Colorado Yoga Teacher Spotlight: Meet Brett Mehlman
It’s 6 a.m., and slivers of sunlight peep through the large, elongated windows of Brett Mehlman’s Denver-based studio apartment, greeting him as he begins his morning. A fresh glass of water is the first thing on his mind, followed by a guided meditation. As a busy yoga instructor, an established morning ritual is key for Brett. Preparing for his first client of the day, he concocts a blend of ginger, turmeric, black pepper, and skullcap for tea.
“The trick here, is to add coconut milk,” he says with a grin, walking across the plant-lined floor to the kitchen cupboard. “Coconut milk makes all the difference.”
Tea is only just part of the equation.
Ideally, his ultimate routine includes exercise, a bit of reading, maybe some journaling; topped off with a light, healthy breakfast.
He might alter it here and there. On some days, he’ll incorporate daily gratitude and affirmation practices. On others, a quick Spanish lesson.
One thing, however, is certainly clear: starting the day off right is what sets Brett up for success in the long run.
Standing at 5’8’’ with dark hair and an engaging smile, Brett began his personal yoga journey back in his early twenties while pursuing a business degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
“I was already a certified personal trainer at the time, with a strong interest in exercise and movement. In college, my curiosity was successfully piqued when I discovered that the rec center held relatively inexpensive eight-week yoga classes. I went in with the intention of learning more about ‘stretching.’”
But the realm of yoga had greater, unexpected plans for this determined young trainer.
Following a near-death experience at age twenty-two that required major abdominal surgery from navel to sternum, Brett was left with a destroyed core and chronic musculoskeletal pain. When multiple physical therapy visits failed to provide any substantial relief, he turned to both yoga and massage for healing.
From that point onward, his approach to health was forever changed. No longer a mere physical pursuit, Brett’s interest in yoga evolved to include the more subtle aspects of the practice—particularly meditation and breathwork.
Now, as a fulltime yoga instructor, licensed massage therapist, life coach, and personal trainer, Brett has accumulated nearly a decade’s-worth of teaching experience and certifications in multiple holistic areas of health and wellness. Successfully integrating both Eastern and Western traditions to his overall practice, those that know him well—especially his clients and students—would describe his guidance as strict, yet approachable…and not without a dash of good humor.
With an established personal brand and developing business concept in mind, Brett’s mission is straightforward: to make the world a better place by helping people achieve overall health and personal happiness in their lives. The following is a conversation I had with Brett.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HOPE YOUR STUDENTS WILL CULTIVATE IN PRACTICING WITH YOU? WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO TAKE HOME?
Anyone can transform for the better. All change starts in the mind; visualize the life you wish to cultivate, then bring it into reality with small actions. Consistency over time will reap positive results. I remind my students on a daily basis to be at peace with where they’re at in the given moment, while also having the drive to push towards where they’d like to be.
Don’t take life too seriously. We are all tiny specks of dust in the grand scheme of the universe, so don’t waste your precious time constantly worrying. It’s okay to be a work in progress, just remember to always be in progress!
AS BOTH A YOGA TEACHER AND MASSAGE THERAPIST, DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY ON ACHIEVING OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLNESS.
Get the foundations down, and the body will harmonize in return.
It begins with sleep. This is, without a doubt, one of the master keys of health. It’s during deep sleep when the body rests, repairs, and restores itself. Not only does sleep affect your mood, it also enhances your energy levels. Get enough of it, and you’ll for sure be in tune with your circadian rhythm, and wake up feeling more energized.
But sleep is just one piece to the puzzle. From there, several other factors must also be considered:
Breath is a crucial foundation for achieving overall wellness. We breathe about 23,000 breaths per day. If you’re breathing improperly, it can create tension and lead to higher stress levels. On the other hand, if you’re breathing correctly, you’ll notice a more even pattern of airflow. It will help calm the body, and give a subtle massage to the organs—great for digestive purposes! Breathwork truly is a small hinge that swings large doors.
When your body is in line with gravity, everything else become easier. If you make the conscious effort to sit upright, you’ll definitely have more energy throughout the day.
It’s all about balance. Everyone’s body is different, therefore it’s important to eat right for your type. Fast food can be an occasional treat. The bulk of what we eat should consist of fresh produce, which means an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. My rule of thumb is that the closer something is to being alive when you eat it, the better it is for you. In addition, be sure to get plenty of healthy fats and good cholesterol in your system–this is absolutely essential for your body’s health.
One final note, pay attention to how you feel after eating. This is critical. You want to feel mentally and physically energized by the food you eat. Think of food as both fuel and medicine. If what you eat makes you feel sluggish, it might be due to eating too much or consuming ingredients that you possibly have a mild intolerance to. Listen to your body.
This is where meditation saves the day. Your thoughts affect your worldview and personal perspective. If you can practice overall awareness, and mindfully see the good out of a difficult situation, your entire outlook on life changes.
HOW DO YOU UTILIZE YOUR YOGA PRACTICE OFF THE MAT?
During my yoga practice, I strive to be fully aware of my body, its alignment, and its sensations. I incorporate this into my life by being present in the given moment, and out of my head as much I can throughout the day.
This cultivated presence is also directed towards my breathing.
Breath is an incredible tool for regulating our moods and any stress that may pop up. Utilizing slower, complete diaphragmatic inhales helps me keep calm and relaxed. In addition, mindfulness prevents that all-too-common inner critic from being overactive. I try to let go of negative thought patterns, and instead think of things that will inspire and motivate me to be my best self, as I go about all necessary tasks.
So, in a nutshell: presence, breathing, and awareness.
NAME THREE PEOPLE WHO HAVE DEEPLY IMPACTED YOUR LIFE.
First and foremost, my older sister, Kimberly. She’s absolutely incredible. Not only has she successfully gone on to raise a child after getting pregnant at a young age, she simultaneously pursued college—all the way up to receiving her Ph.D. Now married with three more children, she works a fulltime job for the government, runs her own nonprofit to help fight human trafficking, and is the author of two published books. It’s simply inspiring to witness, and for me as a single guy, it lights a fire under me to be all that I can in reaching my highest potential.
Next would be one of my personal mentors, Paul Chek. Oh, where to even start with this guy…he’s an absolute genius! I’ve learned so much from him through his videos and blogs over the years. And as of recent, I’ve been lucky enough to study with him in person through his holistic lifestyle coaching program. He brings a plethora of holistic knowledge to the table, and does an incredible job at harmonizing different modalities; successfully mixing them into one big teaching. A true role model to the core, he practices what he preaches; I emulate this as much as I can in my own life.
And, of course, Ryan Holiday, who instilled in me a curiosity for learning and reading at a young age.
HOPES FOR THE FUTURE: WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS IN DEVELOPING YOUR BRAND AND BUSINESS?
My long-term goal is to run holistic wellness retreats with an established center to organize them. But in the meantime, I plan on putting out more digital content in order to make what is commonly viewed as high-end holistic coaching services available to populations that don’t necessarily have the resources to pay for private sessions.
In regards to massage therapy and yoga, I’ll be developing educational classes in those particular realms, as well as continue to connect and collaborate with practitioners in a variety of other holistic fields. My hopes are that my own personal learning and growth will directly translate into what my company, Tuneus LLC, offers in the future.
And, of course, I always do what I can to help make the world a healthier and happier place. One step at a time.