There are so many yoga teachers out there it’s hard for someone like myself, who attempts to practice three to six days a week, to pick. In the past years I’ve based my class schedule on WHAT the class is, as opposed to WHO is teaching. Admittedly, I don’t read yoga magazine, yoga forums or know really any of the big yoga companies or teachers. The ”headliners” don’t really mean anything to me…in fact I’ve accidentally signed up for them and have left both satisfied and disappointed. My first year of Wanderlust I accidentally signed up for the same teacher three times, whose classes dealt with a different aspect of yoga and built on each other. What a great accident. She was a fantastic intro to Wanderlust for me, still a relative noobie at the time. I have forgotten her name, although I know I haven’t seen her since.
The studio I practice in Reno is The Studio which was another “accidental” find. I’m a creature of proximity, so I picked the studio closest to my house. With 99% certainty I can remember my first class was a hot vinyasa taught by a vibrant and attentive woman named Melissa Martinez. The room was packed…and hot! The room seemed full of seasoned veterans, intermediates and beginners. It was a challenge…on many levels. There was chanting at the beginning (I’ve never been one for sing-alongs), the practice itself was intense, then more chanting at the end. Throughout the years, The Studio has remained my preferred yoga studio as I can attend Hatha, Vinyasa flow, Yin, Restorative, Level 2 Hot, The Yoga of Fire and Water, and a multitude of other classes to keep my ADD at bay, and Melissa has become one of my favorite instructors. Since the first day, I’ve seen her grow and change as well, becoming a stronger teacher, launch a teacher training program and birth a child! I am extremely happy for her to have been selected again as a Wanderlust 2014 instructor as the world can use a little more Melissa influence and friendship.
FB: How is mommy hood?
MM: We’re 17 days deep in this journey with our son, Jai Bodhi and I’m still totally blown away by the whole trip. Life is a miracle. As I witness the magic of this little beings development everyday, I’m feeling really honored to be a mom.
Is it everything you anticipated?
I remember just anticipating the birth, which turned out to be an insane experience! Wow. Birthing a human. Wow. I remember thinking that it would be challenging once we brought our weeble wobble home but, nothing and no one could’ve prepared me for this. I think the most surprising thing at this moment is how much this little being needs me. You really can’t imagine how totally dependent they are on you. You can’t even wrap your head around it if you’ve never experienced it. In some ways it feels like the most selfless service on the planet but at the same time how could it be as the rewards are boundless. Success is now measured in smiles and contentment of another being. This is powerful stuff. My whole entire world shrunk to 20 inches and 7 lbs. 2 oz. Oh and sleep! Delicious, wonderful, beautiful sleep… It eludes me if I try to chase it. I can only except that it doesn’t exist the way it use to and then this whole trip is much more doable. I know that it gets better– this is what they say. I know that it’s actually really hard right now to be honest but, again how could it be hard when the rewards are so great. Just looking at his precious little face fills me up and that hour of sleep that I got last night doesn’t matter.
FB: Where are you from? How did you find yoga?
MM: I’m from the San Francisco bay area– literally. During my most formative years we lived on a boat in Redwood City, Docktown Marina. That sounds really cool but not when you’re 12 and trying to listen to Billy Idol on your cassette player. We also moved around quite a bit and lived in San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Fremont, Oakland…so, I am a Northern California girl through and through.
Yoga found me about 14 years ago living in Portland Oregon. I was so terrible at the yoga poses– completely inflexible and totally clueless. I remember I couldn’t even sit with my legs crossed in the folded position. I was so out of touch with my physical health even though I went to the gym. When I moved to San Diego a year later I brought a post-it note on which I wrote ‘Go To Yoga’ and taped it to my medicine cabinet in the bathroom so that I could be reminded every day to continue my practice. I was so intrigued that I went to as many workshops, immersions, trainings, retreats, festivals and anything I could for years. Dharma unfolded through my studentship. The lineage that I cherish continues to reveal my heart and my connection to the source from which everything comes. I’ve taught for around seven years and this whole journey has taken me to India with my teacher Janet Stone and Christopher (Hareesh) Wallace; it’s been thousands of hours of study and it’s still going. This year I launched We Are One Flow Yoga 200-hr Teacher Trainings and held space for 37 trainees. The Reno yoga community was rocked by a truly incredible teacher training! The yoga scene is blowing up in Reno!
FB: Describe you style and your philosophy behind your classes, flow and structure?
MM: The Yoga that I teach is flow yoga or vinyasa yoga. Spontaneity and my fullest attention go into each class. I’ve always thought of teaching group classes as conducting energy. I love music!I love bass. I truly love many different genres of music. I play with the energetic exchange of music and flowing sequences of postures. I’m influenced by my teachers Rusty Wells, Janet Stone, and Shaelah Morris…massive doses of humor when the moment arises is always welcome. Laughing rules.
FB: Is this your first time at Wanderlust?
MM: I was a presenter at Wanderlust last year and attended every festival before that. This year I’m presenting a workshop on Thursday and a class on Friday. The workshop is an offering for those that want to get to know yoga as therapy. Thursday at 1:00-3:00pm I lead Peaceful Therapeutic Flow. This is all about low and slow vinyasa for everybody at any stage in life. It’s important that we create a sustainable pace for practice and support healing through serving the breath. Come to relax and begin your weekend right! On Friday from 2:00-3:30pm, hang out with Dj HyFi and me for Ujjayi Breathing & Your Heart Beating. Dj HyFi (Ian) will provide some seriously deep lush atmospheric landscapes for you to get into your body and out of your mind. You don’t want to miss this! Ian is extremely talented at playing with the energy of the room and taking you on a trip.
FB: Obviously your experience will be drastically different than years past!
MM: My experiences at Wanderlust in the past have been full-on gluttonous which I highly recommend. This year if you see me in the village and I’ve showered and am wearing clothes, I will be deeply satisfied. I think that all of my asana, pranayama, and meditation thus far have prepared me for mommyhood. There’s a lot in the bank and I’ll be withdrawing! I hope that you do some downward-facing dog for me and maybe flip it over or do one of those yoga classes turned dance parties. I might just be in Savasana or Breastfeeding asana. It’s all good. It’s all yoga.
Melissa Martinez teaches at The Studio Reno, 1085 South Virginia St. Her website is www.melissamcyoga.com // www.yogadjhyfi.com. Her next teacher training is in Spring 2015. Info at www.weareoneflowyoga.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org