Welcome to our weekly Soul Story.
Today we are excited to welcome a Yoga Teacher Daniel Clavijo-Zapata (200hr Awakening Yoga Certified) - originally born in Colombia, moved to the US when he was 8 years old.
Daniel loves to contribute to the world not only by helping his yoga students become more in tune with their bodies, but also by promoting accessibility to treatment, since he's chosen Healthcare for his career path.
Alma Story: Finding the right yoga style, studio and teacher can be a challenge. What advice would you give someone who is about to embark on their yoga journey?
Daniel: Take advantage of ‘first time student’ deals! Most will have the first or second class free, and offer a free month of unlimited practice at a discounted price. Take advantage of that by taking class with as many of the teachers at that studio as possible, as well as trying the different classes that they offer. Yoga is extremely personal, and finding a style/teacher you vibe with is important to building a practice you want to come back to
Alma Story: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their yoga journey?
Daniel: Your body, your practice. Realize that your body is different than the bodies around you in any given class, and how you approach movements can be vastly different. Yoga inherently comes with alignment cues, but it’s important to explore which of those work for your body, and if they don’t, explore other ways of approaching poses/the practice as a whole that feel good to you. At the end of the day, you will always be your own best teacher
Alma Story: What would you say to a student to motivate them to continue their practice when they feel like giving up.
Take a step back, think about why you’re feeling that way, and think about what you can do to reignite that spark that kept you going back to your mat before. Forcing yourself to practice just because you feel like you need to is only going to turn you off to it more
Alma Story: What advice would you give a well-practiced yogi to take their practice to the next level?
Get out of your comfort zone! It’s so easy to do what you know over and over again, but there’s so many different styles and teachers out there for you to try. You never know how much more you can do/learn if you don’t try it
Alma Story: What advice would you give a beginning practitioner to make yoga a daily practice?
10 minutes is enough. Thinking that you need to do a full class every single day can seem so daunting, but it doesn’t have to be like that. 10-15 minutes spent on your mat can do so much more for you, than not doing anything at all because you didn’t have an hour to dedicate to it
Alma Story: What would you tell someone, who never practiced yoga before but considering to try it.
Try it! Do some research (or ask someone who already practices) until you find a class that you think you might like, and go for it
Alma Story: What impact has yoga had on your personal life? Who were you before you started practicing and how have you changed, evolved and transformed?
I don’t think I can quantify the impact that yoga has had in my life. Besides the health benefits the practice can give, it has helped me in so many other aspects of my life. I found myself through the practice and continue to do so every day
Alma Story: Is yoga for you a way of life or a way to exercise and meditate?
For me it started off very much as a way to exercise, and it’s evolved into being such an integral part of my life
Alma Story: How has yoga made a difference in your life?
I’m much more confident in who I am and what I can do in all aspects of my life
Alma Story: When and how did you encounter yoga for the first time?
First time I did yoga was actually when I was doing p90x the summer before my first semester as a college freshman. Every fourth day was yoga, and I remember how damn hard it was! But also how good I felt after, and it was always something in the back of my mind since
Alma Story: What has been your biggest struggle and your biggest milestone in your yoga practice?
Letting go of my attachments. I’m very much a perfectionist when it comes to what I do, and in the beginning it was very hard to let go of that frustration I felt whenever I couldn’t do a pose right away. Or trying to force myself into poses I was definitely not ready for, which was arguably worse. The biggest milestone would either be the moment I realized that the practice meets me where I am any given day, and that what I can or can’t do any given day is not a reflection of my worth. Or it was the day that I taught my first class as a certified teacher, because I was finally sharing something that I love with others, hopefully imparting some of that love on to them
Alma Story: How did yoga come into your life?
Yoga became a part of my life when I decided to take my first workshop with Patrick Beach. I’d been looking for something to do physically, and I had stumbled across his Instagram. I had no idea yoga could be so much more than the little bit I had done all those years before, and when he announced a workshop in NYC, I jumped at the opportunity. I fell in love with the practice, and continued from that day on!
Alma Story: What is your biggest inspiration to keep practicing?
My teachers and my students. I want to keep evolving and continuing to find my voice in this community. I never want to feel stagnant
Currently Daniel lives and teaches in New Jersey, you can find him on Instagram @dclavijo, where he shares pretty challenging but very inspiring asanas.
Alma Story’s goal is to bring back true values of yoga and do it with the help of yoga practitioners and yoga teachers around the world. We would like to remind that yoga is absolutely for everyone - every height, every weight, every shape, every religion, nationality, colour skin, etc.
We would love to connect beautiful like-minded souls, who are all into yoga or just considering to explore yoga, share their unique life stories and create a beautiful place where everyone can feel supported and inspired.
If you have a story you would like to share, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to share it with the world. You might be an inspiration or even a life saver for someone!