I’m Melina, a 25 year old Swedish/English hybrid who was lucky enough to be born in Greece. Growing up amidst 3 different cultures has definitely shaped my character. I think its what has given me such a thirst for traveling. Its also given rise to my passion for languages, listening to people’s stories and comparing cultures.
At times, however, it was also a reason for me to wonder where I belong. “Where are you from?” is a question I’ve answered in numerous ways on my travels. But as the time went on, I realized it’s as important to know where you are going, not just where you come from.
I’ve never really had a concrete plan, or if I had it changed quite often. I went to greek school, and if you have been through a greek school, you probably know how much focus is placed on the “Panhellenic exams” to get into University. So I studied my ass off in school, got into Biology, studied for a year, didn’t like it, left, went on a gap year.
And it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
During my gap year I lived in Istanbul with my best friend where we worked as models, travelled to Mexico, worked as a stewardess on a yacht, travelled to Italy, France and Spain, worked as waitress on a greek island and finally decided to study Psychology in England.
My 3 years at University were quite miserable if I’m honest. Since the british lifestyle was not my cup of tea, I focused on my studies and on various projects for the student television channel (you can check out my showreel here. The best part of my 3 years in England was the 6 months I spent in Australia on an exchange program. Ironic huh?
After graduating I felt like I could finally live the life I wanted. I was not sure what sort of life that was exactly but I was determined to find out. So I got certified in teaching English, booked a one-way ticket, an airbnb for 2 weeks and off I moved to Barcelona. It was one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made. I didn’t know anyone, had no job, no place to live and all the Spanish I knew was “I like dogs”. But it all worked out and so I spent 10 wonderful months in Spain.
Whilst living in Spain me and my boyfriend at the time had talked about moving to Vietnam to teach English. So we booked our flights, then broke up and finally decided to go anyway even if we were not together anymore. I know what you might be thinking…awkward much? But in all honesty, it was just fine. We helped each other out, and it was nice having a familiar face in such an unfamiliar place.
A week after we moved into our apartment in Hanoi, I decided to go out to a bar I’d heard was popular among expats. It was the first time I’d ever gone to a bar alone. But I’m so glad I did. As I was sitting there, a tall dark stranger approached me and asked me what my name was. Who was it? Well you guessed it…
Melina & Yoga
My love affair with yoga began about 5 years ago when I joined an outdoor yoga class by the sea, in Greece. Even though the first few classes felt quite challenging, I always felt a weight lifted off my shoulders after every practice. As I laid there in savasana, I felt balanced and calm. This feeling kept me coming back again and again.
Upon moving to Vietnam I decided it was time to deepen my practice even further. So I packed my bags and headed to India. I completed my 200 hour TTC in Vinyasa and Ashtanga at Sampoorna, where I gained valuable knowledge on sequencing, anatomy, mediation, yoga philosophy and pranayama. It was then I realized that my passion not only lies within practicing yoga, but also in sharing this deep love for it through teaching.
Since India I have taught yoga in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Greece. I also taught the anatomy course for the 200 hour TTC at Nomad Yoga Hoi An, in Vietnam, and hosted various workshops.
I mainly teach Vinyasa and Power yoga, with focus on anatomy, meditation and correct breathing. I love to plan classes around a specific purpose, hence why I enjoy teaching yoga to athletes, as I create flows which fit their specific needs.
I believe yoga can be practiced by everyone and anyone. If you can breathe you can practice yoga. It goes so far beyond the asanas. And this is what I aim to explore more of and also pass on to my students.
This blog will be like a side step to my comfort zone, usually I’m
secluded with what I share with people because your past may show
some weakness and start a wild fire that sometimes spreads out of
control. So why do get personal with you now? …. Simple, I’m simply
too strong for you and won’t let anyone get me down and if you try
you’ll only make me stronger!
Mentality is key, and if you have the right mentality you’ll open the
right doors. Collecting these keys is a different story though , because
they come in different shapes and different weights.
Most of my keys were collected in South Africa, Cape Town where I
was born, bread and buttered. I was born in 1995 a year after apartheid ended and the year when South Africa won the world cup
final against New Zealand in Ellis Park , WOW… Hectic final…. Drop
goal from Joal Stransky that put SA in the lead at the end of the
Rugby and Braai is what South Africans do best!
For as long as I can remember I was involved in sport and athletics.
I did numerous sports and athletics but my strong point was contact
sport and explosive athletics with the exception of the 800m.
Sport was my escape from problems and issues. It’s where I feel my
strongest because I know talk is cheap and actions justify who and
what you are so I gave it all I got to show I was a force to be reckoned
with. This brought me to Martial Arts as it’s a sport that is measured by
the individual and not the team.
My brother and I were the first ones in Parrl Boys high to achieve
National Colors by winning the SA championships in 2012 and from
there my journey took flight. I went on to winning Gold again in 2013 and
2014. I went to university for a year but realized the world is too big for
me to be stuck there and in 2016 I went to Thailand to pursue the dream
of becoming a fighter. Did a TEFL and started teaching, hoping I could get a break and some promoter would see me and take me under his financial wing but that didn’t happen. I did have a fight in Thailand which I won easily and then moved to Vietnam in hopes of better opportunities.
That’s where I met the love of my life”.
Hannes & Martial Arts
My journey started at the age of 8 when I walked into a church hall and found people on their knees but not praying. I found myself at that church 2-3 times a week for wrestling sessions. I continued wrestling for 4 years but wrestling was not my main sport, my main sport was Rugby Union. Rugby Union is a sport that requires the body to be conditioned , balanced , strong, explosive , agile and the list goes on. I believe this is one of the hardest sports to compete in due to it’s requirements of the body but I was looking for a harder challenge , something that I alone can be accountable for. Rugby was not satisfying this need for me as Rugby is a team sport with 15 players a side. At the age of 16 I turned back to Martial Arts whilst still competing in Rugby. This time I decided to take on boxing, kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu. I started competing 1 month after joining Tricore MMA Dojo. At the age of 17 I claimed my first SA Championship for Kickboxing and at 18 I claimed my second title. At 18 I already had 12 fights. I continued training and fighting and found myself in Thailand learning Muay Thai and competing against the Thai people. In total I have 23 fights , I won 20 and lost 3 and have 10 years of experience in various martial arts. I have not only been competing for 10 years but also teaching and empowering other people, because that is what Martial Arts does to you, It empowers you!
Hannes & Melina
So there we were, on the night of October 20th 2017, not having the faintest idea of what was to follow but enjoying every second of our meet. On our second date I found out that Hannes initially thought I was his tinder date and that is why he asked me what my name was. So we would like to take a moment to thank Sarah from tinder for bringing us together.
Hannes lived in a small town called Thanh Hoa (160km south of Hanoi) so when we first started dating it was a bit of a challenge, but we made it work. We went on a few mini adventures near Hanoi and Thanh Hoa, and spent Christmas and NYE together. On NYE we decided that what we want is to be together and make it work no matter what. So after I went to India for my yoga training I returned to Thanh Hoa, where we stayed for 3 months.
Our real journey and adventure started when we decided to leave Thanh Hoa and go traveling. Everything happened really fast and before we knew it we were in the middle of Thailand teaching yoga and martial arts. Since then we have been on numerous adventures, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we are still here and still determined to follow our dreams. Now we are in Hoi An, Vietnam, trying to start something fresh which we can call our own and be proud of.
So this is what this website is about. We wanted to have a place (besides our fbpage and youtube channel) where we could write about and share all of our experiences. We want to talk about the good and the bad, we want to be real. So thank you for taking an interest in us and what we do, we really appreciate the support from people around us. Stay tuned for more!