DT 101: Defy Outside Expectations with Derrick “DJ” Townsel

Derrick “DJ” Townsel (@dade2shelby) is a former NFL athlete and currently an Orlando-based yoga teacher, health coach, and personal trainer. DJ recently competed on Season 1 of NBC’s The Titan Games with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, where much to his modest embarrassment, DJ was introduced as a “yoga master.” By sharing his journey and practice openly and enthusiastically, he inspires countless individuals worldwide, especially men and people of color, to take up a yoga practice for its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits.


In this episode, you’ll hear from DJ on: 

  • [09.52] Carving out his own path. He recounts his unconventional route from NFL athlete to inspirational yoga teacher. He is happy to defy stereotypes and remains resolute in his determination to help others improve their fitness and discover their true selves through yoga.


  • [18.01] Yoga as his driving force. In addition to his impressive physical practice, Derrick is a passionate advocate for the emotional and spiritual benefits of yoga, which informs every aspect of his life.


  • [26.27] Competing in The Titan Games. DJ shares how he was able to make use of meditative breathing techniques to help him focus and still his mind whilst taking part in the show’s rigorous physical challenges. 


  • [32.46] His advice to prospective yoga students.  For those who may feel uncomfortable or self-conscious about participating in a yoga class, DJ recommends creating a safe space on the mat, forgetting about other people and focusing on the practice.


  • [40.43] His unusual ambition. Inspired by his uncle, an influential teacher who set foot in each of the seven continents, Derrick intends to travel the world teaching yoga and vows to perform a handstand in every continent. 




Links from this episode: 

  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield- Grab a copy of DJ’s recommended book
  • Looking for your next book to read? Check out the list of every book recommended on Dharma Talk


Get in touch with DJ:


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