Dana, C-IAYT, ERYT-500, is the Founder of Prema Yoga Institute – an IAYT-accredited yoga therapy school in New York and online – and a frequent contributor to Yoga Journal. She’s a big fan of breathing, handstand-ing, singing, swimming, dogs and cats, and unscheduled days in nature.  She teaches internationally and is based in NYC, but you can practice with her anytime on Variis, YogaAnytime, and live at


Get to know dana

Tell us about your students.
There is an old adage that, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." I've found in my training that when I am ready, the student will appear. Because I've studied yoga therapy as well as vinyasa and therapeutics, the students that show up for privates dearly need a more healing practice. Yoga is not medicine, and yet yoga empowers our health in a way no other exercise can.
If you weren't a yoga teacher, what would you be?
I've been a classical actor and a paralegal before becoming a yoga teacher. I can't conceptualize another life just yet, but it would probably be in writing, singing, and/or somatic psychology.
What does organic mean to you?
Considerate. Of the earth. Living. Logical.
What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning yoga?
It's not about the poses! It's about the breath. Keep breathing, and I will see you on the mat.
Tell us something most people don't know about you.
I adore interior design. It's kind-of like being obsessed with the royal family when you're an American - financially distant, but pretty.
How has yoga changed your life?
Yoga gave me the tools to find equanimity. Before my first 5-10 years in yoga, I was trained to be dramatic - to feel everything very deeply, and to sometimes take things too personally. Now when I find myself reacting, I am more likely to slow down, to take the long view, and to consider that this too shall pass.
Besides yoga, what do you do to keep a healthy lifestyle?
I practice Ayurveda, but it's a work in progress! I try to eat fresh, organic food when I can and use Ayurvedic oils for skin care. Lately, I added a little weight training to my week, just to mix it up.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
You only have to do your own dharma.