Military Spouse, Mom, Business Owner, & Wellness Enthusiast
Melissa is an advocate for the health and wellbeing of our military personnel. From active duty service members to spouses, Melissa is doing everything she can to educate, train, and assist our community in being the best version of ourselves.
For the next couple of months we are going to feature Melissa and her expertise here on the IML blog so we wanted to start off with an introduction.
So without further ado, Melissa Aguirre!
My earlier years were spent near Chicago but I moved to North Carolina after 3rd grade. I married my high school sweetheart soon after graduating high school and luckily for us, his first duty station was Fort Bragg so we did not live too far from family. In 2015 we moved to San Antonio with orders for Fort Sam.
I am multi-passionate and it has shown up in so much of my work as an integrative provider offering yoga therapy, energy healing, meditation and mindfulness based services. I am also a published author. My first book, co-authored with an Army Physician, was a dive into blending conventional medicine with the chakras which often come off as esoteric but there is so much neuro-endocrine connection that gives much insight into lifestyle choice, health and self awareness. Ironically, this book was published on the same date that I gave birth to my daughter. Imagine being in labor and your publisher calling you. But this was an amazing gem that I use within my training programs and has cultivated many meaningful conversations since.
My second book was inspired by my students to share my poetry. Over the years, students and colleagues always noted my use of language during classes commenting, “If only I could put the things you say into a book and take it with me”. In 2018, I came out of the poetry writing closet and self published “From Deserts to Gardens” which was picked up by a larger publishing company in 2020. Narrative Healing, Poetry, and Language can be such a powerful tool to uncover, relate, regulate, and awaken. I am intentional with how I language classes which leads to how I facilitate experiences for military spouses, on Fort Sam, and my community of students around the world.
I have always been someone who sees the world in metaphor and depth. I am very empathic and innovative which has led to the birth of many programs and experiences to serve others. As a military spouse, I began this journey very confused on exactly who I am and where I fit. Over the past decade, I have learned that it is okay to belong everywhere and nowhere, that belonging is an aspect of connection to your own heart. My hope is to guide others back home to themselves through mind body mechanics, self inquiry and movement.
I work with the US Army on developing programs for service members that address health metrics. I also volunteer with organizations by providing person-centered and meaningful resources that equip others in self referral tools for clarity, confidence and well-being.
On paper, I am an E-RYT500, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist.
Author, Educator, and Business Owner.
I own MelMarie Yoga and am the Executive Director for Trinity Healing Foundation.
Mom, Military Spouse, Chai Enthusiast, Loyal Friend, Nerd.
But just like all of us, so much more.
Like many, breakdowns lead to breakthroughs. I got into yoga during high school after the death of my best friend and another dear friend but at the time I did not realize that I was using it to cope, I just knew I felt good doing the yoga videos. When I began university- struggling with what I was going to do with my life and navigating my husband preparing to deploy- I began to realize how imperative attending yoga classes were for my mental health. As Adam was preparing for deployment in the spring, my yoga teacher showed me an article on yoga and PTSD for the military. This was in 2011 and I still remember looking at it and saying this is it. Within three weeks, I signed up for my first yoga teacher training and felt security in how my life could look moving to Fort Bragg and being part of my husband’s world wherever we are stationed.
My passion only grew stronger as I began working with people. I started working with the Wounded Warrior Project-Warrior Transition Battalion and Pain Clinic within a year of training graduation and knew that serving in this way, through mind body based tools, was where I was meant to be…and still have not looked back.
Now, I lead yoga teacher training programs based in adaptive and inclusive yoga. Our programs offer MYCAA scholarships to military spouses and military discounts to those who are not eligible. Our programs are in person and we also have a virtual-livestream structure that allows military spouses from all over the world or those navigating PCS and inconsistent schedules to access. I also have a Yoga Therapy Program, work 1:1 and provide education to mental health and medical communities. You can learn more at MelMarieYoga.
In 2019, I opened the first Yoga Studio on a military installation but unfortunately we had to close in 2020 due to the pandemic. We continue to provide the Yoga Foundations Course partnership with the USO, which is a 50-hour online program free to the military community providing education, practice, and self care tools that address self identity and connection within the military community. Visit MilMindBody to check it out and other resources.
I am the Co-Host of Humana Military TriCare’s podcast Operation Within orchestrating conversations on holistic health, mindfulness and connection which can be accessed through anywhere that podcasts are found.
I also develop programs on Fort Sam to support leadership in facilitating resiliency and mindfulness training skills for personnel in addition to fulfilling unit requests.
Part of the reason I do what I do is because it helps me stay emotionally sober during challenging times. The military is part of my life and working directly with the military offers a unique perspective that provides grace and understanding of how operations work. The military community is a community that myself, my daughter and my husband are part of so I am devoted to contributing in any way I can to nourish this community and make it better.
I do not believe that I should just embrace the suck but rather reconcile the challenges and transform it into a curriculum that helps me grow. I lean into experiences to learn something that I hope to share with other military spouses so they feel empowered, supported and seen.
I also believe that “knowing yourself, you win all battles” (Sun Tzu), therefore providing education that guides personnel and family members into self awareness, agency and accountability can actualize our capacity to show up with more integrity, love and awareness.
As much as it is rewarding, it is not easy but I love holding space for inquiry and seeing the “light bulbs” turn on when our soldiers feel more connected to “resilience” and spouses feel empowered, not limited.
The one piece of wellness advice that I would give to our community is that our relationship to the narratives we create in our minds are often going to impact how we engage with our experiences. The ability to be aware of our thoughts, see emotions as visitors and reframe our stories can lead to seeing where blessings are looking for us.
However, it is not always easy to just change the mind so by connecting with the body and using sensation, movement and breath, it helps us access the reframe and relax our hearts.
These tools are within. It is a human birthright and every human has it. We have just been socialized to externalize or seek what is already available within. Begin where you are. You do not need to be something other than you in order to feel full and whole. Healing is remembering our wholeness. These practices aid in returning to the quiet voice inside and knowing no desire is planted within the heart without the possibility of it coming to life.