Five Pillars Yoga

David Marshall

Where are you from?
I grew up in Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. But I have also lived in Tennessee, Vermont and the Midwest.

How did you come to Yoga? How and when did your yoga practice begin?
My first class was my freshman year of college… 16 years ago! And my practice really began there. I was immediately drawn to the balance and equanimity I felt after class. I’ve continued fairly consistently since then, but my yoga practice really began in earnest a few years ago. I had been studying with a regular teacher who encouraged me in the direction of my first teacher training, at Yoga Shanti here in New York City. It has been a non-stop roller coaster since then!

Who inspires you?
My students inspire me constantly. They show up despite physical limitations, having injuries, or being in a bad mood. I’m inspired by vulnerability, human beings who can bring their perfectly imperfect selves to the mat and into the world with honesty and integrity.

How would you describe your teaching style?
I teach a well-balanced vinyasa flow with Iyengar-inspired alignment. I love working with beginners and I incorporate props and restorative elements whenever appropriate.

Which posture helps you Go Deep?
Ooh tricky question! Define deep…
Often “depth” in a particular class or asana for me is a direct result of how much I am willing to let go, how much I can surrender. It’s a beautiful paradox; that going deeper is not a product of working harder to get my toes above my head, perhaps it’s instead a surrender of the noise in my mind that says it’s impossible, that I’m not good enough.
My teacher Rodney Yee says “we aren’t trying to break the hamstrings, we’re trying to break ignorance.”

Do you have a spirit animal?
Right now my spirit animal is Isaac Pena. I take his class here at Five Pillars as often as I can and you should to!

Personal Motto or Mantra?
You are enough.

Complete this sentence: I practice because….
I can’t teach what I don’t know in my own bones.

Favorite Sutra?
Yoga Sutra 2.39 — Freedom from wanting unlocks the real purpose of existence.