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OTHER LIVES

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.

Now, that’s a whole lotta woo-woo that essentially means, this song is dreamy and you should listen to it- on the mat or off. Check out the songs  For 12, Tamer Animals (live), and Dustbowl III

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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.

 

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!)

 

Tunes in my ear and on my mat…


Kid Cudi

 

We Aite by Kid Cudi… Short but potent, this song is trippy and bass-y and I’ve been playing it often in my classes.  “It’s time to make your mind up. To wake your mind up.”   Word.

Lissie

 

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.

Ayub Ogada

 

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.

 

The Chemical Brothers 2010 Album, Further

 

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: SnowAnother 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:


Tennessee boys, The Kings of Leon

 

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.

Metric

 

 

 

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.


 

 

Sheila Chandra

 

Om Namaha Shiva by Sheila Chandra… 1. Play this song. 2. Close your eyes. 3. Breathe.  That’s it.

Florence + The Machine

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.

Ayub Ogada

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 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


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.

Rupa and the April Fishes

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.

Alan Carr & Justin Lee Collins from The Sunday Night Project

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

WEBSITES

Smitten Kitchen

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.

Photo from Smitten Kitchen

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.

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Dawn Smith

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

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