Get to know your local yoga teacher! Melanie Foust has over 12 years of yoga and meditation experience under her belt. Melanie will be leading a vinyasa class at Om Culture this April 15th, 2016 as part of the center’s Spotlight on Yoga series. Joining Melanie is Joss Jaffe, a guitarist and songwriter who is inspired by traditional Indian music. We have partnered with Om Culture to bring you an in depth introduction to the special teachers and performers who have been invited to share their knowledge with you.

After the class, stay and enjoy a performance by Joss Jaffe along with other musicians who have joined OmCulture for this special evening.

Let’s meet Melanie!

#1 What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?

At first, I was thrown into teaching. The instructor of the class I took regularly couldn’t make it to the studio one day due to unexpected car troubles. The studio manager asked if I would be willing to lead the class. I said yes. I enjoyed that experience and decided I wanted to attend a teacher training.

I have scoliosis, which is what initially led me to practicing yoga. While I was dancing in college, I experienced a lot of pain and discomfort from the structural imbalances in my body, which led me to researching what kinds of therapeutic modalities would be helpful. I started studying the Feldenkrais Method, Pilates, various styles of yoga and receiving structural body work. Of these, vinyasa yoga held the most interest to me. In 2007, friend from my yoga class invited me to one of Shiva Rea’s workshops in Ballard. Dave Stringer was playing for the class with a full band. It was incredibly fun, like a big beach party! I knew I’d found my tribe. Soon after, I made plans to go to LA and take a teacher training with her. That’s where I met Lorin Roche, the author of the Radiance Sutras, and his wife Camille. I also met a number of the musicians that played for our yoga classes in LA. I love the experience of practicing yoga to live music.

#2 What is one piece of advice you always give your students?

Listening is key for me when I’m teaching. If someone asks a question, I will happily provide the most appropriate suggestions or solutions I’ve heard of. As Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.” I like to joke that yoga class is just where we go to learn all the cool tips and tricks from each other. It’s important to keep the element of play alive.

#3 Describe your yoga philosophy?

My approach to practice of yoga is to keep it fresh, relevant and ever evolving. Learn the techniques but then make them your own, like playing jazz. We are all unique and whatever our practices are should honor that individuality, our particular needs and desires. Personally, I tend to prefer practices that involve movement and being in nature. The experience of yoga comes through everyday living and our sacred fire keeping practices, whatever they may be.

#4 If you could practice with anyone dead or alive, who would that be and why?

I would have loved to practice yoga with my grandmother. She always complained that the fitness class at her assisted living center was too boring for her. I think she would have dug coming to yoga classes with live music. If I had to pick a musician, just one, to come play for class I’d choose Miles Davis.

#5 How lucky are you and why?

Besides the astonishing luck of being alive, I’d say I’m pretty lucky that I get to do some things I really love and share these experiences with others.

#6 If you could be an animal or a plant, which one would you be and why?

Being a human creature is quite extraordinary, though sometimes I find myself singing, “I want to fly like an eagle” and it’s true. I love flying.

#7 What is your latest favorite thing about humanity?

The world is an awesome place. I love seeing how we find continue to innovate and come up with things that make our collective experience of living in it better. I’m fascinated with our explorations of mysterious. As Albert Einstein once wrote: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. So the unknown, the mysterious, is where art and science meet.”

#8 Anything else you’d like the local yoga community to know about you?

I am honored to be leading the Henry Art Gallery Practice Circle through the University of Washington Mindfulness Project this Spring. If you’re a UW student, I invite you to come practice with us in the SkySpace. I’m also looking forward to meeting you at the Pyramid in Ballard. We’re lining up lots of fun yoga + music + art experiences. Stay tuned. Thank you!

Bio: Melanie Foust is a yoga teacher and artist based in Seattle, Washington. A classically trained dancer with degrees in Interdisciplinary Visual Art and Dance from the University of Washington, Melanie has spent her life in the arts and continues to explore art, yoga, and dance as converging forms of healing. She has served as a teaching assistant for world renowned yoga and meditation teacher training programs created by Shiva Rea, Lorin Roche, and Camille Maurine and helps facilitate several world wide meditation teacher trainings. She is an editor of the book “The Radiance Sutras: 112 Gateways to the Yoga and Wonder of Delight” by Lorin Roche. Along with Lorin, she is the co-creator of Radiance Sutras Vinyasa, an embodied approach to meditation.

Melanie currently leads the Henry Art Gallery Meditation Practice Circle for the University of Washington Mindfulness Project and is the founder of Pyramid Yoga in Ballard. Her new website is still being created. In the meantime, find her here:

Don’t miss Melanie Foust’s Vinyasa with live music class on Friday 4/15/2016. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Find out more on the Facebook event page and book your ticket online through Yoga Panda.

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