This week’s teacher is the bold and innovative Dana Trixie Flynn, who has been teaching for 25 years.
Dana Flynn is celebrated for her raw and generous spirit and her uplifting, innovative and soulful style of yoga. An internationally celebrated yoga figure, social activist and creator of Lotus Flow, which she describes as “the soul-powered yogic movement system that frees you to move like YOU,” she is the Founder of Laughing Lotus Yoga Centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and San Fransisco, with plans for more studios in New Orleans and Los Angeles.
Teaching Lotus Flow around the world, Dana has cultivated a special place in her heart for the ‘uncelebrated community’ - those challenged by physical suffering and socio-economic barriers. Her devotion to activism and creating change has led her to partner with organizations like Africa Yoga Project, Off the Mat and the Lineage Project.
Senior student and Perth-based teacher Lara Dwyer said, “What Dana brings so authentically to yoga is her loving and vibrant self. Her creation of Lotus Flow celebrates her inspiration and love for yoga, music and life, and she is devoted to sharing the beauty of this practice. Her focus on building community is not limited to her studios; it’s worldwide. I was recently with her on the street in St Kilda, Victoria Australia when a student from Kenya she taught for the Africa Yoga Project excitedly approached her and said “Dana, remember me? You taught us OMG (a Lotus Flow signature pose)!” To be around Dana and share in her joy and enthusiasm for life and yoga, you can’t help but feel lit up inside and inspired to practice and carry on her mantra of love and service. “
Kathleen Kraft: What does your yoga practice look like every day?
Dana Flynn: What a great and beautiful privilege it is to have a daily spiritual practice or sadhana. I delight in chanting the holy name, praying, expressing gratitude and practice living every day as the holiest day of my life. My daily spiritual practice is to feel God’s presence working in my life. I pray and ask God to guide my thinking, hold my hand most days and help me stay in my heart.
I chant the holy names of God or mantras… Chanting for me reveals a more personal or intimate relationship with God or the God of your understanding, higher power or mystical energy of the universe. I love the sound of God and having Krishna on my lips. This sweetness vibrates into my heart, steadies my mind and reminds me to ask each day, how can I be of service, how can I give back.
The movement, breathing, asana, mudras and sacred music are my daily medicine and connect me with the joy of creativity, self discovery and help me to live with more understanding. I teach from my daily practice. Bhakti yoga or devotional service is the ultimate for stimulating my devotion… Yoga is a spiritual program of action and I need this daily dose or I will forget my true sweet loving self. It's when I think I am in charge that I get in my way of this grace...the listening surrender and gratitude go out the window and I suffer.
The other way I connect with GOD ( Group of Devotees ) is through satsang. It’s how I feel a part of something greater. The community is my GOD—I meet me through all of you—these mirrors and relationships bring out our/my true potential and highest Self.
Finally, I am aware of my own suffering and others and celebrate the freedom and happiness of ALL life by being vegetarian.
KK: What are the most important qualities of the student/teacher relationship?
DF: To be sincere, honest, loving and serious about serving the soul that takes a step toward you… You have to give it away to keep it.
KK: Is there a sutra that guides you?
DF: Yogas chitta vritta nirodhah: yoga is the removal of the fluctuations of the mind. And the expression: Be the witness not the judge.