Meet Alex. A yoga teacher and writer who allowed her journey with the practice to unfold without any preconceived notions of where it might take her or what it might reveal.
For the time ever, we have partnered with an artist to create a one-of-a-kind printed PRO mat. The limited edition Ryan McGinness PRO Mat was designed to inspire creativity both in practice and in life but it also serves a much higher purpose. Every time one of these special PRO mats is purchased, we will donate two yoga classes to children through Bent On Learning. This non-profit organization helps bring yoga and all its benefits to public schools in the New York area.
The abstract female silhouette is part of Ryan’s iconic “Women Series” and positively flows off the classic dark blue mat right into our open hearts. And while the design is new, everything else you love about the PRO is still there including an unparalleled density, performance grip and a lifetime guarantee. Already our most supportive mat, this limited edition mat truly embodies the spirit of the practice by supporting the next generation of yogis.
Buy a mat. Give yoga.
About Ryan McGinness Ryan McGinness is an American artist, living in New York City. His work is in the permanent public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Cincinnati Art Museum, MUSAC in Spain and the Misumi Collection in Japan.
See more of Ryan’s work at ryanmcginness.com.
About Bent on Learning
Bent On Learning brings yoga into underserved public schools and classrooms tosupport a healthier, more compassionate learning environment where kids can thrive. For 15 years, they have been providing weekly yoga programs to schools during the academic day, serving 18,000 children to date and helping make health and happiness an integral part of school curriculums.
For more info visit bentonlearning.org.
© Ryan McGinness. Licensed by Artestar, New York.
Running a small business yoga studio is one very big task. It takes vision, perseverance, and the ability to ride the roller coaster of keeping the doors and hearts open for your customers. Today and everyday we honor our yoga studio partners who work around the clock to bring yoga to their local community. They wholeheartedly dedicate themselves, because they truly understand this is the place where real life, love and transformation occurs.
We have all experienced what makes a yoga studio so special. It’s the heart and soul of local community. It’s the place that new and seasoned yogis experience personal breakthroughs, and teachers inspire growth while guiding students to go deeper into their practice. This is what transformation looks like.
For this year’s Small Business Saturday, we are shining light on one special studio that brings big energy to the small yoga studio world – BIG Power Yoga in Houston, Texas. This past week, we had an opportunity to spend time with the founder of Big Power and learn a bit more about how they stay centered in the local community, while bringing BIG change to people’s lives.
Q&A with Laura Rust from BIG Power Yoga:
MDK: Describe your transformative yoga experience (1st time, game-changing moment, etc.)
BIG: During the first year of my yoga practice, it was the physical challenge that I fell in love with and it kept me engaged. After that first year, I discovered Baptiste Yoga and a bigger transformation began. I was in Austin after training with Baron Baptiste for my first weekend-long program and planned to drive back to Houston early that morning to get home in time for work. Unfortunately, I lost my keys, had to get a new set made. Then moments after finally getting my car running, I got pulled over for speeding. Normally, these types of events would leave me feeling upset, stressed and victimized. Instead, I felt responsible, powerful, and unshaken. I was "in the flow" of my life in a whole new way, in control with unwavering confidence. That's the type of transformation that I see is possible for everyone through yoga.
MDK: What was your aha moment that lead to opening of your studio?
BIG: My aha-moment happened when I understood that it didn't matter how old I was, how experienced I was, or what anyone else thought. I realized that with the right people and a big vision, anything is possible!
MDK: Tell us about your studio.
BIG: As a studio, we are committed to innovation and making the practice accessible and useful in the modern world. We offer classes almost every hour of the day, including 5:30am and 10:00pm – a rare opportunity for the community to find time to practice even with the busiest schedules. We aim to make our core values of community, integrity, possibility, empowerment and fun present in everything we do. We use the principles and methodology of the practice to run our business—from our yoga classes, retail store, emails, to interactions with practitioners, its done mindfully and kindly.
MDK: How long has Big Power Yoga been in business? What have been some of the challenges? The rewards? What aspect is the most rewarding?
BIG: We have been in business since February 2012. Our biggest challenge has been growing quickly while maintaining the integrity of our core values and mission. We are constantly inspired by the stories we hear about how our practice and community have changed people's lives –that’s the most rewarding part of job.
MDK: How do you get new and seasoned yogi's to your studio?
BIG: People find out about our yoga studio primarily through word of mouth. When someone is experiencing a transformation from their practice and from being a part of our community, they can't help but want to bring their friends and family in to check it out!
MDK: How do you find the balance between looking at yoga as a business and yoga as a practice?
BIG: We find that both work together –when one is working, so is the other. It’s a simple outlook, but an accurate reflection on our success. The practice is the core; we need it to be the strongest for the business aspect to thrive.
MDK: What is your approach to managing the business?
BIG: We strive to do the best we can with the tools we have. Instead of getting caught up in what we lack, we stay focused on yoga’s transformational possibilities—using the practice as our tools for resourcefulness, pushing through challenging times, and focusing on the present.
MDK: What advice would you offer a 1st-time yogi?
BIG: Come as you are – there isn’t one way to be a yogi. Yoga is beneficial for all and with consistent practice you will see the results you needed.
MDK: What is your advice for future yoga studio owners?
BIG: We would tell future yoga studio owners to trust themselves and have the courage to do things differently. Let things get a little messy—it builds character! We have learned that the things we didn’t know beforehand have provided the biggest opportunities for us to create and innovate.
MDK: How do you define yoga & the practice?
BIG: We define it as being consistently committed to growing and discovering something new—constant growth. It’s what yoga is all about, honoring that shifts happen. At our studio, we offer programs that simplify yoga principles, making them applicable to daily life. Most recently, we offered a 40-Day Program dedicated to exploring how we practice on and off the mat.
MDK: How do you apply your yoga practice off the mat?
BIG: We apply our yoga practice off the mat through authentic, vulnerable conversations with supportive friends and family. To us, yoga off the mat is anytime we commit to something outside of ourselves – letting go of ego and practicing ultimate selflessness.
Made from (8) recycled plastic bottles and enhanced with patented Skidless™ technology. These eco-conscious towels will grip your mat and prevent slipping no matter how much you move or sweat. Practice On.
Soulfully engineered with a lifetime guarantee. See why the PRO is the best yoga mat cherished by yogis worldwide.
Developing a home practice is a key element in the advancement of any serious yoga practitioner.
This is a time that you set aside for developing your relationship to all that is YOU: body, mind and spirit. It is a sacred period of renewal. When we commit to a home practice on a daily basis our lives begin to blossom in unimaginable ways. Get ready for the ride of your life!
When developing a home practice I ask the following questions:
How much time do I have to practice?
Many of us start out with great enthusiasm and often bite off more than we can chew when juggling busy lives. Make sure the time you choose is realistic and something you can sustain over time.
What time of day works best?
Traditionally we practice first thing in the morning, before the busyness of the day takes over and our energy is pulled 'outward.’ Yogi Bhajan spoke of it as the difference between fate and destiny: fate we get out of bed and roll with the punches of life. Destiny, we get up, we set our energy for the day and attract circumstances that reflect the energy we have taken time to cultivate :)
If the morning does not work for you, then pick a time of day that does, and try to practice at the same time every day so the routine helps to form a positive habit.
What do I wish to work on in my practice?
Pick a theme and tone for your practice. Perhaps you wish to work on heart openers, hip openers, core strength, or postures that help to stabilize your mind. Perhaps you want to work on a breath and meditation practice and you choose to take asana classes at your local studio. Choose what is important to you right now. If you get stuck then talk to your favorite teacher and ask for their suggestions and support.
How many days am I committing to do this practice for?
I find it helps to set a goal so that your practice becomes non-negotiable. Just like brushing your teeth, you body/energy/mind need to be cleaned on a daily basis. Sustained practice over time brings the best and most long term effects. In Kundalini yoga we say it takes 40 days to break any negative habits that block you from expansion related to your practice. If you Practice every day for 90 days straight it will change you in a very deep way. If you practice for 120 days the positive benefits of the kriya get integrated permanently into your psyche.
Some of the most important lessons we learn on a mat. The Manduka team is honored to be able to inspire the practice for these elementary school kids with our long time partner YogaWorks. Namaste, kiddos!
Equinox is Made For Yoga - it's a huge shift, when the wheels start turning in a new direction. This is a powerful time to set an intention for the months ahead, so Ashley Turner created this exclusive 30 minute Equinox Ritual Flow just for you. Please enjoy this practice!
Over the last 6 weeks, we’ve been reading your stories, tweeting your Tweets and hearting your Instagrams in celebration of the moment and all the amazing ways you choose to show up for it. Thousands of you have shared your #NowStartsNow – your testament to life’s messy joys, mysterious beauties and most of all its nows.
We also teamed up with teachers who inspire us on what #NowStartsNow is all about:
Now is a Practice of Courage & Kindness, by Talia Sutra.
Say What Needs To Be Said, by Daniel Scott.
Being Where You Are, Not Where You’re From, by Hadji Jones.
Now Tastes Good, by Danielle and Whitney of Sakara Life.
The Yoga of Now, by Cora Wen.
To Be Or Now To Be Here Now, by Rocky Heron.
Here are a few more of your Nows that have inspired us along the way, from springing into action to choosing to pause and reflect. This list also includes Erin Noguchi, Jaime Neal Kaminski, Karen Krieger, Ladybirds Lynn and Marissa K, who win a suite of Manduka gear as our thank you for being present and participating.
Erin Noguchi, @enronnn
I'm graduating from University of California Santa Cruz in a few short weeks I'm so thankful for the opportunity for a higher education & I've fallen in love with Northern California. I wanted to take these last few weeks I have left up north to explore & appreciate time seems to be speeding up so it's all I can do to live in the moment & cherish every minute #nowstartsnow here's to graduating, making it to the top of this mountain in beautiful Carmel & taking over the world peace by peace.
Ohana | I've been caring for my baby cousin the past few days and it's really opened my eyes to the beauty and roughness of motherhood. Two days with him and I'm already tired hahaha! But now I'm pretty excited for my time to have a family. Nervous excited for the future, but I'm thankful for these moments now.
Bless all the Mothers who carry the heavy load...who give unconditionally...who nurture the children...who selflessly endure through the trials and tribulations. You are Love. #9Months #NowStartsNow
Marissa K, @Marissaksnow
Solo in the Sierras. Wet feet from ankle deep snow. No plans. Just a pack. If I go with nothing I'll be back in two hours. If I go with a pack, double that time. At least. If I brought a sleeping bag, I'm afraid I'd never come down. #Nowstartsnow
Take time to enjoy yourself. Listen. Everything you need to hear is right there. "The quieter you become, the more you can hear. #NowStartsNow
The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hands of man. Places where your soul feels alive but your mind is quiet. Places to love deeply, breath softly, and live simply. The human spirit needs places where the only moment that matters is the moment you are in right now.
Marti Nikko, @martinikko
Hey. It's time! #nowstartsnow
Monica Palomino, @presenceandplants
I am currently studying for several cumulative finals that I do not feel prepared for. In a few months my lease will be up, and I don't know where I'll live. I have no long-term post-graduation career plan. I'm not quite sure how I will be able to support myself. In so many ways, life is asking me to be afraid. But I'll be damned if I let worries of the future, a place that is never guaranteed, jade the beauty of this present moment. The rush of this inhalation, the surrender of the exhalation. All is well. #NowStartsNow
My new favorite spot. I will visit here often to get away from the hustle of life.
My sweet little boy falling asleep outside.
In sobriety I find Mother's Day to be bitter sweet. How does one junkie make it when another parishes? My mother was an addict most of her life. She flirted with recovery and I clearly remember going to 12 step meetings as a child. But she couldn't manage to get and stay clean. She died with a system so full of drugs her little body just couldn't take it anymore. You would think that I would have learned from that... Instead I took a long slow journey into my own addiction. Alcohol to pills to coke to meth. Eventually I had a needle in my arm on a daily basis. Just like her. In the soul of every addict there is a hole. Something happened to us by way of nature or nurture that left us unable to love ourselves and hence unable to well love anybody else. We are selfish creatures, trying desperately to fill the void. In the end our self-absorption is pure misery. Some addicts follow this path until the inevitable end of jails, institutions or death. A very few of us addicts are granted a desperation so deep that we snap out of it before we kill ourselves. Why did I receive this gift? When I too could have died alone in a cold dark bathroom, how did I manage to wake up from the nightmare? I don't think it will ever be completely clear how I pulled back from the brink of complete self annihilation. This is what make my life miraculous. Somehow it clicked into place that #nowstartsnow, that I could leave the past alone, and live in the light of the present moment. I do know that my mother will always been present with me and I remember the words "I love you Kiddo" as her final refrain. This is her true legacy to me. Souls are complicated. Hers was broken somewhere along the line and even though she couldn't love herself very well, I know she meant it when she said these words to me, that she was trying as hard as she could to have a heart that wasn't so defeated. I think that in my darkest moment, it was her voice that echoed in my ears. "I love you kiddo." I believe that the hole in the heart of this addict is filling with love, a little more each day.
Karen Krieger, @thekkriegs
The magic moments of the morning. The light returns to refresh the earth from the darkness of the night. The air feels full of possibility- full of thoughts that haven't been taken yet, experiences you can't foresee, and opportunities that could change your future. Did you miss it? Don't. Be here now. Breath in every moment.
Here’s to putting our practice into practice, way beyond the mat. This one of a kind moment and your one of a kind life. Starting now.