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It has proven more challenging than I realized to process leaving the Savannah Yoga Center. After giving my 2 weeks notice last week, I knew that it would take some time to process all the emotions that arise upon leaving something I have been a part of for so many years. So students, please know that I haven’t forgotten you, but that a bit of time to digest all that is unfolding was needed before I could find the words to all that I was feeling.

And of course, what is revealed in the end is quite simple: THANK YOU.

To all my students- I deeply thank you. Some of you have been practicing with me for several years now, some are new- and to all of you- it has been my honor and privilege to come in each week and bear witness to your practice, to your awakening and to share space with you. It was my honor to share my experience, to offer you the opportunity to practice mindfulness and to be able to hone my craft as a teacher.

It is no exaggeration, to say that my time in Savannah has been one of great growth, healing and awakening and as fellow yogis and students, you have been part of my path. I am grateful and privileged to have been even one small part of yours.  And although, I will not be supporting you at the front of the classroom at the Savannah Yoga Center, please know that I support you nonetheless.

I encourage you to continue the practice of mindfulness in all its forms and wherever it leads you in life. I encourage you to use the tools you learn- not only when it’s easy, not only on your mat, but to do the deeper work that leads to awakening- even when it’s unglamorous and seemingly unsung. Even when you stumble, even when you fall back asleep, each moment is the opportunity to awaken again. I encourage you to keep on moving into the light, into your deepest knowing… and to have some fun along the way. Remember, it isn’t all toil and trouble to awaken.

There are big changes on the horizon for me. I am finishing up some final details and when they are all sussed out, I will announce the news. Until then, my current schedule still stands for the month of October at the Yoga Co-Op: Sundays 5:30pm Yin and Mondays 5:30 Yoga Nidra.

Please stay tuned and check the blog for details to come… and know this:  I am truly grateful for all the years I’ve had the honor of teaching you. Bearing witness to someone’s awakening is a great gift and you have given me this treasure week after week, year after year. Thank you.

Much love,

~dawn!

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.

Ok you animal lovers, it’s a call to arms! Or at least a call to your computer clicking fingertips. Fellow Savannah yogini, Constance Gabrielli, of Om in Provence fame, has entered her tiny little Chloé in the Bissell Most Valuable Pet Photo Contest. The grand prize is $10,000 for the charity of their choice. Constance and Chloé have chosen the Humane Society of Greater Savannah as their recipient.

Vote for CHLOE! #7822

To vote, go to Bissell Most Valuable Pet Photo Contest . You do have to sign in, however, don’t let that stop you from helping us to earn $10k for the many animals that need our help here in Savannah. I signed in and Bissell doesn’t send spam if you don’t subscribe, which is easy enough. Once signed in, click Current Week Voting Period 1 and then ‘view all entries’ tab, where you can do a search. Chloé’s entry number is 7822. Then vote for Chloé!

Voting starts today, 1.12.11, and you can vote once a day for a week, so please vote EVERY day! The biggest winners of each week, move on to the final round to win the grand prize.

So get yer fingers a clickin’ and vote, vote, vote! And pass this on to anyone and everyone you know. There isn’t a day that goes by, here in Savannah, that we don’t see several stray or abused animals around town. It’s simply unacceptable. So if from the comfort of our chairs we can do something to help organizations like the Humane Society of Greater Savannah help these animals, it’s really the least we can do. It will change the lives of many wonderful little creatures and warm our hearts too!  So… stop reading this and VOTE already!

I’ll be subbing Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 for the 5:30-7pm class. This is usually an Ashtanga Class, however we won’t be adhering strictly to the Primary Series but there will be many poses from the sequence you will recognize. Bring water and a towel. This will be a vigorous practice. You’ll probably sweat. See you there!

P.S. You can print out the $9 Pass from an earlier post below and use it for this class too!

I’ll be subbing for the Sunday January 2nd, 5:45pm HOT Class at the Savannah Yoga Center. Bring a towel and water. You’re gonna sweat. My Level 2 Class will follow as usual at 7:30pm. See you there!

As it turns out, I am not subbing today’s 4pm HOT Flow Class at the Savannah Yoga Center. I was going to sub for Dawn Tanis, who was also subbing that class but as it turns out, she is able to teach the class after all. Sooooo…. you get to enjoy an AWESOME Hot Flow class today with DAWN TANIS! It’s you’re lucky day y’all! Have a blast.

I will be subbing today’s (Monday) 4pm HOT FLOW class at the Savannah Yoga Center. Bring some water and a towel to wipe up the sweat! See you there.

As it turns out, I am not subbing today’s 4pm HOT Flow Class at the Savannah Yoga Center. I was going to sub for Dawn Tanis, who was also subbing that class but as it turns out, she is able to teach the class after all. Sooooo…. you get to enjoy an AWESOME Hot Flow class today with DAWN TANIS! It’s you’re lucky day y’all! Have a blast.

Join your fellow Yogis and Yoginis for a great time at this year’s Global Mala. You can sign up online at www.savannahareayoga.com.

SIGN UP ONLINE AT savannahareayoga.com

Global Mala is a worldwide yoga event that brings yogis together to not only practice asana, but also to create potency to the intentions of peace, love and kindness to all. This year, Jeffrey Cohen of Jivamukti Yoga in Charleston will be leading the practice here in Savannah in Johnson Square. It will be a rockin’ flow style of practice with lots of energy. Not only is Global Mala a fun event and a great way to connect with fellow yogis, the money raised from the registration costs go to a worthy cause each year. This year, I am the humble recipient of what we raise for the event.

When local Global Mala organizer,  Kate Taylor, of The Yoga Co-Op here in Savannah, heard about my nasty bicycle accident and the hefty medical bills that I accrued from the hospital and doctors, she contacted me and proposed that I be the beneficiary of this year’s Global Mala. I was immediately touched and honored and as time passed, I felt something even more surfacing within me.

The accident was over a few months ago, but the effects of that day linger. Besides the looming medical bills, my body is still adjusting and healing to this day. My heart and mind as well. My physical injuries, thankfully not life threatening, were such that I was essentially housebound for weeks. The skin of the right side of my body was torn off, my hip, knee and face were significantly banged up. I had a nasty concussion, lots of contusions and my left ankle was broken, along with the tendons and ligaments torn.

All I could do for weeks was rest and meditate. I listened to healing affirmations, healing frequencies and chanted healing mantras. I literally did this day in and day out. I had no resistance, no attachment to an outcome. I was simply allowing. The doctor said I would be in the cast for 8 weeks and because of the torn ligaments and tendons, I wouldn’t be walking for 12 weeks, however, within two and a half weeks my ankle had healed enough to no longer need my cast and I was walking around. Within a month, I found myself hiking in the Grand Canyon- appreciating not only the spectacular views around me, but also the wonder of my own healing body. The doctor didn’t quite believe it, even as he watched me walk across his office. He still doesn’t. Fortunately, his belief is not required.

Still, I had a ways to go with healing, much of it emotional and spiritual. Part of this healing came in the form of so much love from friends, family and strangers. Beyond the obvious gift of helping me raise money to pay the many bills accrued from being out of work for over a month and medical fees, the generosity of heart that so many have extended to me, has given me the opportunity to practice receiving love with grace- a practice that I have not yet mastered but that I am learning more and more about each day thanks to all of you.

I had been much more comfortable being the giver- whether it was a kind word, a shoulder to lean on or the money in my pocket, it was easy for me to give. As it turns out, however, I wasn’t able to receive graciously very well- to receive without guilt or shame or the immediate need to repay to “make things fair”. It became clear that if I couldn’t receive love and kindness with the same openness that I was able to give it, then I wasn’t living as openly and fluidly as I wanted to. I was resisting the natural flow of things.

We only need to notice our breathing for the most obvious of examples: every inhale is followed by exhale and every exhale followed by inhale. We allow the breath in. We allow the breath out.  We cannot do one or the other. We must allow both to move through us. Being the beneficiary of so much kindness and love lately, I have been given the opportunity to practice the beauty of receiving gracefully. I had become quite adept at giving freely, but what is an exhale without the inhale? The natural flow of love is to both give and receive.

What I know to be true is that Love, whether in the form of a hug, a kind word, or food, shelter or help during tough times- we all deserve it. Unconditionally. Not when we reach a certain state of being, not when we get the right job, not when we lose the weight, not when we make amends, not when we not when we become “better”. Not at some future destination. We all deserve Love right now. Right now. Each of us. All of us. Me. You. And it starts by practicing knowing this from within. It starts by Loving ourselves.

I am not only the beneficiary of the money raised from Global Mala, the SYC Calendar, and the donations of many others. Through your offering of love and kindness, I have been given the opportunity to receive graciously, to be inquisitive to where I am living opening and expansively and to notice where I have walls that I have built up against love and this time, I have taken some of those bricks down. The sage Rumi said it so well:

Your task is not to seek for love,

but merely to seek and find

all the barriers within yourself

that you have built against it.

Your love and kindness is not lost on me and as I extend it back to you, know that it comes freely and from a place of deep knowing that we are all worthy, just as we are.

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 19th at 11am, I’ll be back for the first time to teach since the Bicycle Incident. Join me at the Savannah Yoga Center, Saturday for a Flow Class. Bring some water and maybe a little towel for potential sweating. Hey… just because I’ve been laid up for weeks doesn’t mean I don’t remember how make a room sweat a little!

And spread the word that this is not only my first week back, but also my last week before I head out West for a month and a half. So if you’ve been hankering for a Dawn S. Yoga Class, mosey on down to the Savannah Yoga Center tomorrow and get yer fill! And check out my Teaching Schedule page for the other dates/times I’ll be teaching this week.  I can’t wait to see you all there!

Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave. Savannah, GA

Friday, March 12th 7:30pm at the Sentient Bean, the Savannah Ceili Band will be kicking off St. Patrick’s Week. Yogini, Colleen Settle plays a mean fiddle in the band and is a regular at the Savannah Yoga Center.

The show is doubled billed with the Savannah Ceili Band playing at 7:30 and Moira Nelligan w/ her son Moses,  playing at 8:30. Admission is free, donations suggested to help support these wonderful musicians… and it’s all right around the corner from SYC.   Happy early  St. Patty’s!

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?

Old Timey Mason Jars. Photo Courtesy of AlabamaFrugalMom.com

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.

Hey my jar is Sprouting!

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.

Cherry Pie in a Cute Mason Jar! Photo Courtesy of ourbestbites.com

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 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!

Several years ago, while in Athens, GA for Athfest, I had breakfast at the famous Athens restaurant, The Grit.

The Grit. Photo from takethoufood.com

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.

THIS UPDATE HAS PASSED.

FYI: I’ll be subbing tonight  5:30pm (Thursday 11.19.09) for the Level 2-3 Class at the Savannah Yoga Center. This class is geared for those who have a strong and regular asana practice with understanding of general poses. This class is a more advanced asana practice and is not recommended for beginners. Ok… with all the disclaimers now said, hope to see all you yogis and yoginis there!

Dawn Smith

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

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