Dana Marin: “Yoga has taught me to listen to myself, to see myself, to practice honesty with myself.”
Author: Bianca Poptean
Dana Marin left behind a career in a multinational company to discover yoga. Af-ter 7 years of exploring the world as a trainee and teacher, in which she discov-ered herself and (re)discovered the world from another perspective, Dana (ur-ban-yoga.ro) has created a relaxation and mindfulness program for her former colleagues and business leaders.
Discover a sensitive person who has discovered unsuspected depths through yoga both within her own being, as well as in the world. A world that she has traveled in order to find herself. An interview with a person who lives in the here and now without regret, simply different.
C.S.Î.D.: When did you discover your calling for yoga?
Dana Marin: I think it was more than seven years ago… This is the fourth year since I have created Urban Yoga and I hold classes, and I think it was three or four years before that. But I didn’t feel at the beginning that it was a calling. I think it would be a bit much to say that. I think it was more of a seduction. This is what I like about yoga. It seduces you. It “tempts” you with simple things: flexibility, a state of wellbeing… And slowly, step by step, it takes over and it starts to reveal itself. It always does so at the right time, when you are ready for more depth. And if you’re not ready, it’s ok. You can do yoga for years just to become more flexible and to get other physical benefits. Yoga is a process.
C.S.Î.D.: What did you leave behind to dedicate yourself to it?
D.M.: Illusions. Nothing of real importance.
C.S.Î.D.: Did you have mentors?
D.M.: Yes, and I am the type that will always have mentors. I think it is good to have someone to keep us grounded regarding our place in the Universe but, at the same time, to give us courage to explore the extraordinary potential each and every one of us possesses. Otherwise, we may start to think that just by intending to do so, we can make the sun rise whenever we want to.
My first mentor was Osho. This is where my first journey to India started from. Then Buddha, that guided me towards the Vipassana meditation, a technique that brought him to illumination. After that, Eckhart Tolle was a perfect fit in my life in order to un-derstand the power of the present and to put it into practice in my everyday life. Next, it was Krishnamacharya that had a great influence over the way I approach and un-derstand yoga. Then there’s Ken Wilber with the theory he created in order to give some structure to life’s complexity. Stephen Covey, who was the first to give me hope that one can live a spiritual life that is applied and well anchored in our present. Ramana Maharshi from whom I took over the practice of introspection, of directing attention towards the inside.
And in the last two years, I have been exploring Caroline Myss’ contribution in the field of understanding the subconscious through archetypes and intuitive medicine. It sounds academic but, in fact, it is a technique familiar to every one of us. You know those moments when we call someone a “princess”, and by calling him/her that, we know that the other person has exactly understood what we meant? This is what I mean through archetypes: characters that speak about some aspects of ourselves through the role they play.
At present time, I’m taking my exams in order to finish this course – Sacred Con-tracts – which is based on identifying the archetypes that define us from the day we are born, but not only. I am very thrilled about this field because it’s very profound, even though it’s also fun and easy to access. It’s a fascinating instrument that allows one to know him or herself.
Through Myss I have also discovered Teresa of Avila, who has written about the steps to spiritual evolution in her book “The Interior Castle”. I cherish the support and explanation Myss offers to her readers in her adaptation, because I have discovered them when I needed them the most. Before her, I never thought I would resonate with a saint. But Teresa of Avila is a rebel saint. And this is how I ended up liking saints.
C.S.Î.D.: Do you have a guru? What can you tell me about the people that have inspired you?
D.M.: I am my own guru. And I think this is natural. We have the duty of knowing ourselves and of taking responsibility for who we are. This is something we cannot externalize. You cannot give authority over your life to someone else.
When we talk about inspiring people… ah, there are so many, and so different inspi-rations. The other day, I went shopping in a supermarket on Magheru street, and I met a cashier there that blew my mind. And I have met so many people! She is a clear example of a mindful leader. She doesn’t say hello like a machine, she looks you in the eyes when she does. And she does it friendly and naturally, not because she has to be polite. And if you want a bag, she arranges the goods you have just bought carefully, as if they were her own. Not arbitrarily or recklessly, with deep con-sideration. For me, she is what Eckhart Tolle calls a conscious presence. Such an attitude determines you to be the nothing less than what you can be the most. The first time I met her I was so surprised, that I even stayed a bit more after I finished buying everything I needed, because I wanted to observe the way she handled the other customers. I thought to myself that maybe she was just having a good day, but I have met her again and she always has the same attitude. I leave her smiling every time. I adore these moments when my eyes are open enough to… see. I think you can find inspiration everywhere. Not just in people, but also in flowers, cats, the wind, clouds, cars, buildings, anything. Always keep your eyes open.
C.S.Î.D.: What are the three most important quotes that you live your life by at the present?
D.M.: “Come what may; leave what needs to leave; I’m ready for what remains”
/ Ramana Maharshi, “What do you tell yourself which, deep down inside, you know is not true?” / Caroline Myss, “If you want to find meaning, look for it in the silence with-in you” / Ravi Shankar
C.S.Î.D.: How did yoga change you?
D.M.: Yoga has given me courage. It has taught me that I have the power to choose. The power to choose to do what my heart tells me, even when my mind gives me dif-ferent excuses against it.
C.S.Î.D.: What are your present priorities?
D.M.: First of all to listen to myself, to see myself, to read myself, to practice honesty with myself. That means to practice what I preach. And, at this moment, to finish the training for archetype coaching at the Caroline Myss Educational Institute USA and to develop Urban Yoga programs that fulfill the needs of present times. Not just pro-grams based on yoga as a practice for the body, but also on the other components yoga has – self-empowerment and personal leadership. I have a lot of ideas in this direction.
C.S.Î.D.: Did you go through a lot of difficult moments in your life? What moti-vated you to keep your smile and inner calm?
D.M.: Of course, we all go through difficult times, otherwise we wouldn’t be stimulat-ed to evolve. And we all have our inner drama queen that wants to come out in those moments. But it’s important not to identify ourselves with her and to not limit our-selves to being victims or martyrs, getting stuck in our own drama or letting it define us. Yoga is, in this instance, very important regarding the abilities it helps you culti-vate in time: detachment and acceptance of the reality and your own person during those moments. Always, when we are confronted with the chaos and the unknown of life, we are faced with our own fears, and it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed and vulnerable. However, not what is happening to us is important, but the way we choose to let the less pleasant life experiences transform us.
I am motivated by the fact that, deep down, I know that everything is a transformation process and nothing happens against our evolution, but quite on the contrary. It is said that in times of chaos, the gods are the closest to you and they watch over you carefully. They probably do it to make sure they haven’t crushed you completely with the drama they have just served you.
C.S.Î.D.: You have created a 21 Day Mindfulness Program. How would you de-scribe it?
D.M.: The Urban Yoga 21 Day Mindfulness Program has been conceived for busi-ness leaders and management teams from corporations. Its purpose is to reduce stress and improve concentration. It is based on becoming conscious of the relation-ship we have to ourselves and to the others. In yoga, these concepts are called yamas and nyamas.
When we are not conscious about our true power, we have the tendency of always putting ourselves in the same situations and we lose energy. It is common knowledge that yoga is a body-mind-soul system. These three entities represent our main power generators – and they all either produce or use up energy. The better we know how they work, the easier it is for us to extract more energy. The Urban Yoga classes, the personal leadership classes and the mindfulness techniques contained by this pro-gram are created so that the trainees can discover and control the way these genera-tors work.
The objective of the program is, that at the end of the 21 days, the trainee will know how to efficiently manage his/her own energy. That he/she will make conscious choices regarding the investment of energy. That he/she will master self-empowerment techniques and strategies to help him/her every day. In short, that the trainee will become his/her own guru – in the sense of what we talked about earlier.
C.S.Î.D.: Why 21 days?
D.M.: It is not easy to work with yourself. You can’t do it once a week or within a workshop twice a year – it’s not enough. To get to truly know yourself is a fulltime job and you must practice it all your life. But you need guidance, exercise and support in order to learn to go on this path. According to neuroscience, every new activity needs at least 21 days of practice in order for you to have the chance of starting a new hab-it. This is why I chose 21 days. Thus, one will not only discover and experiment with-in the program, but will also integrate mindfulness in their lifestyle.
C.S.Î.D.: What are the benefits of such a program?
D.M.: Modern science has already proven that the ancient yoga practices improve mental clarity, concentration and focus. More so, by exploring such a program, your self-consciousness gets better. This triggers a chain reaction in terms of benefits: stress levels decrease, as well as your emotional reactivity. These things impact personal relationships, which improve. By discovering new instruments that help you help yourself when you are in need, you become more confident in your own power and value. And by getting acquainted with new thinking models, you change some mental paradigms that limit yourself. In addition, you start connecting to your body and you apply new healthy habits.
C.S.Î.D.: Why do you think people need it?
D.M.: All Urban Yoga program are based on the fact that we live in times that pro-voke us to balance and help ourselves, even amidst the urban chaos. It is not neces-sary to leave the office or the city in order to connect to ourselves. If we can do this, it’s fantastic. But it’s not a pretext for postponing a healthy lifestyle. We have the power of choosing how we live our lives. No excuses. People need such programs so that they can learn how to help themselves.