A tribute to a friend, and mentor

Have you ever walked into a room and felt an instant connection of energy between yourself and someone you haven’t even met before? Well, that’s just what happened the first time I met Dana, and almost instantly we became friends.

When we first met, Dana was about to start teaching a yoga class (what else). I can honestly say that the moment I walked into the room, I felt her energy; her welcoming smile, the calming sound of her voice, her carefully chosen music and the ambiance as she welcomed this “newbie” in the room.

Dana’s teaching style was just ‘perfect’ (ha yes, I would often tell her that, and she would just laugh, and repeat the word “perfect” whilst still laughing).

Dana was easily one of the most emotionally connected people you could ever wish to meet, and I feel lucky to be able to refer to Dana as my friend and mentor.

With Dana, you didn’t have to say much at all before she would pick up on how your feeling. That can be difficult when you’re not used to talking about yourself, but needed. She just seemed to have an awareness. But that’s the thing, you didn’t have to talk about anything, just the knowing that she understood was enough.

Dana helped me immensely with my teaching and practice. Her class plans always flowed beautifully, and I loved how she would draw her plans rather than write them.

Dana was so excited when I told her I had opened a hot yoga studio in Burnley and wanted to help in any way she could. That was Dana.

I felt so honoured when Dana agreed to do a workshop for me within my new studio. We decided on a handstand workshop, and I have to say, it was ‘perfect’. She will be laughing again listening to this, but really it was, and the photos attached here will prove it! Dana said she would have loved to help the studio grow as a business offering Yoga to the community here in Burnley and the surrounding areas.

Her priority would always be her children, and because I was so far away from where she lived in Manchester, it wasn’t feasible as a regular option, as would mean leaving the children for too long, which would have conflicted with her family life, so we both agreed workshops, rather than a regular teaching slot, would be best.

Everyone who knew Dana, knew that she would readily put her life on hold when it came to the needs of her children. Her love for them was unconditional, and it always will be.

Whilst attending one Dana’s classes, I met Amy Robinson, who most of you will know is also a teacher at Your Yoga Experience. Amy, Dana and I would often have a quick catch up after class. Dana would often speak proudly of the children and what they were up to.

Over lockdown and COVID-19, I had been in hospital and contacted Dana to explain why I hadn’t been in touch. Shortly after I received a message from Dana saying she was ill and her classes were also postponed as mine had been until further notice.

I didn’t contact Dana much at this time, except to say hope you’re feeling better soon (as I know what it’s like when the phone never stops, even with the best intentions) and knew it would be the same for Dana.

It was on Tuesday 16th September when I read a post from Maia, Dana’s beautiful daughter, informing everyone of the passing of her mum, Dana. Maia told of a short period of illness of an aggressive form of cancer.

My heart goes out to Maia, Eve and Finn, and all of Dana’s family. I am truly deeply saddened by your loss.

May god bless you, and may you have strength to meet each day as a new day and deal with the challenges it will bring you. If I could ever help, please let me know.

Sue Kennedy

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