Interview with Yoga Teacher Dayna Seraye
Photo by Sheryl Sapphire
As a teacher, artist, priestess, healer and facilitator of transformational experience, Dayna Seraye is devoted to cultivating the path of the heart through the sacred body temple. A student of healing and shamanism from a very young age, Dayne has facilitated ceremonies of healing, transformation and celebration for over 14 years. She leads women’s groups, ceremony, workshops and retreats nationally and internationally to support women in connecting with nature, their bodies, hearts, and deep soul truth. Dayna will be teaching at the Hanuman Festival this June in Boulder, CO.
How do you teach and what is your message? What practices or traditions do you draw upon to inform your teaching?
I teach that nature is our greatest teacher. The intuitive intelligence of our body is 100% tapped into Source and knows how to heal itself. Everything in existence is made of living energy and the natural world is full of allies for us. But we have lost our connection to this living energy. And so our world is full of disharmony and dis-ease.
I hold space for my students to reclaim this vital connection to nature and their own bodies and to each other. It is a healing practice…because we all have so much to heal in these times. We need to learn tools for releasing stuck energy and techniques for steering the mind in a way that serves life.
In addition to yoga I have studied many shamanic lineages including Amazonian traditions, Native American traditions, Celtic and Afro-Brazilian. I have found that at the essence, these wisdom traditions are saying the same thing—we are all connected and we need to remember that connection.
I teach an embodied path of remembering, and at the foundation is always love.
What practice or technique do you find the most effective for students to reclaim their connection to nature?
The foundation is the breath. If you think about what is actually happening when we breath you see clearly that we are always, intimately connected to nature. We breathe in the oxygen that the trees and plants produce. We breath out the carbon dioxide that the plants need. It is a sacred exchange that is fundamental to life. Carbon dioxide is waste to us, but it is life for flora. Oxygen is waste for flora but gives us life. If we bring our intention and attention to this sacred exchange we can amplify our feeling of connection. With exhales offer your love as well as your carbon dioxide. With inhales receive with gratitude the living energy of nature. This is the start.
What serves as your touchstone for integrating techniques and practices into your yoga teaching and/or exploring your own spirituality?
At the heart of my practice is devotion. I awake each day and meditate, practice and pray at my altar. I ask for guidance.
I love to study, and I read a lot. I’ve got a huge stack of books next to my bed at all times. I get inspired by what others are discovering in the fields of consciousness and healing.
I also love to journal. Writing is one way that I coach myself and clarify my direction. I have a vibrant dream life and in writing down my dreams I gain insights into what my soul is asking of me. I spend a lot of time walking in nature.
How do you approach difficulty and challenge? What gives you strength to persevere or surrender?
I find that facing difficulty and challenge head on serves me best. I learned long ago that “what you resist persists” and you’ve got to “feel it to heal it.” It seems that surrender is the best choice every time—surrender into the experience.
I once had a terrible series of shamanic visions that taught me how to face my fears. When I closed my eyes I kept seeing demonic looking monsters. I was terrified and kept my eyes open as much as possible to not experience these horrible images. Eventually, for whatever reason, I closed my eyes and simply looked. As I stared into the face of the demon before my eyes it miraculously transformed into what I refer to as “the laughing face of God.” It was a big lesson for me—the Divine is everywhere and everything, as long as we are willing to look. There is a gift in every challenge. I do my best to look for that gift.
What practices have the most potent effect on your body/mind/heart?
I am really into practicing with sound these days—chanting mantras, singing healing songs, playing harmonium, playing my drum or singing bowls. I find sound vibration is so powerful to re-align my energy field and clear away anything that is blocking my flow. As a child I was taught to keep quiet, so the journey of reclaiming my voice as a tool for healing and creative self-expression has been deeply transformational.
I especially love inviting sound when I am practicing asana. Giving sound to a sensation amplifies my ability to move the energy. Plus it’s fun!