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Roots & Wings

Yoga and Healing Arts

Interview with Melissa Fountain, RYT, CSYT 700 hours

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Tea Room Conversation, Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts

Melissa has been teaching Svaroopa® Yoga and Meditation for over 17 years. Her daily yoga practice is a lively mix of family life, teaching yoga classes, offering Yoga therapy and Embodyment sessions, continued trainings, and a deep commitment to her own meditation practice.

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by RW intern Joanna Goldenberg

1. What is your area of specialty?
Svaroopa® Yoga, it’s a style of hatha yoga, that focuses on Core Opening and quieting the mind. It’s a variation on traditional Hatha Yoga poses, using precise alignments and propping for the spine. My other areas of specialty are: personal one on one Yoga therapy, meditation classes and offering ½ day and full yoga weekends.

2. How long have you been practicing?
18 years

3. Why did you choose Svaroopa® Yoga?
I know it chose me, after years of trying every healing modality out there! I was formerly a modern dancer and I had a very tight spine and unstable hip joints that led to a series of injuries. Eventually, I shifted away from dance and into yoga. I started teaching a blend of various yoga styles without any real formal training, and was still in pain. I was drawn to Svaroopa® because the practice focuses on opening the spine: I experienced a profound healing of my physical aches and pains. But more than the physical healing, I found my mind was quieter and my heart more open. That was important because I was an older mom, in my mid-forties, when I discovered Svaroopa®, and I had two young kids. I was looking for an inner change, as well as stress relief!

4. What types of people benefit from your offering?
Svaroopa® Yoga is for every body. There is no one who wouldn’t benefit from Svaroopa® Yoga, even the yogis who like hot and athletic exercise. People with any muscular aches and pains or chronic back or shoulder pain would especially benefit from Svaroopa® Yoga. This is a healing yoga, and a meditative yoga: it both slows you down, and builds your energy and capacity for enjoying life.

People usually come in because they have aches and pains. From the first adjustment in Svaroopa’s relaxation pose (Shavasana), one receives an immediate sense of relief. Next, the unraveling of the core spinal tension begins with the poses that reach deep into your lower spinal muscles (starting at the tailbone.) Svaroopa® Yoga isn’t a class that emphasizes exercise or core tightening, it’s about core opening.

5. How would you describe a typical class or session? What should a student or client expect to experience during a typical class or session?
Students receive one-on-one special attention. They feel their body and minds are being taken care of fully. The class is noncompetitive. It includes full propping for spinal tension with blankets and blocks. The class includes a relaxation pose at the beginning and end of class. In the middle section of class, there is a sequencing of the spine from the tail to the top.

6. How would you expect your student to feel after a class?
Taller. Calmer. Grounded through the feet and leg bones. They will experience a quieter mind. They will feel energized, but not buzzed. Even the most basic class is not only going to relieve your back pain, but you’ll leave with a sense of inner peace and quiet mind that’s described in the very name of this style of hatha yoga. Svaroopa in Sanskrit means bliss of your own Self.

7. What makes your approach to your work unique? I know you have many qualifications. But, is there anything you do differently than other Svaroopa® teachers?
Years of personal practice, and my commitment to continued trainings. I am a Weekend Workshop Leader, and teach at Kripalu and at yoga studios across the country. I also work directly with the founder of Svaroopa® Yoga and Meditation, Swami Nirmalananda. Her former name in the yoga world was Rama Berch. I have had the privilege to co-teach with her on many occasions. She instilled in me the desire to serve others in the practice of yoga, and to guide students toward the knowing of their inner Self. Svaroopa® Yoga is about the body, but so much more. It’s about you and who you are at the deepest level.

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