1. Getting Fit Using Alternate Exercise

    October 17, 2013

    by Laura Green

    Well, age 34 is just a few months away (much fewer than I would like). The days when I would jog or swim a couple of miles a day are distant, dusty memories. Now, I get out of breath climbing the stairs out of the basement. But, I would like to get back into the healthy department, the question is, where should I start?

    Yoga

    Yeah, I always thought this was an “old lady’s” way of pretending to be in shape. Boy, was I wrong? I first became acquainted with yoga a few years ago when a middle-aged woman I knew – a breast cancer survivor – told me about the flexibility she had gained through yoga. I have never been flexible.

    Another exposure to this form of exercise was when I saw a 93 year old man reach down and touch his toes – with no trouble. He said that he was flexible enough for that because of yoga.

    Let me tell you, yoga is not “sitting funny” and chanting weird stuff. This non-impact exercise regimen has stretched parts of my body that I never thought could bend. It is ability based, so that old back injury from a car wreck is not in the least aggravated by my exercise. Regardless of your physical ability, size, age, and even inclination, you will find that yoga can build your core strength and improve muscle tone. All of this helps your circulation and lowers stress levels, too.

    Yoga doesn’t have to be overexertion, you work your muscles fairly hard and as a result you’re increasing the blood flow through your body. Pranayama, a breathing exercise can increase your heart rate and help supply nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. It all helps to boost your metabolism and everyone knows that a healthy metabolism contributes to the burning of excess weight and in turn will make you fitter.

    Tai Chi

    Tai Chi is a form of fitness more or less a moving type of yoga, You could refer to it as a sort of meditation in motion. The movements are adapted from martial arts and the movements of animals and birds in nature. The movements are arranged in “sets”. The movement is slow and graceful, and meditation is a key part in the exercise, or vital force in the body, to Taoism. But even if you don’t subscribe to the mysticism, Tai Chi is a great way to build your sense of balance and strengthen muscle groups.

    Tai Chi also features breathing exercises, “Qigong” can be practiced sitting, standing or lying down and can help mobilize and relax the body. Tai chi is a great way to reduce stress and increase circulation and muscle tone, a great way to get back into fitness.

    Fitness Retreats

    This is a bit of a different one, I would say the least popular most likely. But when you just don’t have the willpower to get youself doing the previous methods, or even just standard exercise, this is a great way to get fit again. The negative moniker greatly underestimates the good done by spas and camps. A day, a week, or a month at a weight loss clinic or spa can be the jump start for your weight loss and fitness regimen. There are reality shows based on this premise, with coaches that “urge” people to perform physical feats they never before would have attempted.

    However, not all weight loss camps and spas are like that. You’ll find that extreme exercise and dieting is not necessary when you have a little encouragement from a skilled coach and trainer. While the extreme features of televised fat camps may appeal to some, to others, weight loss and fitness just seem further away.

    Alternative exercise can be the perfect way to get back in shape if you haven’t already tried it. Just remember, it’s all about sticking with it, Perhaps getting older won’t be so bad, after all.

     

    Author Bio: Laura Green loves to write about the struggle of weight gain and how to get back into shape. She has recently booked herself an appointment at Yeotown in Devon, a health camp that provides yoga and other great fitness ideas.


  2. Using Yoga and Art to Recover From Trauma

    September 13, 2013

    Yoga and Art for recovery

    by Dr. Jesse Viner

     

    Traumatic events alter the way we function.  Physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally, we operate differently after trauma spikes.  Our bodies hold onto stress, with symptoms like fatigue, high blood pressure, or insomnia as augmented levels of stress hormones, including cortisol and norepinephrine, pulsate through our nervous systems.  We may withdraw from friends and family or displace feelings of anger, guilt, or shame onto those which we hold closest as we struggle in conversation and connection.  Our minds, entangled in distress, hardly focus on daily responsibilities like work, school, or family.  Worry, sadness, or fear consumes our thought patterns.  When trauma hits, we consciously need to focus on restoring balance physically, socially, emotionally and mentally. With reliance on yoga and art as tools for healing, physical, social, emotional, and mental recovery from trauma is possible.

     

    Physical recovery

     

    An abundance of information, detailing yoga’s positive effects for physical health, highlights improvements in flexibility, strength, and endurance.  In addition, to the obvious, outward facing benefits, like a toned body, yoga acts as a catalyst, internally.  Movements that involve twists, like Half Lord of the Fishes Pose or Revolved Side Angle Pose, massage internal organs, allowing for increased blood flow, hormone production, and waste detoxification.  By incorporating daily yoga to combat physical affects of trauma, systems like the nervous system and the endocrine system, resume healthy functioning and restore balance to physical wellness.

    Art improves physical health by allowing for stimulated brain activity.  The brain creates internal paths and forms connections by means of synapses.  Art can be different every time it is attempted, which in turn stimulates synapses to be formed, creating new paths within the central nervous system.  After trauma has occurred, stress can deplete the activity of synapses.  By adding art to recover from trauma, brain stimulation can be restored and the central nervous system will have an easier time coping with stress.

     

    Social and emotional recovery

     

    Our fullest potential to function emotionally and in social situations, stems from a healthy self esteem.  Self esteem suffers greatly as a result of trauma when bullying or victimization occurs. When self esteem lowers, so does our ability to set boundaries with others, accept differences, and handle social conflicts.

    Practicing yoga or art rebuilds self esteem.  Both yoga and art offer creative outlets to explore different mediums, letting us unveil personal strengths and interests or revitalize forgotten talents.

    Yoga practices vary greatly.  From the hot intensity of competitive Bikram yoga to the relaxed, gentle movements of restorative practice, people can find a pace that meets their comfort level. Experimenting with different classes is an excellent way to find a connection in the yoga community, learn new poses, and master mindful meditation. Self esteem may improve as one grows in their personal practice, mastering difficult poses like Dancer Pose or Warrior III.

    Mediums of art differ greatly as well, with options for self discovery. Painting, drawing, sculpting, taking photographs, and playing music helps healing from trauma.  Art allows expression of feelings, without the pressure of putting words to our perception.  Art supplies us with the safety of working through the impact of trauma by broadcasting our feelings through creative measures.  Completing complex tasks, like painting a picture or capturing a stunning visual on film, we feel a sense of accomplishment, thus raising our self esteem.

    By unlocking personal strengths and interests in yoga or art, our sense of self is nurtured.  With a healthy amount of self esteem, we set boundaries, accept differences, and handle social conflict with ease.

     

    Mental recovery

     

    The hardest part of recovering from trauma may be getting your mind back on a healthy track.  Pining over the details forces us to relieve the hurt while restricting us from moving forward.  Practicing yoga or art regularly essentially nourishes our minds with healthy concentrations.  We take control of our thoughts as we turn to our mats or canvasses, giving our minds the mental break we truly deserve.  Choices exist after trauma. Opt for supportive measures like yoga or art to promote the healing process.

     

     

    Dr. Jesse Viner Author Bio: Dr. Jesse Viner, founder of Yellowbrick, is a recognized expert in the treatment of eating disorders, difficulties resulting from trauma and abuse, and bipolar disorder, Dr. Viner has three decades of experience applying the knowledge of psychiatry and psychoanalysis to the challenge of creating meaningful and pragmatically effective treatment programs. Dr. Viner has served as Director of Adult Psychiatry Inpatient Services for Northwestern University Medical School; Medical Director of Four Winds Chicago and Director of University Behavioral Health. He is on the faculty of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis and The Family Institute at Northwestern University. Dr. Viner is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

    Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fiberartgirl/7174488544/

     

     


  3. 7 Most Notable Benefits of Yoga

    August 15, 2013

      benefits of yoga

    Do you frequent the gym and you are looking to expand your fitness horizons?  Are you an exercise newcomer struggling to find a place to start? Are you a yoga skeptic and have never taken the plunge to actually try a class? The truth is, yoga has many benefits and has the potential to bring a whole new level of health and wellness to your life.  Read on to discover seven significant benefits yoga can bring to you and has already brought to countless others. Let’s move past the stereotypes that say yoga is for hippies, people without any sense of athleticism and individuals with the ultimate skills in flexibility.  The fact of the matter is, and has been proven, that yoga is for everyone.

     

    • Optimism Yoga has a natural ability to increase levels of GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter present in the brain which lowers anxiety and gives people a sense of calm and general well being. If you are naturally a more stressed and anxious person, yoga has the potential to truly change the quality of your life by helping you to relax and go about your days more calmly. In a sense, yoga can be a natural form of antidepressant.  Just as depression medications increase GABA levels, so does yoga.

     

    • Pain Relief  When you are in pain, the last thing you are likely thinking about is exercising.  But wait! Incorporating yoga into your life as a part of your daily regimen can actually lower chronic pain.  How? There are “markers” in your body called Cytokines which indicate you are holding inflammation in that area.   After practicing yoga regularly, these cytokines decrease and you are left with less pain. Yoga has also been shown to lessen arthritis and fibromyalgia pain.

     

    • Quality of Sleep Regular yoga practice is known to cure several conditions, some of which include insomnia or abnormal sleeping habits. Yoga helps people to unwind and de-stress at the end of the day. When you feel more relaxed and have a clear mind, getting a quality night’s sleep is much easier.

     

    • Calmness Yoga is often times considered an alternative medicine practice offering a refreshing mind-body healing approach.  Yoga combines physical and mental disciplines to help yogis achieve peacefulness of both body and mind.  Post yoga, you are left feeling relaxed and better able to manage stress and anxiety.

     

    • Posture  Poor posture can be attributed to the presence of many undesirable health conditions such as varicose veins, pinched nerves, heart strain and belly fat.  Many problems related to posture are caused by long hours spent each day at one’s workplace, hunched over a computer.  The good news is, many yoga poses help to counteract your tendency to slouch, increase your body awareness and, in turn, improve your posture.  There was once a (false) belief that yoga actually makes people taller.  While this is not exactly true, yoga can noticeably improve your posture, making you appear taller and thinner. Talk about a nice, simple confidence boost!

     

    • Strength Can yoga build muscle? During a yoga class, you are required to hold your body in positions in which you must support yourself for considerable lengths of time. You build muscle tone by holding and supporting your own body weight, much like you do during conventional strength training exercise. Practicing yoga can lead to improved balance, flexibility, strength and range of motion. With this, you’re at a much lower risk for injuring yourself in other physical activities or in your daily life.

     

    Depending on what you are looking to get out of Yoga, there are many variations of yoga practices that can provide you with the specific benefits you are looking for.  All in all, yoga can be a great addition to any physical fitness routine no matter your fitness level or goals.

     

    This is a guest post by Strauman Chiropractic based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  As the premier Minneapolis chiropractor, Strauman provides auto accident treatment, treatment for herniated discs, holistic care, kinesiology, physiotherapy and whiplash care. 

    Image Credit/Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yogamama-co-uk/3794867064

     


  4. Effective Stress and Anger Management Tips for Ensuring Marital Bliss

    July 3, 2013

    anger management

    by Majid Mireskandai

    There is a common saying that marriages are made in heaven. However, the present scenario with the divorce cases pouring in the legal firms and people frequenting the marriage counselors, the fissures in the conjugal lives of the people are becoming too prominent. It really takes a lot for a marriage to work out. Anger and stress are harmful for any relationship and it is definitely the most abhorred fertilizers that you should not choose to nurture the relationship with your spouse. Do not let your anger flare-ups be the poison killing the bliss in your marital life. The mechanical grind of daily life often makes our head like a pressure-cooker without the safety-valve. Take control of your ego, practice the art of ‘letting go’, befriend your ego, before your marriage hit the rocks.

     

    A Stress Relief Plan

     

    Do you meet your agitated self more than often? If yes, then it is time that you take care of things before it slips away from your hand. The initial months or years of marriage things seem rosy with love and sex life going at great guns. Living under the same proof, getting to know each other too well often makes us to suffer take things for granted. Things begin with small tiffs but if anger becomes a part of your marital diet when kids, work and housekeeping come in the picture, then things can really go haywire. A well-sketched stress relief plan can help you:

    • Without avoiding the reasons that gives you the pangs of anxiety and stress, trace out the causes that triggers stress.
    • Do you respect each other’s opinion and listen to each other? It counts in easing things out, without making you to fly into a rage and create mayhem during a discord
    • Agreed that you do not have to show your love every time. However, make him/ her feel special by simple gestures like cooking, buying a small gift,  a little pampering after a fight which often ends with a steamy session on bed
    • When love seems to disappear, it seems too commonplace, do not let predictability to override. Otherwise the marital discords can lead to such deep fissures in a relationship, which cannot be healed

     

    Choose Words over Silence

     

     If your personality trait and temperament dictate that you have a volatile temper, but that does not give you the license to create domestic violence. The bouts of anger often lead to depression which can hurt you apart from putting your marriage at stake. When you utter something in the heat of the moment, you might not mean it, but it pierces the heart of your partner like a sting. The positive side is that when you howl and let your anger go, things often boils down to making love. However, silence kills, so do not keep shut. You might feel that it is like showing tolerance or the tenacity to bear, but it seems avoidance for your partner who wants you to retort back when he is venting out his suppressed feelings. Retaliate till things take an ugly turn, but do not bank on silence.

     

    Key Points to Remember with Dealing with Marital Stress

     

    Learning the Art of ‘Prioritizing’

     If you have been craving for peace in your married life, do not go much further, look into yourself. Domestic violence not only affects you and your partner; your kids suffer the most apart from your other family members and your neighbors. If you mix up workplace stress with your family life, then it’s a big mistake you are committing. Close all episodes that happened at the workplace before you step inside your home. Do not let alcohol, smoking or any kind of addiction to work as stress buster. Do not binge in too much of junk food. Eat healthy, get proper sleep to bid goodbye to stress and anger.

    Meditation

     Deep breathing, practicing yoga and meditation, empower your mind to face the challenges of life with more vigor. Your anger leading to stress needs to be controlled so that you do not end up creating a ruckus at your place with small issues that become part and parcel of a marital life. The mind needs to rest, feel free and rejuvenated and meditation is one of the best ways to do it.

    The Stress and Anger Management Classes

    If you are fed up with your anger outbursts and leading a stressful life, then there a number of online programs that you can enroll in to bring your life back on track. Domestic violence can play havoc in your life, so before it’s too late, get the help that you require for dealing with stress and anger.

    Moments of Togetherness

    It pays off often, if you listen to your heart. The mind needs to go into oblivion and be in peace. When you feel that things are not going in the right direction with your spouse, with marital tiffs and domestic violence becoming a common thing, go for a vacation. If a trip is not in the cards, chill out in the weekend, be it partying, playing games, gardening, cooking or whatever that tickles you and your partner’s fancy. Spending quality time with each other also helps in feeling more strongly for each other and realizing the importance and worth of your better half in your life.

     

    Author Bio: Majid Mireskandai takes great interest in studying human behavior and love to probe deep into the psychological aspects of individuals. He has shared his insight on domestic violence anger management tips and suggestions in this write-up.

    Image Credit:Petras Gagilas


  5. Yoga Therapy For Addiction

    June 23, 2013

    Yoga Therapy for Addiction

     

    There are many different techniques and methods that can be used to help individuals during recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism. One new type of therapy that makes use of ancient practices is yoga therapy. Participants who use yoga during recovery find that it provides a sense of calm, improves their spiritual connection, and offers them the opportunity to get in shape physically. These benefits are all things that can improve the individual’s life and also greatly assist in recovery.

     

    Yoga Provides Relaxation and Balance between Mind and Body

     

    Yoga helps patients manage their emotions more effectively by promoting relaxation and self-peace. Yoga has been known to decrease depression and anxiety, reduce outbursts of anger and fatigue, and lessen confusion. A core value of yoga is self-control, which is practiced by training the mind to direct the body. Patients who struggle with addiction are able to decrease their compulsive behaviors by practicing yoga. Yoga helps the mind and body to work in synergy, by fostering self-discipline and concentration during movements.

    The overall sense of calm that yoga participants experience helps patients who are in recovery accept the challenge of sobriety, and to patiently work toward a new life. “Yoga and meditation do several things, and perhaps one of the most important is that they allow individuals to cope with stress better,” an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Sat Bir Khalsa, said. “At the core of a lot of addiction is a search for that kind of relief from the stressful world.”

    This type of addiction therapy has been proven to help individuals overcome addiction. Excersize acts as a stress reliever and a mood enhancer, both of which can aid in recovery. Individuals who participate in exercise such as yoga are generally stronger mentally and physically, and even after one session they become more capable of tackling the challenge of sobriety.

     

    Developing an Inner Strength

     

    Yoga also assists in recovery by enabling a patient to connect spiritually with themselves and their god. Yoga encourages participants to focus inwardly and address their underlying issues. The practice of personal assessment and growth allows patients to identify the reasons they fell into addiction. Yoga helps individuals feel empowered to overcome the challenges that lead them to addiction. Like the 12 step method, yoga helps individuals develop an inward strength that comes from being personally and spiritually connected to a higher power.

    One group of residents in yoga therapy in Boston were featured in a NY Times article. They told the newspaper that they are encouraged every day through their program. One instructor tells them every day, “Tap into your breath to deal with the unknown. Whatever hurts, whatever bad energy you have in your life, you can let it go here.”

    Patients respond well to yoga therapy, and the effect is a strong motivation to continue in sobriety. “The teacher always says how you’re a good person and to love yourself. That makes you feel good about yourself, and you want to stay clean,” said one patient.

     

    Author Bio: Bethany is a blogger in recovery who hopes to help those still suffering with their addiction.

    Image Credit: Angela Kukhahn (flickr.com/photos/kukhahnyoga/6052362466)


  6. Discover Your Dharma or How I Quit My Job

    May 26, 2013

    discover your dharma

    by Luba Kholov

    “O Indra, lead us on the path of Rta, on the right path over all evils”

    10th mandala of the Rigveda

     

    Dharma is an ancient Sanskrit term. It’s literal meaning is “that which upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe” It sounds a bit New Agey, but in essence it means the purpose of one’s life. It doesn’t mean the final destination, but the path one takes. The Law of Dharma means awakening oneself and using person’s unique talents to serve the humanity.

    How do you discover your Dharma? You don’t have to ask anyone about it, because you already have the answer. All answers are within you. If you are unable to hear your inner voice, that is the problem you have to solve.

    People started thinking about Dharma concept thousands of years ago and still think about it to this day – of course, if they have time. Most of us just don’t have the luxury of free time and thinking of Dharma isn’t our top priority… We don’t think about the meaning of life. We need to pay bills, finish assignments on time, satisfy a lover, build our career or take care of the kids.  By society’s definition, you need to be on top of all of these aspects of life and perform well in every regard in order to be successful, worthy and respected. Yet, as a result, people get sick, depressed and exhausted. Why? If you have ever spent a day commuting via the New York City subway system, you definitely understand what I’m talking about.

     

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  7. Yoga poses for Calming your Mind

    May 16, 2013

    Yoga poses for Calming your Mind

    Yoga poses are called asanas in Sanskrit. They are positions in yoga that help in the overall, harmonious well-being of the body and mind.

    These postures help in increasing the body’s flexibility and over time can be an efficient way to lose weight and tone the body. They also help in increasing our power of concentration and help us relax. Yoga embraces all individuals. People of all ages can perform these asanas. Yoga has no side effects. Only care needs to be taken to ensure that very young children and aged persons do not hold the yogic postures for very long. Pregnant women and menstruating women must also avoid practicing yoga. A trained yoga instructor is also very essential to be able to learn the right way of doing yoga.

    Asanas can be of different types. Seated asanas, Standing asanas, Core asanas, Back Bend asanas, Arm Balance asansas, Twisted asanas, Inversion asanas, Supine asanas and Relaxation asanas. Thus there are asanas for the entire body – from head to toe. These asanas are combined with specialized breathing techniques for maximum effect.

    A few important points have to be kept in mind before performing them. The stomach should be empty. The mind should be relaxed. The body at no point should be trembling. No external force must be applied to the body and the breathing needs to be extremely controlled. Yoga has to be performed on the floor but it is necessary to have either a yoga mat or a towel to protect from shocks and injury. For best results asanas must be done on a regular basis, that is, for at least 45 minutes every day.

    The core asana in different schools of yoga is the Surya Namaskar or the Sun salutation. This Sun Salutation is a holistic asana that blends twelve different poses into one long exercise that has a positive impact on the entire body.

    Warm up poses in yoga are very important as they prepare the body for the yoga session. The main warm-up poses include eye exercises, neck exercises, shoulder stretches and lifts and the Cat Pose or Bidalasana.

    standing - Yoga poses for Calming your Mind

    Seated poses are the classic postures that are beneficial for relaxation, but also have other curative powers. The main seated poses include the Easy pose or Sukhasan, the Child Pose, the Lotus Pose, the Hero Pose, the Garland Pose, the Seated Forward Bend pose and Full Boat pose.

    Standing poses make you aware of your body and posture and form the root of body balance and body alignment. The Tadasan or the Mountain Pose is the root of all standing asanas. Other basic standing poses include the Tree Pose, the Warrior Pose, the Chair Pose, the Triangle Pose, the Crescent Moon Pose, the Half Moon Pose, the Standing Forward Bend Pose and the Hands to Feet pose.

    Supine poses are essentially those asanas that are performed with the back on the floor. The Pavanamuktasan or the Wind Relieving pose, the leg raises, the leg pulls and the leg reclining lunge are main supine poses.

    The Dog Pose, the Bow Pose, The Bridge Pose, The Cobra Pose, the Wheel Pose, the Locust Pose and the Fish Pose are the main Backward Bend asanas. They help in fortifying the back and spine, increase flexibility. They also give a good stretch to the limbs. Those with back problems should refrain from doing these or should consult a trained specialist before attempting them.

    Backward Bend - Yoga poses for Calming your Mind

    Twisted poses are mainly beneficial for the back and spine, but also help in abdominal stretching. The Sage twist or the Marichyasana and the half spinal twist or Ardha Matsyendrasana are main Twisted asanas.

    Balance poses and Inverted poses such as the Head Stand, Shoulder Stand,
    Hand Stand, the Crane Pose and the Plough Pose help in increasing bodily balance and also strengthen targeted body parts. These are very often very advanced poses that can be performed after having followed a rigorous yoga program

    The Cool down poses or the Relaxing poses help finish off the session and help in calming the mind and making the mind one with the body. They are also called regenerative poses. The Savasan or the Dead Corpse pose and the Final Corpse pose are the main finishing poses.  For details for yoga poses kindly visit http://www.yogawiz.com/yoga-poses.html

    Images Credit: Lululemon Athletica


  8. The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

    May 12, 2013

    Yoga for seniors

    by Jamica Bell

    Yoga has become increasingly popular over the last decade. In addition, it has also been proven to provide health benefits for people of all ages. In fact, there are now specialized classes available for two drastically different age groups: senior citizens and infants. The senior classes place an emphasis on obtaining positions that will help reduce feelings of fatigue, pain and stress. By enrolling in one of these classes, mature adults will be taught about the best yoga positions for their specific needs.

    According to wellness experts, there are several poses that work best for seniors: One-Legged Wind Releasing Pose, Staff Pose, Chair Pose, V Seated Forward Bend in a Chair, V Pose, and Relaxation Pose.

    Individuals interested in obtaining the positive health benefits associated with yoga should sign up for a yoga class as long as their doctor agrees that they are physically capable of starting a new exercise routine.

    The Perks of Doing Yoga

    This 5000 year old art form provides many physical benefits for those who participate in it on a regular basis, but it also offers several emotional benefits as well. Yoga is well-known as an exercise that provides people with a cathartic release from any pent-up emotions, making it ideal for anyone struggling with depression. In fact, many doctors will recommend yoga as an alternative treatment for certain physical and emotional ailments, and most people report positive results. The following attributes are just a few of the physical benefits of this peacefully exercise:

    • Aids in control of blood sugar in diabetes patients
    • Improves respiratory function
    • Improves arthritis pain
    • Boost bone density and prevents osteoporosis
    • Enhances balance
    • Fosters sleep quality
    • Diminishes pain

    Choosing the Right Class for You

    Whether you prefer an environment that is candlelit and meditative or instructional with higher impact, there are many options for whatever class best fit your personality If you want to take a yoga class with people in your age range, you can call a local yoga school and ask them if they offer a senior course. Additionally, if you are currently utilizing the services of an assisted living provider, you can ask them to help you find the best yoga options in the area. Major cities may provide mental wellness programs that may be more accessible than some rural cities. For example, senior living Birmingham communities have made great strides to ensure the senior citizens in their locale have ample access to quality mental wellness.

    What Should I Expect?

    When you first begin doing yoga, you can expect to have a little bit of difficulty getting into some of the poses, but your instructor will help you position your body correctly. As with any other new exercise program, it is possible that you will feel sore the next day. However, if you stick with it, you will soon begin to experience the many rewards of doing yoga.

    Is Yoga for Me?

    Anyone who wants to feel better both physically and mentally should definitely consider enrolling in a yoga class. If you are feeling hesitant because it has been a long time since you have enrolled in an exercise program or if you have never been physically active, it is important for you to remember that it is never too late to change your life. By signing up, you have made the first step to get in better touch with yourself and your spirituality. There are yoga courses that are designed for all experience levels, and a professional instructor can also work with several different physical limitations to ensure that you get the most out of the experience.

    Yoga’s popularity has grown so quickly because so many people have discovered that it truly helps them in several different ways. To take advantage of this lower intensity workout to improve your life, you should consult with an assisted living provider, hospital, or doctor’s office for a list of schools that offer senior classes.

     

    Author Bio: Jamica Bell is a contributing writer for several blogs and is an advocate for health and wellness. Chateau Vestavia is a senior living Birmingham community dedicated to providing wellness, comfort, and peace of mind to its residents and their loved ones. In addition to assisted living, they also provide independent living and memory care.

    Image Credit: yogamama.co.uk

     


  9. Discover The Power And Benefits Of Meditation

    March 23, 2013

    meditation

    Image Credit: Cornelia Kopp

    by Regina Sutherfield

    Meditation is the practice of calming the mind and focusing on stillness in order to relax, soothe the spirit and gain balance. Anyone who is looking for a way to get in touch with their inner self, find peace and serenity and develop the power to tackle life’s problems can benefit from this ancient practice.
    Meditating comes in many different forms but the most important thing to remember is that is simple to accomplish. Different people offer insights into various techniques and methods, and there is no right or wrong way to go about meditating. Some people practice for hours a day while others just need 15 minutes to get in touch with their spirit and develop a sense of peace and calm.

    The aim of meditation is to let go of thoughts, worries, anxieties, fears and doubts and just simply relax and empty the mind.

    The benefits of meditation

    Meditation has limitless benefits that can range from relaxing and unwinding from a long day to addressing health issues or deep emotional scars. Learning the various techniques can help anyone to connect with their spirit and discover the treasure of peace and wellness that lies deep within.

    Meditation can reduce stress an anxiety as well as promote better health. Many sufferers of chronic pain, high blood pressure and other ailments report feeling better after spending a few minutes a day quieting their minds and touching their souls.

    Whether using candles or relaxing music, creating a special place that is free from distraction and full of tranquility can promote a more focused and intentional experience.

    The Best Practices

    One of the great things about meditation is there are no wrong or right methods. What works for one person is not necessarily the best option for another. Some popular techniques to choose from include:

    -Deep and slow breathing.
    -Repetitive chanting.
    -Sitting on a mat or the floor with legs crossed and focusing on a candle.
    -Closing the eyes and concentrating attention on a particular tranquil image or scene.

    Adding quiet music or scented candles can also help to create an environment that will help to calm the mind and refresh the spirit. Anyone who wants to awaken their soul, honor their body and learn how to be in the moment can find effective techniques by attending classes, using at home videos, and researching tactics online.

     

    Meditation Is a Discipline

    One of the biggest obstacles that people face when learning how to meditate is developing the discipline of being still and at peace. It takes practice and commitment, but a whole new realm of possibilities can be awakened once it is mastered. Meditation should be a fulfilling exercise, and the only way to unlock its true potential is to try different methods until the right ones are discovered.

    Learning from some of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time can be helpful with finding the right techniques that will be easy to put into practice.  Meditation can improve mental well-being and can be effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression.
    The keys to peace, health lie within us. Dedicating a few minutes every day to be still and simply “be” can unlock your hidden potential while promoting balance and overall well-being.

     

    Author Bio: Regina Sutherfield practices yoga and meditation to improve her psychological and physical well-being.  She wrote this article on behalf of Gaiam TV, an online healthy lifestyle service that provides streaming videos for guided yoga and meditation practice.


  10. Yoga Brings Positivity in You

    March 7, 2013

    More and more people are doing the downward dog than ever before. But just what are the benefits of yoga on positive thinking? And how can you incorporate yoga into a healthy holiday? Matt Lindley gives you the lowdown here…

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    The psychological and physiological benefits of yoga

     

    Yoga to keep fit: For a lot of people, yoga is one of the very best things that you can do to feel good. The physical benefits are obvious. Yoga can help you relieve back pain, increase physical fitness, lung capacity and flexibility. Because yoga is all about deep breathing and stretching, it increases the oxygen supply to different parts of the body, which helps to ease tension and improve circulation.

    To relieve stress: But more than that, yoga is accepted by most psychologists as an effective complimentary therapy for all kinds of stress-related disorders. Psychological conditions like depression, anxiety, cardiac disease and high blood pressure can be alleviated with regular yoga practice.

    How, you may ask? Yoga encourages you to focus on your breath and your body, which brings you back to the present moment and stops you worrying about the past and the future. Yoga makes you feel more comfortable in yourself, more motivated and less affected by the outside world. It helps you focus on positive aspects of life and is a major contributor to your psychological well-being.

    Yoga and psychotherapy: In the US, psychologists and psychotherapists have been using yoga as a compliment to talk therapy. The idea is that it’s not only the mind but also the body that needs to be worked on. “Talk therapy such as cognitive-behavioural therapy  can be helpful in finding problem-solving strategies and understanding your own strengths and what’s happening to you, but there are times when you just need to kind of get moving and work through the body,” says Melanie Greenberg, PhD, a psychologist at Alliant International University.

    To be part of a group: Taking part in group yoga sessions can foster a sense of belonging and of being a part of something much bigger than just yourself. This is really positive. It’s a collective experience of everyone moving together, breathing together and in the end relaxing together that is rarely experienced elsewhere.

    A yoga-informed outlook: Simply incorporating the principles of yoga into your everyday life – compassion, non-judgement, spirituality and the connection between all living things – is likely to make you feel less stressed and improve your mental health.

    Enjoy practicing yoga at a yoga retreat?

     

    If you practice regularly, going on a yoga retreat could be the perfect healthy holiday to recharge your batteries.

    Practising twice a day in a new environment will help you break free of old patterns and familiar routines, at the same time as deepening awareness of your body.

    Spending time away from the distractions of modern society will help you find peace with yourself and inspire you to live a healthier lifestyle when you return home.

    Here are five great yoga retreat ideas around the world:

    Tilton House, UK

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    Set in the idyllic rolling hills of the South Downs in Sussex, Tilton House (www.tiltonhouse.co.uk) regularly hosts weekend Hatha sessions for all in their yurt. Included in the package is comfy accommodation, food, massages and country walks. Its close proximity to London makes Tilton House an excellent addition on a trip to the capital. See HotelClub for London accommodation (www.hotelclub.com/United-Kingdom/London-hotels).

    The Yoga Farm, Costa Rica

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    Yoga retreats don’t come much more picturesque than The Yoga Farm (www.yogafarmcostarica.org) near Pavone, Costa Rica. As well as yoga sessions on a deck overlooking the ocean, the centre offers surfing lessons and two healthy vegetarian meals per day. Yoga Farm is completely off grid with solar panels, a garden for growing their own food and eco-friendly accommodation.

    Les Passeroses, France

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    Les Passeroses (www.passeroses.com) near Angouleme in south-west France is the perfect retreat for anyone wanting to practise Iyengar yoga in a rustic, rural setting. The light and airy converted barn yoga space has been voted by some teachers as their favourite place to take classes. A typical day will involve two sessions of yoga, meditation and as many philosophical discussions and cups of chai tea as you wish.

    Yoga Barn, Bali

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    In the mountain village of Ubud, Bali, visitors can enjoy a spiritual retreat in one of Asia’s most enchanted hideaways (www.theyogabarn.com). The centre runs seven yoga classes per day – ranging from Yin Yoga to Ashtanga – in two mud-walled studios overlooking the rice paddies. You are free to pick and choose the ones that suit you. An on-site café serves mainly raw-vegan foods, ensuring you’ll eat well and feel healthy on your trip.

    Lotus Yoga Retreat, Goa

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    Situated right on Goa’s beautiful Patnem Beach, Lotus Yoga Retreat (www.lotus-yoga-retreat.com) is the perfect getaway for ocean lovers looking to unwind in a natural, peaceful setting. The retreat contains at least two yoga classes per day, along with accommodation in bamboo huts and vegetarian buffet meals. Guests are encouraged to book a massage or explore Goa’s sacred temples and colourful markets in their free time.