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Melissa Smith

Yoga Therapy

 

“When I came to visit the campus for the first time, I could feel that that this was the place for me. I knew that this was where I could deepen my knowledge of the healing power of yoga with integrity and pursue a professional career in this emerging field.”

What drew you to MUIH?

MUIH has a history of excellence in pioneering programs in integrative health disciplines. When I came to visit the campus for the first time, I could feel that that this was the place for me. There was just an amazing energy emanating throughout the air that I had never experienced anywhere else. I knew that this was where I could deepen my knowledge of the healing power of yoga with integrity and pursue a professional career in this emerging field. The program is so much more than I ever could have imagined. The on-site teaching clinic, integrative health partnerships, and research opportunities give me confidence that I will graduate with the highest level of education and professional experience to be a yoga therapist.

What excites you about your academic field of study?

Yoga therapy really has no limits on who it can help. It feels really good to empower others to take an active role in their self-care, with practices that are applicable and tailored for everyone, no matter what state of health or stage of life they are in. The medical community is realizing this as well, and the opportunities for collaboration and research are growing. More and more people are realizing how far-reaching the benefits of yoga therapy are, and I just want to bring it to everyone!

Has there been a course you've particularly enjoyed?

I’ve really enjoyed all of my classes so far and have been able to apply so much of the material already. The class on Health and Disease: Yogic Perspectives and Practices has really been transforming and inspirational. We have been delving deep into several classical texts and challenged to apply the practices to our personal lives, as well as to apply the concepts in understanding health and disease. It has really tied together for me the ancient wisdom and modern applicability of yoga as a therapeutic discipline, as well as how to integrate the concepts in treating clients. I’m really excited to begin applying the concepts in the clinic.

Can you speak about the faculty here?

The faculty members at the University are all very passionate about the field and have really been inspirational. We’ve had faculty who are yoga therapists with backgrounds in social work, physical therapy, and research, as well as medical doctors and scientists who are supportive of growing the field and working with us as we graduate. Their commitment to our personal and professional success shows that not only am I investing in myself, but that MUIH is investing in me.

What is your best MUIH memory?

After my first weekend of classes, which included physiology, anatomy and kinesiology and theoretical foundations, I was teaching my regular group yoga class in a local community center, and I felt myself teaching differently. I was one weekend into the program and already applying what I was learning, and the whole class was different. I was more confident, and the benefit to my students was already apparent, it felt really good. This continues to be the case with each weekend, and I feel like I’m already bringing the benefits of yoga therapy to so many people.

How do you plan to use what you've learned here?

I originally applied to the program with the intention of pursuing a practice on women’s health, including infertility, pre and post-natal care, and menopause. With each class I learn of how applicable yoga therapy is to so many underserved populations, like at-risk youths, military veterans, and hospice patients, as well as the opportunities for research. I’d like to make yoga therapy accessible to all people and work to get greater support in the medical community.

What would you say about MUIH to a prospective student who is interested in attending?

This will transform your life. Many of us have taken long and winding paths in our lives before finding this program, and that’s part of the experience. You will be challenged both personally and academically, and you will graduate with so much more than a degree. MUIH really is a values-driven community, and it shows when interacting with the faculty, staff, students and alumna.

What is the one word that comes to mind when you think of MUIH?

Wow.

Melissa Smith is a student in MUIH’s Master of Science in Yoga Therapy program.