By Amanda Turner
In a world filled with distractions, trying to find a way to have a zen session without something popping up to break us away from self-care in inevitable. Taking time to have a zen session each day allows you to clear your mind of the clutter and distractions that happen each day, so finding a way to squeeze it in and not be distracted is essential. To discover ways to dedicate time to meditation, take a look at these tips to avoid distractions.
It is essential to dedicate time each day for meditation and self-care, so treat it as such. Whether you make a point to have your zen session every morning or every night when there are fewer distractions, or you plug it into your calendar to make sure you don’t overbook yourself, make sure that self-care is considered a priority for you.
Use “Do Not Disturb”
Whether you use your phone for guided meditation or an app that walks you through a yoga sequence - it is hard to not peek your eye open when you hear that “ding” letting you know that you just received a text or an email. Even the most disciplined individuals will find it hard not to take note of your phone making a sound during meditation. Most modern phones have a “Do Not Disturb” option to keep those notifications from happening during your moments of zen.
Create a Routine
Did you know that when you create a routine, your mind and body will automatically start to get used to tuning into certain tasks at certain periods of time? Whether you want to create a routine for creativity, physical fitness, or for meditation, your body will begin to look forward to these tasks at certain periods of time each day. Create a routine for your mind and body so that it will tune into “zen mode” for whatever time you decide to dedicate a zen session during the day.
Get Rid of Excess Noise
During your zen session, make sure that there is as little excess noise as possible. If possible, call a repairman to fix any noisy or faulty appliances so that they don’t distract you throughout the practice. On the same note, you may experience your family and friends that are staying with you feeling the liberty to interrupt your session without understanding its importance. If you have family that is prone to opening the door during your zen session, consider putting a note outside the door to let them know this is “you time” to avoid having to pause your time for meditation.
Now is Not the Time for Multitasking
Your zen session is a time to clear your mind and focus on being in the present. This helps mitigate stress, anxiety, and even depression. Now is not the time to try and do yoga while also playing with your child or dog. When you prioritize your zen session, make sure that you are not multitasking to also squeeze in other tasks at the same time.
With continued research, fans of cannabis - both old and new - are coming to realize how useful CBD can be as part of an overall wellness regime.
Cannabis is not just something that "stoners" use on a recreational basis in an effort to get high. While it certainly can be consumed for recreational purposes, cannabis has so many more uses.
In fact, science continues to show us how the various cannabinoids in cannabis - including CBD - play a key role in health and wellness and serve as a natural alternative to traditional remedies for various ailments.
With continued research, fans of cannabis - both old and new - are coming to realize how useful CBD can be as part of an overall wellness regime.
How CBD Helps Your System
CBD - or cannabidiol - may have some incredibly promising cannabis health benefits to the mind and body, but how exactly does it work to do this?
CBD's ability to promote better health and wellness stems from its interaction with the endocannabinoid system of the body. This system is tasked with regulating brain, endocrine, and immune functions, and influences various experiences in the body, including appetite, pain, stress, anxiety, inflammation, and mood, among others.
More importantly, the system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis - or balance - in the body that's needed to keep the body healthy and free of disease and ailments.
The endocannabinoid system is made up of endocannabinoids, which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors located throughout the central and nervous systems. The body produces its own cannabinoids that bind to these receptors, but cannabinoids from outside sources - such as CBD and THC from the cannabis plant - can also serve a similar function.
When cannabinoids interact with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system - either directly or indirectly - they can relieve pain, minimize inflammation, improve mood, promote better sleep, and alleviate stress and anxiety.
Why Incorporate CBD Into Your Wellness Routine?
As already mentioned, the endocannabinoid system's main job is to maintain homeostasis in the body. The body's internal conditions must constantly be controlled and in proper balance because the cells depend on this environment to function properly. If the conditions are not optimal, certain processes will not function the way they should, and that can lead to disease.
CBD can help the endocannabinoid system maintain this balance and help the body adapt to outside stressors. As such, adding this cannabinoid to your daily wellness regime can help you boost your overall level of health and wellness.
Here are four main areas in which users can take advantage of the benefits of CBD.
Promote Better Sleep
Good sleep is integral to overall health and wellness. Lack of proper sleep can bring about a myriad of health issues. In fact, not getting enough quality sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease.
Many people go to great lengths to try and improve their sleep patterns, including taking sleep medications. However, CBD may be an effective natural alternative to pharmaceutical meds.
Studies have been conducted on CBD and its relationship with sleep, revealing that the cannabinoid can encourage better sleep and may be able to treat specific sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy, to name a few.
Induce an Anti-Inflammatory Effect
Inflammation in the body can lead to a host of issues because of the damage it causes to the cells and tissues as a result of oxidative stress from free radicals. A high level of oxidative stress can cause serious damage, even to our DNA.
Recent research has shown a link between CBD and reducing inflammation. More specifically, CBD can mimic how the immune system works to alleviate inflammation in the body. By reducing inflammation, a number of ailments can be relieved, including pain and skin conditions.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Perhaps the most well-known reason for introducing cannabis into a daily regime is to reduce stress and anxiety. Cannabinoids' role in alleviating stress and anxiety stems from their interaction with certain receptors that influence serotonin.
Low levels of serotonin in the brain can cause anxiety. Medications that target serotonin levels - known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - work to increase the level of serotonin in the brain by blocking reabsorption of the neurotransmitter. This, in turn, can alleviate stress and anxiety and boost a person's mood.
CBD and THC can mimic the work that SSRIs do to make serotonin more readily available, thereby helping to relieve stress and anxiety and help patients feel better. The cannabinoids do this by enhancing 5-HT1A transmission and may affect serotonin faster than medications.
Promote Healthier Skin
CBD's anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties are particularly useful when trying to improve the look and feel of the skin. More specifically, it can help alleviate certain skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
Studies have found that CBD and THC serve as effective agents in the function of sebaceous glands, which secretes "sebum," an oily substance which can clog pores and cause acne flare-ups. Dilation of CBD topicals can minimize the secretion of sebum and therefore help keep the skin free and clear of breakouts.
Different Ways to Incorporate CBD Into Everyday Life
There are various ways that CBD can be used and implemented into your daily regime, depending on your comfort level. Here are a few formats that CBD is available in:
Edibles. CBD can be quickly and easily added to beverages and foods and ingested orally. Whether you add the product yourself and create your own recipes or purchase edibles that are already infused with CBD, edibles are an easy and convenient way to add CBD to your daily regimen.
Tinctures. Another simple way to consume CBD is to use tinctures that can be taken sublingually, meaning under the tongue. The great things about tinctures is that they provide CBD in a concentrated form that bypasses the digestive system and takes effect more quickly once it is absorbed through the mucous membrane under the tongue.
Topicals. Individuals who are looking to alleviate specific pain points may find topicals more convenient, as they can be applied and rubbed onto the exact areas where the pain is being experienced. Topicals are also useful for those who wish to apply them to the skin as a means to boost skin health and combat acne.
Vapes. To quickly take the edge off and alleviate stress or anxiety, vapes tend to work quite well. Consuming CBD in this manner also takes effect rather quickly because the CBD does not have to be digested before it starts working.
Capsules. An easy way to take CBD is in capsule format. That said, exact dosing might be a bit more difficult.
CBD continues to show great promise in the world of health and wellness. With so many different applications - including promoting better sleep, improving skin health, alleviating anxiety, and combating pain - CBD certainly has a bona fide place in this sphere. And with a variety of different modes of application and consumption, CBD can be implemented according to each individual user's comfort level.
This article originally appeared on myfoli.com
In Sanskrit, Alternate Nostril Breathing is called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, which translates to “subtle energy clearing breathing technique”, and it has many benefits. Alternate Nostril Breathing helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and bring a feeling of relaxation to the entire body. It also relaxes the mind in preparation for meditation, which can be helpful for those struggling to settle down before meditating. When performed for just a few minutes, Alternate Nostril Breathing can instantly reduce stress and fatigue, and is a quick and efficient practice to do before high-stress situations such as job interviews and public speaking engagements.
How To Do Alternate Nostril Breathing
3 Things to Remember
By Amanda Turner
As the seasons change, it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel as though you are forced to passively accept the challenges that come your way. When that overwhelming feeling sets in, you may have reached a state of imbalance that seems impossible to get out of. Fortunately, balancing your life does not have to be a mystery. Here is how to create a balanced life in a season of chaos and stress:
Ayurveda, the ancient, sister-science of yoga, offers us countless recommendations for how to live a healthy, balanced life. The preventative care that this system of health encourages works to prevent overwhelm and instead keep you grounded and at ease for the long-term. A few general recommendations include creating routine and giving yourself time for self-care on a regular basis.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to incorporate gentle exercise into your schedule. Yoga, swimming, even a walk in the park with your dog can be excellent ways to get active in a non-competitive environment. If possible, consider exercising with a friend or family member, so you can enjoy quality time together while creating space from the challenges of your day-to-day.
Another important factor in balance is ensuring you eat good food and get enough sleep. These are two of the most basic needs that often get brushed aside when life gets hectic. Instead of resorting to take-out and staying up well past midnight, give yourself the gift of a mindful meal at home and a solid night of slumber.
When life feels out of control, the last thing you want to worry about are home repairs. Make sure your home is not on your to-do list by keeping up with home maintenance and scheduling any repairs that need to be completed. When your home is running smoothly, your life will feel easier.
If you have a growing--or endless--to do list, it’s possible that the weight of these requirements is contributing to your daily stress in a very negative way. Instead of constantly worrying about all of the things that need to be done, set clear intentions each day for two to three tasks that must be completed. This will help you focus on what is a true priority, and relax about all the rest.
Finally, check in to see where your focus is primarily resting. If you are working more than feels comfortable, give yourself more free time. On the other hand, if you have been putting off more work than you should, get yourself back into a consistent routine. Setting clear boundaries for your work/life balance will ensure that you stay aligned to your goals, without going overboard, in one direction or another.
When you’re in the thick of stress and chaos, creating a balanced life can feel impossible.
However, it’s never too late to incorporate a few of the above tips. As you integrate these
changes into your life, notice how formerly frustrating situations can seem less intense and your life can feel more at ease.
A preventative approach to maintaining the body assists in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for years to come. Maintenance-wise, our car requires regular tune-ups and yearly maintenance. Why don’t we tune up our bodies?
In addition to regular check-ups with a physician, Ayurveda emphasizes a holistic, self-care approach to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ayurveda’s emphasis on preventative healing measures are decidedly effective and teach ways for practitioners to deal with issues before they begin.
According to Ayurveda, there are six stages of ill health. They begin with imbalance and gradually increase to disease. Like weeding, Ayurveda emphasizes clearing the flower bed before the weeds take over.
The preventative Ayurvedic approach is built on four pillars: food, lifestyle, rejuvenators & supplements.
When a person is in poor health, they are in need of a different approach that is meant to address imbalances with holistic healing practices and balancing supplements. Skilled practitioners of Ayurveda use pulse assessment to determine which specific supplements, food and lifestyle practices will restore balance.
Balance through Ayurveda improves a person’s health, energy, and youthful vitality.
The four keys to a healthy lifestyle:
Whether you are a vata, pitta or kapha person, the most important element for maintaining balance is following the diet that suits your constitution. A healthy person who knows his natural constitution will be able to follow a diet best suited for maintaining balance. A person in poor health can learn what sort of dietary changes will help restore balance.
What we eat goes to our stomach, which is like the root of our system. Like a tree, which derives its nutrients and energy from its root system, humans derive their nutrients and energy from what is put into the stomach. From our stomach, our entire body is nourished. As the old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” Finding the right diet, based on our constitution, is the first and most important step in attaining a healthy lifestyle.
Idli (see photo) is such a nutritious meal because it is actually a complete protein and the fermenting process involved in preparation stimulates digestion.
Finding a recommended lifestyle routine is vital to maintaining balance and correcting disparity. After food, lifestyle comes as the most important way to stay in balance. A healthy lifestyle includes:
• A routine of health
• Waking and sleeping at regular times
• Going out for regular exercise, according to your constitution
• Self-massage with suitable oils
• Centering yourself with a few minutes of stillness and meditation
• Light yoga
Chyawanprash (see photo) is one such rejuvenator used in Ayurveda, especially during the colder seasons.
Rejuvenators, rasayana, are a variety of ancient supplements that promote the rejuvenation of the body and the maintenance of a young, vital, dynamic and energetic self. Rejuvenators work to make the body feel young and refreshed. Rejuvenators are not simply food, they are powerful solutions to problems that ail many of us — solutions to whatever upsets balance and health. Concerning the many factors that upset balance and health, there are equally as many rejuvenators to combat these problems.
4. NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS
There are many traditional Ayurvedic herbal supplements that are used in a variety of ways. They include spices in our food and herbs that promote detoxification of the body. Choosing the right herbal supplements is a matter of understanding both one’s constitution and one’s imbalance. Whether in need of detoxification or wanting to combat stress, lethargy, or poor digestion, Ayurveda has numerous herbal supplements to help promote longevity and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Now you’re set knowing the four key tools of Ayurveda. These tools can be used with a knowledge of your nature to make choices that lead to greater balance and health.
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One of our members, Jeeta, is a Trained Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant, who is always bringing in treats she cooks from home for the teachers to enjoy. Her cooking can be described as aromatic and frankly, just made with love. Here is one of her ayurvedic inspired recipes we asked her to share.
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Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based out of North Carolina. She writes on home, health, and lifestyle topics to help others live a happier and healthier life.
Image by Pixabay
If you’ve been practicing yoga for some time, you know the long list of benefits: it helps you feel better, it’s a great way to start your mornings energized, and your muscles are stronger and more toned.
That’s not where it ends, though. There are many benefits of yoga that are not so readily apparent. For example, regularly practicing yoga can help improve your respiration, keep your metabolism balanced, protect you from injuries, and even improve your sleep.
Yoga can improve my sleep?
It sure can. Now, we aren’t talking about doing a full Ashtanga practice before bed, but doing light yoga practices such as pranayama and meditation could be just what you need to take your ZZZs to the next level. If you don’t already, you should consider adding these relaxing yoga practices to your regular nighttime routine. Not convinced? You might be after reading these four benefits of performing yoga before bed:
1. It relieves stress
Stress is one of the leading causes people can’t sleep at night. How are you expected to peacefully fall into sweet dreams when you can’t stop replaying the day’s events or panicking over encroaching deadlines? If it’s not bad enough that it makes the falling asleep process challenging, it also ruins our deep REM sleep, leaving us to wake up without feeling restored.
Cue the calming powers of yoga and meditation. Yoga teaches us to focus on our breath and live in the present moment, focusing on the here-and-now to shove worries away. By keeping this mentality right before bedtime, you’ll let your mind clear out and prepare for great sleep before you even make it in the bed. By performing pranayama exercises before bedtime, you’ll be able to gain control over your breath effectively clear your mind.
2. It reduces your pain
Pain is another leading disruptor of a good night’s sleep. If you can’t get comfortable at night due to your neck, back, or other muscle pain, there’s no way you’ll be able to rest peacefully. The good news is, yoga happens to be a great option for relieving your pain.
In fact, some people report a preference for yoga as a treatment for their pain over traditional medications. Incorporating some gentle yoga stretches before bedtime will help stretch out your muscles, ease your pain, and prepare your body for a comfortable night of sleep. You don’t need to perform a whole flow. Start with upside-down relaxation. Sit facing a wall, lie back with your legs extended up the wall, rest your arms palms facing up by your sides, and focus on your breathe for up to two minutes. Other stretches you should incorporate before bed include winding down twist, child’s pose, and hugging your knees to your chest in rock-a-bye roll.
3. It gives you a better attitude about your rest
Do you excitedly crawl into bed each night, or do you push it away and often de-prioritize it for other tasks? Unfortunately, many people belong to the latter group. When you practice yoga, it helps you learn to appreciate moments of rest. Instead of neglecting your sleep, practicing nighttime meditation will help you embrace the importance of quiet, restorative moments for restoring your body.
4. It improves your sleep quality
The biggest benefit to performing yoga before bedtime is the improvement in your sleep quality. Taking the time to relax in a meditative state while you stretch out your body, release tension, breathe deeply, and clear you mind sets you up perfectly for a night of deep, quality sleep.
If you’re ready to see what performing yoga before bedtime can do for you, start by adding it into your nighttime routine tonight!
Stress is one of the leading causes people can’t sleep. For more info on improving your Zzzzz's, take a look here:
Written by Alyson Calla. Exclusive for theyogashala.org
The word ‘detox’ is often used as a synonym for weight loss diets, but what the health and wellness industry often get wrong about detoxification is that it is not the same as restrictive eating or going on juice fasts.
What ‘detoxification’ really means?
The basic definition of detoxification is to free the body of toxins, not of calories. Toxins, or free radicals, are harmful chemicals from the environment that enter the body through several ways, one of which is through the food we eat. Live Science explains that the presence of free radicals may result in the destruction and mutation of cells which is what happens with the growth of tumors. Researchers also believe that they are linked with a host of chronic illnesses including macular degeneration, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory diseases, and certain types of cancer.
Where does veganism come in?
The main sources of toxins in the standard diet are:
- Deep fried foods that are high in trans and saturated fats
- Dairy products
- Produce grown with pesticides
- Processed and canned foods
Healthline points out that processed meat and artificial trans fats cause inflammation. While inflammation is essential for healing, the prolonged state has been thought of by the medical community as the root of all disease. To reverse the damage caused by free radicals, eat plant-based foods that are high in anti-oxidants. Some examples are:
- Leafy greens such as kale and spinach
- Different types of berries
- Fruits such as watermelon, apricots, and oranges
- Lentils, beans, and grains
- Other vegetables including artichokes and bell peppers
As long as it is organic, a vegan diet abundant in antioxidant rich foods and other essential nutrients will help cleanse your body of unwanted substances.
Signs of toxicity
Frequent headaches, noise sensitivity, cognitive impairment, inflammation, and reduced immune function are some of the symptoms of toxin concentration in your body. If you’re someone who’s prone to breakouts, one of the known causes of acne is inflammation caused by a poor diet. For instance, Natalie Portman revealed that finally going vegan and cutting out eggs and dairy eliminated her problems with adult acne. Dairy in particularly is an inflammatory as it contains a lot of excess hormones which can trigger a reaction and in turn, pimples.
A few other symptoms are fatigue as well as chronic muscle and joint pain, which are also linked to inflammation. Argentine international soccer player Sergio Aguero suffered from muscle injuries which he attributed to a diet rich in meat, sugar, and pasta. After cutting out these inflammatory foods, the Argentine striker experienced significantly less injuries and improved his game. Similarly, if your back is constantly in pain or your joints are swollen, it might be time for a diet change.
The bottom line
A lot of the food we eat - even some plants when covered in pesticides - contain toxins. While the body’s immune system is capable of eliminating toxins naturally, too much of it can cause the immune response to slow down and become overpowered. This means that people who consume food that have high amounts of these harmful chemicals are more prone to disease.
In order to cleanse your body of harmful substances, a well-rounded vegan diet is the closest diet for detoxification. This is synonymous with what The Yoga Shala referred to as mindful eating in a previous article. You can still enjoy your foods, as long as you practice awareness of what you feed your body.
The concept of Ayurvedic (“ayus” = life, veda = knowledge) meaning “whole body” was developed over 3,000 years ago in India. Ayurveda medicine is the belief that wellness begins with a balance of the mind, body, and spirit to promote good health. Believers say every human is made of space, air, fire, water, and earth. Combining these elements together will form three separate energies called Vata dosha (space and air), Pitta dosha (fire and water), and Kapha dosha (water and earth). Each energy participates in a separate function on the body.
For those who may not be as educated on the origins and beliefs of Ayurveda, there are some basic ways to incorporate this way of living into your current daily routine. We’ve compiled a list of essentials you can use moving forward to practice for yourself!
When you sweat, your sweat glands release impurities out of the body.
Sweating also aids your body in losing water weight while increasing your circulation.
Running at a steady pace is the perfect way to get your blood pumping and sweat flowing.
The largest detoxification organ is...your skin!
Research shows a direct correlation between lack of sleep and weight gain. Adults sleeping four hours a night versus sleeping 10 hours a night found their hunger and appetite increased.
More sleep means staying at a consistent weight and having a clear mind, which in turn improves performance throughout the day.
Try taking a warm bath before bed to relax the body and mind while also preparing the body for a good night's rest. Add Epsom salts or essential oils to soothe your muscles.
It’s important to drink fluids throughout the day to hydrate the body.
Cold water actually negatively impacts your digestion, so try to stick with warm water for meals.
Ginger Tea is known as the “wonder herb” in Ayurveda as it helps with your daily digestion while the ginger root promotes joint health. Try to have at least 1 cup a day.
Slower your chewing while eating meals. Taking your time will send a signal to your stomach so it knows when it’s full which will help you avoid overeating.
Stay away from emotional eating or eating when you’re bored. This can lead to guilt and a decrease in your good digestion flow. Occupy your mind with something else like reading, exercising, or talking to friends.
Try to enjoy your food in silence or in an area that’s comfortable and at least semi-quiet.