Dina's Story: Overcoming Body Dysmorphia & Pursuing Passion Projects
Having known Dina for a long time, growing up in the same town, I knew that she was an incredibly talented dancer and passionate person; however, not being close friends, I never knew the struggles she had to overcome in her life to become the incredible yoga teacher and person that I know her as today.
I interviewed Dina because I wanted to learn more about her story and what she is currently pursuing as an active member of the yogi community. It is important -- vital -- that during these times of great discomfort and separation that we reach out to others to connect.
1. Tell me about you and what you do.
My name is Dina, and I'm a lot of different things. Some of the things I am mostly recognized for are being an eclectic witch, yogi, nature lover, foodie, musician/ rocker chick(I used to be in a metal band) and a total animal lover! I immerse myself into my passions as much as possible everyday, and try my best to incorporate them into my work life as well! My main professions, however, include but are not limited to: Yoga Instructor, Childcare Provider, and Interior Designer!
2. What’s your story?
Growing up I was a dancer all of my life, and a very passionate one at that! It was my heart and soul for almost 20 years. It is still part of my everyday life, but as time went on, I grew to explore other passions and give myself more space to be creative. In my teen years, when I began to experience depression and symptoms similar to body dysmorphia, I had gone through an incredibly rough time. Naturally it was in that stormy time that I found Yoga, and it is something I could never fully express my gratitude for. I went through many years of pain before I found the yogic path, and it certainly doesn't stop you from experiencing pain once you are a part of this journey, but the tools it has given me are ones I will never be without and ones that I will be forever grateful for!
I also have created a nature based and peaceful lifestyle for myself through being a practicing witch. Growing up, I was made to go to Catholic church every Sunday, and CCD, make my sacraments, alter serve, etc. I never felt aligned with the Catholic faith, and easily clicked into witchcraft when a relative of mine gave me some spell books and I fell in love! There are lots of misconceptions about witchery, and I'm always open to talking about it more if anyone is interested! But being a witch and connecting with nature is something I have always been so connected to, and thankful for since a young age. It's a large part of who I am. 3. If you don’t mind answering, what is body dysmorphia? How did yoga help you to overcome these struggles you mention?
Body dysmorphia is a mental illness involving obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in appearance. I was never diagnosed with it by a doctor, but similar to those who have that illness, I struggled greatly with how I saw myself for many years. Yoga helped me overcome these struggles by showing me just how grateful I should be for the body I am in. It showed me how beautiful it is, regardless of shape or size. It showed me how capable it is, and how much it helps me get through every day! Like anyone else, there are times where I find myself nit picking things about my appearance, but to this day, I am reminded even in those moments that I need to stop in my tracks, and reroute that thought to something positive because my body does everything it needs to, it is beautiful the way it is and I have too grateful a heart not to appreciate it!
4. What personal passion project are you working on right now?
Right now I've been working on lots of crafts around the house which have been so much fun! The biggest being a Grimoire that I created from start to finish. (Think big leathery book of shadows you see in witchy movies and TV shows) I made the structure and bound it with black vegan leather, I took a whole day coffee staining 4 big books of paper to tie inside, lined the inner covers of the book with black felt and just started using my watercolor markers to paint my cover page and start putting information into the book! Grimoires hold any and all knowledge of witchcraft that you practice or want to practice, including information on astrology, herbs, crystals, etc. It can even include spells if you wish! Some people think it's wacky, but I enjoy it! It's just me embracing what feels natural to my spirit!
5. Where do you live and how does it influence you?
I live in northern New Jersey, and it definitely has taught me a lot about patience. I was born here, but spent most of my life living down the shore, where I was raised. I make the best of every situation I am in, but this is definitely not the environment I'm meant to be in for the long term! Just for this current chapter, I suppose! It's very hustle and bustle, and the congestion and traffic can drive me crazy from time to time. But that just inspires me to practice more yoga and meditation! Haha
6. How have you grown your business from an idea to where it is now?
I've bounced back and forth with self started businesses and I am in sort of a hiatus at the moment while I figure out exactly what it is I want to do for others. Reevaluating how I can best be if service. So I'll have to circle back on that! 😊
7. What inspires you the most?
Nature. I go on walks every single day just to connect with mother earth and her energy. I always come back filled with new ideas and positive energy.
8. What makes you feel empowered?
I feel most empowered when I am fully loving myself and enjoying myself. Maybe through dancing, or a certain outfit, nudity, sex, yoga, ceremonies.. I also feel empowered when I am surrounded by like-minded individuals. Knowing you're not alone in the world and feeling that collective connection and passion with similar souls is a wonderful feeling!
9. How do you recharge?
Recharging for me usually looks like sleeping in, couch surfing, stretching, a long shower, maybe a good cry, and some of my favorite foods!
10. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Honestly, overcoming insecurity and finding true happiness. There's no greater feeling than finding peace within yourself, because at the end of the day, you are with YOU 24/7. 11. How do you practice self care and self love?
Self care and self love can take so many different shapes. For me, it means taking steps daily to fuel my body with good food, move my body, and being kind with how I speak to myself and others. It can also mean resting when I am feeling low, which in turn could be letting out a good cry, eating my favorite snacks, watching a favorite movie or TV show, letting my cats or listening to them purr, cuddling with my fiance, taking a nap, going out in nature, or quite simply a day of nothingness.
12. What has helped you to overcome your insecurities and find peace?
Overcoming insecurity has been greatly assisted for me by being with a partner who is so loving and kind. But truly from within I began to overcome insecurity when I realized there was zero use or benefit for comparing myself to anyone else for any reason. I am me, and uniquely so! We should all be able to appreciate our differences and what we bring to the table spiritually, mentally and physically!
13. What does true happiness mean to you?
True happiness to me is a state of acceptance and peace within yourself that you can achieve through any outside circumstance. To be fully happy with where you are in every aspect of your life is to accept where you are, and continue to grow in a positive direction!
14. What has been your biggest struggle so far?
My biggest struggle is probably staying consistent. I am passionate about so many things, I tend to hop around to all of these different jobs, projects and lifestyles because I love them all so much. I want to experience it all!
15. What would you say to others in a similar situation?
Just do it. Do whatever makes you happy! Because in 10 years, you can look back and say you did it, and not spend the rest of your life holding yourself back, or wishing that you would have done the things you wanted when you had the chance. Life is too short for us not to be fulfilled!!
16. What is the thing you want to achieve most?
Balance and stability. Things tend to feel so up and down, high and low, back and forth.. My underlying goal in all that I do is to create some kind of peaceful balance for myself in my day to day life! I think I'm starting to get there, slowly but surely!
17. How can people connect with you?
is the only personal way to connect with me for now and see lots of nature pictures, witchy things or yoga posts!
And if you're interested in interior design, I do have an Instagram @designwithdina if you want to check that out! It's been a while since I've posted, but there is more to come soon. XO
I greatly appreciate Dina taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions and share her story, so that someone else may benefit from her words and light.
If you, or someone you know, would like to be featured in a blog interview post with me, feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org ! I would love to hear and share your story!