When I moved to Santa Cruz, I started taking yoga because I wanted to stretch after running. But then I started doing more and more yoga because…I fell in love with my beautiful, angelic, Polish-looking-but-Portuguese-speaking Brazilian instructor Daniela Kosmalski. Her voice is so soothing and I just couldn’t get enough of her classes. At the time I was going through a heartbreak and everything she said resonated with me so much, it really helped me heal.
She is the first instructor I ever took yoga seriously with, and she is the person who inspired me the most in my yoga journey. The thing about Daniela is that she is so incredibly humble. There is no ego with her, only transparency. No pretense or arrogance, only deep awareness and a sense of kindness that transpires from her body language, her words and her entire being. She is genuine, so knowledgeable, but still blushes when she teaches a class which is the most endearing thing ever.
It actually wasn’t easy to approach her in the beginning, I think because she is a little bit shy. So for a long time I never did. One time, I was really tired and I went to Dani’s class at 7:30pm. During shavasana I fell asleep hard. I woke up one hour after the class ended, in complete darkness. I couldn’t believe it. I had slept through everyone “oming” at end the class, getting up and putting their mats away and leaving! I was so embarrassed. You’re not supposed to sleep in Shavasana!!!!!! I was wondering what she would think of me. But then I realized Dani genuinely is not a judgmental person. Nothing seems to bother her in class. People coming late, phones ringing…she is unfazed, because she has found a place that is so far beyond those minuscule aspects of existence. She is more concerned about something that is far greater than those little details. That, right there, is true yoga.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
hum…so many, but 2 came to my mind now: I am reading “If the Buddha had kids” and “The Heart of Yoga” by Desikachar
anything comedy/romantic or with a positive lesson
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
hahaha!!….maybe a Dolphin…whether it’s jumping with the waves or swimming freely through in the ocean, they live every day to the fullest!
What is your favorite spot in Santa Cruz?
The ocean, and I am very lucky to live couple blocks away.
Being from Brazil but having now lived in the U.S. since 2006, do you feel you belong to one culture more than the other?
Not at all….I love this diversity and I feel that I am a human being FOR the world doesn’t matter where I am living.
What are the challenges you find about living far from your home country?
Family: it’s always a challenge for me: I miss them EVERY second.I am grateful to go back to it every year or always have a member of my beautiful family here in the US.
Tell me about a fond childhood memory
Beach morning weekends with my mom, dad, sister and brother.
Beach dinner weekends with cousins, ants, uncles.
Sand castles, ice cream, smiles, good food and lots of love….
What or who inspires you the most in your yoga journey?
The path of Yoga inspires me, My Guru motivates me.
And to know how much I have to learn….and knowledge is infinite and enriching.
What has yoga taught you about life?
To live in the present moment, to be more focused and patient. I have also learned to watch myself (conditionings and patterns)… I’ve always been very critical and demanding with myself, and this beautiful practice showed me to deal with equilibrium all my imperfections and imbalances of life.
What is the most challenging experience you’ve had in your yoga journey?
To teach in English…I studied by myself a lot: reading, watching videos, using many dictionary, asking few American friends to help me with vocalization….It s still not perfect but I am grateful that things happen naturally and gradually, like life should be huh? spontaneously and without charge…
Tell me about your personal practice. How often do you practice, for how long, where?
I have a daily Yoga practice with my children and husband. Asanas and Pranayama 2-4 times a week and I practice Ashtanga Method when by myself where is available(beach, studio after my classes, in the living room, drop in a class) – at this moment in my life it s not easy to wake up 5am to practice, so if I have a gap of schedules in between pick-ups at school, other mom duties, privates lessons, etc., I do it for sure. Meditation everyday!
Here’s a piece of a quote I read from Daniela’s Facebook that I would like to share:
“The magic 40 minutes of total focus, concentration , trust and surrender to this practice that I teach, was a reminder that Yoga is not an experience, is not a journey, is not a thing that you do on your mat and forget when enter in your car, is not fad, it’s not just asana. it is an attitude.”
Find more of Dani Kosmalski here:
Or look at her teaching schedule to practice with her in Santa Cruz.