• Yogi of the Week: Rick

    This is Rick.

    He started practicing yoga to look inside himself. Ancient texts, meditation, asana - it was a study in his own true nature. One day in class he heard the words "open to grace" – and that's exactly what he felt. Tears rushed down his face, his heart blew open and his posture… totally fell apart. Eureka moments really can sweep us off our feet.

    Rick admits that he can be clumsy (he IS a human, after all), but yoga has given him the power to fearlessly look inside - to see the things that haven't awakened and acknowledge the parts that are loving, open and heartfelt. He found connection.

    What Rick didn’t expect to find through yoga is an amazingly supportive community. Being a member of this kula has shown him that there is someone there to hold you up - whether it’s in a handstand or in a hug. We are ABUNDANT here.

    Practice On.


  • Yogi of the Week: Mia

    Meet  Mia.

    Mia has always felt that teaching and inspiring others has been her calling. She found yoga while teaching cardio kick boxing in 2002, and decided to try yoga to help stretch her body. But she never guessed how much yoga would stretch her soul as well.

    Mia feels that it’s her dharma to be a teacher because she can feel the teachings flow through her as she teaches therapeutic yoga to prenatal inmates in Cook County Prison, as well as to domestic violence survivors. For her, it is amazing to see the look on their faces after a helpful yoga class.

    Mia believes that every person has a specific and important reason for being on this planet and that we have a responsibility to fulfill what we're meant to do. She feels that everyone can have the confidence, open heartedness and strength to live our destiny, and that yoga can be a way to help us figure out what that is.

    Practice On.


  • Yogi of the Week: Danielle

    This is Danielle.

    We often like to help tell the story of our Yogi of the Week, but we have no words as beautiful as hers. This is her story:

    I remember my very first yoga class. I hid in the back because I was afraid the teacher might ask me to leave or tell me that I couldn't do yoga. At home, I practiced with videos with no one around to watch. I came up with my own modifications. In my first class, I didn't know if I should take my prosthetic leg on or off. I didn't even buy a mat because I didn't want to get my hopes up. I didn't think of myself as a person who could practice yoga. Now, when I go into class five times a week, I always remember that first class and the limits I almost set on myself.

    Diagnosed with cancer at fifteen, my leg was amputated when I was sixteen. When I returned to cross country and track, the pounding hurt my residual limb and felt too rough on my body. Four lung surgeries and a second round of chemotherapy later, I was overweight and weaker than I had ever been. I kept acting in college and after I graduated but I didn't think I could make a career out of it because of my body. I wrote but felt isolated and alone. Finally, I decided I didn't want to wait around for doctors to determine what kind of life I would be able to live. My mom and husband helped me do research and radically alter my lifestyle. Three years later, I'm still in remission. When I start to worry "what if" about my next scan or the success of my screenplay, I remember to be here in this moment.

    Yoga has taught me to live in uncertainty. As a creative person, I used to be devastated by the cycle of acceptance and rejection. I'd put so much of my heart into a project and get so giddy when an agent requested a full manuscript; only to have my hopes dashed by rejection. Yoga helps me find peace now. Peace gives me the strength to keep editing and reapplying. During the highs and lows, I always have my mat. Yoga reminds me that daily practice is more important than end results.

    I believe disabled people deserve an opportunity to tell our stories. Mainstream media has such a narrow definition of what is beautiful, healthy, and sexy. In a world where so many people are sick from a lifestyle of fast food and high-stress living, everyone has a million excuses for why they can't change. I aspire to be a role model to people of all abilities. You are never too old, too sick, too broken to begin your journey toward wellness.


    Practice On.


  • Yogi of the Week: Sherrie

    Meet Sherrie.

    Sherrie is a yogi who truly feels inspired to do her best on and off the mat.

    Her most memorable moment on the mat is when she successfully performed her very first arm balance – crow pose. She used to come to class unable to get into the pose, and would even tell herself she’d never be able to do it. One day, she was able to hold both of her feet up and prove herself wrong. Since then her mantra has been “never say never”.

    Off the mat, Sherrie is a Registered Nurse. During her studies, she had the opportunity to serve lunch to the homeless at The Midnight Mission as well as administer Flu Vaccines at a church in Downtown LA. Sherrie is a believer in Karma yoga – something you can practice every day by doing something for others without receiving anything in return.

    Yoga is Sherrie’s sanctuary that brings her peace and enlightenment: “It is such an important part of my life that it flows through my blood. I place my trust in yoga to clear my mind and focus on the present.”

    Practice On.


  • Yogi of the Week: Gil

    Meet Gil.

    Gil is living his dream. For 7 years, he and his wife have wanted to open a community-based yoga center. They recently made that dream a reality by celebrating the Grand Opening of Breathe Yoga Center in Norfolk, Virginia.

    As a longtime competitive athlete, Gil knew that there was something more for him than training and pushing his body to the limit. He also needed balance, and something that would be restorative and nourishing. He found that in yoga and has now dedicated his life to serving others through teaching.

    Gil believes that we are all connected. He believes that our actions influence the world we live in and we all have the unlimited power to make positive impacts in our communities and this wonderful planet we call home. He is so grateful as to have landed in the supportive community of Norfolk, Virginia, and is excited for the road ahead.

    We loved meeting Gil, and we need to meet you too. This is your community, and this is the YOU year. Manduka is on a mission to get to know everyone who makes this yoga community so vibrant, and so real. Because we all have something to learn from you — about how we see ourselves, or approach our practice, or make yoga mats.

    Practice On.


  • Yogi of the Week: Lindsey

    This is Lindsey.

    In 2006, Lindsey's son passed away in her arms from a rare pediatric liver disease. She was quickly blessed with another son, which was joyful, but also delayed processing her grief. Depression came later, with nervous breakdowns, hospitalizations and a host of medications. Her therapist prescribed a lesson in mindfulness - hot yoga. Instantly, Lindsey felt that this was something that could help heal all the parts of her that felt so broken.

    After Lindsey had gotten into a consistent practice, she made the brave move to set up her mat in the front row of class – where the ‘yoga rockstars’ practiced. She went through sequences with a new sense of empowerment and dared herself to push farther. After class, another student stopped her and shared that Lindsey's performance had inspired her to try a pose she was afraid of. It brought tears to Lindsey's eyes, and face. In that moment she felt compelled to inspire more people to find their true potential, on and off the mat. She is now working on her 500 hour teacher training.

    Yoga has taught Lindsey not to take anything too seriously. To find the fun, and to laugh in moments of intensity.

    Practice On.


  • Yogi of the Week: Sparky

    Meet Sparky.

    Sparky just got into his first side crow pose. After spending a weekend with Diamond Dallas Page and Arthur Boorman, he was really anxious to try it out. “I had a few minutes of down time in my office today, so I figured what the hell. It took me a couple of attempts, a face plant, a broken pair of glasses and a bloodied eye from said glasses. It was ugly, but I pulled it off. I had to; there was no way the floor and a pair of glasses were stopping me from hitting it!”

    Sparky says he started yoga to replace the “deathstyle” he was living with a lifestyle that would heal his body and would last. Before starting DDPYoga, he was a lump on a couch.  “You could have called me a father and a husband, but I was just a fat, lazy, uninspired person.  Now I am a Daddy to my kid, a Partner to my wife, and someone who wants to see everyone else enjoy the same success in changing their lives that I have had.  Everyone deserves to OWN THEIR LIFE!”

    Now Sparky is determined to keep moving forward. He knows that it may be tough, it may take several attempts and a new pair of glasses, but he continuously challenges himself and refuses to quit.

    Practice On.


  • Yogi of the Week: Diane

    This is Diane.

    When Diane found out that she may be facing the end of her life, she learned what really mattered. Her family, friends and all the places where love existed. "Ultimately," she shared, "I’m pretty convinced that what matters most for 99% of the population is our relationships."

    A cancer diagnosis brought Diane to the mat in new meaningful ways. With cancer comes vulnerability, and for a woman like Diane, who was used to being a source of strength and help for others, that can be the most challenging part. "When you have cancer, you get that opportunity to say, 'Okay, am I going to allow myself to be vulnerable, and let people help me?' But you come to this crossroads. And if you have cancer, you better let people help you! So you have to become vulnerable." She practiced letting go, and her most challenging pose, savansana, started to make sense. Then came the courage.

    "It takes a lot of courage to run around without hair on your head. It takes a lot of courage to say, 'I’m scared out of my mind! And I might die.' But if you don’t do that, you’ve missed out." Now open, now accepting love, now healing in more ways than one.

    Meeting Diane was a lightbulb moment: we need to meet you too. This is your community, and this is the YOU year. Manduka is on a mission to get to know everyone who makes this yoga community so vibrant, and so real. Because we all have something to learn from you — about how we see ourselves, or approach our practice, or make yoga mats.

    Practice On.


  • Yogi of the Week: Kim

    This is Kim.

    She's "fairly new" to yoga. It was a way to spend more time with her friend, who'd just completed a teacher training, and the key to easing the pain of fibromyalgia. For Kim, the mindfulness and movement of yoga are so helpful in alleviating the joint stiffness that she experiences – she is taking back control.

    And in an unexpected moment during Warrior II, Kim found her strength. She suddenly realized how strong she had become - in the pose and in her body.  Through yoga and the guidance of one of her favorite teachers she had found her inner warrior, a healing force ready to overcome joint pain and emotional pain.

    Yoga has helped Kim realize that the sky is the limit – that is to say, there is no limit. She has a new sense of self and feeling of peace within.

    Meeting Kim was a lightbulb moment: we need to meet you too. This is your community, and this is the YOU year. Manduka is on a mission to get to know everyone who makes this yoga community so vibrant, and so real. Because we all have something to learn from you — about how we see ourselves, or approach our practice, or make yoga mats.

    Practice On.


  • Yogi of the Week: Bob

    Meet Bob.

    He first tried yoga as a Valentine’s Day gift for his life partner. She gave him a mat and simply requested that he go with her to a yoga class. For Bob, this was not easy because the idea was so foreign and so far out of his comfort zone. In those first few classes he felt off-balance in so many ways, but he embraced the challenge and the spirit of the journey.

    In the beginning, as a man immersed in a new culture, Bob’s ego worked hard and often with force - mind, breath, and muscles all trembling to try to reach the “perfect pose”. Then one day, while holding a pose for what seemed like an eternity, it all fell calmly into place. With a feeling of ease, Bob lost the judgment. In that moment, Bob’s breath and body fused together, and he let go of the idea that he needed to reach the pose in a picture-perfect way, and with that he found his own practice.

    Practice On.


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