Teacher Feature - Melissa Lindon
When I first tagged along with my mom to her yoga class (in Columbia, back before the Yoga Center of Columbia opened), I never imagined yoga and meditation would become so important in my life. I was a high school senior with years of ballet behind me. Sure, I could use a good stretch!
But as I encountered physical limitations imposed by a recent dance-related knee injury, I found that what I really needed was self-compassion, and the opportunity to practice being with how things were rather than how I thought they should be.
I was hooked on yoga by the time I graduated from Centennial High School and headed to Boston for college. My first yoga teacher had urged me to check out Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the beautiful Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts. My first weekend retreat there touched a chord deep in me that knew I would teach yoga someday.
I figured that someday would come after having a career and family, but when I moved back to Howard County in 2003 and found my tribe at the Yoga Center of Columbia and River Hill Yoga, I saw that yoga teaching could be a lovely complement to my work as a professional flutist/teacher. So I jumped in to the Yoga Center’s Teacher Training program and found myself on the faculty a few years later. Over ten years later, the Yoga Center is still one of my favorite places to teach.
Alongside my continuing education (including my RYT500), I developed “Yoga for Musicians” workshops, met my husband-to-be at a yoga workshop and subsequently started teaching Partner Yoga workshops with him.
I also discovered the practice of Yoga Nidra (“yogic sleep” meditation), which turned out to be a lifesaver while I was pregnant and in my early days as a new mom – and continues to be one of the most important ways I take care of myself.
When I began studying with Para Yoga founder Yogarupa Rod Stryker in 2007, I experienced the way sequencing and breathing practices in asana (yoga poses) practice could create an energetic effect – and discovered, much to my amazement, that I actually could meditate. I feel grounded, stable and peaceful from practicing this integrated approach, a time-tested system which continues to guide and inform my practice and teaching.
Even beyond the myriad benefits my weekly yoga students see – feeling better in their bodies, increasing strength, stamina and flexibility, learning safe alignment, maintaining bone density, and staying active and aging with grace thanks to the long term effects of yoga practice – they, too, seem to have found their tribe at the Yoga Center.
Students have shared how welcoming the Yoga Center feels, that they feel at home in its unique, soothing environment. For some, this is their one hour of the week when all else is put on hold. For others, the camaraderie they feel in the supportive class community is a big part of what keeps them coming back session after session, year after year.
Whether students find peace, relaxation, strength, or the joy of connection, it’s clear from the sparkle in their eyes at the end of a class or workshop, that the practice works. The glimmer of possibility I saw all those years ago has grown bright, and I’m honored to get to sit in the seat of the teacher.
Please join us! I’m at the Yoga Center for weekly yoga classes, and monthly workshops in the delicious practice of Yoga Nidra.