Danny is an advanced master of Ashtanga Yoga, which is among the most physically demanding forms of yoga around. He balances out Ashtanga’s intensity by encouraging “a sacred, safe, meditative, healing, joyful, expanding, and pain-free,” practice for himself and his students.
A YOGI AND SHAMAN?
Danny's shamanic experiences draw from the wisdom of various indigenous cultures including those of Hawaiian, Mayan and Native North and South American cultures. “It’s the same exploration all over the world,” he says, “we’re all part of nature, so we’re all part of Spirit.”
Danny links yoga and shamanism especially because of the underlying spiritual lineage of both, calling shamanism “the root of all religions,” and describing yoga as a way to “allow clarity to increase, and to step outside the regular order of things.”
“They have a crossing over point,” Danny says, “they both explore deeper levels of consciousness… These are sophisticated practices.”
While yoga is normally more physical in nature than shamanism, Danny talked about the inextricable link that unites both, “You can’t separate spirituality from humanness. If you start with the bones, human breath, your intuitive nature, then you are in tune with the shamanic realms,” he affirmed.
ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT IS YOGIC
Paradise also devotes time to expanding his knowledge of history, power politics, self-development and other fields. He promotes community activism and personal education as well as spiritual and physical practices in his classes too, which may start with a group discussion about spirituality, yogic and shamanic values, philosophy or the current world order.
During his class sessions he may also cite authors, share his definitions of shamanism, or give his students a reading list handout, which contains his favorite texts on shamanism and yoga.
Many of us in the West start practicing yoga strictly as an alternative physical fitness exercise. Danny Paradise reminds us that doing yoga is not just about getting in shape or even closing our eyes and meditating—there’s something special about synching both. The ancients likely realized this.
It’s the movement-meditation, body-mind combo that is integral to Yoga, Qi-Gong and other similar physio-spiritual practices that, I believe, make them significant doorways to the creative realms/Spirit worlds.
Could growing interest in these forms be related to a blending of the body-mind in a way that supports a more direct experience of the divine/shamanic? Yes, I think so.
By emphasizing shamanic awareness through yoga, I believe Danny Paradise is signaling to us that making contact with our bodies in a mindful way creates a potent opening to energy, power, and information.
The benefit of mainstream yoga in this age is that Spirit can be accessed more readily by larger numbers of people—sometimes intended; other times not. Either way, yoga supports an expanded state of mind, which, in my view, and perhaps Danny’s too, can be the gateway to a deeper and more fulfilling co-existence with our inner and outer worlds.
For more information on Danny Paradise, visit his website at: http://www.dannyparadise.com/