Sharing movement as an invaluable tool for physical and emotional freedom for people of all abilities and inclinations has been Melissa Montilla’s life work and passion. She has been the owner and director of Sanctuary Yoga in Gainesville, FL since 2003, and began practicing yoga in 1990 with the beautifully talented Elaine Grey. Melissa has enjoyed the privilege of working with many wonderful teachers in the states and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Sharath and Saraswathi Rangaswamy in Mysore, India.
Practicing Ashtanga yoga for many years opened her up to the possibilities of yoga as a process for health and wellness. This encouraged an ongoing exploration that broadened her practice and teaching perspective by studying functional anatomy, alignment, kinesiology and therapeutics with the provocative teachings of Jenny Otto, Tzahi Moskovitz, Judith Lasater, and other teachers informed by a diversity of traditions.
Melissa defines her teaching as “Movement Therapy.” It is influenced not only by yoga, but also an array of movement practices that have supported her wellness and longevity as a dancer, runner, and horseback rider. Along with all of that movement, she practices stillness with a meditation practice fostered by Vipassana teachings, as well as an investigation of contemplative craft and the expansive wilderness of hearts and minds in natural horsemanship.
She holds a BFA in Dance from Florida State University, with a strong focus on anatomy, kinesiology, and movement education as well as a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from the University of Florida and serves as a Faculty Member of the Department of Theatre and Dance at UF teaching Yoga and Kinesthetics. Melissa is an E-RYT (Experienced Yoga Teacher) and certified by Yoga Alliance at the 500hr level, as well as an accredited Yoga Therapist with the IAYT. She has taught Ashtanga, Alignment, Therapeutic and Restorative classes and trainings throughout Florida since 2001. She believes that good alignment, consistency, and joy are the keys to a long and fulfilling life of movement.