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Yoga Footweak

What you wear to yoga doesn’t matter too much as long as you’re comfortable. Yes, there are recommended fabrics and fits for things, but for the most part, you can wear whatever you want. Outside of the typical attire, like softest leggings and a tank top, most yoga classes are done in your bare feet. Some people might be deterred from yoga just by that fact alone, and some people might just want a little extra support. Unfortunately, regular socks generally don’t have enough traction to help you stay firm in the poses for long enough, and tennis shoes can become bulky and uncomfortable after a while. Thankfully, someone came up with the brilliant idea to invent yoga socks and shoes. That way, if you are uncomfortable exercising in your bare feet or want a little extra support, you have some options. Yoga socks and shoes provide more grip, can help with stability, and protect your feet from sweaty floors after a tough workout. After a little research, here are some options for footwear if you are bored of going utterly barefoot:

  • The Vibram Furoshiki yoga shoe is a bit on the pricey end, but a lot of thought has gone into its construction and creation. This shoe is incredibly lightweight, and the shaping of it gives your feet extra stability along with the amount of traction on the bottom of the shoe. It is stretchy for additional flexibility while doing all your regular yoga poses.
  • The Anhu In Studi-Om, On the Mat Shoe is another great, comfortable shoe for practicing yoga. It has a foam arch and heel support for extra comfort and support for your feet. The cool thing about this shoe is that it has an anti-microbial treatment to protect your feet from bacteria and is machine washable!
  • The Athleta Bella Half Toe socks are another excellent option for footwear and at a slightly cheaper price. They are particularly suitable for a barre workout and have a grippy bottom, so it will be easier to remain stable. They are also toeless, so your toes won’t be constricted and also help provide you with more stability. They are machine washable but should be dried on a line. Overall, these are a great lightweight option if you want to have something on your feet while doing yoga or barre.
  • Another great sock is the Nike Studio Wrap 4. This sock also provides an open-toe option, and the bottom has silicone traction that provides an excellent grip for an indoor surface and also has a built-in pivot point which makes it great for yoga or a dance class. The mesh top layer stretches and crosses over your foot and around your heel for added support.

Before writing this, I didn’t realize how many options there were for yoga footwear. All these will help you if you prefer to keep your feet covered up or if you just want some extra traction and support during your practice. Yoga is about inclusion and being who you are; so, a fear of showing off your feet or not having enough stability should not stop you from practicing.

Two of the Easiest Condiments

Snacks take up almost half of what we eat in a day. Therefore, it is wise to have healthy options ready. Don’t get me wrong. One of my all-time favorites that will most probably stay in that leading place forever, is still chocolate. The milky kind. However, I know that similarly, like with coffee, it won’t hold me full for long and the crash of energy that follows will be harder then.

But, hey, why not pair a piece of chocolate with a healthy option that is either these next two condiments. You can smear them on bread or an assortment of veggies: my favorite. While you can easily make your own crepes with only 5 ingredients that are:

A cup of non-dairy milk

A cup of spelt flour

A pinch of salt

An egg

Coconut oil to bake

I use coconut oil because it doesn’t degrade with heat while it also has a neutral taste and beneficial nutrients.

Here are two condiments that change the taste of every meal and make it into one from a 5-star restaurant.

The first one is pesto. I love it for so many reasons. The first being the smell of fresh basil that screams nothing but summer. Simply bring it together with olive oil, pinches of salt and pepper, some nuts—pine nuts work in perfect harmony with basil. But, if you don’t have them, walnuts will do the job. Then, you can always add garlic, lemon juice, and other spices—also parmesan cheese if you’re into it. But I like to keep it simple for starters and add other ingredients in later.

The second is hummus. I was even at the seaside the other day and didn’t have the luxury of a blender. I simply put together two handfuls of chickpeas, a spoonful of tahini, the same amount of olive oil, pinches of salt and pepper, and red paprika. I mashed them all together with a fork and voila, dinner was served next to some fresh veggies. So easy, yet so intricate and filling in taste.

Let your imagination play its part when you’re pairing foods together. You can always bake some sunflower seeds and get additional healthy fats from there or you can pair hummus with avocado and a cucumber. There’s nothing better than fresh produce from the home garden that brings summer vibes to any season of the year. Moreover, bell peppers and tomatoes are the two most common at our table. But, as I said, run your imagination wild, add some sweet mango, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and let the combination caress your taste.

Who still says healthy is complicated? I find it the easiest things there is. Plus, simple tastes give you so many options of pairings and you can create full meals from those. Eating healthily leaves you light after meals, keeps your metabolism in check, allows your system to absorb more nutrients from it, and, depending on the type of food, works beneficially to your brain and health in general. When you’re performing at your optimal level, you normally feel content and happy. And, if that’s not the version of you that boosts your own confidence and uplifts others around you as well, I don’t know who is.

Yoga for PMS

One thing that most women don’t usually talk about is how difficult it is to deal with monthly menstrual periods. The symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) differ from one woman to another. But one thing is for sure, it is painful. The agonizing pain affects not only a woman’s physical functioning but it also affects her emotions.

Abdominal cramps, tenderness of breasts and headaches are just some of the physical challenges a woman has to face days before her actual menstrual period. Add irritability and mood swings due to pain and hormonal changes and you’ll surely have a blast of uncontrollable anger.

Ease It Out!

Yoga is known for its natural remedies to common ailments. Yoga’s natural solution to help relieve PMS can save you a lot of ouches and tears. Here are some of uncountable yoga poses that’ll surely end your suffering! Make sure to watch this informative video about yoga and cramps as well!

Child Pose/ Balasana

This pose stretches the lower back and releases tensions on the back of neck and hips.

How:

  1. Start by planting your hands parallel to shoulders and your knees hip width apart.
  2. Send your hips back and allow your forehead to touch the ground while your torso rests on your thighs.
  3. Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths in this position.

 

Cat/ Cow Stretch

The movement simultaneously stretches both the back and front of the body, relaxing any tensed muscle, easing out cramps.

How:

  1. Begin with your hands and knees on the ground.
  2. Inhale, curve your back down, bringing the shoulder blades closer while keeping your gaze upward.
  3. Exhale, round your back as you push through the shoulders, bringing the shoulder blades away from each other while your gaze is fixed on your belly.
  4. This is on round of full stretch.
  5. Do 7-10 rounds while breathing deeply.

 

Fish Pose/ Matsyasana

Fish pose stretches the whole front of body, stimulating internal organs and releasing tensions on neck and abdominal muscles.

How:

  1. Start by lying on your back with legs together.
  2. Place your palms under your thighs, facing the ground.
  3. Inhale and push through your elbows to lift your body off the ground while your head remains grounded, forming an arch.
  4. Avoid putting pressure on your head and neck.
  5. Your back should hold strain while the elbows and arms support your weight.
  6. Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths and lie back down to ground to release.
  7. Perform Matsyasana for 5 rounds.

 

Bridge Pose/ Setu Bandasana

This pose relaxes the parasympathetic system in our brain which triggers our fight or flight reflex. It also regulates better flow of blood in the body and releases muscle tension on legs and abdominal region.

How:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted on the ground hip width apart.
  2. Place your hand on your side with palms facing the floor.
  3. Inhale and slowly bring your torso off the floor by pushing through the shoulders.
  4. Interlace your fingers behind for better support.
  5. Take 3-5 deep breaths throughout the pose.
  6. Unclasp your fingers and slowly lie back down to release.

The practice aims to unify the body, mind and spirit in synchronicity to the universe. An individual’s well-being is based on how he/she feels within and the physical practice offers a path to awareness. To be aware of what’s happening within is to be conscious of your reactions. Mindfully dealing with circumstances can ease out unnecessary suffering. It is also very important to wear comfortable clothes – check out these comfy and stylish leggings. Use the practice as a tool to help you feel good inside out. Stay healthy, breathe fully and have fun kicking PMS out of your way!

Savasana

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!