Danielle Diamond, founder of Xen Strength Yoga, is a yoga and lifestyle expert, who has been inspiring others to get happy, strong and calm for over 15 years. Her passion is making all 8 limbs of yoga accessible on and off the mat, so your health, happiness and success are accessible and non-negotiable. Danielle and I met in college, where we became fast friends and eventually roommates. She has tirelessly worked on following her passion and has established herself as a prominent woman in her field. I am inspired by her positive attitude and words of wisdom every day. She is a real beauty inside and out. Read on to hear more about Danielle and her growing wellness business!
Danielle, what made you so attracted to Yoga?
For 10 years I was the crazy person who went to Equinox for 2 hours before work. But when I burned myself out and blew out my knee from too much running and spinning, I realized I couldn’t sustain that type of workout regime. While Yoga was NOT cool back in 1996, it was one of the only activities thing I could do during my recovery, so I didn’t have much choice. I slowly grew to love it, surprisingly more for the mental aspect of mindfulness than the flexibility and strength it gave me.
Tell me about your inspiration behind your yoga with weights video series?
I continued to do yoga for the next 14 years and got certified to teach Vinyasa yoga, but once I turned 40 the same yoga that kept me lean and tight wasn’t cutting it anymore. I had no desire to go back to the gym, so I added some weights to my Vinyasa regime. Within just a few weeks I had lost five pounds and a few inches without changing anything else.
My students noticed how my body was changing and wanted the same results, so I created my Xen Strength “Yoga with Weights” method. Since I’d been a producer at MTV for 10 years earlier in my career, I called on some of my old production friends together and shot a video; and I’ve been lucky to sell thousands of them around the world!
You do a lot of ‘challenges’- how do those work?
I have two different types on my site. I have a free 5 day “Add More Oomph to Your Om” challenge, where you get a different workout video, meditation or nutrition advice each day I also have a 28 day “Love Your Asana” Challenge that goes much deeper. Each day you get new yoga with weights videos, a meditation video, healthy recipes and a gratitude prompt- basically a hint of how to be nice to someone that day. I love yoga on the mat, but practicing how all aspects of yoga can create shifts in your mindset and character is really what excites me now!
You talk about practicing Yoga off the matt. Enlighten me.
When most people think about yoga they picture Instagram handstands and touching their toes. But the physical aspect of yoga is only one “limb” of the “Eight Limbs of Yoga”. Historically, before you were taught the physical poses practitioners were introduced to the “Yamas” and the “Niyamas”, which are kind of like the Ten Commandments of yoga relating to how you treat others and yourself. Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t take more than you need, don’t cause harm, discipline yourself, be content with what you have, and surrender to what is.
Those last two are complete game-changers. Most people don’t realize how lucky they are to have the lives they already have. Instead we’re always wanting more or comparing our lives to those in our circle or in glossy magazines. My yoga and meditation practice has taught me that comparison truly is the thief of joy, and how important it is to drop our baggage from the past- even if it’s Prada!
Your teaching has evolved from Yoga instructor to more of a wellness coach. How did that happen?
As I got older I realized that movement is great, but what we put into our bodies and our minds are just as important for our overall health. I dove deeper into learning more meditation and relaxation techniques while getting certified as a nutrition coach so I could offer my private clients a 360 approach to wellness from the inside out- and they love it!
You’ve found inspiration from many others in the Wellness community. Who are some of your trusted advisors and how do you inspire each other?
My friend and go-to nutrition guru is celeb nutritionist, Keri Glassman, who actually started her own nutrition school. I listen to everything she tells me about eating a nutrient dense diet, but also enjoying myself and eating pizza and ice cream as an occasional indulgence. I absolutely adore my friend and yoga teacher extraordinaire, Elena Brower. She has an amazing presence of calm and a beautiful style about her- you can’t help but be captivated by her teachings. My friend Alex Jamieson, (who produced the Super Size Me movie), taught me about honoring my feelings, building confidence and running a business as a mama. My wellness bestie, Rebekah Borucki from Bexlife.com is an inspiration on many levels; she’s the mother of five kids, runs a farm and just wrote her first book on meditation that will be released in January. I feel extremely grateful to be surrounded by such incredible women. A few of us get together each month in a little “wellness mastermind” where we dish on running our businesses, balancing work and family, and sharing the best new coconut milk ice cream recipes.
What is next for Xen Strength and Danielle Diamond?
I recently consulted on an incredible new brand of wellness products with nutritionist, Keri Glassman, and I couldn’t be happier about how they have turned out. We created a line of six products including a delicious vegan vanilla protein powder; a probiotic; organic greens powder; multivitamin + antioxidant drink; 5 star fish oil; and a multivitamin with a special anti-inflammatory spice blend. You can check them out HERE. After seeing how I’ve built my business, many yoga teachers and wellness coaches have asked me if I can help them do the same. So I’ve started mentoring people on how to become successful wellness entrepreneurs as well, and I love it!
If you live in the NYC area, come practice with me in Bryant Park when I teach for Yoga Journal on Tuesday Sept. 13th at 10am.
Danielle can be found at www. xenstrength.com and on instagram @xenstrength