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self-care

2017: The Year of Self-Care

Happy New Year, everyone! As 2017 commences, I’m sure many of you are doing what I’m doing: trying to mindfully come up with a tangible wellness goal. My usual go-to is “I won’t drink any alcohol in January!” or “I will work out every day no matter what!”

But you know what? Those goals usually become stressful because they may not be realistic. And when your new year’s resolution doesn’t come to fruition, it can be depressing. Which starts the cycle of feelings of failure and disappointment!

Ugh.

So instead, this year, I’ve decided to focus more broadly on self-care. This means no hard rules, but it encourages me to remember that being mindful about all facets of my health is important. Here are 5 ways in which one can focus on self-care (and this is my personal plan; what I’ll be doing):

Eats

The first thing most of us think of when adopting a self-care routine is a diet tweak. And fair enough! I mean, you are what you eat, right? The fuel we choose to put into our body directly correlates with mood, behaviour, weight, aging, and more.

So what should we be eating?

I think the trick is to not be strict and deprive yourself. (Because most of us can’t stick to an all-or-nothing plan.) Instead, a healthy balance is optimal. In general, tons of fresh vegetables, lots of whole grain carbohydrates (like yams and sprouted grains), and lots of plant-based or lean protein.

Basically, anything that makes you feel good and gives you energy and lends to quality sleep and rest is what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a new healthy cookbook, try Vegetarian Comfort Foods!

Drinks

Water, water, water. That is all. (Haha…) Here’s the thing: we know that caffeinated beverages and alcohol are dehydrating and affect mood. We know that sodas and juice contain way too much sugar, which spike our blood sugar and then leave us feeling sleepy after.

And more recently, I’ve discovered my go-to non-alcoholic drink of choice (club soda with lime and cucumber) makes me bloated because of all the carbonation. So I’ve come to the conclusion that water and herbal teas should definitely make up the bulk of what I drink during the day and night.

To find out how to make your own herbal teas, check out The Good Living Guide to Medicinal Tea!

self-care

Movement

Movement is so essential to our bodies and growth and development, and yet we forget to move! Most of us intentionally schedule in time for movement (which is great), but ideally, our bodies should be moving a lot more. Small ways to incorporate movement into our daily lives, include taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, parking on the outskirts of the parking lot so that you’re forced to walk a little more, getting up from your desk and stretching every 45 minutes, and so on.

Think about what you can do to incorporate more movement into your life, and your body will thank you for it.

Sleep

Fresh off of reading The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington (which I mentioned in a previous blog post HERE), I’m really beginning to understand (and I mean REALLY understand) just how much we should all be appreciating and emphasizing better sleep.

Our culture has somehow evolved to think of being busy and sleep-deprived as something to be celebrated or respected, and yet, being sleep deprived is basically the same as being intoxicated. Would you go to work drunk or drive home from a business meeting while under the influence?

I hope not, and yet we all do it in the form of being exhausted. Let’s start NOT doing that. Let’s just remember to place appropriate emphasis on sleep, and celebrate what it feels like to not be tired!

Mental

As in mental health, that is. Although everything that’s listed above contributes to better mental health, we can a couple more things to really give a final push.

  • Meditate.
  • Be grateful.
  • Say thank you.
  • Breathe deep.
  • Love yourself.
  • Try aromatherapy.

And that’s it. By committing to general improvements in your own self-care routine, you become more in tune with parts of yourself that you can’t possibly reach when you’re not as well as you could be.

Happy New Year, friends! Cheers to self-care, and to living life with intent and grace. Give yourself a break, and tune into YOU!

You deserve it. xo

Better Sleep

The Unanimous Cry for Better Sleep

We Need Better Sleep

A while ago, I read a blog post titled “Yoga Doesn’t Take Time; It Makes Time.” At the conclusion of my read, I remember thinking that it sounded like it made sense, but in literal terms, to do an hour’s worth of yoga meant that an hour was taken away from my work day.

So how could yoga ‘make time?’

Flash forward to yesterday. I was completely exhausted but I had a ton of work to do, and although I don’t ever nap (it’s been years), I fell asleep for about 90 minutes.

The result was this: instead of being tired and dragging my feet until bedtime, barely getting anything done due to my exhaustion, I woke up around 5 pm and did everything I wanted to do. I had renewed energy for every task I charged myself with, and it was because I let my body rest and restore.

So lately, there has been a huge movement towards publicizing the absolute need for better sleep. Pioneered greatly by Arianna Huffington, this cry for better sleep is becoming more and more relevant as we, as a society, try to take on way too much. (Her book is called The Sleep Revolution; I currently have it ordered from Amazon.)

Her theory is that sleep deprivation “has profound consequences – on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness.”[1] Arianna writes “Only by renewing our relationship with sleep can we take back control of our lives.”[2]

I, for one, am fascinated. We insist that our children slow down before bed and get enough sleep to sustain them throughout the day. But what about us? Why don’t we place the same importance on rest, restore, and repair for ourselves as we do for our children? We forget that sleep is a necessity. Not unlike shelter, food, and water, proper sleep is not a luxury; it’s a basic need.

How to Get Better Sleep

So tonight, try to prioritize sleep. Some ways to help you get a better sleep include:

  • Read a book for an hour before bed; don’t replace that time with the TV and internet
  • Meditate
  • Take a bath with calming essential oil
  • Keep your bedroom clean, dark, and cool
  • Don’t eat or drink a lot in the hours leading up to bedtime
  • Practice conscious breathing
  • Try light yoga, but not vigorous exercise
  • Don’t consume anything alcoholic within 2-3 hours before bed, or caffeinated within 10 hours before bed (try herbal tea)

Good luck! xo


References

[1] https://www.amazon.ca/Sleep-Revolution-Transforming-Your-Night/dp/1101904003

[2] https://www.amazon.ca/Sleep-Revolution-Transforming-Your-Night/dp/1101904003

Is 2015 the Year for Radical Self-Love?

Love

I attended a yoga class this morning, and, as always, benefited spiritually as well as physically. I was so thankful to have been granted the opportunity to make it to that class, and I wanted to share what I walked away with.

We all began by laying on our mats, on our backs with our eyes closed, and the instructor began to speak about resolutions. New Year’s resolutions are typically compiled in a tidy list of promises we attempt to make to ourselves. Usually, they’re about change. We want to work out more, lose twenty pounds, start reading American classics, or be a better parent.

That sort of thing.

We’ve all heard that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” right? Simply translated, we all have great intentions of making ourselves better people, but when we inevitably “fail” (don’t read, gain weight, persist in our habit of brushing off our kids), we become very hard on ourselves and it’s this by-product that we all need to try and avoid. Although the resolution was made with pure intent, it often results in guilt and varying degrees of anger or disappointment towards ourselves.

My yoga instructor today posed the question that instead of setting ourselves up for regret and negative self-talk and guilt, what if we all made 2015 the year for “radical self-love?”

What if we spent 365 consecutive days telling ourselves we’re perfect; that our wrongs can’t and shouldn’t be undone; that who we are today is because of those mistakes and errors in self-judgment and pride, and we just vowed to love ourselves and be gentle; to radiate warmth and compassion for those around us and ourselves?

What would the end of the year look like?

Love

Kindness and love is contagious, as is anger and frustration. Instead of wallowing in our own mis-steps and asking ourselves why we did what we did, or why we aren’t better, stronger, wealthier, or more successful, what if we made a pact to spread acceptance and forgiveness?

This is where we discuss the “trickle-down effect.” When you exemplify love, you receive it. When you show (not just tell) others how to be kind, you are breeding kindness all around you. So what if you did something bad or made terrible decisions in your past or have been collecting every reason under the sun to dislike yourself and give others reasons to dislike you, too?

Stop it.

By trickling down positive feelings instead of negative ones, we automatically offer the people in our lives the tools to do the same. How powerful is that? Instead of a My Little Pony, what if you could give your daughter the gift of self-love? Children model what they see and experience, as do the rest of us. If we all modeled self-love, self-respect, and self-worth, wouldn’t the world be an incredible place?

Forget the typical resolutions, and instead, make 2015 the year for love, kindness, patience, and above all, forgiveness; not just towards others, but towards yourself. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and make a conscious effort to move forward in your life by radiating empathy and acceptance for all you’ve done, and who you are right now. You’re already a perfect version of yourself—you just have to be willing to acknowledge it, and move on.

Happy New Year

Radical self-love. 2015. You can do it. Spread the word, and love, baby, love.

Happy holidays! xo

20 Original Gift Ideas for a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season

Christmas

Hey, Happy Healthy Lifers! Today’s post has been contributed by one of my fave guest bloggers, Ashley Erikson. She has some great ideas about holiday gifts, and I for one could use the help!

Enjoy. xo

The Christmas season is in full swing, and many of us still haven’t done our shopping. It’s okay; it’s not unhealthy to procrastinate. It is unhealthy to stress out—and when you don’t know what to get someone this late in the season, it can be stressful.

After looking for a couple of gifts for some friends of mine, I decided to write about some of the finds that I was impressed with. If anything, these gift ideas might give you better direction. These products range anywhere from $5 to $500, and for the record, I don’t work for any of these companies.

Gaiam Yoga for Beginner’s Kit – Price $

Yoga mat

Two short yoga workouts, plus all the accessories needed for a beginner to find their zen. If you’ve heard any of your friends or family talk about their interest in getting started with yoga, then this might be the perfect solution. Getting started with yoga is typically expensive, but this will ease the cost a bit.

Aroma Food Steamer – Price $

A steamer creates delicious meals without adding fat and excess calories. Steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook meat, vegetables and other foods. If you want to know how interested your friend might be in this product, look at their social presence online, and see if they talk about cooking much. Every cook would love this gift.

Fitbit Zip – Price $$

This is one small electronic device that tracks steps, distance and calories burned. It syncs to the user’s computer or smartphone. This is one of the most powerful fitness tracking devices out there and your fitness junkie best friend might appreciate this for their next jog.

Philips Activa Portable Workout Monitor –  Price $

Gift Box Wrapped In Natural Paper With Blue Ribbon.

Exercise is more enjoyable when this monitor provides music with the perfect beat and feedback to keep you going. The user selects the type of workout, and the device sets the tempo. This device is something I was thinking about buying for myself. It’s impressive with its ability to turn up the beat as your run gets more intense.

Wake-Up Workout Alarm Clock – Price $

Give the gift of commitment. This dumbbell-shaped alarm clock comes in a variety of colors and won’t shut up until you perform 30 bicep curls. It’s fanatically healthy but it can be a funny and really cool gift for that loved one who is not a morning person.

Dark Chocolate Bar Library – Price $

Dark Chocolate

You can never go wrong with chocolate. Unless the person is not a human. Seven dark chocolate bars in a box, ranging from 54% to 72% cocoa. The flavors are unique, and dark chocolate is one of the healthiest snacks for those with a sweet tooth. Remember dark chocolate is stuffed with magnesium, which helps the body in many wonderful ways.

Flip Belt – Price $

Keep your loved ones safe with this stylish and comfortable belt that holds their identification, cell phone, keys and other items when they head out for a run or walk. This gift is perfect for your marathon runner friend who leaves the house unlocked for hours on end.

Unimug Tea Infuser – Price $

Green Tea

This glass mug cradles a loose-leaf tea infuser and makes it easy to brew a cup of tea at the office or home. It’s very affordable, and your herbal tea lover friends will admire it.

Tribest Personal Blender – Price $$

Smoothies and protein shakes are fast, easy, and convenient with a personal blender, and this blender is small and powerful. It’s worth a shot if you have no idea on what to get a person.

Sedona Dehydrator – Price $$$$

This isn’t the cheapest gift, but it is one of the healthiest options. Instead of letting fresh produce go bad, your loved ones can dehydrate it into healthy snack food. This is the dream gift for your raw vegan loved ones.

Sproutman’s Wheatgrass Grower – Price $$$

Holiday gift

Wheatgrass juice is the best way to cleanse and nourish the body, and the process is faster and cheaper when you grow fresh wheatgrass at home. It’s different (definitely not your average gift), but it can help someone save if they love their wheatgrass shots.

Oil Mister – Price $

This is an inexpensive gift that eliminates the need for aerosol oil spray cans. It allows users to control fat intake, while infusing food with mists of oil. This affordable gift is loved by many, and it will help you save financially this holiday season if you’re on a budget.

Galvanic Body Spa – Price $$$

This is a relaxing home spa that helps smooth skin and reduces the prominence of cellulite. Let your loved ones tone up and refresh without paying for expensive spa visits. If you’ve heard any complaints about cellulite or skin issues, this is the perfect gift. (Just be careful not to offend anyone.)

Slimware – Price $$

Christmas Gift

These uniquely-designed plates make portion control simple. There is a decorative pattern to fit every personality. A young married couple would love plates like this–they’re creative and long-lasting.

Resistance Band Door Attachment Kit – Price $$

Give the gift of fitness on the go. Simply attach bands to any door and workout. Not everyone likes to go to the gym every day; this gift is perfect for the mom who wants to add resistance training to her morning run. These long lasting bands are worth a try.

Aromatherapy Shower Tablets – Price $

Drop a tablet in the shower and cleanse, relax or revive your mind before you dry off. This is a gift that will give someone you love a fresh start long after the holidays pass. Sticking tight to the holiday budget? This is perfect for you.

Pop Chef Shape Cutter – Price $

Cookie Cutter

Encourage children to eat healthy with this fun kitchen tool that cuts fruit, sandwiches and other foods into hearts and other shapes. There are 12 shape options in one child-friendly kit.

Kamagon Ball – Price $$$

This water-filled medicine ball is difficult to control mid-swing, and that’s good news for your muscles. Deliver a challenging workout tool that even a dedicated fitness pro may not already own. If any loved ones are building their gym at home, this is the perfect idea!

Define Fruit Infusion Bottle – Price $

Staying hydrated is easier when the water has natural, healthy flavor. This bottle was featured on Shark Tank, and is now available in a variety of sizes, colors and designs. It’s very affordable and really impressive. Lemon water just got simple! If they’re adding lemons and limes to their water at a restaurant, they will admire this creative bottle.

Quilted Inspirational Cuff Bracelet – Price $

Inspire someone special to stay on the healthy track with this “Never Quit” quilted cuff bracelet. Your ETSY fanatical friends will admire this one!

Merry Xmas

———————————-

About our Guest Blogger

I’m Ashley. I’m a vegan, a blogger, a happy mom to 3 happy little dudes, and a woman of strength (I do like to work out). My passion is health, but my life is focused on helping others achieve their goals. Visit my site and learn more at AshleysHealth.com

Kris Carr's Crazy, Sexy, Cancer

crazy sexy cancer

I read Crazy, Sexy, Diet by this woman years ago, and thought it was SOOOO inspirational. But before that book was this one, and the accompanying documentary. Below is the 8 minute trailer, and it’s well worth a watch.

Kris Carr was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer, and stopped the disease it its tracks by going on a journey of yoga, spirituality and adopting a plant-based diet. Buddah has been quoted as saying “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”

Watch and see if you agree. xo

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umnbB9QKr2Y]

Raising Disease-Free Children: is this possible?

Happy children sitting on green grass outdoors in summer park

Since I’m always really interested in preventative medicine (AKA: real food), this question is one bangs around my head every now and then. Diseases and disorders such as some cancers, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, acid reflux, and heart disease are all largely treatable—and preventable. Why wait until you’re feeling like crap and get the diagnosis to shape up? Why even wait until you’re in your 30’s and scared of following the same path as your mom or dad?

What if it were possible to start life with preventing these medical issues as a goal, right off the bat? What would this entail?

I started to really think about this, and the points below are what I’ve come up with. A “to-do” list of sorts for parents of children who want to see them remain as disease-free as possible for the rest of their lives. All of the diseases I mentioned above fall under the category of what Dr. T Colin Campbell calls “diseases of affluence.” This means that these medical issues are only really seen to the scale they are in North America and the United Kingdom. These areas of the world are affluent—we eat what we want, when we want, and we want it cheap, and we don’t want to work for it.

We also have no native ways of eating that hold any nutritional value, and so we end up eating a diet consisting mainly of animal protein, deep-fried potatoes, and soda. Gross.

Also? Largely, we’re inactive. We like to sit. This is a major problem for our generation, and we’re modelling it for our children. So…what to do?

pollan quote

Here are some ways you can help your children remain “western” disease-free:

  1. Practice good eating habits right away. Your children will notice and be more likely to copy you. Don’t just tell your child to eat more fruit—show them. Set a good example. And start when they’re young—even as early as birth. By eating a variety of great food, your baby will develop a palate that is conducive to enjoying whole foods.
  2. Teach them about food. Tell them why it’s important to eat enough fibre. Educate them on the differences between organic and non-organic produce. They won’t know unless you tell them. Talk about GMOs and the benefits of grass-fed food animals versus conventional factory-farmed ones. Take them to a farmer’s market every weekend and let them help you shop. Kids are naturally curious, and love to make connections.
  3. Model a fit lifestyle. Walk your children to school if you can, exercise in front of them, and make sure you talk about why this is important. Kids need to know that moving their bodies will make their bodies healthier. Take your child to a yoga class with you. Go swimming. Get excited about sports.
  4. Get outside regularly. Run around and explore and smell flowers and appreciate trees. Teach them that trees clean our air, and that it’s important to treat them with respect and be grateful.
  5. Limit screen time, and MODEL that behaviour. Staring at a screen means sitting down and zoning out. It should definitely be limited.

Blueberries, summer, child - Lovely girl with fresh blueberries

All of these suggestions lend to better health and illness prevention. Every child deserves a chance to be born healthy and remain that way. They also deserve parents that will grow old enough  to see their children’s children, and by following these tips, both you and your children can say you’ve done your best to decrease your chances of developing diseases of affluence.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Vancouver Man Says Yoga Gave Him His Life Back

Enlightenment

Happy Meatless Monday, friends! I’ve had yoga on the brain lately. I miss it. I haven’t practiced since the end of November, and it’s completely invading my dreams. Also, I’m becoming pretty un-bendy, and considering how un-bendy I was before, this news is not good.

Anyway, today’s post was also shared with MyVanCity.ca, a Vancouver website that I guest blog for. I’m the writer of this post, and it’s based primarily on my observations for the last two years in regards to my brother-in-law, Rob. This is his story, and it’s pretty incredible.

Also, if any of you have any inclination to begin (or go back to) yoga, this success story should clinch it for ya. So, without further adieu:

Valentine’s Day weekend marked the 22nd anniversary of Vancouver’s Wellness Show, which took place at the Vancouver Convention Centre in waterfront Vancouver. For one exhibitor, being present at his booth for this event signified a year of powerful healing, and hope for a strong, healthy future.

A year ago, Rob could barely walk. Just a few weeks ago, I watched him do camel pose. For those not familiar with yoga, camel pose involves kneeling on a mat, sitting up straight, and then arching your back so that you’re able to grab your heels behind you and stare at the ceiling. Even the best of best cannot hold this pose for longer than about 15 seconds—it’s that difficult.

He also did a head stand.

Let’s back up. In the spring of 2012, at the age of 32, this man sustained a major back injury while at work. He suffers from three herniated disks (S1, L5, and L4) and severe sciatica. Side-effects of this injury include unbearably severe back and tailbone pain, subsequent insomnia, the inability to walk, sit, or lie down comfortably, temporary loss of bladder control, and depression. One year later, British Columbia’s Worker’s Compensation Board (WBC) deemed him partially but permanently disabled, and recommended that he pursue a new career in marketing and sales, because it matched his current wage and was within his physical limitations.

While having to consider what a career change like this would mean for his future, he began undergoing intense physiotherapy that Rob describes as ”absolutely crucial” to his recovery at Core Fitness and Rehab (his therapist was Tom Macleese, who works with severe ICBC accident victims). Eventually it was recommended that he also try yoga, which led to him meeting Troy Rankel.

Troy is one of the owners of Oxygen Yoga and Fitness—a franchise that is quickly materializing all over the lower mainland and Fraser Valley. While we’ve all heard the benefits that yoga has to offer, including the remarkable effect it can have on existing conditions,[1] [2] Oxygen Yoga and Fitness provides infrared heat, which has been proven to have an ultra-healing effect on even the most serious of injuries.[3] [4]

Although skeptical at what benefits yoga could possibly provide him with at first, Rob’s determination to stabilize his injury led him to give it a try. Because yoga is not recognized as an option for physiotherapy with WCB, Rob chose to pay out of this own pocket (as he did for his rehabilitation at Core Club), and finance the therapy himself. Within only a matter of months of beginning a very careful, private hot yoga program that was tailored to his own specific injuries, Rob was able to gradually regain mobility, strength, and best of all, hope for a relatively pain-free future.

Think that’s impressive?

In 2013, Rob took the advice of WBC and was re-trained, and in November received a diploma in Marketing and Sales from Sprott Shaw College. (In order to complete this education, Rob had to stand up for most of the day, 5 days a week, for 6 months due to limitations that his injury placed on his tailbone.) But because he decided to go with his doctors’ recommendations and he knew his limitations would not allow him to realistically succeed in an office environment, he graduated from yoga teacher training at Naked Truth the very same month, and began to instruct yoga at the Abbotsford and Mission Oxygen Yoga and Fitness locations in December.

 Rob Pic

Rob swears that yoga gave him his life back. He was able to rebuild muscle that had atrophied after his initial injury, which allowed him to place a strong layer of protection around the injury sites. Aside from the physical benefits, yoga also contributed to increased mental clarity, which he says played an instrumental part in allowing him to stop feeling like an accident victim, and begin to appreciate the present and be grateful for everything he has been given.

Nowadays, nearly two years after his accident, Rob’s outlook on life is positive and peaceful. He teaches several yoga classes a week, essentially receiving his physical therapy while instructing others. Although life has thrown him a major curve ball, Rob says that the changes he and his family have had to undergo have ultimately been positive. He’s been forced to go from being very hands-on to becoming much more of an observer, but he embraces this change of pace.

There are still struggles for Rob. Pain will, to an extent, be part of his life forever, but the management techniques that he has learned through his yoga practice is providing him with the tools he needs to keep himself focused on his recovery. It’s been a long road that will always be a work in progress, but he enthusiastically credits yoga—a practice that focuses on strengthening the mind, body, and soul—with not only saving his life, but also giving him the motivation to help others who are walking the path to recovery that he has  gotten to know all too well.

Rob’s favourite class to teach involves mediation. He firmly believes that by strengthening the mind, you can overcome seemingly impossible obstacles that we are sometimes involuntarily faced with. He wants others to know that where chronic pain and disability is concerned, there is hope. He positively insists that “by changing your perspective, you change your outlook.”

Oxygen Yoga and Fitness’ mantra is “I love my life,” and that’s exactly what Rob intends to do.

Namaste.


[1] http://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2011/research/yoga-back-pain/

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23246998

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2539004/

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23155613

5 Reasons Why Yoga Needs to Be in My Life (and probably yours, too)

Yoga in the park

So…I’ve been busy lately, and something had to give. Fascinatingly, I chose yoga, and not, say, seasons 1 and 2 of Damages.

Hmm….that was an interestingly BAD decision, and here’s why:

1-      My inflexible body became, seemingly overnight, much less flexible. I didn’t really think it could get any worse, but I surprised myself with my never-ending saga of stiffness. Yoga is so, so ,so necessary for good flexibility, which in turn is great for not getting hurt during more intensive workouts. Which brings me to:

2-      I started getting hurt during more intensive workouts. Within about 4 weeks of no yoga, I hurt my right shoulder and my right knee, which put me out of commission when it comes to flies and lunges. (Which, coincidentally, are some of my favorite things to do.) Ugh…

3-      I started sleeping like a baby. This may seem great, but think about it: babies SUCK at sleeping. Am I right?! I started to wake up in the middle of the night, and stay awake for hours. (Baby.) I’m talking horrific ordeals like sleeping 10-12, then 5-7. Or going to bed at 9, and not even falling asleep until 3! Wtf?!

4-      My mind would not shut off. I need a literal off-switch. My husband needs to be able to lean over, flip a switch that resembles a colourful board-game piece, and watch me just shut down on the spot. Since I don’t have one of those, I need to be able to power down naturally. Which I cannot seems to do without yoga! Grrr…frustrating! (If anyone knows where I can obtain one of these switches, please let me know.)

5-      I become oblivious. Yoga grounds me and forces me to become more observant of my external environment. Without it, I crawl into myself and only emerge when forced to. Needless to say, not good, and probably very annoying for my friends and family. (Sorry.)

So there it is: I need yoga to make me a healthier, happier, more awake, generally-better person. I wonder if it has the same effect on everyone…maybe some of you could leave me a comment?

Happy Sunday!

Want to Help Lessen Your Symptoms of IBS? Try Yoga.

yoga

Anyone who suffers from digestive issues has probably been told to exercise. But how many of you would consider yoga exercise? When most people (who don’t practice regularly) consider it, they tend to underestimate the ancient practice’s ability to tone and sculpt, let alone help with GI issues. But yoga is amazing for taming that troublesome tummy, in more ways than one. Here’s why:

  • Yoga provides major stress relief, both mentally and physically. For those of us who are prone to a bi-polar intestinal tract (my hand is raised), reducing stress is extremely important to maintaining proper digestive function.
  • It forces you to learn how to breathe. This may seem a tad ridiculous, considering that if you’re reading this, you’re breathing. But take a moment, right now, to pay attention to the way you’re breathing. Most of us are shallow breathers—we don’t consciously inhale deeply or exhale completely. By adopting a better breathing practice, you automatically increase oxygen circulation. Better circulation equals better blood flow to the gut—helping to regulate toxin elimination.
  • Many yoga poses help to massage your organs—including your gut. Cardio is great for you, but can’t give you an internal rub the same way yoga can.

As someone who consistently tries to keep her digestive system happy and healthy by eating well and exercising regularly, yoga is definitely on my weekly schedule of must-dos.

Happy Sunday. Namaste. 😀