"Movement creates a change in brain chemistry which is fundamental in being a healthy person."
Welcome to our new People We Love series where we sit down with incredible women and men in the health and fitness industry to give you tips on how to live your best life. This week we had the chance to sit down with Carmelinda DiManno, yoga instructor and DJ, to discuss her career and how she stays healthy despite her busy schedule.
Graydon: As someone who's juggling multiple hats, yoga instructor, DJ and chef what don't you do?
Carmelinda: [laughs] Well these are some of the things I absolutely love and am passionate about. I don't currently work as a chef but I studied chef training. Much like you, I feel like we share a lot of the same educational experiences and interests it seems like.
G: It definitely does. So you spend your days eating well and it certainly looks like you live a very nutritious lifestyle. You are the picture of health! Do you think your yoga and your music also feeds you to be who you are?
C: I would say absolutely yes. There have been times in my life where things have popped up frequently where I feel like we are being pulled away from our 'centered self'. Those activities, yoga and DJing, are two things that definitely bring me back if I'm in a funky state of mind. Once I'm in the activity of DJing, I definitely feel more alive and centered, it acts almost like a prayer meditation for me.
G: Do you have a particular type of music you resonate with?
C: Probably deep-house. Within deep house there's all different types of beats and tempos. I'm particularly drawn to music with female vocals which I find emotionally moving. I notice that sometimes without knowing that people respond really well to that on the dance floor.
G: How does yoga connect to your music? Are they two separate things in your life?
C: The reason why I got into DJing is because I started making my own musical recordings for my yoga classes. I wanted to create my own music rather than use someone else's music. And because of my relationships at certain nightclubs, I was invited to play publicly. I see [yoga and DJing] as being quite similar to each other. In both roles I feel like I'm in tuned to what's happening and people's moods. I ask myself, do I need to raise people's energy or bring it down? Is it time to slow down and yin it out a bit?
G: Tell me a bit about your love of yoga. That's a passion of mine too. Is there a particular type of yoga you are drawn to?
C: Right now I teach a lot of moksha and flow yoga and I'm currently studying kundalini yoga.
G: I love kundalini! I find that's a very accessible type of yoga since it can be performed sitting if necessary so people with physical limitations can also do it. It's also super powerful and transformative. It helped get me through a challenging part of my life.
C: Absolutely. The way you're describing it is similar to how it feels for me too. I've been through some challenging times in my life as well and I have a lot of respect for the science behind it and how prescriptive it is.
G: Definitely. So aside from doing yoga what does a day in the life of Carmelinda look like? What advice do you have for taking care of your health and wellness on a daily basis?
C: I'm certainly not following any particular rules about health and wellness. I don't feel like I have a structured way of doing things but it's all about finding balance. What I generally find really beautiful about people is that people who care about their bodies and spiritual well being are also be able to enjoy life! Not being too rigid but still caring is important to living in a radiant way.
But a day in the life I would say is very scheduled. I'm usually up by 7, teach multiple classes, try to practice once a day. It may be a spin class or yoga but I always try to move everyday to stay active. I'm really social so I'm usually dining or grabbing a coffee with friends.
G: And you work in the evening as well?
C: Yes often. I've been getting a lot of invitations to DJ at fitness events, fashion events or night clubs and I don't sleep that much! On average I probably sleep 6 hours but I fill my day with activities that energize me and that keeps my energy level high.
G: It takes some courage to follow what you love to do. Did you always know you wanted to teach yoga?
C: For a long time I was working in hospitality. I did like what I was doing but I was also very passionate about yoga. I did my yoga training, expecting to deepen my practice and just fell in love with it. It definitely took courage and it called on me to make some drastic lifestyle changes but it was definitely worth it. I get to spend my days doing something I really love.
G:Yes and not a lot of people get the chance to do what they love. Is there a message you have for women out there who are struggling to find inspiration or passion projects of their own?
C: I truly feel women need to find things, activities, hobbies that supports themselves in self expression. By participating in these creative activities is how we find our power. We live in a world that can chip away at our power so it's important to be passionate about something that reveals the truest part of yourself.
G: Do you have any tips that you can pass onto our readers that they can incorporate on a daily basis to improve their well being?
C: I believe starting your day writing in a journal and envisioning what that day is going to be about and list things that you hope to experience in that day or something more specific than that. I try to do that once a day, set the tone for the day in the morning, set an intention and I would suggest some movement practice. Movement creates a change in brain chemistry which is fundamental in being a healthy person.
And lastly I would say drinking a lot of water. Brain is sharper with water, we have more energy with water, and we look more beautiful. Making hydration a habit is important.
G: And now the flip side of that question, what habits have you eliminated that no longer serve you? Because it's hard to let go of things that no longer serve you.
C: That's a great question. I think that there are still things I'm working on. For example, its hard to change your mental habits and your tendencies on how you perceive situations. So one of the things I'm working on right now are replacing any self sabotaging attitudes and riding myself of those things and replacing it with attitudes that elevate me and that takes effort.
And I think especially in relationships your value system might change and sometimes you recognize "we're not on the same frequency so why am I spending time with someone I'm not inspired by?" Life is short. Spend time with people who are supportive of your well being so I've made some changes in relationships as well.
G: That's great advice. But sometimes that's harder said than done and there are certain people you can't let go of so easily. How do you deal with challenging people? I try to practice good vibes but sometimes it's hard.
C: For me I try to pause. I don't react or respond in that moment and I try to practice pausing. Time supports processing which helps diffuse a tense chemistry and I come back when I feel a little softer. I try not to make any decision until I've taken time away from the situation.
G: I really think positive energy attracts positive energy so it's no surprise that we met! Is there a daily mantra you have that might be helpful for other people to repeat? Because mantras -the words and the sounds- can heal you without even knowing.
C: I'm a firm believer in mantras. It's a big part of the kundalini practice. There's the idea that moving your tongue at a certain way is hitting certain meridian points in your mouth and can benefit you a lot mentally. The mantras I work with on a daily basis tend to change depends on what I'm experiencing in life but one I've repeating a lot as I'm DJing is 'Spirit, shine your love and light through me... into the music... onto the crowd and into their hearts. Wash us with your joy and peace.' I have a visualization I do and repeat during a set when I feel like I need to recenter myself. I feel that it influences things.
G: Is this something our readers can also do to visualize channeling light through themselves?
C: Yes of course.
We hope you enjoyed reading this interview. To watch the full video make sure to check out our IGTV channel on Instagram!