The first person I met at Bali Spirit Festival did more than impress me. She wasn’t a celebrity yogi; she was a rock star yogi. Time Magazine coined her as the “Janis Joplin of Yoga”; and when I grow up I want to be just like Dana Trixie Flynn. I passed by her studio in New York a few years ago, ‘Laughing Lotus’ but never attended her classes.
She arrived almost half an hour late to the press conference, with a smile that changed the way you sat in your chair. She was light on her feet with her hat to the side. She brought joy to the room through making the effort of knowing the names of each presenter and other yogis at the table.
Dana, we would love to hear more about your practice what you are offer at the festival?
It was a press event, Dana started strong, saying“I couldn’t find the tent and I’ve been here looking for all of you. Isn’t that nice how we find each other. It’s always such a gift. I think that really expresses the essence of yoga and being in Bali”. It was a loving vibe she emitted and it her effort to become acquainted with presenters and yogis was definitely welcomed.
Dana began the press conference with a description of her day. “This morning I’m seeing on my scooter some leaf and some rice and an offering. I asked the woman with the incense what she was offering. She said well, “We thank the day. We thank the day and we thank for the life and we give thanks for everything that we have” and that expresses a big part of Bali, it expresses yoga.
There is a way that we can physicalise gratitude, so that would be a big part of how we express the deep devotional flow that I will share that connects us to each other. To feel a closeness that is very sweet — a spiritual connection that movement is a path to wholeness. What else I love about Bali and I bring it to yoga, one more thing,” She exclaims, “in Bali I am moving around and I’m seeing art being made and’ people painting and wood carvings and dancing — these are all the things of yoga, a creative life.
It is that we create life. We create muscles, we create faith, and we create our world everyday that we practice yoga. So to be in a creative place, like Bali; where people are creating different things, it inspires our yoga, and our devotion. I’m feeling very fired up, and am excited to be in a place that wants to live creatively. We create these shapes, art, and our world together”. So, now I’ve never met any of you, but we are together today. Something bigger is happening for all of us. We’ve been called to make a big change and that’s the spirit of yoga. A reason to come together is to lift each other up.
Dana continues; “There is a great teacher, Yogi Bhajan, who said, “Yoga is a spiritual forklift and sometimes life will break us down and our day will be difficult but yoga will lift us up” So, I would say my yoga is not my yoga, but it’s our yoga,” she starts laughing, and we start smiling.
“We lift each other up. We will be there for each other. We support each other. We give back and I’m telling you we can move these mountains. Together we can move these mountains. Namaste. Thank you for letting me serve.” Leaving us with chuckles and giggles.
I attended her class the following day. She introduced herself with gratitude, laughs, and an understanding of herself and the world. Unlike the usual Vinyasa Flow with a Surya Namaskar and Virabradasana 2, she spiced her lessons up with her personal variations of poses named ‘OMG’, ‘Ganesha’ and ‘One Love’. She engaged our senses by having us shout out each name like it was a mantra. She opened all our chakras by giving us the confidence to improvise and feel where we needed and wanted to go with the flow. This felt more like a party than any class I’ve been to, and was probably exactly the effect she wanted.
It wasn’t the conventional class you find in a studio in Singapore but I knew this was definitely yoga. She was a modern day, down to earth, disco yogi with an old school natural energy around her. You could tell she didn’t always follow the rules, but yoga was a rebel’s sport back in the day. After the class I approached her, where she immediately gave me a hug and said she felt she knew me through the yoga session. Her parting advice to me was to “create your people. It’s not a competition, and its not just about asana.”
Written by Kristin Khor