A life changing injury and grim diagnosis. After being told by doctors that he would never be able to run again, Rama moved to a yoga ashram and dedicated himself to personal improvement. After a miraculous recovery, Rama made it his purpose to share techniques associated with yoga, movement, and mindfulness.
We asked Daniel some questions so that our learners can get to know him better and get some yoga tips along the way.
Basic Yoga Tips from Daniel Rama
1. How’d you get into yoga?
My passion for personal improvement began to blossom while studying health, wellness, and fitness at Mohawk College in southern Ontario. My introduction to yoga, however, came shortly after suffering an unfortunate powerlifting injury.
An overhead lift gone wrong caused me to drop 150-lbs of hard metal barbell directly on my left foot. I shattered all five metatarsals and a number of other bones within the foot and ankle. For me, it was hard to hear doctors say that surgery wasn’t an option and I would likely never be able to run again or perform strenuous exercise with my left foot.
After months spent in a darker place, I decided I was sick of feeling sad and set out on a healing mission.
I adopted yoga as a lifestyle. My practice included basic rehabilitation exercise, proper relaxation, ancient pranayama techniques, meditation, and the science of yogic diet. I found myself pushing away family and friends and focusing only on proving those doctors wrong.
After just 12-months of this lifestyle, I had recovered to pre-injury conditions and celebrated by completing a 10km run for charity.
After experiencing the healing power of yoga first hand, I made it my life’s mission to share these techniques internationally with anyone who might stand to benefit.
2. What would you say to people who think they aren’t flexible enough to practice yoga?
I would ask these people if they are too dirty to shower.
When I first started yoga, I couldn’t touch my toes or even walk without assistance. But where you start doesn’t matter. Only with practice does one become stronger, more flexible, less stressed, and more confident.
It’s the practice that prepares you. Wherever you are in your journey, whatever your goals may be, yoga will help.
3. What are the benefits to practicing yoga?
The practice of yoga has primary benefits and secondary byproducts.
Byproducts include increased strength, better flexibility, more spatial awareness, and mental clarity. The real benefit, however, is the elevation of perception.
In its highest sense, yoga is about seeing yourself as you truly are. Clear perception of life. When you see who and what you truly are, lower emotions like anger, greed, jealousy, or hatred cannot touch you. The pot-watcher never boils. Angels and evil can no longer affect you. It doesn’t mean you become indifferent to the world. Instead you recognize that you are part of something greater, and intimately connected to everyone and everything. You feel at peace amidst the chaos. Blissful just to be.
Interestingly enough, on a physiological level, when we feel blissful our internal chemistry changes and we literally become stronger, more focused and more capable in dealing with tasks.
So one will get stronger, more focused and more flexible along the way, but the real benefit is getting back to constant, long-lasting, unconditional happiness: The human birthright.
4. How often should someone practice yoga in order to experience those benefits?
Someone recently asked me this question on instagram. My response was 24/7.
Of course, in my response, I didn’t mean we need to be standing on our head all-day everyday. But rather to recognize that every moment is an opportunity to improve.
For me, yoga is not some stretchy thing we do for 60-minutes on our mat. How you eat and prepare food is a practice. How you wash dishes is a practice. How you walk down the street is a practice.
If the elevation of perception is our goal, the prerequisite needed most is the ability to concentrate; to focus on just one thing at exclusion of all else. There is an old saying, “be where your feet are.” Everything becomes yoga practice if we use it to develop focus and presence. The intention is to attain a state of heightened awareness. In modern terms we would refer to this as a “Flow State”: a state in which we become highly aware of everything and highly capable of taking action.
Of course, even practicing 60-minutes of physical yoga once per week will still bring something positive. But the more we can embody yoga as a lifestyle, the more benefit (and byproduct) we will start to see.
To summarize, I would tell you to stop trying to manage your time and start managing your focus. 10-minutes of focused attention is more valuable than 60-minutes of unfocused attention. So don’t worry about how long it takes/ how often you have to practice. Just go practice, and be only there.
5. What do you enjoy most about helping others perfect their practice?
Clouds are cool; but I love helping people attain clear skies. This practice seems so complex when looking at it from the outside. Many people have no idea how to start or where to start, and I was the same way long ago.
The thing I enjoy most is watching someone start to see more clearly. To observe the transition from a mindset of, “I can’t do this”, to a mindset of, “I can’t believe I ever doubted myself.”
6. What can people expect from your group lesson, Functional Hatha Flow?
Functional Hatha Flow is a balance between ancient yoga and modern holistic training. Expect physical challenges to make you a better, more bulletproof mover. And at the same time, expect to connect with yourself on a deeper and more profound level.
Without getting into esoteric sciences, my classes are all designed to influence the subtle energy body in a very specific order. Everything has purpose, and after the class you will feel more powerful yet more at peace within your own body and mind.