Interview With Dina T: Moksha Yoga Teacher & Studio Owner

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Listen to the interview in its entirety below.  Dina T teaches regularly at Moksha Yoga Montreal on St-Laurent Blvd. I strongly recommend you take her class if you haven't done so already.  As you will see from the interview, her energy is incredible.

 

 

Below you will find the interview transcript and you will be able to listen to the different sections of the interview individually if you prefer.

 

I hope you like the interview and get something out of it. Dina has a lot interesting things to say and I hope everyone takes something away from the interview whether you practice yoga regularly, are a yoga teacher, or have no interest in yoga at all. I think we all have something to learn from what Dina has to say.

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About Dina

 

“Dina is an avid student and teacher who lists “learning” as one of her favorite things to do. With an unwavering passion and innate curiosity about the human body, Dina is a dedicated student in her final year of Osteopathy and an adored teacher of Basic Anatomy at the Moksha Yoga Level 1 Training. Dina has the amazing ability to inspire each student to approach and appreciate their bodies in a whole new way, leading them to explore not just the physical, but also fundamental workings of each movement and breath in asana. She has worked closely with Nicki Doane, Eddie Modestini, Hart Lazer, Baron Baptiste and Ryan Leier all of who have inspired and guided her commitment to teaching yoga in a passionate and loving way.” http://montreal.mokshayoga.ca/our_studio/teachers/

 

About Moksha Yoga

 

“Moksha Yoga is a green, clean, hot yoga series that stretches, strengthens and tones the muscles while detoxifying the body and calming the mind.  While all classes are rooted in the Moksha Yoga series, teachers are encouraged to bring their own unique knowledge and experience every time they enter the room to teach.” http://www.mokshayoga.ca/about/hot_yoga/

 

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Dina & Yoga

 

 

KG: How did you get into yoga? Why did you try yoga for the first time?

 

DT: A friend of mine recommended it to me. She taught Hatha yoga. She thought it would be really good to slow things down. I went and it was fine but I wasn’t crazy about it. 

 

KG: So you didn’t fall in love with yoga the first time you tried it?

 

DT: No. I didn’t fall in love right away. If I remember correctly, it was a lot of restorative poses.  It didn’t make me sit still, it actually made my mind wander a lot.

 

KG: Interesting to hear you say that because I have heard form a lot of people who have only tried yoga a couple times that they find it too slow and their mind wanders.

 

DT: I went to her class because she was a friend of mine but I didn’t get inspired by it.

 

KG: Was their a moment that you remember when Yoga clicked for you?

 

DT: Yes, it was actually when I came to Montreal. I went to Darby’s class and that was Ashtanga. I felt amazing after. I made a mistake and went to an Ashtanga level 3. It was a packed class and I did not know at all what I was doing.

 

I didn’t know anyone in the class either, so it was very funny for me, but it made my mind be still. Even though Ashtanga is Vinyasa, there is movement – it made my mind be still. I didn’t think about anything else. And when I was in the last pose they had, Savasana, I remember it was the best feeling ever and I felt really good for the whole day so I wanted to come back. And that is what got me in. I really enjoyed my experience.

 

KG: I know that feeling of feeling great all day. Once people experience that feeling I think they are hooked.

 

What is your favorite thing about teaching yoga?

 

DT: Oh my god. I love being in that room. I don’t know if this is going to answer your question but my initial instinct is that when I go into that room it’s just that room. It’s just those people. It’s no one else. Just those people in the room.

 

KG: It is amazing how you can seem really busy running around taking care of stuff and then when you walk into that room to teach you are able to just direct your entire focus and energy to the class and the space you're in.

 

DT: I honestly love it.

 

KG: What is the hardest part about yoga for you, If there is one?

 

DT: Oh there is.  I think it’s the business of yoga.

 

KG: You mean balancing the two? 

 

DT: I think it’s just what people perceive yoga to be. There are so many perceptions of it.

 

KG: I think we will leave that there and move on because that is a whole discussion in itself.

 

DT: Ya, that is a hard question.

 

 KG: Are you aware of the incredibly powerful energy that surrounds you when you are teaching yoga and the positive energy you bring to everybody?

 

DT: No. {laughs} No because I try not to go there because you always want to be humble. I find that when people think they are powerful…

 

KG: I am referring to the energy you are giving off and the ability you have of lifting others around you up with the energy you bring into the room.

 

DT: You are aware of it because when you’re not present in the room, when you’re down, you can bring everyone down but when you're up you can bring everyone up. Even outside of the room with your friends.

 

A yoga teacher should be exhausted after teaching because they have to give everything that they can. Especially when the class is down, they have to just go in there and lift them up. So yes you have a lot of influence because of your energy. So you have to let go of all your bullshit before going into that room. You do. You really have to let go of your shit.  Because it is not about you, it’s about them. So yes, teachers should be aware that they have a lot of power, energetic power.

 

KG: As such, as far as I am concerned, an incredible teacher, what does your own personal practice mean to you?

 

DT: It means we can only be good teachers if we practice, because we teach what we know. I do it everyday. It’s really important because that is how you understand the benefits of what you do, the benefits of yoga. It’s not just talking about it, it is feeling it. And to feel it, you have to practice it. And that’s not even just practicing yoga, it’s practicing what you believe in your life.

 

KG: Do you mean living Yoga?

 

DT: I don’t say "living yoga" and say you have to wake up every morning and do your pranayama, or wake up everyday and be aware of what you eat. I think it’s more about the way we treat each other.

 

KG: Is there one thing that you are focusing on in your personal practice right now? Something you are working on in particular?

 

DT: There are 2 things. It’s funny that you ask me that. Right now I am working on not attaching to….How can I say this?  If something makes you upset – not reacting, not taking it in.  Not thinking “did I do something wrong? They are mad at me.”

 

It's like ok, it doesn’t make a difference really.

 

KG: Do you mean taking a step back from the situation?

 

DT: Yes. Taking a step back and not reacting. Because it will leave. And sometimes it’s just other people's stuff.  So, not attaching. 

 

KG: I think that that is something a lot of us can work on.

 

DT: Ya. Just step back, don’t react and don’t attach.

 

KG: And the other thing you're working on?

 

DT: I loooooooooove handstands.

 

 KG: Me too.

 

DT: I love them. I can go to the room, honestly, and just do handstands.  I’m now trying to work on doing handstands with power from the bandhas. I go into my little massage room and just work on that. Sometimes I do 15 minutes and that is enough for me. 

 

Moksha Yoga, Heat & Family

 

 

KG: A few questions about Moksha.  What does it mean to you?

 

 DT: It means a community.  A family. That’s the first thing that comes to mind, family. Support. Growth. I feel supported and heard. It’s not just like that’s the way it is and that’s it.

 

KG: Do you mean as a studio owner or as a yoga teacher?

 

DT: Both.

 

KG: Why hot yoga?

 

DT: I know there is a lot of commotion around it and that some people say it’s not good for you. I liked hot yoga at first because I like heat. I like being surrounded with heat. So when I got introduced to hot yoga I loved the sweat after. It’s like a cleansing. It was an extra plus. I like vinyasa, so when you put the two together, the heat doesn’t have to be blasting hot.  It’s the best thing ever. I like the release of sweating. To me, it feels like a detox. 

 

KG: I feel the same. It’s amazing. It’s addictive.

 

DT: Right!? It’s like when you go for a really long run and you sweat.

 

KG: A lot of people associate hot yoga with Bikram Yoga. What would you say the main differences are between Bikram and Moksha?

 

DT: First thing I will say is that I respect all yoga that people like because we are all different. So I think Bikram is great, I think Ashtanga is great etc.

 

KG: You often hear people ask “oh Moksha, is that like Bikram?” What would you say to those people?

 

DT: It feels different. 

 

What attracted me to Moksha is to have the freedom to teach what the class needs. I don’t have a script that I have to follow. 

 

What I like about Moksha is that we are not put in a box, we can move out of the box.

 

KG: The first yoga class I ever took, I don’t know if you remember, was with you.

 

DT: A powerflow, I think.

 

KG: Ya. On a hot summer’s day with about 50 people in the room.

 

DT: I totally remember that.

 

KG: I feel fortunate that the first class I ever took was with you.  It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.  

 

What advice do you have for people who are starting yoga or trying Moksha for the first time?

 

DT: I would suggest just go in with an open mind and drop all expectations.  Don’t compare yourself to anyone around you.  Just focus on the breathing.  I wouldn’t go to an Ashtanga class or a powerflow class at the Moksha studio here. I would start of with Moksha, maybe 75 mins. Really drop all expectations and say "I am going to go in and have a really good experience.  It’s my first time doing it I am just going to go in and be happy about trying new things."  But don’t put any expectations! 

 

 We always compare. We think,  "oh, they can stay in handstand for a minute longer than me." Just accept where you are at.

 

KG: What about someone who is intimidated by trying yoga? Advice for them?

 

DT: That everybody is welcome to it. The different kinds of people make the class a much more exciting class. New people that are here for the first time, their energy is really important.  It’s freshness. It’s the best feeling when someone does something for the first time.

 

KG: I know you are starting to see a much larger male presence here at the studio. What about all the “macho” men who don’t think yoga is for them because of all the tags they attach to it and the beliefs they have about it? What would you say to them?

 

DT: I would say let go of all those tags because that’s like gossip. You don’t know what it is going to be for you and give it a try. You might like it. You might not. And that is ok. But be open to trying it. And you might like it enough to try it again. Or you might say "it’s not for me." But let go of that.  Just try something new. Take the risk. You might really like it.

 

KG: That is good advice for everyone. 

 

The 30 Day Challenge

 

 

KG: There is a 30-day challenge coming up at the studio. Why do you have 30-day challenges? Tell me about them.

 

DT: I think different studios have different reasons for having them.  I like the energy and the feeling of sharing something as a group. I love that. I love the sticker board. It builds a community, a vibe. People really get proud of themselves, and they get to know each other and we get to know them, so I like the energy that it brings.

 

I think that for some people it really changes their way of being when they do 30 days of Yoga. Whether they stop smoking, stop drinking for a month, or they start taking care of themselves for a month.  It helps to take how you are in that practice room into your daily life. 

 

KG: Advice for someone who is doing a 30-day challenge for the first time?

 

DT: Oh god. It’s like a roller coaster. I would say, "Ok, I am going to do the 30 days, what else am I going to do? What do I want to get out of the 30 days?

 

KG: It’s funny that you say that because the first time I did a 30-day challenge I attached something to it. I also challenged myself to stop eating meat and drinking alcohol for 30 days.  It just seemed natural to try and do it all together. It pushes you to make other changes.

 

DT: It does. I think it makes it more meaningful for the 30 day challenge if you have yoga and then you say, "Ok, what else is challenging for me? Even if it’s saying, “Ok, I am not going to eat chocolate for 30 days.”

I think it’s a cleaning. I think it’s more meaningful if you attach something else to it but not to get all bugged out about it if you don’t. 

 

Dina Beyond the Studio

 

 

KG: How did you get into osteopathy and why are you passionate about it?

 

DT: I love it. Love it! I got into it because I love teaching yoga but I also like to have a balance of other things in my life. I like different stimulation. I like the healing practices. Whether it is medicine, or massage therapy, or therapy. I like that aspect. And I am good with my hands. 

 

I went to an osteopath for an injury I had and I thought it was the best thing. It was like science but magic science. It was like… wow. So I became really fascinated by it and I started looking it up and I just wanted to do it.

 

KG: Being someone who you have treated I definitely do feel that you have a special connection with the body and its energy.

 

DT: Thank you.

 

KG: I don’t know if that can be said about all osteopaths but I definitely can say that about you.

 

DT: I think there are different levels of healing. Just like how in yoga you can have different levels of practice.

 

KG: What is the biggest challenge in your life right now?

 

DT: Just to be happy with what is. Trust that this is where you are supposed to be. Don’t feel like I have to be doing everything and be involved in everything.

 

To maintain a balance. To Keep my balance. And that it’s ok if I don’t get an A-plus. Sorry, I can’t stop thinking about my exams.

 

Honeslty to just remember that everything is going to be ok.

 

KG: Do you have a favorite band, artist, album or song to dance to?

 

DT: Honestly, I love reggae. Since I was a kid. It used to calm me down. I don’t even know what I was listening to. It was happy music.  We go up and down with what we like, but that has always been consistent for me.

 

I love Bob Dylan lyrics. 

 

KG: I know you like Michael Jackson.

 

DT: I do like Michael Jackson. I love Michael Jackson. If I am walking on the street with my iPhone I like to walk to Michael Jackson.

 

DT: I love prince. I love dancing to Prince. A LOT!!!!

 

KG: How do you feel about the blending of yoga and music?

 

DT: I love music.  I am a fan of music. I respect that people are not always fans of music. I know there is a time and place for music and I respect that we are all different. I like the silence so you can just hear the breath, but I like music.

 

KG: With your yoga?

 

DT: I do. It doesn’t affect my head. It’s like another rhythm and it makes me get out of my head.  I just go with it. I know it brings some people to past emotions or past events and they can’t think, or they don’t like the music and it’s too loud. And I respect that.  

 

KG: There is a time and place for music in yoga.  I have experienced several moments in your classes where there is no music and then you press play and it elevates the class to another level.  And the music doesn’t have to be throughout the whole class but it gives a feeling of “ok, for this moment let’s rise up” 

 

DT: Yes. That’s what I want.

 

KG: It sends an amazing feeling throughout your whole body.

 

DT: Thank you. 

 

KG: Since Health is Happiness is a health based website I will ask you if you have a favorite healthy snack you like to eat? After yoga perhaps?

 

DT: I love coconut water! But I love pineapple. Oranges too.

 

KG: Is there someone that you really admire that you have learnt a lot from? Someone that inspires you.

 

DT: A couple people. Steve Jobs always inspired me since I was a kid because I was never that good with computers.  Even though I was really young I remember reading about this guy Steve Jobs. I was fascinated by the Mac. When I was a school teacher we had Macs and I became fascinated by the progression of the technology.

 

Although people say he was hard to work for I admired that he had a dream. He really inspired the way technology has moved.

 

KG: Do you have a yoga mentor?

 

DT: I have a few, and they change.

 

I like hanging out and playing yoga with Ryan. I think I really connect with him as a friend and in the way we see yoga. I like practicing with him.  My practice has evolved because of him.

 

KG: As someone who is involved in a lot of things what is your vision, your goal? What inspires you to do everything you do?

 

DT: People. The students. You know what else inspires me? I think older people inspire me to do things.  

 

KG: Is there anything else you want to add? Open page…

 

DT: I think people do and say a lot of things. Don’t take things personally because it’s not always about you.  And that if you are doing the best that you can, then you are doing a good job.  If you can say at the end of your class or the end of your day, "I lived the best day I can today" or "I taught the best class I could today" then you're doing a good thing.

 

KG: And if not step it up?

 

DT: And if not step it up. So you can wake up in the morning with a smile on your face.

 

KG: Thank you, Dina, for taking the time to sit down with me, answer my questions, and share your thoughts. 

 

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There are 3 Moksha Yoga Studios in the Montreal area for you to chose from.

 

Moksha Yoga Montreal

Moksha Yoga NDG

Moksha Yoga West Island

 
If you don't live in Montreal find a Moksha Yoga Studio near you.  
 
If you do go try a class I would love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment below.
 
Please "Like" Health is Happiness on Facebook to stay connected.
 
 
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Filed under Blog, fitness, Interviews, Montreal, Yoga

One Response to Interview With Dina T: Moksha Yoga Teacher & Studio Owner

  1. Love Hatha Yoga and was wondering why the difference in the name, Health Is Happiness, when I discovered your website online. Had to see what you teach and what this was all about. If you’d like to send me more information and if you’ll ever offer online classes, like through Skype or other type of streaming video, please advise. Thank you and keep up the great work in teaching others a way of life that’s extremely life changing.

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