HUMBERTO J. MENEGHIN
YV – Not long ago, in 2015/2016, you have returned to Mysore, India, to act again as Sharath Jois’ assistant in the Shala. How was that experiencing this time? So, this means Mysore has become your second home?
DANY – I was in Mysore in December / 2015 and January / 2016 for the fourth time and I signed up to be Sharath’s assistant again. For sure this time I was more easy because I already knew how was the scheme of assistance and how Sharath likes to work. Connection with him was bigger; I also felt that he had more trust and confidence in my teaching and driving adjustments. For me it is always a wonderful experience to be at his side adjusting students from around the world, each one within their difficulties with different bodies, minds and cultures, but sharing the same energy in the Shala. It's beautiful to see! For sure, Mysore became my second home.
YV – In Mysore, you still had a chance to see Amma. Many people that get a hug from this Guru, feel very good, lightweight, in another energy level. How was your meeting with Amma?
DANY – Amma has an Ashram in Mysore and she is usually there in February. On my first trip to Mysore I had the privilege to see her and receive her hug. Her energy and presence is very strong. The hug was very fast, I can’t say that I felt something, but that moment was very special. After hugging foreigners we were asked to stand on the stage beside her and it was very rewarding.
YV – Discipline, dedication and persistence are required for those who want to engage in achieving a goal and even a dream. Do you think if someone starts practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga regularly, he or she can become more determined to make his or her goals a reality? Why so many entrepreneurs, successful people, CEOs, and even those who works in the financial market on Wall Street, without mention some celebrities, love to practice Ashtanga? It is the secret of success?
DANY – How Sharath Jois says, to practice Ashtanga, we need 3 D letters: discipline, determination and devotion. Practice is the mirror of life. If you are determined in your sadhana (spiritual discipline), surely will take this attitude to their daily life. I heard from a teacher and found it very interesting that the ásanas of Ashtanga are part of the practice of Tapas, which is the third of Nyamas (internal observances). Through breathing and ásanas we activate the inner fire, the flame that ignites and pushes us to go beyond and find our goals.
YV – More than a year you opened your Shala, in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro. Considering a numerous workshops that you do in Brazil and even abroad, how do you deal with the administration of your school and the practices offered there? Does it still apply not practice during New and Full Moons? Or a lot of people don’t follow it and let’s go practice, because it is what matters?
DANY – I opened my Shala exactly 1 year ago and I am very happy to do my work in Rio de Janeiro as an authorized teacher in the method. The routine is quiet and easy and I can well manage classes during the week and weekend workshops. Of course when I have a workshop I link one week to another, non stop! Ufa! But it's very good, I have nothing to complain about. Shala follows the tradition of the method as taught in Mysore and therefore has no classes in the days of full moon and new moon. I try to pass the same tradition for my students because I think is very important to follow the lineage and the teachings of the masters.
YV – Aerial Yoga, AcroYoga are some of variations that have appeared lately concerning how to perform ásanas. Are These styles also accessible to people who practices Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga or for those who practices Ashtanga they should not practice anything that is not in the series and even a less dynamic practice? On the opposite, there are so many who are faithful of Traditional Hatha Yoga and do not identify with AVY; however, some people make some unconstructive critics to Ashtanga. How Ashtangis should handle with these inopportune comments? Ignore and continue on the path of practice is the best solution?
DANY – I don’t have anything to talk about the new Yoga styles, because I never practiced, but I think everyone has a free will to seek your way. I think it’s important to follow a school and a teacher that has the foundation in its tradition, the "parampara" which is the ultimate teaching from master to disciple, the pure teaching; the source. Today we have more options and modes, but the ideal would be to choose a path and believe in it. Our minds already have so many distractions ... and there is Yoga to stabilize it and not to leave it with more confusion. As Sharath told in a conference: When you are sick, seek just one doctor and believe in him, if you seek three doctors, each one will say something and you'll go crazy ... kkkk
Fortunately, I am very well settled with my life and my practice of Ashtanga that goes far beyond doing ásanas, because this is only a part. Ashtanga practice means practicing the eight limbs and the first and second limbs tells of ethics and behavior of a Yogi. So, it's not ethical to talk bad and criticize without knowing the real method ... so I don’t care about what others say.
YV – Many practitioners come only to discover Yoga after fifty years of age. Soon they fall in love and go on to become very committed to the practice and teachings. Okay, start practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga at age of fifty or this practice is no longer accessible to these people because their body has no longer be the same as a practitioner who has twenty-five?
DANY – The practice of Ashtanga is for all kinds of people of different ages, and then a person over 50 years will be very welcome! Surely, this person will no longer have a body of 25 years, but have a lot of maturity to understand that practice goes far beyond than doing ásanas. If one can breathe, one can practice! The series will be taught gradually according to the possibilities of student and adapt where necessary. If a student can’t jump, so can walk, if one can’t make the lotus posture, one can cross your legs in sukhasana (easy posture) and everything is fine! In my experience as a teacher, I have seen older students with a lot of energy and they progress quickly.
YV – This year, 2016 we go to have the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; In India they already consider Yoga as a sport and there are still ásanas championships, there and in other countries. Do you think the trend is inserting Yoga, better saying ásanas, in the Olympic Games and make it officially as a sport? Or is this not cobine even a bit of what the practice brings to us?
DANY – I can’t see yoga as a sport ... For me it is a philosophy of life. Even related to the ásanas. Ásanas are not made for competition, are made to an internal search and each one has its history in this way.
YV – A teacher that is trained in conducting AVY practices apply adjustments while students are performing postures. Adjustments are really needed or we can put it aside? And what to do when a student tells clearly that don’t want to be touched, adjusted during a practice?
DANY – Adjustments are very important in the practice of Ashtanga. Adjustment can be done in several ways: it can be touched or spoken too, may be stronger or more subtle. The goal of the adjustment is to guide the student, but it need not be done all the time. If a student doesn’t want to be touched, I think is important to respect, but usually it ends up changing with time because the student will trust and believing in his teacher. When there is this exchange, the adjustment becomes a blessing.
YV – Even if a Yoga teacher has practiced AVY a lot for years and has not gone many times to Mysore to get a certification, but teaches good lessons, do you think it is worthy? Or, this teacher actually needs to go straight to the source to really become empowered?
DANY – Every teacher needs a teacher. I myself already taught before going to Mysore and be allowed, but I had my teacher in Brazil, Matthew, who followed the traditions of the method. The most important thing to teach is, first of all, have a commitment to your practice and with the teachings received direct from the source.
YV – Zico is your pet, a smart dog who often is on your side in your home when you are practicing. Reveal to us: Zico behaves well when he is close to you or he does not stop and sometimes you have to ask him to be quiet? Seeing you practice, what do you think Zico would say, if he could talk?
DANY – Ah Zico! Very reluctant to have a pet, but I ended up falling in love ... When Zico was a puppy, he messed my practice, but today he already understands and respects. Usually he sleeps, because my practice too long, but when he wakes up, he is on the tip of the mat watching me ... I guess he might be concerned and find me a little crazy sometimes ... kkkk
YV – Being a committed practitioner and also a teacher, trustful and successful, of course you have many followers on social networks. So we can say that Dany Sá is a very approachable person and that no one should fear her because she does some postures that are intensive? And what are the highlights of your agenda for this year 2016?
DANY – Being on social networks helps a lot to spread my work, but everything I post is part of my reality. The number of followers happens for just a result, that's all! I am a committed Ashtanga practitioner, yes, but like all and I'm in this way learning and sharing experiences. The more advanced ásanas are part of my personal process, so you have nothing to fear! This year 2016, I will be for the first time teaching in China and it will be a new professional challenge.
Photos: Dany’s personal archives
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