TEACHER & CO-OWNER
Classes in Sustainable and Restorative Yoga
Teacher Training and International Retreats
"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."
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 trainings and retreats, specializing in Restorative Yoga and sustainable-therapeutically based Gentle Yoga.
In 2012, I obtained the very sought after AcroYoga Certification for both Level 1 and 2. There are only about 300 level 2’s world-wide. 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 world-wide. There’s are growing communities in Houston and 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 from 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 trainings, my hope is 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, 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 a caregivers of Alzheimer’s and other Dementias, I coordinate an annual Caregiver Wellness Retreat for Caregivers of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias in both Houston and Calgary to offer respite and to raise awareness for Alzheimer's. With the belief that love and service is what connects us beyond ourselves, our retreats sometimes offers a service component by serving at a local nonprofit. I was a part of a team who 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 lead several trips for high school students who devoted a week to working with children on literacy and raising awareness and appreciation for cultural diversity.
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.
I have lead several teacher trainings in Restorative and Gentle Yoga throughout the year in both Santa Fe, New Mexico and Houston, Texas.
TEACHER & CO-OWNER
iRest® Meditation Teacher
Classes in Sustainable Yoga and iRest® Meditation
Internal Peace Teacher Training and International Retreats
“I have learned how to live more deeply and fully through yoga. Most importantly, the Internal Peace Initiative training with Richard has also provided me with a rich learning environment to help me begin to discover what kind of instructor I would like to become, and the confidence to start teaching in a professional setting.”
I’ve been formally trained in Power Vinyasa Yoga by Frog Lotus Yoga in Massachusetts USA. I have taken additional Yoga Teacher Training from; Maureen Rae (Vinyasa Yoga), Jennifer Reis (Yoga Nidra), Alina Calinescu (Yin Yoga), Richard Miller (iRest Yoga Nidra), David Emerson (Trauma Sensitive Yoga). I weave all of my training into the variety of classes that I teach: Gentle Yoga, Hot Yoga, Hot Power Yoga, Yin Yoga and iRest Yoga Nidra. My teaching style would be classified as educational, informative and inclusive of all levels. I also place an emphasis on the Mind/Body connection and assume that we are all in need of recovering or re-discovering our own human wholeness, on one level or another.
I offer a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training, The Internal Peace Initiative in London, Ontario. The 2020 training is now sold old! Contact me to learn more about our next 200 hour training. I have led Yoga Nidra Meditation trainings in Calgary, Toronto, and Edmonton, as well as in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Houston, Texas.