SOUTH AFRICAN YOGABEEZ SUCCESS STORY – A JOURNEY FROM TRAINING TO TEACHING
Meet Melissa Bland!
This is a true South African YogaBeez success story which we are very excited to share. Melissa Bland is a proud South African and was born and bred in Cape Town. She has a finance background, but has always had a deep longing to work with children. One of the things which drew her to this calling is the simplicity and raw honesty which children possess and she connected with this authenticity.
What led you down the path towards becoming a Children’s Yoga Teacher?
Melissa now has a beautiful 6-year-old boy of her own called Liam. In 2018 her family moved to Malaysia due to her husband’s business. For the first time, she was faced with being a stay-at-home mom and not active in the workforce. When the pandemic hit, she began taking some yoga classes online for fitness, but also because she has always been interested in the mind, body and soul connection.
After 3 years in Malaysia, and after going through the pandemic, Melissa’s family decided to return home and they settled in Noordhoek. Here she joined an amazing studio and she started to truly immerse herself in the yoga practice. Out of this, she discovered that she possessed a great ‘toolbox’ filled with amazing and powerful techniques, which she wanted to share with others. The epiphany struck that teaching yoga to children would be a truly powerful way to combine her two loves. From here she started to think how to integrate children’s yoga into their everyday life – on and off the mat…
How did you discover the YogaBeez Children’s Yoga Teacher Training platform?
And so the journey to find a suitable children’s yoga teacher training began! Through a word of mouth recommendation, she was directed to the YogaBeez platform, and she was pleasantly surprised by the educational Montessori tone which underlies the YogaBeez philosophy. Feeling that this was possibly the road she wanted to take, she called Bryony personally and after a lengthy conversation, she felt that this was most definitely the perfect course for her to take. In her own words, “Bryony just got it. Her values and motivation for starting YogaBeez in the first place was so aligned with mine, that it just resonated with me. I just knew this was the right course for me.”
What appealled to you about the YogaBeez Online Platform?
The most appealling aspect about the YogaBeez online platform is that it was self-paced and part time. Even though she lives in Cape Town, the online option made the dream possible. She was able to tailor-make the study sessions and course times to fit her lifestyle and commitments. The freedom of this was liberating and lifted any barrier which she could have foreseen.
What makes YogaBeez Children’s Yoga different from other available courses?
Melissa is passionate about transferring what she has learnt to young minds. As she says, “Having been empowered with all these amazing tools, I would like to share it with children. It is easier to learn new, healthy habits from a young age than to unlearn unhealthy habits down the line. YogaBeez was amazing compared to some of the other available courses, in that it was so well rounded, because of the Montessori philosophy that they have. It was also just really relatable. The course itself was amazing, and both Sophie and Bryony have continued to be so responsive and supportive. After finishing the course, I felt truly empowered to go out and teach.”
What was the biggest benefit of doing the YogaBeez Online Course?
It is wonderful that there was always someone to reach out to when there were questions or fears about real-life teaching. That interaction proved to be invaluable during the learning curve of feeling confident enough to go out and teach professionally.
Describe your journey from Training to Teaching?
After graduating from YogaBeez, Melissa has started her own business called Floga Kids Yoga. She is working on laying the foundations for her budding business, and she is looking forward to her vision blooming into the reality she is already building upon. Now that she has opened her own children’s yoga business, she says that one of the benefits is that it is forcing her to practice what she preaches. One cannot teach children all these amazing life skills if you are unable to practice them yourself. So important lessons like sitting with discomfort, perseverance and working hard without having a guaranteed outcome are becoming a lived lifestyle.
How is business now?
She is focusing on getting into schools in her area in order to integrate children’s yoga into the South African School system. Children have become so overscheduled, stressed and overwhelmed, so this provides a balm for their minds and souls. Logistically it is also difficult for working parents to take time off to transport their children to extra-mural activities. Having the schools offer the programme in-house solves a lot of these issues.
Tell us more about your community service work?
As somebody who believes in the power of giving back to the community, Melissa has partnered with a charitable organization, called Bongulethu. This primary school for underprivileged children, which is located next to an informal settlement, is now happily receiving the benefits of children’s yoga. They would definitely not have been exposed to was it not for Melissa’s generosity of spirit. She teaches yoga to these kids, which is extremely fulfilling, and also enables her to gain greater experience and confidence. She also offers yoga playdates and parties – anything which can bring the philosophy and benefits of yoga to children.
What is your ultimate goal in achieving success?
Her goal to change one child’s perception of where they are in any given moment. This is a wonderful way of making a tangible contribution to the world – one child at a time… This is just the beginning of a true South African YogaBeez Success Story.