The Top 5 Best Songs for Savasana

You may have gathered from my last post just how seriously I take my Savasana….and if you did not..well, I do! 

So, with that in mind I put together a short playlist of the best 5 songs you will ever hear in Savasana. Period.

Listen to these songs and try not to get blissed out…

I dare you!

It really is impossible!

So there you have it! Enjoy! Feel free to drop me a line when you reach new heights of enlightenment, or just levitate over to my neck of the woods and tell me in person!

The Top 5 Best Songs For Savasana (click here to listen via Spotify)

1. Waters of Life / Sacral Jonathan Goldman

2. Storm of Prayers Craig Kohland & Shaman’s Dream

3. Puja Krishna Das & Baird Hersey & Prana

4. Om Prana Rara Avis

5. Gopala‘s Dream Jai Uttal

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5 Tips For Having the Best Savasana Ever!

Savasana: savasana is being without was, being without will be. It is being without anyone who is.”   
 Light on Life, B.K.S. Iyengar

How to make your next savasana the best five minutes of your life…

You know that excited feeling you get before your first “real date” with you new snookums? Well, I get that feeling when I’m about to take Savasana. Yep, I’m weird. Or maybe, I’m enlightened. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

Either way here are my top five tips for dropping into bliss and having the bestest savasana ever.

1. Don’t know what to do with your feet? No need to stress, this isn’t dancing with the stars and I’m not going to try to teach you the fox trot!

Relax….ahhhhh…

Alright, now just take your feet about as wide as the mat and let them roll out naturally. Here is a tip: Your toes will point out to the sides.

2. Lift your buns and lengthen your tailbone away from your lower back and towards your heels. This is not JUST for those sporting a badonkadonk, but J. Lo if you’re reading this, listen up, because this one is for you girl!

This amazing little adjustment will eliminate any “crunchy” feeling in the lower back. The term “crunchy” is only cute when it’s used to describe peanut butter,…(and even then it’s questionable), try to keep your savasana “crunch-free!”

3. Pickup your shoulders and move them down away from your ears. Use the “stickiness” of your sticky mat to hold your shoulders down. Much like a fly caught on some sticky fly paper your shoulders will be stuck down there away from your ears and no longer able to bother you. Brilliant! (Don’t get your panties in a bunch over the flypaper analogy, no flys were hurt in the making of this blog post and bunched panties do not a comfortable savasana make.)

 4. Place your hands with your palms facing up about 5-8 inches from your body. The only exception to this rule is if you are right next to someone. Touchingthem. Touching. sweaty. hand. touchingyou. What you’ve just encountered here is the recipe for a potentially awkward savasana. You could bravely leave your hand there. Or for a less awkward savasana and more relaxing experience place your hands on your chest, belly or pretty much anywhere you won’t meet with someone else’s clammy fingers.

5. Relax the skin between your eyebrows. Most of us have jam-packed lives that have us running around  feeling like red bull fueled spider monkeys, but it’s time to make sweet savasana! Power down the noggin’ and smooth the eyebrow wrinkle. THE BIG BOSS wrinkle that looks like the number 11 between your two eyebrows. Imagine the teacher has her thumbs on each of your eyebrows and is pulling them away from one another gently. Aaaahhhh. Feels better already, right?

Now drift away to your happy place. It’s okay if  your “happy place” consists of Johhny Depp bringing you cupcakes for lunch while your boss keeps you cool by fanning you with a palm frond. I won’t judge you. Nobody will. That’s why savasana is so freakin’ awesome! Not to mention I’ve rested better in those five blissful minutes than a full eight hours on my fancy-pants-egyptian cotton sheets!!!

Enjoy.enjoy.pure.bliss.savasana…..

If you enjoyed this article please share the love below 🙂 Thanks!

4 Hormones That Cause Belly Fat : How To Lose Abdominal Fat And Get Skinny

4 Hormones That Make Your Belly Fat : How To Lose Abdominal Fat And Get Skinny

We already discussed the 3 Hormones That Make You Skinny And How To Make Them Work For You. Now for the bad news. Here are the 4 Hormones that make you fat! They are Insulin, Estrogen, Leptin, and Cortisol.

Belly Fat Hormone #1. Insulin

Insulin spikes make you fat. If you are feeling starved that pretty much means your insulin has already spiked and the next thing you put into your mouth will now get stored as fat. Refined carbs and sugar are the worst offenders sending blood sugar sky-rocketing. These types of carbs raise endorphins in the brain like a drug, but the high is short-lived.

What to Do To Lose The Belly Fat:

  • Avoid simple or high glycemic carbohydrates. (Potatoes, pasta, bread, candy, soda, juice, refined anything ect.)
  • If you must have your “fix” try to make it around 150 calories and under 5 grams of sugar per serving so as not to spike your blood sugar.

Belly Fat Hormone #2. Estrogen

Too much estrogen causes weight gain, cellulite, cancer and makes you feel soft and spongy.

What to Do To Lose The Belly Fat:

  • Avoid Processed foods
  • Eat high fiber (25-30 grams per day)
  • Avoid too much caffeine
  • Avoid too much alcohol (Impedes livers ability to metabolize estrogen)
  • Stay away from plastics! (If you are using plastic make sure it is BPA FREE, otherwise get rid of it!)
  • Soy products increase estrogen so limit your consumption.
Belly Fat Hormone #3. Leptin
When you have adequate levels of Leptin in your body it tells your body to stop eating. When it is low it causes you to store fat.
What to Do To Lose The Belly Fat:
  • Avoid MSG
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat slowly
  • Eat Fish
  • Get more zinc (Poultry and seafood are high in zinc)
Belly Fat Hormone #4. Cortisol
Cortisol is the stress hormone and just as nasty as it sounds. As if you didn’t have enough problems, this lil’ guy will make you store fat around your middle like a spare tire.
What to Do To Lose The Belly Fat:
  • Cultivate a sense of humor
  • Practice yoga
  • Take long deep diaphragmatic breaths
  • Get more sleep
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Meditate
  • Remove yourself from upsetting  situations when possible until you calm down.
  • Maintain close bonds with family and  friends
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Limit your exposure to violent TV shows and movies
  • Eat white beans, citrus fruits, and black tea.
  • Take magnesium and Vitamin C

10 Reasons You Should Smile For Your Health

Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available.  ~ Jim Beggs

Ever see someone who’s face reads “Please check your cheerfulness at the door”? Deep frown lines, eyes that bore holes when they look at you, and a face that would make the Grinch squirm?

So how does one end up waking up one morning with a face that growls at everyone it meets?  I must admit I have always been a little afraid that I might cross the line of crankiness and wakeup looking like a grouch. So far so good.

I often smile at strangers when passing on the street. It’s the small town girl in me, I can’t help it. When I’m lucky they grin back. Sometimes however they’ll shoot me a look that says they’d rather pull a hamstring than smile back. It’s as if they are genuinely pissed off that someone has the nerves to smile at them. Other times they observe me as if I am an alien life form come to invade their angry planet. And of course there are ones who only manage to curl up one side of their mouth. Sure, it’s technically a sneer, but I imagine it  is a smile trying to get out.

So what’s my yogic point here? Smiling is important, it’s basically yoga for your face. Those cheeks need a grin like your leg muscles need downward dog. Studies show that there are many mental, emotional and social benefits from smiling. It reduces stress, makes you happier, and makes the opposite sex find you more attractive. (Go gettem’ tiger!)

A few more smile motivating facts..

  1. If you can’t smile at least try not to frown. Studies show that adults who get Botox for their frown lines report feeling less depression after the procedure. I am not suggesting you go get botox, but there is clearly a mind-face connection at work.
  2. Smiles are more attractive than makeup: A recent studies show that 69% of people find women more attractive when they smile than when they are wearing makeup.
  3. Smiling makes you memorable. You are 3 time more likely to remember the person that is smiling over the one that is wearing a negative or neutral expression.
  4. Smiling improves the way others see you.  72% of people think of those who smile often as being more confident and successful.
  5. Smiling helps You make new friends. 86% of people say that they are more likely to strike up conversations with strangers if they are smiling.
  6. Even a fake smile will lift your mood.  Your body releases endorphins Serotonin, Dopamine and Morphine when you smile. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that reduces fear and worry. Dopamine squashes negative emotions. Morphine is a powerful pain-killer. Enjoy the natural high!
  7. Smiling at others is a way to show Ahimsa (non-violence). A smile is a non-verbal way to communicate non-violence. Scientists have found that smiles reduce aggression in both the giver and the receiver.
  8. Smiling makes you healthier. Smiling activates the central nervous System and boosts your immune system. It lowers your blood pressure, regulates your heartbeat, and enhances respiration. Those lil’ guys the white blood cells (Leukocytes) activate as well! They are on the front lines attacking foreign bacteria, viruses, and toxins keeping you disease free!
  9. Fake smiling can lead to genuine smiling and real happiness. Fake smile for 20 seconds for seven (7) days, and it creates a neural pathway in your brain.Continue for 21 consecutive days and fake smiling becomes hardwired into your brain becoming a genuine smile!
  10. Happy people live 9 years longer than unhappy ones.
Keep smiling!
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“Jump for Joy” Yoga Music Playlist with Link to itunes PING Playlist

Marysia Weiss in yoga pose Eka Pada Bakasana 2. Photo by Jim KnowlesMusic for vinyasa yoga!

Here is a music playlist I used for my “Jump for Joy” yoga sequence last sunday at Yogis Anonymous! To get the mix on itunes click here for the PING playlist!

Check out this photo of my talented yoga friend of The Hot and Healthy Blog Marysia Weiss in Eka Pada Bakasana. the photo is by photographer Jim Knowles.
Here is a short description of the class that goes with this playlist…
Buckle up yogis and get ready for some fun transitions!  Float from Eka Pada Bakasana (One legged crow) to Tripod headstand and later learn to glide from Marichyasana I (Seated forward fold wrap) into Eka Pada Bakasana. Jump start your handstand practice with some explanations on pikes and one legged entry methods. Complete your adventure with kicking over from Urdhva Dhanurasana at the wall. Enjoy!
  • Initiation (Change)Adam Plack & Johnny (White Ant) Soames
  • Devil May Care  euphoria
  • Weird Fishes/Arpeggi Radiohead
  • This Heart’s On Fire (Wolf Parade) Jacob Ruefer
  • Blues From Down Here TV On The Radio
  • Conversation 16 The National
  • Rome Phoenix
  • Where Do You Run to? Vivian Girls
  • All a Them a Do Noiseshaper featuring Juggla
  • Make You Mine Best Coast
  • Mystery of Life (Featuring Andrea Monteiro)Nickodemus featuring Andrea Monteiro
  • Entre (feat. Kormac) Simon Resoul
  • Into My Blues (feat. Pegah Ferydoni)Eva Be
  • Still? Yes! Nightmares On Wax
  • Shh Frou Frou
  • Fader The Temper Trap
  • Fireworks (Album) Animal Collective
  • Pink Bullets The Shins
  • Watching You Well The National
  • Kettering The Antlers
  • Everywhere I Go Lissie
  • Shavasana Sound Bath Therapy – Deep Healing Through the Power of Sound (Feat. Ann Malone)Music for Deep Meditation

Resources For The Sanskrit “Yoga Speak” Newbie

Angela Kukhahn in Upward Facing Dog in the Tuscan sunflower fields (yoga pose) photo by Tara RiceWhen I first found myself in a yoga class figuring out how to actually do Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) was a challenge enough,… let alone trying to learn the ancient language of Sanskrit. (the language of yoga)

To say I found Sanskrit intimidating is to put it mildly. All I knew is that  all the names of the poses sounded alike since the name of each pose ends in the word asana. (asana means pose, so Trikonasana is Triko which means Triangle followed by asana which means pose.) All I have to say is Yogi rappers have a huge advantage, but I digress….

After deciding I wanted to become a yoga teacher I was a little distraught  when I learned I was going to have to learn this ancient language of rhymes whether I liked it or not.

I must admit, at first I didn’t really see the point, however, as a teacher it has become essential for me to have a good grasp on both the Sanskrit names of the poses and basic Sanskrit terminology.

Click below for a few  great online resources to acquaint yourself with the Sanskrit names of poses, and commonly used yoga terms from the Sanskrit language.

I found these websites extremely helpful for you “new to Sanskrit” yogis!

This one www.tilakpyle.com is great because it has audio. The guy recorded his voice pronouncing the names of the poses in Sanskrit. If you click on the name of the pose it takes you to a page with photos of the pose and a description.

Also try www.YogaJournal.com for pronunciation and great photos and descriptions as well!

Also check out www.YogaDancer.com which gives you the all of the poses (even ones I’ve never heard of! ) and when you click on the pose it shows you all the different variations as well,…very cool!

Also for the meanings of a lot of commonly used Sanskrit terms check out Yoga Glossary.

Good Luck on your yoga journey!

3 Hormones That Make You Skinny and How To Make Them Work For You!

toned female abs3 Hormones That Make You Skinny! (drum roll please!)

So what are these super hormones? How do they make you skinny? Most importantly though, how can you make them work for you?

The good news is that these hormones are already  being produced by your body, all you need to do is to give them a little boost!

With a little help your hormones you will turn your body into an amazing, efficient, fat burning machine!

These 3 fat-melting hormones are, Testosterone, HGH (Human Growth Hormone), and Prostegene.

Testosterone Fat Burning Hormone #1:

Testosterone is responsible for making it possible for men to lose fat and retain muscle more easily than women. The good news is that women’s bodies produce it too, and there are many ways in which we can increase its production. I know what you are thinking, “I don’t want to have a hairy chest and a deep voice”. Never fear, that is only a problem if you take synthetic hormones like steroids.

Testosterone Benefits:

  • Builds muscle
  • Burns fat
  • Boosts energy
  • Increases sex drive
  • Strengthens bones
  • Lifts depression
  • Increases optimism.

Testosterone Boosters:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Must eat some fat (even saturated fat) Testosterone relies on the right balance of fat in the diet.
  • Watch consumption of caffeine and alcohol.
HGH (Human Growth Hormone) Fat Burning Hormone #2:

Human Growth hormone is a fat burner. Your body usually uses glucose before burning fat, but HGH forces your body to use its fat reserves first! Yippee! This turns you into a fat burning machine even when you are sleeping! It also helps your body make new muscle cells. Usually your body stops growing new muscle cells after your teen years due to inadequate HGH in your body.

HGH Benefits:

  • More energy
  • Higher sex drive
  • Silky Hair
  • Youthful glowing skin
  • Fat Loss
  • Muscle Gains
  • Better sleep
  • Body repairs itself more quickly
HGH Boosters:
  • Cut back on carbs at night. Your body pumps out more HGH when your blood sugar is low. This way you will boost your metabolism while you sleep!
  • Eat foods high in B vitamins (Avocados, Beef, Bananas, Tuna, Potatoes, Oats, Brazil Nuts, Legumes, Kefir. ect.)
  • Zinc (Chocolate, Peanuts, Oysters, Pumpkins seeds, Sesame seeds, Tahini ect.)
  • Proteins
  • Go organic
  • High intensity exercise triggers HGH release
  • Get a good nights sleep (deep sleep is when your body produces HGH)
Progesterone Fat Burning Hormone #3:
Progesterone is useful in shedding fat stores as it facilitates the utilization of stored body fat as energy. When your body produces enough Progesterone  it helps you burn an extra 100-300 calories a day! (That’s two of my favorite organic chocolate truffles,…but who’s counting…) When your body does not produce enough of it you overeat. Poor liver function suppresses Progesterone production. Progesterone also helps you to correct estrogen dominance as it does the following:
  • Helps use fat for energy
  • Natural diuretic
  • Normalizes blood sugar levels, thus reducing food cravings
  • Is a natural anti-depressant
  • Essential for proper thyroid function and thus fat burning
  • Delivers more oxygen to the cells
  • Restores sex drive
  • Helps prevent cancer
  • Stimulates bone building
Progesterone Boosters:
  • Reduce stress. Stress greatly reduces Progesterone production in the body. (slow down, do yoga, meditate, breath deeply ect. all are beneficial when it comes to stress reduction.)
  • Avoid products like soy, tofu and soy milk. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, these foods contain natural plant estrogen. More estrogen in your bloodstream enhances estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance causes fat storage and a slow metabolism.
  • Foods containing B vitamins, Zinc and Magnesium boost the body’s ability to produce Progesterone. Eat Yams, Walnuts, Whole Grains, Red Meat, Chicken, Shellfish, Turkey, Turmeric, Thyme and Oregano.
  • Drink warm water with the juice of one organic lemon upon rising to boost liver function. Do this before consuming anything else.
  • Watch processed foods, high refined carb intake, alcohol, medications (Tylenol, Aspirin ect.) and environmental pollutants (household cleaners, perfumes, air fresheners ect.) as they suppress the liver.
Happy Fat Burning!
Watch for my next article on the hormones that make you fat….

The Top 15 Unofficial Golden Rules to Live By

cartoon of guru on mountaintop

So here they are, The Top 15 Unofficial Golden Rules to Live By…according to your non-guru yogi sister Angela..

1. Say “I Love You” to those you care about as often as possible. Look past the petty stuff and blurt those words out as often as you can muster. You can’t say them enough!

2. Remember to say “Thank You”. Let’s face it, you have it goooooooooood! I mean for one thing you are reading my blog, which is a huuuuuuuuuuge! Jokes aside, gratitude is good for you! When you celebrate your blessings you magnify the pleasure you get from life.

3. You are fallible. Everyone is. Get over it!

4. Believe that good will overcome. It always does. Truth prevails.

5. Don’t burn bridges, you never know when you are going to have to take a stroll down the path you came up on.

6. Forgive others so that you may be forgiven. Hatred towards others is hatred for yourself disguised. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Hatred is heavy. Forgiveness is light. Let go!

7. Make your word your bond. If you don’t honor what you say, neither will anybody else.

8. Don’t play the martyr, because you’re not! Everybody has a cross to bear so carry yours with a smile. You might just inspire someone else to do the same.

9. Let your actions speak of your character instead of your words. Don’t say who you are. Be who you are! People who need to brag about themselves rarely live up to the hype.

10. Nice guys finish first. Sure, there are people who will say this isn’t true, and usually they fall into two categories. 1. People who are’t nice. 2. People who think they are nice but are worried they won’t finish first. Problem is, they are both missing the point. Karma catches up with the first kind and frankly the second kind just don’t get it. Doing the right thing is its on reward, and what comes back to you is simply icing on the cake.

11. Be yourself. It’s your story, tell it how you want to. Be different. Be silly. Be amazing! Do it now, and never look back!

12. Be Happy! If finding joy is not enlightenment then it’s pretty darn close!

13. Love! Love till it hurts, love till your heart breaks, and then do it again. Love unconditionally, love wildly, love  because love is all there is. If love is not the meaning of life, I don’t know what is. Love!

14. Don’t listen to the critics. Believe in yourself. Be your own biggest cheerleader. Just because it hasn’t been done doesn’t mean it can’t!

15. Laugh as often and as much as possible.

Vinyasa Yoga Music Playlist: “Tittibasana and Friends” No. 13 (with Link to itunes PING Playlist)

Music for vinyasa yoga! Here is an eclectic mix of upbeat tunes for your “yogaing” pleasure!

This playlist did not provide a link so to access it on itunes please follow this link to my “Sunday Sweat” PING playlist
and then click on ping playlists and you will see it listed as ” Muisc For Yoga: “Tittibasana and Friends” Playlist No. 13.

Om Shantih Shantih Shantih Pattabhi Jois & Robert Musso
Days Ahead Museum of Bellas Artes
Dreamdance Amethystium
Song 2 Nice Cream
Karma Police Easy Star All-Stars & Citizen Cope
Surround Me With Your Love (Mental Overdrive Remix) 3-11 Porter
Love Dog TV On the Radio
Trap Doors Broken Bells
Porcelain Moby
Airport Ride Sean Dinsmore
Mellow Mood Slightly Stoopid
I Might Be Wrong Radiohead
Something to Believe In Debi Nova & Citizen Cope
Hammock Howls
Friend (Sandy Rivera Remix) Silky Sunday
Roads Portishead
Never Heard Nothin’ Galapaghost
Eurydice (ft. Jody Quine) Sleepthief
Lifeline (Barefeet Version) Citizen Cope
Om Prana Rara Avis