Daniel Rama Yoga instructor
My name is Daniel Rama. For nearly 7-years I have been traveling the world to lead workshops, retreats and teacher trainings focusing on the fundamentals of yoga, movement and mindfulness. In addition to physical programs, I am also in the production and development stages of Becoming Balance Online; a digital resource soon to be available in the iOS App Store.
What is or what does Yoga means to you?
We have heard the classical definition before. Yoga means Union. Yoga is the process of beginning to see the world as it truly is and moving towards ones highest potential.
Could you tell us more about your beginnings in Yoga?
For me, yoga truly began with a need for injury rehabilitation. Before yoga, I was heavily involved with functional movement and powerlifting. However on one fateful day towards the end of 2012, I managed to drop a 150-lbs barbell on top of my left foot. The accident shattered most of the bones comprising my foot and ankle. The injuries were so sever that surgeons told me I would never be able to run again.
At that time, I was studying to become a personal training; and much of my life was formed around having the ability to demonstrate movement patterns to other people.
For a number of months, I wallowed in a state of depression and self-pity. Eventually however, I decided that I was done feeling sad, and made the decision to seek something more meaningful. Naturally, in walks the practice of yoga and meditation.
Within 12-months, I returned to pre-injury conditions and baffled doctors by restarting my functional movement career, learning backyard acrobatics and completing a 5-km run. After having experienced that healing power first-hand, I saw no other option other than dedicating my life to the wide-spreading of these ancient techniques.
Where have you studied and what kind of yoga do you practice?
Shortly after university, I packed up my few belonging and moved to a traditional hatha yoga ashram in the Bahamas. Originally, I intended to stay only for the completion of my first and only yoga teacher training. After that 28-day program however, I realized that my studies had only just begun.
During my stay at Sivananda, I began to transition away from my old identities and towards my newfound purpose.
Looking at my online content, many assume that my practice is a very physical one. In truth however, my personal practice is extremely gentle. At this stage, my main inclusions consist of primarily seated techniques designed to optimize the energetic condition of the subtle body. If one can develop the condition of the subtle body, the physical body will naturally fall into alignment.
Which countries have you had the opportunity to visit?
Throughout my career as an international instructor, I have made myself available in which ever countries request my presence. To be honest, I don’t care much about travel. Service is my one true joy; and at this point in my life, travel is a necessary commitment.
Could you please give us and mention some recommendations for the people who practices Yoga?
Present day, there is so much garbage available online. Instagram and social media have allowed us to connect and share information beyond the limits on physical proximity. This tremendous connectivity however, also allows us to share useless trash that causes nothing but confusion.
For anyone who is just starting their journey, all I can recommend are the qualities of critical thinking and complete curiosity. Regardless of what you want to learn, if you can stay completely curious about that process, naturally you will start to see clearly.
Unfortunately, it seems as if far too many are relying on second-hand sources for information and understanding. Experienced teachers are undeniably important; but in truth, the answers to all your questions are closer than your own nose.
Do you feel that you have already achieved your ultimate goal with Yoga or do you feel that you still need to learn or discover more?
What a hilarious question. No. I have not achieved anything. I am never truly satisfied with my work; and ultimately, it is that mindset that will drive me towards continued improvement. The moment that you think there is nothing left to learn, is the moment you die to your possibility.
What do you think is the secret of meditation? Could you give us some advice for this technique?
Many people seem to be confused about meditation. What is it? Where to start? How to practice properly? In truth, there are no secrets. Meditation is simply the result of following steps 1, 2 and 3. Even in traditional yogic literature, Samadhi is the last of Patanjali’s eight limbs of ashtanga yoga.
To say it another way, if you want flowers in your garden, you don’t need to think about blossoms. If you want flowers, you must focus on weeding, watering and cultivating the soil. Flowers are a consequence. Flowers are the result of following a specific process. Meditation is the exact same.
I would highly encourage you to remove this word from your mind. Forget about meditation. Focus instead on proper exercise, proper breathing, proper relaxation, proper diet and positive thinking. Meditation is a gift freely given to those who take time to master the basics!
What has been your greatest resistance to Yoga?
I wouldn’t call this a great resistance .. but my temperament is such, that I am completely at peace living somewhere in the mountains. I have always learned and improved most rapidly in an environment secluded from the rest of society. Living in isolation with Mother Nature would be wonderful; but at the same time, I believe that the purpose of this current life, is to serve. This is not MY life; but rather, it belongs to all those who may benefit from my work.
Likes and dislikes seldom enter the equation. For me, I simply look at what must be done, and move forward with a smile on my face. Perhaps one day in the future, I will create a space in nature, removed from society, where sincere students will come to me; but for now, my Dharma requires me to continue traveling, teaching and otherwise spreading powerful techniques of personal improvement.
Is Yoga the path or the aim? If it’s the path, what do you think you can contribute?
Yoga is both. We know that yoga means union, but it also refers to the techniques leading up to that ultimate experience of unity.
My contribution comes in the form of simplified information. The path of yoga is tremendously straightforward; but of course, most humans overcomplicate like its their day job. I am here to help sincere practitioners filter through the bullshit.
Have you got what you expected in yoga? Or what do you expect to achieve at the point where you are?
I have been fortunate enough, not to expect much from the world around me. When I first started practicing yoga, I certainly did not expect a full pre-injury recovery. In fact, at that point in my life, I was likely self-medicating too much for the mind to formulate a proper expectation … In truth, yoga is an extremely powerful science. It does not need your permission, or your expectation to operate and unfold.
Expectations, whether positive or negative, can only ever act like a fence. Expectations are limiting. The only real way to find any meaningful growth, is by practicing without any expectations.
Simply be open to receiving what ever wonders this Creative Intelligence sends your way!
What is your next challenge in yoga?
Again, I wouldn’t use the word «challenge», but the next stage in my work is to develop an online studio focusing on sharing important aspects of yoga, movement and mindfulness. At the moment, I am busy producing in-depth tutorials, guided meditations, informational sessions focusing on subjects such as proper diet and proper breathing, as well as full-length yoga classes with difficulties ranging from beginner to advanced.
My intention is to create an effective online resource, where people can assess elevated information and expert guidance, regardless of physical location. The App will cost less than $10, and is set to reach the iOS App Store towards the beginning of 2020.
What do you believe you can contribute as practitioner, teacher and influencers in Yoga to people who have some physical limitation? What recommendation would you give them?
Limitations are a matter of perspective. What is limiting to one, may be liberating to the next. Speaking from personal experience, physical limitations are nothing but illusory. In a very real way, the physical body is sustained by a far more subtle energetic system. More often than not, physical issues are the result of blockages found within this more subtle system. Through certain yogic techniques, there have been multiple proven cases of people finding complete freedom from ‘incurable’ conditions.
If there is one recommendation I can offer someone with a limitation, I would recommend you to loose yourself in what you call limiting. Don’t resist it. At the heart of every uncomfortable situation, we find a valuable life lesson. What you currently see as limiting, can also be your key to success. Keep an open mind.
To the average practitioners, in meditation, who are able to sit frequently and seems to meditate around 10-15 minutes a day but are stagnant – there is no change in their life – what advice would you give them?
I can almost guarantee that meditation is not happening. For these practitioners, 10 to 15 minutes of sleeping in an upright position is more likely to happen. Again, meditation is simply the result of following a process. You don’t even need to give up drinking, smoking, coffee and so on.
Those things will carry less weight eventually; but for now, every day, you must also include moments of proper exercise, proper breathing, proper diet, proper relaxation and positive thinking. Follow the process! Bring more awareness into every day activities. When cleaning dishes, don’t drift away to thoughts of family, cake and other obligations; keep the mind present. Keep the mind focused on cleaning dishes. Whether you are cooking, or driving, or waiting in line at Safeway … be only there.
Imagine being inside an abandoned barn in the dead of night. There is no moon, no lights and your phone just died .. You have to walk from one end to the exit; but there could be tools or tripping hazards, unseen to the eye. Imagine how you would move. Would you blunder forward, dreaming only of the exit? Or would you move slowly, quietly, with complete awareness? Learn to walk into every day that way, with that level of awareness. Only then will you see clearly, your next steps.
What is your diet based on? Could you recommend us your two favorite recipes and easy to make?
To say it plainly, my diet is based on purpose. There are so many modern categories of food, but in truth, there are only two food groups. The first are foods we eat for pleasure. The second are those we eat for purpose. We need to find our own unique balance between eating for pleasure and eating for purpose.
I can tell you that, compared to the general population, I eat very little. In fact some days I eat nothing at all. There is really no point in sharing details of my personal dietary habits. All that matters, is that we learn to eat with awareness. How does that steak or chocolate cake actually influence your body and mind? Having said that, I myself am no stranger to copious amounts of ice cream and buttered popcorn .. Its all about finding your happy balance between pleasure and purpose.
Now I mentioned popcorn, so it is only fair to share my favourite recipe.
I always use whole grain popping kernels and pop them myself in roughly enough ghee to cover the bottom of my pot. I cook on medium (ish) heat, and remove from heat when there are roughly 2 seconds between pops. Out of the pot and into a bowl, I drizzle a comfortable amount of CBD infused cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and finish it with a splash of Braggs all-purpose liquid soy seasoning .. It blows peoples minds on Netflix night.
Pro Tip – the flavour isn’t even close without the CBD infused olive oil. For any enthusiasts out there, my favourite is made by Cured Nutrition www.curednutrition.com