Unstoppable Rima. Sunny Costa Rica. Ever-present Yoga

Post by Liliya Rudakova,  14 September 2014 ,  Interview
Rima Danielle is such an interesting mixture of everything exciting! 
Born to Lebanese parents, Rima grew up in California, studied hypnotherapy, worked as a behaviorist and as a nutritionist. Soccer player in the past, she now teaches yoga asana and is preoccupied with a project of opening a Residential Treatment Center for adolescents and young adults in Costa Rica. On a side note: Rima is 27!

Now wonder we had some questions to ask!

Costa Rima, Rima Danielle, yoga, Boat Pose, Navasana

This time we will start with a bunch of beginnings, which you are free to finish up with whatever comes first to mind and then move on to ´proper questions´.

I was born to Lebanese parents who settled in California to escape civil war and unrest in the Middle East. We go to Lebanon often and it is an absolutely gorgeous and enchanting land.

I have always been fascinated by witches, black cats, and magic.

I practice yoga, because it’s the only thing that makes sense. Not practicing yoga simply makes no sense.

As far back as I remember myself, I knew I had lived many lives before and would live many lives again!

When I was growing up I knew I wasn’t being told the whole story about reality. There are truths you can only find if you seek. 

By the way… Did I mention that DC released a comic book hero in 1974 called “Rima the Jungle Girl” who is a superhero witch that lives in the Venezuelan rainforest? She is a vegan and uses her powers to protect animals and to have the animals take out poachers, hunters, and those who damage the environment! She’s me, basically! Another sign I am on the right path!

I don´t understand why vegan is so taboo to many. Veganism is actually synonymous for love, compassion, justice, equality, freedom, and peace!!! I love veganism and vegans!

A mere thought of the billions of animals suffering at the hands of humans at every moment crushes my soul. We must use our voice to inform others of these tragedies and how we can change the future for ourselves and our animal friends!

Just a few years ago I would’ve told you that yoga isn’t for me and that I wouldn’t enjoy it. Good thing people change!

I love those who both had the curiosity to question everything and the courage to change the course of their life based on what they learn.

We will all die so we may as well live every moment like it’s the last! Death is inevitable but enjoying and living life is a choice! Make the right choices!

Happiness is not something ready-made, it’s something you choose consciously in every moment of every day. Whether you’re chopping veggies, doing the dishes, or doing something you love, it’s a choice.

Cost Rima, Warrior III

That was a warm-up, time for some serious questions now!

What brought you to where you are now? 

I think I started to be conscious of my path in my late teens. It was the time, when I became very politically aware and took up studying psychology & human behavior. From an early age I saw the many problems we face as a society and sought to understand them differently, which oftentimes went against the status quo. I didn’t believe what I was told just because someone said so and knew there was more to the generally accepted cultural stories. I’ve followed my path with faith and overturned each rock that I’ve come across, eager to learn the lesson I’m meant to learn. Yoga was one of those rocks and it has completely changed my life in the ways I could never have imagined.

How did yoga come into the picture?

Most in the West come to yoga for the physical or aesthetic benefits of it. I live in a bubble sometimes and had no idea of what yoga actually was. I was an athlete (soccer and track mainly) and never took a yoga class in my life. I didn’t know what it was and didn’t think twice about it being of any benefit for me! Through my spiritual journey, I found myself at Self Realization Fellowship and learned about kriya yoga and meditation. I learned of asana as a way to calm the mind for meditation. I figured it couldn’t hurt and wanted to try something new so I got a two weeks deal at the YogaWorks in Santa Monica and was hooked from the very beginning. I started practicing with Heather Seiniger regularly and she inspired me to take her 200-hour training that summer. I was so new to yoga and didn’t even consider it before she asked me directly. So many signs pointing to me signing up and in hindsight it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What yoga style do you practice?

I practice mainly hatha yoga and vinyasa. I’m interested in Jivamukti Yoga though I’ve never been able to try it! Again though, certain people are being drawn into my life that are associated with Jivamukti in some way and it’s exciting to see where that will lead me!

For how long have you been maintaining a regular yoga practice?

The first yoga class I ever took was in January of 2013 and I’ve been practicing 5 – 6 times a week ever since. I finished my 200-hour teacher training in August 2013 and I hope to take my 300 hour training soon!

Costa Rima, Side Plank Pose, Vasisthasana

Tell us a bit more about the Residential Treatment Center project, please. It sounds very exciting!

It’s definitely exciting! It’s something I’ve envisioned my entire life. As I followed the signs in my life, certain things lead me to Costa Rica and to this specific idea of a holistic and yoga-inspired treatment center in the jungle. I was introduced to a woman who shared many of my dreams to the point where it was weird! We immediately had a soul connection and became business partners on this project. She is an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) & I am an MFT (Marriage and Family Therapist) in the state of California & we’re both certified Yoga instructors, as well. Her background is fascinating. One project she worked on included using an evidence-based program from Harvard, sponsored by Lululemon, to work with children in low-income schools with ADHD, Autism, and more. We hope to provide a center where clients can deprogram from the false messages and cultural stories taught to us from the day we’re born and instead learn how to take responsibility and power back for their lives, their happiness, their health etc. We want to empower our clients and their families to cope in healthy, positive ways and to learn to live in this rapidly evolving society we live in. I could really go on and on about this project and what it will entail but this would turn into an essay!

What would be the success criteria for this project? 

Success in our eyes and the eyes of stakeholders will be met once the center is open, fully staffed and functional, and we have a patient in every room throughout the year. Eventually, we will like to expand to include housing for family members to visit and stay in order to participate in therapy and training or receive their own services, if applicable. Our focus and impact on local issues and work within the community will be an important part of determining the center’s success, as well.

How do you define success for yourself in your personal life? 

I’ve learned to define success based on if I’m happy doing what I’m doing in the moment. I don’t mean that in the sense of neglecting responsibility, but of surrounding yourself with positive energy and gratitude for the duties we have along our path. I’ve achieved a lot for my age (I’m 27), but often it was at the expense of my sanity! I overworked myself and was out of balance in many ways. Through yoga, meditation, and therapy, I’ve learned to create balance and to allow time for peace, space, and creativity. So I guess I would define success in my life as having balance and being happy. Making money is essential to live, and to move our dreams and goals forward, but for me, it is not a determination of success in and of itself! I absolutely value business and hard work! I just have to feel ethical and happy with what I’m doing and putting out into the world. If I can make the lives of animals and people better in someway and I myself am happy, that is the ultimate measure of success in my eyes!

chair pose, Costa Rima, yoga

What are the 3 things you cannot put up with in the modern world?

  • Constant attention to phones and other stimuli (lack of focus, interest, ability to self-soothe, and more!)
  • Mainstream media that is poisoning the well every single day. People’s lack of interest in questioning things further than what it says on Facebook or simply going with the majority rather than investigating for themselves.
  • How so many have seemed to have lost or forgotten their personal power. I want to help people take it back!

Many thanks to Rima for sharing her inspiring stories and thoughts!
Follow Rima on FacebookGoogle+Twitter and check out her website to learn more.
Photo credit: Sarah Elizabeth Sorenson

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