Introducing yoga and wellness contributor Masha Gorodilova
Our new yoga and wellness contributor Masha Gorodilova says the tao practices of meditation, yoga and pranayama (controlled breathing) have been life changing. She’s the co-founder of Happy Melon Studios in Melbourne, which aims to demystify mindfulness mediation and connect people.
What’s your background – where were you born and when did you come to Australia?
I was born in Siberia, Russia. As it was -40 degrees for seven months a year, I got into professional running to keep me warm. I was a sprinter for four years and I used to run everywhere. At the age of four mum sent me to the Russian ballet school which kept me busy with hours of practice and musicals. My sister was a pro gymnast and she travelled with her sport. So as you can see, I was born into a very sport-orientated family. I think from an early age it taught me discipline and to respect the body. I came to Australia in 2001.
What training and jobs did you do before starting Happy Melon?
I have always done something with the body. I spent years training and performing in dance, and I then moved to become a personal trainer, and then finally yoga teaching became my full time career.
How did you get into yoga and where did that interest come from?
At the age of thirteen, I got a kidney disease (kidney stones) and the doctors wanted to put me on chemicals and medication for the rest of my life. My dad thought differently. He started to introduce me to the ancient belief of tao where you focus on meditation, organic movement (yoga) and pranayama (breathing). I started an experiment that has changed my life. I was healed without taking Western medicine and have never looked back. I love the feeling that yoga gives your body and your mind. The marriage of mind and body in the same breath gives me freedom and it’s my mission in life is to share it from the heart.
Tell us about how Happy Melon started and what the group is trying to achieve with the studio.
Happy Melon started long before we opened the doors in April 2015. The concept of demystifying meditation and introducing it through things people already do, like yoga, pilates and fitness, was our founding concept. We believe that we are in the business of connection, and mindfulness meditation is a tool to help people connect with themselves and others.
What benefits do you feel you gain from your yoga and mindfulness practices?
It’s more of a ritual then anything. We are all looking for harmony in life and moving through breath is what we need to re-learn to do. We all used to do it when we where younger. As adults we forget. I am a little biased toward yoga because it’s quite simple: you move your body to your own rhythm of breath. That brings connection and mindfulness.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to healthy nutrition?
It’s simple. Do not diet, they don’t work! Eat what you want in balance. Don’t combine starchy foods like potato with animal protein like meat and I believe you will live a long and healthy life.
What are your key pieces of advice for people – women in particular – to make sure they stay well every day?
Meditate. Even if you are busy and you think you don’t have time. If you think you don’t have five minutes to spare - meditate for 10 minutes. Meditation is the only practice that ‘creates’ time.