BARBARA MELANSON, RYT
My yoga journey began about 20 years ago when I integrated yoga into my fitness routine. Back then I considered yoga to be simply stretching. About five years ago I made a New Year’s Resolution to deepen my yoga practice. That resolution led me to The Yoga Sanctuary. As the demands of my career increased and as my need to help family members cope with severe illness arose, I knew the meditative and breathing aspects of yoga could help me handle the stress.
I consider myself to be a lifelong learner, always seeking new skills and knowledge. So, when I saw the poster for teacher training at The Yoga Sanctuary I took up the opportunity to immerse myself in yoga and deepen my practice. It did not occur to me that I would ever actually become a yoga teacher. As I delved deeper into the principles of yoga, the teacher in me began to ignite-along with the doubt: Could I do this? What would I bring to the students? Would I be any good?
I have engaged in a variety of teaching roles throughout my life-from “teaching school” to my dolls when I was five, and teaching Sunday School at my church to conducting professional development workshops and trainings in my career. I have found it invigorating to explore new concepts and skills with others. I have also found that the teacher actually learns more than the students do!
Yoga has given me a different way of looking at the world and has opened up new friendships in my life. The real difference is that I feel more balanced-my professional, personal, and spiritual lives are finally integrating, allowing me to be more effective in each of my roles.
Since becoming a yoga teacher, my practice is more focused. I analyze asanas in order to modify them for my students. I continue to read and study to incorporate more of the spiritual aspects of yoga into my home practice as well as into my classes. I also spend much more time in my meditation practice. The greatest gift of teaching yoga has been the deepening of my understanding of the eight limbs of yoga that has come about through my association with the knowledgeable staff at The Yoga Sanctuary and with the kind, enthusiastic students.
Other than yoga, my passions include spending time with my family, taking walks on the bridge over the Peace River, reading, and learning new things. Each year I challenge myself to learn something new and to travel to a place I have never been.
Although many people know I have a strong spiritual self, they may not know how important it is that I make that connection in ways that have a concrete purpose in this life-reaching that connection with the higher power, God. What am I here to do? How will I know when I’ve fulfilled that purpose? Lots of questions; still haven’t found the answers!
A few of my favorites:
My favorite books: The Bible and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
My favorite food: Really good artisan bread and my mom’s blackberry cobbler!
My favorite yoga pose: Vrksasana (Tree Pose). It’s the perfect metaphor for where I am right now.
Most challenging yoga pose: Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose). With tight hips, it’s a work in progress.