rs=w_1440,h_1440 (21)

Exploring the Many Forms of Healing and Realignment

I am a movement specialist, yoga, Pilates & meditation teacher, coach, Reiki practitioner, grief educator, writer, student of life and mother of three. I have been teaching yoga and fitness for more than 20 years and using body, mind & spiritual practices myself for more than three decades.
I’ve dedicated my life to exploring and sharing healing modalities for the human body and mind. I believe healing and health come by connecting to our wholeness and Source. I believe freedom from suffering comes through connecting with our highest and most authentic selves. I use movement, meditation, self-reflection, active listening, Reiki, and intuitive healing to support clients in their journeys to living their best, most joyful and awakened lives.

MY STORY

I learned early on that things happen in life beyond my control. My parents divorced when I was eight. My mom moved my brother and me from Honolulu to Sacramento in order to attend law school and create a new life for herself after the hardship of divorce. From then on, we moved every year for the next decade. Life was constantly in flux. Over the years, I learned I could spend my life being mad about things beyond my control, or I could accept them and make the best out of any situation. I was born with a crazy tenacity for optimism. No matter how bad things got, I always, eventually, turned my hardships into ppportunities to be better.

My insatiable curiosity has gotten me into lots of trouble - and - it's also led me to life’s most meaningful teachers, texts and practices. It has kept me resilient and positive, even through the most traumatic and gut-wrenching experiences.

Not so long ago, life as I knew it, was destroyed. After years of struggling with mental illness, my husband died by suicide in June, 2021. I was in deep grief, struggling with the worst pain I’d ever felt, while raising three grieving children. For months, I couldn’t do basic things like eat, shower, cook or talk to people. The pain was so much bigger than anything I’d experienced in my 48 years on planet Earth. For the first time in my life, I couldn't run away from my feelings, my responsibilities or my life. 

About eight months after Nate's death, I woke up thinking, “I can’t live like this for the rest of my life. I don’t know if that will be five days or 50-years, but for the sake of my children, myself, and to make sure something good comes out of Nate’s death, I need to make a change.” I wondered if it would be possible to wake up every day, excited for life. I wanted to greet the day with curiosity, gratitude and awe. I wanted to be an example of love, strength, resilience, grace and health for my children. I had to choose between living a shell of an existence, or fully living. 

Personal transformation is not a new concept to me. Life wasn’t easy before Nate.

My teenage years were filled with fighting, violence, depression, self-harm and rebellion. My mom, like her sign of Aries, was combative, needed to be right, overly controlling and a law student. She worked full-time and went to law school at night. My brother Gavin and I were raised by babysitters and left to ourselves a lot. Our dad was stoic, prideful and like many traditional Japanese men, did not express his emotions. I felt like no-one cared about me, except for a couple of close friends. I ran way, lived on the streets, was in and out of psych hospitals, rehabs, juvenile hall and group homes. Finally, at 15, I was sent to reform school in Utah. In the two years I was at the Heritage School, I learned how to be less reactive to other people. The social workers and staff helped me to see that being angry and rebellious 24/7 was exhausting and would not take me where I wanted to go. I didn't know where I wanted to go, but I knew I was tired of being defensive and angry all the time. I started journaling and spending 30-minutes a day alone to reflect. It's a practice I still have to this day. 

Reform school is also where I started a food addiction. Without being able to use alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or sex to numb, I turned to what many addicts turn to - food. My addiction to sugar stuck with me for decades and I'm still not completely "free" of it. Food addiction was, and still is, the hardest to manage of all my addictions, because sugar is in just about everything we eat. 

I somehow made it through college (Boston University) with out too much trouble. Heartbreak and depression, yes, but I was not suicidal or self-harming. I drank a lot, but overall - the college years were some of my best. After college, I moved to NYC and was literally consumed by the nightlife. When my drug dealer told me that I was "too nice of a girl to be partying like I was" ... I knew I needed to make a change. Again, I ran away- this time back to Hawaii. 

In 1999, my boyfriend gave me an ultimatum - him or the booze. I chose him. This wasn't the first time I'd tried to quit drinking. But it was the first time I was committed to being sober. He ended up becoming a bartender and we broke up anyway. But he gave me the best gift - the grit to stay sober.  (We are still friends today, and I am so grateful for him.)

Without alcohol or my boyfriend, I was in major identity crisis. I was depressed and again turned to food to numb. I joined a gym, started training for marathons and triathlons. I became addicted to exercise and food. A cycle started: binge eating, hating myself for it, working out to burn calories, repeat.

One day, someone suggested I try the power yoga class at my gym. I went to this class with about 30 people in the room. I remember being stunned. Stunned at how gracefully the room moved as if they were one person in sync with the teacher hardly speaking.

Strugling to keep up, I was hot, tired, and winded. An older Korean woman next to me said, “Hang in there, honey. It will get easier.” I looked at her, and she must have been in her 70s. I was 23 and could not keep up.

Right then, I knew that she has got something I wanted—peace of mind. Contentment being herself, a lightness, not just physically but mentally—she was at peace. I committed myself to practice three to four times a week.

I followed my teacher to martial arts dojos and gymnastics gyms. Wherever he taught, I followed for $5 a class. At the time, I was living on canned tuna, rice, and sweet potatoes, so $15 a week was a big chunk of my budget.

But I started feeling good in my skin for the first time since I was maybe 6 or 7. Then my teacher headed to India for an annual trip to study with Sri K Pattabhi JOIS, the founder of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

James, my teacher, asked me to teach his classes while he was gone. Out of all the students, he asked me. This was before the 200-hour yoga teacher training, before yoga alliance.

We met several times a week and had me memorize the Ashtanga Primary Series and how to teach it. On this new path, I learned yoga philosophy.

Although I had been meditating since I was 15, I learned more ways to quiet my mind—for me at that time, moving meditation was key.

Since then, I have moved across the country and changed careers and locations. Gotten married had, kids, and divorced. Got married again, had another, taught full-time, had three amazing kids, started a yoga teacher training school.

I had taken and taught numerous in training sessions involving movement, exercise, physiology, anatomy, meditation, and mindfulness.

Now, I am a certified yoga teacher and teacher trainer, STOTT Pilates instructor, and have taken dozens of training on movement, exercise science, and mediation.

In 2011, I started Maka Movement, a school for yoga teachers that certifies teachers at the 200 and 300-hour levels. I went from being physically focused to being holistically focused.

I believe the body, mind, and spirit work together and that being healthy and being our best selves means taking care of our bodies through food, movement, and mindfulness. Caring for our minds means watching out for our thoughts since they create our reality.

I now know, we are all vibration and we are all one. We come from Source and we return to Source. Death does not exist and knowing this allows me to live life fully. The key to living life with resilience and grace is to have fun. Yup - To enjoy life! It sounds crazy, but we take ourselves so seriously. As humans - we judge ourselves and others, we make ourselves right and them wrong, we compare and complain. If we would focus on our own internal guiding system, take time each day to meditate and quiet the mind, give ourselves compassion and freedom to fall and play the game of life, we would get out of our own way and enjoy life a lot more! 

Transformation means we can't go back to seeing life through the eyes of our former selves, because that person no longer exists. My purpose is to share what I have learned with others, and create safe space for their growth and transformations. I am a teacher, a mentor, a mom, a mystic and a yogi. I have a burning desire to serve humanity. I offer online courses & workshops, in-person classes and workshops and trainings. My blog, YogiPunk, is a chronicle of my journey here on Earth and Nate's journey on the otherside, conscience parenting, parenting children with Sensory Processing Disorder, and the quest for physical, mental/emotional and spiritual wholeness. I look forward to being able to work with you and support you in your journey to living your best life.

Love & light,

Melisa Uchida, YogiPunk. 

Benefits of Working With Me

I hope to inspire healthy patterns such as consistent workouts, yoga or movement routines, daily rituals of gratitude, and meditation. I aim to promote pain-free living with improved quality of life.

To do this, I offer one-on-one sessions and corporate wellness classes. These services will help you achieve the following:

  • Increased mastery over your body
  • Increased strength, flexibility, and balance
  • Reduce pain, improve posture, and equanimity in the body
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Awareness of limiting blind spots
  • Increased contentment and peace in all areas of life
  • Decreased stress and tension
  • Increased productivity and energy
  • Renewed excitement about being alive
  • Closer connections with others
  • Less reactiveness, more patience, and the ability to navigate the ups and downs of life

Spiritual practices are personal, and I am careful to honor everyone’s beliefs. With my help, you can experience:

  • Increased or renewed connection to source energy
  • Feeling a part of something bigger than yourself
  • Wider, clearer, more positive perspective
  • More resilience
  • Hope and gratitude for being alive

Professional Certifications, trainings & memberships:

  • E-RTY-500 Yoga Alliance
  • RYS YA 200&300 hour schools
  • YACEP Yoga Alliance (certified to offer CEU for yoga teachers)
  • Certified Grief Educator, David Kessler grief.com
  • Infinite Possibilities Certified Instructor, TUT.com
  • Ayurveda Practitioner, Scott Gerson
  • Reiki level 1&2
  • STOTT Pilates instructor, mat & reformer
  • The Landmark Forum
  • Advanced Course, Landmark Forum
  • Thai Yoga, Vedic Conservatory
  • Silva Ultramind Method practitioner
  • Member of MindValley tribe
  • Mediumship student, James Van Prague
  • Psychic Development Circle w/ Energy Medicine, Vitalife
  • Integrative Health Certificate
  • Member of the American Counseling Association
  • MA Global Leadership/Hawaii Pacific University
  • BA Journalism/Boston University

Work With Me

If you are interested in personal and physical transformation, yoga teacher training certification, or simply want to feel better all around, reach out to me today. I would love to help you.