Going Grey

August 11th, 2017 — 6:02pm

Here’s my piece which was just published in Yoga Journal, about letting my silver hair grow out. The upshot? I’m a happy camper.


Gray Hair, Don’t Care: How to Embrace Your Natural Color
Dayna Macy, Yoga Journal’s director of corporate communications, shares what drove her to do away with dye and her unexpected discovery when she did.

I was buying plants at my local nursery—dressed in sweaty yoga clothes and eager to get my latest haul into the ground—when I caught the man in line behind me staring at my hair. My messy, silver hair.

“Your hair is beautiful,” he said. I turned crimson, then thanked him.

I am seriously vain about my hair. Twenty years ago, I found the hairdresser of my dreams, who kept my medium-length shag just rocker-edgy enough for me to avoid sliding into middle-age frump. (My personal nightmare: The image of a 50-something me with a neat bob and wearing elastic pants.)

See also Age Better With Yoga: Part I

Ten years ago, when my gray starting coming in unapologetically, my stylist began dyeing my hair a lovely, dark chestnut with coppery highlights that showed off my layers. At first, I dyed my hair every four months. Then every two months. Then every month. Then every two weeks: That became the deal breaker.

My scalp itched. I popped antihistamines and kept my personal pain private, continuing to color my hair until one day I literally could not drag myself to the hairdresser even one more time. My inner rebel roared to life and made an executive decision. I was done with dye.

See also 15 Anti-Aging Health Benefits of Yoga That Will Make You Want to Start Practicing Now

I started to let my hair grow out, pulling it down into bangs. I rediscovered my love for hats. I artfully hid my gray for three months, until there was no denying it anymore.

So, I didn’t.

A few months in, I realized my hair wasn’t just gray. It was silver-white in the front with silver-and-dark streaks in the back. And it looked, well, awesome. I had expected to simply make peace with my gray hair. But the more my hair grew out, the more I fell in love with it. I felt a little subversive and downright sexy—whether men at the plant shop were checking me out or not.

As I’ve fully embraced my gray, I now feel the kind of freedom I’ve long felt on my yoga mat. Freedom not only in my body, but also in my mind and spirit. Freedom to be who I am, with complete faith that that’s enough.

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Joint Statement from California Legislative Leaders on Result of Presidential Election

November 16th, 2016 — 2:05pm

Senator Kevin de León

Wednesday, November 09, 2016
SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) released the following statement on the results of the President election:

Today, we woke up feeling like strangers in a foreign land, because yesterday Americans expressed their views on a pluralistic and democratic society that are clearly inconsistent with the values of the people of California.

We have never been more proud to be Californians.

By a margin in the millions, Californians overwhelmingly rejected politics fueled by resentment, bigotry, and misogyny.

The largest state of the union and the strongest driver of our nation’s economy has shown it has its surest conscience as well.

California is – and must always be – a refuge of justice and opportunity for people of all walks, talks, ages and aspirations – regardless of how you look, where you live, what language you speak, or who you love.

California has long set an example for other states to follow. And California will defend its people and our progress. We are not going to allow one election to reverse generations of progress at the height of our historic diversity, scientific advancement, economic output, and sense of global responsibility.

We will be reaching out to federal, state and local officials to evaluate how a Trump Presidency will potentially impact federal funding of ongoing state programs, job-creating investments reliant on foreign trade, and federal enforcement of laws affecting the rights of people living in our state. We will maximize the time during the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool at our disposal.

While Donald Trump may have won the presidency, he hasn’t changed our values. America is greater than any one man or party. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our Constitution.

California was not a part of this nation when its history began, but we are clearly now the keeper of its future.



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A Poem for These Times

November 12th, 2016 — 5:48pm

The breeze at dawn

Has secrets to tell you

Don’t go back to sleep

You must ask

For what you really want

Don’t go back to sleep

People are going back and forth

Across the doorsill

Where the two worlds touch

The door is round and open

Do not go back to sleep


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Food Memoir Panel at Litquake!

September 16th, 2016 — 7:36pm

Delighted to be on a food memoir panel for Litquake SF!
Sunday, October 9, 2:15 at 777 Valencia Street in SF. So if you’re in the neighborhood, come on by!

Culinary Memoirs: Why We Write about Food, moderated by Margo True (Sunset Magazine), with Georgeanne Brennan, Jessica Fector, Dayna Macy, and Alex Prud’homme



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“Ravenous” Five Years Later

May 23rd, 2016 — 9:37am

When I published Ravenous five years ago, I wanted to document my journey of losing weight and making peace with my body. I examined the difference between real and processed food, I visited farms,I cooked with a Zen chef. I did a 4 a.m. yoga practice given to me by an Ayurvedic practitioner and yoga teacher. I was trying to figure out why the simple notion of “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re satisfied”, was so difficult.

I’ve learned through experience the truth of the neuroscience behind why diets fail. In a recent New York Times article, neuroscientist Sandra Aamot writes that everyone of us has a set point of a certain weight range. If you go below it, your body burns fewer calories, increases the production of hunger hormones, and finds eating more rewarding, and leads to long term weight gain. “The brain’s weight-regulation system considers your set point to be the correct weight for you, whether or not your doctor agrees.”

It’s true. I now comfortably weigh 25 pounds less than when I began writing Ravenous. I am healthier, my knees no longer hurt, I feel lighter inside and out. I’ve learned through observation which behaviors make it more likely I will stay in my set point range, and which won’t. Eating real food (especially lots of veggies), ditching processed food, drinking enough water, moving my body, spending time in nature — all these help keep my weight in my set range. Eating sugar doesn’t. It throws my hunger cues off wack.

And never underestimate the power of gratitude. I give thanks for the body I have, which is a great thing because it’s the only one I’ve got. No more waiting to reach a perfect weight in order to live an imagined perfect life. As the saying goes, “Be here now.” In fact, it’s through trying to stay present that I’ve managed to keep my weight in a reasonable range. What helps me do this is yoga and meditation. Which is what Aamot discovered in the course of her research: “[We need to] relearn how to eat only as much as the brain’s weight-regulation system commands. Relative to chronic dieters, people who eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full are less likely to become overweight, maintain more stable weights over time and spend less time thinking about food. Mindful eating also helps people with eating disorders like binge eating learn to eat normally.”

“Depending on the individual’s set point, mindful eating may reduce weight or it may not. Either way, it’s a powerful tool to maintain weight stability, without deprivation. I finally gave up dieting six years ago, and I’m much happier. I redirected the energy I used to spend on dieting to establishing daily habits of exercise and meditation. I also enjoy food more while worrying about it less, now that it no longer comes with a side order of shame.”

Amen to that. A healthier body matters because you need vitality to live a good life — one that is beyond obsession with food, a size, or a number. Life is bigger than that. Time time to live it.

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Still laughing, Still Crying, Still Living…

February 25th, 2016 — 11:55am

…was my answer when a friend asked me how I was.

I’m 55, and this is an incredible time of life. Taking care of the generation behind us and before us. I see doors opening, and closing and I try to see them with a clear eyed kindness as best as I can. I don’t always succeed.

My mantra for this time of life is, “Let it go.” My G-d, i just quoted a Disney song. And yet maybe its appeal lies in its truth. The more we shed what isn’t essential, the more room we have for what is. And that’s a song worth singing.

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This is water…this is water…

August 17th, 2015 — 9:58am

Thinking about my boys going to college in two years, thinking about what I hope for them. This, from David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005, is my hope:

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing….

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

‘This is water.’

‘This is water.'”

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The Inside-Out Body

July 3rd, 2015 — 12:55pm

I’ve come to realize, after decades of wrestling with my body image, how much happier I am when I live from the inside out.


For the last few months, I’ve been asking my body, what do I really need. Need is one of those tricky words. Sometimes it rides in tandem with what we want. Sometimes, it doesn’t. The answers were pretty simple. My body told me to 1. Move more. 2. Eat lots of veggies, beans, fish, some fruit. She told me sugar really was my enemy.

And she told me this: move towards whatever brings me into greater freedom, in body, mind and spirit.

I’ve been listening. I’m feeling better. My body feels more coherent, more beautiful.

And then..one day…I stepped on the scale and…I didn’t lose as much weight as I thought I did. As I thought I should. My idea collided with a number. The result? I got depressed. I moved less. I ate some salami.

After a few days of moping, I picked myself up, and began again. I swam my beloved laps. I did more yoga, and not just my usual supine poses but standing poses and easy inversions. I reached for sardines, for berries, for for avocados. My body said yes! I walked Nico, my pup, through redwoods. I started learning a new song on the guitar. I stopped apologizing for a family (of origin’s) judgmental behavior and narrow-mindedness. I got rid of clothes that no longer suited Dayna 2015. All these things move me towards equanimity and freedom.

The body has an intelligence so deep and vast, it tells us what we need and when we need it. I remember asking Ana Forrest, a fierce, and kind yoga teacher, what if you ask your body what she wants and she says “salami.” Ana answered, “there a difference between the voice of knowledge and the voice of addiction.” Echoing this thought, Aadil Palkhivala, another remarkable yoga teacher, said “A body in balance will crave that which keeps it in balance. A body out of balance will crave that which keeps it out of balance.”

Which is why developing practices around food and eating can be so helpful. Give your body some love and attention, give her good food, fresh air, and lots of movement, and she pays it back by wanting more. She pays it back with greater joy. And definitely greater freedom.

Bodies from the Inside Out. What it is: tapping into our body wisdom to show us how to walk our path towards greater freedom. What it’s not: Judging ourself from, well, the outside in. There’s no end to the pain this can cause. We are more than our wrinkles or our clothing size. We are more a number on the scale.

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Still Learning

June 15th, 2015 — 11:05am

I got an email today from a yoga teacher and writer which began like this: “I am a huge fan of your journey both as a yogi and as a writer. That you have used yoga as a way to transform your life off-your-mat strikes a giant chord with me.”

I share this not to brag, though whenever someone is moved by my work, I’m happy. Rather, I realized something that I should have realized a long time ago: whatever power there is in my work, it’s not through representing myself as I wish to be, but as I am, flaws and all. Take my lovely body for instance. My body is beautiful not because I look like someone you’d see in a magazine, but because she is so intelligent. Really intelligent. When I listen, when I get out of my way, I know pretty much what I need, (More water please. Need a swim today! Avocados. Lovely avocados. Oh no! Life is difficult and I feel unmoored. Time to do standing poses and spread my toes…you get the idea).

It’s this intelligence that makes me respect my embodiment even more. How we are embodied is a giant opportunity to learn something about our soul and our journey. There are no shortcuts. Most people approach the body from the outside in. But for me, it’s the inside out that holds key.

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“All I’ve got is this one breath, and if I’m lucky, I get another…”

May 20th, 2015 — 9:36am

I’m on the email list for Berkeley’s amazing Freight & Salvage. Sam Baker will be performing this Friday. I don’t know much about him but his words cut straight through me. From the Freight’s website:

[Baker] was traveling on a train in Peru in 1986 when a bomb planted by the Shining Path killed seven of his fellow passengers and left him with a long, hard road back to reasonable health. “Life is a gift,” he says. “I went through a lot of bitterness. A lot of anger. But those things are toxic. Gratitude for what remains is more helpful than resentment for what was lost. Ultimately, I came to understand that these days are wicked short and terribly beautiful. All I’ve got – no matter what I hold in my hands, drive around in, or put in the bank – all I’ve got is this one breath, and if I’m lucky, I get another.”


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