“I am James Dustin, and I’m 52-years-old,” he proudly stated during our interview. How he carries himself is that of a 26-year-old. It was even more evident during a meet-and-greet with Dustin on a cold Atlanta morning. He showed us some of his yoga poses as part of our story; poses the majority of athletes and his clients wouldn’t be able to achieve.
“I already knew though, that a large number of my clients, regardless of how long they practice, would never be able to achieve the perceived, full expression of many yoga poses without a good deal of help,” said Dustin.
Dustin has served the LGBTQ community as a massage therapist for nearly 16 years, and it’s what jump-started his passion in this intense meditative exercise.
“Limited range of motion in the body’s joints has been the number one cause of gym injuries that I have seen throughout my years practice,” he said. “Many of my clients’ muscles are so tight that their joints are restricted, which sets up the perfect storm for injury during routine exercise.”
He’s a certified as a yoga teacher, teaching clients one-on-one from the comforts of his home, but takes his skills to the next level with Yoga Nidra. What is it? Yoga Nidra refers to a form of guided meditation or relaxation and loosely translates as dynamic sleep. It is designed to facilitate awareness of and to help accept blockages, thereby liberating the life energy they contain and restoring balance.
“Meditation has become a form of armor for me,” he said. “In many ways, it shields me from a lot of the negativity that that seems so often to be forced upon us these days.”
He often hears, “I could never do yoga, I’m not flexible enough” or “I’ve always wanted to try yoga, but I’m too nervous to go to a yoga class when I don’t know what I’m doing.” Dustin’s primary goal is to get people who have fear and anxiety into a yoga studio. His approach is entirely different. There are no large classes, and there’s not an intimidation factor. It’s Dustin, his client, and a room full of positive energy.
It’s evident that age isn’t a factor in Dustin’s line of work, whether it be massage therapy or yoga instructing. That mentality is part of his learning instruction when he meets with his clients. He offers unique, innovative ways to strengthen the body and mind.
“I began studying Prajna Yoga which teaches ways to adapt any pose to meet the practitioner where their body is,” he said. “I encourage the use of props during yoga practice to allow anyone access to positions regardless of physical condition, muscle mass, age, or length of study.”
Those props include sticky mats, blankets, belts, blocks, chairs, benches, wall ropes, sandbags, and other objects that help students experience the various yoga poses more profoundly. It gives Dustin an opportunity to bring beginners into his home and provide them with the support they need to accomplish different poses and positions.
He continues his services to the Atlanta LGBTQ community and allies to give those regardless of age, a place to live a younger life one pose at a time. For more about James, please visit jamesdustinmassage.com and for more information about Prajna yoga, please visit Prajnayoga.net.