When it comes to yoga, Victoria Mellah is bringing her “om” to your home. As the owner of Yoga Mobile Studio, the Fairfield-based Mellah is ready to turn any residence — not to mention office or rehab center — into a fully functional yoga center.
“My purpose was bringing yoga to the masses,” she said. “I saw a need for people who couldn’t make it to a studio, whether because of vanity — they didn’t look good in their leggings or the gentlemen didn’t want to be seen in their shorts — or because of a practical purpose of time and being overwhelmed. I bring my studio with me. You have blocks and straps and blankets and bolsters and music and Lavender Love and everything that you’d find in a studio — but no baby goats.”
Mellah began practicing yoga in 1998 as a therapeutic approach to chronic migraine headaches that traditional medicines could not abate. And unlike other fitness and wellness regimens, she added, yoga can be practiced by people of any age and any physical condition.
“Everybody can do yoga,” she said. “There are 130 different styles. I teach a chair yoga class in the rehab centers, and two of my students are in wheelchairs. Yoga can be done by people with strokes, sports injuries, Alzheimer’s, dementia — yoga is a matter of stretching and breathing, so it really doesn’t matter what your capabilities are. I’ve had people of great size and proportions challenged in the beginning, but they stuck with it. One female who lost weight wrote a letter saying that for the first time in 30 years she was able to get down and off the floor alone.”
The Yoga Mobile Studio classes are not a matter of Mellah watching over a room full of students. Instead, she is an active participant in all of the lessons being presented.
“I take every class with my students so they can look up and say, ‘What the heck, she’s putting the left foot up in the air.’ ” she commented. “Instead of looking at the other students, they are getting the job done by looking at me and seeing how I am aligned.”
Mellah’s active role in her classes can be challenging. She stated her limit is teaching four classes per day “because my body can’t take any more than that.” But she also stressed that it enables her to build a greater degree of synergy with her students. This is particularly crucial for her when yoga neophytes seek her out.
“Everybody’s body, temperament and sensitivity is individual, so people don’t wake up in the morning and go, ‘I’m going to play at yoga today,’ like they would play basketball or tennis,” she continued. “They are usually in a health position that brings them to yoga. There are some people that have been certified as teachers that are instructors. There is a difference between an instructor and a teacher. An instructor is going to instruct you into your poses and they are usually found in a gym. A teacher is bringing all of their knowledge, wisdom, love, attentiveness. I don’t want to use a judgmental term as a discrepancy, but the students see a difference. Coming from that perspective, everyone is going to resonate with somebody differently.”
Mellah’s Yoga Mobile Studio travels throughout Fairfield and New Haven counties and across the border into Westchester and New York City. She has taken yoga into such diverse settings as Pitney Bowes, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield’s Three Roses Tattoo Art Gallery and Stratford’s Two Roads Brewery, and hosts Saturday morning yoga events on the beach at Silver Sands State Park in Milford. “I went kicking and screaming to social media!” she laughed, but now mostly thrives on word-of-mouth recommendations.
“I’ve been blessed to get referrals,” she said. “I have a tribe that follows me because I am mobile. They will ask me where I am next. I will show up at a public arena and there are 10 faces that I know and I will be, ‘Thank you!’ ”
Mellah is planning to take her Yoga Mobile Studio overseas, with potential trips to retreats in Europe and South America. She also seeks to impart her observation that yoga is not a one-off happening, but a therapy that adapts to the ebb and flow of one’s environment.
“I like to say we embrace today’s capabilities because our body works differently every single day,” she said. “So, something that is nailed perfectly on one day but is not so much the next day.”