I feel 100% different than I did a year ago. That is 100% BETTER!!!
By combining the yoga, nutrition, and functional movement, I feel stronger than I have in a VERY long time. I have the energy to get up and go and my step count has unconsciously increased daily. I do not hesitate to take the stairs now and I feel good doing it.
I love the small changes that I randomly notice about myself… my belt using the next smaller hole, the muscle definition that has started and continues to grow, not feeling the effort when I take a flight or two of stairs.
Melissa helps me re-focus back to my healthy thoughts and habits when I fall into the easy unhealthy choices.
When I began my nutrition check-in call with Melissa today, I felt heavy with the week’s burdens. By the end of our call, I felt calm and light….no heaviness. I was smiling even after our call. Thank you.
When I shared with you that you totally changed my life… I was not exaggerating!
I’m so happy! After two shoulder surgeries, I never thought I’d get my arms over my head again … Then one day in our yoga session my arms went up, I couldn’t believe it! I also used to hesitate to get down or up from the floor but now, I don’t even think about it! I can’t wait for the next class.
– Melissa’s dad, 80 years young
Melissa – I have to thank you for yoga last night. You are extremely talented at what you do and I am so thankful to have your guidance in (slowly) developing a yoga and meditation practice. Your words throughout the practice were incredibly meaningful and helpful to me.
I experienced the release of a great amount of tension that I hadn’t even really known had built up and couldn’t put a name to, although my entire body was aching from the burden I was carrying around. I cried and cried throughout the beginning of the practice; I was assuming that my video feed was off and I sure hope that was true!!! Thank you.
Also, on a more light-hearted note: registering for yoga was the push I needed to finally start getting our basement cleaned and redecorated. I’ve been talking with my husband for months now about reclaiming that space as Mommy’s sanctuary. I had to get it set up enough to have a comfortable space for class last night, which was a fantastic first step. So thanks for that too! Burned the candle you gave out during the self-care Saturday that I attended during class 🙂
Good morning my friend. I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate you. Something quite remarkable happened during our yoga session yesterday. More on the spiritual than physical level (although that was good too!).
My shoulder feels about 80% better today than it has in nearly 4 weeks. Wish I could text my experience but will have to wait until I see you in person. Just thank you. And keep the faith. Everything works out for the good. You have a beautiful spirit!
– Linda B.
I hope you and your family are staying healthy and enjoying your time together. Last night was another wonderful experience on the mat. Love the shoulder and shoulder blade work along with the twists. I always sleep better after a yoga session. Thank you for being there for us and working through the technology frustrations!
– Susan B.
Optimal Living and Melissa are AMAZING!!! Through her, I have learned to release the days thoughts before going to bed. I have learned to listen to my body and give it what it needs.
I haven taken her nutrition classes and it always felt like class went by way too fast. I take yoga classes with Melissa and she provides a welcoming judgement-free space. The first class I attended, I felt like I belonged and that I had known Melissa for a long time. Thank you Melissa for being part of my journey!!!
I practice yoga, participate in Self-Care Saturdays, and engage in nutritional counseling with Melissa. Not only is she a positive, encouraging, and supportive teacher, but she truly cares and is kind.
Those things, and a positive, non-judgmental and safe space, are very important to me. I highly recommend if you want to complete any self or body work, be motivated to change and shape your nutritional habits, and truly feel well – to contact Melissa to just see what she offers in the way of healing.
I had been sick for over a year and Melissa and her practices have changed my life.
I knew when I started yoga it would help me with flexibility but had no idea the other benefits I would acquire, mostly mentally – I feel like I’m not near as reactive towards daily stress.
Also, I’m injury free for over three years and for someone that runs nearly 1000 miles a year that tells me I’m on the right path. With your help I’ve learned to respect my body more than I ever did, but I also know with time there is even more I can accomplish, I look forward to my future.
Thank you so much Melissa.
All evening and through the night into the next day, I felt like I had taken Xanax. I have never experienced calming my anxiety without medication. I couldn’t believe how calm, centered, and relaxed I felt, even throughout the next week. I can’t wait until the next Self Care Saturday and also to start Melissa’s weekly classes.
Melissa – that was a great extra class last night! I haven’t talked much to you about my symptoms, but based on the extremely positive reaction I had when I stopped eating sugar, gluten, dairy and omega six fats after Nutrition 101 in October… And my equally extreme negative reaction when I went off of it for a week in New Orleans in December, I knew your advice to me was right on the mark!
What was interesting was how quickly I improved when I returned from vacation and went back on the program. Your information and guidance has been instrumental in reducing my inflammatory pain and allowing me to keep exercising and enjoying life. Thank you so much!
– Nell K.
If you haven’t taken this class [Nutrition and Lifestyle 101], you NEED TO. This class was a life changer for me. If you are wondering how to eat, given all the different theories out there, this class will clear it up. You will be empowered to take charge of your life and your food!
Restorative yoga helps so many people, including runners like myself. It has helped my muscles not tighten and fatigue both during a run and with my recovery afterwards. I am so glad I found Optimal Living to help me both physically and mentally.
Saturday was absolutely DELIGHTFUL!!! The extra special touches like the drawstring welcome bag with goodies and the BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS were such an unexpected pleasure!
The space you’ve selected is breathtaking and the way you lead the time together is gentle, authentic with a touch of playfulness. All in all just a fabulously wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon recharging and getting back in touch with myself.
I’m a working mom of two small children. My work lends itself to compassion fatigue. Self-Care Saturdays are a great way to recharge so that I can keep caring for others. Melissa has such a positive energy, and she gives great tips to keep me centered throughout the week.
You have orchestrated important change in the lives of my whole family through nutritional guidance and therapy. We have experienced an amazing transformation on countless fronts. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to walk together with you on this journey towards living life to the full, at its maximum capacity and vibrancy.
This began with physical healing from numerous disturbances which our bodies had struggled with for years. We have found that this bodily healing is now evolving into the discovery of a new life which can be lived with gusto! This renewal expands itself into every fiber of our being. We now have the tools to live a life of vibrancy as we experience a peaceful, healing balance of our bodies, minds, and spirits. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
A few of the ways in which my life has changed in the past months…
- I no longer experience extreme bloating, indigestion and pain in my abdominal region that used to keep me up at night and bring constant discomfort (I used to take prilosec and now don’t take any medication for this)
- I no longer experience extreme bowel trouble and upset… I used to take Senna on a regular basis and now don’t take any medication for this)
- I no longer experience as much insomnia
- I no longer experience such extreme fatigue where I had difficulty getting up with my kids in the morning and helping them to prepare for school, make sure they had a good breakfast, etc.
- I now have enough energy to wake up early, exercise and go most days without a nap, which before was a MUST.
I participated in one of Melissa’s classes and often refer to the notes I took. I’m so excited to say this class really provided a lot of quality information that has helped me bring my glucose level back into normal range.
My blood sugar before I made changes ranged 165-190, now it ranges 90-120. My doctor agreed for me to not take my metformin, glipizide and to start weening off gabepentin. He was extremely proud of my results and told me to continue to what I’m doing.
Pain has improved some and walking continues to go well. Ab work is going slow but well, just trying to not overdo it too soon. I’ve lost 40lbs. since I’ve made changes and feel stronger mentally and physically.
When I started this path, I was skeptical about their result. I had pain in my right elbow, my neck, and bursitis in my left shoulder. I was depressed. I did not have much vigor in my life. The pain robbed me of my energy.
Since I first began I started getting results. I was much more limber and my pain had decreased. I got hooked on the yoga. I have lost weight and have very little pain. I am now able to swim and ride my bike again. I am now working towards parachuting. One day I was actually pain free for the whole day! Thank you!
Practicing yoga and nutrition with Melissa not only gave me hope again, but gave me my life back by restoring my energy and releasing my physical and emotional pain.
Melissa is amazing! She has not only guided me towards an eating program that has brought me more energy and less pain, her therapeutic yoga has brought me more flexibility and function. It’s amazing how so little movement can make a big difference. She makes it easy!
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you so much for being you and doing all that you are to keep the rest of us healthy, connected, and sane.
I was so grateful to have our first Zoom yoga session a couple of weeks ago because I spent the first few minutes just crying – I didn’t realize how much stress I had been carrying! Just having you say it’s OK to stop, let it go to be in the moment and breathe was a pivotal thought; I realized it’s not what we are saying to (or hearing from) each other in our days, but need to.
I’m incorporating that assurance in to my own days with those around me and it seems to be helpful. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your inspiration and gift.
I am deeply grateful to Melissa for her friendship and mentorship since I joined the lifestyle program in July of this year. In June, I was experiencing continuous chronic back pain and my caregivers instructed me that I had to lose weight. I had tried various weight-loss methods that were ineffective for me, and I felt “stuck” mentally and physically. I had not done yoga in over twenty years. On July 1, I fully committed to Melissa’s program combining functional movement and yoga classes with revolutionary changes to my eating plan.
Melissa initially carefully assessed me, then she helped me to implement changes at a pace that worked for me, through weekly counseling sessions. Applying Melissa’s nutritional principles, I have lost over 35 pounds since July 1. Her program not only helped me to lose weight, but also my back pain has been alleviated. I have become stronger and more fit every week and my stamina has increased dramatically through the functional movement classes. In the yoga classes I am learning deep breathing and meditation techniques and I am practicing asanas that are changing my body and easing my mind. Each incremental change I make through this program is multiplied by the support of Melissa and other class members.
The key to this program is Melissa herself. She is dedicated to her own personal growth and enlightenment and nurtures that growth in others. She intuitively knows the exact encouragement and understanding I need, and the changes that I am ready to implement. She never asks me to do anything that she has not fully committed to herself.
Every single aspect of my life has evolved over the past four months through this program. I have not only lost weight and alleviated chronic back pain, I have released a lot of negative emotions and become open to positive change both now and in the future. I am confident that my new lifestyle will continue to support my growth.
I just want to say that you are amazing! EVERYTHING you do (talking, telling us why we are doing something, what part it is affecting, about the moon, etc) is in perfect balance.
I think you tell us enough, but not too much, and you are quiet at the right times. I just can’t thank you enough. As you know, I’m a very driven work-a-holic type personality and yoga has done wonders for me, especially over this last month.
I just wish more people knew about you – I’m going to tell some more out of town people now that it’s on Zoom.
I’ve been thinking of you often this week. I’m so grateful that Shawnette introduced me to you and your class. You’re a ray of sunshine that I look forward to each week. I’m thankful too that you’ve found a way to reach out to everyone and keep us connected and moving during these uncertain times. I’ve enjoyed being able to stay home and participate in the class. I thought I was the most unsocial member of the group until you mentioned that others were enjoying the Zoom classes for the same reasons that I am.
I never thought I would come to tears on the yoga met and I’m fairly certain that I would not have if I’d been in the classroom. I had to put down my best buddy, my horse Buster last weekend. We had been pals for over 20 years and had some wonderful adventures together and of course been through some times. It wasn’t a surprise as he wasn’t healthy and I knew the time was coming, but of course it’s never easy to say goodbye.
When I hit the mat last Thursday it wasn’t long before the tears were flowing and the thought in my mind was that I was going to be ok without him. I had the feeling that I used to have when we entered the show ring and rode toward the judge for our dressage test. I guess I would describe it as a “we’ve got this” feeling. I’m certain that because you had talked about emotions on the mat that I found release and peace there. Again, I’m so very grateful.
– Susan A.
Sometimes when your path crosses someone new, you know it was meant to be.
I was referred over to Melissa in October 2018. Not feeling well and needing someone who could really help me, listen to me and not just send me somewhere else. I needed help with my, mind, body and soul. Melissa was there for me, she is kind, compassionate, and someone who heard me when I spoke. I have seen her often and with her help I’m feeling better.
I have attended her 101 and 202 nutrition classes with my husband, and I think having that info plus us doing them together has made a world of difference. I’m learning it’s not just your diet or your exercise. You need to prepare your house, your kitchen, along with a new sleep routine, put in a bit of movement/exercise and eat right for it to all work.
It’s a long road to good health, but I think I’m on the right road…now.
Saturday was wonderful! Like others, my job is a big part of my stress level so it felt AMAZING to have my body and mind so relaxed and stress free! So much so that I signed up for the Wednesday night classes!!! The environment was perfect! It’s so hard to find somewhere to go to connect with nature and not have all of the noises and interruptions of daily life. But it was perfect!
Trying to put into words my gratitude of the day; this particular Saturday was after my first week at a new ‘high stress’ position at work. That plus I went from part time to full time. That plus I was at the tail end of a bad cold and still had sinus problems. So…to just relax, stretch and take time to breath was more necessary that I even realized. My health! My body! NEEDED This Yoga Day with Melissa Hedstrom! ❤️
I have been a part of Self-Care Saturdays since they began and make an entire day out of it, starting with yoga with Melissa in the morning. As a person with a busy work day and schedule it can be difficult to carve out time to relax and rejuvenate. The gift of enhanced self care can be added easily to any routine and is something to look forward to every night.
Melissa’s energy, non-judgement, availability for support, and kind guidance help me to attend regularly, and hold myself accountable to supporting myself and my health, even when it feels like it would be easier to just sleep in and not do the work.
My sister lives in Seattle, and this monthly time has morphed into an experience we can share in together virtually, even a state apart, which has been wonderful for both of us.
I highly recommend regular Self-Care Saturdays for promoting mental and physical health, healing, and wellness. It has changed my life and given me hope and something to look forward to each month during this difficult time.
I felt so amazing when I got home, I have never felt such a systemic calming. I feel so much more peaceful. I’m so incredibly thankful for the fabulous Saturday!
Melissa is a wealth of knowledge about health and the importance of overall well-being. Working with her has resulted in a healthier me. Thanks, Melissa!
I must say, you were spot on with the “word of intention” you put on my bath salts: clarity is indeed something that I have been searching for lately. I found the guided meditations to be extremely helpful in getting me to access silence in a way that is really hard for me. I feel like I’ve been able to make some observations that would otherwise be hard for me to make.
Saturday was a truly wonderful day and I have been feeling more at peace since. I expect that this weekend will not be the last time that I attend one of your Saturday retreats.
I just wanted to say that Yoga is making a huge difference in my life. I can sit cross legged – I’d lost that flexibility. And when our puppy throws her something under the dresser, I can easily get down and get it. Since I’m already down on the floor, I even shift into a good stretch or child’s pose.
I’d say my biggest accomplishment though would be from during a recent trip. I traveled down to see my son and his family while I was there, we spent all day at the “Best of the West Days,” walking up and down through a hilly area in the heat.
More than once my son and daughter in-law checked in on me, “how are you doing, how’s your ankle?” I’ve had trouble with my ankle after breaking it several years ago (there are seven pins and a plate in my ankle now), so swelling has been an issue for me. Well my son and daughter in-law called uncle and said we needed to go after seven hours and I was doing fine! We had a GREAT time! And I am delighted to say I was right in the middle of playing in the park with my grandkids!
Love this place!! I can’t say enough good things about Optimal Living. I was really nervous (more like terrified) to try yoga for the first time. From the moment I walked in, the instructor – and the rest of the class – were so welcoming and inviting. The small class sizes make for a relaxing environment. I’m looking forward to trying more of the services offered.
There are times when I really wish I was good with words, and this is one of those times for sure.
I’m just not sure how to properly thank you for walking alongside me in this journey and providing such life changing guidance, support, encouragement etc. etc.
What a gift you have given me to reach a point in my life where I truly feel happy, healthy, hopeful, and where I can say I actually like myself.
Your wisdom and compassion have touched me so deeply and I was not prepared for how drastically my life would change when I called you six months ago.
Know how very grateful I am for you and the light you’ve shined into my life.
I wanted to come to yoga with real people, all ages, shapes, sizes, ability. The class was real people and I felt warmly welcomed. I didn’t have to have the latest yoga attire or sleekest body to feel comfortable joining the class.
Years ago, I was searching for resources to assist me in increasing my physical endurance and strength. Several accidents and injuries limited my range of motion, my faith in my abilities was challenged, and I truly despised typical gym settings.
Thankfully, a friend introduced me to Melissa Hedstrom.
Melissa and I arranged for multiple personal training sessions. In contrast to my previous gym experience, workouts were mindfully selected to address specific muscle groups and core strengthening, recognizing that my shoulder needed to develop strength gradually.
Melissa reviewed each day’s individually created workout with me when I first arrived, and then throughout the session would provide feedback regarding positioning, model specific exercises, and also adjust them in the moment as needed. The opportunity to work with Melissa in this format transformed my views about my health and exercise. Where previously I would have thought of the many reasons why I could not do a particular exercise or lift a certain amount of weight, with her encouragement and expertise, my go to thought was one of how can I do these tasks in a safe and strong manner.
Not only were we all fortunate to have these small group sessions, we also were able to attend yoga classes with Melissa. Unlike previous yoga classes I attended where I was self-conscious to even smile or laugh, Melissa’s yoga classes were a perfect combination of development of strength through poses and stretching, paired with joy and some chuckles here and there.
Melissa also brought a wealth of information to our groups from a nutritional standpoint. She provided support and guidance to us regarding the foods we were eating and combinations of foods we were eating. She supported us with supplement recommendations and provided opportunities to attend her nutrition classes. Always the goal was to promote wellness, both in more general terms and then individualized to meet her client’s needs.
Opportunity. Respect. Encouragement. Wellness. This is Melissa.