The Dalai Lama In New Orleans

Sunday, May 19th, 2013
dalai-lama
His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Friday I had the great honor to attend a lecture given by the Dalai Lama in New Orleans. Even though I have been twice to Dharamsala where he lives in India, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to hear him speak live. One of the things that is most striking about His Holiness is how funny and down to earth he is. I’m still a little bit awed from the whole experience. I feel really lucky and blessed to have been there.

buddhabike
#BuddhaBike
4-square
Prayer Flags Everywhere

 

The city has been preparing for his visit for a year. In the last couple of weeks New Orleanians have draped  homes and business in every neighborhood, and churches of all denominations with Tibetan Prayer Flags.  I had a fun day cruising around the city on my “#BuddhaBike”  doing a photo essay of the flags. All the pics are  on my Instagram page. Have a look! You don’t have to be on Instagram to see the photos.

The main thing I have taken to heart from this auspicious audience is that compassion has the power to unlock the suffering and trappings in our personal lives. Practicing peace and compassion in our own lives is the key to bringing more harmony to the whole global family. With so much suffering in the world, how can we not work to become more compassionate beings?

It’s my favorite song…Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Please leave comments below. I’d love to hear from you. Keep in touch on Twitter & Facebook too!

IN PEACE & COMPASSION,

Melanie Buffett

If you’re interested to read more information and details about Friday’s lecture and His Holiness’s first ever visit to the Gulf Coast, this is a great article from Nola.Com about the historic visit.

On Not Teaching Yoga

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
IMG_1097
Life is an Adventure!

I continue to receive messages from folks looking for my public teaching class schedule. For the record, I joyfully report that I am on a teaching ‘Sabbatical’ and spending some quality time in my home away from home, New Orleans.

It feels a little bit strange to not be teaching a regularly scheduled public yoga class. It is the first time in nearly seven years that I have taken more than a week off from doing it.

This break has been utterly restorative. It is giving me fresh perspective on my reasons and intentions for practicing and teaching yoga.  In a nutshell it is that yoga provides a relief from suffering.

Until there is no suffering, I will continue practicing and teaching yoga to the best of my abilities, in the context of perpetually evolving life.

I am still meeting with private clients and working with folks in therapeutic and restorative applications of yoga. I really enjoy working one on one. sharing yoga in this format, I feel like I am really helping people identify with good practice techniques  for relief from the individualistic physical pains that we all suffer. This teaching break has also been a great opportunity and time for me to re-commit to my studentship and finish the Therapeutic Anatomy training with Leslie Kaminoff.

Combining my love of the Classical Ashtanga Primary Series with training in therapeutic yoga (which, believe it or not really can integrate well), this Summer I am excited to present a workshop at The University of South Alabama Recreation Center in Mobile. And then there’s the retreat to Jamaica in September. All of the info for these events is on the website. One thing not yet posted on the website is a Fall one-day retreat at Camp Beckwith, Saturday October 26. Be sure to save the date for that.

I am enjoying being more active on Twitter (@yogabirds), Facebook, Instagram (@melaniebuffett), and sometimes Vine. If you’re on any of those platforms. I’d love to connect and keep in touch while I explore life outside of Fairhope and the yoga studio for a while.

Wishing you all the best Summer ever. And of course PEACE LOVE & YOGA!
xoxo Melanie

P.S. If you liked this post, please leave me a comment! I’d love to hear from you. Also, if you’re there, we can keep in touch on Social Media too!

 

Jazz Festing & Yoga (of course)

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
SJB
Cousin Love at Jazz Fest 2013

It’s festival time! Every year for almost 40 years, there has been at least one (if not more) member of my family present, out ‘in the Gumbo’ of music, food, art, and culture that is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritge Festival. This year my cousin Savannah and I are carrying the torch. We have been festing together since we were kids.

The fairgrounds can seriously tap energy stores if not adequately prepared. From experience and lessons learned we know to carry a bag of survival essentials to deal with sun, mud, port-o-lets, and logging miles on the track. It takes practice and stamina to work it right.

latenite
(Very) Late Night Dance Party

Along with the festival comes about ten straight days of incredible night shows all over town that run into the wee early morning hours. A big fest day can literally mean 18 hours.

Considering that one of the main reasons to be out in all of the wonderful madness is THE DANCING, it’s essential to keep our bodies feeling good and well. This year at the fest I heard more than a few folks talking about aching backs. And this just breaks my heart. No suffering allowed at Jazz Fest!

But, I can relate and it’s totally understandable.  My back gets tired and aches after doing anything strenuous for an extended time and a New Orleans party is no joke!  Whether it is the joyful occasion of a marathon of music and dancing, or any event that calls us into full mobile action for a considerable duration of time, we can and should participate fully without it taking a massive toll on our bodies. This is about enjoying life after all, right? So how do we do it all and still feel great for another day?

And yes, my answer is once again yoga. In this year’s scenario of epic Jazz Fest stamina, I have been extra diligent about weaving 5-15 minutes of restorative yoga breaks throughout my days. When I do the poses, if it’s possible, I give myself the full treatment of bolsters, blankets and an eye covering. If that’s not possible (or if I am out on the fairgrounds) I simply lie on my back with bent knees and cover my face with a hat or t-shirt or something. I turn the cell phone ringer off, and use the cell phone as a timer to make sure that I stay in the pose for a good amount of time–at least 3 minutes, but preferably 10.  Using a timer actually helps to calm and quiet my mind more deeply and quickly which leads to the deep relaxation of the muscle fibers that restores them. Then the timer lets me know when it’s time to resume with activity.

fairgrounds
The Pearly Festival Gates

This past weekend I did a supported bridge pose for 10 minutes before leaving for the fest. After a  full day of walking lots and dancing in the sun to funk, blues, and rock-n-roll, when I got home, my back was tired. I did legs up the wall and reclined cobblers pose. And voila, the ache-y tired back was completely restored in a matter of minutes and I was ready to go out for another round of fun. Saturday night required a few supported poses too, and the payoff was great. I had enough energy to stay up and watch one of the greatest music lineups of the year which started at 3am. Yes. Oh yes I did stay out all night long dancing!  Which I have not done in as long as I can remember. My alarm clock (that wakes me up) went off before I went to bed. I can safely say that has never happened.

I even surprised myself that I was still up with energy to spare! No aching feet or back. And I am ready for another 4-day full weekend of it starting tomorrow. It hasn’t always been like this for me. There was a time when at this point in the festivities I was having to force and push myself into unhealthy places to endure the fun. That’s one way to do it, but I am much more happy and healthy (which is really what it’s all about)  this go around. It’s all yoga and dancing and art and culture and most of all good company that fuels my fire.

At 40, I am more vibrant and have more stamina than I did in my 20’s and 30’s. This year’s Jazz Fest I feel better in body mind and spirit than ever. The longer I explore the art of restorative yoga as a daily practice, the more I believe in the healing and supportive gifts it offers in every scenario that life presents.

So…Get thee to a bolster, and then meet me  ‘in the Gumbo’ for some dancing!

If you have enjoyed this post and photos, you’ll find more good stuff at the Yoga Birds Facebook Page, Yoga Birds Twitter Feed, and at Instagram. PEACE LOVE YOGA & KEEP IN TOUCH Y’ALL