Day in the Life: Donna “Dahari” Lovong

Released on March 3rd, 2014


A Master in Public Healthr

Donna “Dahari” Lovong is a full time Dahn Yoga center manager and instructor who divides her time between Burke Dahn Yoga Center in Springfield, VA and the Vienna Virginia Dahn Yoga studio. Enjoy Dahari’s cheerful and enthusiastic style as she shares the story of her own healing and growth.

DYLOur interview with Donna “Dahari” Lovong took place during a small slice of time she had available as she was “mindfully driving” between the two Dahn Yoga centers she manages. Those two centers, Burke Dahn Yoga center in Springfield, VA and the Vienna Virginia Dahn Yoga studio enjoy Dahari’s cheerful enthusiasm on a daily basis. Here is Dahari’s story of healing and growth. As we begin our interview, she jokes about her schedule.

DL: Possibly, you don’t really want to know about how my typical day goes, especially now that I am headmaster of two centers! I am going back and forth between Vienna Center and Burke Center. I just spent all day teaching at Vienna, seeing members and leading a special class, and then a private session. And now I am going back to Burke to lead the evening class and teaching Shim Sung preparation there. One of the staff members is sick, so I have the extra trip today.

I moved here from Houston, Texas one year ago to take over Burke center. Since mid-November, I oversee the two centers and two assistant managers.

DYLYou mentioned the coincidence of the timing of our interview …

DL: Yes, March will be my Anniversary for when I first joined Dahn Yoga: Nine years ago on March 5th, 2005 I walked into a Dahn Yoga Center! I am happy to share how Dahn Yoga empowered my life, and helped recover my health.

Here is my story: In August 2004, I began to suffer from recurrent severe gastric pains and idiopathic chronic hives with swelling. This health event was a big wake up call for me. My pains would keep me awake at night. I needed medications on a daily basis for my pains and hives. At that time, I was just promoted to the senior management level research position at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and was trying to complete my Master of Public Health. Finally, I was getting frustrated with some of my work as a health researcher; very long hours, stress in my shoulders, and I noticed that we were caring more for our patients than for each other as fellow coworkers and mentors. I was involved in Wellness groups at the hospital, and also taught meditation for noon-time classes in my Department. I saw the Dahn Yoga flyer at my doctor’s [office], and he recommended that I try it. My life has changed for the better since!

I finished my Masters in Public Health back in 2006 and I have been teaching at Dahn Yoga and doing community health outreach since then. I have seen countless miracles and success stories from our students. It gives me the greatest joy to hear students say “Thank you. Thank you so much. You have helped me so much.”

DYL: Elaborate, please, on how you approach a typical day.

DL: When I enter the center, I greet the center with “Bangapsumnida!” The center is a living being to me. I prepare tea and the classroom for members, greet them with a warm hug and smile. I teach class, meet members after, conduct private sessions and education classes. It’s a “community” center and I know everyone’s name! It’s so important to me and to have a community center where everybody connects. And I tell everyone, including new members, that I want them to understand and feel, “This is your center, your mind and body training center!”

DYL:How do you feel your background in public health has enhanced your work as a Dahn Yoga instructor and center manager?

DL: I am still doing public health! I’m interacting with people every day. Public health’s mission is to make people healthy, not just physically healthy, but mentally healthy too. Mind-Body-Spirit. Yes, I’m still in public health, but now I’m not waiting for the research that takes a long time before any action can be taken, here we are just taking action.

DYL: What is your personal message, your passion in Dahn Yoga, and in life that you offer as you teach that you would like to share in this interview?

DL:The first step is to come back home, to your body. Your body follows only one thing, your mind. I am passionate about teaching; I come alive when I interact with members and the public too! I’m pretty much always smiling - I smile no matter what. I smile all the time. My name, “Dahari” means, “I give it all” and that’s exactly my whole life! I give it all to awaken the human spirit.

DYL: As evidenced by a couple of comments I received, your passion has spilled over into the hearts of your students. Ellis Cropper said, “Master Dahari embodies Dahn Yoga, her child-like energy and spirit exudes healing warmth through her continuous smiles. Her instruction encourages you to defy all preconceptions. Experiencing her as my trainer at Shim Sung was empowering and inspirational.”

DL:I debuted as a Shim Sung trainer last October, and I’ve been a Dahn Yoga Master and an instructor since 2007. Since becoming a center manager, I just can’t believe the difference in what I am able to handle, between now, and then. Most important, I have gained the confidence to handle any situation I encounter and trust my deepest experience. My family is happy that I am more at peace and patient a nd healing them now too. And to think I can be here to guide people through opening their hearts safely and recall the pure love for themselves- well, I’m really amazed I am here!

DYL: Your student, Susan Lee stated, “Donna is an extremely caring and sincere instructor, healer, and coach. She helps you look inside yourself to find the root of your troubles, pain or illness. She helped me clear away negative thoughts and emotions to realize that I have value as a human and can use the power of my brain to make positive changes in my life. I love her classes and her warm heart.”

You offer much inspiration, Dahari! If I asked your Dahn Yoga students what phrase of encouragement you are most often heard offering, what would they say?

DL: Smile, You can do it! Keep going. I love you!

DYL: Thank You, Dahari!

—L. A. Trombetta

Category: Community

3 Comments|Tell us your thoughts

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  • Hyeon Heo|19:00 PM on March 14th, 2014

    Thank you for your sharing! Daharinim I will remember what you said at the end " *^______^* , I can do it!, keep going, love you"

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  • Taryn|12:26 PM on March 14th, 2014

    Thanks for a great article! Dahari nim is an inspiration. :-)

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  • Adahae|22:37 PM on March 3rd, 2014

    Great article! It sounds like Dahari nim!

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