After I taught a yoga class at Bath Yoga Studio, a lovely lady came up to me to tell me that her neighbour recently moved back from Amsterdam and is a yoga teacher as well, what a coincidence! I scribbled a typical short Dutch message on a small piece of paper for him. After a short while I received an email. Happily surprised we made an appointment. Besides the joy of meeting someone from my old hometown I had a wonderful and inspiring talk with him about yoga and life. I was impressed by his clear perspective, sharp insight, diligent way of answering my questions and awesome English-style-outfit. As a cherry on the cake I received a copy of his book which I am enjoying a lot. David is a coach, yoga teacher and author of “Radically Simple Yoga’ (March 2016).
1. What is yoga according to you?
David Dodd (DD): Yoga is a set of tools and a philosophy for moving towards self mastery. In essence this means a little study, acting purposefully and without attachment, and above all growing our ability to surrender into the flow of life.
2. Why do you teach yoga?
DD: Because I enjoy it and to learn. And because I believe yoga has a lot to offer everyone in our modern world.
Yoga is a set of tools and a philosophy for moving towards self mastery.
3. Name three of your favourite things about yoga.
– I can practice anywhere.
– I learn a lot about myself (both the light and the dark).
– And I have made a lot of good friends through yoga.
4. Why do you think people should try yoga?
DD: Whatever challenge you face, whether it is physically, too much stress or not being happy with yourself, then yoga is good for that and will gift you a lot of other unanticipated benefits as well.
5. Have you seen your audience changing over time, and if so, in what way?
DD: It is always difficult to know if the audience is changing or if I am changing. Certainly in the environment that I hang out in, there is a subtle shift away from the esthetics of the posture towards a more personal way of teaching and embodying postures that work for everyone.
Key to this inner attitude on our mat is developing our ability to see things clearly and to accept the limitations and possibilities of where we are.
6. Did your teaching method change over time, and if so, in what way?
DD: No, not really. I followed a teacher training primarily to deepen and personalise my own practice and not to teach. I did that in 2007/2008 and spent the first few years after that working this through in my own practice before I started teaching. If I would have started straight away with teaching, then I would have taught how my teachers trained me and the answer to this question would have been yes. For me yoga has become an inner practice and we use our practice of the physical postures on the mat as a vehicle for developing an inner attitude conducive to yoga. Key to this inner attitude on our mat is developing our ability to see things clearly and to accept the limitations and possibilities of where we are. The form of asanas that I teach is a mindful flow with a lot of attention on breath and inner approach.
Don’t worry – you can’t not do yoga!
7. Who are your inspirations in yoga?
My primary inspiration is the real change I have witnessed in myself and in my relationships with those who matter to me. And I consider myself lucky to have had a few teachers which have been truly inspirational: in particular Patrick and Gösta from Svaha Yoga in Amsterdam and Mark Whitwell whose simple yet powerful teachings went straight to my heart.
8. Please give 2 or 3 tips for people who want to start with yoga.
– Start now!
– Try out a few teachers and styles
– Don’t worry – you can’t not do yoga!
And if you are a guy then come along to my yoga for men class.
9. Which precautions would you give when people want to start?
DD: Do not do anything a teacher tells you to do if it does not feel right for your body. Pay attention to how you are breathing and how your body feels rather than what your posture looks like.
10. How do you integrate yoga in your coaching and training work?
DD: For me yoga, and what I learn from yoga, flows seamlessly into other parts of my life. I spend a lot of time training and coaching people at work on a range of self management skills. Skills like stress management, awareness of our own beliefs and behaviours, and effective action – and these are all integral to Yoga.
More about David:
Type of Yoga: Yoga Philosophy and Vinyasa
Classes: Yoga Bodhi, Tuesday eve for men. More info and events on his website.
Get David Dodd’s book ‘Radically Simple Yoga’ to improve your understanding and experience of Yoga and link your Yoga up to your life as a whole.
‘Yoga philosophy can often seem abstract and impenetrable – something
with only faint and unclear links to our practice of yoga on our mats and to our lives in the modern world. With this book I hope to change all of this.’ David Dodd
You can order David’s book on Amazon or through local bookstore Mr B’s in Bath