Mellara is a teacher of Dassanayaka Yoga and Living in Awareness in Northern California. She was born in Queensland, Australia, and at the age of seventeen moved to Los Angeles to attend the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute.
After roles in Don’t Look Back, with Peter Fonda (1996) and Love Boat: The Next Wave (1998), a depleting injury led her to embark on a healing journey, and she began focusing on yoga. At the Center for Yoga and other LA studios, she immersed herself in Hatha, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Ashtanga, and other yoga , including teacher training with Erich Schiffmann and Saul David Raye.
In 2015, after eighteen years teaching yoga, Mellara studied for two years at the Dassanayaka Yoga Centre in Melbourne, Australia, under the guidance of Sri Lankan yoga teacher, chef, healer, intuitive, former Buddhist monastic, and the founder of Living in Awareness practice, Channa Dassanayaka. After apprenticing with him in Australia, she opened the first Dassanayaka Yoga Center in the U.S, in Walnut Creek, California, with Channa’s guidance and blessing.
She teaches in California and travels with Channa and the Dassanayaka Yoga team, leading workshops, retreats, and trainings in the U.S and internationally. Mellara lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Mike, and children Leela and Charlie.
(Photo by Vessa Ventz)
Channa Dassanakayaka was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1969. He learned to cook in his grandmother’s village kitchen, and spent his early adult years in the food service industry, managing the Oman Navy dining room in the Middle East, working as a pastry chef at a castle in Germany’s Black Forest and helping open a Sri Lankan restaurant there, and working as a pastry chef in the Meridian and Hilton Hotels Colombo. As the civil war in his country widened, at the age of seventeen Channa moved to Australia and opened a Sri Lankan Restaurant in the suburbs of Melbourne.
The following year, his mother died, and he returned home for a year, staying much of that time at a Buddhist monastery. He returned to Australia in 1998 and helped start four other restaurants, before he opened Dassanayaka Yoga, Australia.
He is presently on leave from teaching while he provides spiritual guidance to a company in Europe who's mission is to provide a much more inclusive economy worldwide. He speaks Sinhalese, English, French, and German.
(Photo by Darren Murphy)