FEATURED TEACHER OF THE MONTH
Rashmi Dianne Galliano
Interview by Sarah McElwain
Rashmi Dianne Galliano, M.S., C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, is a lead Yoga teacher trainer at IYINY. Introduced to Yoga through a videotape by Raquel Welch in 1985, she has been steadfast since then in her Yoga practice and Yoga career, dedicating herself to the art and science of Yoga.
Committed to that career, she devoted two years (2017–2019) to commuting from her Lower East Side home in New York City to Maryland University of Integrative Health, in Laurel, Maryland. She now holds a master of science degree in Yoga Therapy. She is a certified Yoga therapist, having added another layer of expertise to her already credentialed E-RYT 500. Formerly a co-owner of a nightclub, Luna Lounge, in New York City, she received her 200-hour Yoga certification in 2005, on the morning of her final day in business.
In 2015 Dianne was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer. That is when she gathered agency through her studies, her inspirations, and, of course, the teachings of Yoga, which emboldened her to find, and define, the importance of Yoga and how Yoga supports resiliency. Her cultivating of the values of adaptability, empathy, and a non-judgmental attitude for herself has given her a skill in fostering health and wellness for individuals that guides them toward improved biopsychosocial well-being and eudaimonia.
How were you and Kali able to move so successfully from an in-person Teacher Training to a Zoom format?
Basically, there was no time even to think about it, so I took it upon myself to get a Zoom account. I’d learned how to use Zoom through meetings with the Hatha I committee that I’m on, so I was familiar with it. I knew that I would use the account for private matters as well, but I also knew there was no time to waste. We closed IYI’s doors on March 13, a Friday. The Spring TT was held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I think we missed the Monday following the lockdown but were online that Wednesday. The Spring TTs had a tremendous effect on the outcome of a successful training. They have expressed how grateful they were that we moved smoothly and swiftly to online. They have mentioned inspiration, but, more important, they have said that having the training was a sort of “saving grace.” I don’t know where we would be today without their incredible support; I am in awe of that group. And, by the way, everyone was an excellent teacher! It took a while for both Kali and me to adapt to the technicalities of the online format, but we managed, and, lo and behold, here we are, leading our third online basic Teacher Training! I feel so much gratitude that students are devoted to sharing the teachings of Yoga with others, regardless of the circumstances. That being said, I also want to acknowledge the IYI students who attend the IYI online classes. Their commitment and dedication to their own well-being makes teaching online that much more rewarding. You can create a connection through what I call virtual walls. The energy transcends those.
Were there any benefits to an online teacher training?
No commute! I love that! And it saves a lot of money.
What was your experience of taking a Teacher Training online?
I actually took a couple of online trainings, most recently Stress Management TT. I am still taking self-paced training, so there is definitely a tendency to become tamasic (dull). The Stress Management was excellent. The information, the content, and the teachers (Ramananda and Vidyananda) were incredibly inspiring. Even through virtual walls, their dedication, knowledge, and commitment to offering a quality training seemed to be unwavering.
Initially, at the start of the pandemic, there were so many trainings being offered online that it was hard to exercise some self-control and not want to take everything. It truly called for a practice of balance!
Is there anything that has sustained you during the past six months of the pandemic that you’d like to share with the sangha?
I realized that daily walks were an essential part of my day. I am kind of reclusive by nature, so it was easy for me not to go out for days. Jumping jacks, too, worked really well. I discovered that a cafe at the Essex Market Place was open a few weeks after the lockdown. It felt good to participate in “the norm”; that also inspired my walks and still does. Of course, a regular Yoga practice, including pranayama and meditation, was essential. I started with a lot of online yin classes using the online subscription I have. Also very important has been positivity. I am grateful that I am one of the fortunate ones to have continuously earned an income. I am grateful to have had a partner during this crisis. My husband and I love to cook, and we’ve had time to cook dinners together and share a small space without a lot of “drama.”