4 questions for Melanie Richards
Founder and director of HappyTree yoga studio in Montreal where she offers professional training for Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga and Gentle Yoga.
- What is your favorite blog to follow?
Lately, I’ve been enjoying Wise Women. Montreal-based educator, Elizabeth Weiner and psychotherapist, Lisa Brookman speak candidly about women’s issues – particularly destigmatizing women’s mental health. Liz’s articles are refreshingly raw and real. On the yoga side, my brother from another mother Bram Levinson has a great blog on his website. I really appreciate his sense of fairness and humour. Bram sticks up for what’s true and what’s right. I admire that about him.
- Could you tell us about a great trip / journey in your life?
A few years ago, I traveled on my own for the first time to Greece. The Greek islands of Paros and Santorini ignited my soul and gave me a thirst for exploring new countries. Since then, I’ve traveled to Italy and to Morocco where I co-hosted my first yoga retreat. The Riad we stayed at near Marrakech was pure paradise and we are going back for another retreat in March of 2018. I feel oddly at home in the Mediterranean and can’t wait to go back!
- As a yogi, what is your biggest challenge off the mat?
Practicing yoga certainly doesn’t make life’s stresses go away but it does provide solid wisdom, perspective and practical tools for navigating difficult times. Being a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and business owner, my biggest challenge is respecting my limits and boundaries (knowing when to say “no”) so that I can continue to give authentically, creatively and with enthusiasm. As yoga teachers, we give so much of ourselves and we have to make time to rest and refuel. One of my quotes to live by is the Sufi saying, “Give from the overflow of your well, not from its depths”.
- In 10 years of your HappyTree yoga studio, what are you most proud of?
On a macro level, what makes me most proud is our vibrant community of dedicated students and the many lives that have been touched, inspired and transformed through our teachings over the years. On a personal level, I’m most proud of staying true to myself and my mission of making yoga accessible to everyone within a genuine, warm and welcoming atmosphere. I’m also proud of the personal obstacles I’ve overcome – HappyTree has helped me grow tremendously as a person and as a teacher and I’m very grateful for the depth of experience it has given me. Overall, I’m proud of our staying power. Ten years is a long time for an independent yoga studio to stay in business and I like to think it’s because we are making a difference!
Don’t miss Melanie at Expo Yoga 2018!
Discover her workshops: https://expoyoga.ca/speaker/melanie-richards/