top of page

TEACHER

MELISSA SMITH

TEACHER & OWNER

E-RYT500, MA, LMHC

Classes in Sustainable & Restorative Yoga

Teacher Training, International Retreats, Clinical Mental Health Therapy, Caregiver Adovcate & founder Caregiver Wellness Resources

GMarksPhoto-Yoga-Portraits-06.jpg

"A truly compassionate teacher!  Melissa teaches with such a beautiful integrity and compassion and offers an abundance of knowledge and experience. She has a big heart sharing her gift with people and showing them a path to wellbeing and happiness. She is a joy to work with."  

​-Kat Heuser

ABOUT MELISSA

I jumped into teaching Group Fitness in 1991 while attending Texas A&M University. Remember the Jamie Lee Curtis days?! My aerobic idol. After a Marketing degree in 1995 and an adventurous corporate career, I took time off to be a mom of two spunky and resilient boys. I’ve lived and traveled all over the US, in SE Asia (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Calgary, Alberta, and most recently and my last stop, Santa Fe, New Mexico. I obtained my 200-RYT (350 hours) from Inspyrayoga in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2005 and specialized in pre/post natal for over 3 years.

My practice has truly evolved over the years after specializing in yoga therapeutics and restorative after earning my 500-ERYT with esteemed teachers: Leeann Carey, Donna Farhi, Jules Mitchell, Judith Hansen Lasater, Ricky Tran, Chrys Kub, Nicolai Bachman, Gary Kraftsow, and more. I currently lead leading teacher training and retreats, specializing in Restorative Yoga and sustainable-therapeutically based Gentle Yoga.  

In 2012, I obtained the very sought-after AcroYoga Certification for both Levels 1 and 2.  There are only about 300 level 2’s worldwide. AcroYoga blends the wisdom of Yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of healing arts through Thai Yoga Massage. These three lineages form the foundation of a practice that cultivates trust, playfulness, and community. Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemer co-founded the practice in 2003, which has since touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. There are growing communities in Houston in Kuala Lumpur and all over the world. Acroyoga.org will also list certified teachers and events. These days, I do less flying and basing and spend more time with props and helping students prevent and recover from injuries. This foundation inspired my journey into Thai Massage and cultivated my deep respect and love for connection through community.

My in-depth Thai Massage Training began in 2009. Studying several Thai masters, I've completed more than a thousand hours of studies. I utilize and incorporate sensitivity to touch while adjusting students and the energy work that I’ve gleaned from my Thai Massage teachers in yoga therapy sessions.

When you come to one of my classes, retreats, or training, I hope that you feel seen and empowered to practice embodiment: awake and alive in your body, mind, and spirit. True moksha (freedom). Whether working one-on-one with students or teachers through the accompaniment program or mentoring, my philosophy of inquiry-based learning and instructing to the body in front of me, rather than from a script or formula, I believe are the key ingredients to cultivating authenticity as a teacher along with being present and practice, practice, practice.

Pregnancy Yoga, A Simple Illustrated Guide to Self Practice for Both Pre and Post Natal, was published in 2008. Proud to be an ambassador and contributor for Origin and Yoga + Mantra Magazine and a writer for Elephant Journal and other online wellness publications. Passionate about building connections, community, and giving back through yoga, I was the founder of Houston's Breakfast Yoga Club which is a monthly free community yoga class attended by approximately 100+ people. It builds friendship and cohesiveness within the yoga communities while drawing awareness to various charities.

A speaker and advocate for research for caregivers of Alzheimer’s and other dementia, I coordinated annual Caregiver Wellness Retreats to offer respite and to raise awareness for Alzheimer's. We are now an online resource, Caregiver Wellness Resources that offers mindfulness for caregivers and special speaking events. With the belief that love and service are what connect us beyond ourselves, our retreats sometimes offer a service component by serving at a local nonprofit. I was part of a team that raised funds to build a school and a library for the Bali Children’s Project, a non-profit devoted to providing educational resources to rural Balinese children, and led several trips for high school students who devoted a week to working with children on literacy and raising awareness and appreciation for cultural diversity.

Graduating with a master's in Clinical Mental Health in 2022, I serve therapy clients with a history of sexual assault at a local Santa Fe nonprofit. In addition, I have an independent practice as a holistic mental health counselor through SantaFe-Therapy.com. I desire to accompany clients in the therapeutic process by offering an environment that allows them to be themselves in a curious, judgment-free environment in a trauma-informed way to alleviate symptoms associated with grief, anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationships. Resolving the impact of your past experiences through embodied awareness, you to live more fully in the present.

I lead teacher training in Restorative and Gentle Yoga throughout the year in both Santa Fe, New Mexico, Houston, Texas, and Online.

I bow and extend much gratitude and appreciation for my yoga teachers and influences including Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemer (AcroYoga), Leeann Carey (Restorative, California), Chrys Kub (Yoga Therapy, North  Carolina), Sadhvi Abha (Kriya, India), Judith Lasater (Anatomy, California), Lance Schuler (Hatha, Australia), Stephanie Adams (mentor, Oregon), Donna Farhi (mentor, New Zealand), Jules Mitchell (biomechanics, California) and Mandy Eubanks (Anusara, Oklahoma).  Melissa has also studied with and taken immersions and workshops from: Nicolai Bachman, Anna Forrest, Ricky Tran, Sadie Nardini, Les Leventhal, Jonas Westring, Jonny Nobles, Jeremy Simon, Christina Sells, Robert Sherman, Gary Kraftsow, Duncan Wong, Brian Kest, Doug Swenson, and Vincent Tam. Thai Massage teachers include Jack Chia (Nerve Touch, Chiang Mai, Thailand, Beginner’s to Advanced courses), Sunshine Massage School (Chiang Mai Thailand), Jennifer Yarro (Tripple Gem School of Thai Massage, The Berkshires, Massachusetts), David Lutt (Lulyani, Osetothai), Katrin Heuser (Hadadi, Advanced therapeutics), Bonnie Argo, Pau Castellsague, Ale Ruiz and Adam Ryder.

bottom of page