Circadian Rhythms: What Are They and How Do They Apply To Us?

Although travel from one place to another has been around over the past few centuries, it is only in the last 100 years that commercial flights really began. A person’s desire to travel even more frequently than most people would also expose them and their bodies to more situations as opposed to a non-traveler. Of course, along with these new places, we’re also subjected to new experiences. With great travel comes great responsibility to oneself. We must take extra care of our bodies and our minds in order to make long distance traveling into something sustainable and enjoyable rather than detrimental to our health.

So, one of the things that take a toll whenever we move from one country to another far-off country is the effect it has on our bodies due to the changing time zones. If you’ve ever heard of the word “jet lag”, then, you know what I’m talking about.

There are many ways we go about to decrease its adverse effects on us like putting on our high waist leggings and getting on our mats or already sleeping on the plane, maybe even going as far as taking a sleeping pill, but the effects aren’t completely unavoidable.

But why are we so under the control of our body clock, and what is this thing called a circadian rhythm?

We all have our natural body clocks and that controls our circadian rhythms or our body’s timing. Circadian, which comes from two words circa, meaning an “approximation”, and dies meaning “day”, explains patterns our body gets used to within a 24-hour time period that we generally follow.

Have you ever found yourself waking up at around the same time every day regardless of what time you’ve set your alarm? That’s your body clock and the circadian rhythms available within you working.

You have one master clock located in your hypothalamus, and it’s called your suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN. It’s a receptor and works in line with external stimuli to trigger cycles within the body. The most crucial stimulus that humans are dependent on is light and that cues different bodily systems. For example, as the day starts to get darker, humans start producing the hormone melatonin that promotes drowsiness making us sleepy. The lack of light also conditions the body’s natural abilities. For example, voluntary muscle movements are decreased to zero, and your metabolic, respiratory and heart rates slow down. Your digestive system starts working quicker. Your urinary system is put on pause. Then, when you’re nearing your waking period, the body will automatically produce more epinephrine – your body’s adrenaline hormone – to prepare it for an activity.

Now, what do we do to keep these things on the right track especially when we move around often? We do our best to adjust, stay hydrated, and get enough exercise, sun, and sleep when we need to. Another thing to do is to try and avoid caffeine and sleeping pills. It’s always better to condition ourselves as soon as possible to prevent running into problems later on.

Outdoor Yoga in the Spring and Fall

Practicing yoga outdoors is an incredible experience. The healing environment nature provides adds a layer of spirituality to any practice, while the peaceful noises of wind, water, and birds are perfect for cultivating focus and mindfulness.

While outdoor yoga is a recommended practice, especially for those who don’t have an ideal indoor space, yogis must be careful when temperatures drop. Yoga works so well with our bodies because it cultivates warmth from within. This internal warmth loosens the muscles, allowing increased flexibility and access.

In lower temperatures, and especially during less vigorous practices such as Hatha and Yin, it’s important to keep ourselves warm. Practicing in less-than-ideal temperatures can inhibit our stretchiness and access to deeper muscles, potentially setting the stage for injury. It’s easy not to notice that these conditions have impeded your practice, which makes it more dangerous.

So, if you’re crazy about outdoor yoga and can’t imagine not using every Spring and Autumn day to get outside for practice, make sure to bundle up. The more insulating material you have on your body, the safer you’ll be from muscle and ligament tears. Here are a few of our recommendations:

1.) Leg warmers

Leg warmers are both stylish and useful. Our calf muscles do a lot for us in yoga—think of how important they are for downward dog! Leg warmers will ensure that your calves don’t tighten up in the brisk weather.

2.) Thick, insulated leggings

When choosing a pair of leggings for your outdoor practice, pick a hardy material. Leggings that are lined are an excellent choice, as they’ll provide both extra comfort and conservation of heat. Synthetic materials are best here—you want something that will quickly wick away sweat and provide protection from the air temperature.

3.) Yoga socks

While yoga socks aren’t always the most practical choice indoors or in a studio, they’re a perfect choice for practicing in chillier temps. Our feet are essential to every style of yoga out there—as our foundation, we need to make sure they’re as protected as possible. Full yoga socks with coverage for the toes are best.

4.) Layers

No need to make this too complicated! Layering materials is a wonderful way to insulate in yoga as well as in daily life. The combination of materials and space in between those materials will preserve the heat your body produces. Just make sure to keep your inner layers synthetic so that your sweat doesn’t dry and make you colder. Get creative—there’s no rule against practicing with hats, scarves, or vests for extra protection!

There’s no need for the fickle temperatures of Spring and Autumn to ruin your outdoor practice. In fact, these seasonal periods when everything around us is changing are wonderful times to focus on your own inner transformation and journey. Just make sure to keep those muscles warm!

Get Comfortable With Yoga Clothes

Yoga is a great method for relaxing and finding one’s self. One of the toughest things when starting a yoga class is what types of yoga clothes are you supposed to wear? Truth is, there may be several different requirements depending upon the type of yoga you take. Some forms of yoga are more vigorous and require that you dress in something made from cotton fabric to absorb sweat. Other forms of yoga are practiced in heated rooms, meaning you may want to put less clothing on.

First thing to do before purchasing some yoga clothing is to find out what suggestions or requirements your instructor may have. If you know what the teacher wants you to wear, then you are able to stay in line with the protocol to get the best experience you can. When looking at yoga clothes, make sure to pick a material that both breathes and keeps moisture away from your body. You can try a synthetic, moisture-wicking fabric, though some people prefer cotton. It’s up to you.

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Your clothing doesn’t need to be so tight you can’t move. However, if it’s too loose, it’s going to move around too much, distracting you while you try to practice. Make it loose enough so that you can move, but not so loose that it will float up or ride down.

Clothes will vary depending on what form of Yoga is being practiced. Take the Bikram Yoga which is widely known as Hot Yoga. It is an exercise that you would expect to wear shorts and light tops. You should choose fabrics that are breathable. You don’t want your skin to get clogged up with all the sweat and toxins that will be released from your body. There are yoga clothes especially designed to absorb the sweat while letting your skin breathe. 
If you are practicing in an air conditioned room then long sleeves or elbow length wear is suitable for you. Air conditioned rooms can be a lot colder than you anticipate so wrap up if your yoga exercise at the time is a less strenuous one. In the cooler months Yoga clothing that is most popular is the track or jogging suit.

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A relatively high waistband is a good thing. It helps your pants stay in place, and it covers you up as you move such as these Wrap Up Waist Hypertek leggings. However, if it’s too high, it will just get in the way as you try to bend. Try to pick one that sits at your natural waist.

A shirt that first you perfectly works best. A big baggy t-shirt is not great since it will probably slide down every time you bend over. And you’re going to be doing a lot of bending over. Sleeveless tops are popular since they allow freedom of movement in the arms and shoulders.

There are many different styles of yoga pants, but avoid practicing in pants that don’t stretch, like jeans. Remembering that comfort is everything when choosing yoga clothes, always try them on and move around to see that you are comfortable with them before your purchase.

Thanks for reading!

Cancer Patients Practicing Yoga

Cancer Patients Practicing Yoga

Experts believe that cancer patients who are practicing yoga can relive the symptoms and side effects related to the traditional form of treatment like radiation therapy and chemotherapy. When you are battling against the disease, there is a possibility that you will experience symptoms that are related with various cancer treatments. Whether you are currently experiencing severe pain due to the surgical treatment or fatigue and nausea because of radiation therapy, yoga will help you reduce the stress and pain from this trial.

How Yoga can Help Cancer Patients

Yoga can help relieve the stress and suffering that most of the cancer patients are going through. There are some yoga poses that are not too strenuous for the patients and can work in many ways. Here are some of the benefits provided by yoga.

Eliminate the Toxins

Yoga can help eliminate the toxins that are accumulated from the cancer treatment. The Yoga asanas will encourage the proper circulation of the blood and normalize the secretion of the hormones. It can also improve the lymphatic movement in our system which activates the body’s capacity to remove the toxins. The relaxing and deep breath can also help in improving nutrient absorption.

Reduce the Amount of Anxiety and Stress

Aside from eliminating the toxins out of our system, yoga can also help relieve a significant amount of anxiety and stress. This will help the patients with cancer to be more relaxed and improve their rate of recovery. In addition, the accrued stress can affect the body’s immunity which can decrease the body’s response on treatment. Study shows that cancer patients who practice yoga have a higher chance to recover from their condition.

Regular Exercise

Experts believe that regular exercise can increase our body’s defense mechanism against cancer. However, due to their condition, the strenuous form of exercise can add to the stress that they are experiencing. In case you are looking for the perfect alternative for your daily exercise, yoga is your best option. It is less strenuous, relaxing and it is a balanced-type of exercise. In fact, more medical experts are recommending yoga as a supplemental treatment for cancer.

Holistic Healing

Cancer patients who have to endure the treatment of chemotherapy or radiation therapy will need to improve their immune system, fortify their body to be at their best condition. Yoga can help you achieve that. In addition, yoga can also support the cancer survivors. For those who went in a surgical procedure, yoga will help you restore your flexibility and motion in a gentle and balanced manner.

Yoga will also help you achieve a state of calmness. Most people who practiced yoga have noticed subtle benefits that are apart from the most obvious benefits. They realized that their mental sharpness and alertness has increased, improved their weight management and increase their bone density. Remember that it is always essential to seek the help of the doctor if you want to add exercise in your daily routine if you are suffering from a certain medical condition. For yoga practitioners that are suffering from cancer, be sure to let an expert guide you. Some poses needs to be modified in order to suit your condition.