Dana Damara, Author of Oms from the Mat, yoga teacher, and feminine inspirational extraordinaire will be coming to Wanderlust Yoga Squaw Valley this July 11 & 12 to rock out some amazing Vinyasa with DJ Nate Spross and teach us how to manage our energy on the mat and off. Leading up to the Wanderlust Festival here in Squaw Valley, our community is brimming with excitement and I couldn’t wait to sit down with her to pick her brain about what we all want to know about her life and yoga practice.
JE: Anyone who has taken class with an awesome yoga teacher knows that magic you feel from practice. The struggle for many (including myself) is bringing the practice into every day life.
What are your top 3 practices for living life as a yogi? (How do you bring the teachings and practices into fruition in your personal daily life most effectively?)
DD: My meditation practice has become the most important time in my day. I get really centered in my breath, if only for 10 minutes, and just ask that I see clearly in as many moments as possible. I ask every day that I be guided into my truth gently so I feel supported and ushered. There’s so much information happening in any given second. If we want to really live from a place that is true, we have to know how to block things out and discern what is right for ourselves. We do that if we are still … otherwise we run the risk of getting on some else’s ride.
I think it’s important to have a ritual that you can call sacred … or even a space that is sacred. My bedroom is the place I find stillness and quiet. The entire communal area of our home can be a wreck and chaotic, but if I have a place I can go to, light some incense and burn a candle, I can shut down for minute and regroup. (This happens daily in our home by the way!) An alter, vision boards, a journal, photos that illicit joy and an unlimited supply of sage, palo santos, sweet grass and candles bring me to peace immediately.
Just like everyone else, I am usually running from one thing to the next … school, clients, class, errands, kids, home. In between the things I am “doing”, I take time to “be” … meaning I sit and breathe before moving from one realm to the other. This gives me the space to drop out of one minute and into the next quickly with presence.
And I don’t check anything electronic until after I have meditated, showered and connected with my girls. It’s just not important… whatever it is … it’s not as important as setting my compass for the day.
JE: Your quote: “Manifest the life you love just by managing your energy and finding deep clarity”
Dana, your words are both bold and inspiring. From my brief conversations with you, I can tell that you live authentically by that statement.
Tell us about the moment in your life where this became clear to you. Was there a specific time, teacher, challenge you faced…or did it happen more organically?
DD: We all want to manifest the life we love. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own patterns and other people’s ideas about what to “do”. It’s almost common now, to admit complete distraction by all the information out there! What is so important, to me anyway, is understanding the power of stillness. Deep clarity is found in quiet breath and still moments. It gives your energy body a moment to recalibrate and then realign with what is real, in this moment.
When I went through my divorce a few years back, I wanted to be sure I was moving forward through all the “ickiness” with grace and gratitude. It was very important to me that I didn’t repeat patterns or get caught up in fear or blame. I wanted my girls to know beyond anything else that I gave it my all and that we would always be a family, no matter what. I wanted them to feel safe, secure, and loved, even when their world was crumbling down around them.
Managing my energy during that process was paramount and has reaped countless benefits for our family as we move into unfamiliar territory, navigating this new life.
The other thing is, my daughters are 9 and 11 and they are energetic powerhouses! They never stop and I don’t want them too! They are my most important teachers and I thank them every day for picking me to be their momma. In order for me to “keep up”, I have to be able to open up, be present and listen. It’s a challenge, this parenting thing. There’s a lot happening in their little minds and hearts and if I’m all over the board, I can’t possibly be present for them!
I’ve found it helpful to be honest and tell them, “Mommy is full up right now. I need to take a time out before I listen to anymore.” And they have permission to say, “Mom, you realize you aren’t paying attention to me right now and I can feel that.” Wow right?
We all give each other space to breathe when we make mistakes and compassion to try again. We take “chill” time to refuel so we can come back and be present. It’s important that they see me doing my best, saying how I feel, and balancing everything in our busy lives so they learn how to do it themselves.
JE: We covered the deeper stuff first and I know Asana, physical yoga practice, is just the tip of the yoga iceberg but I always want to know from great teachers, what is your favorite pose and why?
DD: Haha! That’s funny. I love so many poses Jamie. Because I express myself through movement, it’s hard to pinpoint just one. But if I have to, I would have to say Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana). It just exudes connection to earth, strength in the center, and openness in the heart. It does it all!
Truth be told though, I love to flow with my breath, more than anything. Just like, get on my mat, put on some rockin’ music and move to the rhythm….really getting lost in it all. There’s nothing like it… well maybe…. But this will do for now!
To sign up for the workshops with Dana, visit our e-store! Sign Up for Workshops Here!