July 2nd, 2012

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.

We loved learning about him. And we want to learn more about you!

Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page:

Every week, we'll share the story of another real yogi. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here, or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.


June 25th, 2012

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.
We loved learning about Mia. And we want to learn more about you!

Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page:

Every week, we'll share the story of another real yogi. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here, or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.


June 18th, 2012

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.

We are incredibly inspired by Danielle, and we feel so grateful to be able to share her story. Do you have a story you’d like to tell? Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page:

Every week, we'll share the story of another real yogi. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here, or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.


June 13th, 2012

The Value Of (Dis)Connection

By Eka Ekong

It happened again. While teaching and circulating around the room, I saw the blue afterglow reflecting off the floor. One of my students was texting. I walked over and in a very stern, yet graceful way told them that this was not allowed. I felt like a parent catching a child with a dirty magazine. The response, rather than being apologetic, was indignant. For a moment, I thought a Jedi mind trick was being played on me: “Oh, excuse me, it’s my fault. Please text away. We'll just be over here, practicing yoga...” I quickly came back to reality.

I’m noticing this is not a one-time occurrence. I’ve seen it while in yoga classes as teacher and student, as people walk around the city, faces buried in their phones, bumping into objects like bats, or even two people at dinner, their eyes locked on what’s in their hands rather than each other.

We are becoming more present in our relationship with technology rather than the present moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate technology, and enjoy it (as I type away on my i-whatever). I owned an Atari, and typed what seemed like endless jargon in grade school ( Messages were taken via answering machines, and if you were a hipster of those days, you had a beeper AND a car phone the size of your forearm.

I graduated from flip phone to smart phone, PC to Mac. I geek out on TED talks and software upgrades. I tweet, I Facebook... However, there is a time and a place for everything. While I enjoy chocolate in my peanut butter, I don't like texting in my yoga class. Perhaps I’m old school (and not in that Will Ferrell/Luke Wilson kind of way).

There is something to be said for taking time to be completely unavailable to the outside world, and wholeheartedly available to your Self. When we take a break from external technology we can really get down to knowing what makes us tick. We can learn our patterns, our reactions, and the truth of our own soul.

I know being with Self can be scary. There aren’t any status updates, witty hashtags or foursquare check-ins. It can seem like a solo expedition into unknown terrain that you think you have packed inadequately for. You might feel like you're missing out on something in these moments of quiet and self-exploration. In actuality, we’re missing out on the greatest gifts if we don’t. There is a treasure within our hearts that doesn’t require validation from our job, our relationships, our belongings, amount of “likes” or re-tweets. A light beyond all sorrow and insecurity. We need to take a timeout to drop into this deeper understanding. As we drop out to drop back in, we become more aware of our divine nature and cultivate more presence in every situation.

If you think about it, when we were born, most of our mothers were hooked up to a computer. When we pass (although I wish it otherwise), many of us will be hooked up to a computer.

Savor each breath in between, whether it’s on your mat or off. Look up when you’re outside, basking in the greatest science of all, Nature. Treasure each precious moment you spend with your loved ones. Take none of it for granted.

Unplug to tap into your inner wisdom and the Now. This is true connection and far better than any text or app.

My Manduka helps me practice being present.

What does your Manduka help you practice?

June 11th, 2012

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.”

We loved learning about Sherrie. And we want to learn more about you!

Tell us a little about yourself on the You Series page:

Every week, we'll share the story of another real yogi. Maybe soon you'll see yourself here, or see something in yourself here.

Practice On.