My yoga journey began at 18 when a friend suggested I try a class at the local gym. It happened to be an Ashtanga primary series and from that day forward I was hooked! However, it wasn’t until my last year of college, when my clowning and movement studies professor asked if I would assist his summer yoga intensive, that I started to consider teaching.
My initial 200 hour yoga training was in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia in multi-style vinyasa, viniyoga, and incorporated thai massage. I began my yoga career in Chicago, Illinois where, in my first two years, I was lucky enough to help open five different boutique yoga spaces. Primarily a power vinyasa and restorative-yin yoga teacher, my life changed completely when I was contacted by a high profile triathlon coach to work with her disabled athletes. I was introduced to the true therapeutic benefits of yoga for recovery, pain management, and trauma. I work with students who have, and have had, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries, amputations, visual impairments, spinal chord injury, chronic pain, and/or nerve damage. Last year I partnered with the Accessible Yoga Movement in Santa Barbara to become one of the organization’s first Accessible Yoga Ambassadors.
I approach life with an open heart and zero expectations; as I believe you should approach every yoga class. I am overjoyed to share my practice with you. Come play!
Erin believes that yoga is all about connection: To breath, to movement, and to yourself. She deeply cares about helping students find an element in their practice that is very personal to them, and provides them with tools they can use to take control of their yoga practice, and truly make it their own.
In college I took a yoga class to satisfy my physical education credits. Primarily because it was familiar to me and didn’t require much effort. At the time, I discovered it seemed to help with snowboarding, which mattered most. Learning how to regulate my breath turned out to be incredibly useful when flying down mountains at full speed. It eliminated the fear factor and helped me to push myself in ways I hadn’t before; the experience was liberating.
After college yoga took a backseat, right next to my snowboard, as I began to passionately explore the world of holistic health. Enrolling in a holistic nutrition school in New York, where the many faces of alternative health were presented to me, I discovered the importance of loving ones self and loving what it is that we do in this world.
Yoga soon returned to my life, shortly after moving to Los Angeles. I found a group of yogis that gathered together 6 days a week to practice. Under the guidance of our teacher, we moved through 3 hours of pranayama, asana and meditation before moving into our day. That was the true beginning.
I can honestly say that I was afraid to commit to the practice fully--essentially one day teaching myself. I understood the importance of living a life that embraced my passions, but I was unable leave the safety net of my salary. But that’s one of the most incredible things about this practice; the more I dove into it, the more I began to let go and embrace more of what I want in my life.
This journey has taught me how important it is to believe in yourself and follow your passion. I want to instill confidence in my students, help them find the strength to believe in themselves as my mentors and fellow yogis have for me. My yoga community continues to foster my growth, while inspiring me to be better and do better daily. My hope is to do the same for you.
"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” - Ryunosuke Satoro
Certifications & Achievements
CHHC – Certified Holistic Health Counselor through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition
AADP – Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners
500 Hour RYT – 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance - in progress
200 Hour RYT - Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance
Dharma Mittra’s 500hr Teacher Training in New York - in progress
Yin Yoga Teacher Training - Registered through Yoga Alliance
Children’s Yoga Teacher Training - Registered through Yoga Alliance
Postnatal Yoga Teacher Training - Registered through Yoga Alliance
Facebook: Rebekah Grace Yoga
An old soul with a young spirit, Alex believes in living life in the moment, guided by intuition, and rooted in compassion.Years of ballet and jazz dance helped Alex appreciate the self-expression and discipline of movement. While she began to notice how many athletes, and especially dancers, were injured, even immobilized, she accepted pain as a natural component of sport. However, in her teens, complications from a peripheral neuropathy made an aggressive approach to movement unsuccessful for Alex. Heartbroken, she gave up on ballet and spent years searching for a new form of expression. Then, one day, the stars aligned when she wandered into a hot vinyasa yoga class to prove to a friend that yoga wasn't for her. To her surprise, she was blown away not only by how hard she worked, but by how centered and clear she felt after. The heat eased the tension on her nerves, and the fluid movement brought back the expression that dance had once offered. In time, her mat became the one place she felt herself, and it became clear that yoga could be healing on so many levels. Yoga helped her overcome the fear of falling and let go of the need to be perfect. As a teacher, she loves helping others overcome their own fears and weaknesses. She began teaching a hot vinyasa flow class at Malibu Hot Yoga in 2011 and did her 200HR Power Yoga certification under Bianca Fearon at Hot 8 Yoga in 2013.
"For me, yoga is about more than standing on your hands or bending you head back to your toes. It is about connecting mind and body, and that's unique to each individual. We all come to the mat with different energies and challenges, and by honoring where we are each day, we grow stronger. We break through barriers we don't even know we have." She respects that no two bodies are the same. She encourages ahimsa (compassion) and mindfulness- listening to your body and modifying postures. But don't think that means you won't leave her class sweaty and smiling. "Ten years ago, I would've laughed at yoga. Five years ago, I would've said I couldn't do it. Now I wholeheartedly believe that anyone who says they can't do yoga just hasn't found the right practice or teacher for them."
Having graduated with a BFA in dance and choreography from The California Institute of the Arts Melissa’s professional career took off. Juggling a demanding concert and commercial career meant lots of touring and performing in all sorts of conditions. Melissa found sanity for her body and mind through yoga.
In 2011, Melissa completed her 200 RYT with YogaWorks, under master teacher Patti Quintero and Olivia Barry. Due to her touring schedule Melissa began teaching privately in 2012 through out Los Angeles, New York and Toronto.
Melissa is dedicated to the needs of her students and incorporates a little bit of everything in her classes. While form and technique is of great importance she also understands her students need to feel inspired. Music, joy and growth are fundamentals in all of her classes.
Melissa is honored to join the Hot 8 Yoga community!