I wonder if someone in the Yoga world ever heard about her?
Dashama Konah Gordon, simply known as Dashama, is a yoga teacher, author, performing artist, and inspirational speaker.
She cofounded the “30-Day Yoga Challenge”, a huge international transformation training, including meditation retreats, in Europe, Bali and other exotic locations.
Her job ? Travel the world teaching people how to find joy, peace and fulfillment through yoga, meditation and healthy lifestyle practices !
And yes, Dashama was one of the first yoga teachers on Youtube, where her videos have over 8 million views online, and she’s the star of five yoga DVDs. She lives in Santa Monica, California… and I’m extremly happy that she save some time to answer me !
Interview by Armanda Dos Santos
1. Dear Dashama, when I look at you, I smile and i wonder : what’s the secret of such an amazing body ? Oh maybe, there’s no secret. Just hard work !
Dashama Konah : That is a good question… I believe there are 2 types of people in the world. One type is born with a beautiful very useful and physical capable body. The other is (mine) that with great work and discipline, can be shaped and conditioned with practice and movement over time. So, to answer your question, for me, it has taken work… but for some perhaps it comes naturally.
That being said, I am very grateful because I have also been very resilient, with so many car accidents and injuries in my life, the grace of god and healing power of yoga has given me a body that can do things that I feel are miraculous at times !
2. People pay extraordinary amounts of money to get fit, and healthy, and toned, sweating in the gym for some machine that contracts your muscles for you, and giving up real whole foods for processed shakes and diet pills… and there is no jugement here.
Some just don’t know how to move their body properly and they have no idea how good their body is meant to feel.
As a Yoga teacher and lifestyle coach, could you explain how to start if we are starting from scratch ?
Dashama Konah : That’s a good point. I always tell my students to start with what they enjoy so they will stick with a regular and consistent movement practice. This is a key, because you want to stick with it to see results. So if it’s yoga, or dance, swimming, sports, running or anything else, do what you feel great doing and you will inevitably get results.
That means you don’t need to just go to the gym, you can try fun things and that will also count as fitness and will lead you to achieve your goals ! How cool is that ?!
3. … Very cool indeed ! For some, it comes naturally, but for those who are already overweight, large enough that it’s difficult or even painful to do what thinner people can do, how to start practicing ? What are your 5 steps to get started ?
Dashama Konah : This is a good question. I have worked with people in this category of weight. The important starting point, before even stepping on a yoga mat, is that anyone can start with mediation. You can even sit in a chair if sitting with legs crossed is too uncomfortable. This is a powerful practice that will lay the groundwork to prepare you for yoga and other physical practices.
The other thing I would suggest is to start focusing on your breath. This is a big part of the yoga practice and you don’t have to be in any yoga poses to learn some of these techniques and start. From there, I would also suggest if possible, hiring a private yoga teacher. Someone who can customize the practice to suit your goals and abilities. If that is not within your budget, i would strongly suggest either beginners classes, restorative yoga or what is called Yin Yoga.
These styles are more accessible for all abilities and will help you gain the confidence and flexibility to move into a more vigorous class ! I have had students lose over 100 pounds following my online 30DYC training course, so I know that anyone can do it. Much of your success will always come down to mindset.
4. Dashama, you’re the founder of the “Global 30 Day Yoga Challenge”, of the “Perfect 10 Lifestyle online Community”, the “Yoga for Foster Children” and “Pranashama Yoga School”. The least we can say is that you found your Dharma ! When did you first become aware of the power of transformation through Yoga ?
Dashama Konah : I found out that yoga was my dharma 10 years ago when I was 24. It wasn’t something I had even considered, as a career because I am very business oriented.
I have a college degree in international business and communication. So it seemed there was not enough to yoga to appease my overly creative mind at first.
When I experienced the healing and transformational benefits of yoga, in my own life. After being told my doctors that my scoliosis and lose of the curve in my cervical spine would never regain its alignment I had felt hopeless. Yoga gave me hope and with time, yoga can heal everything. I truly believe that.
So from there, I felt an overwhelming sense and need to share this with others. That is how all of this started. It has always been and still is just the most urgent desire I have, to share this healing and transformational gift with anyone who can benefit and who is ready and open to feel better immediately. Yoga can do that for anyone. I feel honored now to be a yoga teacher. To me yoga is everything. Not just the poses though, it’s the core of yoga, to be connected to source and love, to live to serve and as a symbiotic member of humanity.
5. And when did you get conscious about health and “human and environment evolution” ?
Dashama Konah : I was always very health and environmentally conscious. When I was a small girl, my parents, sisters and I lived in a very rural home surrounded by forest and rivers. We grew our own food in a garden and my mother was very strictly adamant about organic foods, no meat, etc.
Then when I was 7, we went to live in foster homes because my mother became mentally ill and that was a turning point for me. For the firs time I was eating chicken nuggets and french fries and I got very sick. I developed ulcers in my stomach and was on antibiotics all the time. This lead to a lifetime of health issues including a thyroid disease by age 14. So at age 14 I stopped eating meat and became obsessed with learning about nutrition and health.
Now 20 years later, I feel very grateful to say I have found the cure and healing therapy for just about every health crisis I experienced and now am in the best health of my life. I feel very inspired to share this information with others who may also be sick or not doing well with their health, because I have gone down that road and it is so sad and horrible. I want to help alleviate as much suffering from this world as possible in my lifetime. I have suffered enough. It’s senseless, we don’t need to suffer like we do. It’s all because of lack of education and information. Education is the key. When we know better, we can do better and this will lead to us feeling and living better over all.
6. Thanks to your own experience and journey with Yoga, you travel the world teaching people how to find joy, peace and fulfillment through yoga, meditation and healthy lifestyle practices. Is it like a « mission » to serve humanity ?
Dashama Konah : Yes I do believe it is my life mission to help transform, heal and inspire people. Yoga is one of the core practices that is guaranteed to work, and when I teach, I also offer as many other secrets and techniques that I can to lead people to this result. Self love is a big one. And mastering the mind. Those are integral as well. I love teaching yoga.
Sometimes I find myself traveling for 2-3 months without being in my own bed and I start to question if this is what I truly want. Its not always easy being on the road a lot. But I love to travel, so its a double edge sword. I love to teach yoga and there is an incredible world out there with many people who wish to learn from me, so I am honored to teach.
7. There is indeed lots of possibilities of revolutionizing the education system through Yoga and mindfulness.
We live in a culture where our lives, and our children’s lives, are becoming more fragmented and stressful and this is why yoga is very quickly becoming a part of more school routines every day around the world.
Could you talk about your « Kids Yoga Adventure » and can Yoga become a « Family funtime » ?
Dashama Konah : I love this topic. Yes I completely agree. The Dalai Lama said once, if every 8 year old was taught meditation, we would have world peace within one lifetime. This is such an incredible concept. And I agree.
When I was at Vipassana, which is a 10 day silent retreat where they teach you the meditation techniques from Buddha himself, I had this same thought. I felt every child should do vipassana around age 7-8. It would change their whole life. The way you think, see your mind, see the thoughts. Respond, react, and everything in life would be better for everyone if all the kids did yoga and mediation.
Yoga teaches focus, balance, breath, awareness, movement is so healthy and the movements in yoga and very powerful and all with great intention. these can heal anything and can truly make a very healthy child with some practice. And when families practice together, this is pure magic. It awakens this bond that seems to be missing in many families. They touch each other, play, laugh, breath and love together. Its so wonderful! That is what prompted me to create those first DVDs back in 2008/09.
I was working with a lot of families at the time, teaching private and group classes to families and kids as well as their parents. And this was so healing to me, since i grew up without my parents and in a very fragmented dysfuctional family. Just being around families doing yoga was incredibly healing and transformational for me. I wanted tons hare this with as many families as I could. that is how that began. It’s still a big part of my life mission.
8. As a real entrepreneur, you also developed the Pranashama Yoga Institute to “empower and certify new yoga teachers”. What do you mean and what do you expect for the future of Yoga ?
Dashama Konah : When I started teaching yoga, there were not nearly as many unique teaching opportunities as there are now. Back then it was still sort of on the fringe and people were testing it out, but it wasn’t such as major movement as it is now.
Then in 2006, I was one of the first people on youtube. It was so new, (it actually launched in 2005) that no one was posting yoga on there much. I started the 30 day yoga challenge in 2008 and the videos went viral.
By then, youtube was starting to really catch on and people were getting used to sharing content more online. That woke me up to the power of the internet and how people world wide really were hungry for authentic and well taught yoga classes, both online and in live settings.
I also realized that there are so many different styles of yoga, that people were not clear what is yoga. So I wrote an ebook, Intro to Yoga, and used to give it away when people signed up for my newsletter on my website. This was a great way to connect with people and educate them about the various style of yoga.
At the time, the most known styles were just Bikram, Power Yoga, Vinyasa and Hatha. There were a few more a bit less known, like Kundalini, Tantra, Anusara and Sivanada. Although there were thousands and perhaps in some cases, millions of people practices these styles, they were still not very known. But it got me inspired, as I studied and practiced each style.
I fell in love with each one for unique reasons. The benefits were clear and each had special magic to offer. But I didn’t want to teach just one style, so I began to combine the techniques, that made each style so amazing. This is how Pranashama was born.
I wanted to share these incredible techniques, in one class, or in a retreat with a series of workshops, but didn’t have any other way to do it. So I created a fusion style to share, and that is called Pranashama. And we call our teachers Pranashaman.
So this means energy healer, or one who uses sacred life force energy to heal oneself and others. It is very meaningful to me and to my students and teachers I certify. We all understand that life is all energy and if we can master this energy, we master life. And if we can master life, we can also help others to do this. It is such a gift and a worthy aspiration to work toward.
So maybe you can see how this can be so empowering? If we can teach people to heal and transform their own lives and then also teach them how to do this for others lives, its is a great world. Then we can truly start to see a new level of existence for humanity. That gets me excited and inspired.
9. And now, let me ask you, where do you get motivation from ?
Dashama Konah : I get inspiration and motivation from many places. I’m somewhat addicted to excellence, so my mind will not allow me to stop creating and trying to be better then I was yesterday. Its not easy, but it is a great motivator !
So I get up every day and all day long I’m working with my team to improve what we offer, to create more products, to connect with more people, with our media partnership, now my videos are being aired on TV at both Direct TV and ATT Uvese as well as Bell TV in Canada and on innumerable digital platforms and apps. So I am just working very hard to keep up with the demand for my content and my teaching…
We have my new 30DYC coming out soon, and the new Dashama.tv membership site coming soon… and a new fashion / jewelry line from Bali launching, etc.
I’m motivated because this is what I had always dreamed of as a life and it all came true. So I can only be grateful and work hard to keep up with this ball that is rolling so fast now… And to serve in every way that I can.
These days I like to get motivation from my peers. Friends like Laura Sykora, Yoga Beyond, Talia Sutra, Kino Macgregor, Rachel Brathen, Dharma Mitra, Gurmukhi, David Wolfe Shiva Rea and some of the other celebrity yoga teachers and health experts who are on social media sharing their practice, their dharma, their message with people day in and day out. I love to see this.
I also get inspired by the kids, the youth and by my fans and students. I love when my fans and students write me to tell me their breakthroughs or thank me for the inspiration.
I’ve had people tell me a simple email I sent made them decide not to commit suicide, or that a video I created, changed their life and alleviated back pain they had for 30 years. This is so incredible, the power of this practice. I am amazed every day by what it can do for humanity.
And I am honored to share this with anyone who wants to experience true and lasting peace, health and happiness.
Thank you Dashama !