Practicing Gentle Yoga For Beginners

Practicing yoga is something that can benefit anyone. You don’t necessarily need the best yoga pants or yoga leggings to practice. Simple women’s workout clothes or gym leggings are more than enough. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and able to move freely. Many people believe they must be able to do all the poses and have the best clothes to practice yoga. The truth is that you only need to be comfortable and be able to breathe to do yoga. 

The best way to start a simple and gentle yoga practice is by connecting to the breath. It is imperative to learn how to breathe deep, full yogic breaths before pushing yourself to learn how to perform different yoga poses. A full yogic breath involves breathing deeply into the abdomen first before filling the rib cage area and chest with air. The majority of people breathe only with their chests, using only a fraction of their lung capacity. If you can learn to breathe full yogic breaths, you are already doing yoga. 

After learning to breathe, you can start with some basic yoga poses. It is very common for people to push themselves beyond their limits, especially when they are beginning yoga. If you are someone who is physically active in other ways, yoga can be a challenging yet humbling experience for your ego. Letting go of expectations, judgments, and pressure are important components of yoga that are often underestimated. There are two rules when it comes to yoga: 

  1. Listen To Your Body. No one knows your body better than you. If a teacher is pushing you to express a pose, explore it but do not attempt or hold anything that doesn’t feel right for your body. Rest when you need to and let go of the pressure to perform.
  2. Breathe! It needs to be emphasized over and over again. If you are in a pose and not breathing, you have missed the purpose. The body can only benefit from yoga poses if the breath is paired with them. The breath allows for more profound expressions and releases tensions. Holding the breath can lead to pains and strains.

Some poses are better than others for beginners because they are simple and not too strenuous. A great beginner yoga sequence could look like: 

  • Start in Savasana (corpse pose) and connect with the breath. Savasana is often considered the most challenging pose because it requires you to relax. Always begin and end your practice with savasana. The final savasana is especially important, so if you skip one, make it at the beginning rather than the end.
  • Bring your knees to your chest and allow them to fall to one side for reclined spinal twist. Remember the rules. Find the expression of the pose that feels right for your body. You may prop your knees up on a pillow for more support. Extend your arms into a “T” shape and turn your head to the opposite side, that your knees have fallen towards. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Come to tabletop position, and practice cat and cow. As you inhale, arch your back, letting your navel fall towards the flow for cow pose. Exhale and allow your back to arch up towards the sky for cat pose.

This simple series is a great start as it helps to awaken the spine. The most important thing is to remember the rules! Yoga is for everyone.

What Is Dry Brushing And What Can It Do For Me?

There are hundreds of health trends out in the world, many of which do about as much good as snake oil. But one emerging trend, dry brushing, has real benefits that are worth looking into. Skin brushing isn’t a new idea. History is filled with accounts of ancient civilizations using everything from sand to dried corn cobs to remove impurities and detox the largest – and most often overlooked – organ. In modern times, the quest for perfect skin has produced so-called “miracle” products, anti-aging treatments, and even specialized surgery. Maybe it’s time to dip back into ancient wisdom and give the floor over to a tried and trusted method. 

Benefits

Dry brushing is said to provide a multitude of benefits not just on the surface of the skin, but within the body as well. A common claim is that it gives a boost to the lymphatic system, which is the network of tissues and organs that get rid of toxins. It is where the detoxing claim comes from, and it primarily works by increasing circulation. For this reason, it is often recommended that you do not dry brush in the evening, as it can increase energy and make it harder to fall asleep. 

On-the-surface benefits include an obvious exfoliation factor. The stiff bristles loosen and remove dead skin cells while also clearing pores, leaving skin smoother and cleaner. Many people claim that dry brushing also helps improve the appearance of cellulite, and while this is not a verified benefit, there are countless anecdotal accounts which swear by it. 

A good dry brush can be picked up for as little as $20, which is a small price to pay for a natural and effective health boost. Glowing, tighter skin, a detoxified body, and an instant energy boost? What’s not to love?

How To Dry Brush

After purchasing a dry brush (preferably one with natural fibers), take your clothes off and stand in your shower stall or tub. You will be removing a lot of skin cells, so it’s best to be in a place where you can easily wash them away. Start at your feet and use long, smooth strokes moving up towards your heart. It’s important to always brush towards your heart in order to stimulate circulation. Once you get to your ribcage, switch to brushing your arms and back. The last spot you should get to is your upper chest, and instead of long strokes here you want to use a circular motion. This whole process can take anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes, depending on how thorough you are. When you’re done, take a quick shower. You might be surprised at how invigorated you feel afterward! 

A Few Things To Keep In Mind: 

  • Be careful not to brush too hard; your skin should be pink when you are done, not red or scratched
  • Use gentler strokes on sensitive areas like the breasts
  • Never brush over open wounds, as this might bring in bacteria and cause an infection
  • Try not to dry brush at night if you notice it gives you energy 

The Unexpected Matching Trend, Perfect for Yoga

Choosing the right outfit for your next yoga class just became significantly easier. One of the hottest new fashion trends for workout clothing is an unexpected matching trend that allows you to wear the same color from your head to your toes. Yogis adore these new one-toned outfits because it makes choosing individual items much simpler and has a great influence on their yoga practice.

There is no more guesswork about whether an outfit matches or if the pieces are going to look good together with these one-tone choices. Instead, you can stroll outside in style and with greater confidence that you are wearing an outfit uniquely suited to you. Dressing in all one color can be a great way to bring certain energies into your daily life and alter your prana.

How can you start to incorporate this unexpected matching trend into your yoga outfits? Take a look at our top suggestions below!


Search for athleisure suits

If you aren’t confident in your ability to find coordinating pieces from multiple shops, you can purchase a full athleisure suit. These should come with yoga leggings or workout pants, as well as a top in the same color. Purchasing your clothes from the same shop gives you the ability to ensure a closer match between the colors and the styles.

Add neutral accessories

Just because you committed to a bright red outfit doesn’t mean you can’t have any other color with your yoga clothes. You can break up some of the colors on your one-toned outfit by using accessories such as a charcoal grey handbag, a long statement necklace, or neutral-colored shoes. These accessories are a great way to keep your color from becoming overwhelming to the eye.

Texture can break up the color blocking 

Are you hesitant to try this trend? Creating a block of color from your head to your toes is quite a commitment. Some yogis are still hesitant about this fashion-forward selection, so they might want to try breaking up their color with pattern. Opting for clothes that have a slight pattern but are still the same color is important to getting this look exactly right. Consider looking for a lace top that comes in the same shade as your yoga pants. Alternatively, you might want to wear a big knit sweater to add a little visual interest.

Keep everything else simple

Wearing a one-tone outfit can be overwhelming as it is, so you should try to avoid adding other items that are also likely to draw attention. Simplicity tends to be the key to making these yoga outfits work well. Don’t forget to keep that at the forefront of your attention when selecting accessories and shoes to go along with your one-toned outfit.

Wearing all one color can be a great way to introduce some prana energy into your next yoga session. You can take advantage of this new fashion trend to help you move a little deeper into your practice this week.

Spices That Can Turn into Lotions

My use of spices might be pretty basic but I try to incorporate it into various aspects of our lives, not only cuisine. For example, I have managed to crop plenty of thyme – and making it into a lotion has seemed like a wise idea.

It is known to cure stomach ache and calm the nerves and is moreover known to eliminate viruses and bacilli. It is a great lotion to use on the bottom of my feet when extremely tired or feeling a cold coming to avoid it. I even rub a little on my baby’s chest and back when he has a high temperature. Also, a syrup with an addition of thyme is great for beating the cold.

Thyme buds placed underneath a hot water bottle heat up the chest and consequently cure a cold. It is even wise to make a bath of it as it’ll revitalize you.

It blooms brightly pink and is nice to have in sight, but it is rather difficult to grow. It does not grow in moist places, rather on dry and shallow ground with lots of sunlight. But the time period of it blooming is quite extensive, as it grows from May through September – might as well take advantage of it.

Thyme is moreover a great addition to your cuisine as it compliments different dishes from fish to soups and salads.

Another healthy plant is brightly yellowy-orange calendula. It is believed to be weather prognostic, for when it doesn’t bloom in the morning, it may mean that it will be cloudy and rainy throughout the day.

It has the ability to clear blood and eliminate viruses from the body. It even helps with jaundice. Its medicinal properties are also beneficial when you’re having an intestinal inflammation, as its tea works soothingly. Also, if you want to strengthen your sight, try rinsing them with calendula.

Using its juice helps cure skin warts. The only thing you need to do to get a lotion out of it is to throw a couple of handful of calendula into a heated fat (I like to use ghee butter for it, but other types of fats would do just great, too). It moreover helps eliminate Varicose veins, freckles, and fungi.

Yet another basic, super aromatic and versatile spice is rosemary.

It is an evergreen bush with many health benefits. It stabilizes heart pulse, it raises blood pressure and strengthens the heart. You can steep it in different oils, wine, or teas, and it brings out its sweet strong aroma. To add, it also has healing effects while steeped in luke water for a bath when you feel a cold coming.

I hope these sparked an idea for you on how to either crop your own and use them to their health advantage or even ask your neighbors if you can make good use of theirs. I’m sure they won’t mind bring them a healthy lotion in return.

How To Start Out a Lifestyle Blog

You are considering starting a lifestyle blog, but are not sure where to start. Workouts, healthy nutrition, and style might already be in your blood, and you just need a little direction of how to tie them all together. It will be your online diary, but now the question is how are you going to show it to the right public in order to build an engaging community.

Here are a few tips and tricks to consider on the way:

1. Be transparent in your endeavors. Let others know up front if you’re selling or marketing a product. Transparency is the only way of gaining your customer’s trust.

2. Let your audience know who you are and who you aspire to become. Have a section telling your readers about yourself and why are you so passionate about what you do. They need to find common ground to at least virtually befriend you.

3. Navigating through websites has never been more hectic. Make the journey for your audience easy. Have a simple and clear menu bar and at least one search box. You want to rank high for different keywords related to your endeavors. Use the online tools available to you to seek out where your potential audience hangs.

4. Set a routine that works for you and gives them new content. Regularly. Browsing the web has come into our blood just like we eat, sleep and relax. If you’re selling something, you want to be there when your customers need your help. You can prepare for this by having an ample amount of information ready in advance. Similarly, you may use a certain program or software to set schedules on when you want to publish certain content. When venturing out on an online quest, routines matter.

5. And so does valuable content. It mustn’t be much. It can be a photo or two, maybe a mind map, an inspirational quote. Stand firm and build your brand. Brag a little too if needed. Hey, if you’re not going to do it, no one’s going to do it for you.

6. Be different. Tell your audience what differentiates you from the person trying to make ends meet on the tap right next to yours. Put yourself out there a little. At the end of the day, we make business with people. Business to customer is no longer only what the name proposes. It rather changed to human to human.

7. When possible be available to your readers. You got them to your site because they found a common thing that you are sharing. Or even better, you can help them solve their problems. Make sure you talk to them when they reach out to you.

8. Make them feel exclusive. I’ve never heard anyone say that they’re not proud to be a member of a Country Club. Offer free features to those who set sail with you.

9. Give, give and give. Then you can ask something in return. I mentioned human to human earlier, we need to know the person who we are making business with in order to feel secure in our decisions. In order to make decisions, we need selection. Don’t be the person who feeds business to your competition because you’re too lazy to act human.

10. Let them comment directly under your content. There will always be jealousy or discontent, don’t be afraid of it. If someone says something negative, your response can exceed and even strengthen your stance. Never, and please never, delete negative feedback, rather rise above it. Offer dissatisfied customers your apologies and something in return; possibly a discount on their next order or something of the same sort.

Online presence is a funny thing. You might only get rewarded for being transparent and building a trusting community of followers. It is more of a marathon than a sprint. But if you’re passionate about something and seek ways to share your knowledge with others, the web is the perfect place for you to be.

Vinyasa Yoga

There are a variety of different types of yoga. Hatha is the most popular in the West and emphasizes the poses or asanas of yoga as a physical fitness routine over a more spiritualized traditional yoga. Vinyasa yoga is a derivative of hatha yoga. It is different in that it emphasizes moving with the breath as you move from one pose to the next.

Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa moves at a quicker, even pace, breathing in on upward movement and breathing out on downward movements. This creates an aerobic effect that can strengthen your heart and lungs and get the blood pumping. It can help increase muscle strength, flexibility and endurance. Stress levels can also be reduced as you focus on the inhalation and exhalation which triggers a relaxation response. As with other aerobic exercise, you will get the added benefit of a release of endorphins in your brain which will give you a positive feeling.

In a class setting, you will be moving with other students and you will also be breathing in unison with other students. In this communal activity, you can find that place where moving meditation begins. As with all meditation, you will benefit from the positive things that are happening in your brain when you are in this state. As you move with your class, there is a rhythm or flow that allows you to just move and not have to think and figure things out, disengaging the critical left brain for a while and allowing the right brain to play and experience.

(Look great while doing yoga or while around town. Get the above look here.)

These flowing yoga routines will combine several poses together, flowing from one into the next, breathing fully and consciously as you move from one pose to the another After a few movements, you return to the first pose to go through the set again, repeating the movements, challenging you to build endurance, and cardiovascular strength.

Cautions for Vinyasa Practice

Because of the continuous movement involved with Vinyasa yoga, there is less emphasis on proper form in the postures. As you move without pausing, it is difficult for the instructor or yourself for that matter, to be perfectly aware of your form. This can lead to injury if you hyperextend or go too deeply into a stretch or simply do a pose with bad form. Be sure to be aware of the placement of your hands and feet and joints. If you need to, slow down or pause. This may seem difficult in a class setting, but an understanding instructor will not push students beyond what their bodies will allow. Yoga is not a sport so even though you may that aerobic benefit, proceed with caution so that you can continue to enjoy your Vinyasa practice.

You may find it helpful to study the poses or take a separate class that emphasize the proper way to make the poses. Also, if taking a vinyasa yoga class, look for an instructor who will suite you and your needs. Consider what you want in a class. Do you want it to move quickly or fast? Do you want the instructor to give thorough instructions? Are you new to this or have more experience? All these things will help you chose the class that is best for you.

Healthy Habits for Living a Yoga Lifestyle

A yoga lifestyle is much more involved than people may realize. It is more than just attending an exercise class or reading a yoga book. To achieve the ideal yoga lifestyle, one must combine various aspects of yoga. One of the key areas that you should consider improving is your health habits.

Achieving a healthy life as a yogi has to be practiced like a habit. They say it takes 21 days to learn a new habit. In the same way, it takes the consistency of practicing healthy habits to achieve a yoga lifestyle. What are the healthy habits that you should pursue?

Practice Daily Meditation

Yoga without meditation is empty. Meditation is the basis upon which all yoga is built. When practiced properly, meditation has numerous benefits including connection of the mind and body, relaxation of the brain, improving concentration, and improving breathing. It is for this reason that almost all forms of yoga integrate meditation sessions in their routines.

Stay Active

Other than the exercises that you engage in during a yoga class, staying generally active during the day is very beneficial. Movement helps the body stay young and nourished by rejuvenating body tissue. A combination of activities, like jogging with normal yoga poses, can offer countless benefits to the human body. Therefore, ensure that you stay active.

Eat Well

While this may sound obvious, the benefits of doing this cannot be overstated. Eating well entails eating the right types of food and avoiding those with negative effects. Ensure that you eat foods that carry life force. These include nuts, fruits, whole grains, and plants. Avoid any food that will intoxicate your body or affect your health. Examples of these include processed or fried foods, refined sugars, caffeine, and alcohol.

Seek to Gain Knowledge

Yes, gaining knowledge is healthy. Whatever you soak into your mind in the form of knowledge will eventually transform you. To feed the proper passion in you, ensure that you watch beneficial programs, read enriching spiritual texts, and listen to inspirational music. Eventually, you will become a better person in life.

Practice Oil Pulling

This is a practice that most yogis engage in to live a toxin free life. It entails taking 2 to 3 teaspoons of coconut oil into the mouth and swishing it for about 15 minutes. Other than removing toxins in the mouth, it helps in smoothing the mouth and staying refreshed.

Develop Healthy Optimism

There are many people suffering heart attacks in our day due to all manner of negative factors. However, developing a healthy and positive outlook in life can keep your heart healthier for longer. One’s perception in life largely defines the health of the body. Staying happy on purpose may seem simplistic, but it is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

Keep Good Company

A good exercise session may easily become wasted if the company you keep is toxic. Surround yourself with people whose goals are in line with yours. These are people who will encourage you to become a better person in life.

Overall, seek to live a positive life, even in the face of adversity. This way, your yoga will transform your whole lifestyle.

Build Upper Body Strength And Flexibility With 8 Angle Pose

 

Astavrakasana or Eight-Angle Pose is a twisting pose while balancing on your arms in chaturanga as a foundation. Sounds frustrating already, right? But don’t be discouraged!

The pose was known as a devotion to Astavakra whose father was infuriated while he was still in his mother’s womb. Astavakra was cursed by his father to be born contorted in eight angles. Though Eight-Angle Pose seems impossible to be reached, keep in mind a golden thought from Astavakra:

“If one thinks of oneself as free, one is free, and if one thinks of oneself as bound, one is bound.”

The sky’s the limit. All boundaries are set in the mind. And when breached properly, will be shuttered for good. Let go of the false beliefs you have and allow the practice to open the sacred space of freedom.

Make sure that your body is warmed up. Eight-Angle Pose strengthens the shoulders, abdominal muscles, wrists and improves balance. Be careful when practicing if you have any injuries in shoulders and wrists. This posture requires deep hip opening and a decent range of motion within the hip joint. One issue that can make this posture hard to approach is if one has tight hips. A good prerequisite would be mastering chaturanga with proper form to make balancing on your arms more easy and stable. It is a must to awaken your core. Gently open your hips and make sure your wrists are properly warmed up to safely get into the posture.

Compass Pose. This pose will externally rotate your leg while opening your inner thigh. This is a good preparatory pose to directly warm the joints and stretch the muscles that you will need.

How: Start on a seated position. Bend your right knee. Take your left leg up behind your left arm like you’re wearing a backpack. Adjust your left arm to help you stabilize as your right arm reaches out for your left leg. Slowly stretch the left leg using your right arm. Listen to your body and don’t force anything that hurts. If this pose seems hard, go for Wide-Angled Seated Forward Bend. Open your legs straight while seated and gently reaching for the ground while keeping your back upright. Hold the pose for a couple of breaths.

Crooked way to self-awareness.

This posture teaches patience and instills composure. Builds the strength of the shoulders, wrists, the upper body and core. Slowly and safely progress. Do not bring your ego onto the mat. It’ll cause injuries and will make your journey a lot harder.

How to properly approach the posture? Start in a seated position. Bend your right knee and tuck it to your chest and your left leg behind your left arm. Let it rest on your left triceps; do not tense the muscles on your leg. Interlock your feet, left feet on top of right. Lift yourself up as you take deep inhalation and exhale as you bring your weight forward positioning your upper body in chaturanga while your feet are locked. Take deep breaths while holding the pose and release.

The journey of Yoga is a physical practice with a spiritual intention. Though Eight-Angle Pose may seem a little intimidating, it will take patience and effort just like all other things in life. Set a good intention and an open mind and allow the practice to mold strengthen your body and mind.