Melody Walz brings yoga to her clients, many who have had joint replacements, illnesses such as cancer or MS. She also works with people in recovery and suffering from chronic pain, anyone who would find it challenging being part of a group yoga class at a gym.
“Some of my older clients aren’t comfortable in a typical yoga class so they come to me for one-on-one sessions or I go to their home, either way they are more comfortable and we have privacy,” Walz said.
Dawn Folufs, who works at First Choice Employment Agency, has arthritis in her knees. She turned to Walz, who customizes yoga stretches and poses for her body.
An empathetic and spiritual soul, Walz found yoga when she was struggling with what she describes as a time of bad doctors, lost faith and addiction. In 1999, an orthopedic surgeon performed a fusion in her lower back but it was not a success.
“I spent years in traction, going through extensive physical therapy and taking pain medications. My pain was beyond words and I was completely lost,” she said.
Unable to withstand the winters in the Midwest, she moved to Venice, Florida to rebuild her life, but she still wasn’t able to walk or even sit well. She also began creating seashell art through Artisea Custom Shell Art.
“I was dealing with debilitating pain and I realized I needed help and I found myself in a yoga class on the beach with an instructor that changed my life forever,” she said. “She customized every pose to fit my body and along that journey I reconnected with God. I also learned the art of Kundalini yoga, which maneuvered my inner strength and today I’m pain free.”
Walz adopted various aspects of Eastern spirituality and now identifies herself as a Buddhist. She even has the Adi Mantra tattooed on her back, ong namo guru devnano, which means “I bow to the creative wisdom and the divine teacher.”
“Some of my clients and I do a lot of chanting during a session,” said Walz, who teaches Hatha yoga, meditation and breathing techniques.
“I am proud to say that I’m a yoga instructor who helps others get their life back, be free from addiction and to love themselves,” she said. “It’s a pretty great job if you ask me.”