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| By Wellvyl Media Editorial

When we listen to other people, it can often provide us with ways to be better people. I had the opportunity to be a better person after learning about Melissa Rios. Melissa, also known on social media as FlowerMoonMeli, is a vegan, traveling yogini that provides youth yoga instruction inside of schools in the Washington Heights portion of New York City.

Melissa is a yoga enthusiast but also stresses the importance of the youth learning yoga during my interview with her. Although Melissa is originally from Costa Rica, she now calls New York City her home. She does not know where the future will lead her, but her newly minimalistic lifestyle will make it easier for her to explore and go on new adventures. Melissa says that a minimal lifestyle is challenging, but helps her by removing unnecessary things in her life while also easing the weight of the body and mind from the daily grind of New York City life.

I love learning new things from people. Melissa taught me that we need to always be more compassionate, kind, and in the present moment. She describes herself as a girl who loves to explore the world, a big fan of bouldering have fun, tries new things, and enjoy life as much as possible. I also strive to do these same things (except for climbing boulders).


She got her start in yoga while as a 15-year-old, but did not like it at first. It was persistence with the practice that the benefits of yoga revealed themselves to her. Read more from our interview below to learn how to stay in tune with yoga, but also on how you can inspire others with kindness in your social interactions.

How were you introduced to yoga?

When I was in high school back in Costa Rica, I used to have a yoga book with different poses. I remember that my sister and I used to try to do the same asanas, but they didn’t have the same meaning for us. But, my love and practice of yoga, grew up in NYC. I started practicing at the gum, but I used to find it boring and difficult so I let it go.

Years later, I found Yoga To The People, which was the first yoga studio I went to in NYC. Even though it was still challenging for my body, my mind loved it so I kept going to practice yoga every day. I really like YTTP because they are available for everyone with donation-based yoga classes, so it makes it easy for everyone to come and practice in a wonderful atmosphere and you give as much as they can.

Why do you think it is the morning important to teach the youth yoga?

I have taught youth Yoga Classes for over 5 years. I used to be an educator back in my home country of Costa Rica. When I saw all the positive changes after I began practicing yoga, I decided to share all this beautiful energy and positivity with kids and what better way to teach them than yoga.

My students love yoga, the asanas, mantras, and even meditation. Yes, even though they are little we meditate one minute per class. That’s what yoga is at the end of the day- focusing on breathing and relaxing your mind.

How Do You Define Wellness?

Wellness for me is to be at peace in your own body and mind. It’s being active, functional, and healthy. It is really important for you to love the activity or practice you are doing so you don’t feel obligated to do it. Actually, you feel empty if you haven’t done it.

Yes, wellness also goes with food, you are what you eat! I am vegan and I love it, but I also respect other people’s eating decisions. How I said before- it is important to feel healthy and good inside out.

How can you yoga be more accessible? (age, ethnicity, background, etc)

Yoga is for everyone. If you breathe, you can practice yoga. Sometimes it depends on others’ beliefs or insecurities as well. Yes, as a Hispana I was a little afraid to go to yoga, but I have a personality that nothing stops me from what I really want to do. So, I went to practice yoga. Yes, I didn’t understand what they were saying(because my English want perfect, and still don’t), but I copy others’ moves and I breathe, and since then I have never stopped practicing.

There are a lot of places that donation based, so people can try and find out if they like yoga.  During the summer in NYC, there are family & adult yoga classes for free in almost every park, so that’s another way to introduce yoga into your life. I think yoga is way more accessible now than before, we just have to find the perfect place and style of yoga that we like.

Finding Melissa

If you are interested in keeping up with Melissa, she can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube social media platforms as FlowerMoonMeli. She loves animals and as a vegan girl who is trying to change the world and inspire others to be the best they can be as human beings, the least we could do as readers follow her on her journey. Let’s be better and live better.