WLHQ Trailblazer: Melissa Longfellow Melissa Longfellow is a 500-hour Certified Baptiste Instructor, the founder of 3 OMS YOGA, and an avid Surf,… By Sean Hoess Melissa Longfellow is a 500-hour Certified Baptiste Instructor, the founder of 3 OMS YOGA, and an avid Surf, SUP and loved yoga teacher! After several years of being unconscious of, and unkind to her body in her 20’s, she sought out yoga for healing and serendipitously arrived into a daily yoga practice with Baron Baptiste (who continues to be her main teacher, 15 years later). Her body healed, her life transformed and her heart opened. Melissa is dedicated to surf, sun, snowboarding, playing with her two young boys, painting murals and creating connection and inspiration in everything she does. We can’t wait to take a class with her at Wanderlust O’ahu! For more on Melissa, check out her website and read our interview with her below…. WJ: What aspects of yoga / meditation / spirituality do you bring into your work? ML: For me the practices of yoga and meditation give me the tools to be always more of who I really am. We all have a great and inspiring purpose for being on this planet, and yoga helps us align with it by giving us the tools to navigate this crazy, amazing life! Yoga teaches to stay out of reactivity and judgment and come back to love, forgiveness and choice; stay out of comparison and come back to connection; to trust our internal navigation, instead of overriding it; to stop plugging into O.P.E. (other people’s energy), and start connecting with our own Source. Without it we can get wrapped up in drama, competition, judgement and reactivity as a way of being. When we realize that it’s actually not who we are, we can restore ourselves to who we REALLY are, each and every one of us has a unique and amazing combination of qualities and gifts. When we learn to distinguish them and cultivate and embrace the unique, creative and weird person we are, we are in our full purpose joy and inspiration. It’s our job to be that, so we can then lead the way for others to be their full-on weirdness! What we need is a world full of people who trust themselves to be courageous enough to be weird, bold, creative and badass!! Yoga wants that for us, so we can wake up that spirit in the world! I teach Baptiste Power Yoga, which through physical practice, wakes us up to the power of our own potential and possibility. I also study with Susanne Conrad in iGolü where we guide people in how to align with their big purpose for being in this world. It’s such an amazingly complimentary combination of teaching…… life-changing in the best ways possible! WJ: How did you get involved with yoga? ML: I grew up in a suburb of Massachusetts with my Catholic dad and my Guatemalan mom who was so progressive at that time. She taught me yoga and how to meditate to sleep better and stop my headaches. She followed a popular Indian guru and we spent lots of time at Ashrams so I was exposed to so much meditation, yoga, kirtan, kundalini awakenings, sanskrit, vegetarian Indian food, the whole lifestyle. She also taught me guided imagery, Polarity, Reiki, Shamanism and more. At the time I thought it was all so weird!! For a while I totally rebelled from it all and just tried to be “normal.” But she had planted the seed for me that has now blossomed and I stand on her courageous shoulders as I take on my path as a teacher. WJ: What’s your favorite pose? ML: Handstands of any kind! Yoga should be fun! And handstands get me to remember that yoga -and life- should always be fun. They challenge me physically to the core in the best way, demand mental steadiness and a willingness to be messy and humble and stay dedicated to the practice every day. I do 100 a day! WJ: What’s feeding your wanderlust today? ML: Teaching Standup Paddleboard Yoga, or “Yoga On Liquid” as I like to call it, is my favorite way of connecting my loves of yoga and the ocean. As often as possible I like to surf in warm, sunny places and you’ll find me teaching yoga on a paddleboard or training teachers to start their own Yoga on Liquid programs. WJ: If you could leave one legacy for your community what would it be? ML: The legacy I leave will be who I am — the fearless choice to be 100% of who I am here to be. In my presence people will be able to remember that the world needs them to wake up to who they are–their purpose, their mission, their joy!