Getting closer to Samahita’s teachers – Daniel Stringer
Samahita has been fortunate over these 20 years to have some very dedicated students who became instructors who developed as teachers. The time, sincerity, dedication, integrity, willingness to explore and work on understanding the human condition, gain expertise in how the body works, devote time to the breath, and tend the various strands of mental life bring one over years to a teacher’s level.
So I thought I’d pose some more intimate questions to these wonderful people so we can all get to know them better. Though you may have “met” them on camera during our covid closure, dedicated as ever, here they are saying a little more. In this week’s letter we take a focus on Daniel.
Q. What are some of the most important things in life to you on a daily basis?
A. It will come as no surprise that my family come first, especially my young son. Family life can be difficult but is a life-long work in progress and ultimately encourages selfless action. On the other hand I value my personal time for yoga, time to reflect and creative activities. I started life as an artist and this is how I discovered my inner self.
Q. What makes you continue to do yoga practice?
A. After practicing for many years a natural momentum builds up and this continues without even thinking about it. However it’s not always beneficial to simply practice out of habit. There are obviously the physical health benefits that continue to show, and to be felt, on a daily basis. Then, more specifically, is the shift in state of mind / attitude that ensues after a good practice. I always feel that everything will work out well in life. This positive mindset and inspiration keeps me going. There is also the unpleasant physical feeling if I miss practice that acts as a kind of reminder to do it. I sometimes wonder how people manage without it. Yoga is the ultimate therapy for life.
Q. And what made you start to practice in those early days?
A. Initially it was curiosity as I was already living an active lifestyle and searching for ways to be healthy and happy. Once I’d started there was no going back.
Q. Is there a particular element of yoga practice that you value more than others?
A. I value all elements of yoga practice but there are times when I feel one particular practice is more helpful depending on my physical or psychological condition. Overall each element enhances the other whether body, breath or mind orientated practice and the reality is you can not simply have one element without the others.
Q. What inspires you to teach yoga to others?
A. I love to see other people appreciate and benefit from practicing yoga at any level. This motivates me to keep teaching – if they enjoy it or recognize their potential then I’m encouraged to keep going. My own ability to connect with people has improved as a result of teaching yoga. I also love how we share energy in a class – if you put effort in something will come back. On another level teaching is itself a practice that requires attention, refinement and study. This improves ones own understanding of the value and purpose of yoga.
Q. Tell us, in your view, what’s important when considering what yoga is all about?
A. Historically yoga has a specific purpose and outcome but on a personal level we may experience it differently. I believe yoga allows us to truly understand, and deeply feel, our connection to everything else. This puts our own unique life into perspective.
Q. Is there an experience that really moved you, touched your heart in life?
A. I am always touched when someone helps me without expecting anything in return. This has happened at pivotal moments in my life. Selfless action is always deeply moving and inspires us to act in kind.
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