The Short Story:
Melissa Carroll is a writer and yoga teacher based in Tampa Bay. She is the editor of the essay collection Going OM: Real-Life Stories on and off the Yoga Mat (Viva Editions 2014), with a foreword by Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild. Melissa is the author of two poetry chapbooks: The Pretty Machine (ELJPublications 2016) and The Karma Machine (YellowJacket Press 2011), which received the Peter Meinke Award. Her work has appeared in Brevity, Mantra + Yoga Magazine, Elephant Journal, MindBodyGreen.com, The Literary Bohemian, Sivana East, Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. Melissa is on the faculty of the Yoga Teacher Training Program at The Lotus Pond, teaches writing at Ringling College of Art + Design, and leads yoga and writing workshops and retreats all over the world.
The Long(ish) Version:
Writing has always been my first love. Finding inner peace has always been my deepest wish. Through mindfulness, yoga, and writing, I fuse these practices to help others connect to their own creative spark and inner peace.I have the greatest job in the world, and I am deeply grateful for it.
As a certified E-RYT 500hr yoga teacher, Reiki Master, writer, and creator of the online course SHADOW + LIGHT, I get to share the peace, joy, and transformative healing that these practices can offer everyone.
My aim is to help students discover the inner peace that exists for them, beneath the busy, frenetic brain, with its constant to-do-lists and what-ifs and I'm-not-good-enoughs. And I know these destructive patterns well.
For thirteen years I suffered from depression and anxiety. I felt the gravity of some uncertainty, some sadness that was at once acute and vague --- I couldn't understand why I felt this knot of self-doubt in my chest, why I woke up each morning feeling broken. I desperately needed the acceptance of others. I sought happiness from outside sources. I kept grasping, but still felt deeply unfulfilled, sad, and confused.
Until, at 22, by complete chance, I received a free Reiki session I didn't even know what it was at the time --- the word Reiki, so exotic --- but it changed my life. And yeah, that sounds cliche, but after receiving a Reiki treatment from Maggie Wilcox, I felt the sense of contentment I'd been searching for.
Twelve years later, I received all three levels of Reiki attunements from my teacher Maggie Wilcox (Usui lineage), and have also helped attune and teach others. For seven years I led hundreds of yogis every Sunday at the largest weekly class in Florida, Yoga at Curtis Hixon Park with Yoga Downtown Tampa. I also teach at The Lotus Pond Center for Yoga & Health, and am a lead taecher in their 200-hr YTT program. I received my MFA in creative writing from University of South Florida, and am the editor of the essay collection Going OM: Real-Life Stories on and off the Yoga Mat (Viva Editions 2014). I am also the author of the poetry chapbook The Karma Machine, which received the Peter Meinke Prize, and The Pretty Machine, from ELJ Publications. In former lives I worked as an advertising copywriter, adjunct instructor of English and Creative Writing, and emcee for local rock concerts.