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Savasana is one of the most difficult poses in yoga. Not because of any strenuous twists or bends, but because it requires the body to become fully relaxed. Savasana is performed at the end of a yoga practice and can serve as a starting point for meditation. The traditional Savasana pose is done while lying on the back. The practitioner lies flat on their back with arms and legs spread out. The palms should face up and the feet relaxed with the toes lying towards the outside of the yoga mat and the heels lying towards the center of the yoga mat. This is where the body comes to the full relaxation and the physical and meditative aspects of yoga intertwine into pure bliss.

Savasana can help relieve mild depression, high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. However, these benefits can only be achieved when the mind and body are both completely relaxed. It’s easy to relax the mind and body completely when asleep, but can pose to be a difficult task when awake. The body tends to come to rest a lot easier than the mind. The mind tends to wander thinking about when practice is going to be over or what’s for dinner later that night. Savasana requires conscious surrender. It requires us to stop trying to keep up with the moving world and find peace in the now. It reboots the body and results in a better functioning mind and body. Here are some steps that can be taken to be more successful in Savasana.

Be comfortable. Give the body an environment that it can become completely relaxed in. Bolsters, pillows and blankets can aid in creating a more relaxing environment. A pillow or towel can even be placed over the eyes to help get away from distractions. The more you surrender, the more beneficial this pose will be. If you are a beginner check out this video that demonstrates how to relax.

Take a final breath. Take a deep and long cleansing breath right when you start Savasana. This helps to relax the body further and signals the body to slowly release breath control. A cleansing breath sends a message to the nervous system to relax and just be still.

Locate tension. Mentally go over your body from top to bottom and locate where you are holding tension. Once located, acknowledge the tension and release it. Tension can be released much easier when it is first acknowledged.

Take notice. Take notice in how long you are able to hold Savasana and the difference you feel. Your mind and body feels different when full relaxation is completed than it does when the mind was racing during the pose. Noticing this difference will help for Savasana to be successful more often than not.

It is important to remember that Savasana is a time to rest, not to sleep. Some people have a tendency to fall asleep during this pose, but this means that they will not reap the full benefits. This pose must be taken awake to train the body and mind to come to full and utter relaxation. For more info about Savasana and its benefits visit this blog.

The 411 On Coconut Oil – Can You Really Overuse It?

Whether you use it for cooking or as a skin moisturizer, coconut oil is on-trend at the moment and we can’t seem to get enough of it. But do we need to take it easy with the stuff? Yes and no.

With fat being all the rage in the weight loss community, it’s no wonder we are seeing the stuff in recipes and skin care regimes all over the place. One tablespoon contains 14 grams of saturated fat, which is roughly the recommended amount the average person should be consuming according to the American Heart Association. If you’re concerned with your intake of saturated fats, don’t be alarmed. The fats in coconut oil are metabolized differently from other saturated fats because they contain medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). For those on a ketogenic diet or who have done a little research are well aware that MCTs can be used as an energy source and can help treat many diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Coconut oil has even been linked to fat loss and has appetite regulating abilities. Studies have shown that coconut oil can reduce abdominal fat specifically as well as regulate blood sugar.

So you might be thinking, what’s so bad about coconut oil? It seems like there are more pros than cons. Clearly, this is a source of pure fat and as anything in life, practicing moderation is key. If you think about it, coconut oil is a processed oil similar to olive oil. While going for whole, minimally processed foods should be at the core of any healthy eating regime, adding in a teaspoon or two of coconut oil won’t hurt. Whenever possible, getting your fat source from avocados, nuts and olives is always best.
Aside from the amazing health benefits, coconut oil should be avoided in some situations. According to some health experts, coconut oil can wreak havoc on the good bacteria in your digestive system if you don’t consume plenty of vegetables. Coconut oil has a tendency to take the bad bacteria in your gut and transfer it into your bloodstream. Without eating enough fiber from vegetables, this will have negative consequences on your body.

Coconut oil can help burn fat as mentioned but it can put on the pounds as well. Just because it’s a health food, it doesn’t mean its void of calories. Coconut oil like all fats is calorically dense and if you are overconsuming calories from any food, you will gain weight. Simply monitor portion sizes and you can still reap the benefits.

Consuming too much coconut oil or any oil for that matter can also cause digestive issues. The liver can only process so much at a time and every one’s bodies are different. You might have a more sensitive stomach and need to air on the side of caution. The overall recommended healthy intake to see the greatest benefits is one to two tablespoons per day.  As far as using it as a moisturizer or for hair conditioning, go nuts!