May 3rd, 2011

#Practice Being Who You Are

I was blessed with the opportunity to see H.H the Dalai Lama in a lecture series this week. He is such a joyful, loving and truthful spirit! Regardless of the energy of the surrounding environment, there was never not a time where he was acting inauthentically or not speaking from his heart, mind and soul.

There wasn't any smoke or mirrors, or words minced. H.H wasn't afraid for others to see who He is, even when situations weren't going smoothly.

When we are willing to show ourselves fully and completely, we not only create a space for others to let down their guards and open their hearts, but we are also able to see ourselves in each other.

We're able to truly see that we are not really that different after all.. Separation lessens, and true fellowship is created.

I am #practicing being myself(warts and all). What does your Manduka help you practice?

Here's how others are #practicing authentically:

Ami Spencer
"Consistency. Finding a way to spend time going inside. Every. Single. Day."

From @MandukaYoga
"Bloom! Shedding the winter layers and finding the color underneath."

From @MandukaYoga
"You help me practice remembrance of my strength and the still space within!"

Patty Shine
"At my house we had a day of no TV, no video games, no radio. We spent time outside helping a neighbor with their garden.Some play time at the park. We did our best to have a relaxing yoga session though my 6 yr old son cannot "relax" for more than a minute so we called it jumping bean yoga. Though I didn't get my normal relaxed feeling from my yoga, I got that inner glow that only quality time enjoying my children can give."

Youngmee Ahn Hand
"Wash and hang all my laundry outside for the beautiful sun to dry aswell as sanitize my clothes without having to use energy from machines."

Jen Erickson Strating
"Composting all my veggie/fruit scraps, growing as many veggies as I can, biking or walking to do errands, getting my food locally through a wonderful CSA, being mindful and frugal with energy consumption and spending time in nature honoring this beautiful earth!"

April 27th, 2011

#Practice Asana, Sweat And Tears

It is often said that we meet ourselves on our mats. Just like our relationships, our mat can act like a mirror reflecting back to us our light and our shadow. Our practice can show us how far we have come. It can be the momentum pushing us into our higher states of being, if we can get out of our own way and allow it. If the body is our temple, and asana, our prayers, then our sweat could be our offerings, and our tears, our letting go.

My Manduka helps me #practice letting go. What does your Manduka help you #practice?

Here’s what some in our community are #practicing:

“Today was definitely a sunshine absorption day - the UK has been blessed with sun for a few days and we will be practicing gratitude for its’ presence!”

Melissa Baker Gentile
"Faith. Even if I'm in too much pain to practice today, or even tomorrow, yoga will still be there for me when the pain ebbs."

" Today Im #practicing self forgiveness and compassion, not been too well and sometimes we forget to lighten up!"

" I knew my PRO mat would be subject to sweat, but was not expecting the tears. Thanks for helping me #practice with an open heart."

April 14th, 2011

# Practice Get It Going

Woody Allen said that "Ninety percent of life is just showing up". Have you ever had those moments when you didn't want to practice, but once you got to class you were so thankful you peeled yourself off your sofa? A little momentum goes a long way. Sometimes transformation can seem impossible for lethargy or the rigidity can trip us up. Just by taking a few baby steps out of our comfort zone and creating movement in a positive direction, we can begin to see that we don't have to get it right, we just have to get going...

My Manduka helps me #practice showing up. How does your Manduka help you to show up and get it going?

Here's some inspiration on how others show up for themselves and our planet:

Angel Robbins Stambaugh:
" I recycle as much as I can, use reusable bags most of the time, re-use paper and plastic bags that I get, and when the weather is nicer, I plan on taking "garbage pick-up walks" to pick up some of the garbage I see when I walk with my dog."

Jonathan Gerard:
" I've been trying to use the bus system for the past 4 years instead of driving a car. Half the time i don't even make the bus schedule, so i end up walking everywhere hahahhha."

Gailanne Joachim:
" I take public transit to work regularly. I also participate in activities that foster appreciation of nature such as trail running/hiking, cycling, and yoga. I continually strive to keep updated on the news of the world and become aware of how the events of the world affect the environment."

Erin Finegold:
" I recycle like a champ! And, reduce my carbon footprint in several ways, care about water and conserve, purchase reconstituted garments, eat from the gardens, plant trees, compost, live my yoga and meditate; better me, better world."

Robyn Linn Weinstein:
" Running on the beach at least three times a week, I always see garbage... it's terrible when the birds try to eat it, thinking it's food. I always pick up garbage on the beach and hope to inspire others to do so, as well."

Carrie Ng:
" I try to find second uses for everything. Excess water can be used for watering plants rather than pouring it down the drain, coffee grinds can be used in the garden, vegetable peels can be used for veggie stock and treats for my dog. It can get creative to find another purpose(s) for items around the house."

Angeline Mels:
" I would reuse-reused whatever I can. My dad n I use used pet bottles, make holes on the cap, use it to sprinkle our small organic plants. Used cans for pots. We would catch the rainwater for other usage. I bring own grocery bag to shop.Turn off the screensaver on computer. Lately I shop less clothes n remodify old ones for new look, & donate the unused ones. Use the back of printed paper. I try not to use plastic straw or disposable chopstix anymore :) Small easydaily things."

April 13th, 2011

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April 4th, 2011

And There Is My Dharma...

By Manduka Ambassador Vic Munoz

I recall, since a young age I used to admire musicians, writers, astronauts, and in general people that were passionate about what they did. For a long time I thought it was the profession what made these people passionate. Finding that I didn’t have much of a talent for such careers, I conformed with studying business and finding a corporate job.

A long time into the corporate world, one day it dawned on me that it was not about the choice of career but instead about finding that thing that springs from within, that makes you express yourself in a loving way.

In my case that thing is: to help. And particularly, I feel a sense of expansion when helping others help themselves.

Upon this discovery I decided to get into it seriously, so I let go of the corporate job. A while later I found myself in India, where I met Akhil, a kind man from Mysore, open like an ocean of love. He taught me to work with the Tibetan singing bowls to channel healing energy to help people find their “orbit” or path in life. His, and my yoga teachers BNS Iyengar and Ajay Kumar, exude a passion for life and helping that is just inspiring.

Coming back to Miami, I decided to apply what I had learned and started giving free sessions with the Tibetan bowls and yoga. Determined to carry on with my goal of helping others, soon I realized that although I was not charging money, all my needs were being covered. Realization also came that when I would focus on the money, it will always diminish or disappear, causing a feeling that it is hard to get.

Increasingly, I started getting referrals and also began charging for the sessions and classes. But I had learned to remain focused on the help, nothing else. This went on for a year or so, and then I returned to India. Returning again in Miami, I let go of a couple of public group classes I had, and decided to focus on offering private, one on one, sessions. I figured I could be more effective in helping doing it this way. As usual, with this type of decisions, fear and doubt appear, but I choose to transcend them with a simple phrase we often repeat, but not necessarily act upon: things always find a way to work out.

Three months later, I found a beautiful place from which I could teach and live, something that I had desired for a while. As the space appeared, so did the means to rent it, and putting it in condition to offer the services. Being a fellow that allows himself to be sustained by Divine Grace, and having no savings, sponsors appeared to support the opening of CITIZEN YOGA, amongst them our friends at Manduka, making it possible for me to live my dharma… of helping you find yours.

It is my hope that this message ignites the fire of motivation within you… to transcend fear, to live from your heart, to trust in your dharma to sustain your life.

I would like to thank my mom, Olinda, for teaching me the greatest lesson in life: there is always possibility.