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Interview with an Ashtangi: Diana Patton and Living Out Loud

DIana Patton in padmasana in downtown Toledo by Mary Wyar Photography

Diana Patton is the kind of person who fills the room the moment she enters. Her vivacious energy intoxicates those around her--she laughs frequently, gesticulates often, and speaks boldly and quickly. Her wit and charm are undeniable, and her contagious smile is impossible to not return.

Diana Patton Headshot

Diana reflects on her personality, laughing joyfully, “I live out loud! You have to know I’m the sixth child of 6 girls...I have always been trying to let my voice be heard. I don’t modify my behavior based upon what other people do. I am me. I am Diana. And that is so unique.”

“I love to say what I think and I love to love,” she continues. “I’m a defender of the disenfranchised and passionate about justice...that’s why I’m an attorney.”

Self-expression has always come naturally to Diana. Diana jokes, “You can ask every one of my sisters; they all will tell you that Di-Di--that’s what they called me--has always had this little personality. I’ve never had a problem getting in front of people and talking. I’ve had to learn to be quiet. That’s why yoga works for me.”

Diana had been a competitive runner since she was 13 and ran track in college. She continued running for the next few decades, competing at “a high level” in 5K and 10K races and triathlons, but in 2015, a hip labrum tear stopped her in her tracks.

Diana Patton running in a competitive race

“[Running] was my whole life,” Diana confesses. “It was my way of dealing with my trauma. I wrote a whole book about it! It was a grieving process to give up running. I think my body had been telling me all along…[that] you need to stretch and breathe and slow down.”

Enter yoga. Diana was introduced to yoga back in 2004, but at that time, she thought, “That is for weird people! I am a runner. I thought, ‘Who does that? What is that about?’”

It wasn’t until her injury in 2015 that she returned to yoga. Diana reflects, “I needed something that was really challenging but very meditative. I’d been pushing myself for so long and I needed something to challenge me.”

Diana began with Power Yoga classes, which appeased her need for challenge, but she found the music distracting. Margaret suggested she try Dhawi’s Ashtanga class, and Diana was hooked from the start.

“[Ashtanga] was so different….There’s no music. It was quiet. It was serious. It’s like, ‘We need to work on ourselves and...let’s go!’” Diana whispers confidentially, “I was like, ‘I think I found my thing!’”

“This is now my new rhythm,” Diana asserts. “My body is so damaged from all that running and it just kinda hooked [on ashtanga].”

“I love [ashtanga], but I hate it, but the hate is very low,” Diana kids. “I see myself doing this practice until I die. I just turned 50, and I’m in a new learning of my body.”

Diana Patton in headstand in downtown Toledo by Mary Wyar Photography

From a woman this confident and charismatic, you would never expect she had a traumatic childhood. Diana states, matter of factly, “I had a very abusive father, but he was military, and that military practice helped me so much in the business world. I looked people in the eye. I had a very serious way to sit in uncomfortable situations.”

“I have to credit my father,” Diana says seriously, “because it helped me. That military precision--that’s how I [was able to become] a negotiator in a Fortune 500 company.”

Diana explains that she’s in “the stage of surrender.” She continues, “That’s what I love about yoga: surrendering and detaching and letting things go.”

Besides yoga, Diana prays, reads her Bible, and journals regularly to reflect on herself and to practice letting things go that no longer serve her. She discloses, “[Journaling] is therapy. It’s healing. It is a form of expression. It is the best see how far you’ve come. Why are you writing the same things but not doing anything about it? You wrote about this in 2014 and you’re still dealing with it? It’s a form of self-awareness.”

Diana has written a book about her life--growing up with biracial parents in a small Ohio town with 6 siblings and an abusive father--titled Inspiration in My Shoes.


Diana Patton in headstand in downtown Toledo by Mary Wyar Photography

What do you love about Yogaja?

I love the peacefulness and consistency...[and] the sense of serenity and confidence I get.

Favorite class?

Favorite yoga pose?

Headstand and garbha pindasana...there’s a certain sense of grounding.

Least favorite yoga pose?

Backbends and supta kurmasana (bound tortoise pose).

Describe yoga in 5 words or less.

Love, surrender, peace, joy, contentment.


David, married 21 years. CJ (20) at Miami University of Ohio, CC (16) at Notre Dame Academy.



"My husband really helped me; he was the person in my life who loved me no matter what. He just saw all my funk...but he just loves me. He’s a human expression of how God loves us."

Someone you admire?

“My mom. She has a sense of understanding self and lives out her faith. She is disciplined. My mom has never relied on other people to accept her. My mom grew up with adversity...but she’s overcome all of that. She journals, she prays, she workouts every morning. I love her so very much.”

Diana Patton and her family
Diana Patton and her mother

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