I met Dan in Paris in the summer of ’84, when I was doing the classic inter rail train trip through Europe, after finishing school. For years we kept in touch with old fashion letters and post cards. Thanks to the internet we caught up again and last year we met in Thailand, after more than 30 years. Dan is from Stockholm but for the past few years he has been spending the Swedish winter in Koh Lanta, Thailand, practicing and teaching yoga. In this interview he shares his wonderful journey with us, showing us that it’s never too late to change our life.
Barbaraexpat (Barbara Amalberti)
When did you start to practice yoga?
I started with yoga 6 years ago, quite late in life. I was over 50 when I tried yoga for the first time.
What brought you to yoga initially and how did you, at the age of 50, go from never having practiced to move to Thailand to be a yoga teacher?
A few years before turning 50 I felt in my body and mind that life must have something more for me. So when my brother walked into the office one day and told me he wanted to sell our company, which we had owned for 25 years (at this point I was also recently divorced), I took it as a sign!
I decided to change my life 100%. We sold the company, I moved from a big expensive house to a cheaper apartment and I started to get rid of costs and material things. But the most important change was that I decided to stop running after things and let things come to me!
One day a friend told me: “Dan, I think you should come with me and my family on a one week yoga retreat in Austria”. At this point I had never done yoga but I said: “Of course!”. My yoga journey had started.
Back home in Sweden I continued with yoga and went to different yoga classes but I did not find a teacher or type of yoga I liked, so I was doing less and less. But one day I met a yoga teacher through a friend a mine, I joined her classes and started to do yoga 3-4 times a week.
One day my yoga teacher told me that she was moving to Thailand with her family for a year and she invited me to go and visit them, she was going to teach yoga there as well.
I saw this as a sign again. I had never been to Thailand before and I had never wanted to go. So in January 2013 I left for a two weeks vacation and everything was fantastic. That year I went back three times, I met many yogis and did yoga almost everyday and not just with my teacher, I visited many other yoga studios as well.
In 2014 I decided to stay 7 months in Thailand and only focus on yoga. During this time a
friend was going to do 200 hours yoga teacher’s training and she asked me to join her. So at the age of 56 I went for a one month yoga teacher’s training. I was very nervous but it was the best thing I’ve ever done!
In 2015 I went back for 7 more months to Thailand and this time a friend asked me if I could substitute her teaching in a resort as she had to go away for a few weeks. Me, yoga teacher!! Again I was of course very nervous but I did it and it was fantastic.
This year I went back again for 7 months and I taught yoga at one resort for a few days a week while I kept up with my own practice. I also volunteered to teach the Thai staff at the resort, 2 days a week, which is a very nice feeling when you have something to share and give. At the age of 58, I also went to a handstand retreat for a week.
This is my yoga story and it’s strange but I feel that, at the age of 58, I’m just at the beginning of something!
Now I always end my classes saying:
“You have to be careful with yoga, it can change your life”
What an inspiring story, Dan, thank you for sharing it with us. Do you have a tip to encourage our readers to start practicing yoga?
What ever completion you are looking for to your ordinary life, you can find it in yoga.
If you are looking to get stronger, more flexible, calmer and more spiritual, you can find it all in yoga.
If you have never done yoga before, try classes with different styles of yoga before you sign up for one semester. And be realistic and humble with yourself, the main thing is to practice not the result of the practice.
Photos ©Dan except the main pic (Pixalia)