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Physical Fitness Protects Brain Health

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Women with high physical fitness at middle age were nearly 90% less likely to develop dementia decades later, compared with women who were moderately fit, according to a study published this spring in an online issue of the journal Neurology®. The study measured the women’s cardiovascular fitness based on an exercise test.

physical fitness

When the highly fit women did develop dementia, they developed the disease an average of 11 years later than women who were moderately fit or concerned with physical fitness, or at age 90 instead of age 79.

“These findings are exciting because it’s possible that improving people’s cardiovascular fitness in middle age could delay or even prevent them from developing dementia,” said study author Helena Hörder, PhD, of the University of Gothenburg in Gothenburg, Sweden. “However, this study does not show cause and effect between cardiovascular fitness and dementia; it only shows an association. More research is needed to see if improved fitness could have a positive effect on the risk of dementia and also to look at when during a lifetime a high fitness level is most important.” Read about 8 Reasons Why You Should Hit The Gym.

For the study, 191 women with an average age of 50 took a bicycle exercise test until they were exhausted to measure their peak cardiovascular capacity. The average peak workload was measured at 103 watts. A total of 40 women met the criteria for high fitness, or 120 watts or higher; 92 women were in the medium-fitness category; and 59 women were in the low-fitness category. For women with low physical fitness, peak workload was 80 watts or less, or the exercise tests had to stop because of high blood pressure, chest pain or other cardiovascular problems.

physical fitness

Over the next 44 years, the women were tested for dementia six times. During that time, 44 of the women developed the disease. Five percent of the highly fit women developed dementia, compared with 25% of moderately fit women and 32% of the women with low fitness. The highly fit women were 88% less likely to develop dementia than the moderately fit women.

Fitness Level on Test Dementia Risk
high 5%
medium 25%
low 32%
could not finish test 45%

 

Among the women who had to stop the exercise test because of problems, 45% developed dementia decades later. “This indicates that negative cardiovascular processes may be happening in midlife that could increase the risk of dementia much later in life,” Hörder said.Read about Beating The Blues With Exercise.

physical fitness

Limitations of the study include the relatively small number of women involved, all of whom were from Sweden, so the results may not be applicable to other populations, Hörder said. Also, each woman’s fitness level was measured only once, so any changes in fitness over time were not captured.

Source: www.ideafit.com

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5 Muscle Flexing Exercises For A Strong Body

Polly Stevens

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5 Muscle Flexing Exercises For A Strong Body

Exercising isn’t “one size fits all” — far from it. Cardio, HIIT, low-impact, plyometric, Pilates, resistance, running, weight training… the list goes on and on. Whichever workout you do, muscle flexing should be part of your routine.

Stretching is beneficial for everyone, from the power athlete to the desk worker. It can boost muscle function; relieve stiff, sore muscles; and minimize injury, among other perks.

But with all the different types of stretches out there, how do you know which ones are best for you? Where do you start?

These five core stretches are moves everyone should add to their daily routine, whether you train hard every day or squeeze in a quick 7-minute ab workout before dinner. Think of these stretches as a minimalist routine to help your body move better in your day-to-day life.

“I always say that strength comes from mobility,” says Mathew Forzaglia, a New York City-based personal trainer. Whip out this routine each morning or night to help combat stiff and sore muscles. You can use it as the basis of a customized stretching routine, based on your workout and lifestyle habits. Of course, talk to your doctor if you have new or increased pain while doing these stretches. Check out the routine below:

Couch Stretch for Muscle Flexing

Forzaglia calls the couch stretch a staple for everyone, especially those who sit at a desk most of the day. “It will open up your hip flexors and lower abdomen while focusing on ankle mobility,” he says. “This will also help reduce tightness in the lower back.”

The couch stretch is sort of a floor lunge using the couch to support one leg. To do it, stand facing away from the couch and place one foot on the edge of the couch seat (Get it? “Couch stretch”?). Step the other leg forward as if you’re going into lunge position. Lower your “couch” knee to the floor and make sure your hip stays open. Reach your hand on that same side up to the ceiling. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes. Release and switch sides.

 

5 Muscle Flexing Exercises For A Strong Body

 

Pigeon Stretch

For more hip-opening, back-pain-relieving goodness, put your body into Pigeon, a yoga pose named for the fact that it’ll (sort of) make you look like the bird.

Sit on the floor with your left leg straight out behind you with the toes relaxed and your right knee bent outward. Pull your right heel to your left hip, making sure your left hip doesn’t open up. Slowly bend your torso over your right knee. Rest your hands on your hips or thighs or stretch them out on the mat. Hold and breathe for 1 minute. Slowly switch sides. You can make this stretch a little easier by keeping your torso more upright or make it more advanced by lowering your upper body closer to the floor.

Scorpion Stretch

The scorpion stretch not only stretches out your hips but also helps your chest, shoulders, and biceps. “Most people sit and hunch forward, so this will help [them] open up their anterior and stand up taller, reducing upper back pain,” Forzaglia says.

To do this stretch, lie facedown on the ground with your arms straight out from your sides, forming a T shape. Keep your left leg straight. Bend your right knee and lift your right foot up and over to the left. Alternate legs. There are beginner and advanced versions of this stretch, depending on your comfort level.

This deep stretch can be a little tricky to master, but it’s definitely worth it if you want to become more agile. “This will help keep our hips mobile in a place that we may not ever get into in everyday movement,” says Forzaglia. Targeting your hamstrings and inner thighs, this stretch is particularly ideal for athletes who need to perform lateral movement, like cutting sides or dodging, in their sport.

Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width and your toes facing slightly outward. Shifting your weight to your right leg, slowly bend it so that you end up in a squat with your right leg bent and your left leg extended. Lift up your left foot so only your heel is on the ground. Repeat on the opposite side.

5 Muscle Flexing Exercises For A Strong Body

This yoga favorite targets your hip flexors and lower abs, which are often static throughout the day if you work at a desk. It also strengthens your wrists, arms, and shoulders, which can improve your posture. Those who run regularly can benefit from this stretch because it aids in rotational and lateral movement.

To do the stretch, lie facedown on the ground with your legs a few inches apart and your toes stretched out. Place your hands next to your lower ribs and, as you inhale, press your hands into the mat so that your torso is lifted. Press the tops of your feet down to slightly lift your thighs. Draw your heart forward so your neck isn’t hunched over. If you rotate your torso, you can also isolate the right or left side in a deeper stretch. Hold for 1 minute. Slowly lower to the starting position.

Takeaway:

These exercises here are great for muscle flexing. All these will slowly keep your body strong. You can do these muscle flexing exercises regularly for the best results. We need exercise for our overall fitness. Try these muscle flexing exercises to keep your body and mind well.

Original article by Kathleen Wong.

Read more on muscle flexing exercises in these posts:

Staying Fit With Workouts That Are Gentle On Your Joints

Empowering Yoga For Women

 

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5 Reasons Everyone With Tight Muscles Should Do Yoga

Polly Stevens

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5 Reasons Everyone With Tight Muscles Should Do Yoga

Fitness is important. You can be a runner with tight muscles or hitting the gym. Either way, you have one goal, you want your body to be fit and healthy. It is great to do workouts. There are so many ways to keep your body fit and one of these is Yoga. Yoga includes meditating and proper breathing. If you have tight muscles from your workout routine, you also need yoga for your total wellness. Here are some reasons why people with tight muscles also need yoga.

Yoga has more going for it than just the comfy pants. Here’s why, if you’re a runner, you should be doing yoga:

1. You’ll build flexibility for your tight muscles.

This one’s kind of obvious, but your goal isn’t to look like the bendy model in a Lululemon catalog. Yoga can mitigate excessive tightness that affects your gait or range of motion and increases injury risk, especially if it’s more pronounced on one side of your body.

2. You’ll breathe better.

In yoga, you learn to breathe from your diaphragm, which oxygenates your blood better than shallow breaths. Carry that over to running for an extra boost with every inhalation.

3. You’ll train your brain.

The ability to remain present and avoid dwelling on discomfort can help you avoid panicking or tensing up when a run gets tough.

4. You’ll learn about your body.

Doing every pose on both sides helps you reveal potential injury-causing imbalances in strength or flexibility you might not have noticed while running.

 

5 reasons all with tight muscles should do yoga

 

5. You’ll get strong all over.

Yoga requires upper-body strength that running does not. Additionally, poses that require balance strengthen hip and core muscles that protect the lower body from misalignment and injury.

So now that you know why you should do it, here’s how to make your yoga habit actually happen.

Start slowly.

If you’re a total noob, begin by trying out a few key poses like pigeon, revolved low lunge, and legs up the wall at home. Supplement with a five-minute meditation to build focus and mindfulness—several apps offer guided options.

Sample the offerings. 

You can take an in-person class—if you’re starting out, choose one marked for beginners—or try one of the many routines offered online. If you don’t love a style or instructor, keep searching until you find your match.

Chill out. 

Yoga isn’t a race, so don’t try to compete with your classmates. Focus on what you’re doing, and ignore everyone else—except the instructor, who can ensure you’re doing the poses correctly. When in doubt, opt for a shallower stretch—you don’t want to hurt yourself.

Avoid overdoing it. 

You can do restorative yoga pretty much whenever you want, but avoid power or advanced varieties the day before a hard or long running workout or race.

 

5 reasons all with tight muscles should do yoga

 

Takeaway:

Yoga is indeed an important exercise. If you have tight muscles, you need yoga for flexibility. when you are flexible, your body tend to relax more. Doing exercise does not only stop when you already have tight muscles, but you also need to train yourself on the proper breathing.

It takes practice to master the art of breathing. doing the proper yoga poses will help ease your tight muscles. The tips here are worth keeping especially if you are a runner with tight muscles. Keep moving and be healthy all the time. Having a daily exercise for your tight muscles will make your body fit. You’ll feel healthier than before. Keep practising and keep exercising. Loosen up those tight muscles.

Original article by Meghan Kita. She is a writer, editor, and runner who has finished 17 marathons in 10 states. She once held the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon dressed as a fast food item…

Get more great Yoga posts:

Yoga Poses to Boost Your Confidence With a Strong Core

Unexpected Benefits of Yoga For Athletes 

201 Yoga Quotes to Inspire your Daily Rituals

Strength Training Bible – Your Guide To Getting Stronger

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5 Easy Steps to Mindful Eating

Kyran Doyle

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5 Easy Steps to Mindful Eating

Let eating be a happy part of your day. Practice gratifood. Learn wbout mindful eating and its positive effects on your health…

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” -Denis Waitley

What people usually mean when they say “gratifood” is the process of applying gratitude to food. Infusing appreciation into what we eat, being mindful every step of the way, and practicing awareness that food is something to be thankful for.

Learn about the steps to mindful eating here…

5 easy steps to mindful eating

 

Step 1: Get connected to each step of the process.

Gratifood begins before you start cooking. It begins before you decide what’s for dinner. It begins in your mind as a mental checklist of all the things that have to happen for you to be able to eat.

If you think for a moment about all the steps food takes before it ends up on your plate, you will instantly feel more connected to the process. Taking it a step further, if you specifically think about each step your food has taken to get to you, the more and more and more you will feelappreciation.

AJ Jacobs, author of “Thanks a Thousand,” realized how much he took for granted his morning cup of coffee. So, he set out on a journey to thank all the people that make his morning ritual possible. What he quickly realized is that the amount of people to thank is infinite: every person he thanked would not have been able to do what they do without the help of countless other people.

Everyone from the cashier that rings him up at the grocery store, to the roaster, to the farmer, to the truck driver, to the workers who maintain the roads. He thanks a thousand people in the book, and the ultimate moral of the story is that there are far more people to thank than he possibly could in one lifetime. And that’s just for one small daily ritual–coffee.

Getting connected to the process starts by asking, “If I trace this food—say it’s peanut butter—back to where it began, where does that take me?” As AJ found out, there is an infinite number of components to thank, and there’s no need to do this process of thankfulness ad-nauseum. At some point during the process of cooking, remember to bring to mind the fact that it’s a series of small miracles that you have the variety and quality of food that you do.

When you become aware of the infinite level of thanks you can give for any given food item, and you begin to apply that level of gratitude to the many ingredients you use in any given meal, you can begin to feel an appropriate level of appreciation for the food you’re about to eat.

Step 2: Pour your heart’s loving energy into the food.

Even if it means taking longer to cook, allowing your day’s pent-up positive energy to overflow into the process of cooking can transform the way you make food. Cooking can be a structured outlet into which you can process those positive emotions. And yes, positive emotions need to be processed too!

By creating a meal this way, you can transfer your positive emotions into a new form–food–and experience them all over again! One of the most powerful positive emotions you can use to enhance this effect is gratitude. It’s not necessarily about what you eat as much as it is about how you eat.

Eating starts before you take the first bite. We all know this and if we need proof, all we have to do is conjure up the image of a brimming mug of hot chocolate and imagine touching it to our lips for the first foamy sip, tasting the sweet cocoa powder and cinnamon.


Enjoying this article on mindful eating so far? Try reading some tips on curbing your sugar cravings here: 7 Tips To Dramatically Curb Your Sugar Cravings.


Step 3: Curate your dining environment.

At this point we’ve learned to put appreciation, love and thanks into the different steps of cooking in order to create a meal that’s infused with gratifood. Now it’s time to set the stage. It’s encouraged to create a space in which you feel comfortable eating. A place where you can complete the act of eating with full presence and little distraction. It’s important to consider everything from ambiance, lighting and decor to the types of utensils you eat with.

Did you ever consider you might appreciate your meal more simply by changing the dishware you’re using? It makes sense that you would enjoy your morning beverage more if you are drinking it from a mug that you bought specifically because looking at it brings you joy!

You should be able to tell the story of everything you own, and especially the items you use to eat with. Because unlike a baseball glove or pair of pants, you are ingesting the energy of that plate or bowl every time you eat.

And just because the word energy is used, that doesn’t it make it woo-woo. Extending your mindfulness about eating to what you cook with and eat off of can have measurable health benefits. Did you know that changing the type of pan you cook with can help oxygenate your blood? Every time you cook with a cast iron pan you’re boosting your iron intake.

Since iron is an essential nutrient that every cell in the body needs to transport oxygen in the blood and myoglobin in muscles, it’s safe to say that the type of pan you cook with has the power to make you a healthier person.

Step 4: Eat with others and if you are eating alone, eat alone.

Now that the meal is ready and the stage is set, it’s a good time to customize the gratifood experience based around who you are eating with.

If you are eating alone, make sure to commit fully to eating alone. Understand that you can experience gratifood just as much alone as you can at a communal meal. Make sure to eliminate distractions. There’s some gray area here and use your good judgment. If you are going to consume content while eating, make sure whatever music you are playing or podcast you are listening to contributes to the feelings of gratitude and appreciation you’ve cultivated thus far.

Remember, digestion starts before taking the first bite. Having content playing in the background, especially video can change your focus in way that inhibits proper digestion. Think about it. Ever watched a suspenseful movie and actually felt it in your body? You’re hanging on the edge of your seat with a pit in your stomach and breathing shallowly.

You’ve experienced how the type of content you’re consuming can have real effects on your physiology. And if the content puts you in a fight or flight physiological response, you can see how it would disrupt digestion, which occurs optimally when the body is in a rest and relaxation state.

If you have nothing to distract yourself with, your food becomes your company. You will chew your food well, enjoy every bite to the maximum, and significantly slow the rate at which you eat. You will get to know your food like a close friend.

Did you know it can take up to twenty minutes for the body to send signals of satiety? Most people’s meals don’t even last that long! If you eat slowly, you will probably end up eating less, which in most cases is a good thing. Mindful eating allows you to more appropriately gauge when you should stop eating based off the body’s satiety versus the default gauge people usually use, which is stomach fullness.

More about mindful eating here…

 

5 easy steps to mindful eating

 

Step 5: Dedicate the first 10 bites you take for mindful eating.

I’m going to step in to the first person here for a moment and tell you a little story. It takes place in a rural county in Virginia, at an off-the-beaten-path retreat center called Yogaville. I stayed there for one month during the summer of 2015. Everyone living at the facility and doing the work trade program ate communal meals together.

The big meals would be served in a dining hall, and prior to taking the first bite, we would usually go around in a circle and everyone would dedicate the first bite of their meal. This was our version of gratifood. Sometimes we would go around in the circle and we’d do several of these very slow, grateful bites before we started eating at a normal pace. This allowed us to thoroughly infuse each bite with appreciation.

Know that if you take nothing else from this article, if you remember the 10 bites rule, you will be practicing gratitude. Before beginning to eat at your normal pace, eat ten bites mindfully and slowly. Between each bite, bring to mind someone or something you are grateful for and dedicate that bite accordingly.

The five steps to practicing gratifood are your friend. Start small, but make sure to start somewhere. A great place to start is by choosing one of the five steps that resonate most with you and apply it to one of your meals this week. When done on a regular basis, mindful eating has the power to change your thoughts, emotional state, and physical health.

Mindful eating is important. This article by Tim Brogan helps us listen to our body while we eat. Practice gratifood through mindful eating.

Original article by Tim Brogan. Tim is currently an Ithaca-based yogi and traveler whose motto is “step into your purpose and share it with clarity.”

 

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How To Build Muscle Fast The Right Way

Kyran Doyle

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How To Build Muscle Fast the Right Way

Want a perfect body? It is important to be fit. You need to get the right amount of exercise to achieve the body you want. Here are some tips from experts on how to build muscle fast. Sweat it out now…

You’re not the only one riding this struggle bus.

If it’s any comfort, you’re not the only one riding this struggle bus—Hannah Davis, CSCS, and creator of Body By Hannah, says she sees this happen all the time. There’s a number of factors that could be stifling your fitness progress; it’s just a matter of honing in on the problem.

Read on to know how to build muscle fast…

How intense are your workouts to build muscle fast?

It’s one thing to go through the motions of a workout, and it’s another to actually challenge your body. “I have many clients who are fearful of lifting heavier, but you really need to be training at a higher intensity in order to see progress,” she says. So if you’ve been sticking with those 10 pound dumbbells for upper body exercises, stop underestimating yourself—grab those heavier weights.

She notes that you’ll eventually hit a point where you feel you’ve hit your maximum weight, but you’ll probably be surprised by how much weight you can actually handle. You’ll know you’re lifting enough when the last two reps of every set (Hannah recommends 8 to 20 reps, btw) feel like a struggle. “Don’t be scared if it’s a little rough—get uncomfortable!”

How to Build Muscle Fast the Right Way

Are you training consistently to build muscle fast?

“Two days of [strength training] is great, one day is fine, but I recommend women train three to five days a week,” says Davis. “It’s really important that you’re giving your body that much consistency, especially if you notice you’re not getting stronger.”

And while there are a number of ways to split up your weekly workouts, Davis is a fan of doing an efficient, full-body routine during each of those three to five training days. “Most people are not going to overdo it doing upper body a few days a week,” she says. “That said, if there’s a part of your body that feels sore, steer clear of it in the next workout to avoid overtraining.”

Here’s a total-body strength workout to get your:

And consistency doesn’t need to mean hour long workouts five days a week. “If it’s three days a week, stick to an hour; five days a week 45 minutes; if it’s every day, go for 20 or 30 minutes,” she recommends. Another tip: You don’t need to complete all of your fitness minutes in one sesh: Try doing half the time in the morning and half at night, if that’s easier to squeeze in.

Are you choosing the right movements to build muscle fast?

While regularly cranking out any strength training exercises is great, if you’re not seeing a lot of muscle gains, turn your attention to the move selection in your routine. Davis says that while it’s great to do exercises that focus on specific muscles if you have the time—like biceps curls and leg extensions—you shouldn’t prioritize them.

Instead, go for multi-joint (multiple muscle group) movements. “The number one example is deadlift—it works your core, back, posterior chain,” says Davis. “Pair that with a pushup or dumbbell press. That’s your entire body right there.”

She adds that lower body movements are always going to help you build more muscle overall—so deadlifts, squats, and lunges are prime. Then add presses (chest press, overhead press, pushup) and any kind of pull (lat pulldown) to round out your total-body workout.
Find out more on how to build muscle fast…

How to Build Muscle Fast the Right Way

Are you really doing enough?

Ultimately, Davis says it all comes down to volume, or the amount you’re working all parts of your body. For example, if you’re trying to build your legs, “but you’re only doing one leg movement in a week, that’s probably not enough volume to see results.” The solution: Throw more exercises training your legs into your week. Or, if you are doing a decent number of moves, be sure that your rep and weight count are challenging enough.

Are you taking care of your body outside of the gym?

If you’re doing all of the above correctly, and still struggling to build muscle, it may have nothing to do with your actual strength training. “Then we need to look at your stress,” says Davis. “That encompasses nutrition and sleep. Those components cannot be overlooked, because they can trump all of your training.”

“Skipping sleep is only going to hurt your progress.”

For nutrition, that means drinking plenty of water and eating enough healthy, nutrient-dense foods throughout the day to help fuel your workouts. Davis says she often sees clients who barely eat all day long, and then eat a big meal before bed. “Not eating enough will prevent you from building muscle—you need protein and carbs to get stronger,” she says. You don’t necessarily need to fuel right before a workout (although if you do, Davis says an apple is her go-to), but you do need to eat enough to keep your body energized, and promote muscle-building.

Sleep is also crucial for your body’s recovery and performance. Davis recommends putting screens away an hour before bed, keeping you room dark and cool, and aiming for six to eight hours of quality sleep per night. That means, don’t cut out a few hours of sleep to make time for a morning workout: “Skipping sleep is only going to hurt your progress.”

Original article by KRISTINE THOMASON. She is a  Fitness & Wellness Editor at Women’s Health, where she edits, writes, and helps oversee the food and fitness sections of the website and magazine.

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Yoga Poses to Boost Your Confidence With a Strong Core

Tara Christie

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yoga poses for strong core

Yoga originated in ancient India. It is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines. To practice yoga, you need to know yoga poses. This is a discipline that helps boost your confidence. Learn more about this unique way of exercising your body and mind here.

The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be  – Bruce Lee

From Patanjali’s yoga sutras, we receive the concepts of sthira (effort) and sukha (surrender). Sutra 2.46, sthira sukham asanam, can be translated as “posture (asana) should be steady (sthira) and comfortable (sukha).” Originally transcribed in reference to a formal seated meditation, the theory can be expanded to all contemporary asana. Distilled, the hope is to cultivate a physical practice that is free of aches, pains, and restlessness so that the practitioner can focus on the mind and breath.

There are countless paths and methods that will aid each of us uniquely in dealing with and releasing our aches, pains, and anxieties. As the central part of your body, the physical core is one area of focus that may help many of us become stronger and thus alleviate our aches, pains, and anxieties. Core strength can help boost your confidence (sthira) and ease (sukha) especially working on what you find challenging yoga poses.

What is the physical core?

While there is a general consensus that a strong core is preferable to a weak core, the exact definition of what constitutes the physical core is unclear. In some definitions, the core is comprised of the muscles in the front of the body, which include the rectus abdominis, internal obliques, and external obliques. Other definitions expand to include muscles in the front, back, and sides of the midsection of the body; these muscles include the pelvic floor muscles, transverse abdominis, erector spinae, and latissimus dorsi. In asana practice, cultivating a strong physical core improves posture and balance which assists in boosting a practitioners confidence and ease into whatever pose they may find challenging.

yoga poses for strong core

How would you go about strengthening your core with yoga poses?

Luckily, every asana requires you to work your “core” because every asana invites full body awareness and engagement. However, some asana require more physical core strength to perform. For instance, vasisthasana (side plank pose) is best performed with a strong core to lift the body up and lengthen the spine. Otherwise in side plank pose, weight will be dumped into the supporting should, arm, and wrist, which is painful and can lead to injury. In addition, a strong core is associated with easier breathing and decreased lower back pain.

What are specific asana that are “core strengtheners?”

Core focused asana include navasana (boat pose), chaturanga dandasana (four-limbed staff pose), and bakasana (crane pose). While this article focused on the physical core, it is important to remember that yoga is a practice of the mind and body. And having a strong mental core is also essential for boosting confidence and easing into challenging yoga poses. For instance, it may feel more sensational in the physical core to practice utkatasana (chair pose), but be more mental work to sit still in sukhasana (easy pose).

Fostering a strong core contributes to ease in every single asana. In time, building the strength to find stillness and comfort throughout your practice on and off the mat will revolutionize the way you can practice yoga. Wishing you all the core strength as you work to focus on your mind and breath.

Having a good body posture can boost your confidence. To gain the ideal posture you need to know what yoga poses to apply. It does not only give you a good body, but it also boosts your confidence.

Some other great yoga posts: 

201 Yoga Quotes to Inspire your Daily Rituals

 

7 Yoga poses For Back & Neck Pain

Yoga Standing Poses To Improve Your Practice

Yin Yoga Sequence To Calm You Down

 

Chakra Poses and Affirmations to Reassess Your Life

 

Original article by Ling Beiseker. She is a relational therapist, yoga teacher, and overall wellness advocate

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How to Get Over a Bad Mood by Mindful Breathing

Tara Christie

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get over a bad mood - mindful breathing

When you are in a bad mood, all your emotions follow. It is an uneasy feeling. But you can get rid of a bad mood with mindful breathing. Learn more about how our breathing is connected with our emotions.

Yoga is the dance of every cell with the music of every breath that creates inner serenity and harmony.”  – Debashish Mirdha, MD., neurosurgeon & philosopher 

So you’re in a mood.

What do you do?

What are your go-to ways to get over it?

Whatever way you choose to work through your moods, here’s one thing to know:

Moodiness isn’t “good” or “bad.”

It’s neutral.

It provides us with clues about what’s going on underneath the surface of our awareness.

They’re like the tip of the iceberg of our inner world – the world of our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, perceptions, fears, etc.

A particularly bad mood can be like a tape caught on loop and overdrive.

Except the tape is our mind and we tend to loop hard when we’re bothered/ pissed/ annoyed/ disappointed/ overwhelmed/ irritated… you get the idea.

So what do we do?

We start breathing.

We do mindful breathing.

We tune into the breath and use it to help us navigate the waters of mind and emotions.

Yogic sages have known for thousands of years that the breath is the portal through which we can transform stress and anxiety while accessing a state of inner calm and grounded balance.

Our breathing patterns are intimately tied to our emotions.

Influence one, and you also impact the other.

Read on to get to learn more about mindful breathing and how it influences our mood…

They form what’s called the Breath-Emotion Loop:

 

get rid of bad mood-mindful breathing

 

1- Our emotions, thoughts, and moods influence our breathing patterns. 

Next time you’re in a mood pay attention to your breathing pattern. You’ll probably notice it’s short, shallow, erratic and/or quick.

Then notice your breathing next time you feel calm, safe, deep in concentration, or at ease. Notice it’ll probably be slower, longer, even-paced, and/or deeper.

2- Our breathing patterns can influence our mood. 

If you were to start breathing rapidly taking short and shallow breaths you’ll likely start feeling either awake and alert, or anxious and on guard.

And so, if you begin breathing slowly and deeply you will most probably begin to feel less uneasy and more relaxed.

Paying attention to our breathing patterns can tell us a lot about our mood.

Often times we’re not even aware we’re in a mood until something or someone on the outside reflects it back to us and it’s only then that we realize.

We can become more still and present by consciously controlling our inhales and exhales, and that’s how mindful breathing is born. 

And this is also yoga.

You don’t need to use your body or a mat to practice yoga.

You can use only your breath and this is yogic practice (sadhana) too.

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a 500-year-old authoritative yogic text states that:

“When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life.


Learn about the vagal tone in this post: Vagal Tone: Breathing Into Balance


Achieve how to get over a bad mood through mindful breathing…

Cultivating the habit of daily breath awareness is so effective at stilling the ripples of the mind that even Buddha himself taught this practice to monks.

In particular, the Buddhist Anapanasati Sutta, also known as the “Discourse on the Full Awareness of Breathing,” details Buddha’s instructions on how to use the breath to cultivate calm focus and mindfulness (aka Anapana breathing):

“Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. 

Breathing out, I know I am breathing out. 

Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. 

Breathing out, I am aware of my whole body. 

Breathing in, I calm my whole body. 

Breathing out, I calm my whole body” 

Mindfully paying attention to our breath means noticing and observing it without judging it and without having the need to change it in any way.

Just noticing the inhales and exhales.

Becoming so awake, aware, and present that we can actually start to feel the inner waves our breath creates.

Bringing full awareness to the sensation and feeling of the breath coming into the nostrils and coming out of the nostrils.

If a thought comes, (which it will, especially if you’re in a mood!) simply bring your attention back to the breath. 

Each time the mind wanders, just bring it back to the present moment – the moment where you’re breathing just as you are. Right here, right now.

By cultivating this simple daily habit, we can start to shift the way we feel right now, so we can eventually also shift the way we perceive our reality and our experiences. 

This inevitably creates empowering changes in our mood and temperament.

This is how we use our breath and our awareness to get over emotional humps and hurdles more quickly, more efficiently, and more productively.

mindful breathing exercises

Remember:

“When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still.”

You can calm your breath by just starting to pay attention to it.

This simple practice can have powerful exponential effects if it becomes a daily habit.

May you find peace and refuge in your breath.

Sat name.

 

Original article by Osmara Aryal, MBA, the founder of CalmWithYoga.com, a site dedicated to using yogic philosophy, mindfulness, and meditation to increase inner calm, mental focus, vital energy, and quality rest. She’s a Certified Functional Nutrition Practitioner and a Certified Yoga Teacher, specializing in Yoga Nidra, Yin Yoga, and Meditation. Her work has been featured multiple times on CNN and the Miami Herald.  When she’s not exploring corners of the world with her husband, or when her eyes aren’t glued to the computer researching, you’ll find her concocting gut-healing dishes in her kitchen, or cuddling with fur-babies Yodha and Molly. 

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