5Q Interview with Melanie, @SanDiegoYogaFestival
1.) Tell me about your personal journey with yoga. Why is it important to you?
I limped into my first yoga class because my knees hurt too badly to run long distances like I used to. For a while I would only practice power vinyasa because I felt I had to “get a workout”. Years later I’m back at running because yoga saved my body and I’m skipping all my chaturangas because yoga saved my mind!
2.) When did you first begin teaching yoga? What made you transition into a leadership position? How has this translated to your hug project, the San Diego Yoga Festival?
I originally started teaching because I thought there must be a way to meditate, slow the mind and center the soul while at the same time get a butt kicking workout. As my practice deepens I’ve learned that the asanas do their work on the practitioner no matter how the instructor strings them together or how hot the room is. Eventually I started my own studio, TriPower, in an attempt to bring together the western focus in asana and physicality as well as the mind/soul connection. I became extremely compassionate toward the community where I live and teach, Ocean Beach. I worked hard to embed myself in the community to bring about positive transformation. When Shawna presented the idea of throwing a yoga festival here in San Diego with the intention of raising the positive vibrations of your city it fell right in line with my own heart’s desire for my local beach community in SD. As the vision took shape into reality it became clear that the perfect venue for SD Yoga Fest was not a venue at all but rather the beach, and what better beach than Ocean Beach!
3.) What makes your classes unique?
I ask a lot of my students. I bring in my background in fitness and athletics. I ask them to drop into their bodies and stay there. But then I ask them to show grace and compassion, so different from what I learned as a personal trainer and pro-athlete. Feeling how the body feels, asking what is best for the body and responding with dignity is a common theme in my teaching. I’m also silly and playful. I don’t believe in taking life to seriously, least of all on the mat.
4.) How does music benefit your guidance in a yoga class?
Music changes everything. I spend hours each week creating a new playlist. Some of my favorite playlists are for my “Cardi-Yoga” class (which I’m teaching at 8am on Saturday morning at the festival). This class is 1/3 vinyasa, 1/3 high-intensity-interval-
5.) Tell me about your next event and where we can follow you online.