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Menlo Park, CA

Danae Moore has been pursuing yoga her whole life — though she didn't know that's what it was called. She now lives in Menlo Park and teaches public and private yoga classes across the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Blog

Follow me as I blog in the pursuit of yoga.

On Pursuing Not Knowing

Danae Moore

Have you ever heard the saying, when the student is ready, the teacher appears? I had one of those moments this week. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on finding ease, lightness, and joy during times of stress, frustration, and uncertainty. I attended a meditation session on Friday where the teacher talked about a concept that, because of my reflections, I was primed to hear.

He talked about how we often say, I don’t know why, but I don’t feel good.  Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if we could instead say more often:

I don’t know why, but I’m smiling.

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On Practicing Santosha (Contentment)

Danae Moore

Yoga could be thought of as the poses that we practice or it could be seen as a path to ending suffering — our own suffering and the suffering of others. I don’t know about you, but I think the latter is a much more valuable and meaningful practice to explore.

Yoga gives us 10 virtues or ethical guidelines (in the form of the yamas and niyamas) that we can use as tools or practices on our path to ending suffering. One of these is santosha, which translates to contentment.

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Teaching With Intention: Setting Goals to Create Focused, Creative, and Satisfying Yoga Classes

Danae Moore

Teaching yoga is hard! Much harder than I thought it was before I actually tried it myself. There are so many choices to make and so much to think about while putting together and teaching a class: physical poses, transitions between poses, breathing practices, meditation, chanting, music, spirituality, a physical theme, a conceptual theme, the language you will use, readings to share, the timing of each pose or section of class, the energetic quality or flow of the class… Ack!

As a new teacher, it’s a lot to pay attention to and it can be overwhelming. I sometimes felt like there were just too many options to choose from and I found myself either paralyzed by too many choices or creating a 5 hour lesson plan for a 90 minute class.

I quickly realized that I needed a way to focus my efforts. So I came up with a “teaching mantra” that combines a few different pieces of advice that have come my way since I started teaching. That mantra is: Teach with intention.

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Listen: Move & Soothe Yoga Flow

Danae Moore

Other teachers have been kindly sharing their music with me recently, so I wanted to share this playlist with all of you. It is a one hour (ish) version of a playlist I like to use in my flow yoga classes. Those that take my class will recognize most of the songs. This playlist follows a steady progression to warm up, flow, then slow down on your way to Savasana. I hope you enjoy!

Move & Soothe Yoga Flow from danaemoore on 8tracks Radio

Teach from your values

Danae Moore

It’s easy to get caught up in your own little world as a new yoga teacher. To focus on planning your sequences, beefing up your knowledge of anatomy, and working out how you’re going to make a living without killing yourself in the process... You can easily lose sight of the bigger picture of what you’re actually trying to achieve.

Something that always gets me back on track is this notion: “Teach from your values.”

It’s something I’ve heard Judith Hanson Lasater say on more than one occasion. She (and now I) recommends that you identify your highest values and keep them at the forefront of your teaching. The value Judith usually uses as an example is her belief that the first responsibility of the yoga teacher is to reflect the innate goodness of each student. This idea drives all of her teaching.

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April Updates: Samskaras + Saturdays

Danae Moore

Avoiding Suffering by Breaking Samskaras

Those of you who have been practicing with me for a while know that I believe yoga is a practice of developing self-awareness. Through the practice of yoga, we cultivate the ability to see ourselves more clearly. We slowly begin to uncover and understand our habits of behavior and patterns of thinking. In yogic philosophy, these patterns and habits are called samskaras.

Everything we do — every action we take, move we make, thought we think — leaves an impression, a samskara, on our minds and bodies. As yoga teacher David Yglesias puts it:

“Samskaras are like ruts on a muddy road. The more the wheel travels over them, the deeper the groove gets and the harder it is for the wheel, like our emotional tendencies, to break free from them.”
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“Chest Breath” vs. “Belly Breath” — What’s the deal?

Danae Moore

Breathing practices, called pranayama, are an important part of any yoga practice. So if you attend yoga classes, youre guaranteed to hear the teacher instructing students to control the breath in a variety of ways, some more complicated than others. The most common instructions that Ive encountered while taking yoga classes are “breathe into your belly” and “breathe into your ribs.”

When I started doing yoga, I found myself confused about the mechanics of these two different actions, which never get fully explained during class (through no fault of the teacher — there simply isn’t time). Rather than simply experiencing the breathing exercise the teacher was offering, I often found myself thinking:

How? How on earth can air move into my belly? Air only goes in and out of the lungs, which are in the rib cage last I checked. What am I missing?

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Nothing is going to break: How yoga teaches us to overcome adversity

Danae Moore

I recently listened to a recording of a lecture titled “Clinging & Letting Go” that speaks to a powerful benefit of a consistent yoga practice: learning to relax into our feelings and experiences without reacting. We practice this while we’re on the yoga mat and we benefit from it throughout our lives.

“Clinging & Letting Go” was a talk given last year by Matthew Brensilver at the Insight Meditation Center in Redwood City and his subjects were actually buddhism and meditation. He speaks, unsurprisingly, about clinging as a barrier to freedom from suffering and letting go as the key.

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Finding a balance made of movement and fluctuations

Danae Moore

In my classes over the past couple of weeks, I've been focusing on the theme of noticing and cultivating rhythms — rhythms in the breath and body and rhythms in the seasons and in one’s life. Which made me think about all of the ups and downs I have experienced from week to week, or even day to day, while teaching yoga.

I've been teaching for long enough now to see these ups and downs as part of a rhythm and a process of discovering balance. Once I feel like I've gotten the hang of one aspect of teaching, another deficit happily brings itself to my attention.

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