Dana Smith is a certified yoga teacher and trainer, Master Life Coach and Holistic Health Practitioner. Considered a “Jane of all Holistic Trades” she specializes in Thai Yoga Massage, Reiki and is a gifted Intuitive Counselor. She has practiced yoga for over a decade and is registered with the National Yoga Alliance. Dana believes that yoga is a powerful tool on the path of total wellness and her style of teaching draws from Ashtanga, Iyengar and Vinyasa roots. She believes that the essence of yoga lies within the heart of the practitioner and that all can benefit regardless of age or ability. She considers herself as a “tour guide” during her students’ journey back home – to Self.
Dana created Spiritual Essence Yoga Studio in 2003 as a way to share her love of yoga with her family, friends and community. She has made it her mission to promote body positivity and diversity in yoga. In 2014 she founded the YES! Yoga Has Curves movement and compiled a book that features images and stories of yogis of all beautiful shapes and sizes. Volume 1 was released in June 2014 and Volume 2 in 2017. The book is a testament that yoga is for EVERYbody and no one shape or size is more suited to practice yoga.
What do I do best?
Wow, I love this question because I had to take some time to think about it. I am able to see past surface issues (be it on a professional or personal level) and get to the root of what is really happened, often the machinations of the ego, and guide others into the best possible action. Everything that I practice and teach comes from a very intuitive place. Meditation has been the tool to help me navigate through challenges and guide others to do the same.
What makes me the best version of myself?
Maintaining blissful balance in all that I do. I am a recovering “A” personality and my need for perfection was crippling and created great imbalance in my life. Now, as I explore the beauty of surrender I am able to maintain balance by being very honest of what I can do, what I can’t do and what I should not do. My yoga and meditation practice feeds my mind, body and spirit and allows me to remain clear and connected to happiness.
What are my aspirations?
Personally, I would love to travel the world with my husband and 3 children for 3 months. The world is a beautiful place and I want to expose them to different cultures and ways of being. We recently did a bucket list together and Machu Picchu is at the top of our list. Professionally it has been my dream for over a decade to purchase a 5-acre farm to build a community focused on growing organic foods, living in balance with nature and taking control of their health and wellbeing. Each year my practice grows and I know that I am closer to BOTH dreams.
My Biggest Success?
My biggest success to-date has been growing my studio out of the basement of my home in 2004 to a 2,400 sq ft location in 2015. I could have never imagined that my love for yoga and for helping people would allow me to pursue my passion on such a large scale. I am amazed yet humbled by my growth. And excited about what is to come.
My Most Challenging Moment?
My most challenging moment occurred in January of 2018. I had my third child (Thaddeus) the month before and was hit with postpartum depression. The pregnancy was challenging due to 9-months of morning sickness and body pains that weren’t present with the first two children. Yes, at 40 years of age there was 15 years between my first and last pregnancy, but my body felt stronger and more flexible because of my consistent practice. I had easily transitioned back into yoga after the first two pregnancies and believed this one would be no different.
My motto consists of 4 personal affirmations that I began sharing with my students a year ago – “I am healthy, I am happy, I am abundant, I AM.” This encompasses everything that I am growing through.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I am inspired by quite a few people in my life. Those who inspire me outside of my family and friends are: Rodney Yee – AM/PM yoga was my very first introduction to yoga and I was connected and inspired by Rodney’s teachings and presence. Shiva Rea – I studied with her early on in my teaching career and she inspired me to get into the spirit of yoga beyond movements. She taught me that it was ok to flow to the rhythm of my own drum. Dianne Bondy – I consider her a sister-friend. She inspires me to be bold and unapologetically ME. For my personal growth I am inspired by Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith. I first learned of him through the documentary The Secret and have followed his teachings ever since. When I was in the midst of a life crisis I listened to one of his sermon for a year straight and was able to overcome the challenges I had at the time. I’m also inspired by Lisa Nicholson, who I also first learned of from The Secret. Her zest for life, love of people and bold ability to stand in her truth continues to inspire me to this day. Other beautiful souls who have inspired me include Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay and Don Miguel Ruiz.
alance by being very honest of what I can do, what I can’t do and what I should not do. My yoga and meditation practice feeds my mind, body and spirit and allows me to remain clear and connected to happiness
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
Thailand is currently my favorite place to travel. I spent some time there studying Thai Massage and fell in love with the culture and the people. Arizona is a close second.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
I absolutely LOVE books. I worked in a library throughout High School and have found flashbacks of sitting in the stacks reading. My parents built me bookshelves in my closet and I would spend hours upon hours reading. I am also in love with Essential Oils. I just recently started to incorporate them into my yoga and healing practice (Reiki, Thai Massage and Coaching) and the effect have been amazing. I realized that the benefits of using essential oils go way beyond them just smelling nice. There many health benefits associated with using them.
My Current Passions?
Outside of yoga, meditation and Thai Massage my passions include cooking vegan meals for my family and friends.
I am also a lover of music.