Melanie Williams found yoga while working in media relations for a medical school in San Francisco. While her days were full of Western medical information and cutting-edge health science research, she still felt incapable of connecting with her own body. After years of alternating between obsessing over and then neglecting her body and struggling with self esteem, yoga helped her find balance, accept her body as it is, and move daily with mindfulness and intention. After several years of dedicated personal practice and a move to Washington, DC, she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Capitol Hill Yoga in 2016. Now, as a full-time yoga practitioner and teacher, accessibility advocate, and writer, Melanie is called to create profoundly inclusive spaces for self-inquiry and the inward journey by integrating spiritual teachings and accessible, trauma-informed movement practices with the spirit of social justice. She believes that the goal of yoga, as of life, is collective liberation, and in turn challenges contemporary yogis to dismantle the oppressive systems and beliefs, within themselves and society at large, that hold us all back. In addition to teaching group and private yoga classes, she offers workshops that explore queer identity, yoga philosophy, and body image, and she champions diversity and equity in the yoga industry as a member of the Yoga & Body Image Coalition leadership team.
My contemplative and spiritual practices are primarily inspired by the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras, the works of Thich Nhat Hanh and the teachings of the Buddha, Vipassana meditation, and contemporary trauma theory. My classes and personal movement practices are inspired by many fantastic local teachers, the biomechanics-focused teachings of Jules Mitchell, the accessible practices taught to me primarily by Dianne Bondy and Amber Karnes (among others), and by my backgrounds in Vinyasa practice and Iyengar- and Anusara-inspired alignment.
Classes often combine some traditional alignment-based postures with flow elements that link breath and body. Functional movement practices and restorative or yin postures are sometimes incorporated.
"All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change. God is change." -Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower
In my non-work hours, I enjoy New York Times crossword puzzles, exceptionally complex knitting projects, gardening, cooking, and great memoirs. I sometimes sing in a queer a cappella group. Virgo sun, Taurus rising, Capricorn moon and laughing about it.