Dana Flynn's class at Laughing Lotus is an experience. Her infectious energy soaks up the room as she mixes poetry, movement, and music in a way that's raw, genuine and somehow makes it all fit together in a warm, welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. She's just one of those people who has "it" -- that indescribable presence which you can't help but feel better just being around.
How does she do this? I don't know if there's a secret sauce to Dana, but my best guess is that Dana's unique background has played a role. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Dana owned and operated one of the most successful restaurants/clubs in the 80s called "Trixies" where she crossed paths with the likes of movers, shakers, and celebrities (see photo below of Dana with Malcolm Forbes on his yacht), which even lead to Dana being on MTV! We could stop right there and just discuss that, but let's get to the yoga.
MBG: How did you go from stockbroker to restaurateur to MTV to yoga? Was there an "a-ha" moment or a series of moments that led you to practice yoga and open a studio?
DF: A lot of Living, I would say! I was right out of Cornell when I went down to Wall Street and became a stockbroker. I made hundreds of phone calls a day to have like twenty conversations to later make one sale. I had always wanted to open up a joint, and doing well on Wall Street gave me a lot of confidence. I opened up Trixies on West 47th Street and it was a real hit and MTV actually called me up and asked me to audition. I had all this cool stuff going on, but somehow got a feeling that there was something ‘missing’ or something 'more' that I wanted to experience. And this began my search for meaning, the mystery, the sacred… the beginning of my practice for wholeness, yoga.
When did you first decide to start Laughing Lotus? Where did the name come from? Why is fun & laughter so important in yoga?
My partner Jasmine and I had met practicing yoga and we both felt like we wanted a place to hang out and share the practice that was moving through us. Everyone was pretty serious about their yoga at that time -- like a 'my yoga is better then your yoga' type vibe. Putting "laughter" in the name would really remind us what it’s all about. The Dalai Lama is laughing all the time, and he hasn’t had an easy ride. We loved the great mystical poet Hafiz and what he wrote: "[Laughter] is the glorious sound of a soul waking up!" That did it for us! Who doesn’t want to laugh more, feel Happy -- an Aliveness?