Giving Tree Studio is an all inclusive yoga studio specializing in private classes for children with & without special needs, adults who experience anxiety, depression, & Trauma, and adults interested in learning more about yoga, and our connection to our body.
Melissa Pollard Helms has been interested in offering healing to humanity since she can remember. It has been through her own experiences and imbalance that she has found something to give.
Melissa saw her father practice yoga as a child, but came to her first yoga class because she was feeling overwhelmed.
While resting in the final pose of her first class, she experienced the feeling of peace and joy. This along with the compassionate radiance from the instructor made her realize she had found something deeply valuable.
She didn't know at the time, but some trauma from her childhood had become a part of her nervous system and she was feeling overwhelmed due to a hyper-inspired nervous system. Yoga has helped her integrate those traumas and her nervous system has become more balanced.
It is Melissa's experience that the body and mind can become stressed as if on hyper-drive. By taking time to heal, we soothe our nervous system by balancing the parasympathetic nervous systems and the sympathetic nervous systems. Therefore, we rest in a deeper and more connected place. This makes us feel better, happier and also affects everyone around us.
Through her yoga journey, she has found a strength within herself she didn’t know before. She is able to focus with more presence and gratitude. Overall, yoga allows her the experience of standing in awe of life. And has become a source of invaluable space to heal.
Melissa takes great pride in finding the best of the best in teachers. Everyone she has learned from excels in integrity, authenticity and wisdom. She is very blessed to have learned from so many amazing teachers.
In 2008 Melissa attended 200hr. yoga teacher training at the White Lotus Foundation with Ganga and Tracy White. Ganga is the author of the book, "Yoga beyond belief". They are internationally known and Ganga was the first teacher to lead a teacher training in the United States. He and his wife Tracy not only embody yoga in every aspect of their life, they impart a deep wisdom and knowledge of yoga to their students.
She has also been practicing meditation at The Awakened Heart Center with Tom Thompson since 1997. Tom has been teaching meditation and yoga for over 40 years. He is an authentic, deeply knowledgable teacher with a wealth of experience and shares his wealth of experience through meditation and teachings.
Both experiences have led and continue to lead her to a deeper understanding of our true nature and our relationship with ourselves.
Melissa has completed the first levels of Therapeutic Yoga with Cheri Clampett and Arturo Peel at the White Lotus Foundation. Cheri and Arturo are nationally known within the yoga community for their trainings. They not only impart deep wisdom and understanding of their work, but they impart the extraordinary power and importance of healing touch and connection.
Melissa also attended the First level of LifeForceYoga® for depression, anxiety and trauma with Amy Weintraub. Amy is the author of the book, "Yoga for Depression". She practices what she teaches in all regards and her work is evidenced based.
She also studied Yoga for the Special Child with Sonia Kumar.
Melissa uses breath, mindfulness, and the tools passed on from many inspiring teachers to facilitate a loving practice with heightened awareness. She loves to laugh at herself and enjoys providing space for your own life to flourish within the realms of your unique body and life.
What people are saying...
"Melissa is an amazingly intuitive therapist. During our very first session she recognized what I needed and provided a nurturing and healing experience. The space is awesome! It is warm and welcoming with a great energy. I have also attended Melissa's Yoga classes and I love them! Melissa brings compassion to each class and session. I highly recommend both massage therapy and Yoga with Melissa." Terry M.
"Melissa has an amazing combination of skill, caring, and accessibility. I have seen significant gains in my health and well being through her therapeutic yoga classes and her massage therapy sessions. I highly recommend her." Robyn Miller
"Restorative Yoga has restored my lower back, my mind and my soul. I leave with a decluttered mind and uplifted spirt. I highly recommend to anyone with a stressful job or anyone that needs some time to refocus their lives. Best of all my lower back has never felt better!!!" Sylvia H.
"For quite some time I had been thinking about signing my twin boys up for yoga classes but I was hesitant to put them in a regular class at a gym or regular yoga studio where they might feel self-conscious or may not get the one on one attention that they need. When I found Melissa I was so excited that she offered private classes and that she specialized and adapted them for each individual. My sons started practicing yoga with Melissa five months ago and they absolutely love it. It has helped them relax and to better cope with their anxiety. I am amazed by the positive affect yoga has had on them. Melissa has a very calming spirit as well and is very patient. My sons always look forward to their yoga classes with Melissa!"
An Interview With Melissa: from 2013
Q: What do you do in your life outside the yoga studio?
A: I have worked with children for 14 years. I was a Montessori preschool teacher until 2012, when I became a nanny and Massage therapist. I just recently moved to Greenville, SC to live with my fiancé who has two children. So that is much of my time outside of the studio, family. I practice mediation, enjoy hiking and crafty projects.
Q: What originally inspired you to do yoga?
A: My father inspired me. I grew up watching him practice every morning. When I decided to practice yoga myself, it was depression and a need for healing that led me to take the plunge.
Q: What made you decide to get certified?
A: The amount of gifts I received from yoga lead me to certification. Focus, body awareness and a way to challenge myself on every level of my being to name a few. Yoga has been a wonderful tool for healing and has led me to a huge transformation inside and out. The benefits are endless. I have always appreciated the yoga teachers I’ve had and being a “spiritually” centered being, I realized I had found a true calling and a way to express my heart.
Q: Have you faced any personal challenges in your journey?
A: Indeed! I am still facing challenges everyday....its part of the practice. I fell and injured my knee and it has effected my asana practice immensely. Leading me to a) to a deeper appreciation for the benefits and b) the challenge of letting go of the practice I had attained. This is the most recent and most obvious. It is my experience, that yoga presents a challenge in every practice. The real yum comes in when we surrender and allow ourselves to be transformed. By returning to a focused state of being, our breath, usually, is the key and not running from these challenges by following the mind we allow ourselves to stay present with our inner workings. Therefore, allowing true and life-changing transformation to take place. That in and of itself is the challenge and reward.
Q: In what specific ways will students benefit from your class? How does your style differ from others?
A: Students will be given the opportunity to connect with themselves on a deeper level providing a space for transformation. I like to do this in a light-hearted and playful manner. I prefer to make light of the seemingly not-so-light. Students might find a certain amount of confidence in themselves they didn’t know they had. I like to challenge people...in my experience it engages focus to be challenged. And yet, the challenge I include here, is knowing oneself. If you know yourself, and are listening well, you will know what poses take you beyond your comfort level in a healthy positive way and which ones take you beyond and into the realms of harming oneself.