July 2013 Archive

July 30th, 2013

We Are One

July 26th, 2013

Letting Go

By Annette Lyn O'Neil

"Let go of that which does not serve you."

It's easy to keep that piece of wisdom on the mat, isn't it? Relax your face; it's not going to help you in Hanumanasana. Release your shoulders. Don't clench; if you do, energy can't flow.

Off the mat, it's harder.

Two weeks ago, I was in Norway. I was hiking out to a classic BASE jump over the Lysefjord. I was high above a verdant Scandinavian paradise with beloved friends, I was bubbling with excitement, and I misplaced a step. I fell ten feet down a rock, bouncing three times before I stopped myself with my forehead.

OUCH. Right?

I credit my yoga with the remarkable superficiality of the injuries I suffered from such a significant fall, and for the quickness of my recovery so far. However, weeks later, I still have a hulking hematoma on my right hip, some truly unsightly bruising and a right arm that chafes at the idea of doing pretty much anything. At the moment, though the situation is improving by the day, I can hardly move anything below the elbow. I certainly can't move through a Surya Namaskar or correctly land a parachute.

Today, I'm in Kemaliye, Turkey, where I was invited with a group of other BASE jumpers from around the world to do a demonstration of the sport at the regional Outdoor Sports Festival. The Turkish government has erected an incredibly unique BASE object in Kemaliye: hundreds of meters of metal cable, strung between two cliffs approximately 1,200' above the Euphrates river, with a ski-lift-style chair attached to it on rollers. Two or three BASE jumpers sit on this chair, which is then rolled out into the center of the canyon. There, the jumpers depart the chair by whatever means strikes their fancy (which, on account of the great height and the excellent separation from any strikeable objects, generally involves an inventive exit with lots of flips) and land in the canyon below. There is a small landing area against one of the canyon sides. Alternatively, the river in the center of the canyon is generally calm, reasonably clean and patrolled for the term of the event by professionally crewed safety boats. It's absolutely possible to land in it.

Here's the rub: there's a stigma against landing in the water at events like this. Landing in the water implies that you didn't deploy early enough, set up your landing well enough, and/or control your canopy with sufficient skill to land where the big kids land. If you land in the water, you get razzed. Heavily.

I knew when I arrived here that I'd be landing in the water. My right arm is too weak and too painful to complete the "flare" -- the final, critical part of the landing procedure -- with enough precision to land in a relatively small, uneven space. I risked far greater injury by going for the dry landing. Even so, sitting on the chair as it was cranked slowly out to the middle of the canyon, I had second thoughts. I was surrounded by some of the world's best BASE jumpers, not to mention news crews, helmet cameras and an eagle-eyed cadre of Instagram addicts. Couldn't I just give it a shot? Couldn't I probably squint and grunt and manage it?

"Let go of that which does not serve you."

I let the mantra roll with my breath.

Practicing with an injury was an excellent preparation for the yoga of that particular moment. A wonky practice -- one which, for the moment, can not even include chatturanga, high plank or a dog facing any direction whatsoever -- challenges the idea of what a yoga practice looks like. It forces the practitioner to embrace the body in its current iteration, as the body unsubtly demands, while opening the practice up to new challenges: for me, for example, a cleaned-up dolphin and a longer, stronger forearm plank. Fixating on forcing oneself into the poses the injured body can not enter does not serve the yogi; letting go allows the practice to help the body heal.

It is much the same in BASE. Letting go of the expectation that a successful BASE jump must end with a dry, tiptoe landing helped me embrace the fact that the only safe landing was a wet one. I stood facing the chair. I leaned back over the canyon, my heart open to the wide Turkish sky, and exited in an exultant backflip. When I landed in the water, I reveled in its cold and let it wash away the last of the thoughts that this wasn't the perfect way to end the flight.

July 25th, 2013

#Innergps Giveaway: Visit Another State (Of Mind)

We all have an “inner GPS,” the guiding intuition that tells us when we need to take a break or take a chance. But when we get distracted by routine, it’s harder to hear that internal voice telling us to merge ahead. So this is a call to relearn how to find, hear and follow your innerGPS and let it lead you to the most spectacular place you’re supposed to be.

Last week, you set out for the Thrill of Adventure. Setting yourself up to experience courage, learning to trust your heart so it becomes easier to follow. We love your #innerGPS Instagrams – here are a few of our favorites from last week’s Thrill of Adventure theme, including our winner @kellyard23, who takes home a ready-for-anywhere eKO Superlite Mat, eQua Hand Towel and Practice Journal.

Here is the photo from our winner, @kellyard23, plus a few of our other favorite #innerGPS Instagrams:

By @kellyard23, who won last week's #innerGPS contest.

Here are some of our other favorites!









And now we start our last Inner GPS Giveaway theme: Another State (of mind). Go somewhere unfamiliar – an experience or environment way outside your repertoire. Put yourself in a new situation so that you can think and see differently. It could be a literal place, like Utah or that super authentic Laotian restaurant. It could be a spiritual place, like the view from Savasana. Show us your world from ‘Another State’ on Instagram using hashtag #innerGPS and you could win Manduka gear to support your journey: the classic Black Mat PRO and MatSak in Shade.

Here’s to recalibrating your route,

July 18th, 2013

#Innergps Giveaway: The Thrill Of Adventure

This Summer, we’re following our #innerGPS. More than following intuition, it’s asking the soul where it wants to go so that the body can take it there. And we’ve been to some brilliant places so far – to Inner Peace, the Staycation of a Lifetime and Back to Nurture.

Here are a few of our favorite photos from last week’s theme, Back to Nurture, including from our winner @wanderlustingsoul, who takes home our first ever two-tone PROlite Mat in Merge and a Manduka eQua Towel.

Here is the photo from our winner, @wanderlustingsoul, plus a few of our other favorite #innerGPS Instagrams:

By @wanderlustingsoul, who won last week's #innerGPS contest.

Here are some of our other favorites!








This week we enjoy the Thrill of Adventure. Doing something that takes us out of our comfort zone – not for the sake of experiencing fear, but for experiencing courage. Go out on an adventure, near or far, and Instagram a photo from the journey using hashtag #innerGPS. Next week, one person will win an eKO Superlite Mat, eQua Hand Towel and Practice Journal to help support the journey to come.

See you on the path,

July 11th, 2013

#Innergps Giveaway: Home And Back To Nurture

The best part about following your inner GPS is that you’re always on the right path – the one your heart lays out for you. And with Summer’s warm weather, extra daylight and breezy attitude, this is the best time of year to listen to where you’re being called and go there.

And while you’ve been following your #innerGPS, we’ve been following you. On Instagram. Last week, we asked you to point your inner GPS toward hOMe: a staycation for the heart, wherever it happens to be. And you shared so many photos of what you saw when you truly opened your eyes to hOMe. Here are a few of our favorites, including last week’s winner @volkkl, who’s new PRO Squared Mat is the ultimate staycation prize.

Here is the photo from our winner, @volkkl, plus a few of our other favorite #innerGPS Instagrams:

By @volkkl, who won last week's #innerGPS contest.

Here are some of our other favorites!








This week, head Back to Nurture. Point your inner GPS to your own version of self-care and share what you see there. You might like jogging solo at dawn, whipping up a kale smoothie or climbing trees with the ones who make you laugh. Whatever your Back to Nurture, share it on Instagram using hashtag #innerGPS for a chance to win a new Limited Edition PROlite Merge – our first ever PROlite mat available in two-tone colors, plus an eQua Mat Towel to comfort and protect you when things get a little sweaty.

It’s an honor to be part of your practice, and a joy to see your pictures.

With love,

July 3rd, 2013

#Innergps Giveaway: From Inner Peace To Staycations At Home

Following our inner GPS leads us to the most amazing, life-changing places. Sometimes we have to travel far to get there, sometimes we just have to go deeper within. Our heart knows the way, and listening to it is one of the most fulfilling experiences this life can offer.

Last week, we asked you to follow your #innerGPS to Inner Peace and share that place on Instagram. Here are a few of our favorite photos, including from our winner, @CateBennetBurns, who will continue her journey with the support of a new Ltd Ed Manduka PRO Black Bliss, Go Getter Mat Strap and Practice Journal.

By @CateBennetBurns, who won last week's #innerGPS contest.

Here are some of our other favorites!








This week, our #innerGPS is pointing us to the ultimate staycation, finding OM right from home, or wherever home happens to be these days. Follow your inner GPS to hOMe and show us what it’s like there on Instagram using tag #innerGPS. Next week, we’ll select one winner to receive the expansive PRO Squared Mat, 2 Recycled Foam Blocks and 2 Cotton Yoga Straps.

It’s an honor to be part of your practice, and a joy to see your pictures. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments below!

In gratitude,