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.