There's something about a man who knows his positions—yoga positions that is.
On any given day you can catch Derrick “DJ" Townsel bending and contorting his well-chiseled frame into seemingly impossible twists, backbends, and handstands that will make you want to be front and center at one of his yoga classes.
The man is flexible, and we're here for it.
As a former NFL wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, the self-proclaimed “Rasta Yogi" (inspired by his West Indian ancestry) is no stranger to hard work. Coming from a family of athletes, DJ was well-versed in physical fitness, but it wasn't until he decided to take up yoga towards the end of his football career as a means to help with preventing injuries that he started to embrace the overall health benefits—physically, mentally, and spiritually—of the age-old practice.
He initially began studying in the comforts of his home, watching online sessions and educating himself on the history of yoga, and even partnering up with a fellow yogi who would introduce him to AcroYoga—a two-person practice combining yoga and acrobatics. Before long he fell in love with yoga and out of love with the game, and in 2014 traded the football field for the mat as a certified yoga instructor.
Now the 28-year-old is traveling the country teaching and inspiring both women and men through his passion rooted in peace and positivity. xoNecole caught up with the free agent to talk more about AcroYoga, his personal growth since starting the practice, and how it's benefiting him in and outside of the bedroom.
Tune in, you might just learn something!
Growing up in Miami, were you surrounded by athletes or did anyone if your family make a focus around mental/physical/spiritual health?
I come from an athletic background. A lot of people in my family played college sports so I've always been athletic. But as far as health and fitness, I started to get really involved in the healthy side of fitness about four years ago when I became a personal trainer after just seeing how it can affect you for the better; it's just something that I got really involved in and kind of gravitated towards, so I chose that as a career.
I got into yoga around the end of my football career because I was trying to make sure that I left football without any injuries ,so I just chose yoga as a way to try to prevent those injuries. And then I fell in love with the spiritual side of it and just kept going.
Now right now you're working as a free agent still?
I guess you can say I'm retired without the publicity (laughs). Technically I'm still a free agent, but I don't have any desire to play anymore; I just fell out of love with the game. I thought football was my passion but I found it elsewhere through football. Blessing in disguise.
So what exactly is AcroYoga is and how do you train for it?
The best way to say it without confusing anybody is partner aerial yoga. You can add things to it if you want and make it as fun as possible, but it's just like something that I wanted to try and my partner got me into it. We practice everyday for up to eight hours sometimes, just playing around and learning new things. The thing is, it's like sharing energy with somebody else. That's what we really found the passion in.
So, are you coming up with your own moves or is it like yoga where you have certain names and positions?
It's getting kind of big now to where there's certain names for poses, but we pretty much take poses that we've seen before and just make our own sequences. Just like yoga there's already poses made and named, but you can pretty much make it your own any way you want, so we do that.
You mention that you practice eight hours a day, what else do you do to train your body from that?
I still work out, but yoga pretty much gets me in shape for acro because it's kind of hard to do if you have tight hamstrings and tight hip flexors, so yoga pretty much gets you ready for the acro because it's hell to try to do a yoga pose with somebody on top of you or in the other person's case doing it on top of somebody's feet.
So how did you find your partner?
She actually found me through Instagram; she was following me and I invited my followers in Orlando to come and do a yoga class with me at the studio, and she came out and we started doing Acro[Yoga] that day and never stopped. That was actually two years ago..
Physical and mental health also play a big role in yoga, how have you grown in both of those areas, and what are some ways that you nourish your mind and body?
Brushing things off, that's the biggest thing. If something ever happened to me I'd be so attached to it and stressing about it and anxious, but now I'm just real go with the flow. I just take everything as they come. I try to make sure that my day isn't filled with being stressed or anxious because if you're stressed, you're living in the past. If you're anxious, you're living in the future. So now I just make sure that I'm at peace at all times.
Are you really particular about what you eat?
I'm not as strict on my diet. I try not to put a whole bunch of fast food in my body, but I try to make sure that I'm not counting calories or macros and all that other stuff. I'm not doing all of that. I still eat what I want, but I try to make sure that I'm watching it and make sure that I eat too much fatty foods or anything like that. I have some days when I get off track.
Are there certain books that you're reading as well?
Right now I'm reading two books: The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield and Revolution by Russell Brand.
Were you big on reading before yoga?
I was, but not the genre that I read now. I'm into the more spiritual and energy driven literature. Learning more about myself, learning more about people. That's pretty much what I'm trying to get more into now.
What has practicing yoga taught you about yourself?
That I'm stronger than I thought, physically mentally and spiritually. That's the main thing. Nothing's ever stronger than your will to fight. Anything I go through I take it back to yoga, I meditate on it, I practice if need be. If there's anything physical I practice, if there's anything spiritual I meditate, if there's anything mental, I meditate.
Did you have any mentors that guided you through it?
One of my mentors is Ravenflower Dugandzic. She was actually my teacher during training, so she helped me out a lot as far as the spiritual side of yoga and the business side.
As far as your dating life, since you work with a lot of women do you ever have any attraction to them or do you try to keep it more professional?
Nah, I got to keep it professional. Whoever I practice with I have a connection with them through yoga, I try not to take it farther than that.
Are you more into the athletic women who are into yoga?
I'm just all about energy. That's what I'm focused on.
Whatever draws your attention!
I'd say open-mindedness. Nobody wants a stick in the mud!
If a girl were to surprise you with a date, what's one of your dating fantasies?
I'm not single [laughs], but food. Anything with food. I'm actually standing in front of a Caribbean place now, so Caribbean, Cuban food, anything with Seafood involved, I'm happy.
Are there any specific lessons that your mom taught you about women?
With any woman you want [them] to be not like your mom, but you always hold them to that standard, so my mom's very strong, very family-driven. That's probably the strongest woman I know, so that's the woman that I hold on a pedestal if I were to compare anybody to her.
I heard that you have a lot of male followers, too, so have you gotten a lot of feedback from them?
Yeah, I've actually seen growth as far as males in my class, and I tell them that yoga is not a feminine practice at all, and that you know there's nothing wrong with finding different ways to be healthy. Everybody is not a gym goer, so you just got to find your niche. If yoga is for you it's for you, if it's not it's not. Many guys think that it's not masculine enough, and I ask them why wouldn't you want to be in a room with 30 women?
So I have to ask. Since you're so flexible does it help in your sexual life, too? I feel like if you market that part, the guys will be more willing to embrace yoga!
I actually did a campaign on Instagram about that and told guys, not even just as far as being flexible, but that there are certain poses that keep certain organs healthy. It helps with fertility, it helps with anybody who's struggling with erectile dysfunction—there's poses that can help stimulate the sexual organs that help that out. You can always use yoga poses in the bed, so who can argue with that?
That's interesting. I know there are certain foods you can eat to help with erectile dysfunction. What's one of the yoga poses that men can do?
There's the bridge pose, which is pretty much a laying down position where you're holding your ankles or put your hands on the ground and just pushing your hips into the air. So that's a good pose to help with reproductive organs and everything.
Did you start growing locs for spiritual reasons as well? I see you identify with the Rasta culture.
I call myself “Rasta Yogi" because my roots are Caribbean, now don't ask me what country because my family has not told me that yet (laughs). So my roots are Caribbean and the first time I went to Jamaica I really connected with everybody there and felt like I was home. Whenever I go to the Caribbean I feel like it's where I'm supposed to be. So the name fits.
I'm just curious because I just started locing my hair like two months ago, so I'm always curious as to what makes people loc their hair because some people do it for spiritual reasons or because they identify with the Rasta culture and the idea of freedom and non-conformism.
It's a mixture of all three. I identify with the culture; I'm very spiritual. It's like literally the roots of who we are.
Are there any particular quotes or words/ideals that you live by?
The biggest quote that my family and I use the most is “define your dash." We actually learned that from my uncle, who tragically passed last November, and that was his mantra. So what he meant by that is just the dash between the day that you're born and the day that you die is what matters the most. We try to make sure that whatever we do we do it with a smile on our face and being as happy as we can.
What do you want your legacy to be? What is your dash?
I want my dash to be somebody who was dedicated on spreading light and love to the world, whether it's through conversation, whether it's through yoga practice, teaching, health and fitness. I just want to make sure that whoever I come in contact with I make feel good about themselves.
In one of your Instagram posts you mention your grandmother coming back to speak to you every once in awhile, how do you feel that she's speaking to you?
Through memories. When I meditate sometimes I see her just sitting there smiling, so I feel like I'm doing her proud. As long as she doesn't show up to my meditation with a frown on her face, I feel like I'm doing okay.
Peep the gallery below for more of our favorite poses from Derrick, aka @Dade2Shelby on Instagram:
- Derrick Townsel: From NFL Star to the Remarkable Benefits of Yoga ... ›
- Yogi in the Community: Derrick "DJ" Townsel | Chelsea Loves Yoga ›
- DJ Townsel (@dade2shelby) • Instagram photos and videos ›
- Derrick "DJ" Townsel, The Professional Football Player Turned Yoga ... ›
- DJ Townsel - Unexpected Gifts that Come from Having a Consistent ... ›
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy