As the director of the Pranashama Yoga Institute, Dashama has been offering her students more then just a teacher training. She also offers them a way to learn more about themselves, true health and well-being, and how to cleanse their bodies. She has authored the book and DVD “Journey To Joyful” which offers solutions to those truly interested in achieving optimal health.
What is yoga to you?
For me, yoga is a way of being and a lifestyle. Yoga is also a culture of people who are committed to being conscious in our actions, thoughts and living from our hearts. Yoga is to choose love and compassion in times of conflict. Yoga is a form of physical healing exercises as well, that can strengthen, heal and balance the body, mind and emotions. We can use specific yogic practices to target issues in our lives that need balancing. And yoga is the Oneness, to recognize that we are all mirror reflections of each other in various ways and at the same time, we are conscious choice makers, so we decide which mirrors to keep looking at and which to let go of. We are the co-creators of our reality and the co-designers of our destiny. When we surrender to the master plan, however, we can allow the miracle of our life purpose to unfold in the most magical way.
What inspired you to become a yoga teacher and with whom have you done your trainings?
My first yoga teacher was my mother. Despite her substance abuse issues and schizoprenic mental imbalances, she was a loving, holistic healer with a great deal of pain in her heart. I learned compassion, faith and to become fearless from her. I also transcended any fears of death and learned what path not to take from her example. After that, I have had many teachers. My first yoga teacher training certification course was with the Sivananda school. I learned structure and discipline from them, compassion and ahimsa, non violence. I did my advanced studies with Shiva Rea and a few other master teachers globally. I studied in India as well, and came to the realization that the guru is within.
I became a yoga teacher by following divine synchronicity. I had been very depressed and felt life was pointless, was lost in my self and at the end of a long term relationship that I thought would last forever. Broken hearted and depressed, I searched for peace online and found a yoga teacher training. I stumbled into there not knowing what I would feel about it, and at the end of 10 weeks, I felt certain that I had found my life purpose as a yoga teacher. This was obvious because it was bringing me so much joy and happiness to teach yoga, and my friends and clients were begging me to teach them. And most importantly, I felt that I would do it for free and still feel fulfilled. I had worked in an office, which I hated. I was a certified personal trainer at the time and had been looking for a way to incorporate more spirituality into my training. Teaching Yoga was the perfect solution for me.
What have been some of the biggest challenges in developing your teaching career and how did you overcome them?
I had a great deal of challenges in the beginning, because I had been in a car accident several years earlier, and had a cervical spinal injury that resulted in the loss of the curve of my neck. I loved to practice shoulder stand, since it releaved a lot of the pressure, but after about a year, I noticed it was making it worse, since my neck curve was going forward and that wasn’t helping. In the beginning, I got a lot of clients and students who wanted me to train them, so that wasn’t an issue. I had just quite my corporate office job, so I went from making a salary and having medical benefits, to nothing and full on owning my own business. It was hard at first to pay the bills, so I had to move into my sister’s apartment and live with my dad, who I didn’t get along with at all. I had a lot of anger toward him for being a deadbeat dad, and our 18 months living together during this adult period of my life was very challenging. I did work out almost all of my anger issues with him and ended up healing my relationship with him and also my anger toward men issues, I hadn’t even noticed I had within myself, until I was placed in this situation and forced to grow emotionally. Other challenges were my poverty consciousness. I was raised with very little as a child. We were welfare recipients and barely had enough money for food and shelter sometimes. I learned early that true wealth was love and not money. That being said, I didn’t feel comfortable at first charging high prices for my services. It took me years to raise my rates to what others in my city were charging. I had to over come a lot of poverty consciousness and regain self worth on a very deep level. That make a huge difference in my success as a yoga teacher, business owner and health professional.
As the director of your schools teacher training programs, what is your overall goal and objective?
I create an environment for my trainees where they can grow in all the ways they desire to grow. Whether it is physically to have breakthroughs in their personal asana practice and health, emotionally to let go of the story and old baggage, mentally to become stronger and more resilient or spiritually to feel more connected to the Oneness, I hold the space and create the environment for all of this to occur. I teach the self is the guru and we are just facilitating and holding space for your hidden potential to reveal itself, your innate brilliance to emerge. Pranashama yoga is a system that can heal, balance and strengthen every aspect of one’s body, mind and soul. I am grateful for the practice just as I am grateful to be able to share it with others around the world.
What do you feel is unique about your yoga teacher training programs versus other schools?
Pranashama yoga offers a unique system of 10 yoga classes – 7 of them targeting each major energy center (chakras) as well as 3 specialty workshop style classes (Thai Yoga Massage, Partner Yoga Team Building, & Detox Yoga) to enhance the practice and invoke the joy and playfulness, healing and love into one’s lifestyle. We also focus on healthy longevity practices such as green smoothie cleansing and creating a healthy green living environment to sustain a satvic lifestyle and peace, joy and happiness at home and wherever you are.
We also incorporate the medical perspective, bringing on board Dr. Ninu Quirk MD, our holistic medical doctor, who specializes in getting people off medications, creating health through lifestyle changes and her philosophies are perfectly in alignment with Pranashama yoga. She teaches the Anatomy & Physiology, Nutrition and some of the other more science/medical based modules of the teacher training requirements by Yoga Alliance. This is great especially for those who attend our programs that are more right brained and need that medical proof that the science and methodology of yoga works and the incredible power it has to transform lives.
In addition to the workshops, medical seminars and great food at our trainings, we are uniquely based in exotic locations around the world to offer a world class retreat setting to further enhance the students’ experience. Based in Bali, Isle of Man, UK, Croatia and Miami Beach, Florida, we are positioned in some of the most gorgeous locations on earth. This allows our trainees to travel to places they would dream of visiting and live there for anywhere from 1 week to a month and immerse themselves in the culture of the destination. This further enhances the experience, especially when we go out and explore on excursion days. In Bali, for instance, we really get a chance to explore the local culture by attending their Balinese dances, temples, restraunts as well as shopping, water falls, snorkeling and we all love the time at the orphanage as well. Each location is uniquely amazing and has something special to offer the trainees.
What type of students would best fit your programs?
We attract a wide variety of students to the Pranashama yoga teacher training retreat programs. Yoga, health and fitness lovers of all sorts, dancers, martial arts masters and students, college students, spiritual seekers, single people, married people, parents, couples, adventure lovers, spiritual athletes, models, musicians, world travelers, people who have never left their country before, holistic healers, personal fitness trainers, entrepreneurs, people who believe in love, magic, happiness, immortality and who are interested in having great health. People seeking a new career that is fulfilling and in demand.
What qualities do you feel make a good yoga teacher?
A good yoga teacher has compassion and teaches from their heart. They teach from experience. They understand that everyone is where they are and they teach to where people are coming from, without ego, they meet people eye to eye and allow the student’s to discover their potential by gently nudging them toward their edge. Also, a great teacher knows when to speak and when to offer silence. They are enhance the class experience with a musical selection that moves the energy of the group and inspires their souls at the same time. Pranashama moves through vinaysa with an arc/ wave and ends in a guided relaxation with intention and bliss. To teach yoga is an artform and science at the same time.
Is there any advice you would offer to aspiring yoga teachers?
Aspiring yoga teachers should cultivate a home practice for themselves and explore their own body and inner self as much as possible. Discovering oneself is the best thing you can do to help others discover themselves. Heal yourself and you can heal others better. Get stronger so you can be a great leader. Being a yoga teacher you wear many hats, as a friend, teacher, mentor, business person, leader, lover, poet, choreographer, artist, and much more. Discover your strengths and teach from that place within you that is empowered and free. It will come across to the students and they will have an amazing experience every time as a result of this. It’s a beautiful gift to give others. It’s a very worthy life purpose to cultivate.
To learn more about her trainings please visit Pranashama Yoga Institute