A ReInvention of Sorts

A ReInvention of Sorts
A ReInvention of Sorts

This time last year I had one of those pivotal moments where I hit a wall and was faced with the reality of my life and the choices that lay before me.  Things were going relatively well. A third teacher-training group was about to graduate from my Yoga Birds program and the studio was chugging along offering valuable services to the community.  I had a nice house, great husband, awesome dogs, and loving family all around me.

My practices of daily asana and meditation were steady, life at home was good…but something was missing or just not right with me. I prayed and I meditated and finally realized that I was not where I wanted to be or doing what I truly wanted to be doing.

It was one of those God-moments when I realized in full force the finite nature of my time on earth, the importance and impact of every choice I make, and the preciousness of every moment that has been given to me.

I started making plans to close my beloved little yoga studio and to get back into film acting which I had left  in 2008 when I moved to Fairhope from New Orleans.  So, in case you were wondering, that’s where I have been all year…. In acting classes in New Orleans. More on that later…

I have not abandoned yoga.  Or, more accurately,  yoga has not abandoned me.  I have taken a massive break and rest from daily vigorous asana (poses) practice. It was not intentional and happened naturally as I stopped teaching so much. I am still a firm believer and advocate that asana yoga teachers should be practicing what they are asking of their students. I asked a lot of my students ergo I spent a lot of time on the mat in my own personal practice doing sun salutations and warrior poses, etc.

This break from the physical yoga for me has been utterly healing and informative…which is essentially what our practices should be about. So yes, my chaturanga and my pinca mayurasana probably SUCK right about now, but really…. I don’t care. And this is cOMpletely LIBERATING for me!

What I do practice regularly is Restorative Yoga. Apparently my nervous system needs a daily re-set to truth, consciousness, and joy.  My husband Burke who is a brilliant wordsmith dubbed Restorative Yoga a practice of ‘pillows and gravity’.  It is  absolute heaven and gives back to me ten-fold in the currency of connection to Spirit, relaxed groundedness, breath awareness, clarity, patience, kindness, happiness, contentment, and vibrant energy.  All it asks of me is to stop, become still, and hang out there for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. And BTW… it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds.

In these past several months I have explored different neighborhoods –literal and figurative.  I miss my friends and family and community of yogis in Alabama and further east. I have made some incredible new friends in the acting and film and fitness communities of New Orleans. Life is a constant paradox.  But it is certainly wonderful.

I am ready to start teaching again with a fresh new perspective on how yoga can support day to day life and courageous choices that foster the manifestation of the sparkling, healthy, vibrant  lives that are our birthright.

Next month I will be in Fairhope at Prana Health and Wellness Sunday, November 24th. Becky Ardrey and I are co-hosting an open house and discussion about the collaborative 2014 Yoga Birds Teacher Training being held at Prana. Stay tuned for more details about the open house and about the training.

Also in the works in New Orleans is a yoga class in conjunction with the indoor cycling classes (called RIDE) I have been teaching  at Romney Pilates Center on Magazine Street.  More details TBA.

On Sunday morning, November 17th   I am presenting a Restorative Yoga Session at the Mahabhuta Yoga Festival. I can’t wait to immerse in yoga for the whole weekend with so many friends and teachers! I hope that you can join me there for my class or to attend some of the fantastic classes of other teachers with me.

That’s all I have for now. Please be in touch with a comment below or drop me a line or a ‘like’ on my personal profiles at  Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. And if you’re interested, check out my new acting website at www.melaniebuffett.com. Hope to see y’all soon in a festive and joyful place!

Much Love and Peace,

Melanie Buffett


Therapeutic Sun Salutations? YES!

Sun Salutations

Sun SalutationsRxSome folks are wondering how I am going to present this weekend’s workshop material. Sun Salutations are supposed to be heating, and physically challenging. And Therapeutic yoga has a reputation for being of the ‘soft’. How can the two possibly meet and play nice in the same room?? It’s exactly that balance of practice that we will construct!

I have been applying principles of therapeutic yoga (that I have learned in a year-long training with Leslie Kaminoff) to my practice of Sun Salutations and classical yoga postures. And it has been nothing short of a Renaissance of Healing and Freedom in my 18 year long yoga practice.

Here is a brief outline of the workshop’s timeline, topics we will discuss, and applications we will weave into practice:

  • Opening Harmonium Meditation
  • Definitions of Yoga
  • The ‘Unbridled Pursuit of Flexibility’ & Bringing your practice in to the present moment.
  • Sun Salutations origin from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
  • Methodology of Ashtanga Shala & Mysore Practice.
  • Traditional Surya Namaskar A & B … poses & sequence
  • Role of Breath, Bandhas, & Drishti
  • Role of the Poses
  • Making modifications to poses & sequence to support and honor the primary application of breath, bandhas, and drishti
  • Break down Ujjayi Pranayama
  • Importance of consistent ujjayi pranayama…gives rhythm to the practice.
  • Finding mula bandha
  • Finding Uddiyana Bandha
  • Power of Drishti
  • Class inquiry…what hurts & when
  • Modifying sequence per each student
  • Full practice

Hope to see some of y’all there. Remember, all teachers receive a special Teacher Rate. There is a button for it on the registration page.

LOVE & YOGA, Melanie


On Not Teaching Yoga

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!


LuLus, A Perfect Fit For Yogis

Mom Serves Everybody Well And Always With A Smile

Most people don’t associate eating at LuLu’s with a yoga retreat. But Friday afternoon that collaboration manifests with the first ever Yoga Birds weekend retreat, catered by my mother’s restaurant LuLu’s at Homeport.

The retreat has been seven months in the making. I am ready and excited for the yogis to arrive.  In the beginning planning stages I forecasted 8-10 folks attending. The coordinator at Camp Beckwith advised me to set my capacity higher, really just to be on the safe side to reserve rooms. So I set it at 20. Fifteen sign-ups in the first two weeks. I called the retreat center again and upped it to 30. I really did not anticipate selling out. But it happened.

This is totally great news, right? Yes. And then well… a couple of months into it, my original plan for catering fell through. And my second choice was not available. Teaching yoga…I got that.  Feeding 30 people over an entire weekend…panic mode set in.

Obviously a call to my mom was in order. I needed motherly comfort-words and somebody to tell me ‘everything will work out.’  Plus, she is, after all, THE ultimate dinner-party guru of the Gulf Coast. If yoga is clarity, steadiness, and skill in action, then my mother’s yoga is the ability to feed large numbers of people with brilliant ease and a smile. Hence, the phenomenal success of LuLu’s.

Her restaurant is one of the top tourist destinations in Alabama and one of the highest grossing restaurants in the U.S. Her most famous offerings are her stellar Gumbo and (naturally) the Cheeseburger in Paradise. And although the burger is consciously made with local grass fed beef (which is unheard-of in these parts and in the high-volume restaurant industry in general), it is probably understandable that LuLu’s was not my first choice in doing the food for my all-vegetarian yoga retreat weekend.

Like an awesome mom, she totally stepped up for me, offering to help in any way that she or the restaurant could. In our initial conversation we thought there might be a few items on the LuLu’s menu that we could use. And then the plan was for her to personally work in her home kitchen to make the remainder of what the LuLu’s kitchen could not accommodate.

With yogis in mind, we embarked on detailed menu planning. We pulled items from all areas of the LuLu’s menu. And before we knew it, we had crafted nearly the entire vegetarian yoga retreat menu. We altered a few things by placing cheese and dairy products on the side and making soup with vegetable instead of chicken stock. We did add a couple of ‘outside’ items. But the majority of the meals are ‘ALL LuLu’.

Alabama Caviar (vegetarian black-eyed pea dip salad)
Alabama Caviar (vegetarian black-eyed pea dip salad)

A brief synopsis of the weekend fare is: Friday night, a Greek salad, lentil soup, hummus, and pita. Saturday lunch is a big beautiful garden salad, LuLu’s famous Alabama caviar (pea dip salad), and raw veggies. Saturday dinner is black beans, brown rice, Cantina Salad, guacamole, salsa, and tortilla chips. Sunday is a ‘brown bag’ to-go lunch with my recipe for quinoa salad, an apple, and pita chips. Breakfast is granola, fresh fruit, juices, and muffins.

LuLu’s might be most well known for cheeseburgers, crab-melts, key lime pie, and margaritas. But you don’t have to dig too deep in her menu to find excellent choices fit for a bunch of vegetarian yogis.

It’s easy to be healthy at LuLu’s if you want to. And sometimes it’s fun to indulge in good old-fashioned comfort food. It’s all about balancing discipline and joy. Either way, mom’s got you covered and she’d LOVE to have you over for lunch or dinner this summer.  PEACE LOVE YOGA & LULU Y’ALL

Check out mom’s place at www.lulubuffett.com.

Advanced Studies & RYT/200 Program Begins March 14th. Save The Dates!


The 2012 Advanced Studies & RYT200 Training begins March 14th at Yoga Birds. This year’s training has been restructured to accommodate a weekly evening meeting and a handful of Saturday Workshop Sessions. The program is designed for students wishing to deepen understanding and practice of yoga, for aspiring yoga teachers, and for teachers who need refresher courses.

Graduates of previous Yoga Birds Teacher Trainings receive 30% discount on all Wednesday Nights Series (excluding Yoga Anatomy Fundamentals & Kirtan) and 20% off Advanced Studies Saturday Workshop Sessions.

Yoga teachers are ultimately and always yoga students. Enrich your studentship this year whether you plan to teach or if you simply want to immerse yourself in the beautiful & bountiful teachings of yoga. The program promises lots of opportunities to deepen your practice of asana, pranayama, meditation, mantra, and much more.

Series offerings include:

For teachers, or those aspiring to teach, take your understanding of yoga to the next level. Transitioning confidently from student to teacher through practice teaching in real-time situations and classroom exercises.

With all of the recent press about the ‘dangers’ of yoga, it is vital that we continue to raise the bar of safety and effectiveness of appropriate yoga practice and teaching. Yoga Birds stands as a pillar of yoga in the community, dedicated to the continuation of educating the community about the wonderfully transformative, often life-saving, and beauty of depth of subject -matter that Yoga encompasses. At Yoga Birds, Melanie and all of the teachers aim to ‘raise the bar’ on the teaching and practice of yoga in Lower Alabama. Join us in the responsible proliferation of yoga for all bodies! We hope to see you ‘on the mat’!

The Advanced Studies Series may be taken individually for personal enrichment, or Yoga Alliance CEC’s. Students attending the program in full will automatically be eligible for Registration with Yoga Alliance at the 200 Hour Level. Yoga Birds is a Registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance (RYS200). See complete pricing, dates, and registration details at http://www.yogabirds.com/teacher-training/.

Spring Into Action With Feng Shui

Brunch & Workshop

Have you been curious about Feng Shui? Well here is your opportunity to learn how you can incorporate feng shui into your home. Meryl Hyderally, Feng Shui Consultant, is offering a personalized assessment of a room of your choice. In order to offer a comprehensive evaluation, Meryl is opening this workshop up to 10 participants. It is time to MARCH FORTH on March 4th and claim your place at this exciting and informative event. Pre-registration is required by Feb 24th. Meryl will contact you prior to the workshop to discuss details pertaining to the room you have chosen. For more information please contact Meryl at www.merylhyderally.com

Workshop and Brunch 10:30 – 12:30 Cost: $50 Yoga Birds will be closed Christmas Day. We will be offering classes all other days during the holiday season. Please check the online schedule for class offerings over the holidays.

Feng Shui Friday Luncheon & Dinner Sessions

Friday January 20 (2 sessions)
Transitioning into 2012

There is more to feng shui than where the proper place for you to place your sofa. Knowing what element guides your nature and how will your energy be influenced as we move into “The Year of the Dragon” can be beneficial with the choices that you will make. Should you begin planning for that career change you’ve been thinking about? Perhaps it is the right time for you to expand your business. Whatever decisions you have been pondering, understanding the principles of feng shui can help.

Join Meryl Hyderally, Feng Shui Consultant, for an enlightening discussion about creating the most opportunity for yourself in 2012. Graciously hosted by Yoga Birds, there will be two sessions offered on January 20, 2012.
Workshop and luncheon 11:30 – 1:30
Workshop and dinner 6:00 – 8:00
Cost: $40 per session ($35 if registered before 12/31)
What a great holiday gift! Gift certificates available as Yoga Birds
For more information please contact Meryl at www.merylhyderally.com

Vision Board & A Bottle of Wine Party

Manifest your 2012 Intentions with this fun and creative collage-art exercise of making a Vision Board. Art supplies and materials provided. Bring any special items you want to include on your board.

“Once you dream it, the next step is to believe it. In addition to images, vision boards can include words, phrases or sentences that affirm your intentions. Somehow, we must silence the mindchatter that plagues us all every minute of every waking hour. You know that little voice in your head that never shuts up, the one that supports and promotes all your limiting beliefs by repeating an endless litany of every shortcoming you could possibly have (and some you couldn’t possibly have) and every reason why you can’t or shouldn’t or won’t ever be, do or have what you really want. Affirmations are that little voice’s worst enemy. Affirmations express who you really are, release you from those limiting beliefs, and allow you to know that the possibilities really are unlimited.”

Bring a bottle of wine if you wish! Please RSVP to 251-990-3447 or e mail melanie@yogabirds.com so we know how many boards and supplies to bring. THANKS!!

Tai Chi Workshop

Join us for a two hour introductory Tai Chi workshop!  We will begin with a brief history of the art as well as covering the benefits of regular Tai Chi practice and its similarities with Yoga.  After covering a few basic body mechanics we will learn the Yin Tai Chi kata, a fundamental, 24 posture form that incorporates movement, meditation, and awareness.

Brian Decker has been practicing Tai Chi over 10 years. He began taking classes in Kentucky at the Sin The’ Gym and studying Shaolin-do, the classical Chinese martial arts system, under Grand Master Sin Kwang The’s senior student, Elder Master Bill Leonard.  Upon earning the rank of 1st degree black belt, Tai Chi became part of the required curriculum for further progression, and he spent the next several years slowly incorporating Tai Chi into his training.  After relocating from Lexington in June 2011, Brian came to Yoga Birds and has been exploring the wonderful world of Yoga ever since. $15

Kids’ Yoga

Kids Yoga offers a fun and focused environment that encourages strength and flexibility, fosters creativity and imagination, and promotes self-esteem and a sense of connection with the world. Join Stephanie Williamson, a Child Therapist specializing in Play Therapy.

This is a 4-week series on Mondays.