Simple Steps to Clear, Healthy and Glowing Skin

The skin is our biggest organ and it should, therefore, be something we are proud of. But as with most things in life, nothing is really given. Skincare routines might be simple and straight forward, but we still need to invest some thought into it.

I feel that the most important part is to feel comfortable and proud of the type of skin you have. Embrace all the spots, marks, freckles, and the completion tone. As cliche as it sounds, learn to love yourself from the inside out.

It starts by fueling your body right. Nutrition is key. Your holistic diet defines how your skin will, at last, be portrayed to the outside world. I do not believe in the magic of simple supplements. I rather practice wholesome plant-based nutrition that consists of a complex matrix of nutrients and antioxidants. That does not mean that I don’t like to indulge in a chocolate bar once in a while, but I try to keep the balance. Your emphasis should be on nutrition overall, rather than individual compounds of vitamins and other ingredients. Trust your body, if you give it a variety of healthy ingredients, it will balance them right.

Second is hydration. This goes further beyond just drinking plain water. You can indulge in a various array of hydrating teas, natural juices, fruits, and vegetables. They consist of bigger amounts of water while some unsalted soups do just the same, too.

Combine the previous two tips with keeping your gut healthy. Indulge in fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds that will keep your digestion moving. You can also pair with a healthy dose of probiotics found in yogurts and fermented drinks like kombucha tea and wine (hey, I said it). Do you still think healthy is strict and boring?

Just like your muscles need to wiggle around a little, your skin needs to do the same. Spinning on a chair and typing on the computer probably won’t do the work. But, dancing a little or performing your preferred type of exercise will increase your blood flow. It will, in turn, send oxygen and nutrients to all areas of your body and every cell. While having a successful career might put you to financial ease, taking time to live stress-free is soothing for your mind. Establish your self-care rituals by bringing some calm into your life. This can be as simple as a short self-massage or even a bubble bath.

I might not have been a huge makeup user—or a makeup consumer at all—as I tend to find all my skincare essentials within the same grocery store, but that doesn’t mean that my routine is any less thorough. I use coconut oil or cacao butter in place of a moisturizer. Coconut oil works better for me during cooler months as it is more oily, while cacao butter works perfectly on my skin all throughout summer. If you do tend to use more makeup, you could as well use any of the natural oils underneath other products, while they additionally work great when removing makeup and replenishing the moisture to your skin. I do exfoliate my skin a couple of times a week, which I again use natural oils mixed with either sea salt or coconut shavings. I would sometimes even throw dried flowers to the mix to achieve an even more soothing scent.

I have found that as simpler as I keep my routines and as natural as the “products” are, the better and fresher I feel. They all come hand-in-hand with a minimalist approach to life – spending less and feeling lighter in return. I think that honoring the skin I live in has never come easier than it does now that I simplified my routines to the minimum. More time on my hands also allows me to have greater experiences with my loved ones.

How to do Bird’s of Paradise Yoga Pose

Bird of Paradise is a fun advanced yoga pose to try a combination of strength and flexibility. This pose is a great challenge if you are struggling with your alignment in some basic balancing postures. 

Bird of Paradise Pose is also a great flexibility test to make sure that the hamstrings and the inner thighs really coordinate. To modify, you can use a yoga strap instead of clasping the hands directly. 

To use a strap, hold onto the strap as you wrap the arms around the extended leg. 

Warm-up

Try this warm-up posture first to make sure you have the necessary flexibility needed for this pose and to warm-up the hip area:

  • Standing straight on your yoga mat, keep your belly sucked into the spine.
  • Inhale, bend your knee and hold onto your right toes, stretch it out and bring your right leg out to the side.
  • Then to prepare, let go of the clasp of the foot, but keep the leg up.
  • Exhale place your leg back down. 

Now that you have warmed up your hip, here are two ways to try this pose:

Method 1: Staying Upright

If you feel comfortable in this hand-to-extended-toe pose then you are ready to try Bird of Paradise on the right side:

  • Bend your right knee into your body. Keep bent knee in and your gaze down two feet in front of you.
  • Then, externally rotate the right hip joint. Pull your knee as close into your shoulder as you can.
  • Hold onto your knee and hook it over your shoulder. Wrap your arm and shoulder, same side as leg, forward and down. Put your arm behind you, as you put your hands behind your back.
  • If you are comfortable here you can extend your leg slowly. Point the right toes, keep the belly in, 
  • To get out of the pose. Slowly bend your knee.
  • Release the hand and exhale the breath, place your leg back down.
  • Repeat the Bird of Paradise pose on the other side as you did the first side. Remember to warm-up the hip area first with hand-to-extended big toe stretch on the new side.

Method 2: Starting From a Forward Bend

  • Start out on your yoga mat, with the feet little bit wider than your regular mountain pose position, which is usually feet hip width apart.
  • Inhale, reach your arms up, palms facing parallel to each other.
  • As you exhale, come all the way forward into forward fold pose.
  • Take your right arm over to the side of the left.
  • Take your right arm up the inside of your right leg. Inhale and extend your left arm up and around, coming into that bound twist. Clasp the hands together.
  • Walk your right toe, over towards your left foot. Come up to the ball of the foot.
  • Focus on one spot as you lift all the way up to standing.
  • Keep straightening the torso keep the knee bent.
  • Look up while holding hands or strap behind you.
  • Begin straightening the leg.
  • Keep your hip bones down, and externally rotate the extended leg in the hip socket. Feel the reach from the toes to the floor!
  • Release by bending the knee. Keep the hands clasped and bend at the hips back down into the forward fold.
  • Unclasp the hands.
  • Rest in this standing forward bend pose.

Whether you try the upright method, the forward fold methods, or both, Bird of Paradise is sure to increase your core strength and flexibility in the legs and shoulders!

6 Ways to Stay Comfortable During Yoga

Yoga is a fantastic workout and a great way to relax, but you will still want to make sure that you are comfortable during your practice. Follow our tips to make this as quick and easy as possible.

Wear the right outfit

You need to make sure that you are wearing something that you can move in. You don’t want tight clothing or anything with string ties. You should also avoid anything too baggy that will fall over your head, block your vision, or expose you. Well, fitted yoga pants with an elasticated waistband and a simple sports top will keep you comfortable and allow you to stretch freely. If you are worried about being too cold, pack a thin zip-up jacket that you can easily remove. If it’s a hot day, go for cropped leggings and a cropped top. Try to go to a yoga class in the morning, when it will be cooler.

Stay hydrated

Carry a good full water bottle with you for your workout and make sure you have hydrated before starting your practice. This will help your endurance as you move through poses. You may not want to eat a heavy meal before class, but a small healthy snack or a smoothie can give you the right energy.

 

Get the right mat

A yoga mat gives you the right platform for your yoga practice. We’ve all tried using a towel or blanket when traveling but it is certainly not the same as the grip you will get from a yoga mat. This will give you the confidence to move into poses without the fear that you are going to slip. The yoga mat will also give you a sense of spacing which will help your posture. 

Check your alignment

Make sure that you have followed the instructions of your teacher carefully to align each part of your body. Seek your teacher’s advice if you are not sure if you have got it right. If you are practicing at home, you may find practicing in a mirror or with a friend help to check your position. 

Use your breathing

Before trying yoga, most people can’t believe that their breathing can be quite so important to their stretches. But every yogi knows that when they accidentally hold their breath or don’t regulate their breathing, every pose becomes more difficult. Breathe into your poses and this will not only keep you comfortable but allow you to push further into the stretch. 

Rest if you need to

Listen to your body. If you need to rest, take the opportunity. Yoga is not a competition and it is not about pushing yourself to reach poses that seem impossible to you. Yoga is all about going as far as you can and accepting your limitations. Move into child’s pose or simply rest on your mat if you cannot complete the movement. 

With these simple changes, you’ll never have to worry about being uncomfortable during yoga again!

Exercises For Pregnant Women During The First Trimester

Exercising during pregnancy is positive for both the mother and the baby. Doing modified Yoga Asanas for pregnant women can help you develop the flexibility, balance, and strength needed to have a pleasant pregnancy.

Benefits of Practicing Yoga During Pregnancy

1. It helps you relax and relieve stress.

2. It allows you to live a wonderful moment in your life. You will not feel pregnancy as if it was a disease.

3. Strengthens the legs, back, and improves posture.

4. It improves lung capacity and breathing technique, which will be positive at the time of delivery.

5. It makes your hips and spine more flexible and activates blood circulation.


Asanas for The First Trimester

We will focus on Asanas for the legs, hips, and relaxation. Relaxation exercises will comprehend mainly breathing exercises, which may be useful during childbirth.

Our advice is to mix the different types of asanas during a session. For instance, you can do three asanas for legs, two for hips, and one for relaxation. Feel free to add as many as you feel comfortable with.

Asanas for Legs

1. Titali Asana (Butterfly Pose)

Titali pose stretches the thigh and hip muscles. It helps you gain hip flexibility and warms you up to do strength exercises.

We recommend doing this exercise practicing a 5-10-10 breathing cycle: five counts to inhale, ten counts for holding, then ten counts to exhale. If the 5-10-10 counts seem too long, you can try a 3-6-6 breathing cycle instead. 

2. Utkata Konasana (The Goddess Pose)

The Goddess is an extraordinary posture for toning and strengthening your legs.

You can hold this pose, or a Goddess-squat form, for three to five deep breaths. For the Goddess squat sequence, go down into your squat with arms up as you exhale. While you inhale, stretch your legs and extend your arms to the sides in a cross shape. You can repeat this sequence for five breathing cycles.

3. Utkanasna (Chair Pose)

When done correctly, Utkatasana is one of the most demanding beginner Yoga exercises you will find. It works on lengthening your spine and strengthening your quads.

Asanas for Hips

These Asanas are great to improve hip flexibility. There are cases of pregnant women complaining about getting tight hips during pregnancy. It is best to be proactive and work on your hips before this happens. 

1. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Since your belly is smaller in the first trimester, this asana is safe to perform. Once your belly grows, your center may shift. You will need to be more careful to prevent a fall. Make sure you have a block to do this pose.

We suggest doing the Half Moon Pose for three 5-10-10 breathing cycles. Remember to do it on both sides.

2. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

No twists are recommended during pregnancy! We recommend doing the simple Trikonasana to keep the baby protected. This pose will help you stretch the front leg’s hamstring and hip.

Again, we recommend holding the pose for three 5-10-10 breathing cycles and switch sides.

Relaxation Exercises

There are numerous relaxation exercises in Yoga. The best time to do them is at the end of your Yoga session, accompanying them with positive visualizations.

1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

Sukhasana is the pose where you sit with your legs crossed in front of you. You can use a wall to keep your spine straight if you need to.

Do it for three 5-10-10 breathing cycles.

2. Savasana (Corpse Posture)

In Savasana, the most important thing is to relax by feeling the weight of your head, back, and extremities on the mat. During Savasana, you start breathing normally. You also focus on releasing all tension while bringing beautiful thoughts to your mind.

3. Virasana (Hero Pose)

Virasana is a great posture for those who do not have knee problems. First, you sit on your heels. Then, while keeping your knees together, you separate the feet. Your hips should rest on the floor, and your back should be straight.

Virasana is a meditation pose, so it is usually done supporting the palms of the hands on the thighs on Chin Mudra (thumb and index touch) 

Precautions

Always follow these precautions to safely practice the Yoga during your first trimester:

– Stay hydrated. Place a bottle of water near your mat and drink often. Do not wait to be thirsty. Avoid soda and other carbonated drinks.

– Keep it comfortable. During the first quarter of pregnancy, you can have a normal practice. Just do not push yourself too hard, and reduce the duration and intensity of asanas as needed. 

– Avoid twists, and ask your doctor before performing any inversions.

Benefits of Surya Namaskar

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is the motion of paying respects and gratitude to the Sun God, who bless the world and living beings with the vital energy force. Yoga’s finest course of 12 yoga asanas aligns your body, breathing, and mind. Performed mostly in the mornings, it invigorates the body and rejuvenates the mind. Surya Namaskar bestows you with the bubbling vigor that takes you through the day smoothly.


Benefits of Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation

Supports skin health: Who doesn’t want glowing, healthy skin? Yoga experts recommend Surya Namaskar for good skin health. This set of postures induces sweat that detoxifies the skin to prevent pimples. When these postures performed as part of a routine, skin-health can improve dramatically.

Weight loss: Sun salutation with all the twisting, stretching, and bending puts pressure on the stomach and waist area. The body movement induces a higher metabolism that helps to shed overall fat and ensure a flatter tummy for regular yogis. 

Develops the digestive system: Surya Namaskar expands and compresses all the body parts, including the stomach area. This helps to massage the gastrointestinal system, thus aiding digestion. Good digestion relates to good health. The regular practice of Surya Namaskar helps to prevent multiple disorders of the alimentary canal and improves bowel function.

Cares for the heart: Surya Namaskar regulates the heartbeat and blood flow in the body. Its detoxing properties help remove unwanted waste to safeguard the heart’s normal function. The exercise provides oxygen to all the body cells and tissues to deliver perfect good health. With its regular practice, the lymphatic system works better for the heart by battling foreign bodies and microorganisms.

Strengthens body frame: Regular Surya Namaskar performers benefit immensely from greater strength to the body’s joints and muscles. This helps to correct spinal problems, postural issues, and any problems with limbs. This exercise is good for the body’s overall flexibility. 

Corrects sleeping disorders: Sleeping disorders are very common for youngsters who stay awake late at night and seniors who find sleeping a big task. The practice of Surya Namaskar is incredibly calming for the body and mind, so you do not need drugs to sleep—just enjoy sound sleep. 

Controls nerves: These exercises stimulate the whole nervous system. The perfect functioning of nerves ensures that the whole system functions properly. This exercise improves brain centers and ensures overall physical well-being.

Regularizes the menstrual cycle: Surya Namaskar is a must for women who have irregular menstrual cycles. However, you need to discipline yourself to perform it religiously every morning to see positive results. Additionally, pregnant women who practice it every day, don’t seem to have physical issues during childbirth.

Control blood sugar & blood pressure: From ancient times, Indian yogis have tried this Surya salutation posture to control blood sugar & blood pressure levels and keep heart problems at bay. It is a perfect way to subdue anxiety as well. There is no reason why people cannot do the same today.

Yoga enthusiasts must include Surya Namaskar in their daily yoga classes, preferably outdoors at sunrise for maximum benefit.

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.