach "Yoga for Bigger Bodied Women" in 2014. Teaching women-only created a community where I could inspire, encourage and support my sisters, while being inspired, encouraged and supported in return. These classes are part of a movement where women can lovingly and methodically come back into and reclaim their bodies, no matter their shape. We understand our worth is not measured by our waistlines. As I continue along this journey, I have come to realize that "Yoga for Bigger Bodied Women" is the greatest work of my life so far. 

Through the practice, I have regained my sense of self - in this body. Each step on my path has unfolded beautifully as I have evolved. When given the opportunity to act, I have done so authentically, bearing my my most vulnerable self and, in return, I have been met with love and support. I am grateful for my history, grateful for where I am in this moment and grateful for my future, however it unfolds.

These people are Made For Yoga. And so are you.

We would love to hear your story of transformation, how you found the practice and what changed when you did. In honor of our new Made For Yoga apparel collection, we will be choosing a few yogis to win a suite of gear including our new apparel.  Enter on Instagram by using #MadeForYoga and tagging @MandukaYoga in the caption. If you would like, you can also send us an email to - include a photo if you can!

We’ll thank 10 yogis who share their stories with a suite of Manduka gear and apparel that’s Made For Yoga. One story per yogi please, we’ll select winners on March 20th, and share many more with the community throughout the month. We look forward to hearing from you!

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