Reflections of A Master Teacher: Abbie Galvin

Abbie Galvin, who has been teaching yoga for 22 years, is informed by her artistic process and extensive training at The Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Institute. She has made commercials, short films for children and young adults, and after-school and specials for teens.

Her two-decade working relationship with Nevine Michaan of Katonah Yoga is rooted in a form of Taoism, that pulls from other disciplines, such as psychoanalysis, literature, religion, math, myth, and music. Galvin opened her own studio, Katonah Yoga Bowery, on August 1, 2016.

Devoted student Lindsey Boisvert said, “Abbie is a consummate teacher. She is assiduous about everyone in the room, their form, their approach to each pose and their grasp of her theory, which is practical, no misty woo-woo here. She is no nonsense, cares deeply and teaches with bold strokes, humor and like a parachute, harnesses everyone individually within the larger group, with a quotient of charisma and warmth. She gets to know her students well, each one’s foibles and strengths and teaches us to adjust each other. Each class is taught like a master class. Her emphasis is on reformation, rehabilitating the body so that we can become more conscious, psychically.”

Kathleen Kraft: What does your yoga practice look like every day?

Abbie Galvin: My yoga practice is a longevity practice. Like any home practice, it changes the orientation of skill-building through class work to personal restoration and self-awareness. The goal of my home practice is to use techniques I’ve developed through asana to support my personal health and well-being, ritualizing my use of time and space in order to train my mind to tune into a more internal conversation.

A longevity practice holds a commitment to spend time alone, participating in a technical

integration of mind, body, and breath. And by ritualized, I mean that I practice the same

sequenced poses, defining, refining, redefining them so that they become more nuanced with a consistent breath, making them more fluid, time more malleable, so that I am like a snail in a shell. I start with a plow and stay for what amounts to about 15 minutes. Then I move to a forward bend, a deeper plow, another forward bend, Buddhist sleep (nidrasana), and su