MSW, LSW, CYT-200
Melissa is a bilingual (Spanish/English) social worker and trauma-informed yoga teacher who specializes in teaching accessible and inclusive yoga in community settings.
She received her Bachelor of Art in Social Welfare in 2004 and Master of Social Work in 2008 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has worked in areas of homelessness, child welfare, behavioral health, aging, and disability issues.
Melissa has been a longtime practitioner of yoga. Since 1998, beginning in the Kriya Yoga lineage and later studied Sanskrit and eastern philosophy and religions while at university. In 2015, Melissa completed her 200-hour yoga certification with Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago and has completed over 1000 hours of continuing education.
Melissa aims to teach yoga through movement rather than yoga as movement in an effort to challenge the perception of modern yoga as fitness. She guides her students through self-paced movement, gentle postures (asana), and breathing techniques (pranayama) carefully weaving yoga philosophy throughout in order to illuminate the purpose of yoga as revealing one's deeper self and wholeness.
Melissa encourages students to tune into their own personal agency and listen to their bodies as they explore ways of practicing. At the forefront of her teaching is making yoga approachable to all and creating an environment that is healing.
When Melissa's not teaching in Chicago, she’s leading global adventure retreats for introverts and highly sensitive people in order to provide group travel experiences that also allow for substantial downtime.
Through her extensive cross-cultural experience in living Guatemala, Ecuador, and Mexico, Melissa came to understand the profound impact that connection with other cultures and nature can have on mental and emotional health. She loves sharing the places and cultures of the world that have impacted her while bringing people together to connect in meaningful ways.