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Interview with Yin Yoga Teacher Trainer, Danielle Mercer

What was the greatest piece of advice you were given as a new student to Yin Yoga?

The greatest piece of advice I received was a revelation for me in my Yoga practice. The advice: “we need to appreciate skeletal variation on the mat.” Simply put, Yoga is a time to feel accepted for our differences. Aesthetics play no role in this practice, genetics do! We are literally built with different shaped bones that can affect how deeply we will ever go into a pose. We need to stop trying to contort our bodies and pushing them to their maximum limits to achieve something we saw on social media or the cover of a yoga magazine.

What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

I can very honestly say it was a calling. I feel like when the Universe is calling you to do something, it can’t be ignored. You can try, but the idea will keep resurfacing and presenting itself. Over time, things just align and before you know it everything has fallen into place just because you’ve taken one small step towards being on the right path. This goes for anything! I think everyone has a path that’s meant to be lived out and that our unhappiness stems from ignoring this inner voice over many years. It’s trying to direct us to live our truth.

Why do you believe Yin Yoga is important for people today?

Our lives have become so Yang that’s it’s dangerous. People have health issues that never even existed years ago. Mental health problems like anxiety and depression are at all-time highs. We have literally pushed ourselves to a point of no return. There needs to be a shift and I think that shift is going to be learning to embrace our Yin energies.

What personal benefits have arrived from your own practice?

I feel so much more balanced! As someone who had to develop an appreciation for this form of Yoga, I can honestly say it has been life changing for me. Learning to deal with the discomfort of silence and stillness in an uncomfortable pose for moments on end really helps to work the inner bodies. I am able to look at life’s obstacles much more objectively and make decisions more from a point of objective clarity rather than from the passion of emotions. I always say that Yin helps us to decide how to rationally respond to situations rather than unconsciously react.

What inspired you to become a teacher of others?

I am so passionate about bringing Yoga back to its true meaning. It has in my opinion, started to evolve into something it was never intended to be. In many of my students, I am seeing a trend where “more is better”. Everyone wants the room hotter and the class more intense. People are packing up and heading out the door before Savasana.

Our lives are so completely Yang and Yoga has become nothing more than a physical workout for some people. There is so much more to experience in this practice and it actually pains me that people aren’t experiencing it. I feel like sharing this training is my one small piece in building some awareness around the true beauty around what Yoga is.

What’s your go-to mantra?

“Let that shit go!” haha..Not the most politically correct of quotes! But truly, it’s so important to appreciate the idea of non-resistance. What we resist, persists! And I believe this 100%. Sometimes we hold onto thoughts or ideas so strongly without realizing that we don’t have to. We don’t have to be ruled by the mind. When thoughts come up that don’t serve me or elevate my mood, I literally “exhale them away”. Life is short and meant to be lived in the present. This mantra has always been a great reminder for me of that.

What advice would you give new teachers?

Be YOU! You will truly shine if you’re just authentic in your teaching. Initially, you will feel like you want to imitate teachers you follow and incorporate their style into your teaching practice. There are already enough people out there that are stuck trying to be someone they’re not. Life starts to become really amazing when you embrace your uniqueness. Your students will love you for it and you’ll build more confidence in being genuine!

Do you have any health/food/lifestyle tips for our yogis + yoginis?

Intuition is everything. Don’t follow certain lifestyles or change your habits to fit any trend. If you are doing something, make sure you’re doing it because you want to and not because you feel pressure to conform. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty for not fitting into their own personal stereotypes of what a Yogi should be.

Learn to listen to your body and you will notice your body’s responses when you eat certain foods or do certain things that may not be good for it. I really try to practice moderation in all things. If you’re practicing self-love this will all just come naturally!

About Danielle Mercer...

Danielle is based in South Florida, USA but travels around the world giving teacher’s trainings, workshops and guest teaching events. She teach Vinyasa & Yin classes at a variety of studios when at home, as well as Yin Trainings. Danielle is an E-RYT 500 and a registered Continuing Education Provider through Yoga Alliance (YACEP). She has received these certifications in Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Yin, which she's studied throughout several different countries around the world. Danielle has most recently studied Yin under Yin Yoga master, Bernie Clark.

Coming from a fitness background, Danielle was initially drawn to more dynamic forms of Yoga. As her personal and teaching practices evolved, she started to see a huge need for Yin energy in her life. Over the years, Danielle has become very passionate about this often forgotten “style” of Yoga. She sees the value and importance in slowing things down on the mat and has experienced how that directly impacts life off the mat.

Danielle has developed a training curriculum that takes a very practical approach to explaining what exactly Yin is and why it’s not only beneficial, but completely necessary. She knows what it’s like to not see the value in something (even for her, at one point Yin looked like nothing more than a boring hour of stretching!) Danielle's perspective on this has changed immensely and she's hoping that in sharing this training with students around the world, we can all start to experience this shift to a calmer, happier, more peaceful life.

Join Danielle Mercer for her accredited Yin Yoga Teacher Training at Studio 191 this August. More details here

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