Wenham’s Marsha Therese Danzig helps her pupils find life’s deeper meaning through yoga. By Debbie Strong
A devoted yoga teacher living and working on the North Shore may not seem so out of the ordinary. But a yoga teacher who has beaten two bouts of a rare bone cancer, had a leg partially amputated, survived kidney failure and a transplant-and later built one of the first and largest children’s yoga training programs in the country, then authored a book? Now that’s an extraordinary story.
“I’ve been at death’s door so many times,” says Marsha Therese Danzig. “And I didn’t die.” Instead, she channeled those personal hardships, such as getting her left lower leg amputated at age 13, into a deep, guiding belief that “all of us, no matter our circumstances, has a right to feel joy and experience joy.” That belief became the basis of her work with kids and yoga, and led to her recently publishing Fierce Joy, the inspirational story of her life.
“People have been telling me for a long time that I should write a book,” says Danzig, who has created numerous children’s books and yoga products. Fierce Joy (published in April of this year) allowed her to finally tell her own story, which is ultimately a message about finding hope and claiming one’s own happiness, even in the face of struggle. “It’s about asking yourself, ‘What is the meaning of my life? How can I give it meaning?’ I think that’s a pretty universal question.”
A lifelong dance enthusiast, Danzig has been a resident of Wenham since 1999, the same year she began teaching yoga classes to kids. By 2002-while living on dialysis due to kidney failure from the multiple treatments she had undergone as a child to address Ewing’s sarcoma, a deadly form of bone cancer-she had founded Color Me Yoga, a training workshop for professionals who work with kids ages three to 11, and one of the first children’s yoga training programs in the U.S.
Through Color Me Yoga, Danzig has trained hundreds of kids and adults who work with children from around the country. She’s got no plans to stop there, either. From launching a new yoga program for amputees to speaking at a conference for pediatric nurses to leading yoga-based workshops in Chicago, Ohio, and Georgia this year, Danzig is using her practice of yoga to see the world.
“At this stage of my life, I have lived in so many grand places. I went to Spain in June, where I learned flamenco. We had a blast,” says Danzig, who plans to go back to Spain soon. “I love the vitality and energy there, and the celebration of life.” colormeyoga.com