Most of us share a level of frustration related to the COVID lockdown and from stressors that have nothing to do with physical illness. Some people choose to self-medicate, often with harmful substances. Others turn to spiritual and/or physical activities. Danni Thompson, an investment advisor living in North Florida, has like many of us seen her share of stress. Instead of yielding to misery, Danni chose what poets might call a path of light, and she now wears another title in addition to wife, mom, and career woman. She is ‘The Yogi doc’ who founded her Divine Yoga.
Danni experienced what many of us who have careers and family experienced. Some days the stress just gets so crazy you may stand there in complete bewilderment and even anger. A doctor actually suggested yoga to Danni, and she followed that advice. “Motherhood, career, building a family,” she said, “and there was just never any time for me.” She began a yoga class where she said she learned to “turn inward and to get quiet.” She said, “You hear what is being revealed to you instead of telling the universe what you want.”
As she delved deeper into the practice of yoga, Danni became so serious about studying it she ultimately became “Danni, the Yogi doc” and she founded her own studio. Anyone can visit her website her Divine Yoga to learn more about her story and to explore options that might just help a person deal with life’s unexpected turns.
Danni’s her Divine Yoga approach can pretty much accommodate any setup—Zoom sessions, in person sessions, phone sessions. Folks of a certain age, like me, might be interested in beginning with an Easy Yoga Flow class. I thought about this recently while I waited for a doctor’s appointment. I realized the limitations many people experience as they age. Even picking up something dropped on the floor can be hard for some. Personally, I think yoga postures could help many older people who experience declining mobility.
Danni’s instruction doesn’t just focus on the physical postures, however. There’s an equal component of spirituality, of connecting the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of your being.
In today’s healthcare arena, much emphasis is placed on physical science—lab results, imaging, diagnosis by algorithm. What’s often missing is the spiritual aspect of wellness or illness. Danni explains this at her website:
“She firmly believes that movement, meditation, and creation of that which sets your heart on fire, is a recipe for self-realization — the fabric of universal compassion.”
While physical postures are important in their own right, the physical aspect cannot be separated from the spiritual. Danni aims for what she calls a “mindful, quiet space—the spiritual side of you.”
Different options to suit a variety of lifestyles and budgets are described on Danni’s her Divine Yoga website.
Long ago as I began to take writing poetry seriously, I came to believe the most amazing poets were those who had the ability to empathize—to, in a sense, walk in the shoes of another. The imagination set free permits this and can often lead to transformation. For instance in my young adult years, my relationship with my mother was at times very difficult. My mother had experienced hardships many of us cannot imagine. I knew that but still, she frustrated me.
Then I became a mother. With the birth of my first child, an experience I viewed as holy, I came to realize the depth of the loss my mother suffered when my younger brother died. That realization led me to write a poem that touched the hearts of many.
I think yoga, if done right, works that way. Suffering isn’t an end unto itself—it’s the beginning of a life path. Practicing yoga meditation and postures can lead a person to a different level of not only empathy but awareness of self and the universe. William Faulkner approximates this in his 1949 speech when he accepted the Nobel Prize in Literature:
“[T]he young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.”
Danni maintains a Facebook page for her Divine Yoga, and one thing that jumped out at me was the option for a yoga party—a private session for a small group celebrating a special occasion. Social distancing and such can be accommodated in such a setting.
In first world countries like ours, success can be sweet, but it can also be stressful. One goal most of us seek is happiness, and Danni sums that up perfectly at her Facebook page:
“Happiness can be defined as a kind of resourcefulness. It’s a sense of resiliency and the ability to meet things without being defined by them. It’s a source of profound strength inside ourselves which we don’t always realize we have. Also happiness is our connection to one another so we don’t feel so cut off and alone.”
As our communities deal with the ongoing COVID impact, options like yoga may be one tactic for smoothing the edges of all that stress both physical and mental. Check out Danni’s her Divine Yoga website and Facebook page to learn more about positive ways to deal with challenges we all face at one time or another. Something as simple as learning to breathe rhythmically and properly can be transformative in a positive way—that’s something we might all benefit from.
(Filed by Kay B. Day/Sept. 8, 2020)