Melissa Wood Tepperberg’s Secret to Reducing Anxiety? Sleeping With Tape Over Her Mouth

She’s all in on belly breathing.

melissa wood tepperberg
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Melissa Wood Tepperberg’s voice may now be synonymous with “long, lean lines” or “roll out your mat,” but her workout-meets-wellness business, MWH, started small. With a niche following and a singular tripod, she started recording full body flows from the comfort of her home. Flash forward to today, and she’s built a brand, a community, and a lifestyle for her one million followers. MWH, which was relaunched into a more robust platform last year, offers workouts, meditations, food, and lifestyle advice for a mere $15 monthly cost. 

The mom of two’s passion for helping others make time for movement is in part what landed her as a Sports Illustrated 2023 Rookie of the Year. Despite the cover star moment being a bucket list accomplishment, it hasn’t stopped Tepperberg from powering towards a more balanced lifestyle, channeling her higher power, and striving to make an impact. On a Zoom from her studio, Tepperberg details how she incorporates wellness into her day.

The wellness trend I haven't tried yet but want to:

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I'm really curious about these psychedelic journeys. Truly, as someone who has grown up with anxiety and has a bloodline of depression, I’ve just heard about people having these remarkable breakthroughs and experiences with a guided professional. It's something I've never done, but I'm really interested in learning more about it. I've been reading up on it for a year and it's something in the back of my mind that I'm very curious about. I’ve talked to my therapist about it. 

A wellness practice you swear by that some might find "woo woo"

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Mouth taping. It looked really crazy and scary and wild. But coming from someone who has run anxious my entire life, it's really taught me how to breathe through my nose. It helps you tap deeper into your parasympathetic nervous system. For the majority of my entire life, I’ve woken up anxious. Since mouth taping, I do not wake up anxious. For seven to eight hours, I am sleeping in this very deep sleep where it's all belly breathing. I've dropped so deep into slowing and deepening my breath and it's freaking life changing. 

I know it looks crazy, but it's about teaching people that most people are walking around not knowing how to breathe.

No matter how hard you try, you just can't get into:

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I'm actually not someone who likes being on the bandwagon of what's trending. I believe that's actually how I've had so much longevity in this space. I really stay true to the practices that have made a difference in my life. I am not someone who just hops on trends. I was thinking about when high intensity was trending. I don't lean into that stuff, you know? Right now, Pilates is trending. For me, it’s just a way of life. 

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Your ideal wellness routine:

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I’d be in Ibiza, because it just brings on a whole new energy in my life. I love the Six Senses. I would wake up and have some warm water with lemon and a matcha. Then, I’d go on a sunrise hike—I love watching the sunrise. I feel like when you wake up for a sunrise hike, you are not meditating before the sunrise, so I’d do that after. I’d move my body with a quick flow because I'm in Ibiza and I wanna get out, have some breakfast with an amazing smoothie.

I’d have to get in the water, get my feet in the sand, and go for a beach walk. There's nothing that is better for your soul. I’d eat an amazing salad with grilled shrimp. Everything would just be outdoors and really active. We’d be on a boat and explore more of the island, swim in Formentera and have an evening dinner. On the way back, I’d watch the sunset, have a grounding meditation, and an awesome sleep. 

Low-brow feel-good hack:

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I created MWH with the idea that it would always have accessibility and attainability for everyone in mind. The first thing that I bought when I was younger was a gym membership, which was so expensive and hard for me to maintain to the point whereI couldn't afford it for one month. I never want price to be something that gets in the way of taking care of yourself. The beauty with this platform, which is something that I was really passionate about when I started, was just stability. There are so many gadgets that get in the way of you taking care of yourself. When you can rely on your own strength, you realize you really just need yourself and willingness to show up. 

High-brow feel-good splurge:

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An infrared sauna, a cold plunge, and a hyperbaric chamber are amazing. Or a red light bed that you can immerse your entire body in. 

The best way to describe your wellness vibe:

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I try to be flexible, yet consistent. 

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Who you look to for advice:

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I go to my high power. I’m a big energy channeler, so I feel like I can call in a lot of things with this version that exists beyond myself. 

The wellness apps we'd find on your phone:

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You would find My Human Design, Natural Cycles, and The Apollo. It’s a device that you can wear on your wrist. Essentially, it hits acupuncture points, so you can set it to de-stress or focus. I love the focus function because I can definitely be slightly  ADHD and all over the place. There's an energy function, too. It's amazing.

When you need to reset:

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I need space and I need to be alone. I need to tune everything out and get off social media. I don’t need to go to opinion shop with friends. All I need is to get really quiet with myself. I usually do this in the evenings. I put my legs up on the wall and end the day with a grounding meditation. I used to think a lot about the things that bothered me that day or that didn’t go well.

But when I had Dr. Amen on my podcast, he said something that really changed my mindset. He told me to think about three things that went really well and to focus on the beauty of your life.  I also like to get my thoughts down. I’ve been journaling a lot more. Sometimes it's in a notepad on my phone. I write everything down whenever I need it.

Your current state of mind:

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This very moment in my life, I am just really honing in on the idea that if you don't like it, you have the power to change it. You are the only person in your life that you can really count on. I think we put a lot of pressure to count on everybody else, but when you just bring it back to the fact that everything is up to you, it shows you that you have the power and there are possibilities to do all of the things. Sometimes, in order for things to really evolve, change has to happen. 

Your mental health focus right now:

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Peace is really my number one priority. I prioritize my practice, not because it's cool or trending or because it’s January. It's truly what continues to make me feel the most centered and grounded within myself. It's no fad, it's truly a way of life that I don't take for granted. I wake up every day with the mindset of how lucky I am that I get to wake up and do this work. 

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When and where you feel the happiest:

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There’s this simplicity of laying in bed at night with my family, watching a movie with popcorn. That’s what we're doing tonight and I'm so happy that those are my Friday night plans. 

A funny little wellness story about you:

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So I’m on this mouth taping journey. And my son came running into my room the other night because he had some night terrors. He is telling me that there was someone in the house chasing after him. I communicated the entire thing with him with my mouth taped. 

The way he imitates this conversation to people—I cry. It's so funny. He’s also just so unphased by stuff like this because he’s been surrounded by it for his entire life.

Wellness advice you've received that...isn't great:

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I am just not a believer that we have to do these high intensity cardio, heavy weight training workouts to see results. There’s this whole thing that pilates is not strength training and all I have to say is: Have you ever gotten on the mat? You are strengthening your muscles and using your body weight. It's just moving in a different way. I think a lot of people have very strong opinions that you need to supplement with these things and I just heavily disagree. 

The thing you'd tell your younger self about wellness

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I would tell my younger self to stop listening to everyone else. Tune out the noise to better tune into yourself. If there's one practice that I would recommend over anything else, it's a meditation practice. We have all these resources in our life, but when you create this stillness in your mind, so much clarity comes through. Answers don’t live outside of you. 

Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, Delish.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.