Federico DAnna expands on his commitment to the practice

If you have ever taken his class, it is apparent that Federico has a deep passion for yoga. He exudes a thirst for yoga that is inspiring. 

He shares with us his journey as a yogi:

        1. How long have you been teaching?

        I have been teaching for 4 years.

2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?

When I'm in love with something I wanna talk about it all the time, I wanna share it. I guess becoming  a Yoga teacher was the best way for me to have people listening to me talking about Yoga.I also figured that if Yoga was so exiting to me I would have been a good vehicle, a good vessel.I try my best to be just a vessel.

I learn so much everyday from teaching, one of the thing I'm really focusing in these days is trying not to let my ego get involved.I learned that it's very important to get into a place of clarity with myself, whenever I can. I see my ego trying to get in the way but I can be clear enough not to act or say things from there, when I can be that clear, I can give and help and be of service to the students. I try to constantly recenter myself into that place of clarity. This is  a moment-by-moment practice for me while I teach, it takes a lot of energy and focus but that makes my job very rewarding and keeps me peaceful because I feel I can really give. 

3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?

           I try to take all the classes I can with the teachers I respect more, and if you ask  me what I                learned from them the answer is: EVERYTHING! 

I try to learn always, it's a natural process for me: I try to learn new tricks for a pose, or I try to absorb a specific energy of a teacher I admire, or the subtleties of a brilliant dialogue, I also really love to observe how the best teachers connect with their students cause I think the most important thing in teaching is the ability to connect.

 My classes are always evolving  because I keep taking classes with great teachers, in that way I keep learning new things, I absorb new energies and all I have to do is to share that with my students.


4. How many times a week do you practice?

I try to practice every day, but I don't do Asanas everyday. I try to practice Asana at least 5 days a week and keep a daily  Sadhana practice with meditation, Pranayama, Kriyas and recently, some chanting. Pranayama helps me be clear and centered when I teach so I try to practice it at least the days I have to teach before my classes.


5. Who inspires your practice?

So many people inspire me, besides the well known gurus and texts like the Yoga Sutras, or Yogananda texts, which I've always found inspiring and I always go back to when I feel lost, here in New York. I have many names of good inspiring Yogis: Dharma Mittra Jared McCan, Erin Vaughn, Jason Morris - these are only few names. Also every Yogi that devotes themselves to help others is an inspiration to me. I think you can be a great Yogi without practicing Asanas or Pranayana, a Yogi is someone who search freedom, union knowledge, who is selflessly in service, it doesn't matter how, whenever I find these qualities  in someone, it's very inspiring and beautiful to me, that's Yoga.


6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?

I just feel I need to practice. I have always felt that way.

Even before I met Yoga, I had my Yoga practice. I'll try to explain: even when I had no idea of what Yoga was, I always felt I needed at least an hour or so a day to dedicate myself to something completely and without distractions, something in which I could focus 100 per cent of my attention, I didn't  know what Asana or Meditation was until few years ago, but  when I was a child I recited my prayers every day and I remember I had all sorts of personal weird rituals.Then, in my 20s I was an actor and my Yoga at that point was practicing some relaxation and acting techniques to create physical and emotional realities to create a truthful and vibrant performance. 


7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?

I want them to know and trust that  we can all find a place inside ourselves where everything is perfect exactly the way it is. That whatever your perceived  limitations are, they are an just an illusion. Everything we need and want is already in us! All OF US. Realizing this on a deep level is not easy; it's the actual goal of YOGA. Its not just an idea, and just thinking about it won't help. It does not come for free, it's a practice and it's a lifelong journey. Of course it might be intense, scary at times, or boring at times, there are many obstacles in the path, but yoga also  gives us the tools to overcome the obstacles, and what else would you spend your energy on? And the cool part of it is that you don't have to wait to be enlightened to experience glimpse of that perfection, knowledge, freedom and bliss. Yoga will help you right away. You'll feel 'peaceful' or 'free' or 'strong' or maybe just generally 'better' right away after your first Asana session. So just go to yoga and something will happen to convince you....trust those feelings and be curious to investigate deeper cause it's worthy.

8. Where do you currently teach?

New York I teach at The Yoga Room, Yogatothepeople, Yoga Herald Square, when I go to Rome to visit my friends and family I teach for Bikram Yoga Rome

9. Has yoga helped you through something that you struggled with? If so, what and how?

It helps immensely with the stepping stone that made me absolutely sure and gave me infinite trust. 

I have always had the feeling I had to achieve something in life, and this obsession, this vortex of my mind has always been so strong in me that for the most part I have always been living in a state of struggle to get somewhere, to demonstrate to the world that I had value, to get recognition, to succeed. So when I felt close to my goals, that would made me happy of course but most of the times I used to live in a state of anxiety, depression, a fear or an actual  feeling of existential failure. There was no space around me just to notice the beauty of nature or people or life, just because that vortex was spinning so thick and fast that I couldn't see behind that.

Alter only a few sessions of yoga , while I was laying in Savasana, I started noticing other things that I wouldn't have noticed before. Maybe just a ray of light coming from the window of the hot room, or the shining of the sweat drops on my skin or the breathing sweaty bodies around me ( I started with Bikram Yoga) and I started to notice all the beauty of those things. I started to enjoy the colors and shapes of nature and things and the people around me. And one day I realized that all this beauty around me was perfectly enough for me to enjoy life right now,  I didn't need to achieve something anymore or demonstrate I'm worthy, or being successful to be happy. The world was suddenly beautiful enough for me to be happy right away, I realize that all I had to do was to keep working on  that clarity. It was like a huge painful weight was taken off my shoulders for the first time in my life, and life was good!!

Then I studied the Yoga Sutras and it was all there:
Yoga is stilling the vortexes ( vrittis ) of the mind and cut through all the illusions.