Meet the Yoga Instructor That Makes Her Own Beats | Carmelinda Dimanno

Carmelinda Dimanno never meant to become a yoga instructor or successful DJ, but she's proof that passion and determination can lead you to your dream job -- or in her case, jobs. Having been a dancer and gymnast as a child, Carmelinda was given the proper foundation to enter the fitness industry. Despite having naturally loved fitness and music from the beginning, reaching the point in her career that she has today was no easy task. Read on to learn more about Carmelinda's views on self-discipline, what it's like to live a freelance lifestyle, and more.

In last few years, Toronto has been put on the map -- thank you Drake for your many references to The 6 -- what about Toronto inspires you?
I am most inspired by Toronto’s cultural diversity. I love that a tourist can hit any neighborhood and find something entirely new. It’s a special and rare thing to have people of so many different backgrounds socializing together, not to mention, how delicious of a place it is for eating. We encourage both community and unity.

Yoga can be intimidating for many, especially for those of us who don’t understand its purpose. What would you say to anyone who is interested in yoga but may be reluctant?
I tell anyone who might be reluctant about yoga that I understand where the intimidation comes from. I too was once very intimidated by the idea that the studio environment would be clique-y and I wouldn’t fit in. I also feared that my “performance” wouldn’t be good enough.

Come to yoga because it helps you connect with the deeper places within yourself. Once you start to tap into that place, the “ego-driven” concerns fade away. Don’t come to yoga because you're flexible, come to get flexible. Let yoga do its job.

As a child, you fell in love with gymnastics and dance quickly. What attracted you to them and how has your love for the two helped with your career?
As a child, my parents introduced me to gymnastics. I was considered really good at it and my coaches strongly encouraged me to stay with it. I was also introduced to dance and fell in love with it. Dance was freeing, it always shifted my mood to a better place. I think that both gymnastics and dance have helped me develop a relationship with my body, which may sound like a normal and standard thing. However, I see in my classes, so incredibly often, that many people don’t have a relationship with their bodies. Starting movement practices at such a young age has highly impacted my career because without my own body awareness, I can’t imagine it would be possible to help others deepen theirs.

How have you stuck to pursuing a more creative and freelance life despite society's negative opinions towards what many see as an unstable career path?
I love this question! I have stuck to this creative path and freelance life in a really organic way actually. I didn’t plan or really know when I first got certified as a yoga instructor that I would even lead yoga classes. I did it to deepen my own practice. The same thing happened for me with DJing. I wanted to learn to DJ so I could create my own musical sets for my yoga classes and it grew into a career very naturally, thank God! I haven’t put much thought into how people and our society may feel about what I do, rather, I connect with people that do support me and are on similar, empowered and inspired paths. The most challenging thing has been some of the judgment from women that choose to live in more traditional and perhaps, conventional ways. Still, I really just try not to judge their views and expect that most people want the best for me.

“Discipline is something that some of us are a little better at than others, but all capable of. It’s a muscle that needs exercise to become apparent."

What are some things that freelancing has taught you that you wish you would have known earlier?
Freelancing has taught me a tremendous amount about knowing and expressing your worth. I manage myself as a brand and although I am a trusting and optimistic person, I have learned that people will pay you and treat you as you expect to be. I have also learned a lot about image and managing that through social media. I have learned that keeping some privacy is really important and to not get tangled in “being perfect” from fear of public judgment and expectation. Whatever we do professionally, is not entirely who we are. We are beautiful and imperfect beings, just doing our best.

You completed over 500 hours of yoga training before you became certified. How hard was it to stay dedicated and what did it teach you about discipline?
My initial 500-hour teacher training was grueling at times. It was freakin' hard. Up at 5:30 am and in class by 6:30 am until 7 pm for 6 days a week. I felt that I wouldn’t last on many occasions. Sometimes I would just lay on my mat crying from fatigue, both physical and emotional. I had incredible people around me, like my girl Amanda Negrette that I would simply hold hands with during class, or nap with after class. The camaraderie was massively helpful. I also dug deep and found within me a well of strength and tenacity that I didn’t know I had. Discipline is something that some of us are a little better at than others, but all capable of. It’s a muscle that needs exercise to become apparent.

As a DJ, you're in what many have called a "man’s world." How do you use what many see as being a weakness -- being a female -- to leverage your career?
As a female DJ in a “man's world” I don’t look at myself or my position as a weakness at all. In fact, I think it's helped my career. It's extremely important that I show up in all negotiations and to all gigs from an anchored and confident place, but never do I feel intimidated by the men in the scene. I am excited to play back to back with women as well as men.

Lately, artists have become more vocal about their opinions on society and social issues. How do you feel about artists that are now attaching themselves to a cause, and doing more than just making music?
I support and encourage people in the public eye, such as artists, to use their position to promote and encourage good in and for the world. It’s a platform to educate and inspire. People are impressionable and it's crucial that those being listened to communicate messages that encourage social growth and freedom.

What are some of your favorites artists right now and why?
I absolutely love Anabel Englund right now. She’s such a babe and has the sweetest voice. I’m digging her colorful vibe. I am also really into Satin Jackets. His sound is light-hearted and incredibly soulful. It's music that I love to dance to under the sun; arms up, heart open.

Who are the most important and inspirational MISSBISHES in your life?
The most important and inspirational MISSBISHES in my life are the massive number of women who have fought against cultural traditions, societal standards and expectations, family pressures, stale belief systems, and generational suppression to become free, self-reliant and happy individuals.

What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH is the woman who is trying to live a life of authenticity and empowerment. A woman that can support and encourage other women. A woman that see’s the patterns and cycles in our society that permit oppression and stagnation and press to break those cycles. A woman that explores expression and creative outlets. A woman that encompasses love and can still embrace her own darkness without shame. A woman that gets up despite how hard she might fall to, “dust herself off and try again.”

Photos by: Patrick Leung

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