Marissa Lee Harris was born in Honolulu in 1980, into an extremely happy and supportive family whose members included yogis and vegetarians. Incredibly healthy in mind and body, her childhood was spent barefoot at the beach and exploring the mango forest behind the house. She took her first yoga classes in 1994 and soon thereafter established a home practice that included asana, mantra japa, and the reading of sacred texts (she began with Rig Veda and Ramayana, which were available at Punahou School’s library).
Many years spent in contemplation of the blue-on-blue line where sea meets sky kindled in Marissa an intense desire to explore the world. Soon after her eighteenth birthday, she set out on a decade-long adventure. She earned degrees from Dartmouth and Middlebury Colleges, travelled extensively in 36 countries, solo backpacked one of the most challenging sections of the Appalachian Trail, completed university programs in Argentina and Brazil, volunteered in rural Caribbean villages and Central American slums, taught high school in Alaska, directed two Middle Eastern Fusion dance companies and owned a profitable construction company.
In 2006, Marissa completed her first of eight yoga teacher training programs. Over the last twelve years, she has taught ongoing and specialty classes, workshops, courses and teacher trainings for innumerable Las Vegas yoga studios, gyms, schools, businesses, churches, community centers and conventions in addition to her courses at Desert Yoga School in Las Vegas. Her most recent teaching milestone was joining UNLV’s teaching faculty in July 2018. Click here to read her UNLV bio.
Marissa’s strengths as a teacher include her authenticity, broad knowledge base, and commitment to personal practice. She is a captivating and eloquent speaker with a systematic and accessible presentation style. Her own daily practices of pranayama, asana, mantra, yagna, yoga nidra, and scriptural study inform her teachings, and her policy of only teaching practices that she herself maintains makes her a suitable guide for sincere students of yoga. Marissa effortlessly conforms her teaching to suit audiences of varied size and diverse demographics.
Simple living and a plant-based diet are cornerstones of Marissa’s lifestyle. She watches the sunrise and sunset most days, cooks her meals from scratch, and cultivates two dozen medicinal herbs. Favorite physical and mental challenges she uses to compliment her yoga practice include running and rock climbing. Marissa rarely turns down any opportunity to spend time in the woods or at the park, and she’ll jump on any reason to be in or on the water.