Spiral & Sweat: Meet BUTI Yoga Instructor Malissa McLaurin!

What is Buti Yoga? I’m sure you’ve seen it show up on our class schedule at least once a month, and maybe you’re curious, but also don’t know what you’ll get yourself into. So what better way learn how great Buti is and get to know your incredibly charismatic instructor than an interview with her. Here’s Malissa McLaurin!

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  • How did you begin practicing and teaching Buti yoga?

    I began Buti in fall 2014 after a friend posted on Facebook about trying this ‘new yoga class’. It was a time and place in my life I was looking for something to inspire me. I fell in love with the practice and decided to get certified a year and a half later.

  • How has Buti been transformational in your life?

    Buti found me when I was in a transitional point in my life. I was working on connecting physically and mentally. I had recently come off a mental breakdown and was looking for something to connect myself with myself again (actually connect myself for the first time ever, if I’m being honest). After attending my first class, I cried. Buti fuses traditional asana with dynamic movement. There was something about moving through sequences in addition to a great music-driven playlist that for the first time I felt free. I felt my body love itself for the first time. It was glorious.

  • What’s your favorite part about teaching Buti?

    Watching students find themselves. Having fun. Laughing, smiling, taking shirts off and sweating in little clothing. Not caring what size their bodies are and smiling though the sweat.

  • What do you do to prepare for class?

    Take a nap, HA! 

  • Do you have a favorite pose or movement?

    I love the movement of Buti but I am a fan of binds and folds. I love getting juicy and swuishy with my insides. 

  • What’s your favorite type of music to play while practicing? Do you have a playlist you’d like to share?

    Buti uses tribal beats, EDM, hip hop, and rap. Depending on your instructor you may find a class leaving more toward one genre over another. Personally, I love soulful music and deep house beats. Spotify is a GREAT music resource. Many other Buti instructors all over the country use it and upload playlists, so there’s so much opportunity to share and learn. Here’s a playlist I love because of the musical diversity.

  • What would you like people to know about Buti yoga? How would you describe it to someone? What do people gain from the practice?

    Buti Yoga fuses tribal, dance, kundalini, power Vinyasa and cardio to create a whole body experience. Mixed with a spiral structure technique, it’s where your body meets your soul. I want people to know that yoga is for EVERYBODY as is Buti. Movement is a gift, and it doesn’t matter what body you’re in; movement is medicine. Start where you are and go from there. Through the practice of Buti I have seen students shed notions about themselves and their bodies. They begin to love their bodies at each and every size. Through this practice, we offer acceptance and no judgement. We’re all in this together.

  • Does your personal practice differ from how you teach?

    Somewhat. Because Buti is such a yang practice I’m trying to incorporate a more yin approach to my personal practice. Stillness, sitting into asana and breathing, or not moving at all and meditating. 

  • Recommended reading (yoga and/or non-yoga)

  • How would you describe yourself? What do you want people to know about you?

    I’m a silly, hilarious, big-hearted, and loving person who just wants to create space for others to be and love themselves. I have lived a colorful life and had many experiences and am still here and exist in the world living a beautiful life. 

  • Outside of yoga what is your passion/Where can you be found?

    You can find me relaxing on my couch, playing in my garden, drinking wine on a patio, traveling for live music, and loving on my fiancé, family, and friends. Oh! And entertaining. I love being the hostess! 

  • Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

    I took Chinese in college and performed a skit in Mandarin for a Chinese New Year Party.

  • Anything else?

    Whatever it is that you find, I hope it moves you and makes you smile. 

Join Malissa in the studio!



Why Meditate?

Dhyana, the seventh of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, is meditation and concentration. The word dhyana comes from the Sanskrit word dhyai, which means “to think of.” The first six limbs prepare us for deep meditation, but we don’t have to start at limb one to gain the benefits of meditation.

Magazines, TV and internet are full of articles about meditation. I’m sure many people read these articles and are interested in learning more about meditation, but daily meditation takes time. I often hear people say something like, “I’d love to meditate but I don’t have extra time in my schedule, plus I’m pretty happy most of the time anyway, and why should I add meditation when I’m already overloaded?” 

You may want to re-think taking time to meditate when you read what I have to say: Hear me out. 

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75% of all physician office visits in the US are for stress-related ailments and complaints. 

We are all subject to stress. It has been estimated that stress costs $300 billion every year due to loss of productivity in the workforce, medical expenses, accidents and related social problems. 

A few common causes of stress are: 

  • loss of loved one 

  • loss of job 

  • work related issues 

  • money issues 

  • divorce 

  • marriage 

  • illness/injury — chronic or short term 

  • The list goes on and on.

Simply said, the cause of stress is not getting what we want. You may not like that definition, but if you really think about it, it’s true. Either because we did something that keeps us from getting what we want, we didn’t do something to get what we want, or circumstances out of our control interfered and we got something we didn’t want. In one form or another, we are all subject to stress. 

When we encounter a stressful situation the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. (see illustration below) 


The hypothalamus is like a command center, signaling the entire body through the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system controls things like heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing, constriction of key blood vessels and can dilate or constrict airways in the lungs. Two components of the autonomic nervous system are sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic is like hitting the gas pedal, kicking on our fight or flight response. The parasympathetic is like rest and regroup, calming the body after stressful situation has passed. 

Upon activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the adrenal glands respond by pumping the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) into the bloodstream. Epinephrine brings on a series of physiological changes: heart rate increases, pulse and blood pressure go up, breathing rate increases, and airways in the lungs open wide allowing more oxygen to be carried to the brain increasing brain activity. Epinephrine also triggers the release of blood sugar (glucose) which, through a series of events, supplies more energy carried by the bloodstream to the body. 


Chronic low-level stress keeps what is called the HPA axis activated. The HPA axis is the networking between the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. Chronic low-level stress results in physical problems such as heart attack, stroke and weight gain just to name a few. 

Meditation is an effective way to deal with chronic stress. Meditation has been around for thousands of years practiced in many traditions; almost every religion has a system of meditation. Currently a method of meditation with roots in Hinduism, Yoga and Buddhism called mindful meditation is the most researched and well known. Mindful meditation in the United States has increased in popularity since the mid 20th century and continues to grow to this day. 

The primary reason mindful meditation has become mainstream is because research and personal experience with mindful meditation shows that a consistent mindful meditation practiced improves physical and emotional health and changes areas of the brain (neuroplasticity) that are tuned to chronic stress response. Over a period of time the brain adapts to the HPA axis response, and the HPA axis becomes more easily activated. 

Neuroplasticity is generally accepted as one of the most significant discoveries of the 20th Century. Dr. Michael Merzenich in the 1970s was conducting experiments attempting to prove that the brain is compartmentalized and fixed. Dr. Mersenich inadvertently discovered that the brain is not compartmentalized nor is it fixed. Some areas of the brain are subject to structural change (neuroplasticity). Response mechanisms to chronic stress can be changed by using mindfulness — non-judgmental awareness in the moment. 

Functional MRI technology has verified theories regarding meditation and the brain. Using FMRI technology, researchers can see structural changes in the brain after just a few weeks of meditation. 

Additional studies have found meditation enhances our ability to empathize without taking on others’ negative energy. Also, mindful meditation increases our ability to nurture ourselves and facilitate a greater sense of well-being. Research also indicates mindful meditation increases density in gray-matter in the hippocampus, known to be important for learning and memory and structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection. 

I wish much love and success to everyone who has taken the time to read this article. Please begin a regular meditation practice today. Information is everywhere, guided meditations can be found in apps and on the internet and books. 

Our website is mooncrestyoga.com 

We are offering meditation workshops almost monthly. 

written by Emmet Schmelig

Source: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic...