A Yoga Teacher’s Journey: Past and Present

From starting her yoga practice at a young age in Miami, to continuing to grow her practice through her experiences in NYC and now practicing in the Carolinas, Melissa Richards shares more on her yoga journey and the community found in movement and the support gained from such a liberating practice.

You can find Melissa practicing at Yoga Six Ballantyne and Lifetime Athletic Waverly.

Hi friends –

Melissa here. I am so excited to be teaching again with SweatNET for their Yoga & Mimosas series this Spring. Whether you recognize my name from classes at Yoga Six, Life Time Athletic Waverly, or the U.S WWC, or are meeting me for the first time, I would love to re-introduce myself and the journey that brought me to share this special and liberating practice with you.

My journey with yoga started at the age of 17 (but it actually began years earlier in a kids yoga class my mom would take me every weekend – shhh!) At the end of my senior year of high school, I lost my father suddenly to a heart attack. I had no experience with loss, and physical movement seemed to be the only thing that allowed the pent-up emotions inside my physical and emotional body to experience any form of emotional catharsis. I religiously began to attend Bikram Hot Yoga in Coral Gables every morning. My poor mother wanted to kill me as I burned through her gas and used her car to get through south Miami to take my daily class. That same summer, I moved out of Miami and into my new dorm in NYC to study photography at The School of Visual Arts. Although I was there to be an “ARTEEEST,” I continued to grow my relationship on the mat. I would wake up at 7 am for $7 yoga classes at the local Bikram Hot Yoga studio in the Flatiron district near my dorm and skip the last school lesson to make it in time for my favorite vinyasa classes at Yoga Works. Yoga had become a massive part of my life, even my identity. It also became my best friend when I needed her the most.

Post-college, and a year after living in the slums of Brooklyn (for real, though), I decided to take up an entry-level job at an emerging wellness center in Miami. Well – that didn’t work out. So I went back to what I knew I loved: yoga! I worked at a few yoga studios, completed two teacher trainings, taught classes, and made some of my best friends, and then just like that… (any sex and the city fans out there?), the city was calling my name. I moved back to my beautiful city of New York for a dream job in the clean beauty and wellness space.

I worked and had many unique experiences back in the city, working with some of the most groundbreaking brands in clean beauty and wellness. Still, when the pandemic hit, I knew in my heart I wanted to be near my boyfriend Ryan and my baby dog Buddy, so I took the leap, escaped Brooklyn, and moved to the Carolinas. Two years later, Charlotte has welcomed me with open arms. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know our community through so many channels. From teaching with Sweatnet, Free People, Yoga Fest at USWWC, and becoming part of the teams at YogaSix and Lifetime, I am eternally grateful to be part of this incredibly supportive and beautiful community.

See you on the mat!

With love,
Melissa

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