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Benefits of Yoga to Weight Loss and To You

Yoga evolved over 5000 years ago. This well-known activity literally involves physical exercise combined with meditation. Statistics carried out in the USA show that 11 million Americans practice yoga and they eventually end up gaining lots of health benefits that come with practicing yoga. This indicates that yoga is a practice performed by many people and is very beneficial to health. One of its health benefits to the body is helping people lose weight. Here are some of the benefits of yoga that can help in weight loss.

Yoga and weight loss

Some people doubt the effectiveness of yoga in losing weight but the fact is yoga can be used as a great technique for losing weight. All you need to do is to have regular and gentle yoga exercises and be fond of consuming well-balanced diet meals and living a healthy life. 

Yoga is easy to adapt

Yoga is safe, inviting and very effective when carried out in the right manner. It is also very easy to be adapted at a personal level. Since it is gentle, it can motivate you to be aggressive and more persistent in carrying out the proper yoga exercises, which can eventually translate to weight loss.

Yoga helps with toning your muscles

The practice of yoga involves intense body poses that help to strengthen the muscles. The activity overall proved very effective for weight loss since it improves the rate of metabolism by burning out excess fat in the body.

Yoga makes your body flexible

Yoga practice helps you to become flexible in your body movements. This practice also improves your posture and makes your muscles stronger, which contributes to enhanced flexibility. In this way, you can lose weight more easily as you exercise on a daily basis.

Yoga Reduces stress

Breathing and meditation techniques help to calm your mind and decrease anxiety, depression, and stress. When your stress levels are reduced, the stress hormone cortisol is also reduced, making the body to burn down fats rather than storing them. The resultant effect will be a healthier body.

Apart from weight loss, yoga is very important to your body and mind. The following are benefits of yoga:

  • It helps to create a connection between your body and mind. Yoga practice such as breathing techniques and physical poses help the body to be in harmony with the mind, as the exercises require both mental and physical awareness.
  • Yoga creates self-awareness, which helps you to understand how your body works. The self-awareness will dictate how you think and make you optimistic about every decision you make, your diet and lifestyle. This will make you lead a healthy life.
  • Yoga relieves stress that you encounter in your daily life. It helps you to disconnect from the stressful world and creates a sense of happiness as you practice it.
  • Yoga creates in you a sense of worthiness which makes you appreciate who you are. As you concentrate and meditate during yoga sessions, your mind and thoughts are shaped so that you can view yourself as important. This makes you feel good about yourself as it alleviates low self-esteem.
  • Yoga improves the efficiency of your digestive system. Stretching your muscles and taking a healthy organic diet can help to alleviate irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, and constipation.

Yoga for Mindfulness

Yoga for mindfulness simply means allowing yourself to take a moment to breathe and truly be present with yourself and your surroundings. We go around our day and we have so much chatter going on in our minds. We worry about work, life, children, family and sometimes we just need to stop our minds from all the chatter

We need to breathe relax and dedicate some time for our own wellbeing and state of peace. Even for just 15 minutes allow yourself to practice yoga and stay present in the moment. Allow all the thoughts of fear, negativity, worry, and stress simmer down. Release what no longer serves you and breathe in positivity and love. 

Yoga improves your concentration. Part of mindfulness is having the control to stay on task and not let your thoughts wander. By focusing on your breath in yoga you are strengthening your focusing skills, which will enhance every area of your life. To practice yoga mindfully you must bring your attention back to your body and to your breathing. If you are tense the whole way through your yoga workout then you were not being mindful and you can actually build more stress this way. 

Here are some poses and exercises that assist in cultivating a state of mindfulness 

Breathing Exercise – Come onto your yoga mat in a seated position and cross your legs in a pose called easy pose. Close your eyes. Take your hands onto your ribcage, close your eyes and just start by breathing into the belly into the ribs then exhale feeling those ribs contract. Inhale again while deepening that breath. Exhale release. Repeat this process thinking about fling your lungs with oxygen. Bring your awareness to this present moment on your mat. Let all those thoughts clear away.
Reach your hand up to the sky on an inhale and take a big side stretch. Make sure that both sit bones are grounded and feel a nice lengthening sensation through the side of your body. Repeat on the other side. Remember to focus on the breath and staying present with your body. 

Mindful Child’s Pose – Fromtabletop pose bring the big toes to touch. Press the mat away from you, pull the belly in and reach the arms straight out in child’s pose. This is a great pose to ground a very busy mind. Focus on releasing all the weight down towards the floor.

Bound Angle Pose – Take your stress into your own hands with this next exercise. Sit up on your mat and bring the soles of the feet together. Interlace your fingers and slide them underneath the feet or grab the ankles. Make sure to widen your collarbone. Take the top of your shoulders and roll them back and down. Bring the chin parallel to the floor.

Neck Rotations
– Maintain the length of your spine as you gently draw the chin in towards the chest. On your next exhale gently roll your head, letting your ear move towards one shoulder. Inhale back to center and then roll the opposite ear to the other shoulder. Repeat these half neck rotations to let go of any tension in this area. Pause anywhere that you feel tension and actively send the breath to these places to relax that muscle and negative energy.

Using Affirmations to Change Thoughts

I once found a chart online that had a number of affirmations for each chakra. These affirmations were aimed at balancing each chakra and healing them. This is done by changing limiting beliefs that can be associated with stagnation and blockages in each chakra. You may begin by sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position, wearing a loose-fitting yoga shirt and yoga pants or whatever is comfortable for you. Sometimes, if you are having trouble feeling the affirmation become true in your heart, you may find it beneficial to look in the mirror while repeating them.

Begin by saying the affirmation out loud. You may find on the first repetition the words seem like you are telling yourself a lie. That is okay. Repeat it at least three times or until you notice a shift in your body. Maybe you notice that the first repetition brings about a lot of resistance. My body would feel tight, and my mind would begin to quickly try to think of all the reasons why this affirmation is not true. I focused on the words and on the breath. By the third repetition, I found that my body would release. If you find you are still feeling resistance from the third repetition, continue until you feel your body and mind relax. Choose the affirmations to practice that you find yourself resisting most as they likely represent the area needed most for healing. It is often the lower three chakras that people are needing to heal the most–the root, sacral, and solar plexus.

The Muladhara (root) chakra is responsible for survival and self-preservation. If you are finding difficulties in your sense of safety, trust and love in yourself, this is a great chakra to focus on. The affirmations that you can choose from including the following:

  • I am connected to my body.
  • I feel safe and secure.
  • Just like a tree or a star, I deserve to be here.
  • I have what I need.
  • I nurture my body with healthy food, clean water, exercise, relaxation, and connection to nature.
  • I am open to possibilities.
  • I trust myself.
  • I love life.

The svadhisthana (sacral) chakra is connected to movements, connections, and our emotions. If you are experiencing difficulties in processing an emotion, either feeling blocked or over-emotional, this may be a good place to focus on. Some affirmations for this chakra include the following:

  • I love and enjoy my body
  • Emotions are the language of my soul.
  • I am at peace.
  • I feel pleasure and abundance with every breath.
  • I am open to touch and closeness.
  • I allow myself to experience pleasure.
  • My sexuality is sacred.

The manipura (solar plexus) chakra is the center of our will, our determination, and our confidence. If you are feeling blocked in your confidence in yourself or are alternatively overidentifying with your ego and role in the material world, this could be an area to focus your healing with an intention of balance. Some affirmations to practice include the following:

  • I stand up for myself.
  • I choose healthy relationships.
  • I feel my own power.
  • I am free to choose in any situation.
  • I seek opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
  • I am worthy of love, kindness, and respect.

Through using these affirmations, you are not only rewiring your brain to believe these thoughts, you are also manifesting the future that you want and need. You are changing your thoughts and your destiny!

Bikram Yoga

Yoga, an ancient practice, has been around for more than five thousand years. Having originated from India, it has spread around the entire world over the last two centuries, making it popular in almost all countries. It has become a multi-billion dollar industry and, year after year, more and more people are accepting it as a way of life. Having evolved into many variations, it sometimes becomes difficult to choose which form of yoga to practice. The most common being the Bikram yoga, hatha yoga, and transcendental meditation. The question now is: “Which form of yoga should I practice, say, when I want to lose weight, be at one with myself or even as a form of cardio exercises?”

Bikram yoga, commonly referred to as hot yoga, is an art synthesized from hatha yoga by Bikram Choudhury which became popular in the early 1970s. It entails a series of body postures and movement combined with Pranayama in a room with temperatures ranging from 35 – 40 degrees Celsius. The classes are also recommended to have a humidity of around 40%.

For tutors, it is a must to have acquired certification from Bikram Choudhury. It means that one can only be taught this form of yoga by Choudhury or one of his past students. It has led to this type of yoga maintaining its original form, hence gaining popularity around the world. The teachers are taught a standardized dialogue to run classes. However, they are also encouraged to develop their own strategies based on their personalities and the nature of class they are having. 

The number one benefit of this type of yoga is that it helps in weight reduction. A lot of adherents require a fast weight loss process. It has been proven to work wonders for this type of situation, and this has also contributed to its growth.

The practice follows 26 asanas, which must be adhered to and followed in order. Classes usually last around 90 minutes. The sequence of these asanas and pranayamas, if taught properly, can offer the following benefits:

  • Improved Cardio Health. It is as a result of the aggressive nature of the exercise. It enhances the blood circulation in the body and helps prevent heart disease which is vital for those who may be susceptible to heart attacks
  • Weight Loss. Combination of exercises, a hot environment, and yoga postures contribute to weight loss
  • Prevents back pain
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps with toxic cleansing from the body as a result of sweat excreted

Caution should be taken when practicing Bikram yoga. People who have asthma should not take this form of yoga. It is because of the unbearable heat associated with this type of yoga. Medical advice should also be sought in cases where accidents occur during practice.

Home Made Beauty Products

With the possible chemical effects that cosmetics might have on sensitive skin, we’ve listed some homemade beauty solutions that are safe and can be prepared with ingredients that are readily available.

These are easy to prepare, suitable for all types of skin and will not be expensive either.


Cleansers

Cleansing is the first step in maintaining healthy skin. A regular skin cleansing routine may be necessary because of our constant exposure to dirt. Polluted air causes dirt, sweat, and dust particles to get inside our pores; thus the cause of many skin disorders. Since every skin type is different, the effects of many beauty products will also differ. Below are some organic cleansers that you can prepare at home.

Gram Flour Cleanser: You can mix gram flour with milk and some curd and mix it into a smooth paste. Apply this evenly to your face and cleanse your skin with circular round movements all over your face. Gently massage it and then wash it off with cool water. 

Tomato Cleanser: Use a whole tomato’s extract and add a teaspoon of lime juice. Mix it evenly, apply it on your face and keep it on for 10 minutes. You might experience a tingling sensation when you can gently massage that area of your skin. Rinse it with cold water afterwards. To add, this cleanser recipe can also be stored in the fridge for future use.

Scrubs

Scrubs act as a second step to your skincare routine. They provide a second level deeper cleansing which targets the dead skin cells.

Sugar Face Scrub: Mix evenly a tablespoon of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Apply it on your face and neck and massage it in a circular motion for a few minutes. Afterwards, you may rinse it off with warm water.

Blueberry and Honey Scrub: Use a half cup of blueberries, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 – 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix all the ingredients in a blender and make it into a paste. Apply a generous amount of paste on your face and neck and leave it on for 15 minutes giving it gentle massages. You may easily rinse it off with warm water after. 

Peach Scrub: Peach contains alpha hydroxyl acids that work great as a mild exfoliator. Simple rub a slice a peach on your face and neck using circular movements. While doing so, ensure that the peach pulp and juice is getting soaked by your skin. Keep the juices on for 5 minutes till your skin becomes dry. Then, wash it with warm water. Use this scrub often as you want to get a clearer complexion and fewer blackheads. 

Face Masks

Face Masks provide the ultimate glow for a healthy skin after deep cleansing and exfoliation. They also act as natural whiteners. As a rule of thumb, before using any face mask always ensure that your skin is dry. 

Potato Mask: For clear skin, free from pigmentation and skin tan, this mask will come to your rescue. It is rich in Vitamin C with other vitamins, protein and iron contents. Use 1 tablespoon of mashed potato paste and a half tablespoon of curd. Mix it into a paste and apply it evenly all over your face and keep it for 15 minutes or until it is dried. Rinse it off with cold water afterwards. 

Cooling Mask: Combining mint, oatmeal, sandalwood powder, and rosewater work great as a cooling face mask. Soak the oatmeal in warm water for 10 minutes before blending all the ingredients and making it into a paste. Apply it evenly and keep it on for 15 minutes or until dried. The cooling agents in these ingredients will provide a healthy and glowing skin.

Best Summer Yoga Tips

The summer days may be warm and distracting at times because of numerous activities that arise. In some places, rising mercury prompts many people to stay confined to the indoors and chill out at night only. Ironically, the yoga schedule for yoga enthusiasts gets a big jolt as they often shun following their old routine. However, for a keen yoga follower, summertime is just another season to chill out with yoga. A yogi needs to bend a few rules to adjust to the summertime.

Summer Yoga Tips
During the summer months, doing regular yoga is a must for stretching out. Even 15 minutes is good to keep your body flexible. Yoga asana and pranayama bestow the body and mind with good health in all seasons. Here are a few great tips for you to continue doing yoga this summer.

Time to practice outdoor: The winter months are gone and so is the lovely warmth indoors, where practicing yoga was fun. However, you cannot rule out the advantages of practicing yoga in the open air where you have the advantage of the sun beating on you and feeding you a good dose of vitamin D. Sweating will detoxify and rejuvenate your body. The asana will offer some real time body conditioning.

Pranayama

Summer heat can take a toll on your body. However, there are a few ways one can beat the heat through Pranayama. Pranayama is a yogic variation done with breathing. Shitali and Sheetkari pranayama are best to counter the heat. In this pranayama yogi, breathe through the mouth. This is almost like the hissing of a python, as it takes the deep breaths to suck small animals into its mouth.

Shitali and Sheetkari pranayama are very useful for cooling down the body and mind. There is only a slight difference between the two. In Shitali pranayama, yogis fold the tongue and breathe through the mouth, whereas in Sheetkari, you inhale through clenched teeth. You need to inhale deeply through the mouth and make a hissing sound, then exhaling through the nostrils. Repetition of this process is required eight to ten times, giving way to a welcome cool freshness.

Benefits: This not only cools down the body and mind but also controls your blood pressure and helps in indigestion. This is good for normalizing fever and alleviating gum disease, throat, and other mouth-related diseases. Furthermore, it is an anti-depressant and a stress-buster. This method also reduces thirst levels, especially when you do not have immediate access to refreshments. 

Tips 

Hydrate yourself: In the summer months, the more you hydrate yourself, the better it is for your metabolism. You need to avoid artificially flavored drinks and try consuming natural fruit juices and lemon squeezed in water, which is great for your system.

Control the nerves: When the summer heat bothers you and tests your tolerance, it is the time to try a breathing technique, known as ‘Chandrabhedi’ pranayama. By using this technique, you can reduce stress levels and channel positive energy. This begins by opening your mouth, clenching your teeth, pressing your tongue over your teeth and breathing in. Then close your mouth and exhale through your nose eight to ten times which will help you cool substantially.

Wear light and cool clothing: Dressing comfortably is the key to a good yoga session. Wearing comfortable yoga shorts or crop tops is the most suitable for a variety of poses. Poses like the crow pose can be done with ease when you wear a pair of airy yoga shorts.

The Shavasana or corpse posture also relaxes and refreshes body and mind during the warmer months.

How to Do the Perfect Fire Log Pose

The fire log pose is a seated asana that stretches your hips and improves your overall posture. Some of you might know it by its English name, which is “knee-to-ankle-pose.” It is called the fire log pose due to the position in which you will be required to keep your legs stacked one on top of the other just like bonfire logs. Here are some tips, steps, and instructions to help you perfect this asana.

Fire Log Pose Steps & Instructions

Begin from a sitting position while keeping your legs extended at first. Align your body and maintain a straight spine. For the moment, you can rest your arms at your sides. Then, bend the right knee while placing it as close to your chest as possible. The right ankle should be in a rested position right above your left kneecap. Don’t forget about your other leg! Bend your left knee as well and slide the left shin beneath your right one. In the end, the left ankle should go directly under your right knee. If you’re flexible enough, both your shins should be parallel to the mat’s top edge. Also, shins should form a 90-degree angle with your thighs. Flex your feet a little more and don’t forget to press them through your heels. Another important detail is to maintain your toes spread at all times.

Push your groins and lower abdominal area toward the floor. Sit up as straight as you can and lengthen your torso’s front part. Your fingertips must remain in a resting position on the yoga mat or on the floor. Those of you who are more experienced can even raise the arms, bend your elbows, and put your palms together like in a prayer. 

Finishing Up the Pose & Releasing It

Soften your face and relax your facial muscles. Bring the focus on your third eye, which is that small space in between your eyebrows. Hold the fire log pose for about a minute and then come out of it slowly. You can do that by gently lengthening your legs. Repeat this asana with your other leg on top. 

Additional Tips

During this pose, your pelvic area should remain in a neutral position. To do this, try to balance your body weight on both your sit bones.

Don’t favor one single side of your body. Make sure to alternate the legs and maintain the asana on each side for the same time length.

Pay attention to your body alignment: from your head’s crown to your spine tailbone, every part of your back should be in a perfect vertical posture.

Open your chest by closing up the gap between your shoulder blades. Your torso’s front part must remain long and your collarbones should be broad. Don’t hunch your shoulder. 

Putting It All Together

The fire log pose targets your hip flexors, but your hamstrings, calves, lower back, and glutes are also engaged even though they are targeted to a lesser degree. This asana will relax you and will release tension from your muscles. Make sure to maintain the proper posture throughout the entire pose. Let us know how well it worked for you given the fact that you followed our guidelines.

What is Earthing?

Earthing, also known as Grounding, is the basic practice of absorbing the Earth’s energy through direct physical connection of its surface. The Earth receives its electric energy from the sun and lightening that strikes its surface, which essentially creates a Bio-Battery. We humans also have electric energy (electrons) that run through our bodies; by connecting with the earth one on one, we allow the energy to fill up our stores and keep our energy full.

It is important to reconnect with Mother Earth by not confining ourselves indoors and remembering that it is in our biological composition to be exposed to nature. As we are living organisms, just like the plants and animals that live on Earth, our bodies need to receive neutralizing electrons that only the earth can provide in order for us to properly maintain our bodies.

How Do We Connect?

One of the simplest ways to connect with the earth is to slip off your socks and shoes and walk around barefoot on the grass, in water, or on any other natural foundation (including concrete, as it is a conduit for the electric energy). Try to connect one on one with the Earth for a good half hour.

Benefits to Earthing

By allowing our feet to be connected directly to the natural foundations outside, or even indoors to the grounded, conductive systems, we allow for the possible relief of symptoms related to stress, insomnia, inflammation, pain, and more. Just as sunlight, healthy food, and physical activity benefits our bodies, so does allowing the electric energy that flows through our body to be neutralized in the most natural way, through our connection to Mother Earth.

The Top 5 Benefits of Earthing

Your Immune System benefits from a fresh supply of neutralized electrons. The electrons that flow from the earth allow for us to receive one of the strongest amounts of antioxidants possible to flow through our body.

Sleep is such a crucial factor in how we function throughout the day. When we ground ourselves with the Earth, we allow our biorhythms, including our cardiac rhythms, to synchronize within our bodies which, in turn, regulates our sleep patterns.

A higher level of cortisol is directly linked with our levels of stress, connecting with the earth lowers these levels, which then lowers our risk for abdominal fat. Lowered cortisol also means increasing the anti-aging properties.

Technology is rapidly increasing and is consistent in our everyday life. We are so bombarded with it constantly that we are polluted with its unnatural electronic waves that run through our body. Earthing helps clean our body of these pollutants. Our bodies will naturally have more energy, allowing for us to heal and repair any damage.

As humans, we are always drawn to nature, we take vacations to get away from the office, we go for walks in the forest to reconnect with nature and with ourselves. Although we may not always be able to take that special vacation we always dream of, we can always reconnect with the outdoors in the simplest ways, from going for a walk, to watching the sun set. Explore the world outside and find the numerous ways can connect with Mother Earth.

Meditation 101

 

The whole concept of meditation is being swept up into such a huge hype right now. Celebrities, athletes and probably some of your friends are all talking about it. You’ve probably heard a lot about it but maybe you’re still a little bit skeptical of the whole thing. You’ve got some questions but don’t worry, I’ve got your answers.

What is Meditation?

Meditation can be different things to different people. Generally speaking it is quieting the overactive mind and allowing clarity to come through. For some people that means they can stop stressing, think clearly, relax, connect to their higher self, or even just enjoy the moment more.

 

How to Meditate

There are multiple ways to meditate and what works for one person might not work for the next. If you are brand new to meditation, you might want to start out by just paying closer attention to the activities you like to do.

For example, if you love to garden you might want to try absorbing all of the different feelings, smells, colors, sounds, etc as you plant each bulb or prune each branch. Another example is to really focus your attention on your breath if you enjoy doing physical activities (like yoga).

Even in the world of more traditional meditation there are many varieties. There are meditations where people focus on something specific, chant certain lines, walk in circles or through specific routes and more. Don’t feel like you have to stick to one kind of meditation or think that one kind of meditation is better than the others. Meditation is a very personalized experience.

Benefits of Meditation

The benefits of meditation can be huge! Again, everyone’s experience varies greatly but here is a list of some “typical” benefits you might expect from starting a meditation practice.

Improved ability to focus. When you learn to focus on meditation you might find it easier to focus on daily tasks as well.

Improved clarity. By taking the time to silence the overactive mind you might find the deeper underlying truth behind certain thoughts and actions.

General happiness. A lot of meditations are centered around the concept of being present and enjoying the moments in life for what they really are. That approach to life has lead many people to find deeper and more profound happiness in their lives.

Self-learning. With the improved clarity you will have opportunities to dive even deeper into your truth and learn things about yourself you could not have even imagined before.

 

What to do if it Doesn’t Work

If you have tried meditation and it didn’t work for you there are a few things you can do.

First off, you can try a different style of meditation. If it isn’t working then it might not be the right type of meditation for you. If it still doesn’t work then you could simply try again. It takes practice and you really should not put the pressure on yourself to make it work the first time.

Lastly, you can stop trying for a little while. Sometimes all you need is a break and if you keep it tucked away in the back of your mind then the opportunity might just present itself to you one day out of the blue. You might notice how pretty a piece of dust is one day while you’re stuck in traffic and you’ll be pulled into the present moment. It will be beautiful and well worth the wait.

 

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