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.
August 11th, 2015
his year’s World Games took place in our own back yard, so we didn’t want to miss the chance to support these global athletes with a yoga practice to help them reset for the big competition. They are runners, swimmers, cyclists, gymnasts, rowers, tennis, baseball and basketball players living in the margins of the mainstream because of birth, accident or simply chance. But stepping onto a yoga mat is freedom from those restrictions, an opportunity to explore the edges of your mind and body. They competed in honor of their countries, their teammates and them selves - breaking personal records and social expectations. In yoga we practice unity, acceptance and joy, and there is no better teach than these athletes. A special thanks to the World Games committee for including us, and to Manduka Ambassadors Mia Togo and Vytas Baskauskas for leading the class!
May 11th, 2015
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
Jaime Neal Kaminski
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.
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