Thought-leader Dana Falsetti is all about seizing the moment. To her, every day -- every minute, is an opportunity to work on becoming her best and highest self. Confidence, authenticity, critical thinking, body justice, inclusivity and awareness are just a few of the values that this mighty yoga practitioner is passionate about both embodying and sharing with others.
Born in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Dana’s unique experiences throughout her formative years helped to mold her into the radical, forward-thinking encourager and social advocate she is today. After attending Quaker schools that valued introspection, vulnerability, respect and compassion, Dana began her own journey toward self-acceptance around those principles. However, it wasn’t always easy to pursue such aspirational goals. Dana, like many others, battled doubt, bullying and shame over the years. Through these obstacles, Dana came out the other side stronger than before — and with the desire to spread the teachings of her own journey in the hopes that it might help others with theirs.
Initially, Dana sought growth physically after reaching an emotional low point. She dove headfirst into a weight loss journey in a common effort to amend her struggling mind. She tried - and succeeded - with those efforts, but was still unfulfilled. While she refers to this period of her life as feeling like she was still “asleep,” it was actually the pivotal beginning of a long journey that would affect thousands of people in similar situations. The summer after her sophomore year at Loyola in New Orleans, Dana made the profound discovery that yoga brought her the sense of mental clarity she had been seeking.
From the very beginning, Dana was not a “traditional” yoga student. Many yoga studios weren’t particularly welcoming to her, nor did they embrace the notion of including less able-bodied people. They were unsure how to teach them and not motivated to learn how. Rather than turning away, Dana forged ahead to explore and develop her own practice. After sharing her own personal journey on social media, throes of people in similar situations turned to Dana for support and inspiration. While Dana didn’t initially intend on being a yoga teacher, she was called to the profession after seeing what it lacked: a safe space for a community of marginalized people to explore a practice originally intended for all. Learning how to make the practice work for her own body gave Dana a sense of autonomy and empowerment she wanted to share with others, regardless of their size, gender, body, shape or color. After years of missing out due to low confidence, Dana had finally found her true calling: helping to normalize the diversity of the human condition and give others, especially vulnerable groups, the opportunity for self-worth, self-care and, ultimately, self-acceptance.
Since this revelation, Dana has taken to social media, speaking engagements, writing, brand partnerships, media interviews and more. Campaigning for equality, shame disruption, empowerment, sexual freedom and confidence, Dana has gained an online following of more than half a million people. She has traveled world-wide, hosting dozens of workshops for those seeking similar insights, and several of her viral videos have gleaned more than 20 million views. Dana won the 2017 Shorty Award for Health and Wellness on Social Media, and has been featured in publications such as Seventeen, Women’s Health, People, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, among others. She has also been included in numerous “most inspiring” lists for her work.
Down the road, Dana looks forward to uncovering new opportunities to spread her messages, including the possibilities of publishing books or starting her own clothing line. For now, her focus is on raising the collective consciousness, circulating resources and tools for self-empowerment and healing, making yoga as accessible as possible and continuing to embolden others to live intentionally and authentically.