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An accomplished artist, Melissa began practicing yoga in 1990, but found the yoga sutras confusing until she discovered tantric art. This practice introduced Melissa to sacred geometry and the world of yantras, which are visual awakening aids. It was this that enabled Melissa to gain the yogic wisdom she desired in a visual language she could comprehend. Melissa continues to share her knowledge and abilities through yantra as a true yoga practice to assist others in awakening to their true purpose in life and nurturing the connection between all people and things.
Melissa has blended her passions as a yoga teacher and artist, moving beyond asana practice to yantra to help others deepen and clarify their understanding of yoga. Melissa also promotes yantra painting as a form of meditation in and of itself. This visual tool engages the brain's right hemisphere and helps people with a strong affinity for visual expression to connect.
Melissa is a graduate of numerous yoga teaching programs, including the American Viniyoga Institute E-RYT 500 and Heart of Yoga. She was an adjunct professor of art at the University of New Haven in Connecticut and has received numerous fellowships, including the prestigious Pollock-Krasner grant, and recently finished the Spring 2019 Fellowship Program at the Good Work Institute
In the 1990's, while pursuing her yoga studies, Melissa studied mandala creation and painting, influenced by Harish Johari's lineage. Melissa continued to study independently back in the United States, deepening her knowledge and competency in yantra and mandala creation. During the 1990s, Melissa was prolific in creating mandala art and continues to explore and create to this day.
In 2003, Melissa went on a journey with U.G. Krishnamurti, a renowned Jivamukti guru and remained his traveling companion until his death in 2007. Melissa was inspired by U.G. to offer her abilities through teaching and took this advice to heart. As a result, she published "No Teaching Yoga: The Authentic Guide", published by Gather Insight, January 2017.
Melissa has gone on to be published many times on the subject of yantra and mandala arts. The following are some of her more recent publications:
December 2016 Yoga Journal US ‘Gift Guide’
September 2017 Yoga Journal US ‘Live Well ~ Power by Design’
Karttikeyan Yogic Method: A Course Manual in Eastern-Style Guided Imagery and Creative Visualization' (2017 Edition), Samyama. Published by Balboa Press.
March 2020 Yoga Magazine NL (see download below) a workshop about Ganesha and Yantra teaching, 'Kleur Je Eigen yantra'" It was further translated into French and published in October 2020 in Yoga Magazine FR, 'Coloriez Votre propre yantra'.
Melissa’s illustrations can also be found in several other publications such as ‘Yoga of Heart’, Mark Whitwell, published by Lantern Publishing in January 2004.