Melanie Cherney is a passionate Yoga Instructor, fitness lover, outdoor enthusiast and the Founder of Devata Active. She leads Yoga Teacher Trainings, Workshops and Retreats around the world. Although primarily a Vinyasa instructor, Melanie is trained in Restorative Yoga (Judith Lasater) and Yin Yoga (Asheville Yoga Center) and completed her 500hr Yoga Teacher Training through YogaWorks. She has the highest Yoga Teacher designation from Yoga Alliance, E-RTY500, offering Teacher Training & Continuing Education programs for yoga teachers & wellness professionals. She continues to be a student of the practice finding teachers to learn from wherever she goes.
In addition to her Yoga training, Melanie has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy & a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and Art Therapy. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She is trained in a wide range of holistic healthcare practices, including Health Coaching (Institute for Integrative Nutrition), Energy Medicine (BodyTalk) and herbalism. During her time working as a psychotherapist, Melanie worked in a variety of treatment settings, including community mental health clinics, substance abuse and eating disorder treatment centers, within the public school system and private practice.
Heavily influenced by yoga philosophy and Buddhist teachings, Melanie incorporates the deeper teachings into her offerings. Her primary influences include spiritual teachers Thich Nhat Hanh and Sadhguru, as well as modern asana teachers Donna Farhi & Tiffany Cruikshank. As a teacher, Melanie draws from her background in mindfulness, yoga, psychology, energy medicine practices, creative expression and healthful living. She is inspired by the role that movement plays in personal growth and self-awareness. Her diverse background gives her a unique perspective on the mind-body connection and the value of an embodied practice to create a clearer vision of one’s path and greater empowerment to achieve it.
Q & A WITH DEVATA FOUNDER, MELANIE CHERNEY
Introducing owner, founder, teacher, dreamer and the brains behind Devata Active. Melanie Cherney answers your biggest questions around what makes the Devata Yoga Teacher Training truly unique.
What is the biggest draw to Bali?
Bali is very unique! I don’t know of any other place that has quite the same blend of cultures and influences. It has that beachy island vibe mixed with a devout Hindu population. There are Hindu temples everywhere and the smell of banana leaves floating through the air from offerings left on neighborhood altars or doorsteps. It truly is the perfect backdrop for a yoga teacher training. There’s so much culture and beautiful nature around you to be inspired by. I’ve also found the people to be incredibly friendly and welcoming.
Who is Yoga Teacher Training for?
Yoga Teacher Training really is for anyone who has a sincere interest in learning about the teachings and traditions of yoga. In trainings you tend to cover a broader range of subject matter than we do in our asana classes, so you have the opportunity to develop a greater understanding of the philosophy and tradition, which then also deepens your posture practice. In the past, I’ve had students enroll in teacher training who had very limited experience practicing yoga and were just interested or felt called to do it. Other times, I’ve had students who had been practicing for many years and finally felt ready. I also have had students come to training who were not really interested in teaching afterwards. I was actually one of those students myself! When I first took my training I was working as a psychotherapist and had no plans to become a yoga teacher. I just encourage people to stay open and see what happens. Life can be very surprising!
What will I get out of it if I don’t want to be a teacher?
Yoga Teacher Training is still very valuable, even if you don’t intend to teach. As I mentioned before, we often don’t get to cover some of the other areas of yoga or don’t go very deeply into them at our studio classes. A training will offer you the opportunity to learn and experience the full range of what yoga can offer and strengthen your relationship with your own practice, however that might look.
What activities will we do outside of training?
I’ve always been a lover of a little adventure. I am excited to have opportunties to get out of the studio, experience Bali, take our yoga off the mat and have some fun! We have several special outings planned, including visiting Tanah Lot to meditate as the sun goes down and visiting Ubud to watch the mesmerizing Balinese dancers!
Personally, what has been your biggest takeaway from training programs?
I’ve had the opportunity now to be involved with many trainings both as a student and a teacher. I love that whether I am the student or the teacher I continue to learn and grow. Teaching is really about relationships and everyone is impacted. I love that a group of strangers can come together and support each other through something transformational. We all benefit from what each person brings and shares with the group. By the end, you leave having learned so much about yoga, so much about yourself, with new friendships and then can go out into the world and share all of that with others in the way that feels right. It is very special and I love getting to be a part of it!
Yoga has given me so much. I am forever grateful for what this practice has done for me and the doors that it has opened in my life. I believe yoga provides us tools to become more ourselves. When we show up in the world with self love and acceptance, we inspire others to do the same. Our yoga practice equips us to follow our unique path with grace and courage, in spite of the inevitable challenges, obstacles and sorrows that are part of being human (Don’t worry! There’s celebration and joy in there too!). It’s such a blessing and I love sharing my passion for it.