This interview was originally posted on February 20, 2017 on GlideSUP.com
THIS INTERVIEW WITH GLIDE AMBASSADOR, MELANIE SMITH, WAS PARTICULARLY EXCITING FOR ME TO DO BECAUSE IT SEEMS LIKE EVERY RESPONSE SHE HAD EMANATES PASSION FOR WHAT SHE DOES…VERY INSPIRING. READ ON FOR YOUR DAILY DOSE OF STOKE!!!
Melanie and her great smile!
AJ: Can you tell the readers about Miss Melanie Yoga and how it began?
MS: Ms. Melanie Smith, aka…Miss Melanie Yoga was created after spending ten years in the field of social work, in 2015, I turned my focus full time to teaching the practices of Mindfulness Meditation, anatomical based Asana and the empowering practice of Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga. My BA degree in Psychology along with a minor degree in Communication Studies from West Virginia University has served me well in teaching and communicating the effectiveness of the mental and physical benefits of yoga.
Challenging the typical template for the “American Dream” as a woman entrepreneur I created a business of my own teaching SUP and SUP Yoga, teaching mindfulness meditation to children in 3rd through 12th grades as well as children & families who are involved with child protective services, offering yoga to women in prison, public yoga classes & workshops, as well as private groups on and off the water.
AJ: How/ when did you get into yoga?
MS: Yoga has been a lifelong journey for me starting in my teenage years as an athlete looking for something to help heal my body from long days of practices. To what has now developed into a practice of intention setting and empowerment to live a life I love inside a body that I feel comfortable in. My purpose in practice is not perfecting every yoga pose but creating a lifetime journey in which yoga enhances everyday life, making dreams a reality.
Melanie moving as smoothly as the water.
AJ: How did you get into SUP and how did you transition into SUP yoga?
MS: I fell in love with Stand Up Paddle Boarding during a trip St. John USVI in 2011. My friends and I rented these huge 11’2 Laird Hamilton boards from a little hut on Cinnamon Beach from a bunch of wind surfers… We were given the smallest bit of instruction. Basically stand with your feet at the center, hold the paddle on the top and halfway down. Be back in two hours. That was it. I remember paddling out in clear and turquoise waters looking at fish, stopping to lay on my back and float. It stands out as one of the best days on the water I’ve ever had. I was hooked immediately. Coming home from that trip, I found out that two of my friends had bought boards. On a day out with them at a local reservoir in the New Jersey, I randomly ran into a guy who was starting a retail and rental sup business; he was impressed with our knowledge of the sport and hired me on the spot. I was able to take a SUP Yoga TT the following spring and here I am one of the leading SUP Yoga providers in my area.
AJ: How do you envision the growth of Miss Melanie Yoga within the next 5 years?
MS: I’d like to have solid team of sup yogi’s leading classes under me. The idea of a floating yoga studio that runs not only sup yoga classes but paddle tours, skills classes, studio trips, and retreats. I envision a team of likeminded sup yogis that are passionate about this sport working together to provide top notch events bringing together, nature, wellness, paddling and yoga.
Happy participants of a Miss Melanie Yoga class
AJ: What is your philosophy on SUP yoga?
MS: Fall In! Get in the water right away so that you don’t find yourself holding back in poses out of fear of falling in. The first time you fall in, you might be nervous about how you will get back on your board, be patient and trust your strength. I see a change in people’s practices once that fear of falling in has diminished, they aren’t afraid to try poses or fall in again which ultimately leads to being more present in the moment and having more fun in your SUP Yoga session.
AJ: What do you want your clients to leave one of your classes with and in what state?
MS: I want them to leave feeling empowered and connected to mother nature. Obviously, you can’t tell a person how to feel but I try to give yoga cues and talk about how we have lost our connection to nature through our technologically driven society. Most people say they can’t image standing on a paddle board let alone do yoga on one. Once they get up and begin paddling people realize that something that they once felt was impossible is very possible and that can translate into everyday living. It’s huge for the psyche.
AJ: What gets you stoked?
MS: Oh man! Adventures…..I live by the idea of “Where will yoga take me”. Music, trips, good people, a great yoga practice, being with inspiring and amazing people. We only have one life so we should not squander it. Not when there is a big amazing world to be apart of.
*For more information on Miss Melanie Yoga please see: www.missmelanieyoga.com and @missmelanieyoga on Instagram
*For more information on the Glide Lotus SUP please see: www.glidesup.com/pages/glide-lotus
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