There are  only a few more slots open for my  3 hour comprehensive yoga workshop, HANDS~HEART~FEET tomorrow, Sunday, June 12th,  1-4pm at the Savannah Yoga Center. We’ll focus on 6 different yogic methods that can help us create the space to be present and to cultivate the inquisitiveness to our internal experience that is required for walking deeper on our path.

This workshop is for anyone interested in not only honing their physical practice, but also in practicing techniques that give us the foundation to live our yoga off the mat as well.

If you’ve already registered, please bring water, your yoga mat if you have one and any props that you use regularly. We will have mats and props for those who don’t have their own.

Register in person at 1319 Bull St. Savannah, GA,  online at savannahyoga.com or by phone: 912.232.2994

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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.

Clearly, Phil Spector did not use moroccan oil.

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’ll be permanently teaching the Sunday night 5:30pm Yin Class at the Yoga Co-Op Savannah. In this Yin class we will not only focus on holding poses to increase connective tissue mobility, but we will also incorporate gentle muscle releasing poses, calming pranayama and restorative poses. Come join me to practice slowing down and letting go. (Members $10/Non members $13)

Photo Courtesy of 9avenueofpines.com

Beginning May 17th, I’ll be teaching a Tuesday 1pm Yoga class at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on beautiful Isle of Hope. This class is for all levels, primarily focusing on honing poses for strength and flexibility as well as the restorative aspects of Yoga  (i.e. this is not a Dynamic Flow kind of class.) The class is open to the entire community of Savannah, regardless of religious affiliation or yoga experience.

Tuesday, May 17th begins our 6 weeks of sessions for $60. To sign up and to secure your space, email:  Rev. Deacon Geri Lee Nelson at Gerileenelson@aol.com or call her at (912) 355-3110

St. Thomas Episcopal Church is located at 2 St. Thomas Ave. on Isle of Hope

I’m subbing at the Yoga Co-Op Savannah for Power Hour, Friday 5:30, May 13, 2011. Bring water and a towel. It is Power hour after all. One potent hour of asana to get your weekend started right. Classes are $13 for non-members and $10 for members. The Yoga Co-Op Savannah is located at 2424 Drayton StSee y’all there!


Join me, Sunday, June 12th,  for my 3 hour comprehensive yoga workshop, HANDS~HEART~FEET at the Savannah Yoga Center. We’ll focus on 6 different yogic methods that can help us create the space to be present and to cultivate the inquisitiveness to our internal experience that is required for walking deeper on our path.

This workshop is for anyone interested in not only honing their physical practice, but also in practicing techniques that give us the foundation to live our yoga off the mat as well.

Register in person at 1319 Bull St. Savannah, GA,  online at savannahyoga.com or by phone: 912.232.2994

Check out this yoga article, featuring yours truly, by fellow yogini and writer Adrienn Mendonca in Shaping Savannah. To enlarge, click the article until your eyes are content.

Join me this Saturday at 1:15pm for my new Restorative Class at the Savannah Yoga Center. My Restorative class focuses on releasing muscle tension, pranayama to soothe and calm, and allowing the body and mind the opportunity to slow down and let go.

This is a gentle practice that is great for those who are new to yoga, those healing and for seasoned yogis who want to balance their vigorous practices with gentle practices.

My regular Saturday Yoga Flow class from 11am-12:30pm continues as usual, for those who are looking for a more dynamic practice on Saturdays.

What is more sacred than to bring nourishment to another human being–spiritually, emotionally and quite literally by bringing food to those who need it?

Senior hunger is a serious threat to nearly 6 million seniors in the United States each year.  Nationwide, the Meals on Wheels program works to alleviate senior hunger.  Each day, the MOW program serves over 1,800 hot meals to homebound seniors in Chatham County and 6 surrounding counties.  They depend on the commitment of their wonderful volunteers to deliver these meals and hope to be able to expand the numbers of clients they serve with the help of more volunteers in the future.

The commitment to volunteer is one hour a week during lunchtime and they try to match volunteers to routes that are near where they live or work.   Offices and church groups can adopt routes and share in the responsibility together.  The Meals on Wheels program not only nourishes seniors, it gives them daily interaction with volunteers and gives family members peace of mind that someone is checking up their loved ones each day.

This year, MOW is hosting their  first annual 5K on May 14th.  Information and registration can be found on their website: www.seniorcitizens-inc.org/  and at fleetfeet: www.fleetfeetsavannah.com/miles-meals. To learn more about volunteering visit: www.seniorcitizens-inc.org.

They are also looking for volunteers to help out on race day.  Anyone interested can contact lovely, fellow Yoga teacher and Director of Volunteers for Senior Citizens, Inc., Lauren Cruickshank directly at LCruickshank@seniorcitizens-inc.org. And be sure to spread the word!

In honor of Earth Day this Saturday April 23rd, (everyday should be Earth Day don’t you think?) my Saturday 11am-12:30pm Flow class at the Savannah Yoga Center (usually $14) is only $10! An Earth Day treat for you.

So come down, get yer practice in and then walk down to Forsyth Park to join the Earth Day Festivities. See you on the mat!

Starting  May 7th, I’ll be teaching a Saturday Restorative Yoga Class at the Savannah Yoga Center.  The days you feel like a little dynamic practice you can attend my Sat. 11am Flow as usual and for the days you need to tend to yourself and balance the hectic pace of life with some gentleness, you can join me for my 1:15pm Restorative class. 

Suitable for all levels- from those healing from injuries, to those who are in prime form and want to create a balance between dynamic and gentle. This class focuses on releasing tension from tight muscles, breathing and will end in a 20 minute guided Yoga Nidra (deep yogic sleep) practice.

I encourage all students to alternate their vigorous practices with gentle/restorative practices as well. Having one without the other is to leave out the crucial element of balance in your practice. You’re gonna thank yourself when you come! See you on the mat!

I’ll be subbing several Yin Yoga Classes at the Yoga Co-Op Savannah starting this Sunday, April 24th. Yin classes focus on releasing muscle and allowing joints, tendons and ligaments to lengthen- creating wider range of motion and flexibility. Poses will be held from 3-10 minutes. While the practice isn’t dynamic, it is challenging in the sense that stillness and breath must be cultivated and let’s face it… stillness can be challenging!

If you’ve never taken a Yin class before, now is your chance to get your Yin on with me. It’s a great complement to flow and dynamic yoga and a powerful way to unlock tight and immobile parts of the body and mind. See below for the dates and times and I’ll see you on the mat!

Sundays- 4/24, 5/1, 5/8, 5/15  at 5:30-6:45pm

Tuesdays- 4/26, 5/3, 5/10, 5/17 at 7-8:30pm

The Yoga Co-Op is located at 2424 Drayton St. Savannah, GA. Classes are $13 drop in and $10 for members. 

Photo Courtesy of Hospice of Savannah

Beginning April 11, 2011, I will begin teaching a Monday night 5:30pm Intermediate Yoga Class at the Hospice of Savannah.  I’m thrilled to be offering yoga to those who offer so much of their love and energy to the care of others. George Cox, who developed this yoga relationship with Hospice will also be teaching Beginner’s classes at Hospice during the week. Currently the class is open to Hospice Staff and volunteers.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for Hospice of Savannah click HERE for more info.

The Yogathon in Forsyth Park is this Saturday: April 9th, 2011 from 12-3pm. This is a benefit organized by Louie’s Kids to raise money to bring a ‘Fit Club’ to a school here in Savannah through COPE (Childhood Obesity Prevention & Education) The program will provide children with nutritional, physical and emotional tools to prevent and reverse the effects of obesity. I’m honored to be one of the yoga teachers leading the 108 Sun Salutations this Saturday.

You can be part of this great event in several ways: Click HERE  to donate. No donation is too modest… every bit helps! Or if you’d rather, you can Click HERE to join my team and participate (minimum $20 donation required- this can be your money or from sponsors that you recruit.)

I WILL be teaching my regularly scheduled Saturday, 11am Flow class at the Savannah Yoga Center the day of the event, then I’ll be heading down to Bandshell at Forsyth Park to join in on the Yogathon. For those of you who aren’t able to participate in the Yogathon, you can still get your practice in with me and then come down to the park to cheer us on!

We only have a few days left so don’t wait! If you can, please DONATE or register to PARTICIPATE right now. Whatever you do, spread the word and cheer us on from wherever you are!

Savannah Zen Center - 505 Blair St.

 

Thursday, April 14, 2011, 7-8pm, I’ll be subbing a Super Gentle Yoga class at the Savannah Zen Center. This class will focus on bringing the body and mind back into balance through restorative asana, pranayama and a 20 minute Yoga Nidra (deep yogic sleep) practice. Bring your mat and water.

 

Space is limited so if interested please reserve your spot  by using the form below (none of your info will be published). Class Cost is a $10 donation.

SORRY GANG… THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELLED


Photo Courtesy of Human Society of Greater Savannah

 

It’s SOOOOOO EASY. No excuses! Just CLICK HERE and vote for the Humane Society of Greater Savannah to help us qualify in the first heat to win $100k.

They only ask for your email and you can opt out of any future emails. This money would do so much to help the many strays, abused and neglected animals here in Savannah. This contest is sponsored by the ASPCA.

You can VOTE once a day until April 15, 2011. Please vote each day and post this on your BLOG, FACEBOOK, TWITTER,  etc. and EMAIL everyone you know and chat it up at the water cooler and with strangers you meet! This is BIG! We can do it!

 

Come out to support fellow Yoga Teacher and talented musician, Lauren Lapointe at the official launch party of her new band, Red Clay Halo with Georgia Kyle Shiver.  See below for details.

 

Just a reminder: tomorrow, March 26th, 2011, in addition to my usual Saturday 11am, All Levels Yoga Flow class at the Savannah Yoga Center, I’ll be subbing for the Saturday 9am, HOT Detox class too. Two opportunities to get yer yoga groove on together. See you on the mat!

 

Ok, kiddies! Buckle those car seats in… we’re going to Yoga-town! It’s kinda like Funky-town, with less disco and more Om’ing.

Starting March 21, 2011,  every Monday, I’ll be teaching a Kids Yoga class at the the Yoga Co-Op Savannah.  Through yoga, we’ll  learn balance and gain strength through asana (poses). We’ll learn to focus through pranayama (breathing) and we’ll end class just like the grown-ups do… with a nice rest pose!

MONDAYS 4-4:45pm 

at The Yoga Co-Op Savannah

Kids ages 3-7

Parents can purchase a 4 class package for their little yogi for $45 or drop in at $13 per class. The Yoga Co-Op Savannah is located at 2424 Drayton St. Savannah, GA.  For contact info click HERE.

12-3pm, Saturday, April 9th in Forsyth Park, Savannah, GA is hosting a Yogathon to raise money for Louie’s Kids and COPE (Childhood Obesity Prevention & Education). The goal is to help raise money to fund a Louie’s Kids Fit Club in a Title I (low income) Savannah School next fall.  The Fit Club is a daily program that teaches children not only nutrition and physical fitness, but also addresses emotional blocks that keep children from living the best life that they can.

I am one of the teachers who will be leading the 108 Sun Salutations for the Yogathon. I’m thrilled to be part of this event and I’d love for you to be part of it too!

 

If you can participate in the 108 Sun Salutations (you don’t have to do them all, just do what you can),  click here to JOIN THE TEAM .  Our team name is FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK, I SUN SALUTE YOU! Team Dawn Smith.  Once you register with the team, email everyone you know for donations. They can donate right online. Every little bit counts.

If you can’t participate, you can always donate to the team anyway and spread the word. Click here to DONATE.

The day of the Yogathon, you can still join me at my regular class Saturday morning 11am-12:30 at Savannah Yoga Center and then  head down to the Forsyth Park to cheer the Yogathon participants on. I would love for you come down and share in the fun of the day, even if you don’t want to do the sun salutations, I hope you’ll consider being part of this event in anyway you can.

Whether it’s practicing with us out in the park, or donating money- know that you are doing good… for others and yourself. Even the seemingly smallest of offerings matters.

Apply by Glasser

I drifted in and out of sleep in the back seat of my friend’s car on a road trip with this song playing on the stereo. It seemed more like a dream than a song.

Glasser

Later, when I started to wake, but still in that dreamy, trippy, half-asleep state, I tried to ask what the song was with this description, “Uh… it was a girl. It was long… and a lot.

That pretty much sums it up. This might be the best song to drift in and out of sleep to, as the midday sun shimmers through the tops of trees flying by, while you are softly curled up in the back seat of a car. (Listening pleasure not limited to this long-winded scenario.)

Also check out Glasser’s song Home. I almost can’t call it music. It feels too big to fit into that small of a word.

I’ll be subbing the 9am Hot Detox Class Saturday, March 5, 2011. Bring water and a towel. Yer gonna sweat. My regular 11am All Levels Flow will follow as usual. See you there!

 

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.

Fellow Yoga Teacher, Dawn Tanis, will be making her Savannah acting debut in the upcoming production of Frost/Nixon at Muse Arts Warehouse.  Come out and enjoy an evening of theater and support local artists.

8 p.m. | March 4, 5, 11 and 12
3 p.m. | March 6 and 13

Tickets $15 /$10 for students with I.D. available at the door or for advance reservations: (912) 713-1137

 

BHANGRA-FIT!

INDIAN FITNESS DANCE with AMANDA MASNYK

Starting March 6th, SUNDAY NIGHTS 6:45-7:45pm at the Savannah Yoga Center, Amanda Masnyk will be teaching a Bhangra-Fit Class. This traditional, northern Indian dance is jazzed up, resulting in a fun dance that gets you sweatin’.

Suitable for All levels-new to experienced!

Sundays 6:45pm-7:45pm (Starting March 6)
6 week Series, $65 for all 6 Classes.
$15 per session (pay at the door)

Read more about Amanda’s class HERE.

 

30 Bands en route to SXSW (South by SouthWest), will be stopping in Savannah to play in Savannah’s first version of a real and accessible-to-the-masses music festival. 30 bands. 4 days. Multiple venues downtown. Rad, man.

Advanced purchase General Pass is $45. Today (2/22/11) is the last day for this price! Tomorrow passes go up to $65.

You can also purchase a VIP pass for $95 which gets you extra goodies and admittance into some of the recording sessions some bands will be doing while here.

Many of us have been talking for years about a nitty gritty music fest that doesn’t require you to take a second mortgage, or sell an organ to pay for. Savannah Stopover is a step in that direction. Get your tix today and I’ll see you there!

 

The Cave and Little Lion Man… by Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons

If you are in an English pub, this is what you want to hear just before you jump on a table and start stomping and dancing wildly into a frenzy. English folk-rock band Mumford & Sons rock out with banjo, string bass, acordian, mandolin and Dobro to create some tremendously toe-tappin’ tunes.

So crank the tunes with these songs, but don’t do it with a hot beverage in your hand. It will end up in your lap from all the knee-stomping and crazy clappin’ you’ll be doing.

 

 

Corpus Rex and Played A Live (The Bongo Song) by Safri Duo

Danish band, Safri Duo, are drummers extraordinaire. Mix a little trance in there and you get a heart pumping, body movin’, mind altering experience. Percussion is so powerful.  It’s vibration and pure energy. It’s the thump-thump-thump of the heart. It’s in each of us and connects us all on a deep primitive level.

Safri Duo

These are not songs to put on when you’re looking to chill out. These are songs to crank when you want to MOVE! Funny thing though, when we are truly present, there is stillness even in movement. That being said, if you crank these tunes while on the mat, even the most focused of yogis may find their sun salutations morph into a dizzying dance of wild abandon. And would that be so bad? I don’t think so.

(Thanks to Kai for passing this on!)

 

 

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!

 

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I hear the moans and groans of the season. Moans from those who are single and disgruntled about it and groans from those who are coupled up and feel the pressure of doing something fantastic for the holiday of love.

A Chicago Fav: Lou Malnati's Pizza

I know. It’s easy to complain about the hype or the commercialism of it all. Everywhere you turn, you can’t help but see red heart-shaped boxes stuffed with chocolate, shiny pink heart-shaped balloons floating around the grocery store. You can even order heart-shaped pizza in some places. I know it can seem like over-kill, whether you are coupled up or not.

Personally, I have always loved Valentine’s Day for the simple fact that it’s my birthday. Booyah!

Let’s face it, as a child, it kind of rocks to have most of the western world all jazzed up on your birthday. Everyone seems to be buzzing around, thinking about love, flowers and candy. And instead of doing math you get to make Valentine’s cards in school. It definitely adds to the fun of your birthday if the people around you are also celebrating in some way or another.

Then you grow up. People get jaded. They have all these expectations that weigh them down or they fall into the depths of despair over what they feel is a miserable reminder of the lack of love or romance in their lives. I can’t tell you exactly how many times that I’ve heard someone say, “I HATE Valentine’s Day.” And  even though it must be hundreds of times by now, each time I am horrified. Hate Valentine’s Day? What?!

Setting aside the the fact that it is my birthday, I still find Valentine’s Day one of the best ‘holidays’. What better reason to designate a day as a holiday than LOVE? Isn’t that what every day should be about anyway?

Familial love, romantic love, brotherly love & sisterly love, love of mankind, love of the earth and the animals that inhabit it. Love of your self. Are these not worthy of just a day of our thoughts and energy?

I know. What’s all this yoga-teacher, woo-woo got to do with the giant, furry, stuffed pink and red beast that has become Valentine’s Day? Well, perhaps finding reverence for this day requires a reshaping of your head more than another heart-shaped box of treats delivered to your door.

Perhaps, we remember that love isn’t just something you ‘get’ but it’s something you create. In each moment we have the opportunity to love and be loved. With a kind smile to a stranger. Bringing a co-worker their favorite coffee drink. Telling a friend or family member that they are wonderful. By accepting a compliment graciously, by honoring our own talents and beauty, by looking in the mirror with reverence and compassion instead of judgment. These are all seemingly small things, but can be incredibly potent ways to allow love to move through us.

We don’t need to relegate showing love to only grandiose productions of the romantic kind. There is love all around and within, waiting to be set free. It could be a simple word or look or thought that unleashes the love within.

Look, I’m no Pollyanna. I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak. Literally. Less than 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with an aortic coarctation.  The aorta is the largest artery in the heart and my aorta started normally but then collapsed down to 4mm in the middle and then opened back up to normal size. My aorta was shaped like a dumbell, a weight. Essentially, my heart was broken. And, in case you hadn’t heard, it’s kind of important to have a fully functioning heart.

I didn’t see this a merely a physical condition, however. I saw just how my life was being reflected in my body. As I thought back to painful times in my life, to moments of despair, I remembered how during those times, I often felt such pain in my chest that I sometimes doubled over. Not just a little flutter or ache, but sharp physical pain. I knew then that the weight of unresolved conflicts of the past as well as fear, doubt and unhealthy relationships were literally breaking my heart.

After my heart surgery, I knew something had to change and it wasn’t by the hands of doctors. Something had to change in the way I thought. How and what I thought of myself, of others, of the world. If I didn’t change in my head, I was surely going to break my heart to the point of no return.

I continue on that path today. Finding the ways I block myself from receiving and giving love freely and moving through those barriers. It’s not always easy. There are times my thoughts lead me to feel heart-achy about the state of the world, or about aspects in my own life.  But I persevere. Asana, meditation, pranayama, along with surrounding myself with good people, give me the fortitude to remember a deeper love: Unconditional Love…for myself and others. Sometimes it comes in the form of softening, sometimes it comes in the form of challenging ourselves, whatever form it takes,  unconditional love leads us to the knowing that we are all worthy of it and that it is always abundantly available. It only requires us to remember it, for us to start living it.

So as February 14th rolls around and I see bins of heart-shaped boxes of candy, or stores filled with pink & red balloons and flowers, when I hear the moans and groans, I don’t think of commercialism or Hollywood ideals of love, or what love might mean or not mean to anyone else. Instead, I am reminded that on this day, many years ago, I was born.  And that inside this body, I have a heart that even though has been broken and banged up along the way, still beats strong. So amidst the scowls of the jaded or the tears of the lonely,  I choose to use my heart and share in the love as best I can, in as many ways as I can.

Maybe this Valentine’s Day, in any seemingly small way, you will choose to do the same. This year, I’m not wishing that you have a Happy Valentine’s Day. This year, I’m inviting you to begin creating the love that you long to be living.  XO


The day will come when, after harnessing space,
the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness
for God the energies of love. And, on that day,
for the second time in the history of the world,
humankind will have discovered fire.

-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


Dawn Smith

Fun musings. Cool info.
Yoga on and off the mat.

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