Pain In The Asana

Asana: pose, posture, seat
Ahimsa: to do no harm

Classical Sun Salutations
Classical Sun Salutations

Since the beginning of my 6-week teaching sabbatical I have also taken an intentional break from my regular asana practice of Sun Salutations and classical poses. This is the longest uninterrupted rest from asana  I have taken in 17 years of practice. Interestingly, one of the results is that I am pain-free in some of my chronic areas of aggravation… specifically in my hamstring attachment area. Basically, that nagging long-suffered ‘pain in my ass’ has evaporated. This state leaves me simultaneously euphoric and frightened. My asana practice has been my savior, foundation, therapist, refuge, friend, entertainment,  release, adventure, and source of livelihood. But apparently it has been the source of a little suffering as well.

Supported 'Head Stand' With 2 Chairs
Supported ‘Head Stand’ With 2 Chairs



For the past month and a half my daily yoga practice has consisted solely of a couple of restorative poses a day, including my longtime fave of hanging upside down between two chairs (see photo). This break from my regular practice of vigorous asana has enlightened me to the fact that it’s time to re-pattern it so that I can maintain  this blissful pain-free state that has happened.


Re-patterning does not necessarily mean taking on a whole new practice or ditching cherished poses and sequences. I miss and love practicing Sun Salutations. I believe in their healing power.  They provide me with focus, concentration, courage, and empowerment like nothing else. And I LOVE TO SWEAT.   I do not want to give them up. What to do???


I’m in the process of breaking down the Sun Salutations.  Essentially I am re-configuring actions, alignment, and habits of practice tailored to and nurturing of MY body’s  story. The intention for practice is ahimsa (causing no harm to myself or others) while still honoring the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Hatha tradition from where the sequence comes. For me this means approaching practice with courageous honesty  and self/body-directed wisdom. It means making changes and proceeding with care.  In every moment we must recognize if we are causing suffering, to ourselves or others and adjust accordingly.


Awareness of a pain in the ass the first step. What we do with that is the interesting next step. I will keep you posted on my progress.

I’d love to hear about your experiences in asana practice. Write me a note in the comments section below. Or let’s chat about it on Facebook or Twitter. Hope to see you soon on a yoga mat!

Peace & Love,
Shameless  Plug….
Upcoming  Sun Salutations Workshop  Saturday June 29,  1-5pm,  at USA Rec Center in Mobile, Alabama.

Early bird rate $60 ends June 15th.

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!


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

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

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

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 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

New Beginners 4-Class Yoga Series

Tuesdays 5-6pm
November 1, 8, 15, 22
$35 Whole Series

R e s e r v e Yo u r S p a c e – Click Here to Register Online

Or Leave A Message at The Studio 990-344

Teens Welcome!

Learn basic form and technique inan interactive learning forum thatʼs fun, informing, and great for the body. Start yoga with good info and habits for a safe and injury free practice experience!

Yoga Birds is located at 209 S Section Street in Fairhope
Next door to Trishʼs Alterations and Mountain Massage
Due to the progressive learning nature of the course there will be no drop-ins. Thanks.

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.


Yoga 101

Yoga 101 is a 2.5 hour Saturday afternoon workshop. This workshop will demystify yoga for the new student. Students will learn building blocks for practicing 30 essential yoga poses. Time is also devoted to introducing basic yogic breathing with awareness. This workshop prepares new students for flowing and faster paced classes. Also beneficial to give deeper insight of alignment in an already established practice. Participants must be able to move up and down from the floor to standing without assistance. BEGINNER LEVEL. 2.5 HRS. Registration available online.