MELT Stories: Edya Kalev

When Edya Kalev decides to learn how to do something, she goes straight to the source.

When she wanted to learn how to do historical role-playing, she went to Plymouth, Massachusetts to become a “Pilgrim” at Plimoth Plantation in full costume and character. When she decided to learn about yoga, she went India to study at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Kerala.


And when she wanted to learn about The MELT Method, she headed directly to 76th Street and Amsterdam Avenue to attend Sue Hitzmann’s classes at the Manhattan Jewish Community Center. Now she is a top MELT instructor who works alongside Sue to help train other teachers and is co-developing a new MELT curriculum to integrate MELT with yoga.

Discovering MELT: “Mom Made Me Do It”


The journey to Edya’s current level of MELT proficiency began when she was feeling down about her level of health and praying for a solution. About 9 years ago, her mother convinced her to take a tour of the then newly renovated JCC. 


MELT was the one offering that stood out to her in the JCC program catalog her mother encouraged her to take. The idea that connective tissue health could be the key to feeling better struck a chord.


“Something about the description in the catalog really piqued my interest and I signed up the next day,” said Edya. “My Mom still takes full credit for introducing me to MELT. And of course, I felt better for the first time in a long time after my first class with Sue.”


Although she described her 2005 journey to India as a transformative experience, it was extremely tough on her body.


“It was a life-changing, career-changing, body-changing kind of trip that exhausted my internal resources,” she said. “I got very sick three times over six months in my travels, and spent a lot of time in various hospitals along my route. When I returned, my whole system started to break down. I had no energy, could barely get out of bed, and my hamstring tore.

Edya recalls that she simply knew in her gut that MELT would be a key to restoring her own health. She immediately signed up for MELT instructor training, and was in one of the first trainings Sue ever offered. Today she teaches both MELT and yoga, and is working on integrating the two forms with a program called “MELTed Yoga.”



MELT and Yoga: A Natural Fit


“The most essential MELT sequence, Rebalance, is all about releasing the diaphragm and resetting the nervous system's relationship to the center of gravity through a fuller expression of the breath. Yoga helps us explore our breathing possibilities as we move. MELT makes yoga even more powerful—more grounded, flowing, effortless and stable, said Edya.


MELT also helps counter the notion that to be “good” at yoga means being super flexible at all costs.


“Before I knew MELT, I always felt tugging behind my knees in forward bends and thought that was normal. This ultimately led to my torn hamstring because I was just yanking on the attachment of the muscle to the bone,” she said. “After MELTing the back of my legs with the roller, I have a more seamless experience of length all along my back line, from head to feet. I can get deeper into the position, and the bonus is that MELT also makes the position safer, because I am less prone to re-injuring my hamstring.


She credits her training with best-selling authors Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews (Yoga Anatomy, Human Kinetics 2011) at the Manhattan-based non-profit educational institution, The Breathing Project, for her deeper understanding of how breath and awareness affects movement and function. Edya started there as a work-study student, later became Manager of Education for 5 years, and now teaches MELT classes and workshops in their beautiful Chelsea studio. 


MELT Success Stories


Her early professional training in living history trained Edya to be a strong storyteller and communicator. Since then, Edya has been instrumental in taking MELT practices and customizing them for specific groups. For four years, she taught the first MELT class specifically for people with neurological and auto-immune conditions at The Breathing Project. Today, she offers a special 8-week immersion program geared towards women who are ready to take better care of themselves after a lifetime of putting everyone else first.


Edya has many success stories. She recalls one man with debilitating back pain, herniated disks and stenosis.  “After six weeks he looked so good, his wife personally thanked me for making him a ‘hunk’ again,” said Edya. “And what was even more fascinating, is that his daily MELT practice was only with the MELT ballsno roller!”


Another client could not sleep through the night for over a decade. This post-menopausal woman practiced the MELT Rebalance sequence daily for several months. She started sleeping longer and longer periods until she made it eight hours straight.  


Of course, Edya’s biggest success story is herself.


“You can always find me MELTing my hands and feet before any yoga class I take or teach,” said Edya. “And after a long day of teaching, computer work and running around after my 4-year old, there is nothing better than lying on my roller. It beckons me.”

To connect with Edya and register for a class with her, visit her website at

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