Durga Devi, the name given to Denise by her beloved teachers (Sharon Gannon and David Life) is a former dancer and gymnast who grew up in New York City. She was introduced to yoga in 1996 by close friends. Asana (posture) practice felt very natural to her, but it was the chanting, the philosophy and the ancient and holy teachings of yoga that really hit home.
Durga is Advanced Certified in the Jivamukti method, and has also completed teacher training at the Laughing Lotus Yoga Centre in New York City. Kirtan training with Jai Uttal influenced her chanting which is a very important component in her classes.
When did you first become interested in yoga?
In New York City many of my friends who were artists and musicians were practicing yoga at Jivamukti for years and were totally raving about it so I finally went to take a class in 1996 after years of working out at gyms and was hooked!
Do you have a favourite pose?
I would say my favourite pose is handstand and most inversions. Nothing like going upside-down.
What is your go to breakfast when you know you have a hard day ahead?
I love having avocado on toast with lots of olive oil and chilli. Also smoothies with pear or apple and lots of ginger. Black tea with soy milk.
What’s your favourite post-workout snack?
Humous with tortilla chips and carrots and celery sticks.
You have to invite a famous person to dinner, who would it be?
Hmmmm good question! Debbie Harry from Blondie. I met her a couple of times in NYC. I’m an old punk rocker!
What would you cook for her?
Loads of healthy vegetables with wild rice and quinoa. Guacamole or any Mexican inspired dish.
Do you have any advice for a yoga newbie, or somebody coming back to yoga after some time off?
It takes a great deal of dedication and patience. Finding the right teacher is very important of course. Keeping it fun and light too.
What do you do to relax after a busy day at work?
Watching comedy on the telly! Always love a good laugh.
Can you describe your perfect holiday destination?
I love the south of Italy and Spain and any Greek island. Where it’s hot and lots of sun and sea.
When travelling, what essentials would we find in your hand luggage?
Always have my portable speakers as I’ve got to have my music. Keeping it simple and light with versatile products such as almond oil for face and body. Incense and tea lights too.
Do you have any vices?
Love my red wine!
Do you have a favourite quote or mantra?
Let Go – Let Go…..
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
So many! I guess keep a good sense of humour and don’t sweat the small stuff.
In the meantime, we are hosting a record number of holidays this year with a selection of truly outstanding teachers at a variety of gorgeous, peaceful destinations. Hopefully, you can find a holiday that suits you.