Dear YogaDownload friends:
Thank you for choosing to practice with me on YogaDownload. It is inspiring to share my creativity with you all. Recently one yoga teacher sent me a private message to ask me something about shoulder alignment as I was teaching chaturanga in my Strengthen, Protect and Heal video. We had a great conversation which turned into a video exchange and then a brief phone chat. I was honored that she felt comfortable enough with me to reach out personally!
Everything I share with you on YogaDownload is the work that I do myself and what I teach my students. Your input is what keeps me growing and evolving into better ways of practice and teaching. I welcome you to try out my videos and also to reach out if there is anything you do not understand. We are all in this together as we continue to search for words and ideas that make our time on the mat more productive and beneficial.
1. What teachers have impacted you the most?
My first major asana teacher, who I met in 1992, was Manouso Manos. From him, I was able to experience the traditional Iyengar method which instilled respect and reverence for the practice. I had come from a dance background, so to me, yoga was about learning poses, very similar to dance shapes. I was in my late twenties, and for this young flexible dancer, Manouso’s teaching was a shocking wake up call. I now look back and see that as a time in my life where I was looking for perfection and here was a teacher who seemed to be very demanding and perfectionistic. Not so much about self-love, I wasn’t ready for that lesson yet.
My next major teacher was John Friend, who I met in 1993. He brought lightness, playfulness and self-care to the serious business of this alignment-based yoga and his teaching was instrumental in helping me see my own self-worth. I was raised Catholic and at that time was in a typical parent/child marriage (I was the child). During the time I studied with John, I stepped into my own power and made the painful and courageous leap of leaving that 18 year marriage, breaking up my intact family when our two children were in high school.
Eventually I outgrew that teacher-student relationship with John and moved on, soon after Anusara fell apart in 2012. These days I have many teachers in many subjects: asana, meditation, philosophy, and LIFE. I will always be grateful for those first teachers because they were both demanding and encouraging. I tend to be more accessible and motherly with my students. Creating and sustaining friendships and community is number one on my list. I am re-married and my husband is also a yoga teacher and executive leadership coach. Together we are very blessed with a large world-wide group of students who return year after year because they enjoy the teaching, and they also enjoy being with each other.
2. How do you bring yoga in your day to day life?
I bring yoga into my life whenever I am fully present and tuned in to what is happening in the moment. When life is wonderful, this is so easy. When life becomes difficult, I too can become difficult and cause suffering for myself and anyone around me. When I am aware of the big picture and of what I am thinking, saying or doing, I am more skillful. Even though I have been practicing yoga for over thirty years, my mind and body are still very much human. My desire is to bring my yogic skills of curiosity through observation into my daily life and practice with everyone with whom I interact. The work on the mat is easy by comparison, but it is truly the training for living skillfully with whatever is happening in THIS moment.
Enjoy Desiree's expert Strengthen, Protect, & Heal series below and many more of her top-rated classes here.