October 5th, 2015
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.
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.
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