Healing is an Inside Job and Melanie Salvatore-August’s Book, Yoga to Support Immunity, Gives you the Tools
“Healing comes from within. We have the power to heal ourselves—no one else can do it for us; it is truly an inside job,” says Melanie Salvatore-August in Yoga to Support Immunity: Mind, Body, Breathing Guide to Whole Health. In 2014, Melanie Salvatore-August (“Mama Mel”) gave birth to her third child. She had just turned 42 years old. Although she was blessed with three uncomplicated pregnancies and healthy babies, she came out the other side of this last birth a shell of herself.
Melanie Salvatore-August and Her Story of Healing
Salvatore-August had it all: three beautiful boys, popular classes and teacher trainings, two published books, a strong yoga practice, an eco-friendly home, and a loving partner. But the pressure to maintain it, to be this kind of “superwoman,” as she described to LA Yoga, began to take its toll. In taking care of so many other people, she would often treat her body more as a machine than a temple, and her health began to deteriorate.
What began as mild discomfort in her hips developed into chronic pain and stiffness. By the time her son was born, she had pneumonia in both lungs and was covered in silver dollar-size hives. As she was often multi-tasking when preparing food for and feeding the family, she was completely out of touch with her hunger signals. She was either over-eating or forgetting to eat altogether. Emotionally, she was quick to anger and easily agitated and she was constantly exhausted even after a full night’s sleep.
Of course, none of these symptoms developed overnight. They were years in the making, the most severe of which began immediately after birthing her second son almost five years prior. But where before Salvatore-August was once able to push past many of her body’s messages, her body started screaming to be heard and she finally heeded her own oft-spoken words, “I just can’t do this anymore.”
After extensive medical testing, Salvatore-August was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
This was confusing for her at first. By all accounts she was “healthy.” She ate a mostly organic, plant-based diet and was a yoga teacher by trade who practiced every day. She had just written a book called “Fierce Kindness”, which was all about living selflessly and being of service to the world, which she tried to practice in all aspects of her life.
We Are Active Participants in Our Own Health
As Salvatore-August told LA Yoga, “I don’t think anyone ever said, ‘Hey, Mel you need to be beautiful, smiling, radiantly healthy, while rearing smart perfectly happy children, keeping a spotlessly clean and eco-friendly home, staying madly in love with your husband and showing up every day for others with an inspiring quote on your tongue.’ Yet somewhere inside that was what I pushed for.”
Push being the operative word. Prior to her diagnosis, her entire life was a push forward. Pushing through strong practices, pushing to write her books, pushing her schedule to the brink.
What the autoimmune disorder diagnosis finally revealed, was that immunity is not just something we passively experience. We are active participants in our health, and it starts with the choices we make every single day. Immunity comes from the food we eat, the types of movement we engage in, even the thoughts we hold. Immunity also changes throughout our lifetime. What once served us, may no longer be appropriate as we get older or life circumstances change. In fact, those choices may now be depleting and damaging.
Seven years later, Salvatore-August is at the top of her health. She still battles with flare-ups, including recently having lost all of her eyelashes or re-developing hives during a period of particular depletion, but where before she treated her body as an enemy she needed to outsmart and fight against, she truly lives what she had been teaching so many students around the world for so many years: Our body is our greatest ally in our healing.
It was this journey that inspired her third book, Yoga to Support Immunity.
Small Acts Create Big Changes
The shift from Salvatore-August feeling energetically bankrupt and as though “the bottom was falling out” towards optimal health took time and commitment. It was not as though her diagnosis came with a cure, as most autoimmune disorders are incurable. Although there is medicinal support. Instead, Salvatore-August started with slow, small changes, that added up over the years.
First, she brought awareness and clarity to the behaviors that had become habitual. She observed that a lot of the choices that once served her were now harming her. Most importantly, she began to listen to her body’s natural cues. For example, doing light yoga and healing kriyas when she was tired, rather than powering through a long flow. Resting instead of going out. Learning the power of ‘no’ and mustering the courage to ask for help.
Diet, Yoga and Healing
But the most powerful healing perhaps came from her diet. Although it had been mainly organic, and plant-based, it still contained a lot of foods that can lead to inflammation, such as gluten, diary, sugar, alcohol, and even caffeine. (Which she humorously shares throughout her book that she still enjoys in small increments!). The Anti-inflammatory Protocol Diet has been shown to mitigate certain auto-immune symptoms. So Salvatore-August spent time eliminating the foods that left her feeling ill or wired and learning which foods that helped her feel whole and nourished.
In Yoga to Support Immunity, Salvatore-August guides readers through a similar healing process. First, she offers ways to cultivate awareness of one’s habits and teaches readers how to pay attention to their bodily cues. The second part of the process is a bit of a detoxification as the body recalibrates based on those cues. Finally, Salvatore-August, offers how to integrate these changes into reader’s lives.
Only One Thing? Do This!
She sets readers up for success from the go, making sure the changes are do-able and accomplishable. For example, she offers condensed versions of the sequences into three-minute offerings and concludes each section with a handy Cliff’s Notes-style round-up, entitled “Only one thing? Do this.”
But what makes this book so powerful, is not just the amount of research and science-based evidence Salvatore-August provides, but that Mama Mel (as her friend’s lovingly call her) lives this every single day. In fact, she ends the book with a sample schedule of her current daily life to share with readers the intentional and self-compassionate choices that she makes every day.
Most importantly, the schedule she shares is not only one readers may want to strive for, but one can they can accomplish, through small acts over time. But really it is Mama Mel’s loving tone and humorous honesty that helps readers feel seen and supported. This may be the most healing part of the book: knowing that someone has walked this path and is there to now walk you along it, too.
Yoga to Support Immunity: Mind, Body, Breathing Guide to Whole Health
This book By Melanie Salvatore-August was released June 29, 2021. At the time of this article it has held its spot as #1 New Release in Homeopathy & Preventative Medicine since its release. For more information, including where to order, visit Mango Publishing’s website to buy Yoga to Support Immunity. For more information on Melanie Salvatore-August, visit her website: https://www.melaniesalvatoreaugust.com.
Sarah Ezrin is a motivator, writer, yoga teacher, and teacher trainer. Her joie de vivre is infectious. For Sarah, yoga is beyond the postures it is a guide for living. Bringing a background of psychology and life coaching, she uses yoga to connect people to their brightest and most authentic Self. Based out of San Francisco where she lives with her husband and their dog, Sarah leads trainings, workshops, and retreats at home and across the globe. Her fun and popular classes are infused with humor and positivity. Sarah is changing the world, teaching self-love one person at a time. For more information on Sarah please visit her website or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.