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Savannah’s loss is Asheville’s gain. Former SAV resident and lovely friend of mine, Jessica Hedrick, is now based in Asheville, NC and has opened White Sage, a space of the healing arts of Massage Therapy, Reiki and Yoga.
I first met Jessica at the Savannah Yoga Center as I trained her as a volunteer there and as a regular student in my classes. It was evident through her practice she had experience with movement and still she was open and inquisitive to the tools of yoga in both the similarities to dance and the differences.
Jessica’s mindfulness, dedication and compassion came through not only on the mat or through her work as a reiki master, but in her everyday actions, words and energy. Now as a certified Yoga teacher, Massage Therapist and Reiki master, Jessica offers a wide array of tools for students and clients to step into their own healing.
I can’t say enough great things about Jessica. She is a talented and wonderful person. So if you’re in Asheville, get yourself over to White Sage to spend some time with Jessica and step deeper into your own awakening.
Other Lives isn’t a band that plays music. They are architects of soundscape. That’s the only way to describe their latest album, Tamer Animals. I play the song, For 12, in my Flow classes fairly often lately and those of you regulars will recognize it’s haunting, dream-like quality.
Sometimes music can be a distraction to practice- however the sounds and movement created in For 12 lend themselves to becoming an avenue for deeper presence and free flow in my asana.
Ok. It’s summer here in Savannah. It’s humid. It’s hot. And it can get a little ugly. Even those who generally like the heat can find themselves wilting into a puddle of sticky, sweaty goo hoping for a cool breeze every now and then. Savannah can turn into a scene from Night of the Living Dead, zombies walking around town in a daze with crazy hair, fried skin and parched mouths. If you’re lucky, you might get a grunt or nod from someone- if they can conjure up the energy to do that. So, here are a few products that can help you maintain some semblance of humanness over the sweltering summer months.
Solar Recover’s Save Your Skin is an elixir from the gods. My friend Trish first introduced the product to me many years ago. On a long weekend in the hot desert heat of Nevada, a friend in our group was so fair skinned he actually burned in the shade. By the first night he turned lobster red and all we could see was two beady eyes blankly staring out at us in desperation.
Trish pulled out the ol’ Solar Recover Save Your Skin and we each took turns spritzing the poor guy all night. Upon waking the next morning, we heard screams from his room, “I’m TAN! Oh my god, I’m tan for the first time in my life!”
I don’t know how it works but t’s all-natural and it smells fresh and revitalizing. And it can take a sunburn and turn it into a tan or at the very least, lessen the burn. Even if you don’t burn, it makes your skin feel and look great. You can’t just spray it once though. You’ve got to spritz throughout the day/night, and if you are really burned, you’ve got to keep that spritzer next to you like a Hampton’s socialite.
The result is lovely skin and it refreshes your senses too. The bonus is that it’s natural, the company is mindful and the owners/creators are awesome. I had an hour-long conversation the owner, about skin, life, writing, etc. and he’s great. It’s a product you can buy knowing the people behind it are kind and mindful. Check out their website HERE. You can buy all kinds of stuff online. In Savannah you can get some of their products at Brighter Day Natural Foods. If it’s not in stock-, which unfortunately is often the case, you can ask them to order more. If you order online, just buy a case. Everyone is going to try to steal it from you anyway and you’ll use it like a fiend throughout the summer.
Moroccan Oil for your hair is fantastic way to keep from turning into your evil twin over the summer months. And anything Moroccan already sounds exotic and mysterious, right? The smell is outrageously delicious and the oil helps keep your hair from getting so out of line that you get arrested for Public Indecency.
There are several brands out there, it’s all a derivative of Argan oil. The brand, Moroccan Oil is sleek and sexy and the scent is dreamy but it’s pricy. The less sexy looking packaging of Agadir has just a slightly different scent and the bottle looks like someone’s Middle Eastern grandpa might have this in his cupboard, however it still smells great and is much less expensive.
I’m sure there are even more options out there. Whatever you choose, you want to make sure it has real Argan Oil in it. After a while of using it, you’ll slowly turn from Ol’ Crazy Hair Mcgee to Just Ol’ Crazy Mcgee whose hair is kind of nice and smells good. And this isn’t just for the girls. The scent isn’t flowery or “girly”. Guys, you’ll smell dreamy too.
All around Savannah, I can hear lips smacking and tongues wagging because of thirst. And sorry, even though it is liquid, beer ain’t gonna hydrate you. After living in Savannah for 5 years, I have learned that beer is the official “water” of Savannah, however, sometimes you gotta actually hydrate and when you are too dehydrated even water won’t do the trick very well. There is a balance of electrolytes that the body needs to efficiently process liquid to actually make it effective in it’s hydration. It’s that combo that helps the body hydrate most efficiently.
One of nature’s perfect concoctions for hydration is Coconut Water. Not to be confused with it’s creamy cousin, coconut milk, coconut water is clear-ish and comes with chunks of coconut pulp or without. It’s slightly sweet without being overpowering and it’s a perfect way to hydrate without all the other junk those “power” drinks have in them. And even though I like science experiments as much as the next person, this drink isn’t made by men in lab coats mixing test tubes of flavor derivatives, by-products or adding colors to make it pretty. It’s from a coconut. Period. If you want to make it pink, you’ll have to add your own food coloring.
If you are not a coconut kind of guy or gal, try it anyway. It’s not like what you know from sweet coconut cream pies or candies. People who don’t even like the taste of coconut often still love coconut water. I get mine at any of the Asian markets here in Savannah for 79 cents- $1.50 a can. Some of the brands they sell have some added sugarcane but not as much as the Mexican brands- which are super sweet and not thirst quenching at all. You can buy coconut water at health food stores or gourmet markets. They sell brands that are organic for $3-4 a can. Either way, try keeping some cans of it on hand for the hot days of summer. You can make some space for it in the ‘fridge next to your Savannah “water”.
Most of all, enjoy the summer and continue to make time for your asana practice… I doubt Phil Spector did yoga and look what happened to him.
I don’t like to brag, but there’s no denying this fact: I am an amazing eater. Yeah, I said it. I eat like you read about, like you dream about. I eat food like it’s going out of style. I’ve eaten in fancy schmancy places and in dingy dives all across the world and because of this, I have developed a palate that requires quality and finesse to impress it.
Sometimes my palate likes fancy, complex flavors and all that jazz, sometimes my palate wants something simple and wholesome. Sometimes only the tongue-coating sweetness of a Krispy Kreme donut will tame my mouth. It’s not picky or fickle but it needs a little variety and most importantly, consistent quality, if my palate is going to return for more.
There are lots of attempts out there. However, a good idea is only just that- an idea. But I can’t eat an idea. Believe me, I’ve tried. At some point the idea must be executed into fruition. It’s not about gargantuan portions to make up for lack of quality. It’s not about using terms like organic, or free-range just to charge more money or create the idea of mindfulness. It’s not about gimmicks. When it comes to the mouth- it’s got to taste good. When it comes to the body, it’s got to nourish me with some sort of wholesomeness. When it comes to giving an establishment my money, it’s gotta be one that treats me with kindness.
And although we have a lot of restaurants here in Savannah, my mouth, body, mind and wallet have been sad after many a meal out on the town. Thanks to Green Truck Neighborhood Pub, here in Savannah, GA, however, my mouth and the rest of me have something to be happy about again.
Green Truck’s uncluttered menu represents a kitchen that offers a select few things that are all done really well. It’s pub food like pub food should be. Heck, it’s food like food should be… REAL. Ketchup is house-made, dressings house-made, veggie patties are house-made, the pickles are house-made! You get the picture.
Flavor and tastiness are not lost under the coattails of the trendy “house-made” banner either. We all know that something can be homemade and suck just as often as it can be delicious. Your aunt Mabel may be a lovely woman but let’s face it, that doesn’t mean her pot roast is palatable.
For those who enjoy a brew with their meal, there is a beer for every taste at Green Truck. Lagers, stouts, ales and more. And of course they have the old PBR standby for those times when you want to feel young and ironic.
All around, Green Truck is doing it up right. Good service. Quality food, mindfully made with interesting flavors and it’s all tasty to boot! Ingredients are purchased from quality suppliers and as local, organic and free-range as possible. Food for vegetarians, meat-eaters, the finicky and the food-explorer alike. And the people there are nice. Being cooked for and served is an intimate and special thing. If you aren’t getting quality in the meal and in the service, why go out? Green Truck reminds you, quality, flavor and nice-ness still exist. Keep it up Green Truck. You make my mouth happy! And please don’t fall prey to the beast of complacency. I want to eat your food, not my words.
For those of you who’d like to have a head’s up on what to expect in my next yoga class, please view the video by clicking HERE. It’s simple really: Yoga is as Yoga does. Please prepare for class accordingly. See you on the mat soon!
It’s awesome what you find when you research YOGA online. Yo Yoga are brief little skits from American-Latin cable T.V. network, Mun2 (Telemundo‘s sister Network.) I love Eduardo and Andres’ home-boy style and they rock the poses pretty nicely too. My favs are Plow Pose (with the farm scene) and Cobra (you can hear his shirt peel away from the mat.) Chido!
Tunes in my ear and on my mat…
Pursuit of Happiness (cover) by Lissie… This is another Kid Cudi song, but Lissie (a Midwesterner along with Kid Cudi) rocks it out in such a raw and dirty way that puts to shame most of the young pop stars out there. Kid Cudi loved her homage to this song so much he put it on his site. I play this in my own practice when I want to get down and dirty.
Kothbiro by Ayub Ogada… Kenyan musician Ayub Ogada creates music that is simply divine. This song is beautifully sparse and haunting. Sometimes, a song is so exquisite that it reminds you of the transcendent power of vibration. This song is a great reminder that there are amazing musicians out there creating beautiful music that touches the soul.
Further by The Chemical Brothers… So if you are in a Bob Dylan or Carole King kinda mood, this is differently not the album to put on. You’ll just be aggravated by the whole thing. However, if you feel like going on a inter-galactic journey that will both trance you out and rile you up in rhythmic intervals, then this album is a good start. Here are just a few tracks off the album that will get you started: Snow, Another World , K+D+B, and Swoon. The videos for these songs are shorter than the tracks on the album, but they are nice radio edits nonetheless.
I get a lot of questions about what songs I play during my Yoga classes and what I’m listening to in general. Here are just a few songs that are in my ear and in my classes right now:
Pickup Truck by Kings of Leon… Sometimes you just wanna hear a song about pickup trucks and fist-fights under the moonlight. I don’t always practice with music, but when I do, I often have a Kings of Leon song on the queue. Pickup Truck is off their latest album, Come Around Sundown, and this song has been on repeat on my stereo for the last week. Revelry and Arizona are a couple other Kings of Leon songs that I often have on my class playlist. That slow Tennessee drawl and achy guitar… gitcha every time.
Gimme Sympathy by Metric… Fun, poppy and yet still has a little meat to it, I’ve been practicing a wild, free-flowing vinyasa with this song cranked. You can check out the acoustic version of the song too and click HERE for their version of Elliot Smith‘s Between the Bars that is worth a listen to as well.
The original song, Heartbeats is by Swedish band, The Knife. It’s synth-y and snarly, which all you 80’s lovers will enjoy. However, fellow Swedish musician, José González does something magical with his cover of this song.
With a seriously dreamy voice and mad guitar skills, Gonzalez turns an angst-y song, into a slow turning pain that you just don’t want to end. The tenderness and ache is almost so delicious you can taste it and then… it’s over. It’s a short song, but that’s what replay is for, right?
I listened to Banhart’s album What Will We Be throughout my walkabout on the west coast. It’s groovy. It’s trippy. It’s soft. It’s woo-wooey. It’s unexpectedly tender at times and saucy too.
What Will We Be is the kind of album that gets your toe tappin’ for some songs and as you listen to the album more and more, you find the songs you once passed over, are little jems. Check out the video for Baby. It’s absurd and creepy. Woo-hoo! If it’s just too wacky for you, listen to the music and close your eyes.
Having worked with the likes of David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, Florence Welch is hanging with some of the big boys. The English songstress is only 24 years old but has the skills and stage presence of an old soul.
She combines some old school theater rock stylings and drama with crazy good pipes and that is worth a listen to any day. Check out Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine.
Some music is simply transcendental. It slowly sweeps into you. It fills you up. It draws you back into the collective unconscious to places you may not have been to in this lifetime, but that are as familiar as the street you live on. It relegates time to a meaningless construct of the mind. It connects us beyond place, time, race or creed by transporting us to the places within that we all know: joy, sorrow, peacefulness, ache… the spaces where we are present.
Kenyan musician, Ayub Ogada creates this kind of transcendence in his album, En Mana Kuoyo. The song, Kothbiro, is simply divine in it’s simultaneous ache and hopefulness. Obiero is as lilting and buoyant as it is rich and deep.
I play his songs in my classes often and many of you have asked about the this wonderful music. For those of you who haven’t heard these gorgeous songs, I hope one night soon, you make a cup of tea, sit back on your porch and take a listen. (Thank you Trevor Williams for introducing me to this musical gift.)
Cool Stuff to Complement Your Yoga… On and Off the Mat
It’s been cold here in Savannah. Well, it’s been cold to me. I’m sure my friends and family up north would laugh at what I consider cold, but if I have to wear real shoes, it’s too cold. My feet don’t like to be caged in, man. It just ain’t right.
So if I crank the heat, peel an orange, hold it close to my nose, close my eyes and play this song, I feel warm again. Warm like dancing in the sand on a balmy summer night with scent of sweet fruit and flowers mixing with salty ocean.
Now you try… LOVE THE NIGHT AWAY (TIEDYE MIX) by DJ KAOS
(Thank you, Kai, for passing this song on to me!)
Cool Info to Complement Your Yoga…On and Off the Mat
Ok, so how many plastic food storage containers do you have tucked away in your cupboards? You know what I’m talking about. The little ones, the big ones, the round ones, the rectangular ones, the ones with little compartments, the ones with missing lids, the ones with warped lids, the ones permanently stained from that pasta sauce you had in there 2 years ago. Yeah. I know. Well, just like the Jefferson’s it’s time we start ‘movin’ on up’!
I’m sure you’ve heard that plastic isn’t good for the environment. Maybe you’ve even heard that plastic leaches chemicals into the food it contains. And if you added up all the money you’ve spent on plastic thingies that you’ve purchased in the last several years and you come up with an amount that you’d be embarrassed to admit to, then isn’t it time for a change?
Enter: the wonderful, magical Mason jar!
So, mason jars aren’t just for canning. They are multi-functional, sturdy, reusable and safer than plastic. I’m sure you have some already in your house from sauces or condiments that you might have purchased . It’s kind of crazy to think that we are (hopefully) recycling these useful storage containers while we reach for our gross old plastic thingies to put our precious food in. Or worse, we’ve gone out and bought new plastic thingies, when right at our disposal are beautiful glass jars just waiting to be used.
So make a extra big batch of sauce or soup and store it in your trusty mason jars. Freeze them and then on those days you don’t want to fuss with food, you still have something wholesome and made with care at your finger tips. You can tote your soup or stew to work in them and reuse for the next meal later. They clean up beautifully and again, no leaching of chemicals like the plastic stuff.
Sprout in your jars! Bean sprouts are chock full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals & enzymes. Sprout People are a good resource for info on how to sprout in jars and they have cute accoutrements, if you want to spend the dough. They have a video you can watch about how to sprout on their site which is good. I like the video from MountainRoseHerbs.coma little more.
Serve drinks in your jars! Nothing like sittin’ on the porch in the summer with a mason jar of ice-cold lemonade or sweet tea, pickin’ away on a banjo (the banjo thing is optional). Or use it as your water bottle. No need to go out and get another one that you let get stinky or end up losing on a road trip anyway. Let the mason jar be your water fountain.
Store your craft/office supplies in your jars. Keep your cotton balls/Q-tips/lip balms, etc. in them. Save your change in them. Put flowers in them like as a vase. The small ones can be used for herbs and the big ones for your dried goods-cereals, flour, etc. stays fresh and won’t be easy prey for critters. If you are lucky enough to be able to buy food and herbs in bulk where you live, you eliminate all that needless packaging too.
And if you are feeling a little sassy you can make cute little pies in small jars and wow everyone. (FYI: If you do this and bring me a yummy, cute pie, you get a free yoga class! Pot pie, berry pie, whatever -as long as it’s cute and yummy, you definitely deserve a yoga class and a hug!)
Glass jars come in all sizes and shapes: half gallon, quart and little ones too! There are all kinds of lids to go with the different sizes too. You can buy the jars and lids online or at one of those big retail stores. And you can start reusing the jars that your food comes in.
Hey, we’ve all got some plastic in the closet somewhere, but when you can, try integrating glass into your life and at the least try not buying any more plastic thingies. There is so much these jars can do to make your life better. Store, cook and serve in them and more. You won’t be spending money on disposable junk and you won’t be storing your precious food in thingies that poison you or the environment. Plus, I think you’ll look super cool toting around yer jars and your cupboards will look nice too. Happy Jarring!
Cool Info to Complement Your Yoga… On and Off the Mat
My friend Tara gets all the credit for discovering this great recipe! I’ve made ginger teas before but they are usually made during the sheer desperation of being heinously sick. Needless to say, the tea is made in haste with whatever gnarly old ginger I can find in the bottom of the fridge and random spices I’ve got sitting around.
Rest assured, this tea is not of that ilk. It is truly magical. Vibrant, refreshing and slightly spicy while still being comforting. Drink it hot. Drink it cold. Dang, this summer, I’ll be pouring this over ice with a little spiced rum to make a delicious cocktail! It’s so good, Southerners everywhere will be knocking their Mint Juleps right off the balcony to replace them with this deliciousness.
Balthazar Bakery’s Ginger Citrus Tea
4 cups water
1/8 cinnamon stick
5 oz. fresh ginger
1/4 lemon, peel only, zested in strips
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
1/3 cup honey
1/4 bunch fresh mint, washed
Bring water to a boil with cinnamon. (1) Peel ginger with a spoon, paring knife, or vegetable peeler. (2) Roughly chop the ginger and add to the pot along with lemon zest and juice. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add honey, stir well, and simmer (covered) for another 20 minutes. (3) Pour over fresh mint, then strain and serve, or allow to cool and refrigerate. Makes about 1 quart.
Cool Stuff to Complement Your Yoga On and Off the Mat
A doctor by day, wild woman musician by night… Rupa Marya is a double agent. Along with her band, Marya creates fun, multi-lingual music that makes you wanna clap and jump up and dance.
From the foot stomping fun of Une American a Paris or Culpa de la Luna (a free download right now) to the haunting sound of Yaad, Rupa and the April Fishes create the feeling that you are in a different place and time…an expatriate from your homeland, spending your days and nights in the small cafes of Morocco or Paris, losing the bourgeois inhibitions woven into the tapestry of American life. Dang, good music is cool like that.
You can also check out NPR for more detailed info and live sessions of Rupa and the April Fishes. Go to the Cumbancha website to find even more amazing music from very cool musicians. I love the story of how this record label came about. And I love the word Cumbancha– from West African derivation, it is a Cuban word that means: an impromptu party/jam session… a get together with friends/family to sing and dance. Now that is what life is about!
Cool Stuff to Complement Your Yoga On and Off the Mat
The Sunday Night Project, formerly known as the Friday Night Project, was a British comedy-variety show that I just can’t get enough of lately. It’s fun, it’s silly and ridiculous and I love it.
Each week, the lovable and affectionate, Justin Lee Collins and the sweet and campy Alan Carr share the spotlight with a different famous guest host.The format is the same each week. It’s wacky and campy and not politically correct in the least. That being said, it’s not mean spirited either.
Pretty soon, some Hollywood Exec will try to make the American version of this but it just won’t be as wacky and fun! So buckle up and have a laugh.
Unfortunately, they are no longer filming the show but Click HERE to start on part 1 of a classic episode with David Hasselhoff as guest host. Brilliant!
Cool Stuff to Complement Your Yoga… On and Off the Mat
If I were a yeast, I’d like to think that I’d be Nutritional Yeast: nutty, cheesy and flakey- yet actually chock full of substance. Lofty aspirations to liken yourself to this powerhouse of a yeast, I know, but a girl can dream, right?
Let’s be clear here… Nutritional Yeast is NOT an active yeast like the stuff you use to make bread. And it is not brewers yeast either (some people use the terms interchangeably but they are not the same thing at all! ) Nutritional yeast can be sprinkled on popcorn, over or in eggs, soups and salads. A lot of vegans use it as a cheese type substitute. I sometimes make toast with a little cream butter and sprinkle the yeast overtop. Yum! I even mix it with warm water and pour it over my dog, Lola’s food. She loves it and it’s a natural flea repellant. Bonus!
Well known for its tasty vegetarian fare, you can also expect to see famous musicians, local hip kids and anyone who enjoys yummy food dining there on any given day. Housed in a building owned by Michael Stipe (REM), The Grit has become a beloved establishment by locals and visitors alike.
The Grit was my first experience with Yeast Gravy. Addictive. Multi-functional. Comforting and hearty. To cut to the chase: it is simply dreamy. With biscuits, with sauteed veggies and pasta, with hearty, crusty bread to dip with… who am I kidding, sometimes I’ll just eat it by the spoonful. Yeah, I said it.
You can read the recipe by clicking on the Yeast Gravy link above. You can follow the recipe as is, or you can substitute real butter and milk if you aren’t vegan. Here in Savannah GA, you can find Nutritional Yeast in bulk at Brighter Day Natural Food store. If you are lucky enough to have a Whole Foods or something like it, you’ll be able to find it there too.
So one night in the near future, I urge you to throw caution to the wind, go crazy and get down and dirty with nutritional yeast. And just like that time in college, if you don’t like it, you can chalk it up to an experimental phase.
Cool Stuff to Complement Your Yoga… On and Off the Mat
This site is dreamy. Gorgeous photos of delectable food along with nice stories to go along with it. I used to love to cook and fell out of it for several years. Falling prey to the old excuse that I didn’t have time, I found myself eating makeshift meals at the last minute and not really enjoying the process of growing, cleaning, cooking and savoring my meals.
Over the last year or so, I’ve been moving back towards enjoying the rewards of mindful consumption. I don’t often follow recipes… I am one of those who likes to feel it out (baking not included) but this site is reason to try the recipe route. Check out the Smitten Kitchen for some culinary inspiration.
Cool Stuff to Complement Your Yoga… ON and OFF the Mat.
This is consistently my favorite magazine. The Week takes the news and articles from all over the world and condenses it into one magical magazine. Art, Music, News, Food and Wacky Info all at your finger tips. Perfect.
Dan Blakeslee is a tremendous artist, a wonderful musician and darn it… just a really nice guy, who I came across while living in Portsmouth, NH. He is a fixture around the Seacoast of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In fact, his concert posters are so coveted that as soon as he’s posted them, fans have snatched them up from telephone poles and framed them to put on their walls.
You can listen to a sample of his song Your Spanish Scarf by clicking HERE. It’s a soft, warm song about traveling for a long time and all he wants to do is wake up in the arms of his wife. How dreamy. You can buy his art and his music on his website danblakeslee.com. I think we should convince him to come down to Savannah and play here!
Keren Ann is Israeli, Dutch and Javanese. She’s lived in France, NYC, the Netherlands, Israel and speaks fluently in all those languages. She’s got a uber cool vibe that is also laid back and unpretentious. Her albums are multi-lingual and can make you feel like you have your very own dreamy, slightly nostalgic, Euro-Movie soundtrack playing. You know… with subtitles, perfectly positioned angst juxtaposed with hope and everything!
Granted, if you are in the mood to rock it out Iron Maiden style, Keren Ann wouldn’t fit the bill, but on those chilly rainy days when you want to cozy up and stare at the raindrops slipping down the window panes, a Keren Ann album is just the thing. … Lay Your Head Down, Ailleurs and Greatest You Can Find are a couple of my favorites of hers. Click on the song titles to listen/watch. And click HERE to listen to Keren Ann on NPR’s World Cafe.
LifeForce Yoga Nidra… Amy Weintraub
Yoga nidra is the practice of moving into a deep, deep, conscious sleep. It is beyond the usual awakened state, beyond dreaming, beyond guided imagery/meditation or relaxation. Those states of being are much-needed and should be practiced frequently. Yoga nidra however, is the state of being conscious while in what the body and brain would be monitored as deep sleep. Brain waves in deep sleep are Delta Brain waves and yogis in the state of yoga nidra who have been studied and monitored have been found to be fully conscious while in the delta wave zone.
Ok, so what does all this mean? It means connecting with the essence of who we are through this practice. The deeper essence that remains connected to the source of all things. The essence that remains pure- beyond changing moods, thoughts or actions.
So, if that interests you, Amy Weintraub‘s CD is a really nice practice to start with. The CD, LifeForce Yoga Nidra, has 3 tracks: a 41 minute practice, a 21 minute practice and an 8 minute (regular) sleep guide. I don’t usually use the 8 min. sleep guide, personally, but you may like it. Both the 41 min practice and the 21 min. practice are really wonderful. You do them separately. I do an asana (physical) yoga practice daily and a yoga nidra practice daily and just as my physical practice changes from day-to-day, my yoga nidra practice unfolds uniquely each day as well.
Know that yoga nidra isn’t like buying a ticket to a destination. So if you are expecting to pop in the CD and take a magic carpet ride, you’ll be disappointed. Yes, it may be pretty amazing and astounding at times, but remember it is a practice that is part of your journey to knowing yourself, to feeling connected again, and to deeper states of consciousness. Your experience will unfold for you as you are ready and as your expectations fall by the wayside. That being said, the first 20 times you might just end up falling asleep! hahaha. Don’t worry. If you do, it must mean you really needed it. Keep at your yoga nidra practice. You’ll find that each time you’ll be able to delve deeper inside while still remaining conscious.
You can listen to samples of LifeForce Yoga Nidra on CD Baby or Itunes. Click on highlighted links above for more info.
Cool Stuff to Complement Your Yoga…
On and Off the Mat!
Soft and slightly groovy. The kind of song for sitting kind of days where you just want some music that brings on a tiny little foot tap or head bob every now and then. Sometimes a little tap of the toe and a nod of the head is all you really need to do anyway. Trust me.
Feeling Good by Nina Simone (Joe Clausell Remix)
When you go to an amazing restaurant, where the service is outstanding, the ambiance is impeccable and the food is simply sumptuous, you can’t TALK about it. Words are meaningless… you just have to savor it. That’s what Nina Simone does for music and this Joe Claussell remix holds you in that delicious space.
Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus
THANK YOU to Dawn Tanis for reading me this book during one of our breaks while teaching yoga in the Savannah Schools. I often ask people to read me stories, but that request doesn’t always get fulfilled. (There is nothing weird about reading a story aloud to another literate adult, in my book!) So when I asked Dawn Tanis to read me a story, she happily complied and what a doozy it was!
The story of Stripe and Yellow, two caterpillars making their way through life. Oh, don’t poo-poo this because you think ‘yer all growed up’ and don’t need to hear stories like this. Find a copy of this book and read it. Then read it to a child. Then read it to an adult. And see what happens.
Stuff to complement your yoga ON and Off the mat…
Coast to Coast AM is actually the source of these interesting interviews and I encourage you to check out the site. You can also listen to most if not all the interviews right on Youtube as well. Below are three episodes to get you started, however there are a plethora of other interviews by fascinating people with fascinating info.
The shows on Coast to Coast AM range from subjects like Astral Travel, 2012, Sacred Geometry and plenty more. There are interviews on this show that might seem trippy and perhaps ‘way-out-there’ for many. But I say, keeping listening! Perhaps not all of it will resonate with you, but take a listen anyway… and see what shows up in and around you in the weeks to follow.
Laurie Nadel is one of the interviews. With dual careers in both psychology and journalism, Nadel has been researching psychic phenomena since the 1970’s. This is one of her interviews with Coast to Coast AM posted on Youtube.
Drunvalo Melchizedek initially started out in Physics and Mathematics. Drunvalo is a world traveler and has given workshops, seminars and lectures on sacred geometry, human energy fields, spirituality, meditation and living in the heart in 45 countries. Here is his interview as posted on Youtube.
Lynne McTaggart, author of The Field and The Intention Experiment has been researching quantum physics, medicine and human consciousness for the past 20 years. Here is her interview as posted on Youtube.
Cool things to complement your yoga on and off the mat.
Stroke of Insight: Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor
I’ve been talking a lot about the Grid lately. Not just the grid of living in a city, using electricity, etc. But the grid in our minds. The attachment and agreement we make subconsciously that keeps us tied to ways of living that stunt us, that bury the essence of who we are, that make us feel separate and disconnected to the whole. The grid that tells us that inequities, injustice and bureaucracy are “just the way things are these days.”
Well, if you ever had any inkling in the pit of your belly that it doesn’t have to be that way, watching this amazing VIDEO about the grid and how a brain clot became a ‘stroke’ of insight for brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor, will reaffirm your knowing that regardless of popular grid propoganda, we have a choice. A choice in each moment to be present, to step into the deep knowing within all of us that we are connected to all things. That separateness is only an illusion from the limited scope of living within the lines of a grid and that each moment is an opportunity to step into the expansion of wholeness. Wooooo…(insert trippy music here.)
P.S. This video is part of TED. An amazing resource to hear people speak, perform, etc. about the human experience. Check TED out too!
David’s Birthday by Love You Moon
Boingy and yet a little heavy. Sometimes there is just something about the intonation of someone’s speech that is just kinda slinky and cool. Even when the song is boppy, Matt Embree’s voice makes you feel like he’s singing with one eyebrow up, head cocked and maybe a knowing look on his face just before he turns with a slow wink.
I Want You Back cover by KT Tunstall
One of my favorite versions of this song. It was done long before M.Jackson died. KT Tunstall’s recording her own background while she’s playing live and looping as she performs. It’s cool.
Beach Town by Le Loup
This song is kind of like how it feels to fall asleep sometimes. Chatter, bumps, tings, thumps in the head, till maybe a rhythm of movement is revealed, then melody lilting, lifting into frenzy that is anchored only by it’s own heavy fullness and finally… silence.
Hostel In The Forest… Brunswick, GA
Speaking of getting off the grid a bit… plan a trip to The Hostel in the Forest and get a little reminder of what that’s like. Affectionately known in these parts as, The Tree Hostel, this place is a must visit. Located in Brunswick, GA, just a couple hours south of Savannah, you feel like you have the space to remember yourself when you are there.
The glass house is great for meditating, yoga, or just chilling out. The center of the (clothing optional) lake has a floating dock that is often the spot of many great conversations with visitors from all over the country/world and a place you can just bask in the sun silently. 7pm is communal dinner. Wholesome, organic and vegetarian. Chickens walking around. Bonfires at night. The Hostel is whatever you allow yourself to experience.
Cost is $25 per night and 1 hour of your time helping out around the Hostel. Ok, enough talk. Each time there is different, so just go already! Tell them I sent you.
Just a few cool things to complement your yoga… on and off the mat.
BOOKS:* A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Talk about a story that has to do with connecting with your higher purpose and about loving unconditionally regardless of how tough things get around you. And of course, it’s wrapped in that cheeky, slightly creepy and twisted sense of humor that only John Irving can do this well and still make your heart well with feeling that life is really so beautiful even when it’s creepy.
THIS RIDICULOUS THING:
This picture is ridiculous and I’m not prone to liking these kinds of things but the blobbiness of his/her body is so pudge-tastic that I can’t help but like it. And his neck is so ruffle-y that one might surmise he was once a very fancy cat… before he let himself go. Thank god for yoga.
*There is Love by Brian Olive
Slightly late 60’s sounding with psychedelic fuzz and soft crashing cymbals. The slow breathiness of the vocals is dreamy- which is good, ’cause breathy vocals can easily turn into a creepy late night caller vibe. (You know who you are.)
So, lucky you! The latest release by The Mumlers, Coffin Factory, is free on itunes as a Discovery Download. Pandora’s Video Series has them playing Coffin Factory live. You can also youtube their official Coffin Factory video. I like them both, but the live video is just so fun. Reminds me of the kind of shows I like going to see with guys just rockin’ it with no slickness or pretense. They are gonna rock whether people are come to see them or not.
Just a few things that can complement your asana practice and rock your world… sometimes it’s a gentle rock, sometimes it’s ROCK rock.
A contribution of beauty for us all to be part of, this is what creation is all about. (Thank you T-Bone for passing this on.)
* Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap… Those dreamy Australians! I play this in many of my yoga classes and just bopping around the house. I often break out into interpretive dance when I play this song at home. (No, I will not video that.)
* My Girls by Animal Collective… Close your eyes and just let your body move. How much lovelier can it get when you hear the lines, “There isn’t much that I feel I need. A solid soul and the blood I bleed…”
I am a big fan of the Starland Cafe here in Savannah, GA. (11 E 41st St.) The hours are short, Mon-Fri 11am-3pm but it’s so worth it to head over there. A renovated house makes a welcoming lunch spot. With front and back porches where you can enjoy your lunch, as well as the small dining area inside, you are always greeted by friendly and helpful staff (usually the owners themselves). This cafe reminds me that there are people who still care about quality food and kindness. They use fresh ingredients and often use herbs from the back yard. I love the Greek Asparagus Panini and the Kitchen Sink Salad. Drop by and tell those guys to get down to my yoga class!