Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Aguirre.
Hi Melissa, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
There is a quote that I heard and often share in my yoga classes. It says, “Sometimes the heartbreaks open to let new light in.” This would be the beginning of my work through mindfulness and yoga. My practice began during a season of coping with heavy grief and navigating a dark depression. I eventually fell in love with yoga and began practicing via DVD every morning before school.
When I entered university, the opportunity to take in-person classes arose and I found that there was so much more depth and healing to happen on the mat for me. At the time, my husband was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan (yes, I was married right out of high school to my high school sweetheart who had joined the Army). My yoga teacher at the time shared an article with me about Yoga and PTSD for returning troops from deployment. I did not know exactly where my path would take me and struggled in university with “figuring out” what I should do vs. what my heart wanted. I signed up for a therapeutic yoga teacher training and completed it the month my husband returned. Soon, I dropped out of college- moved to Fort Bragg, NC, and began teaching yoga in the community and on Fort Bragg.
Accessible and therapeutic yoga was my specialty and I helped open a beautiful yoga studio in Fayetteville while continuing my education and working full time with one-on-one yoga therapy clients, leading programs for the Wounded Warrior Project, and serving the community as I could. I simultaneously was learning mostly from my actual work as I had the privilege to work with so many people of different walks and challenges, ages, and backgrounds. I learned deeply from my experiences with my clients and community while completing advanced training for the certificates.
I have always been an innovator and self-starter. During my time in Fayetteville, NC I thrived in my work and eventually, we landed orders to move to San Antonio, TX. My heart was broken as I had developed such close relationships and rapport in Fayetteville that moving to a new and larger city felt extremely daunting. The first year in San Antonio, I completed a Holistic Life Coaching program and begin integrating that into my private work while launching my first yoga teacher training. I learned my very first and heaviest lesson in business that year alongside becoming a mother to our daughter.
I felt extremely betrayed, taken advantage of, and broken from the lesson I had to learn with “partnering” in business while also navigating a new life as a mother. One thing I have learned about myself is, as a poem I wrote goes “Kick me down, you only fertilize the ground.” So, I immediately began integrating my new daughter into my work through baby and me yoga connecting more into the San Antonio Community letting go of my original plans of travel training to NC and TN. I decided to plant myself where I was and trust that life has wisdom of its own.
I launched my adaptive yoga training programs in San Antonio, opened a private practice, a beautiful yoga studio, the first yoga studio on a military base, and co-owned another studio in Boerne, TX. By 2019, I was back in flow also landing a book deal as my poetry anthology, From Deserts to Gardens (my second book, the first being The Innate Design) was published and was named San Antonio’s Best Poet of 2019. My husband received orders to Florida and we decided to do a geographical separation while he was stationed in Florida because my businesses were thriving in San Antonio.
For two years, I had the gift yet challenge of calling two places home. When the pandemic hit, I was actually in India traveling. We realized it was getting serious when the resort manager told us we either stay at the hotel or leave back to America- so we got on the next flights and headed back to the states where I would pivot my businesses virtually, eventually shut down studios and re-orient my work in a way that was informed by the lessons I learned the year before.
These teachings are so much around what I believe many struggle with- what I think I should do vs. what my heart wants. 2020 was the ultimate initiation into embracing my own fullness and creating not from a place of what I think others want but based on what my heartfelt aligned with. Today, I still work with the military aiding the operationalization of Mindfulness in the military, supporting volunteer efforts to aid military families, launched a beautiful virtual interface that serves as self-care in your pocket with an abundance of both live and on-demand teachings, practice, and resources regularly growing, leading 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training and a 500 Hour Professional Yoga Therapy Program.
How I arrived in today is a blend of self-discipline, learning from every teaching that arrived, broke me open, and called me to embrace my own authenticity. I believe collaboration, volunteerism, and service to others are vital in my work while providing quality experiences that are transformational, person-centered, and evidence-informed. My work as an author, a teacher, a leader, and a business owner is my spiritual practice every day.
I view my work as my ministry and guiding people to accessing their own birthrights of self-regulation, nourishment, joy, and ease is my deepest passion. As this is a summarized snapshot of my story there is so much more and more to come. I have been teaching this work for over eleven years and am grateful that my path has led me to so many powerful experiences, beautiful humans, and meaning in this life.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
As a self-learner and initiator, lessons inform so much of what I teach and embody. That the tuition I have paid in mistakes evolved into the most potent schools of life and business skills. That the curriculum of meeting what does not work for me or getting involved in situations that were heavy- I have learned to adapt, embrace the light-hearted, and continue to create from my heart. As I reflect, these are the strongest lessons I have learned thus far:
1. Self-trust. Every time I go against my gut, I end up in a situation laughing at myself like, you knew better. My gut is ALWAYS right and learning to trust it and go with the flow or be okay with sitting in discomfort by honoring my boundaries brings more freedom, flow, and love than anything. Self-trust. And the other part of this is the importance that if I neglect my gut and I get myself into a situation I knew better than to step into- the only person to take responsibility for is myself. I do not go into victim mode because the truth is, nobody steals your power. You give it away. AND you take it back. Self-accountability is imperative for personal growth and empowerment.
2. To stop waiting for permission. A lot of mistakes I made were because I was too afraid to go at it alone or “be different.” So, I made mistakes hiding behind others who ended up riding my coattails or taking advantage. This element is an aspect of co-dependency. When we feel we need someone else to do something. I have learned to trust my own flow and to not be afraid of the no- if it doesn’t work, it is simply redirection. There is never rejection, just redirection. If my heart wants to experience something, I go for it rather than waiting for someone else to tell me yes or tell me no.
3. I want to be a business owner, then own your business. I never went to some fancy business school or inherited education on how to run a business. I figured it out as I went. In the beginning, numbers, taxes, legal stuff all intimidated me. And this avoidance and intimidation led to more costs and figuring out. Once I got over my fear and weirdness around this stuff- I realized the fear only existed because I did not know what I did not know. As I learned and got really involved in the accounting and management of my business, it truly began to thrive. It is simple. If you do not understand something, then seek to learn. Count your ducks and have them in a row. If you want to run a business, learn to run your business.
4. Karmic Balance. I believe many struggle with this- when you give too much and do not get back it will disrupt harmony. I ensure that in everything I do from volunteer work to paid services, that there is a karmic exchange. I am careful to give things just for free if there is not a karmic exchange of some sort. I also do not like receiving things for free unless I understand the karmic balance… at the end of the day if something is free, then you are probably the product. It is so important to understand the balance and the laws of nature in general to create an abundant and peaceful life.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a blend of many modalities and things. For years, I would try and box myself into one identity which ultimately diluted my own potency. By profession, I am a yoga therapist and mind-body expert. But mostly, I am a creative entrepreneur. I create programs, education, and experiences for people to discover healing and self-transformation.
I am a poet fascinated by the power of words and use words whether when I teach my classes and programs to narrative healing and psychology to writing poetry. Words are vibrations and impact our health in so many ways along with the way we speak and the spelling can become a spell itself. Language, expression, and movement are all parts of my art. I specialize in adaptive and accessible mind-body healing through yoga, mindfulness, narrative healing, and meditation. I am probably most known for my yoga teacher training programs and my work with the military.
I think what sets me apart from others is my innovation and ability to meet people where they are and guide them into perspectives, practices, and insights that improve their quality of life. The way I facilitate and integrate ancient wisdom with modern application alongside honoring the fullness of the individual. I am definitely about embodiment, not performance. Also very practical while empowering people to embrace their own self-agency within their lives.
What were you like growing up?
I was always creative as a kid, writing in a journal every day from age 7 until 20. I have a closet full of journals from my childhood through my angsty adolescence. I was always very passionate and connected to music, poetry, and relationships. Friendship was very important to me growing up and my deepest connections were with the ones I shared music with. I was also very empathic so super sensitive kid and teen.
Emotionally and energetically. Struggled with following instructions but when I loved something or was interested in something I showed up wholehearted. Helped start the first girl’s soccer team for my middle school and played year-round from school, club, and winter and summer camps through high school. I was the anchor for the morning show from 5th grade basically until I was a senior.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.melmarieyoga.com
- Instagram: @melmarieyoga
- Facebook: @melmarieyoga