Benefits of Exercise

Lets make it quick – here are some quotes and an info-graphic on the benefits of working out!

“We found that people who are more physically active have more pleasant-activated feelings than people who are less active, and we also found that people have more pleasant-activated feelings on days when they are more physically active than usual,” study researcher Amanda Hyde, a kinesiology graduate student at Penn State, said.

“Exercise raises your heart rate and triggers a surge of hormonal changes. Expose yourself to this ‘stress’ enough and your body builds up immunity to it. Eventually, it will get better at handling the rest of life’s stressors,” says clinical psychologist Jasper Smits, Ph.D., coauthor of Exercise for Mood and Anxiety.

“When researchers blocked endorphins from runners’ brains, some still said their mood improved after their workout,” says John Ratey, M.D., author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

Dr. Ratey says, “is like Miracle-Gro for your brain.”

“Our results suggest that not only are there chronic benefits of physical activity, but there are discrete benefits as well,” Hyde said in the statement. “Doing more exercise than you typically do can give you a burst of pleasant-activated feelings. So today, if you want a boost, go do some moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise.”

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Stress, Man.

I was recently told by a masseuse that I am very tense and that he could tell I hadn’t stopped thinking throughout the massage. I didn’t realize it until he said something, but now I notice how tense I really am – and I’m not happy about it.

Think too much

More and more, we fill our homes with electronics, constant communication and distractions. I know for me, I get caught up in entertainment and need to be continuously fed new information. Pinterest is basically the online version of my brain. I am always looking for more images, more recipes, more workouts, more knowledge, essentially, more unimportant information – just filling my day & brain with things that clutter my thinking. It is all just junk food for your mind & spirit.

The worst part is, I never had somewhere to go to get away from it all. Do you? Ideally, it should be someplace in your home. Even making tiny changes to your everyday routine can help cleanse your brain of the nonsense.

Breathe – The most simple but hardest to remember is to breathe. Try once an hour or every couple of hours to walk away from everyone & everything to take five deep breaths. Go into the bathroom or the supply room if you have to…

Morning Yoga & Before Bed Yoga – Turn off the TV, turn on quiet calming music and put down your phone for five minutes. Do these sequences twice and just breathe.

good-morning-yoga

Meditation – I never really understood the power of meditation until I tried it with assistance.  The Meditation Podcast has some awesome pod-casts that walk you through the experience. I have never been so relaxed or slept so well. You can even download it on your phone and take it with you!

Hot, decaffeinated Tea – Make a hot cup of decaffeinated tea and sit outside, alone or with a friend but leave the electronics inside. Just focus on yourself (or your friend) and your cup of tea. Caffeine can cause jitters, and the point of this exercise is to calm your thoughts. Breathe, sip, laugh… just be present.

Tea

Hang Mint or Eucalyptus leaves in your shower – When the steam starts rising, a relaxing scent will fill your bathroom and help you to, you guessed it… relax.

Image from BLDG 25
Image from BLDG 25

Let me know how you feel after a couple of time trying these!

Images from Pinterest – I do not take any credit for any of the above images.

Bell Rock Warrior – Virabhadra’s Pose

Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock

Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock

Hello hello!

Last weekend we went up to Sedona for some yoga/hiking. It is always interesting doing yoga during a hike, especially when your at a higher altitude than you are used to. It really makes you focus your breath. I love the background in this image, I just love Sedona in general though.

Virabhadra’s is the name of a warrior incarnation of Shiva. Described wearing a tiger’s skin with 1000 heads, eyes & feet. Also wielding a thousand clubs. Warrior improves legs muscles, hips strength & placement, back muscles, and shoulders.

“Learning to do the Warrior pose series safely and correctly is a major stepping-stone in your yoga practice”, says Seane Corn, a YogaLife advisor who teaches at Sacred Movement in Santa Monica, California, “because you’ll notice similar movements showing up in thousands of other yoga poses.”

To start this pose, begin in the traditional Downward Facing Dog.

Image from http://yoga.prevention.com

Now inhale while you bring your right foot forward (next to your right hand) as you come into a lunge. Ensure that your toes are in-line with your fingertips (as Alicia’s are below). Pivot on the ball of your left foot and drop your left heel down to touch the earth. Finally exhale while opening both arms and pulling the left hip back.

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Bring your hands to hearts center, exhale and reach arms up & back, lifting your rib-cage away from pelvic bones. Keep your palms together and head tilted back slightly.

Hold for about 30 seconds and release. Take a breath and flow through the other side.

Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock
Practicing Warrior on Bell Rock

Once you have completed bend forward to stretch your back.

Image from http://yoga.prevention.com

Where do you do yoga? I’d love to see some images of you practicing yoga in interesting/beautiful places!

Remember to Take Breaks

After going on a hike recently and looking through the pictures, I realized something… People need breaks. Physical breaks, mental breaks, emotional breaks…. just breaks. Yes, this was a picture taken purposefully but as hard as you work and as much as you do for other people, you need to remember to take a break for yourself and just sit.  Now granted, mid-work out is not the ideal time to sit down and think about nothing, but who knows? Maybe it is, and can give you a new perspective on a tough decision that has recently come your way.
Now sit down, even for just a couple of minutes and take a break… meditate! If you are new to meditation, check out this meditation podcast.
One of the things I like to focus on while meditating is the quote “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” What can you do to improve yourself that will inspire or motivate people to improve the world?

Image

Image

Yoga Warriors

Virabhadrasana II

Meet Alicia, she is practicing Warrior II by the San Francisco Bay! 

Virabhadra is the name of a warrior incarnation of Shiva. Described wearing a tiger’s skin with 1000 heads, eyes & feet. Also wielding a thousand clubs. Warrior improves legs muscles, hips strength & placement, back muscles, and shoulders.

“Learning to do the Warrior pose series safely and correctly is a major stepping-stone in your yoga practice”, says Seane Corn, a YogaLife advisor who teaches at Sacred Movement in Santa Monica, California, “because you’ll notice similar movements showing up in thousands of other yoga poses.”

To start this pose, begin in the traditional Downward Facing Dog.

Image from http://yoga.prevention.com

Now inhale while you bring your right foot forward (next to your right hand) as you come into a lunge. Ensure that your toes are in-line with your fingertips (as Alicia’s are). Pivot on the ball of your left foot and drop your left heel down to touch the earth. Finally exhale while opening both arms and pulling the left hip back.

“We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion.” – Mother Theresa

If My Soul Was Planted, What Would It Grow?

Vriksha Asana

Meet Shannen! She is at the Marin Headlands practicing Tree pose.

Tree is a balancing pose. It does not require much muscular strength but does help to strengthen various parts of the body. It strengthens your back, core, ankles, calves and thighs, while flexibility is improved in the hips and groin. This pose also is great for improving concentration and for meditation.

Start in Mountain Pose, or Tadasana.

Exhale, place one foot on the inner thigh of the alternate leg as close to the groin area as possible (toes pointing downward).  Inhale, with your core strong, stretch your arms sideways to form a T with your body, ensuring your palms are facing down. Exhale while brining your palms together into prayer position. Now raise your arms overhead, keeping your palms together in prayer position. To maintain balance, focus your attention on one point in front of you and keep breathing through your belly. 

Something to focus on while in this pose is:

If my soul was planted, what would it grow?