September 23rd, 2015
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!
*Manduka Ambassador Ashley Turner takes to her Black Mat PRO® & yogitoes® Tarrin towel (available Nov. 1st, 2015) to help us all find balance this season with a special fall equinox flow.
September 3rd, 2015
By Jurjen de Lange & Denise Schellinger (with help from Joepie)
A few months back, we were contacted by a pair of yogis in the Netherlands, about to leave their busy urban lives behind and set off to explore the other side of the world. They asked what kind of travel yoga gear would be best for their trip, we made some recommendations, sent a few extras and asked that they send some photos from the road. Here is what they sent:
After years of trying to fit in the system of work, social obligations, family, friends, we decided that we almost lost the knowledge of being bored (like we were so often when we were 14, on a holiday with mom and dad, wandering on the beach). We missed that.
When did we become "followers" of the system, users of social media, constantly on our way to the next appointment, and never in the "now" of being? It was our dog Joepie who showed us the very existence of "now" on the beach, back home in Haarlem, the Netherlands. He showed us we need nothing more than the sea, the sand between our toes, and of course, some tennis balls to throw.
We decided to get out there, to wander where there is no WiFi and explore the world in a quest for Boretopia. That's our fantasy place where it's ok to be bored. And while practicing yoga, we discovered, also through Joepie, how yoga is in everything. It's not just the exercise you perform on the mat, yoga is in people, in animals, in all beings, as you well know. We wanted to find out more. How we could learn from other beings, connect to the yoga in all things, in ourselves, at every second.
So we made plans, quit our jobs, sold almost all of our belongings and made arrangements for us, Joepie and our own oldskool campervan to start this journey as far away from home as possible; New Zealand! No plans, no timeframe, no budget, just go and discover.
So we met, by coincidence, an old Maori artist. He told and showed us the importance of "home" and the meaning of ancestry. Without our ancestors, we would not be here. Every choice they made played a part in determining who we would be as well. And yet we have no influence of what's behind us, but we can determine what will happen for us, and for the generations ahead.
He showed us the meaning of "connecting" with the earth, connecting with all living beings, because all living beings have ancestors – animals too.
After this meeting we went to Piha, a location known for the best longboard surf in New Zealand. But what happened there was amazing. We were walking on the beach, playing with Joepie and we took some photos of the sunset. Once back at the campground we looked at the pictures and saw several bright green dots in the picture, following us everywhere. Mmm… strange…
Later that night Denise went for a shower and she had to use a magnetic card to "activate" the door and shower. But the card refused. She went to the reception three times to change her card as it wasn't working. After the third time, the campground owner walked with Denise and told her a story about Piha. It has been an energetic place for woman for thousands of years and ancient "spirits" like to tease sensitive, open minded people. She said to Denise, ‘you must be a true, honest and pure human, "they" are teasing you!’
Denise told her about the green dots on the photos and the campground owner looked happy and amused! “Really?” she said. “That's wonderful!”
So we showed her the photos and she said, “Green is the color of life! The energy of Piha is showing you your unborn baby! It is good, positive energy around you!” We were perplexed, but also elated, euphoric and of course amazed. Could this really be true?
A few days later we confirmed that it was – we started on this journey to discover the yoga in all things, and we received the greatest news of all from nature, that our family was about to grow by one.
May 7th, 2015
Thank you to all the studio's who participated in our Practice. Share. Win. Challenge!
We asked our yoga studio community to celebrate our yogitoes Towel Collections by sharing their practice using a different theme each week. Our yoga studios shared how they #practiceunity with the We Are One Collection, #practiceexpression inspired by the Feeling Groovy Collection, #practicemindfulness in honor of the Earth Collection and #practicepeace with the Peace Collection.
We received so many captivating photos, and each week we had to choose only one to win 10 free yogitoes Towels of the studio’s choice.
April 29th, 2015
#NowStartsNow by Cora Wen
I started yoga practice as a young corporate banker making my way in the world. It was a way to exercise, focus my mind and direct my stressed out energy. I went for asana, movement and more on the mat, and in my life.
Now, as my practice has matured, I have found that asana has been a pathway to find deeper and deeper states of consciousness and awareness. After 30 years of practice, and 23 years of teaching, yoga is my life within every pore of my being. And my feet have been grounded to earth, as I have raised my arms and heart toward the sky.
Years ago, I came to each practice with fire and determination to “get” the asanas - Chakrasana, Kapotasana, Vrksasana, Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Tittibasana, and the rest of the more difficult asanas. The ones in the “back of the book”.
As the asanas came to me through practice, practice, practice, I have found more ease and stability in holding them longer and with more grace moving in and out. Now, I find myself lingering in the asana, instead of struggling into them.
Now, I can find the time and spaciousness in my chest, side ribs, paraspinal muscles without as much struggle. Though perhaps these days, it takes a bit more time as my body ages and changes. But now, I focus on the breath, the subtle alignment, the way I move into and out of an asana. The journey has certainly replaced the destination on my mat.
Now, I find myself breathing softer and quieter to find the stillness in each moment on my mat., and in my lie. Asana has become an offering to myself, and it is a pathway that leads me back to the seat of my heart.
As my lineage guru B.K.S. Iyengar always said - “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” Now, I have grown older with my practice, and my practice has grown with me.
Yoga has been my teacher, my friend, and my sanctuary for so many years. My practice has held me as I found and lost love, supported my triumphs and my defeats, soothed my heart on countless occasions and pulled me up in crisis and sorrow. Celebrations, disappointments, sukha and dukkha, all these have happened on my yoga mat, as a reflection of life’s journey here and now.
Every day we must come to the mat fresh and open to the practice that exists right now, right here. Every moment is here for us to experience the fullness of our practice, the fullness of our life.
What happens on the mat can reflect into your life, so find time to sit still as much as moving into fierce asana. Find time to move into the quiet and stillness that leads us back to ourselves. Find time to breathe fully and accept each moment as it truly is.
Now starts now.
Cora Wen is an internationally renowned yoga teacher. She lives her life in a manner that is kind. To herself and all beings. Life happens, so she stumbles like all of us, but the practice of meditation and yoga helps her become aware, and aware and aware... Visit her at CoraWen.com, on Twitter @CoraYoga or on Instagram @CoraYoga.
We want to hear about your now – how you are living this moment as your bold, beautiful, wild and true self. Explore off the mat, start something new, put your self out there and share on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tagging #NowStartsNow and @MandukaYoga. You might receive a custom gift of Manduka gear from the new spring collection as our thank you! Learn more here.
April 24th, 2015
Life can be many things – beautiful, messy, sweaty, mysterious, still. But more than anything else, it’s now. Over the past three weeks, we’ve been celebrating your nows – those moments when you turn intention into action, let your heart do the driving, fully show up for everything that’s possible and put your practice into practice – beyond the mat.
#NowStartsNow is your invitation to the moment, and we’re inspired by what you – bright, brave, wild you – do with it. Here are some of your Nows that have inspired us along the way, including Christie McNabb, Liz Sherrer, Christine Durrant, Sarah Crowe, and Priscilla Ann who receive a special suite of Manduka gear as our thank you.
Christine Durant, @ChristineMDurant
Yes!! Instead of sitting in front of the computer and stressing over my to-do list and then of course not getting any of it done, I biked to work! My bike, Cordelia, and I took a gorgeous trip all over the island I live on and had our first bridge crossing! At the end of the ride I taught a relaxing and loving restorative yoga class to help people close up their week and ease into a new one. I'm so happy that I fought my usual type A tendencies to get everything done that minute and make everything perfect. Instead I enjoyed the moment, got my body moving, and breathed in our salty bay air. Now I'm ready for Monday. #NowStartsNow
I've been stagnated in my job and am working to secure a new opportunity in a new city. I am scared of a huge change, even though I have made several HUGE changes in my young life. Now I have a child, my partner and I have dual careers to consider, and I feel somewhat settled. I know a change is the right thing for all of us, but getting there is terrifying. Yoga keeps me centered, balanced, and confident. I don't do it as much as I want or should, but I always feel better when I do. I would love some new gear to support my practice and move my family forward. Thanks for the chance. #NowStartsNow
Misfit Yoga + Wellness
Need a little inspiration? Get outside, breath fresh air and open your eyes to nature. Beauty and grace are natural elements out there. #nowstartsnow
When I am following my heart, I am able to use the strength, compassion and courage I gain on my mat and go out into the world and make a lasting change. Last week I had a great opportunity to attend the Supporting Student Resiliency in Trauma-Sensitive Schools conference. There were some pretty amazing speakers and a national panel of educators all talking about the great changes they have made in schools. Hearing words like mindfulness, restorative practices, trauma compassionate & wellness centers, make my heart skip a beat. A shift is coming and I am so excited to see it happening. Change starts from compassion, it is fueled by passion and it lasts from connecting to others. Follow your passion, follow your heart, #NowStartsNow
I have spent years doing what i thought i should, or what everyone else expected of me. It left me lost and lonely. It took a dramatic event to awaken me. I found my passion & continue to move forward & reinvent myself…This is YOUR life. It is YOUR choice. No one will choose for you...and that is a beautiful thing.
When I originally heard about this contest, I dreamed of extravagant pictures in the woods, beautiful shots of yoga poses at sunrise and the like. But this is the truth of my now, the truth of how my yoga practice keeps me going.
In a year that has been tougher than most, I've experienced temporary homelessness, moving, relying on a bike for my sole transportation, cockroaches and now, in a gracious gift from my neighbor: bed bugs. My sweet, peaceful sanctuary in a crazy world has to once again be packed and bagged and piled. And, although I may sob while I do it, I'm trying to draw on that deep reserve of strength we begin to realize we contain while on the mat, and allow my breath to carry me through.
Here I sit in meditation amongst all my belongings, in trash bags destined for either the dumpster or the laundry mat.
It's not pretty, but it's real.
Heather N, @holyyogiheather
#nowstartsnow this is my practice right now. A season of savasana. A knee injury sidelined me 5 weeks ago. The morning of my injury I chose yoga over sleeping in. I had the most grateful & present practice. I was grateful for my body & amazed at what it could do. The night of my injury, as I lay on the snowy sidewalk waiting for the ambulance, I practiced as well. This time with deep, healing, ujjayi breaths. And for the past 6 weeks (and for a few more) I practice savasana. I rest in gratefulness. Grateful for that last "official" practice before I was hurt, grateful for the natural response of my body to use breath I have learned in yoga to keep me conscious & focus through the pain, grateful for a season of rest, and grateful for the coming season of getting back to my favorite asanas. (This photo is my savasana while my knee is being iced after a particularly tough and victorious session with my physical therapist.)
Easter holidays and taking a break from yoga teacher training to be a big kid with my son. Life's to short to be serious all the time, even on my manduka mat the odd laugh appears with a wobble and a face plant which is why I love yoga #nowstartsnow
Elisabeth T. Lilja, @etlyoga
When you wake up in the morning do you tell you tell yourself you are beautiful? Do you tell yourself that you are enough? Do you tell yourself you are absolutely perfect the way you are?
I invite you every morning to place your hand on your heart and tell yourself:
I am beautiful.
I am enough.
I am absolutely perfect the way I am.
This mantra doesn't mean that you can't grow...what it means is you should give yourself more love.
Priscilla Ann, @kauailife
Some #StopDropAndYoga in the middle of preschool P.E. a.k.a. awesome dance party. #BestJobEver #ECELove #NowStartsNow
Yulady Saluti, @yulady
"What time is it?" I asked my son Wyatt. I couldn't see the clock. He said something that I couldn't hear. I got closer and asked again. He looked at me with his big brown eyes and said "It's now Mom." This concept is not new to my house so I shouldn't have been surprised. We talk to our children about the future and the past but are careful to explain that life happens this very moment, right now we say.
Through all of my health problems and surgeries (24) I have learned not to anticipate the future or dwell on the past. If I did that I don't think I would have ever made it. The Now is where I choose to hang out. It's so alive and vibrant here in the Now.
Here's to you my blessed son Wyatt Oscar Saluti.
Happy Birthday to a shining bundle of light and love. Tx you for reminding to suck the life out of each second I am on this earth.
Maria Laura Aguayo, @malauraaguayo
It takes courage to jump into the unknown, but you don't get to fly if you stand still. #NowStartsNow so take the leap!
Kristen O’Brien, @keobrien12
Did a short meditation once I got home today to clear my mind and set an intention. Friday and Saturday are my last days of class to become a certified academic language therapist. I have a book report and a huge paper to finish by Thursday. I am so excited for all my hard work to pay off. I can't wait to improve the lives of so many children during my teaching career. #NowStartsNow - I am driven to finish this & start the next chapter of my teacher career. I'm also super excited to drink a margarita on Saturday to celebrate!
We have this amazing opportunity to move to Germany. We have moved a lot throughout our marriage, but this upcoming move has by far been the most complicated. There are so many things we have to plan for, so many thing we have to do in preparation, it is HARD. I have an easy option, I could just not go. But in the end that would cause so much heartbreak, knowing I missed out on an amazing opportunity because it got a little hard.
Manduka (the company that makes my favorite yoga mat) is starting a movement. They are calling it “now starts now.” They are asking people to share what is stirring inside of them, how they are planning on showing up for life – it cannot be coincidence. I feel like I’ve just received the most timely invitation – to live life without fear of hard things, of pain, of disappointment. To live life full throttle with a zest for adventure and a spirit of love.
So with that said I’m going to do the hard things. I’m going to move overseas and live an adventure.
See Liz’s full blog post “I’m Saying Goodbye To A Fear Of Hard Things” here.
Now it’s your turn! We’re reading your stories, tweeting your Tweets and hearting your Instagrams. For three more weeks, we’ll choose five more yogis who share their #NowStartsNow to receive a suite of Manduka gear from the new spring collection. Share your now as a post to our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and be sure to tag @MandukaYoga and #NowStartsNow.
Now is your one, wild & true life. What will you do with it?
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What does your Manduka help you #practice?
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