I'm happy to share with you my story, my approach to teaching and my personal journey in becoming a yoga teacher.
I came to yoga during a very difficult time in my life. I suffered a severe mental breakdown in 2008 during my career as an electrical engineer. I had reached a point in my life where the pains of my past could no longer be hidden or stay quiet anymore. My therapist recommended yoga as part of my healing. My first several months with yoga were spent simply learning how to breathe again. As I began to explore the postures I was able to manage and overcome depression and anxiety. I came to understand the importance of the health of the whole person: mind, body and spirit.
I find that yoga integrates well with my personal faith and keeps me grounded. I received my 200 hour yoga teacher certification through North Texas Yoga and I am registered with the Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT200 (over 1000 hours teaching). I am a member of the IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists) as I believe that yoga offers great tools to promote healing and recovery. In 2015 I sought out Camella Nair for instruction in the art and science of aqua yoga. With the support and blessing of AquaFit, Camella came to Texas to train me and several others in Aqua Kriya Yoga in the Kriya Yoga tradition. I do love being in and around water; I love how the water environment lulls me into a stillness and comfort where I can simply be and listen to the Divine. Water is truly a blessing.
I received my degree in Electrical Engineering from New Mexico State University and served for 7 years as an engineer for Raytheon in Dallas. Interestingly, I find that this background and way of looking at the world assists me in how I help people in their bodies. The human body is truly an engineering marvel. I feel very honored to be called to serve my community now as a yoga teacher. As I teacher, it's my goal to help students find a sense of joy, steadiness and ease not just in yoga class but in their entire life and being.
Yoga held Bonnie's heart for years, but she says her journey really took off when she was outside on her front porch smoking one day. She asked God in desperation to help her stop smoking. The answer "Yoga" settled in her heart that second.
From then on any time she had a craving she practiced poses. She began a whole body practice that would heal her body, mind, soul and set her life desire to become a healer to all creation. Strength, clear purpose, confidence and hope are just some of the beautiful benefits she experienced!
She loves animals, nature, picture books and beautiful quotes; these elements are woven into her teaching as she helps students focus on breath and kindness to the body. She gravitates towards teaching the following types of yoga that promote healing and self-care:
o Aqua Yoga - a whole new atmosphere provided through water where gravity is less of a hindrance
o Chair Yoga - including support and comfort of blankets and blocks to make yoga more accessible
o Yin Yoga - intentionally held poses which encourage deep body and breath awareness
o Slow Flow - the sense of a gentle dance while staying connected to intention, comfort and breath
o Restorative Yoga - relaxation poses fully supported by props which prompt a deep rest for mind and body
o Yoga for Children - life saving and life giving tools for courage and joy
Certified Yoga Instructor - 200 hr
Certified Aqua Yoga Instructor - Aqua Kriya Yoga
Melissa is passionate about water activities. She has been a certified aqua aerobics instructor since 2000. Come to any one of her aquatic conditioning classes bright and early in the morning and you will experience the warmth, enthusiasm and depth of knowledge she has for teaching people how to enjoy working in the water. She is certified through AEA as an aquatics professional. Melissa has the wonderful ability to work with all age groups and has taught children and adults learn-to-swim classes. She is also certified as a senior stability and conditioning coach; included in her work with the senior population she has taught arthritis stretch and balance programs on land and in the water.
Melissa's first encounter with the idea of aqua yoga occurred at a fitness convention. It was not taught by a teacher trained in Aqua Kriya Yoga and unfortunately the experience was quite disappointing. When AquaFit decided to promote Aqua Kriya Yoga, Melissa was initially skeptical. However, after taking the classes, she said she "achieved a level of body awareness, openness and emotional stability through the practice of Aqua Kriya Yoga." Melissa began to incorporate more yoga both on land and in the water into her routine for her health and wellness. In February 2017 she completed the Aqua Kriya Yoga level 1 certification. She is finding day by day new things her body is opening up to and changes that create more balance for her. She says, "I am fascinated with the mind/body connection as it stabilizes both the physical, emotional and spiritual essence of who we are."