Every yoga teacher has a story that first brought them to the mat — be it a calling, a desire to strengthen their connection to the body, or pursuit to dig deeper into themselves. For Danni Pomplun, it was a windy road to finding the center.
Growing up in East Los Angeles with a mom in and out of prison, Danni had hardly heard of yoga until his late teens. It wasn’t until he developed a crush on a yogi surfer friend of his that he was first exposed to the yoga community. Wanting to impress his friend when they surfed together, Danni started attending yoga classes casually, to see what the fuss was about. An athletic teen, he approached the classes with an ego, confident his athleticism would prepare him for whatever it was that “yoga” brought to the table. Unbeknownst to him at the time, the practice would become far more than a physical challenge, ultimately changing his life.
During that time, Danni was hardly 18 and living on his own, no longer welcome in his home since coming out to his father as gay at age 16. Having grown up on welfare with a mother in and out of prison, Danni had little family to turn to for support. Immersing himself in the gay community in the only way he knew how Danni started bartending at gay bars and quickly fell into the fast lane of L.A. nightlife. It was then that he met Nick, his partner of 2 years who tragically died of AIDS when Danni was merely 25. Struggling to see straight, Danni spun into an abyss of darkness as he reckoned with the harsh reality that the first adult who he had not only trusted but given his life and heart to was now gone.
Ten years later, Danni recalls finding a connection to yoga during the toughest spell of his life. “Being in the yoga space and in that community gave me time to reflect. It helped me come back to myself and my body at the right moment, and sparked me to see a therapist,” he reflects.
Within a year, Danni had signed up for yoga teacher training, attended a yoga conference, and made the decision to move to San Francisco, where he practices and teaches yoga today. Now, Danni’s calling as a yoga teacher is to create a space of trust for people so that they too, can find inner wisdom and clarity within themselves.
If he has one message to share with those who choose to practice with him, it’s that humans are resilient beings who can bounce back in the face of tragedy, or whatever obstacles fall their way. In Danni’s eyes, life’s journey always has something more to offer — something profound and undoubtedly beautiful — if you simply create the space to find that something within.
Follow Danni Pomplun on Instagram @dannipomplun. Sign up for Danni’s classes, listen to his podcast, or read his blog at dannipomplun.com. Check out Danni’s recommended Spotify playlist Crisp Air 2020 for some tunes to get you in the groove as you flow and find the space within.
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