Five reasons for the bird-themed pages, posts and yoga classes:
1. 2014 Yoga Bird Week
I designed a four-week set of themed classes for LE SPA at the Maritim Hotel in Mellieħa in the fall of 2014 titled “Plan B Yoga” [3.4 Mb PDF]. Week two featured a sequence of bird poses from Flying Bird to Proud Pigeon, Penguin Pose to the Gálapagos Blue Footed Booby posture, Crow, Peacock and King Pigeon. (I was “winging it” with the poses shown above in italics — they’re not by “the book.”) We had a flock of a lot of fun with it so I thought I’d see if I could stretch the idea across an entire website and do some good in the process — see BirdLife Malta short story below.
2. BirdLife Malta
The oldest environmental Non-Governmental Organization in the country — among its host of other initiatives, BirdLife Malta serves to protect the Yelkouan Shearwater (Garnija in Maltese) through its LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija project. 10% of this Shearwater’s global population nests on Ta’ Ċenċ cliffs in Gozo. You can get up close to watch them come home to roost in the evening on a BirdLife Malta summer sunset boat trip here. I send one euro from each class fee, plus all the proceeds from the Yoga for Kindness classes (which are temporarily on hiatus pending a more spacious location) to them as a kind of retainer for my use of their avian yogi models.
3. Munchies’ Yoga Birds
Munchies, Mellieħa Bay is about a 1400m swim from the flat where I teach yoga — directly across the bay behind the top rung of that blue chair in the photo. I’ve spent many a magical morning drinking Canadianos (a coffee that’s similar to an Americano but slightly bigger, naturally sweeter and made with more love) and/or meditating on the beach there with the creative minds behind Fonts Café and Turbulence Zero.
Please contact and correct me if I’m wrong but I think the two posing yoga birds above are resident Zitting Cisticola (Bufula ta’ l-Imrewħa). There was another one with a punk hairdo who practised his own modified Warrior III pose but I never got a picture of him… like the proverbial fish that got away.
4. A Flock of Words
My uncle, David Mackay, authored a book called “A Flock of Words; An Anthology of Poetry for Children and Others” in 1969. So far my Flock of Yoga Birds is as close as I’ve come to following his flight path. You can borrow “A Flock of Words” from the Open Library and read Jacques Prévert’s beautiful poem, “To Paint the Portrait of a Bird,” part of which is shown above, in its entirety.
5. bird by bird — Some Instructions on Writing and Life
And last but not least, just like Savasana, the premise behind the title of Anne Lamott’s 1995 bestseller, “bird by bird — Some Instructions on Writing and Life,” also just happens to be the perfect premise for a bird-themed yoga class.
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”
Yoga Bird Photo Credits
- A White Crane flying just above the water (not in Bakasana [Crane Pose] unfortunately) for one of the site’s header images thanks to Shay Kent at Unsplash.
- A Duckling in Virabhadrasana III [Warrior III] pose for the Yoga for Balance Class in Arderne Gardens, Claremont, South Africa by Ken Treloar at Unsplash.
- A clutch of Ducklings chillaxing before their Chicks’ Yoga Class thanks to Jan Meeus at Unsplash.
- A Bengaluru Eagle soaring for the Men’s OS Yoga Class by Shreyas Malavalli at Unsplash.
- A Great Egret preening its feathers at Freshwater Lake in Cairns, Australia to personify the soon-to-return weekly Yoga for Kindness Class by David Clode at Unsplash.
- A few Flamingos snoozing in Vrksasana [Tree Pose] at the Prague Zoo for the Yoga for Better Sleep Class by me.
- A lone Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) posing aloofly for the Back Care Yoga Class by Andrea Reiman at Unsplash.
- An Owl Couple touching tenderly for the Couples Yoga Class by Andy Morffew at Flickr.
- A Rhode Island Red Rooster ready for Sunrise Yoga by Remy Baudouin at Unsplash.
- One serene Seagull posing on a post for the Beginner’s Yoga Class by Michael Kurzynowski at Unsplash.
- A flock of calm, cool and collected Restorative Yoga Seagulls (albeit San Franciscan gulls) by Salvatore Ventura at Unsplash
- The swallow for the Fort Massey Church Tuesday evening Restorative Yoga class came from an Unsplash photo by Alex Holyoake, taken in Saint-Léger-des-Prés, France. I Photoshopped it onto a Wikimedia photo of “The Fort” by Stewx.
- Here’s the entire flock of Indri Yoga Birds in its collection at Unsplash.
- Cedar Waxwings by Andrea Reiman at Unsplash: model for
- Flying Close to the Water photo by Shay Kent at Unsplash
- Peacock by Mayra Perez at Unsplash: model for
- Flamingo going like a bat out of hell for Runner’s Yoga Class courtesy Dattatreya Patra at Unsplash
- Galàpagos Red-footed Booby on Genovesa Island, Galàpagos Islands perched precariously for Custom Yoga Classes courtesy Charles J. Sharp at Wikimedia
- Great Blue Heron on a bad hair day at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge for the Yoga for Stress Class by Mathew Schwartz at Unsplash
- ORIGINAL CHICKS IMAGESandpiper Chick (my best guess) posing on a seashell-speckled beach for the Chicks’ Yoga Class courtesy Ray Hennessy at Unsplash