meet melissa

meet melissa igtv transcript

watch the igtv here


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yoga sesh: @_empower_wellness_ + website

physical therapist: @3ptdc

book club: @thetruthbookclub


Hi everybody happy Monday happy March! I really can't believe that we've been at home for just about a year but I thought I would as many do hop on Instagram live and just give a little introduction who I am, what it is that I do so yeah that's basically all that I was hoping to do this morning. I realized that I’ve had this Instagram account and have been teaching for a really long time and many of you may have absolutely no idea who I am because I've never done something like this.

My name is Melissa I am originally from an area of West Virginia not very far from the District of Columbia where I currently live now I'm just going to let you know about myself today yeah. My pronouns are she/her and I have been a lifelong mover. When I was young I never stopped moving on my mom and took me to ballet classes at a local dance studio in Charles Town, West Virginia and ever since then I've just never stopped moving. I feel like it’s been a natural progression to be dancing professionally still and also be teaching yoga and guiding others through their own movement on a weekly basis so what what's what I find really fascinating is I actually did not like yoga for a really long time and I every time I tried to take a yoga class I was really bored. It didn't feel, I guess, stimulating enough for me especially in comparison to a technical ballet class you are constantly in motion always moving. In yoga there's a stillness and there's time to really think and meditate and breathe and all of these wonderful things that I absolutely love about yoga practice now so that perspective on yoga really lasted through college. I was in my early twenties and still not really ever seeing a need for yoga or stillness or added breath in my daily life and then I got injured, as many dancers do at some point in their career. I had a pretty bad ankle sprain. It was Nutcracker season and I was guesting in Upstate New York and I had two and a half months to, no, I had a month-and-a-half to get myself back on stage for another show that I had in mid-February. I found my physical therapist down here and told she told me move and do whatever I could to keep stamina up so I wouldn't lose strength and cardio ability. I was searching searching searching trying to figure out what it was what on Earth I could do where, you know, I could walk that was fine but definitely no running or intense cardio of that nature. I was living in Takoma Park Maryland at the time and I found a Bikram Yoga Studio. Which is a style of yoga where classes are in extremely heated rooms, I think it's like a hundred and five degrees or something like that in those studios and it’s a set series of 26 postures that you do twice. You start standing and you make your way down to the floor and there's a lot of balancing involved and I found that was really really beneficial specifically, not necessarily the heat and hot and sweaty but I did really love that part of it as well as, were really really helpful for my ankle to build back strength and stability because there are two legged balances on your toes are also so all of that was really really wonderful in recuperating my ankle in addition to physical therapy. I can never ever stress enough how important physical therapy is for movers of any kind or even not over you don't consider yourself to be a mover maybe sit at a desk most of the day and physical therapy can be really helpful as I am sitting now a little how to open everything up yeah and just rely on your body so I practice Bikram Yoga form maybe two years. I was going to two or three classes every single week. I did make it back on stage for that show a month after all thanks to my physical therapist and my continued I focused on really rehabbing my ankle.

So then a phenomenon called classpass hit the DC area and my best friend and I joined and she got me into taking Vinyasa yoga classes which were classes I had tried in the past and absolutely did not like whatsoever I had no upper body strength and I always any time I took those classes I could not move my arms for like the next three to four days and so I just know I never saw the benefits in working to build up his strength at that point in time and so I had gotten into the you know two years into my 26 to training practice and realize that I was really missing upper body strength so I went ahead and started going to something else of classes with this friend and really fell in love with a hot vinyasa at, I'm sure many people are familiar with CorePower Yoga at The Core Power Yoga studios. I really appreciated the structure of the classes coming from the Bikram format that I was really used to so I found that very kind of relaxing, I suppose, because I could get into a rhythm. I was kind of understanding the flow of a class and also was able to build strength just continually going into those classes and yeah so that is how I got into Vinyasa. I definitely started out in those classes with the mindset of must do everything being all the poses make all the transitions make them as hard as possible for myself so I continue progressing in my own yoga practice and I met some really wonderful people at the different studios that I would go to here in the DC area. They really helped me understand how to slow down and how to take each practice in each class however I needed to and wherever I was coming into that class so it wasn't necessary for me to go full force like 150% every single class to take time and for you and just being a hot space in like maybe some extra stretching or just like not doing the max because that's not necessarily important all of the time sometimes it's better to be listening to yourself in your body and what you need and taking it slowly.

That is actually how I developed a chronic injury this time. I have a strained piriformis and two minors like smaller glute muscles on my right side, and I attribute that to pushing through pain in chair pose and high crescent, like a revolved crescent lunge, so if you're feeling pinching something that feels really stuck, from my liked from my perspective in my experience that is not worth it. Get out, find a different option for yourself that doesn't feel that way. I am continuing with my PT exercises from my wonderful physical therapist. I went to see her a couple of times to get that sorted out. Ongoing PT love for my body so yeah that is honestly how I think that last injury in my glutes is really how I come to develop my approach to my own yoga practice and these days in that anyway or however it is that your practice looks is exactly what it needs to be for you right now like that time at that moment during my class it can very moment by moment I tend to say that during my classes, like your body might be feeling really different, you might be feeling really strong in like you know when it's 10 to 15 in the yoga class after getting warm trying to stretch out but then come minutes 35 to 40 and you're like to know what I'm good I like gave it a lot earlier or I'm feeling really good and feeling really strong or whatever the case maybe.

I love just seeing students come home into their bodies, that sounds like a strange way to say it, but to really listen and understand where and how they want to be moving so that's how I try to teach. As we moved into the pandemic last March, it was pretty hard for me to keep teaching. I love being with people in space, breathing like moving together I'm, like yeah just like, getting into the flow of it with other people so teaching online has been a whole new experience for me and I have both like teaching yoga online and I have some teaching dance online so all of that has helped me to become a bit more comfortable. That’s how I approached it; feel free to ask me any questions.

I guess maybe just a little bit more about myself and I'll hop off that's basically my philosophy on my own yoga classes and my own practice. I just want everyone to feel really good and have time to be with themselves on their mat or your towel or whatever it is that you're practicing on.

I am a true sensitive, creative cancer that is my zodiac sign. I have absolutely no idea what Sun/ Moon Rising, I don't know what any of that means I don't know what that is for myself so I just stick with my wonderful water sign. I have a relatively newfound love of traveling. I am so grateful to be able to go to Haiti I went with go Paradigm retreats in March of 2018. I can't believe that was three years ago but I went with wonderful humans that I had got to know through taking classes on my yoga teacher training through CorePower and yeah it was just great to be with people in a different space in a country that, I'd never been outside of the US, so it was quite an amazing experience to be somewhere else with a different experience. People living different you know on the same Earth just very differently was really really wonderful and humbling to see and experience. Then like 2018-19 my partner and I had a Europe Trip. We started in Amsterdam, went to Barcelona then started in Reykjavik in Iceland and went along the southern coast through Vik and Diamond Beach and it was just absolutely wonderful and I cannot wait to do something like that again. We haven’t travelled since except for little trips to the beach or mountains, something close by.

My Myers-Briggs personality traits, I am an ENFJ I was just reminding myself what all of those what the acronym stands for for myself this morning and I was really struck by how the J in judge so you either judge or perceive and it's how you make decisions and how a lot of that is perception from other people's how other people perceive you and yes that is very accurate make a lot of list thank you Mom shout out to you for reminding me always to write it down so I would never forget having everything planned out and written down and her task oriented person I am while simultaneously being a little, not wild on the inside, but maybe a little less organized inside personal when people don't necessarily see all the time so I don't know definitely how that is my Myers-Briggs Personality trait.

Over the past year I've been really trying to increase, so I didn't tell you this earlier but my record is up for review for in May, so yeah, I'm getting my Masters of Science in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and I'm currently working on my clinical hours. I'll be taking my certification exam in November so I'll be a certified nutrition specialist at a point in time, but I've been trying to increase the the number of books that I've been reading not just to like numbers-wise increase, but to retain an open mind, obtaining new information different perspectives some fiction some nonfiction the little bit of everything and I've been doing a lot of school reading and how this I just started my mind so I was trying to broaden my horizons and not get stuck in the science in the data in the nutrition and all of that so proud of the little bit in the information that I'm consuming my all-time favorite book is Catcher in the Rye I'm actually do now to read it again but that is my all-time favorite recently if you're not following them you totally should the truth book club on a friend of mine and fellow teacher from formerly Dailey Method DC barre cycle yoga studio off of U Street that has since shutdown. A wonderful book club and I've been trying to keep up with those books that they have been following through every month, so I recently finished Assatta and I need to move on to the next book they've been looking at which I can't remember off the top of my head. I'm also currently reading The Labor of Lunch which is a fascinating read about the National School lunch program and how it began the ideas and how it is today. I haven't gotten that far in the book but I'm in I like the 1950s where chronologically I am learning about it. I definitely suggest the book, though. I am definitely a TV before bed person so we tend to put Netflix or HBO or Disney+ or something on before falling asleep or Amazon Prime. My favorite TV show is Schitt’s Creek; I can't have the little subtitles here on Instagram life but absolutely love fell in love with the first episode, and I'm due to watch the show again. I think we've watched it three times through since last March but only season 6 once so might as well start over from the beginning so I can watch season 6 again. Other favorites that I have are the Great British baking show, 30 Rock, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, another that I can think of right now.

I hope that this was an informational for you guys and that you may be learned a little bit about me. You can catch me basically anytime that you would like. I do teach live classes on Tuesday evening at 6 that's my energetic Flow Yoga sesh and on Sundays I teach at 6 again, all eastern time, and Sunday's is my slow Flow Yoga sesh so a little slower, a little less movement I love both equally. You just have to go to my website which is www.empowerwellness.co/yoga if you want to jump directly to the yoga page but yeah I am here to talk and listen and answer questions and come up with my own questions for you guys so anytime feel free to DM me and you can email me yeah let's just keep it going thanks everybody!


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