Deanna Sidoti: Dhyana Yoga & Abiding in Your True Nature
Dec 28, 2018 03:43PM
By Kathy Tarbell
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Deanna Sidoti, founder of Dhyana Yoga Arts in Chester, and learn what makes her work so unique.
What do you mean by “abiding in your true nature”?
Yoga is about self-realization. Lately I’ve been loving this poem by Hafiz,
“First the fish needs to say,
‘Somethin’ ain’t right about this camel ride…
and I’m feelin’ so … damn… thirsty.”
It speaks to this part of us that thirsts for knowing the true self and that we’re meant to swim in the vast ocean that is our Source—unconditional love, the divine, energy, consciousness —whatever you choose to call it. Self-awareness takes courage and self-love, and opens you to see how you’re living, how to better love yourself, be more kind, follow your purpose, and fully enjoy this precious life.
What first brought you to yoga?
Initially, it was back pain and the desire to calm my mind. I had chronic pain associated with scoliosis and had already explored chiropractic, massage, and other modalities to find relief. Those are wonderful options for care, but yoga was different. I began to practice at Laughing Lotus NYC with a devotional community, and soon after met my meditation teacher, Sri Shivabalayogi. Commitment to practice created changes in my mind and body, leading to a healing and transformation that went far beyond the physical level. It transformed my life. I went on to study and assist Alison West, world-renowned in yoga for backcare, and ultimately developed my own style of yoga called Dhyana Flow.
How is Dhyana Yoga different?
Laughing Lotus is known for its challenging, creative vinyasa flow sequences, rebel yogi and mystic influences, and joyful practices. When I shifted to study at Yoga Union with Alison West the emphasis became structure and precision. My education in both led me to develop a style called Dhyana Flow that mixes creativity, devotion, and yogic philosophy with intelligent alignment and sequencing. It’s a practice that educates, calms and cultivates a sense of ease and joy.
How can it work for those who have physical challenges as well as for advanced students?
I often say, “small actions have great power to create change.” It’s process-oriented, rather than result-oriented and paradoxically, the results end up being better as students realize they have much more capacity than they know. The magic is in commitment to practice, all according to your own efforts. Students learn to trust the body’s natural intelligence and empower themselves to learn when to rest and when to challenge. I work with students with all types of injuries as well as advanced students. We work creatively and intelligently on joint stability, how to build strength and flexibility safely and progressively, and how to take their practice to the next level. Intelligent alignment and sequencing prepares them to explore poses consciously and refine their practice.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned with students with back issues?
When someone has pain, especially chronic pain, it can feel like a permanent thing. I ask students to be open to the possibility of change. That’s when magic happens. It comes from showing up consistently to learn to work with clarity—it’s the most important thing. That and finding a teacher who’s certified in Yoga for Backcare.
Who are your Yoga Teacher Trainings for?
It’s a Vinyasa, Alignment & Mindfulness Training for those who want to deepen their practice, dig into Yoga’s ancient roots, and study with knowledgeable teachers who practice what they preach. Grads see their lives transform and their love of yoga expand.
Deanna Sidoti teaches vinyasa, alignment, yoga for backcare & scoliosis, restorative and ayurveda. She’s taught and mentored yoga teachers for eleven years. Her next RYS 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training begins in March.