Danny Paradise, Shamanism, Yoga and Nuclear meltdown
the Yoga Barn pavilion featured Danny Paradise and his approach to Yoga/ Shamanism – journey of the Soul. With such an enticing title the
pavilion was packed, and Danny provided plenty of food for thought…
Danny Paradise is what he would describe in his own words as an ‘old yogi’ and this by no means refers to age but rather to experience. He has been practicing
Ashtanga Yoga since 1976 and has been teaching worldwide since 1979. Danny’s lineage is interesting. Not only has he studied extensively with Sri Pattabhi
Jois, but his practice has also been strongly influenced by the teachings of Krishnamurti, Buddha and Ancient Egypt as well as a mélange of indigenous
cultures including Hawaiian, Mayan and Native North and South American; a glimpse of which he provided in this afternoons ‘evolving’ Ashtanga workshop.
Danny began the workshop by dissolving any distinction between Shamism and Yoga by focusing on the powerful connection which both of the practices have
with nature and with the evolution of consciousness. Throughout the history of human kind, evolution has brought with it a deepening of our awareness,
and as time has extended, we have learned the skills of introspection and our creative forces of manifestation. Danny explained that yoga is about
fulfilling personal destiny, and the healing which takes place from personal exploration – just as Shamanic journeys delve into our inner being, so
too does yoga: “Yoga is about personal authority. Yoga is truth; it is a recognition that spirit exists.”
Our increased awareness of consciousness leaves us with a choice to either hold onto negative situations or change circumstances into those from which
we can learn and grow. In regards to Ashtanga, Danny explained that like all forms of modern yoga, Ashtanga is also a relatively new practice created
in the last century by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya and Sri Pattabhi Jois. Meanwhile, the rapid boom in yoga during the last thirty years has accelerated
the evolution of different styles of yoga, all of which have the potential for creating a healing force. However, with its relatively grounded lineage
Ashtanga Yoga typically has a more concentrated form of healing.
More specifically, Danny stated that Ashtanga provides the opportunity to first heal the self on both a physical, mental and emotional level, creating
a powerful platform to take the practice out into the ‘real world’: Through Ashtanga students are provided with the opportunity to create their own
practice, as each day brings new sensations to the poses. On a structural even this means changes in the ligaments, muscles and bones as the skeleton
moves position. The deep heat which the practice generates brings causes of dormant disease to the surface of the body as toxins are released. It is
only after we have began work on ourselves that we will then be able to turn our attention outwards.
Danny emphasized the potential which yogis have to be a gigantic influence around the world, especially considering that yoga is a mass movement which
is rapidly spreading through all cultures and countries. Just as different styles of yoga have evolved, and our own practice changes and grows over
the years, yoga also has the potential to move out of the yoga studios and onto the streets: Yoga has a massive potential to unite communities and
work towards a healthier and more humane world.
Referring to the recent tragedy in Japan, Danny talked about the huge risks of nuclear power and of the imminent dangers of a nuclear meltdown in Fukushima.
If the meltdown does happen then it is predicted that 100,000 people will die within six weeks from radiation poisoning, with 45,000 dying immediately.
The statics which Danny continued to read out of respiratory diseases, infertility, cognitive deficiencies and thyroid conditions were staggering and
all we can do is pray that they will not become a fact. Moreover, Japan reflects a global disaster which is that since the testing of nuclear weapons
during the last fifty years, cancer rates throughout the world have soared, with one probable cause being the resulting radiation in the earth’s atmosphere.
Danny continued to reiterate our role as yogis which is the increased responsibility that comes from expanded consciousness and our power to work together
to spread information and initiate real change on both the level of consciousness and of course in practical terms. Primarily, as yogis (and Shamans
alike) we have a responsibility to protect and conserve the natural environment and to extend our compassion and solidarity to all living beings regardless
of race or creed.
When asked about his own life style choices, he answered that he works to balance his yoga on the mat with his activism off the mat. Through asana he is
able to relax, to dissolve the ego and to increase his sensitivity. Accordingly, he began to lead us through a modified primary series, throwing in
poses depicted by the ancient Egyptians over 7,000 years ago and demonstrating how yoga is a global movement which is continuously evolving and transforming.
Danny’s workshop was an important reminder that our practice goes far beyond asana and extends out into our natural, living and very real world. His ability
to weave in current affairs into ‘Shamanism and Yoga’ reflects our role as social yogis, to broaden our world view and work for a better fairer world.
Thank you Danny for inspiriting and co-creating a more ‘active’ global community of yogis.
photos by Ulrike Reinhold
Written by : BaliSpirit Media Team