Your One Week Guide to a Flatter Belly

Flatter belly

Flatter belly

Have a big event coming up in a week? Want to get rid of the bloated stomach and get a flatter belly? Having a flat belly is on the top of the list of many people’s fitness regime. Getting a flatter belly in just a week is an avid goal, but by sticking to a proper plan, you can make a difference to your shape. Hence by the end of the week, you can make your stomach look flatter with some posture and style tricks. To discover the tips and tricks for a flatter belly, read on:

1. Stay Away from Salt:

Eating foods that are high in salts could be one of the reasons due to which your belly is looking bloated and puffy. Salt retains fluid that adds several pounds to your weight. Instead, add flavor to your foods with other spices & herbs. Some of them are:

  • Cinnamon: It can lower your cholesterol and reduce your blood sugar.
  • Ginger: It helps you to clear the weekend food out of your system with the help of digestive tract.
  • Mustard seed: With just one teaspoon of mustard seeds, you can increase your calorie burning.
  • Cayenne: It helps you to stimulate your metabolism to burn more calories.

So, putting your salt shaker away and getting these spices can help you a lot.

2. Go Green and Get Fresh:

Eating a meal of fresh fruits and vegetables will burn 15% of your calories. Veggies and fruits are rich in vitamin C and thus help in burning food. Avoid eating dried plums as they contain sorbitol which can lead to additional bloating and gas.

3. Fiber is Your Buddy:

To get your digestive tract move again, you need fiber. You should try to inculcate fiber in your every meal.

  • For Breakfast: If you have acidity, try wheat toast. If not, oatmeal flavored with raisins would be perfect.
  • For lunch: You can try some barley soup.
  • For Snacks: Grab a few nuts such as almonds or peanuts. The Fiber in nuts keeps your digestion regular and allows you to feel satisfied.
  • For Dinner: A baked potato with light and one hundred calorie is gentle on your stomach. It is enriched in fiber and is cholesterol free.

4. Say No to Alcohol:

According to American Journal of Epidemiology, people who heavily drink alcohol are more likely to get bloated. Restrain your body from alcohol and carbonated beverages for a few days. Alcohol leads to digestive problems and dehydration. The best thing is to drink water. Water helps in flushing out impurities and enables your digestion to get back on track. Also, drinking six to eight glasses a day is a healthy habit.

5. Chew Properly and Slowly:

While eating fastly, you swallow air which leads to bloating your belly and poor digestion. Enjoy each mouthful and try to slow down. Avoid distractions and multitasking, this way you can focus on eating your food slowly and not just gulping it. It will help you a lot in flattening your belly.

6. Watch Out the Intake of Sugar:

Many people don’t know how much hidden sugar they are intaking on a daily basis. Only staying away from cookies and chocolate bars won’t help much, many other things like frozen foods, sauces, yogurts and health bars have hidden sugar that adds calories. Consuming high amount of sugar will make it harder to lose belly flat. Read all labels of food before buying it. If you want to look best for the upcoming event in a week, stick to wholesome and natural foods.

7. Do Some Exercise Every Day:

Many studies suggest that mild physical activity alleviates bloating and clears gas. It is because the increasing breathing and heart rate spurs the regular contractions of the intestinal muscles, thus helps in preventing gas buildup and constipation by expediting digestion. If you walk for 10 minutes every day, it helps in burning 26 calories along with strengthening your heart rate. If you don’t get the time to go for a walk, you can try another form of exercise. It boosts your metabolism. Try to getting your heart rate pumping at least once a day to get lean and burn your fat.

For extra help in flattening your belly, consider these special products:

  • Peppermint tea or oil capsules contribute to killing the bacteria leads to bloating.
  • Use a product such as Tums, Gas-X, Pepto Bismal, or Bean.
  • You can try a digestive enzyme like a probiotic capsule.
  • Drink chamomile or fennel tea.
  • Try a gentle colon cleanser.
  • One of the best advice is to stop checking your weight every day. Instead, judge your bloating by the fit of your clothes.

With incorporating these easy tips into your everyday routine,  achieve the best results and get a flatter belly in a week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All About Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic diet

Ketogenic diet

Have you made your mind to lose weight and look slim? We have got the best plan for you! It’s a Ketogenic Diet! Wondering what is a ketogenic diet? How can it benefit you? We have all the answers covered in this blog. But, the very first thing is to understand what exactly is a ketogenic diet?

A keto or ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate protein and a high-fat diet. It turns the body into a fat-burning machine and puts it into a metabolic state known as ketosis. It has various proven benefits of health, weight loss, and performance.

How the Ketogenic Diet Works?

On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels become very low, and the fat burns increase with great speed. With ketogenic diet, it becomes easy to reach your fat stores to burn them off.

  • Cut down on carbs.
  • Improve your consumption of healthy fats.
  • Without glucose entering your body, it’s now forced to burn fat and produce ketones instead.
  • Once the blood levels of ketones rise to a specific point, you now officially enter into ketosis.
  • This results in consistent, fairly quick weight loss until your body reaches a healthy and stable weight.

A ketogenic diet is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other fewer benefits that it offers such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy, keeping you alert and focused.

Other Benefits of Ketogenic Diet

  • Better Mental Focus: Your brain has a consistent energy source for better mental focus. If you are looking to improve your mental focus, keto is a great way to accomplish that naturally.
  • Epilepsy: One of the main ketogenic benefits is for the people who have epilepsy is that they do not need too many medications.
  • In Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: If you have any blood sugar issues or type 2 diabetes, consider the ketogenic diet for the best results. It is highly effective at reversing type 2 diabetes.
  • Cancer: Cancer cells feed off of sugar. Cancer cells don’t know how to use ketones as a fuel source so if you eliminate sugars from your diet; it’s been shown to stop the growth of cancerous cells. While keto itself is not going to cure cancer, it can go a long way in treating it.

What to eat on a keto diet?

Here are the typical foods to enjoy on a ketogenic diet:

  • Fats & Oils: Try getting fat from the natural sources like meat and nuts.
  • Dairy: Most of the dairy products are fine, but prefer buying full-fat dairy products. Harder cheeses usually have fewer carbs.
  • Protein: Try sticking to organic, pasture-raised and grass-fed meat where possible. Also, too much protein on keto diet is also not good.
  • Beverages: Stay simple and stick to mostly water.
  • Vegetables and Fruits: The best type of vegetables for a ketogenic diet are low in carbohydrates and high in nutrients. Try to go after cruciferous vegetables that are grown above ground, leafy, and green.
  • Nuts and Seeds: For typical eating, you want to stick with fattier and lower carbohydrate nuts such as Macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and pecans.

What to avoid?

The most crucial thing for reaching ketosis is to avoid eating too many carbs. You’ll apparently need to keep the carb intake under 50 grams per day of net carbs, ideally below 20 grams. The fewer carbs, the more effective. Avoid foods having a lot of sugar and starch. This comprises starchy foods such as rice, bread, pasta, and potatoes. These foods are very high in carbs.

Final Words:

With Ketogenic diet, you experience a life where your body isn’t running on glucose, and you will feel so good about it. You will be more energetic and have clearer thinking. The amazing thing is you will love the feeling that your body is no longer holding you back from what you want to do.

How to condition for your first yoga session?

weight loss yoga

The one thing that worked against marketing tactics in yoga is the kind of royalty-free images used proliferating online apart from the copyrighted yoga photos use. [Thanks to Morguefile for the royalty-free image used in this article.]

weight loss yoga

But most certified yoga trainers are not apologetic about the reputation yoga has earned throughout the years. The bigger challenge though is making said routine palatable to the not-so-flexible beginner crowd. Let the following tips help you condition your body for the yoga routines to follow:

1. Practice in a room where no one sees you. Not even yourself.

This is a given if you have space in your bedroom where you may lay down the yoga mat not parellel to the mirror. If self-consciousness is needed in the yoga sessions, it’s not because you see yourself in the mirror. It’s because you feel the movement within your body in between poses.

2. Feel the breath every time you inhale and exhale.

Sometimes, you only get an idea how your ribcage handles the breathing part when you take about 3 seconds to inhale and 3 seconds to exhale. If not your ribcage, it is your lungs. If coughing out is inevitable whenever you exhale, your body is telling you to quit smoking or, if you’re not a smoker, avoid second hand smoke. The way you inhale also helps your body absorb as much oxygen as possible.

3. Anticipate your “edge” of that part that will challenge the overall session.

Since this blog tackles mostly weight loss variants of the yoga session, the common challenge is the belly. This is why some routines would rather start with you lying on your back with the arms and legs extended out of the edges of the yoga mat. Relaxing in anticipation of the more challenging routines or poses help in conditioning the belly along with the non-challenging parts of the body.

4. Slow down, not stop, to rest.

You realize that you have escalated to higher levels of yoga once dynamism sets in. This is seen in aerial yoga or aerodynamic yoga where switching from one pose to another is a little faster as if practicing moves from an aerobic workout. Doing yoga on your own though lets you switch poses at your own pace. So slowing down to transition better to the next pose is advisable rather than stopping.

5. Self-talk to your joints and other “uncooperative” body parts.

The running joke in some yoga circles is how you end up talking to yourself when you would rather practice yoga at home when not in yoga class. Otherwise, your instructor will be doing the talking for you. It is a way of telling your other parts to move according to the yoga session as mentioned in the manual. Like telling your tailbone to scoop up when trying to do leg raises. Highly advisable when back pains become an issue to the routines.

Conclusion

The moment you are ready to attend your first yoga class is when you get some feedback about certain yoga poses done wrong. Feedback is intended to help you improve, not to highlight your mistakes. Besides, informing your instructor your purposes for attending yoga classes helps in learning the right poses to assume and how to switch properly in between routines. Good luck in your first day of yoga classes.

Weight Loss From Yoga: What made yoga a viable weight loss option?

Weight Loss Yoga

 

The moment a certain fitness regimen is highlighted as the weight loss routine some celebrity is using prior to his or her next high profile project, almost everyone jumps on the bandwagon. Yoga is not exempted from the after-effects of such exposure on mainstream media. But are the newbies ready to take on the challenges that come with such routine? [Royalty-free featured image sourced from Morguefile.]

Why go with yoga?

The mindfulness associated with practicing yoga even for beginners make them aware of what’s happening within their body. Breathing exercises that hope to relax the body helps in anticipating the more challenging poses. Prolonged and slower breathing exercises end up helping the person cope with the yoga poses that keep on getting more challenging as said person levels up in the course.

The same mindfulness becomes a helpful attribute in helping these yoga neophyte count their breathing exercises every 2 or 3 seconds as opposed to every second. The latter even contributes to the cleared mindset and relieved breathing procedure. Once the breathing has pacified the body, the rest of the limbs are ready to coordinate their movements with the belly.

The spiritual connection

One aspect that made yoga for weight loss attractive for individuals who have never tried yoga before is the spiritual connection. It is not just about the sitting poses that reminded you of Buddha or some other spiritual guru from South Asia. It is that connection to your inner psyche that makes you aware of how bloated your belly feels, contributing to that drowsy feeling and uneasy air of sleepiness plus burping episodes.

That spiritual connection also reverberates on your over-all consciousness. Like how conscious can you get in the middle of a moment. Or that one time in the conference room where you are feeling light-headed. If there is one weight loss regiment that helps dieters become aware of their own body and their surroundings, it is yoga. The moment you become familiarized with the instructor’s line “Find your center”, the closest thing you could follow that instruction to the letter is by sitting upright in lotus position.

But in some weight loss-themed yoga sessions, that center is your belly because it is that part of the body that you wanted to do something about. This is why some of these routines start with relaxing on top of the yoga mat, arms and legs spread calmly that extends out of the edges of the yoga mat to put the belly in the middle of the yoga mat.

Counting the breaths.

The average calm way to breathe in yoga is 3 seconds to inhale and 3 seconds to exhale. Beyond 3 seconds is already a little gratuitous but worth testing just to see your breathing capacity or checking if exhaling does not come with coughing while exhaling. Exhaling without coughing out is a good sign that you are ready for the rest of the yoga poses.

There are yoga routines that target the belly, the arms and the legs apart from the breathing exercises. Don’t rush on getting all parts worked out on your first month of yoga sessions. Everybody has got to start somewhere. So choosing routines that target the belly first and the flabby arms next while prepping your lungs for fixing the breathing routines is highly recommended for conditioning your body for the more advanced sessions to come.

Can Yoga Help you lose weight?

Yoga for Weight Loss

Can yoga help you lose weight? Yes. By targeting certain parts of the body that you might be having a tough time trimming the fat off. So it is only a matter of time before you finally say goodbye to your flabby tummy and arms. They’re problem areas that can be solved with the right yoga sessions. The next thing you realize is that you’re doing crunches seamlessly with the help of proper breathing.

Yoga for Weight Loss
Image Source

How to do yoga-like crunches? Count the ways as follows:

  1. Start in a lotus-sitting position.

You may have seen this as one of the most common starting positions in yoga for a reason. It helps you check your sitting stance whether your chest cavity is protruding front-wards enough to correct your breathing. “Stomach in, chest out” may sound cliche at this point. But the moment you notice the improvement in your breathing, it will be part of your daily routine.

  1. For the warm-up. Move your neck like you are drawing circles with your nose.

The nose serves as a guide to moving your neck around without turning like you’re looking at either side of the walls. Drawing a circle clockwise with your nose makes your neck stretch effortlessly. Do it about 4 times clockwise and 4 times counter-clockwise.

  1. With the neck back in the center, put your left palm atop your right knee.

With the right fingertips touching the mat on your back, it slightly twists your waist on one side, applying minor pressure on the obliques. Repeat but this time with the right palm atop the left knee and the left fingertips touching the mat on your back. This preps up your obliques and your abdomen for the rest of the session.

  1. Repeat the previous instruction about 3 times, alternating left and right.

Twisting the waist with less pressure but with 3 more repetitions help in prepping up the rest of your body for the other steps in the session.

  1. Scooch up with your feet on one side of the mat to prepare to lie down.

Use your knuckles to lift your bum with the assistance of your feet flat on one side of the mat to find your best position comfortable in lying down on the yoga mat. Lay your bum on the center of the mat you when you have to stretch out the rest of your body, your heels and ankles are stretch out to the end of the mat instead of lying down with half of your shins parallel to the floor instead of on the mat. Inhale through the nose first and exhale through the mouth as your back meets the mat.

  1. Breathe in while pulling your knees close to your chest.

Pull them to lift the tailbone and exhale through the mouth. Hug the shins to keep the knees up. Point the feet upwards first so you can flex them later and to rotate the ankles. Feel the mat while rocking from left to right. It will condition the body for the next steps since it will keep the back close to the mat.

  1. Interlace your fingers and put them under your head an atop the mat.

It looks like a starting stance for the crunches but with the elbows stretched out on each side of your head. This step makes space between the thighs and your navel with your body taking a 90 degree angle due to the space made. Keep the thumbs extended from your palms to support the head atop the mat.

  1. Scoop up the tailbone using your thighs.

Pressure is felt on the navel is the thighs move inward for the tailbone to protrude outward from the mat. Your knees will look like it is pointing upwards the ceiling. Keep the thighs and knees pointing upward while lifting the shins parallel to the ceiling.

  1. Stretch the right leg upwards with the toes pointing to the ceiling while breathing in.

Exhale while stretching the same leg down without touching the mat while pulling the left knee towards your face at the same time. It will make your right leg look like it is hovering above the mat without touching it. Inhale again while lifting the other leg this time. Exhale while stretching the left leg to hover above the mat while pulling your right knee towards your face. Do it for 3 to 4 times, alternating left and right.

  1. Stretch the right leg again but this time, once it is lowered, let your right elbow touch the left knee.

This is the part where it starts to look like crunching your abs except that there is deep, slow breathing involved to keep your body balanced. Inhale and stretch right leg up. Exhale and stretch right leg down to hover above the mat while the left knee meets the right elbow. Switch without losing track of the breathing sequence. Repeat at least three times.

Yoga has an interesting way of tricking the body to do ab crunches and still feel less pressure while you’re at it. As long as you keep track of your breathing sequences, then you will be ready for the more advanced yoga sessions in no time. In no time, you will be noticing flatter abs, toned arms and glutes.  And you may have noticed that Yoga helped you to lose weight.

Featured Image from Stocksnap.io

Yoga for the Body, Mind, and Soul!


Yoga is an ancient practice designed to unite the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of ourselves.  And along the way, the yogi (practitioner of yoga) gains a plethora of benefits!  So if you’re not sure if yoga is right for you, check out a few of the benefits that you will experience:

 

Physical Benefits

 

  • Increased flexibility – This is the most commonly known benefit of yoga.  And it’s true!  Many yoga poses are based on stretching the body, allowing for greater flexibility and range of motion.  This means that when you turn 70, you will still be able to tie your own shoes!
  • Increased strength – Many of the yoga poses also increase our muscular strength.  Try practicing sun salutations for 15 minutes, and you might start to feel the burn in your triceps!
  • Increased balance – Yoga also helps increase our balance physically.  Any pose where you are standing on one foot (tree pose, dancer pose, etc.) will help you find stability so you are less likely to fall over off of the mat.  This becomes more important as we age…
  • Better posture – In yoga, we are constantly guided to lengthen the spine.  If you see someone hunched over during a yoga class, hopefully the teacher is quickly guiding them to sit up straight!  With a straighter and stronger spine comes better posture.  And with better posture comes more oxygen to the brain, allowing for more coherent thinking.
  • Increased joint mobility – The physical yoga practice guides you to utilize your body’s full range of motion.  This helps your body build cartilage around the joints, preventing the onset of arthritis!  
  • Healthier spine – There are many spinal doctors that now prescribe yoga for patients with spinal disc problems.  This is because in yoga, we move the spine in all 6 directions: forward bend, backbend, left side bend, right side bend, left twist and right twist.  But you don’t have to wait for spinal degeneration to practice yoga!  Yoga can help prevent degradation in the spine, allowing for a healthy and pain-free back.
  • Healthier bones – Yoga is considered a weight bearing exercise, and weight bearing exercises encourage the bones to build up stronger infrastructure.  Stronger bones decreases the chance of osteoporosis allowing for a longer, healthier life!
  • Increase circulation – An inversion is a pose where the hips are higher than the heart (think about downward facing dog, standing forward fold, handstand, etc.)  These poses increase circulation throughout the body, but especially towards the head.  When you move from an inversion to an upright position, you often feel more relaxed.  This is because your blood pressure has decreased!  This is a powerful benefit for anyone with circulation or heart problems.
  • Increases immunity – Practicing yoga allows the lymphatic system to function more easily.  By stretching and contracting the various muscles of the body, the lymph nodes are able to drain naturally, and the lymphatic system experiences an increase in circulation, allowing your body to fight off infections and diseases more easily!
  • Regulate adrenal glands – Yoga helps us reduce cortisol, the stress causing hormone.  During yoga, we are focused on the breath and constantly working to deepen the breath.  The movements are linked with the breath, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to engage and giving our adrenal system a little break.
  • Increase weight loss – For overweight yogis, yoga can help restore a healthier weight.  This is somewhat due to the fact that you burn some calories in yoga, but mostly due to the fact that you are becoming more mindful.  Yoga teaches us to focus on the present moment, which is especially important during mealtimes.  When we practice mindfulness when eating, we are more likely to stop when we feel full (not stuffed!) and to feel satisfaction after the meal is complete.

 

Mental Benefits

 

  • Increase happiness – Practicing yoga often leaves us with an increase in endorphins.  These endorphins literally make us feel happier, decreasing symptoms of depression. And we could all use a little more happiness in our lives!
  • Decrease stress – Similar to the physical benefit of “regulate adrenal glands”, yoga allows us to simply relax.  By spending time thinking about the breath and body, your thoughts naturally become less overwhelming, and you are left with a feeling of peace.
  • Clearer thoughts – during yoga, we practice good posture, especially with the spine.  When we have good posture, it’s easier for the blood to get to the brain, providing fresh oxygen to the brain.  This fresh oxygen allows us to think more clearly.

 

Spiritual Benefits

 

  • Less violence – In yoga, we practice ahimsa, which is non-violence or non-harm.  This is practiced by being gentle to ourselves on the mat and being gentle to the world us off of the mat.
  • Greater understanding of truth – Yoga teaches us satya, to live our truth.  By becoming in tune with our inner self, our voice of reason, we gain a greater understanding of the world around us and how to live our lives as our true self.
  • Greater integrity – Another yoga concept is asteya, or non-stealing.  This one seems obvious, yet we see people everyone taking what isn’t theirs.  Yoga helps us relearn this simple concept of not stealing.
  • Greater contentedness – Aparigraha, or non-possessiveness, is a powerful yoga concept.  It teaches us to accept what we have instead of always wanting what we lack.  This helps increase our level of contentment, increasing our overall satisfaction in life.

 

Hopefully a couple of these benefits appealed to you!  And this is just the beginning.  As you deepen your yoga practice, you will experience benefits above and beyond the basics that I have listed.  So have fun on your yoga journey!

 

Namaste

 

References

https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/count-yoga-38-ways-yoga-keeps-fit

https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/yamas-ahimsa-non-harming-yoga-practice

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/yama-satya-truthfulness-yoga-practice/

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/yama-asteya-non-stealing-yoga-practice/

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/yama-aparigraha-non-possessiveness-yoga-practice/

 

Yoga Basics

 

To some of us, yoga may seem like a trendy way to exercise that helps us stretch and relax, but it is so much more!  Yoga is an ancient practice that originated in ancient India.  It was originally associated with spiritual practices in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism – but eventually dissociated from religion and became its own form of a spiritual practice.  It is a scientific system of healing the body, mind, and spirit.  There are even texts guiding this comprehensive practice!  Patanjali, a great yoga guru, wrote the Yoga Sutras around the year 400 which provided a series of moral stories to strengthen a yogi’s spiritual practice.  If you’re curious about the spiritual aspects of yoga, I would highly recommend reading this book!  Yoga is spiritual, but it is not a religion!  You can practice any (or no) religion, and yoga will simply complement your current spiritual practice.

The root of the word yoga, yuj, closely translates to the word “yoke” and means union or connection.  Yoga is a way to connect the mind, body, and spirit.  Often, especially in modern Western culture, we get consumed by our thoughts and get stuck in our heads.  We lose connection with our bodies and therefore the world around us.  This is most evident in the rising obesity epidemic (yes, it’s an epidemic).  The general population eats to feed cravings in the mind, rather than cravings in the body.  When practicing yoga, we try to reconnect with the body by listening deeply during our physical practice.  To incorporate the mind, we practice meditation.  Often, this is accomplished by focusing on the breath and allowing your thoughts to pass through your mind without becoming attached to any one thought.  Finally, the spiritual practice is one that is most often practiced outside of yoga class, but the basics can be prepared during class.  The spiritual practice is different for each person, but the easiest way to describe it is becoming in touch with your inner light and allowing that light to shine brightly!  When practicing yoga, we are working to unite the physical, mental, and spiritual so that we can live a more conscious, and happier life!

Today, there are soooo many schools of yoga!  This is wonderful because if you do not like one, you can try a different one.  Or, if you like multiple schools, you can have a more robust practice!  Here are a few of the more common schools:

 

 

  • Hatha – Hatha yoga is the most common yoga school practiced in the west.  When practicing hatha yoga, you will most likely practice a series of physical poses in combination with breathing exercises.  The combination of poses with breathwork is designed to open up pathways in the body and mind to allow you to heal different physical and mental ailments.
  • Ashtanga – Asthanga yoga is typically more intense than hatha yoga.  The poses are linked in pre-defined series that are 1.5 – 2 hours long.  If you’ve ever seen someone use their core to lift up into a handstand in the middle of the room, they were probably practicing ashtanga yoga!  This yoga practice requires great core strength, which translates to great inner strength, or strong spiritual worth.
  • Kundalini – Kundalini yoga is a powerful healing practice!  It is highly scientific, and at the same time, highly spiritual.  It is less popular in the west, and the poses vary greatly from hatha or ashtanga yoga.  Each pose is designed for a certain physical and mental purpose.  Often, teachers will incorporate meditation and chanting to help deepen the healing process.  You are less likely to get a workout during this practice, but will most likely heal deeply.
  • Restorative – Restorative yoga is a form of hatha yoga, but different enough to mention here!  During restorative yoga, you are laying down in a pose for 5-10 minutes in order to gain a certain mental or spiritual response.  This is a very interesting practice because you are using the physical practice in order to access the mental and spiritual aspects.  You will not receive any of the physical benefits (stretching, strengthening, balancing), except possibly a release of tension.  However, you will leave this class feeling relaxed and refreshed.  
  • Hot Yoga – This is not a school of yoga, but it is popular enough to list here.  During the physical practice of yoga, we often spend the first part of the class building heat in the body so that we can safely move into the deeper poses.  With hot yoga, the room provides that heat (often greater than 100 degrees of it!)  So the students are able to move into the deeper poses more safely.  Oftentimes in hot yoga, alignment is ignored because the student is dripping in sweat and so getting into the pose is a blessing itself.  So if you’re a beginner to yoga, I would recommend you practice hot yoga after learning the basics in a room temperature class.  My personal experience has been that hot yoga puts me in a deeply spiritual practice – I imagine the experience is similar to wandering the desert.  Your physical world becomes less concrete and you become more in tune with what’s happening to your inner self.

 

 

So, there is a brief overview of this vast practice called “yoga”.  Hopefully you can enter your next yoga class with a deeper understanding of the complexities of what is about to be taught!  And with this awareness, you can strengthen your own practice by practicing yoga on and off of the mat.  

 

Namaste!

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga

Eat Your Phytonutrients!

 

You’ve heard of macronutrients and micronutrients, but what about phytonutrients?  Well “phyto” means plant, so phytonutrients are nutrients found in plants!  And these nutrients are powerful.  In plants, these nutrients are designed to protect plants from germs, fungi, and bugs.  In humans, these nutrients help prevent disease!

Phytonutrients can be found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and tea.  There are 10 that have been well studied by scientists and we’ll take a look at each of them below:

 

Carotenoids

This class of phytonutrients can be found in yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables (think carrots!).  Carotenoids are antioxidants and fight free radicals in the body.  Some can be converted to Vitamin A to help with your immune system and vision.

Lycopene

This phytonutrients is found in red and pink plants like tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit.  This powerful nutrient has been linked to lower rates of prostate cancer.

Lutein

This phytonutrient can be found in dark greens like spinach, kale, and collards.  It is known for helping with eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Ellagic Acid

Ellagic Acid can be found in berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and pomegranates.  It has been shown to slow cancer cell growth – wow!  

Catechins

Catechins are found in green tea.  They are well known for the prevention of certain cancers.

Hesperidin

This phytonutrient can be found in citrus fruits and helps to reduce inflammation in the body – prevent a lot of our age-related diseases.

Flavonols

Flavonols have been found in apples, berries, kale, and onions.  This one is super powerful!  It has been shown to reduce risk of asthma, some cancer, and coronary heart disease.

Resveratrol

This is the famous nutrient found in grapes and red wine… it is well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.  Current research is trying to prove it’s ability to reduce heart disease and cancer.

Glucosinolates

This phytonutrient are found in cruciferous vegetables (brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli).  To utilize this nutrient, the cruciferous vegetables must be cooked.  They have the potential to prevent the growth of cancer.

Phytoestrogens

This phytonutrient can be found in soy foods.  Phytoestrogens act like estrogens in the body – meaning they prevent the body from making excess estrogen.  This has been shown to lower risk of endometrial cancer and bone loss.

 

So, these plant-based nutrients have powerful effects in our body – but how can we be sure to get them?  Simply fill your plates with as many colors as you can to ensure a wide variety of phytonutrients.

 

Resources:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/phytonutrients-faq#2

 

The Truth about Matcha

I’ve been seeing matcha everyone!  From my local grocery store, to Costco, to Starbucks and all over the internet.  It is touted for it’s incredible health benefits.  Increased energy and weight loss – what could be better?

Matcha is simply a powder made from a specific type of green tea.  This particular type of green tea happens to have high chlorophyll levels (which explains how matcha looks so green!)  In order to brew matcha, you simply add the powder to hot water, which means you are consuming the entire leaf (unlike typical teas, where you remove the leaf after brewing).  

The specific compound that appears to have incredible health benefits is EGCG – which is actually found in all teas.  But when you combine EGCG with the catechins and antioxidants found in green tea, you can reap the following benefits:

  • Reverse diabetes
  • Increase heart health
  • Increase brain health
  • Decrease cancer growth
  • Decrease the aging process
  • Improve skin health
  • Boost metabolism!

Sign me up!  But do we really need to reach for matcha instead of a regular green tea leaf?  Well, matcha has been shown to have as much as 3 times as much EGCG as regular tea.  So perhaps it is worth the price!

Just one quick precaution before you start investing in matcha: teas produced in China have been shown to have higher levels of lead pollution than other countries.  So, to play it safe, try to get your green tea and matcha from Japan.

So try switching your morning coffee for matcha and see if you can feel the subtle changes in your own health!

 

Getting Back on the Fitness Train


Remember back in January, when you set a rush of good intentions for eating healthy and working out? How are those intentions doing now?… Now that summer is almost over, have you given up hope on your swimsuit-ready body? (by the way, every body is swimsuit ready – what may not be ready for it is your mind)

Well, have no fear! It is never too late to get back into a healthy routine! Let’s take a moment to think back to our aspiring January selves… what did we want our lives to be like by mid-summer? Maybe you even wrote down your goals – if so, go find them! Let’s check them out and see if any of them match with the descriptions below:

  • Exercise Moreokay, this one is very generic, but also a very common resolution. If this was one of yours, think about whether or not you made a change to your exercise routine. If not, let’s start now! Go ahead and sign up for that fun fitness class. Or lace up your shoes and go on a run. This resolution has a lot of room for interpretation, so use that freedom to make your exercise routine fun!
  • Run a marathon now we’re getting specific… but don’t worry, it’s not too late to start! You only need 8-16 weeks of dedicated training (depending on how much you’ve been running) in order to complete a marathon. And there is a plethora of resources available online with training plans for new runners. Simply Google “marathon training plan” and pick one that works for you! After that is the hard part… 8-16 weeks of commitment to running, followed by 26.2 miles of blood, seat, and tears. It is not easy, but believe me, it’s worth it!
  • Lose Weight so this one is partly related to exercise, the other part is nutrition. So, have you lost the weight you had expected to last January? If not, let’s start now! One of the best exercise routines for weight loss is HIIT (high intensity interval training). If you are unfamiliar with HIIT, check out your local gym, fitness center, or cardio club to find some heart-pumping classes to boost your metabolism and burn some calories! After 4 weeks of 5 HIIT workouts per week, you should feel a dramatic difference in the way you feel about your body.

These tend to be the most common fitness-related goals/resolutions, but if you had a fitness goal that was not listed, feel free to comment below and we can offer some advice to guide get you back on the fitness train and conquer your goals!