Soul Body Blog
Timely articles and ideas for your health and wellbeing…
Spring is Here!
It has been quite a Winter for us here in the Ojai Valley and we are loving every moment, every rain drop, every cloudy mountain top and snowy peak. And we are also in love with the lengthening days now more and more noticeable, the blanket of mustard flowers on the hillsides, and the valley’s legendary sunshine radiating in all directions as the seasons begin to change.
Spring is a time of rebirth and creativity. From the restorative depths of the Winter Cave, we can give birth to ourselves in a celebration of evolution, wisdom, and unfolding. Spending more time outdoors, getting up a little earlier, and eating more sprouts and green foods helps to awaken stagnant energy and shed the heaviness of the past. Sound and mantra assists the elevation of your vibratory state~ play your favorite instrument or dive into a soundbath. Gentle liver and gallbladder cleanses are well timed (join us for our Spring Attunement Cleanse
We also have in house Spring experiences to awaken your creativity and healing such as our Spring Equinox Full Moon Ceremony (March 20) with Alison and Spring Weekend Retreat (April 26) with Jennifer.
And here is a special Full Length Yoga Class with Tara to enliven you and prepare you for all of the wondrous and astonishing things you are soon to experience.
Blessings and Love from all of us here at Soul Body Ojai.
My name is Melanie Larkins and I am so glad to be a part of Soul Body Ojai. I started on the yogic path in 1995 at The Thacher School, with Gallia Vickery, my dance teacher who integrated it into her program. Coming from a high-stress background as a competitive gymnast, then figure skater, yoga helped me to finally be able to sleep after years of insomnia and sleepwalking. I still use some of the techniques I learned back then to calm me, especially when I am anxious or restless.
Fast forward to 2012. I was in a global MBA program, traveling a ton, and working myself to exhaustion. I had forgotten about the importance of yoga and meditation for me until a classmate suggested going to a yoga class. That class changed my mindset and reminded me of the tools in my tool bag to manage stress and find balance. I knew that I wanted to help others through yoga. So, I began teaching friends, subbing classes at a senior center, and teaching yoga at a performance program. In 2013, I completed the MBA program and in 2014 I completed 200 hour teacher training with Bethany Vaughn in Atlanta, GA. I love teaching yoga and particularly enjoy guiding students through gentle flow and restorative postures for release and revitalization.
By 2015, I was managing the North American sustainability program for a big consulting firm. Somehow, my life had gone back to traveling a ton and working myself to exhaustion with little time for leisure or reflection. I took a break and spent some time at Hostel in the Forest in Brunswick, GA. While there, I spent most days teaching and practicing yoga, meditating, reading, playing on my Lyra (aerial apparatus), and singing. It was just what I needed. The manager at the hostel kept telling me I should try Thai Yoga bodywork. In the spring of 2016, I completed level one training in Thai Yoga bodywork there with Phoebe Diftler (White Lotus Institute). I love this healing modality because it enables me to help people heal even more. I can focus on stretches and flows combined with energy work and sound address the needs of each client.
In Brunswick, I met my partner (Adrian) and we set out on a bicycle trip from Virginia Beach to Kansas City. It was pretty epic and at the end of it, we decided to settle for a bit in Chattanooga, Tennesee. While in Chattanooga, I completed Reiki level one and two with Jillian Shelton Ricks in 2017. Reiki has been a great addition to the Thai Yoga system. I also infuse sound into my yoga classes and Thai Yoga sessions. I bring my voice and sometimes crystal bowls to add another layer of healing for clients.
In the spring of 2018, Adrian and I moved back to Ojai and in June, our son Maximus was born. While I still do some environmental sustainability consulting projects, the majority of time is spent with the family (including 3 dogs), teaching yoga, healing through Thai Yoga bodywork, and volunteering (Ojai Valley Green Coalition and The Thacher School).
I care deeply about people and feel part of my life’s purpose is to help people heal, especially through yoga and Thai yoga bodywork. These practices have been such a blessing in my life and I want to share these tools with others.
What do you think of when you hear the word “relationship”?
Our journey to the Whales of Baja is half full! Are you called to this one of a kind experience? Travel from San Diego and enjoy sound baths with baby Grey Whales and mamas! Click Here for more information
Check out this footage from last year of a mama and baby and our crew:
Hi! My name is Ashley Berry and I am so honored to join the beautiful community of practitioners at Soul Body Ojai. I think on some level I always knew that I was destined to find my way onto the healer’s path. I grew up in a home environment where mental illness and abuse were present and, even as a very young child, I felt a strong pull to try to support my family members as they navigated challenging mental and emotional health issues. It wasn’t until my late teens that I became aware of how deeply the traumas I experienced had impacted me as well.
Shortly after I began my undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, I found myself descending into severe depression and anxiety. The coping mechanisms I had leaned into within my family system were no longer serving me and without any consistent forms of support or guidance around how to process and release the traumas I had experienced, I resorted to a range of self-destructive behaviors to try to escape my own pain. It took years of self-abuse before it became really clear to me that my lifestyle was not only unsustainable, but was destroying me, probably physically, and definitely on a soul level.
I wish I could say that there was one pivotal moment in which everything changed and that from that moment forward I only moved toward healing and wellness, but my process was not quite so linear. I spent many years exploring different avenues for healing. I worked with psychotherapists, energy healers, homeopathic doctors, acupuncturists, and bodyworkers, and the more I worked into my own healing, the more I felt called to step into service and support the healing of others.
I spent two years studying at the graduate level to be a Marriage and Family Therapist, but ultimately left my program during my practicum upon realizing that I wanted to work in modalities that focused less on pathology and revisiting trauma and more on healing through personal empowerment, positive lifestyle shift, and nourishing connection with self and others.
I went on to attain certifications in Holistic Health Coaching from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Breathwork Healing through David Elliott’s Healer Training program, Reiki levels I & II from Lara Elliott and Jamie Wozny, respectively, the way of Council from The Ojai Foundation, and DoTerra’s AromaTouch essential oil application technique.
My practice is founded on the belief that every individual has innate capacities for self-healing and that my role is to help my clients uncover their unique gifts. I take great pride in creating safe, inclusive, and nourishing spaces for whole-being healing and find deep fulfillment through supporting my clients in developing deeper and more loving connections with their hearts, minds, and bodies.
I don’t offer my work as someone who has “completely healed” or has all the answers, but rather as a fellow-human who has come a long way, who continues to walk her healing journey with an open and humble heart, and is honored to have the privilege of lending tender guidance and support to those who are navigating healing journeys of their own.
If you feel called to reach out to me for a healing session, wellness coaching, or card reading, I would be truly delighted to connect with you.
206 N Signal Street, Suite M
Ojai, CA 93023