Meet Dee: Lake Atitlán Yogi
Interview with Jessica Roth from Yogi Portraits at Villa Sumaya, February 13, 2019
Dee lives in San Marcos La Laguna, a village on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. She is a yoga teacher, massage therapist, and Ayurvedic lifestyle consultant. Dee currently offers somatic body treatments and a personal retreat called "Introduction to Ayurveda" at Villa Sumaya retreat center. You can also find her teaching at eco-hotel La Paz. I met Dee & her beautiful energy while staying at Villa Sumaya in December.
What is your teaching/healing style and how was that influenced?
I have slowed down on teaching yoga recently, but I usually teach Hatha Yoga. I like to give themes to my classes and make them a little ceremonial. The core of my practice is Ayurveda. My other focus is Prana. The best way I know to move prana is with Pranayama, breath centric asanas, and Kundalini Kriyas. Either in yoga or Ayurveda, I invite people to an inner journey to reconnect with whatever they need to reconnect with.
I was taught Ayurveda and meditation through Shamanic practices, so there is always a bit of Shamanic rituals in what I offer. Ayurveda and shamanism have a lot in common and they complement one another. I believe they help you get in touch with the energy body and spirit rather than only staying focused on the body.
What do you love about teaching/healing?
I love seeing people's faces in Peace and that gentle Buddha smile after a session. It's what I'd call a transfiguration – faces can change and you can see the child or the blissful one in them. It's really what I love.
There are times when the treatment or the yoga session triggers the students or clients. And I learn to accept that as the process of healing too. The goal is to waken the Healer in them. I love that it's my job.
What are you working on in your practice at the moment?
Haha, I have so many ideas... I still don't know where to start, but I have been learning and practicing a lot here at the lake. I am practicing ceremonies including cacao and ceremonial sauna, and I've had a strong calling towards sound healing. I am currently tailoring a practice for women to gather and sync with the moon cycles, combining different traditions. I am a forever student, so am excited to see where all this leads me!
What do you want people to know about the Lake Atitlán yoga scene?
The lake is a playground – that is the main reason I am still here. It gives space to practice and learn, and practice and learn. Not only with workshops and teachers... with all kinds of qualities; but really with the situations and energies that show up at any given moment. It is not always an easy place to feel comfortable or to manage, and it hasn't been easy for me to adapt.
In the beginning, I even had an aversion to it. It doesn't really matter how beautiful the lake is, the frequency can be so intense that it creates really deep samskaras, releases, resistances, etc. With time, my resistances are softening and I am able to make changes to live more in harmony with the "navel of the world". In short, I appreciate the lake as my Guru.
For yoga classes, you can really find many types of yoga, not only Hatha Yoga, but also Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga. I have not come across too much Jnana Yoga.
By the way, it's really hard to find Neti pots and tongue scrapers here. The yoga community really needs to do something about that! You can easily find Rapeh (Shamanic snuff) to clean the nostril, but for daily usage you can't beat a good ol' Neti pot.
Anything else you want fellow yogis to know?
I came to yoga via Ayurveda which is a less common way. Usually people start with yoga and maybe one day they practice Ayurveda. But really, one does not go without the other. They are like twins. It is cruel to separate twins, no?!
Kidding, but I really invite yogis to dive into the often forgotten Ayurveda. Then, teach that to your students. I see the world filled with Ayurveda... the wisdom of life that was given to us to support our liberation. So ¡Viva Ayurveda!