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Yoga at Your Desk

Here are some quick exercises you can do at work at your desk or even at the lunch table. These stretches can easily be done anywhere and are great to do every hour. You can practice one or two of these yoga stretches or do all of them!

Shoulder Rolls

Sitting on a chair, roll your shoulders backward. Make big circles with your shoulder. Loosen this shoulder area. 

Then repeat rolling the shoulders forward.

Hand Stretch

Interlace your fingers, and on the exhale flip the hands and push away from you about shoulder level. Make sure to keep the shoulders dropped. Work the fingers by pressing them and feeling a stretch in the palms. Begin breathing longer and deeper into the belly. This will help increase your energy flow. 

Inhale, lift your arms straight up above you, with fingers still interlaced. Soften the shoulders so the lift is not too much. Keep pressing the palms up, lengthening the sides of the body. Soften the ribs if they have begun to stick out. Lengthen the spine here as well. 

Exhale, release the arms down. 

Arm Stretch

You can do this stretch sitting or briefly stand up for this exercise. If you are sitting it is best to sit at the edge of your chair so you have room to stretch your arms behind you.

Interlace the hands behind the back and draw your arms back. Then, lift your arms up as far as you can go. 

Release the hands and interlace them the other direction so that the other thumb is now in front of the clasp. Open the chest and draw the shoulders back as you lift the arms once more. Release the hands.

Ear to Shoulder Stretch 

On the inhale, drop your left ear to the left shoulder. You should feel a stretch on the right side of your neck. Stay here for a moment. To intensify that stretch you can extend your right arm out. This is excellent if you have strain from repetitive motions in your work routine. Release the head and arm back.

Repeat on the other side. Bring your right ear to the right shoulder. Keep your chest open and extend your left arm, dropping the left shoulder. Observe where the tension is and roll the head to stretch that tense area accordingly. Finally, come back to the center, releasing the head and arm back.

Seated Pigeon Pose Hip Stretch

Bring your right ankle across the left knee. Flex your foot. Make sure to rotate your thigh outward in the pose. Inhale and lengthen the backup. 

Exhale, bend forward. Feel the stretch in the outer hip. Make sure you don’t feel a strain in the outer knee. Keep the foot flexed which protects your knees.
Inhale, come back up and repeat on the other side. Only stretch forward as far as feels right for your body.

Doing these yoga stretches at your desk will help you connect with the body, release stress, and re-energize for the rest of your day!



A Piece of Chinese Medicine in my Health Quest Moxa

I don’t like to take medicine unless nothing else really is an option. What I like to practice is preventive traditional medicine whenever seems meaningful. One of such is moxa, which is an important part of traditional Chinese medicine. Burning herbs in moxa help ease and promote healing. The principal reason for it to be successful is that eliminates the deficit of yang energy in our bodies. It is the energy responsible for motion and heat. The deficit of yang is usually shown through cold hands and feet.

I have become familiar with it when I was looking into healing my two-year-old’s ongoing winter cough. I later learned more of its healing properties and was amazed by the extent of soars it can heal ranging from digestive abnormalities, lung problems, liver issues, conception difficulties, and more. Moxa is also called “the plant which heals 100 illnesses”. Rightfully so, as when it enters the body, it opens up all of the 12 body’s meridians, and so, it heals by improving the blood flow. The plant from which moxa is derived–ai ye–is typically used in small quantities. These vapors then radiate immense heat directly to the meridians responsible for organs which we wish to heal. It comes in the shape of cigars which are best lit with a candle (because they take a considerable amount of time to start burning) and then brought close to the body’s part where the issue derives from. Its heat is easily transferred by performing small circular motions to the particular parts of the body or the parts that have been wounded. However, the burning end is extremely hot, and you need to practice precaution to not get it in contact with bare skin. Since it can be potentially dangerous to bring it around children, a more convenient version of packaging is made for them. It comes in a packaging from the same material as a tea bag consists. It looks like those old rubber hot water bottles filled with the same herbs which when rubbed together emit heat. You then place it either on the child’s chest or back. It heats the respiratory tract. On top of it, its aroma is soothing as well. It pleasantly radiates warmth to your body long after you have stopped the moxibustion process.

Moxa therapy is especially recommended for individuals who suffer a deficit of liver energy. In other words, to those whose bodies hold on to an excessive amount of water. Usually, those individuals have difficulties coping in environments where there is a lot of moisture in the air. While you might be one of them with no particular health concern but to improve your health and wish to boost your immune system for the upcoming heat (or cold), it is recommended to burn moxa for 20 minutes for the 3 days around the equinox. The timing supposedly makes up for 3 times the strength as it normally would around any other time of the year. It can be practiced any other time for about 10-day streaks. The timing during the day doesn’t play any particular role.

I use it in cases of blocked respiratory tracts when I feel a cold coming or when I’m extremely run down. Smoking the herbs in the region of a respiratory tract makes me able to breathe deeper as a result of it. I find my overall well-being improved since I’ve been practicing it. I feel more relaxed. I also found that more seldom situations make me uneasy as I’m able to simply breathe deeply through their most crucial moments. My hands and feet are not as cold anymore through winter, and I can finally enjoy the time outside the house even when the temperatures are freezing. Those are just the benefits related to my overall health.



Peacock Pose

The Anatomy Of Arm Support Poses

The difficulty of arm support poses lies in the fact that human hands, in contrast to feet, are not made to support the weight. Alternatively, hands have the innate function of grabbing and picking up things. It is recommended that amateur students refrain themselves from carrying out these poses before they learn to master a broad variety of standing positions. For those of you who feel they have had the appropriate training for undertaking arm support positions, make sure to wear comfortable clothing that will allow your body to move freely and without obstructions. Capris, workout clothes, or yoga pants are all appropriate apparel alternatives. 

Mayurasana (ma-yur-ahs-anna) is often categorized as an advanced extended arm balance yoga pose. It works arms, legs and spine while lengthening the anterior neck muscles, rhomboids and trapezius. 

A perfect peacock pose should look like a slightly tilted horizontal line that extends from the tip of your toes all the way to the base of your neck, with the chin pointing towards the floor. To correctly execute this position, one’s front torso has to be leaning onto the back part of one’s upper arms. The elbows should find a comfortable position in the area of the stomach or below the navel without allowing them to slip apart; while your forehead faces the floor with your legs, buttocks and knees actively stretching. 

Some cues to consider are the following: 

  • Keep your abdominal area and buttocks firm
  • To fixedly gaze at a single point while moving into and retaining the pose
  • Focus on maintaining your torso and legs nearly parallel to the ground

Bear in mind these tips when going into peacock pose, as they make up the basis of this position and will aid you with staying away from possible injuries. 

In order to gain the strength and stamina needed to carry out this pose, you can practice easier preparatory positions. The four-limbed stick pose or Chaturanga Dandasana, locust pose or Salabhasana, cow-faced pose or Gomukhasana, and upward bow or Urdhva Dhanurasana are five positions you can practice before attempting the peacock pose. These will work on your core and arm strength, your hamstrings and back, on broadening your shoulders and chest, and loosening up your wrists. 

Once you have prepared your body and gained more endurance, you can go ahead into a full peacock pose after doing preceding poses like the child’s pose or Balasana, the formerly mentioned four-limbed stick pose or Chaturanga Dandasana, and the foot-behind-the-head pose or Eka Pada Sirsana. Succeeding positions can consist of the downward-facing dog pose or Adho Mukha Svanasana, child’s pose or Balasana, and shoulder-pressing pose or Bhujapidasana. 

Most benefits linked to this yoga pose are closely connected to the realigning of the third, Manipura chakra. This energy point is home to our personal and transformational powers, self-esteem, confidence, and warrior energy. Amongst the benefits, one can find that this pose helps with detoxifying the body, alleviating indigestion and constipation, promoting physical and mental balance, and enhancing concentration. It is also said that yoga positions linked to the Manipura chakra can help to boost self-confidence, find one’s sense of purpose, and to improve motivation. 



Foods To Boost Immunity

The immune system is responsible for prohibiting any threats such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites from entering the body. It protects us from illnesses and diseases that can potentially occur. Lymph nodes act as a filter system to the body. They filter anything that may seem foreign to the immune system while producing cells to fight infections. They play a vital role for patients diagnosed with cancer. They release lymphocytes/white blood cells that fight against dangerous organisms. 

A weakened immune system is susceptible to diseases, viruses, and other health complications. Luckily, there are ways to increase vitality and performance. Taking preventive measures early in life will reduce the chances of falling ill. 

It is always recommended to have a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and low grains. If it is difficult to get nutrients through foods, taking vitamins is an alternative to boosting your immune system. However, natural foods do hold raw nutrients that are best for the body:

  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin which means it prevents free radicals from constant reproduction. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Fruits like oranges, tangerines, lemons, and clementines will boost your immune system. They are also great for fighting colds because they build your immune system. Red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C than in citrus fruits. They also contain beta-carotene which is good for your eyes and keeps your skin healthy. 
  • Ginger root is also another common remedy to fight infections. Some teas or juices are available in supermarkets, or you can make homemade recipes. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory plant. It alleviates pain. It can be advised to ingest it when suffering from a sore throat. In addition, it lowers cholesterol, and a study conducted on animals support this. If you are experiencing gastrointestinal issues, ginger does wonder against them. It also decreases nausea. 
  • Garlic which s found in most foods is also helpful in boosting your immune system. It lowers blood pressure and softens the tissue of the arteries. It is said that earlier civilizations believed that it has many beneficial properties. 
  • Kiwis are rich in folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cells which we know fights off infection. It helps in better digestion and induces sleep which is very important for our overall health. It also tones our skin and texture by giving us a natural glow. 

Most of the foods are easily accessible in grocery stores or farmer’s market. 



4 Great Yoga Poses For The Fall

Every season brings unique needs for our bodies and our minds. Yogis tend to harness that energy as the season changes, bringing a new sense of playfulness into their practice and giving their bodies what they ultimately need. Our minds are equally important, with many struggling to find focus and joy in the day-to-day activities of a frantic lifestyle. For many yogis, autumn is a wonderful time to practice grounding themselves right before the rush of the holiday season ahead. 

With that in mind, what poses can you bring to your mat to get the most out of this season and satisfy your body and your mind? 

  • Half Lord Of The Fishes

The chill in the air is sometimes a great opportunity to begin detoxifying our bodies before winter sets in. Twists allow us to wring out the organs and energy that flow through the body and reenergize us. Half lord of the fishes allows you to ground down through your sit bones, twist, and lengthen through the spine all at once. 

  • Goddess

What’s better for colder weather than a practice that encourages you to build some necessary heat? The goddess pose is an ideal choice for a fall yoga practice because it forces you to focus as you hover in this pose. It is great for putting the focus to the breath while you ground down through all four corners of the feet. It brings your awareness into some parts of the body that are otherwise forgotten and encourages strength building all around. 

  • Warrior II

Sinking into a deep warrior II stance is one of the best practices to bring to your mat in the fall season. Much like the goddess pose, this warrior stance calls you to ground down through both your front and back feet while gazing intensely ahead of you. It’s great for bringing awareness to the future and for balancing the body. Hold this pose just a few breaths longer during the fall than you might otherwise consider doing. 

  • Child’s Pose

Sometimes, we just need to take a rest from the hustle of the holidays, the school schedule, or the demands of our job as fall arrives. The child’s pose offers an opportunity for a silent reflection while remaining connected to the earth. Spread your knees as wide as the mat and allow the big toes to touch for a deeper stretch through the hips, bringing your belly and forehead closer to the mat. It should bring you one step closer to being more grounded for the remainder of the season. 

Be sure to listen to the needs of your body and your mind as the seasons begin to change. It may be a good time to evaluate which elements of your yoga practice are crucial and which ones may need to change just for a little while to help you regain your focus and your joy. Have compassion with yourself as you work through these changes to bring more contentment into your life.



Safely Approaching Lotus Pose

The lotus sit is one of the iconic symbols that represent the yoga practice. But this is an advanced posture that takes time and patience to master. Expect that approaching this posture will be a great challenge especially since many of us have become hard-wired to sitting in office cubicles.

Lotus pose is very effective in calming the mind as a preparation for meditation. This posture also gives the ankles, hips, and knees a good stretch. It is known for helping the blood flow freely to the spine and pelvis, helping ease menstrual cramps and discomfort.

Jewel in the Lotus

“Om Mani Padme Hum,” is a Sanskrit mantra that means “Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus.” Meditating while in this pose is said to be very effective in unifying the body and spirit, leading to a path of self-realization.

Preparatory Poses

Before embarking on a journey to lotus, make sure you are comfortable enough to practice the poses that are listed below. These poses will prepare your body and warm up the right muscle group that will be engaged during the full posture. It ensures that the amount of flexibility needed is accessible to the body before advancing to the full lotus pose.

Full Lotus Pose

  1. Begin by sitting in Staff Pose, where your legs are extended while your hands are planted on the ground behind the hips.
  2. Then hug your knees to your chest and place your right ankle at the crease of left hip, allowing the sole of the right foot to face upwards.
  3. Bring your left foot to the crease of the right hip and slowly draw your knees closer to each other.
  4. Keep your back straight and let your groin stabilize the pose.
  5. Rest your hands on your knees in Gyan Mudra by touching the index finger and thumb together, allowing the remaining fingers to relax.
  6. Close your eyes and avoid tensing any muscles in the face.
  7. Stay in this sit for one minute or during your whole meditation.
  8. Release gently by extending your legs back to Staff Pose.

Modifications

Use a cushion to support your knees if it fails to rest on the ground. Make sure that you are comfortable with Half Lotus Pose/ Ardha Padmasana before progressing to full lotus. This assures that your body and mind are prepared to approach the full pose.

Scale Pose/ Tolasana

Once you have mastered the lotus sit, you can add an extra challenge by lifting yourself off the floor in Scale Pose. Firmly press away from the ground while your body lightly rocks back and forth.

Bound Lotus Pose/ Bhadda Padmasana

You can also deepen the stretch by crossing your arms behind and reaching for your toes. You can also bend forward to increase the intensity of the stretch even more.

If you are suffering from any hip, knee or ankle injury, avoid doing this pose. Make sure you practice the pose under the guidance of an experienced and certified teacher. Do not rush into the full posture to avoid harming yourself. Always practice with patience and good intentions. Live in the moment and allow the practice to enhance your overall being. Also, make sure to wear comfortable yoga activewear. Thanks for reading!



Yoga Is for the Entire Family

Looking for an activity that will bring the family together, promote health and wellness, and is fun to do? Consider family yoga! No matter your age, yoga can benefit you and improve your lifestyle. More and more gyms and yoga studios are developing programs that focus on the entire family, from the young child to the grandparent. Children think yoga is cool. They view the performance postures as great fun, much like gymnastics or a game of Twister. However, while they are mastering each posture, they are also developing self-discipline, improving their balance and coordination, and are even bolstering their mental health. Children’s natural flexibility makes posturing seem easy. Fostering a love of yoga in your child at a young age is a gift you can give that will behoove them their entire life.

Family yoga benefits teenagers, as well. Help your teen preserve their flexibility through yoga. If your teen plays a sport, yoga can only enhance their performance while staving off injury. Yoga keeps muscles lean and limber and prevents tearing. Yoga’s focus on balance and coordination makes it a great way to improve a number of sports, including tennis, soccer, basketball, and baseball. Even professional footballers take up yoga to keep limber and improve their sport. Yoga fosters an innate sense of well-being, so your teen will be more likely to make decisions that will benefit his body and mind.

Family yoga is great for mom and dad. There is no better way to battle the stresses of raising children, balancing work and family, and facing financial and physical struggles than through yoga. Yoga helps fight insomnia, boosts the immune system, and is the best stress-fighter out there. Deep breathing techniques calm and sharpen the mind, so that productivity is enhanced, and lethargy is conquered. Men should not be fooled into believing yoga is just for women. Yoga complements weight lifting and helps to alleviate the stress put on the joints through activities like jogging. It also reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack by lowering stress levels and hormones within the body.

Pregnant women should fully engage in family yoga, making sure their instructor knows, of course, that they are with child! Yoga can help ease the many aches and pains caused by pregnancy and can also strengthen and stretch the muscles used during labor and delivery, making childbirth an easier, less painful process.

Finally, don’t forget that grandma and grandpa can also benefit from family yoga sessions. Yoga restores energy and vitality in those who have been weakened by old age. It increases mobility, fights arthritis, improves circulation, and helps fight off memory loss.

There is most likely no other physical and mental activity that incorporates the entire family as well as yoga does. Keep your family strong, healthy, and happy. Participate in family yoga!



How to Find the Perfect Yoga Outfit

There are so many pictures of yogis on social media with the perfect outfits. It’s mesmerizing to see all the different colors, prints, styles, and unique pieces all flashing before your eyes. It’s so easy to get caught up in it all and end up purchasing something that looked cute in a photo shoot but ends up being an absolute nightmare when you wear it to your class. Here are four important things to keep in mind while trying to find the perfect yoga outfit.

What Type of Yoga Do You Do?

This might seem like a random question, but it really is so important. If you do multiple types of yoga you might need to get multiple yoga outfits. For example: an outfit that is perfect for restorative yoga will be too hot and baggy for a vinyasa yoga class. If you are more of a hot yoga or ashtanga vinyasa type of girl, you should probably stick to clothes that are tight, small, and made of thin material. If you love a more moderate class or a gentle hatha class, then you might prefer something a little more covering but you should still keep it tight fitted. For yin yoga, it is probably best if you find something a little bit warmer but it should still be tight. The perfect outfit for restorative yoga is whatever you find to be the most comfortable for you and whatever keeps you warm.

Comfort Level

This is a huge one because not everyone is comfortable walking into a class full of strangers wearing a sports bra and short shorts. As much as that could be a typical outfit for hot yoga, for some people, it is not an option. You should not wear anything that interrupts your yoga practice, and making you feel exposed or insecure is definitely distracting. Yoga should be something that makes you feel good and secure. Make sure your yoga outfit allows you to feel that way.

Yoga Friendly

Have you ever been halfway through a class when you suddenly realized that your new leggings are see-though? Maybe you’ve seen someone else struggling with their new top that keeps sliding up every time they bend over. It’s frustrating and can be really embarrassing. Part of finding the perfect yoga outfit is making sure that it is “yoga friendly” before going into a class with it. Just taking two minutes to reach up, down, and around can save you from so many awkward and avoidable situations.

Quality or Quantity?

Are you one of those people who likes to have variety or do you like routine and dependability? It is completely up to you whether quality or quantity is more important. Find out what matters the most to you! It is probably best if you find a mix of both, because you will need to wash them often and low-quality clothes obviously won’t last as long. These leggings are a good example of what high-quality looks like. For some people, it is easiest to have two outfits and switch between the two, but some people think that more is better. It really is about what is right for you, so have some fun with it!

Your yoga outfits are a great way to express yourself and show off your style. Luckily, there are so many options out there so it’s only a matter of time before you find the perfect outfit!



Yoga Diet: How to Eat Like a Yogi

Yoga Diet: How to Eat Like a Yogi

Some people consider yoga as their go-to regimen to be in-tune with their body and feel grounded. Others considered it as a form of spirituality to be aligned with the universe. But regardless of your reason of practicing yoga, there is a specific diet which will support your preferred lifestyle. Remember that the Yoga diet is not designed to help you lose weight. It is intended to help you learn the proper way to eat to be in sync with the universe and your body. Most of the foods included in the yoga diet promote healing and living.

Things You Need to Know About Yoga Diet

The concept of the Yoga Diet is to fortify the strength of your body and help you find balance. It also should support the healing of the blood and organs. It is highly-energizing which will give us a relaxed and calm mind.

Choosing Your Hydrating Beverage

Ginger tea, roobios, peppermint, turmeric, herbal tea, vegetable broth, lemon tea and green tea are regularly consumed by the yogis. Aside from the fact that they can hydrate you, they can also help in nourishing and cleansing your body. They can also encourage the lymphatic flow which is our body’s natural process to get rid of the toxins. Start by replacing your daily dose of coffee with a more nutritious beverage. Try to add a vegetable broth on your dinner and replace your soda with plain water or herbal tea.

Start Your Day with Fruit and Porridge

Fruit combined with porridge is a regular mainstay in the yoga diet since it has energizing and warming properties. Some grains that you can use to create porridge include millet, amaranth, barley, rice, quinoa and oats that contain high mineral and vitamins. There are others who will avoid adding wheat since it has an inflammatory property. Sweet fruits are ideal to be consumed in the morning since they are a potent source of energy.

The Lunch Should Be Your Main Meal

Experts believe that your lunch should be the largest meal of your day. Those who are practicing Ayurvedic diet are aware that your digestive system is at their full capacity during afternoon. You should have a rich supply of vegetables during your lunch combined with proteins such as sprouted grains, kitcheri, navy beans, chickpeas, tofu, and tempeh. You may also add root vegetables in your miso soup and curry. Your daily dose of fats should come from nuts, flax oil, hemp, and olive oil.

Your Dinner Should Include only Cooked Food

When preparing your dinner, make sure that it would mostly constitute cooked foods. Ensure that it is also lighter than your lunch. Cooked foods will allow your body to be more relaxed and minimize the amount of energy that your body receives compared to raw foods. You may also add some hot soup or broth that can help induce your body to sleep.

In case you are new to the world of yoga, and you want to adjust your diet, follow the tips above to create that perfect yoga diet.