Melissa received her Masters degree in School Counseling from St. John’s University in 2005 and has been working with children in Kindergarten through the 6th grade for the past 10 years. Melissa found her yoga practice helped her counsel students. She decided to pursue her yoga certification by completing her 200 hour teacher training in 2010 with Laurie Ahlemann of Long Island Yoga School.
Melissa decided to continue to grow as a yoga teacher by receiving her Children’s Yoga Certification with Yoga Rocks! She is registered with Yoga Alliance as a Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT) and E-RYT 200 with over 1000 hours of teaching experience. Melissa also has her personal training and group exercise instructor certification with Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).
Melissa was The Bonda Kids Program Coordinator at Bonda Yoga until its closed in 2016. She was able to run different events, camps, family classes and workshops. She has taught yoga to toddlers, children and teens. Yoga is a true passion to Melissa.
Getting to Know Melissa…
1) Why did you start practicing yoga?
Yoga was the perfect marriage of my two passions; fitness and counseling. As a former dancer I have always been very active and health conscious. After college I found the “flow” of yoga similar to the movement of dance. As a guidance counselor while working with children, I found some yoga techniques were useful. I used many techniques to calm children down, ease anxiety and help them focus during test taking. Teaching yoga gave me the opportunity to study both the body and mind; helping me be a better counselor.
2) How would you describe your style of teaching?
I teach primarily Vinyasa Flow. I sequence my classes by incorporating a theme into them such as building to a pose, the time of the year, a specific body part, a quote I may have seen or the particular mood of the class. I encourage my students to understand their bodies and to work in a safe and effective manner. My goal is for them to leave the class refreshed and renewed with a little less stress.
3) Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by my fellow teachers and attending different classes. I enjoy seeing how others teach and break down poses. Sometimes I get ideas for my classes by reading a quote or hearing a song.
4) Tell us something we would never guess about you.
Even though I am a Yoga Teacher, I have an intense fear of public speaking. The only place where I can get in front of a crowd and speak comfortably is in the friendly environment of a yoga studio with my students.
5) What is your least favorite asana?
Due to tight shoulders my least favorite asana is Warrior 1. While in this particular pose, I have to remind myself to draw the shoulders down the back towards the hips as they naturally round forward.
6) Name one thing on your bucket list?
Recently I had my second child and throughout both pregnancies, I did pre-natal yoga. This particular practice was inspirational and helpful. I would love to get my pre-natal yoga certification so I can help other mommies bond with their babies.