I am originally from the east coast of the USA & left Manhattan in 1999 to travel to India. After 2 years in India, I lived in the Caribbean & was fortunate enough to travel quite a bit before settling in Wellington in 2005. In former lives, I’ve been a photographer, writer, designer, actor & a milliner.
MYOGA practice evolved from a life-long exposure to alternative forms of health and lifestyle. While still a young girl, my mother trained as a massage therapist at Kripalu Center and I played at yoga, meditation and conscious movement (DansKinetics). At the time, my family were practicing Nichiren Buddhists as well, so chanting and devotion were a daily part of my life.
I love athletics & movement & over the years have competed in a range of sports from running to rowing. Throughout these activities, my connection to breath and stretching, as discovered early on in yoga, aided me. During highschool, a relative introduced me to Kundalini Yoga. After university, I began to create an increasingly regular practice of Kundalini yoga on my own.
The decision to become a teacher came out of the realization that this was something completely aligned with my personal values that I could travel with; something I could share with people anywhere in the world. I returned to Kripalu Center to complete a 200-hour teacher certification in 2002 and have been teaching ever since. My teaching style that has developed over the years, MYOGA, emphasises awareness, compassion and the movement of energy. MYOGA is playful yet precise, & is simple yet works on subtle levels. In 2003 I completed a certification in Pregnancy Yoga, in 2004 I trained in Positional Release Therapy which I incorporate into my One-on-One yoga sessions & in 2009 I was certified in the Radiant Child yoga teacher training. I have also been a member of the Kripalu Yoga Teacher’s Association & am a current member of the Yoga Alliance as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT, meaning I have taught 1000+ hours). I am also registered with the New Zealand branch of the International Yoga Teachers Association (IYTA). The evolution of my teaching continued as I became a teacher of teachers & developed MAP, MYOGA Apprentice Programme, a Yoga Alliance registered 200 hour teacher training programme.
For a full description of my teaching, see the About Us section on this website or, better yet, come to a class and experience it for yourself!
I am married and have two wonderful children. In the past, I completed a Diploma in Clothing and Textiles and a BA in Sociology. I have also worked in sales and marketing for various companies, including selling residential real estate. My passions are my family and friends, travel and yoga. I was first introduced to yoga at the age of 10 when my Mum started evening yoga classes. She would come home and demonstrate some of the different poses she had learnt. During my childhood I was involved in gymnastics, squash, tennis, swimming and athletics. In my late teens/early twenties I started attending yoga classes on a regular basis. In the past 20 plus years, my time practising yoga has steadily increased. What first drew me to yoga was that it provided more than a physical challenge and workout. I enjoyed feeling energised and relaxed from the conscious breathing and the physical postures. After finishing a class I always felt an overall sense of wellbeing. More recently (2-3 years ago) I made a conscious decision that yoga would be part of my life, for the rest of my life. Having said that, I never ever imagined that I would teach yoga. Thanks to Melissa and MYOGA I discovered my voice. Melissa set me on a path of self discovery, encouraging me in my own daily practice. Through the chanting, breathing, asanas and meditations I have found an amazing improvement in my physical and mental wellbeing. Attending the MAP training programme has opened up a fantastic, new and refreshing part of me. I am extremely grateful to Melissa for providing this opportunity for self discovery and growth. It is with great anticipation, an open heart and a positive can-do attitude that I set out on this journey to teach and continue to learn. NAMASTE.
I love gardening, cooking and writing. I’m passionate about plants, food and words. I value growth, nourishment and communication. So it’s only natural that I’ve ended up being a gardener, cook and writer. And I think it’s very cool how my long-time loves, passions, values and work all come together on the yoga mat.
A couple of years ago, at the ripe old age of 50, I took a good long check in with myself and thought “holy shit!” Menopause had happened, grey hair had happened, stooping was happening, and I felt brittle, a bit stiff, and a lot stressed. Not one to wait around for inspiration, I got on the internet and looked for a yoga class to squeeze in before work. MYOGA was the only studio in Wellington offering early classes, and it was on my commute route, so I signed up. So what if it was a 40-day practice? How hard could that be?
That’s how my yoga journey started. The first week I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. My body hadn’t had that much attention and conscious activity for many years. But then I started feeling straighter, more balanced, stronger. I could breathe deeper, sleep more soundly… I signed up for the next 40-day practice, and the next. After spending a year journeying around my body with the MYOGA morning practices, I felt like I had a brand new body, and I was starting to feel like I was getting a brand new mind too!
I really wanted to share this experience with others, so I signed up to the MYOGA apprenticeship program and spent the next year stretching and challenging myself in all sorts of other ways, getting prepared to teach.
Yoga – practicing and teaching—plugs me in to my passions and values. Yoga helps us grow healthy and strong, it nourishes our bodies, minds and spirits, and it communicates an age-old, but new-to-many approach to a happier and healthier life.
I feel really privileged to be part of MYOGA. It’s a serene space, supporting growth and nourishment. It’s a bit like a flourishing garden or a welcoming kitchen—a place to feel at home.
My first experience with Yoga was my grandmother donning her black leotard and tights and demonstrating the moves from her seniors’ yoga group – in the family lounge after the Sunday roast (eek!)
After cancer-related major surgery five years ago I lost a fair amount of flexibility and strength, a lot of confidence, and (I now realise) my sense of humour. The hospital system offered little support post-surgery, so my search for effective rehabilitation led me to MYOGA, and from the first long, deep breath I knew that Yoga and I were to be lifelong friends.
Under Melissa’s expert guidance I did a few rounds of the MYOGA Basics Series and then moved up to Multi-Level classes, astounded by the increasing flexibility, strength and confidence I was gaining through the poses and breathing practice. I even felt my sense of humour awaken as we belly-laughed in class to ease our just-worked core muscles.
A year later I did my first 40-Day Sadhana Series and wow, the benefits are many; improved sleep, digestion, and mental agility, as well as balance (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual). And the strong, toned muscles are pleasing!
A desire to deepen my own daily practice and learn more about this ancient system led me to the MYOGA Apprentice Program. I graduated in 2012 and I teach exclusively at MYOGA, helping our students to find calm and well-being in their busy lives.
The photo above shows me at the MYOGA studio with my Super-Heroine Tania, who is still teaching Yoga aged 88.