You & Your Mala: Danielle
How did you choose your mala? Were you drawn to a particular gemstone or was there a certain intention you were looking to bring into your life?
I was drawn to the patience mala for two reasons, one, the meaning, and two, the color of the gemstones. I have recently found myself in a place where everything is moving really fast, all of the time. When things start to slow down I notice myself anxious and uncertain of how to settle down. If things are moving super fast I often feel like they aren’t moving at all. Patience is a practice for me. A practice of acceptance, of trust and of deep connection to myself, others and the universe. It is a skill I am learning, and is exactly as the description of this mala states what I “am constantly re-learning.” This mala is the perfect reminder for me to slow down, to root down, tune in, feel, breathe, connect, accept and most of all to love. With Howlite, this mala allows me to embrace self love, and to challenge and overcome the self critic that tells me I need to be doing something and going somewhere fast in order to feel like I am enough. I am also in love with ALL things white. Plus, it goes with everything!
What lead you to start your yoga and meditation practice?
I started practicing yoga and meditating when I wanted to deepen my connection to myself. I was a dance major and found myself being so critical of myself that it diminished my passion. I felt like I could never be good enough and my body image was at an all time low. I had the opportunity to take yoga as a course in college and found myself so excited each day I knew I had to go to yoga. I loved the way I got to move and breathe, without judgment, without needing to move “perfectly” and without having to stare at my body in a mirror and make sure I was doing everything “right” or “better” than the girl next to me. I got to just move and for the first time it was to move for only me. Movement is so much apart of me and yoga reignited my passion in a whole new way. All of it was so new to me, breathing exercises, meditating, chakras, energy. I loved it ALL. I wanted to learn more, I wanted to be apart of this beautiful culture, I wanted to be the culture. I took my practice to the next level once I started practicing at a studio which eventually led to me becoming an instructor.
What are some of the benefits you have received from your practice?
Yoga and meditation gives me space to be myself. To embrace and connect to all aspects of me and all there is. I love the way no matter how many times I practice it is always a new and exciting experience. I learn something about myself, the way I move and the way I feel. I get to see where I am each day on a deeper level. I also get to challenge myself physically and mentally which is so invigorating for me. I love setting goals on my mat and in my practice and watch myself move through the ups and downs of achieving them. It is humbling and it is fulfilling. I get to feel, express and I get to dance. The beauty of it all is that my practice is not just on my mat. I live it and breathe it through every moment of my life. It allows me to be so in tune and aware of myself and who I am with myself and with the world.
What is your favorite way to take a moment for yourself each day?
My boyfriend is an amazing designer and woodworker and has built me an alter for me to meditate. On the alter, I have a statue of Ganesha, shells, stones and candles that fill my heart when I sit in front of it. These are all such meaningful reminders of the places I’ve been and the things I’ve experienced. I enjoy sitting in front of my alter and using my malas to practice a mantra meditation.
What is your current favorite yoga pose - why?
Handstand! I love being upside down. It may be due to the fact that I used to be petrified of it and now with freedom to play without hesitation or resistance, I have so much fun. I love challenging my balance and there is something so peaceful about letting yourself trust having the whole weight of your world in your hands. It allows me to let go and to be completely focused and balanced. I enjoy throwing a handstand into as many transitions as possible just to see if I can.
Dani's free spirited and creative nature are combined with a fiery passion for growth. Her classes come straight from the heart and invite you to be fearless and fluid. She challenges herself to practice yoga both on and off the mat. Her personal mantra is "Be Here Now" which she seeks to live by daily. Dani is not only active on her mat but in her community as well. She is committed to transforming the world to realize it's greatness through yoga and self empowerment. Dani leads classes, workshops and events through out the country and hosts retreats abroad.
Dani will be leading an earth day yoga event entitled “Revive our Home” The event will take place at the Cylburn Arboretum, which is a Baltimore city park with a garden and arboretum. Profits will go towards donating a tree to the park and is meant to celebrate, reconnect and reignite our commitment to honoring the place we call home. The night will include, an educational discussion with speakers from Johns Hopkins University, a grounding flow taught by Dani with live music, and shopping to follow from eco conscious vendors from the Baltimore community.