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.


June 5th, 2012

Practice With Briohny And Dice In Thailand!

Join Manduka Ambassador Briohny Smyth and Dice Iida-Klein for a series of workshop sessions in Bangkok held exclusively with Absolute Yoga Thailand. Dice and Briohny love being upside down in an inversion, playing with arm balances, as well as transitions between the two!
Their classes are fun and rigorous with a focus on body awareness and alignment, in order to help yogis practice in an intelligent ad safe way.

Workshop A: Intro to Flight
Workshop B: Asana Clinic
Workshop C: Backbends-Open your heart deeply and safely

When: July 11-12 & 26-29, 2012
Where: Absolute Yoga Thailand
For more information:

June 4th, 2012

Yogi Of The Week: Gil

Meet Gil.

Gil is living his dream. For 7 years, he and his wife have wanted to open a community-based yoga center. They recently made that dream a reality by celebrating the Grand Opening of Breathe Yoga Center in Norfolk, Virginia.

As a longtime competitive athlete, Gil knew that there was something more for him than training and pushing his body to the limit. He also needed balance, and something that would be restorative and nourishing. He found that in yoga and has now dedicated his life to serving others through teaching.

Gil believes that we are all connected. He believes that our actions influence the world we live in and we all have the unlimited power to make positive impacts in our communities and this wonderful planet we call home. He is so grateful as to have landed in the supportive community of Norfolk, Virginia, and is excited for the road ahead.

We loved meeting Gil, and we need to meet you too. This is your community, and this is the YOU year. Manduka is on a mission to get to know everyone who makes this yoga community so vibrant, and so real. Because we all have something to learn from you — about how we see ourselves, or approach our practice, or make yoga mats.

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.


May 30th, 2012

Ask And You Shall..

By Eka Ekong

I remember as a child, when I would ask for something, my parents would reply, “What’s the magic word?” I learned early on the beauty in graciousness and the possibilities created by a simple question. Now many moons (and “pleases”) later, I have learned the magic in words, but wonder how many of us are reluctant to ask the question.

They say, “Ask and you shall receive”. Sometimes it might sound like wishing on a star, but if you don’t ask you’ll never know.

It’s not just in seeking an answer to a question (or for me then as child, my favorite sugary cereal), asking applies to manifesting our hopes and dreams, inviting someone to go for a walk, or even requesting help in a yoga class.

Sometimes we are afraid to ask, as we fear the answer we might receive. In making the request, support finds its way to you. It may not come always as you expect it (or when you want it to), but trust and know that it will. Put forth your intention and lovingly hold space for the magic to happen.

My Manduka helps me practice allowing.
What does your Manduka help you practice?

Practice On.