Meet our Teachers
At the Life of Wellness Institute, we think it is important that you know who is teaching you! Our teachers are selected for their unique qualifications to support your learning journey.
Founder, Director of Training and Student Experience
Yoga Therapist, Thai Massage Therapist, Transformational Stress Recovery Coach, MBSR, Eat Breathe Thrive™ Facilitator, Yoga Teacher Trainer CYA-ERYTGOLD, E-RYT500, YACEP, RYT800
As a child, Melanie felt like she was the reason everyone around her was in pain… so she tried really hard to be perfect in every way. This led to constant judgment, burnout, and disconnection from her body. She experienced anxiety, depression, pain, illness, self-loathing, PTSD, and an eating disorder.
At 16, her journey with yogic living began when a loving friend saw she was suffering from being assaulted, didn’t know how to help, and invited her to a class. What she discovered in that first class would take decades to be realized. At that time she only knew she had found a way to be with her experience and heal. (Find out more about her recovery journey.)
She was taken under the wing of a teacher, given unconditional love, and training in the timeless and proven principles of Yoga Tradition and Ayurvedic Medicine. The journey they took together turned an awful experience into a lifestyle yet to be realized.
Looking back, Melanie’s 30+ year yoga practice has been a calming place for her to restore her mind and body connection and a gentle place to face struggle through embodied self-regulation.
It was in 2014 that everything came together. Melanie’s work while fulfilling was taking a toll on her mentally and physically and in her healing, she recognized what has now become the foundation of our Institute. She saw that it is the combination of supporting the mind, body, and spirit with loving-kindness and balance that we can awaken our inner strength.
For over 25 years, Melanie has been a dedicated leader in transforming what it means to live with stress, trauma, PTSD, and eating disorders. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher with over 1500 hours of training and over 6000 teaching hours. An ICF certified coach and educator specializing in health, anxiety, depression, stress reduction, trauma recovery, eating disorder recovery. Her trauma-informed training, therapeutic insights, and overall nurturing approach lead you through an experience of self-exploration and self-confidence that is unparalleled.
Melanie guides her students and clients on their own journey to Embrace Embodied Living. Reclaiming their TRUE selves and awakening their inner strength. She stands for waging peace in the war on our bodies, minds, and souls. Together you will discover how to come back home to your body in gentle, loving, ways that fit uniquely for you.
Personal Mantra: Get curious, not furious.
Personal Practice: On her own mat, Melanie thoroughly enjoys diving deeply into a Yin practice, and challenging the stories she finds there. You will often find her loving a hip opener with her favorite prop, a sandbag. Off her mat, she loves hiking and being in nature, family game nights, and deep conversations.
Favorite Yoga Pose: Savasana, because it allows me to be with myself in stillness. To be with who I truly am with unconditional love and acceptance.
Favorite Fictional Book: Harry Potter! We read this series together as a family when our two children were young. Later took a family journey to Hogwarts in London, so much fun! Oh and before you ask, Hufflepuff.
Favorite Non-Fictional Book: The Four Desires, Rod Stryker. Since this book was given to me by a mentor I have re-read it every 2 years. Through this, I have found the practice of passionately connecting with my Dharma.
Bucket List: Learning to surf, Going on the Lord of the Rings tour in New Zealand with my husband and favorite geek. Traveling to Japan with my daughter Caitlin and meditating under a blossoming cherry tree. Being there for that moment when my son gets to travel to space.
Director of Creative Experiences, Retreat Experience Coordinator
RYT200 Yoga Teacher and owner of Higher Altitude Adventures and Compass Car Seats
Personal Mantra: You were made to do hard things
Sonja began her yoga journey in a high school gym class, which makes her laugh now. Everyone starts somewhere, right? She went on to enjoy many different styles of yoga, over the next 20 years. She is uniquely well versed in the amazing things a human body is capable of; having worked as a Birth and Postpartum Doula for the past 10 years. In 2018 she jumped on the opportunity to begin her registered yoga teacher training, with Mandorla Yoga Institute. Through the Mandorla Yoga Institute, she has learned the fundamentals of embodiment restorative, yin and flow yoga practices. Embodiment yoga has roots that descend from India via Krishnamacharya in 1888 and is closely associated with Viny Yoga. In embodiment yoga, students learn to listen closely to what their bodies really need; in addition to encouraging each individual to not push past their own body’s physical limitations. Sonja is excited to bring this style of yoga to the residents in, and around, Airdrie. She recognizes the need for this particular style of yoga in Alberta’s fast-paced, often stressful culture. She is also excited to bring yoga, and mindfulness practices, into the lives of children and thoroughly enjoys being on her mat with little ones.
When on her own mat, Sonja thoroughly enjoys an invigorating, non-heated, flow practice most. You’ll often find her testing her limits doing inversions, and willing to try just about anything.
Personal Mantra: Loving to learn makes everything possible.
Hi, my name is Caitlin and I am an Alberta Certified Teacher, who graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelors in education and sociology. My love for education began in a surprising way. Looking back, I never could have seen myself where I am now.
During 8th grade, I began to develop anxiety that began to have a significant effect on my life and my learning. After a few years of getting support and building resiliency, I took a step that I now see changed everything. I decided to do a study in my Psychology class that looked at anxiety in our school and the effects on my fellow classmates. I then worked with our school administration to instigate changes based on my findings.
Since 7th grade, I have been tutoring students within the school and privately. With my personal experience, I found that the impact I was able to make was more than helping with learning skills and grades. Most profoundly the difference was for my peers and students who had similar experiences, and some more difficult than my own.
I have focused my studies on understanding how students experience their education. I desire to support students that feel unrepresented and unsupported in creating an experience that inspires them to create and live a life they love.