Today we’d like to introduce you to Elyse Mickalonis.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Elyse. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in upstate New York along the Hudson River. My childhood involved spending as much time outdoors as possible — whether that meant in the woods alongside a bonfire, splashing in lakes or planting daises in a garden.
Once college approached, I wanted to embark on a career that honed in on a mix of photography and writing. I wanted to do something good in the world and be able to still express myself creatively. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the State University of New York at Purchase College and Master’s Degree from New York University.
While I never knew I was practicing yoga or meditation, looking back now, I realize it’s always been there — it just didn’t always have a name.
I began my true yoga journey in Johnson City, NY in 2012 as a student at Yoga Body Shop, a Baptiste Affiliate Studio. There, I took gentle hot yoga and hot vinyasa classes, as well as assist and align workshops. I also completed Baron Baptiste’s 40 Days to Personal Revolution.
I found yoga through a news story I was pursuing about staying fit around Super Bowl Sunday. The studio owners and yoga teachers Ron and Linda Sambursky stayed late that day to introduce me to the many benefits of yoga.
Soon after, I started attending classes.
During my first official class, I sweat so much, I remember sliding around on my mat. This was my first time experiencing hot yoga. I remember bullying myself as I slipped and watched others balancing with ease. My ego was very much rearing its head.
After months of attending class, I had a break through — it’s OK to fall. It’s OK to play. It’s all part of my journey! These lessons on the mat, followed me off the mat as my teacher Terry Ross used to say.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In the summer of 2012, I found out I had a mass growing in my body that was bigger than a football. My doctor let me know I needed to be operated on the following week. The mass was crushing an ovary and tube. I was told during surgery they might have to remove one or all of my ovaries. There wasn’t time to freeze my eggs.
At 24, I was presented with the possibility of having cancer or losing the ability to have children.
Thankfully, my doctor was able to remove the mass along with one ovary and tube. After tests were performed, I was declared cancer free and the growth was deemed benign.
Next came the recovery and healing. Every time I laid down or stood up, my abdominal area throbbed, I’d feel like keeling over in pain. On some days, I could barely stand, let alone walk.
That’s when I reached out to my yoga teachers and asked for help. They responded with kindness and compassion. I was able to add meditation and gentle stretching to my recovery. It took about a month off work to get my body and mind almost back to where I was before surgery.
Since then, I’ve become a strong believer in practicing gratitude. My health scare helped open my eyes to living in the present and working to let go of what we can’t control (let’s be honest, sometimes it’s easier than others and we can learn to be OK with that!).
In 2015, I received my 240 hour certification from and began teaching classes at Free Spirits Yoga in Greensboro, NC. This is where my yoga teacher Audrey MacNamara Sheldon taught me very valuable lessons about taking your mask off and working to be the most authentic version of yourself. This was another lesson that meant the world to me. Soon after that, I lead classes at The Breathing Room in Winston-Salem, NC.
Please tell us about Yoga By Elyse.
Now, I currently teach classes at the Winchester Country Club as well as at Windsor at Cambridge Park in Cambridge. I also teach private and online classes.
Following in the footsteps of my teacher Audrey, I incorporate The Holy Science of Yoga along with Reiki, Shamanic Breathwork and crystal healing.
My hope is to help others be OK with where they are on their journey, to help others shed daily stresses, embrace joy and find strength in meditation and vinyasa.
My greatest joy is seeing others break through their own barriers, start to take their own masks off, see them laugh more, look people in the eyes more and see them begin to cultivate an inner dialogue of loving kindness and compassion within themselves.
Other than yoga, I enjoy running and taking care of my old beagles — Clark, 11 and Buddy, 18.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have started practicing yoga sooner! I would have laughed more when I fell or fumbled, because at the end of the day, faltering is part of our learning process and laughing can sometimes help us learn to be OK with those moments of vulnerability!
- Private Yoga Class $70 (60 minutes)
- Private Yoga Class $35 (30 minutes)
- Private Meditation Class $30 (30 minutes)
- Private Meditation Class $60 (60 minutes)
- Single Online Drop In Class $16 (60 minutes)
- Powerful Crystal Flow $65 (60 minutes)
- Website: https://mkt.com/yoga-by-elyse/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @yogabyelyse
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yogabyelyse/
Select photos by Bill Welch and Vanessa Mickalonis