Daniel Gottlieb is Yoga Dan. A renowned Yoga instructor who has recently moved from Detroit to New York City, Yoga Dan lives the very definition of a life in motion. He provides innovative instruction focused on unleashing strength, flexibility, and mobility ranging from rooftop classes held atop a Detroit high-rise, to working with professional athletes from the NBA, MLB, and NHL, to Gold Medal Olympians. He is also the founder of Sproga™ - an innovative approach to yoga that integrates the art and passion of enjoying espresso. You may need to see it to believe it, but check out this Food & Wine article on it!
Tell us about your background in movement.
“Ever since I can remember, I played sports and was active. In high school, I focused solely on basketball where I thought I could make a future. It came so naturally to me. Unfortunately I got injured; blew my whole back out.” As a consequence, Yoga Dan developed Degenerative Disc Disease, Spinal Stenosis, Lordosis, Herniated L4, L5, S1, S2 Vertebral discs, and later on in life, Wilson’s Disease. “And that was the beginning of the end for basketball. After that I became depressed and unwell because of the medication I had to take. Eventually, there came a point where I couldn’t move. My entire body froze and I promised myself if I made it through, I would change my life. That type of fear is a life-changer.” The inability to move his body spurred Dan into making some major changes his life. “I found yoga and I stuck with it. If I hadn’t, the doctors said I would have died. Now I am a professional yoga instructor and poised to share the wisdom and knowledge I have learned with the next generation of athletes so they don’t go down the same road I did where they lose their careers due to injury.”
How do you integrate motion into your day-to-day?
Turns out, Yoga Dan is in a constant state of motion in his life. From teaching thousands of Yoga classes and biking for transportation, to paddle boarding and playing frisbee golf, motion is the central core of his life. “Motion is more than exercise. I ride my bike as transportation instead of exercise. Yoga is transportation, not exercise. By not compartmentalizing motion, it becomes life – not just a segmented part of it.”
What is your FluidStance story?
Today, Yoga Dan uses FluidStance in his own daily motion, often utilizing it in his classes. He’ll even stand on his head for an added sense of balance. “I share the FluidStance passion for both aesthetic and for a lifestyle of movement. I integrate the FluidStance Level into my own life and into my classes. It has so much power to inspire and transform movement in a very effective way.”
Why is it important to move? What kind of movement inspires you?
At its heart, movement contributes to the development of the mind and body, rather than its decay. “We are either waking up every day living or we are waking up every day dying.” Dan says. “I believe that movement is something people deem as exercise. And it can feel very prescriptive – yet, it can be so much more. Mind, body and soul are all interconnected – with movement weaving them together in a profound manner. Movement is what enables us to also calm the fluctuations of the mind and realize our higher selves. Understanding the mental aspect of movement – beyond the physical – is critical.” Yoga Dan added that professional athletes understand the mental benefits of movement. “As a professional athlete, it’s 90% mental. When you work hard, you get in the zone. You have to be there physically, but the mind has to be in the zone for you to stay and truly perform at the highest levels.”
Yoga Dan frequently encourages others to remain consistent in maintaining a life in motion. “For me any movement is good movement. And the most inspiring movements are those with deliberate intention behind them.”
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How about you...what keeps you moving? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.