Military Mindfulness Expert, Yoga Therapist, SME, Educator
Founder of www.milmindbody.com
Melissa Aguirre began fulfilling unit requests and working with the military community over a decade ago at Fort Bragg and has pioneered and supported operationalizing mind body modalities within the military through volunteerism, partnerships and program development.
In 2019, when H2F 7-22 was being strategized to be integrated throughout the Army, Melissa Aguirre began supporting operations and program development initiatives at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. As an established Program Director and owner of MelMarie Yoga Academy where she trains and certifies individuals in Yoga Therapy and Mind Body Medicine modalities, Melissa Aguirre organized and instituted the first “Yoga Studio” to open on a military base on Fort Sam to facilitate mindfulness, spiritual hygiene, physical performance and rehabilitation, along with other holistic capabilities for soldiers readiness. This partnership was on behalf of working with the USO for both military families and personnel.
Since 2019, over 700 military families have benefited from her Yoga Foundations Course, over hundreds BAMC nurses have been supported by Melissa’s guidance in Holistic Health and Mindfulness, thousands of soldiers have experienced classes from Melissa Aguirre through unit requests and MOU partnerships based in nonphysical performance initiatives. Aguirre also began working with the Gladiator Program in 2019 providing twice a week yoga for PT, specialized education and advising to improve rehabilitation and increase soldiers returning to duty.
Below are a few of the many influences Mel has had in implementing Mindfulness, Stress Reduction and Recovery within the US Army. Mel continues to innovate, volunteer and advise implementation.
Aguirre’s strategy includes the importance of experiential fitness-related knowledge, behavioral modification strategies, soldier-centered training, and incorporating a mindfulness based foundation to address all five domains of H2F as an integrative system for soldier performance and optimization. FM 7-22, Ch 1-1 states “Stronger individuals ultimately produce stronger teams.” Our soldier-centered approach is provided through experiential education (using mindfulness and stress reduction techniques through physical readiness improving and accessing mental, spiritual and sleep hygiene all to equipping the “inner battle buddy” which in turn enhances the Total Army and ROI Measurements.
Aguirre’s strategy is to optimize movement and day to day tasks through mind body practices that address isolation, injury rehabilitation and soldier retention issues. Furthermore, Aguirre provided an H2F Yoga Class series through DVIDS utilized for PT and as adjunct recovery for soldiers across the military.
In addition, Aguirre’s comprehensive training model aids soldiers in caring for their “inner battle buddy” and utilizes experiential learning that enhances mental hygiene through physical practices such as breath awareness, conscious self-control, neuro-somatic integration and more. Aguirre has formulated ways to operate ACFT preparedness by using mind body modalities to enhance soldier performance and injury prevention through physical readiness, mindset hygiene, improved sleep hygiene, and emotional wellbeing. The techniques implemented have shown to provide functional movement patterns, neuroplasticity and nervous system down regulation that improve performance and overall soldier wellbeing. Aguirre’s application to the H2F model uses physical readiness practices that are infused in mind body modalities to provide efficacy, sustainability and soldier centered experiences.
As an expert in stress reduction and mindfulness, Aguirre focuses to mitigate stress factors and provide experiential education and training for soldiers. This scope can be applied in work, personal and spiritual capacities that go beyond general military education but implemented through operational duties and combative tasks. Aguirre’s specialty in implementing breath physiology aids the soldier in sustainable and functional change within the body that decreases inflammation markers and guides the soldier in utilizing their own system of self-referral and regulation.
Aguirre’s approach is based in using mindful physical performance and breath utilization to optimize mental, spiritual and emotional health. This process also aids in healthy eating habits and combating risk factors that inhibit sleep readiness.
Currently, Aguirre serves as a subject matter expert and advisor to educate, innovate and guide leaders in implementing holistic strategies to improve metrics, quality of life and readiness. Some experience includes; teaching weekly yoga for the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Bragg (2012-2013), developing programs and leading retreats for the Wounded Warrior Project (2013-2015), Co-Authoring The Innate Design with an Army Medicine Physician to aid lifestyle medicine tools, teaching yoga to Warrior Transition Battalion on Fort Sam (2018), Program Developer, Educator, and Partnering with the USO (2018-2020), Teacher Trainer and Education for the Veterans Yoga Project (2019), US Army Subject Matter Expert (2019-Present), Humana Military Board Member and Podcast Host (2019-2022), Founder and Director of milmindbody Yoga Studio with the USO (2019-2021), Yoga Therapist and Educator for Gladiator Program for Soldier Medics (2019-Present), Army North H2F Program Analyst (2019), Fulfilling Unit Requests including BAMC, Army Wellness, and across Fort Sam (2018-Present), Author and Educator of MPMT for Drill Sergeants, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Personnel, Leadership and SLC ( 2021-Present), Key Note Presenter for Military Symposiums and Events (2021-Present), Training Medical personal at BAMC in MPMT and contributing as an SME and Advisor for integrating Stress Management at the hospital (2022-Present) and more.