Dana Levy is an IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) certified yoga therapist, a yoga teacher, a yoga teacher trainer, and a somatic movement researcher and educator. Dana has worked as, with, and through the body for over 40 years.
From her first modern dance classes in high school in Nashville, Tennessee in the 1980’s to receiving her M.A. in Choreography and Performance from The Ohio State University in 1992, Dana was deeply involved in the field of modern and post-modern dance as a performer and choreographer. She worked with rising and established artists in not only modern dance, but also visual/performing arts, theater, mime, and Butoh in Columbus, Ohio, until 1997. From 1993-1997, Dana was also training in the Japanese martial art of Aikido under the supervision of Paul Linden and Peggy Berger, head instructors of Aikido of Columbus.
In 1997, Dana moved to Tokyo, where she continued studying Aikido, receiving her nidan (2nd degree black belt) rank in 2001. From 2002-2003, Dana taught weekly bilingual (English/Japanese) aikido classes at the dojo where she trained. She also trained in Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo, a classic Japanese martial art pairing wooden sword with wooden staff, from 1997-2003 under Phil and Nobuko Relnick, and received her sandan (3rd-degree black belt) in Jodo from the Japan Kendo Association in 2002.
In 2002, still living in Tokyo, Dana began her formal practice of alignment-based yoga in the Iyengar tradition under Dominica Serigano, head of SHIZEN Yoga Studio. She was drawn to Iyengar Yoga for its depth, precision, clarity, challenge, and mental, physical, and spiritual alignment. She began teaching bilingual (English/Japanese) Hatha, Prenatal, and Postnatal yoga classes at SHIZEN in 2004. Dana continued her study and practice under Dominica’s mentorship for over 10 years. During her time in Japan, Dana studied with senior Iyengar instructors Gabriela Giubilaro, Marla Apt, Paul Cabanis, Ramanand Patel. Dana is grateful to Dominica, who has always been a teacher, guide, friend, mentor, inspiration, and collaborator.
In 2005, in cooperation with the esteemed Italian leather goods brand FURLA, and with SHIZEN Yoga Studio, Dana opened FURLA Yoga, a boutique yoga studio in Aoyama, Tokyo, offering quality yoga instruction to both Japanese and international clientele. As Studio Director, Dana managed, taught at, and developed curriculum and programming for the studio from its early years until its closing in December, 2017. Dana is ever grateful to the teachers, students, and staff in Tokyo who made this wonderful project possible, even after she left Japan in 2013!
In 2013, Dana relocated to beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband and son. She taught yoga classes, workshops, and retreats in the area, worked one-on-one with clients as a yoga therapist, and was faculty for local yoga teacher training programs. Dana has taught at Mindful Yoga Collective, Inbody Academy, Salt Lake Community College, and the University of Utah. She also teaches yoga for patients, caregivers, and staff at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
During COVID, from 2019-2022, Dana regularly taught online classes and private sessions, supporting students to continue their yoga and movement practices from the comfort of their own homes. Creating this online community was vital to the health and wellness – mental, physical, and emotional – of the individuals who joined. Dana is forever grateful for the dedication and flexibility of the wonderful students who joined classes!
Since January, 2022, Dana has supported Cancer Survivors as Program Director for Survivor Wellness, designing integrative health programs for the Salt Lake City-based non-profit organization. Originally known as Cancer Wellness House, founded in 1998, Survivor Wellness supports Cancer Survivors, their families, caregivers, and loved ones by providing free- and low-cost services such as counseling and support groups, bodywork treatments such as massage therapy, reiki, and acupuncture, and classes such as yoga and qigong, as well as community events, all designed to educate, support, and provide opportunities to live well with cancer.
Dana’s yoga/movement teaching and therapeutic work are influenced by the Iyengar yoga tradition, as well as her background in a variety of somatic practices, including: modern dance, bodywork, movement analysis, anatomy and kinesiology, and martial arts. Using yoga as a vehicle for transformation, she works to develop ease, efficiency, and alignment of body, breath, and mind. Focusing on precision of body mechanics, structural awareness, and intelligent practice, Dana’s yoga classes are challenging, innovative, fun, and instructive, with an emphasis on meeting each student’s needs. Using props such as blocks, belts, bolsters, chairs, and walls, Dana creates asana (posture) and movement practices for every body, regardless of age, size, or ability, and encourages practitioners to move with power and love through all phases of life.
As a certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and a somatic movement educator, Dana works one-on-one or in small group lessons with clients to address issues beyond the scope of a regular yoga class. She works through the body: to resolve trauma & PTSD (based on the work of Paul Linden, Being In Movement®); to aid in injury prevention and recovery; to aid in back pain prevention and recovery; to address pelvic floor issues; to address “what’s holding you back”, and more.
Dana works extensively with Paul Linden, founder of Being in Movement ® Bodymind Education, to educate, teach, share, spread, preserve, and embody the principles of this body-based method of addressing trauma, developing power and love, and creating a more peaceful and just world. “By experiencing that actions built on a spacious, compassionate, powerful body are more effective than behavior stemming from contraction, fear and anger, people can find more ease and effectiveness in whatever is important to them.” (Paul Linden)
See below for opportunities to study with Dana and with Paul, or visit this page!
Dana is a certified teacher of Embodied Yoga Principles (EYP), a contemporary method for gaining insight into personal values through the postural yoga practice, and transferring those insights off the mat and into one’s daily life, work, play, home, and relationships!
For a look at Dana’s yoga practice, teaching, and presentation style, have a look at this 20-minute video taken in Sept., 2018 at the University of Utah’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program. The sequence is the 2017 International Day of Yoga sequence provided by Geeta Iyengar. Watch to the end, for the engaging question-and-answer session with students.
UPCOMING & RECENT CERTIFICATIONS, TRAININGS & EVENTS:
- April 2021-2022: Certification studies in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis through Integrated Movement Studies. Once completed, Dana will hold the C-LMA certification, as well as certification with ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Education & Therapy Association) as a C-RSMT and C-RSME (Certified Registered Movement Therapist, and Certified Registered Movement Educator).
- 2020-2021: Dana hosts “Embodied Peacemaking with Paul Linden” for The Embodiment Circle Online, bringing together practitioners and participants from around the globe to learn from and with Paul Linden in weekly, one-hour events. Dana also hosts monthly practice sessions, “Embodying Power and Love” – details and registration here!
- October, 2020: Hosted sessions for The Embodiment Conference, a global event bringing together experts in the field of embodiment to offer over 1000 sessions to 500,000 registered attendees over ten “channels”. The recordings are still available for purchase here, and represent the best minds in the field! (Some sessions are available for viewing at no charge.)
- April, 2020: Presented in “Zoom Around the World” global 24-hour event, gathering embodiment practitioners throughout the world! You can still access the sessions here.
- Spring, 2020: Dana was to host a workshop with Yumiko Yoshioka, whose “Body Resonance” bodywork method forms the basis of her work as an artist in the Japanese dance form, butoh. However, it was canceled due to COVID…
- September, 2019: Hosted “PAUL LINDEN in SLC”, a three-day intensive workshop and two-hour introductory lecture on “Being in Movement®” with Paul Linden. Dana is an experienced practitioner of Being in Movement®, having studied with Paul Linden on and off for 20+ years.
- June, 2019: Trained in Embodied Yoga Principles (EYP) with its founder, Mark Walsh, in Austin, TX; certified as an EYP teacher in Sept. 2019.
- April, 2019: Attended the IYNAUS (Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States) conference in Dallas, TX, and studied with Abhijata Iyengar and other senior teachers in the Iyengar tradition.
- Winter, 2018: Dana received certification as a Pelvic Floor Yoga Teacher in Pelvic Floor Yoga from Leslie Howard, after bringing Leslie to SLC twice for Pelvic Floor Yoga Teacher Training and workshops.
- Spring, 2017: Brought Paul Linden, Ph.D., of Columbus, Ohio, to teach “Stable Body, Balanced Mind: Embodied Peacemaking Workshops” in SLC. Paul’s approach to developing body awareness in times of conflict strongly influences Dana’s therapeutic work.
MORE BACKGROUND DETAILS:
- Dance & movement studies: Dana holds a B.A. in Dance from Denison University, and M.A. in Choreography and Performance from The Ohio State University. From 1982-1997, she choreographed and performed throughout the Midwest as a modern dancer. During that time, she studied various bodywork practices (Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, Body-Mind Centering) and performance styles (theater, mime, butoh, performance art). At O.S.U., Dana delved deeply into Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals. She studied and performed at the American Dance Festival in the late 1980’s, working with avant-garde choreographers such as Steven Paxton, Simone Forti, Eiko and Koma, Pooh Kaye, Ray Eliot Schwartz, Toby Vann, and more. In 1991, “Whammy”, Dana’s explosive 2.5 minute duet with Eoin O’Brien, set to Screaming’ Jay Hawkins’ “She Put a Spell on Me”, was selected for an award at the Midwest College Dance Festival.
- Martial Arts: From 1994-2002, Dana studied and taught aikido, first in the U.S. and then Japan, receiving her nidan (second-degree black belt) in 2001 in Tokyo. Her first aikido teachers, Paul Linden (see below) and Peggy Berger, were great influences on her current style of teaching. She also practiced and received ranking in Shinto Muso Ryu Jodo during her early years in Japan (1997-2002).
- Japan: While in Japan (1997-2013), in addition to raising her son, and teaching and managing FURLA yoga, Dana was published and featured in “Being Abroad” and “YOGAYOMU” magazines, led workshops in using yoga to reduce workplace stress for international financial firms and for FEW (Foreign Executive Women/For Entrepreneuring Women), assisted classes at Tokyo Yoga Festa, was an ambassador for LuluLemon Tokyo, assisted in teacher trainings for local studios, and organized and led yoga retreats at Myogetsubo Temple in the sacred mountain town of Nikko with the organization, Yoga Nikko. She is fluent in Japanese, is grateful for the experience of diving deep in the Japanese culture, and will always consider Japan her second home.
Dana grew up in Nashville, Tennessee before Nashville was cool, and worked for her dad at Levy’s Menswear as a teenager. She started learning modern dance in high school, although she really wanted to learn tap dance (it was way too hard). She also trained in pantomime and worked as a mannequin model, too. She worked in the first Japanese restaurant in Nashville (Kobe Steaks) in the early 1980’s, never imagining she’d spend 15 years in Japan as an adult. For five years, she worked in the North Market in Columbus, Ohio, where she honed her baking skills, practiced making change without a cash register, and generally smelled like cinnamon. While there, she contributed her tips to a fund which created the foundation of the Highlands Nature Sanctuary, dedicated to preserving the “Arc of Appalachia” in southern Ohio. Dana is grateful to her mother, Ellen, who is still her biggest cheerleader, to her husband for the adventures, and her son, who will create the future.