If you have trouble getting into a full Lotus pose, try this deep 6 lateral rotator stretch. This group of muscles are deep in the buttock area. The most popular muscle, piriformis, due to its relationship to sciatic nerve. Here, I am using blocks to work on Lotus preparation. Over time, you will find ease and comfort while in Lotus. If you haven’t try this with me, you can practice on your own as well. Once you are setup, then hold for 5 breaths folding forward, then another 5 breaths to the side where you are facing directly above the top foot. Happy stretching.
We have many active and strong classes at TYS® for individuals who are seeking a sweaty, powerful practice, but there are many benefits to including a gentle or restorative yoga class in your weekly schedule. This month Jain is sharing with us about these two styles of yoga and what they can do for you.
The gentle practice invites you to slow down and drop into your body. This slower paced yoga practice offers you the opportunity to take the time to feel the sensations that arise within the body during each asana. We practice moving breath around the body, exploring all corners of the lungs. As we take time with each posture, we work on lengthening, and as we hold the posture for several breaths, we are working on strengthening. Each asana works on different parts of the body to maintain mobility and open up space. We also work on balancing the body using simple postures to bring more harmony to both sides of the phyical body as well as bringing balance to the mind. Gentle, the new advanced yoga practice.
Leaving your worries and “to do” lists at the door, the restorative practice offers a retreat from the outside world. We invite you to surprise yourself with the gift of how relaxed you can actually feel. The poses are held for several minutes working to relax the deep tissues of the body with the help of lengthening the breath, engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. By cradling the body with props, the muscles feel supported, and the stretch then begins to deepen, allowing the bones to drop, drawing the body deeper into the pose. As you practice letting go of the outer layers, you will begin to find yourself in a calm and quiet place. A place that resides deep within you. By holding each pose for several minutes we are also practicing patience - patience to stay with the breath, patience to stay with your experience, and perhaps the patience to let go just that little bit more. Rest and restore.
If you’d like to join Jain in one of her gentle or restorative classes, you can view Jain’s teaching schedule at our studio by following this link.
Do you struggle to figure out the best way to eat? Does all the nutrition “noise” result in confusion and making what you realize are some less-than-terrific food choices? The fact is, eating real food does not have to be complicated. And a whole foods diet provides your body with the fuel it needs to optimally function, as well as the raw materials to begin to detoxify and heal. Of course, there’s much more to living a healthy balanced life than simply the food we eat. However, it’s a great start! Here are some very basic principles to help you make your food work for and not against you.
The Magical Guideline for Eating Like a Wellness Rockstar:
Aim for 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. All day, every day.
About half the food on your plate should be carbohydrates—vegetables, healthy grains. Add a good portion of protein at every meal. Then, add some fat. It’s that simple! Some more details…
CARBOHYDRATES (aka anything that comes from plants):
- Vegetables: Eat huge amounts—you cannot overdo it here—especially lots of leafy greens. Go for rich color and variety.
- Fruit: Eat moderate amounts of fresh fruit.
- Avoid refined carbohydrates: Refined carbs (i.e. white bread, white rice, pasta, instant oatmeal) are grains that have had the fiber, vitamin E, B vitamins, bran and germ removed. Instead, try brown rice, whole grain oats, quinoa, amaranth, and millet.
- Sweeteners: Minimal, very occasional. Less is best. If you must, opt for real sugar or maple syrup over anything artificial (NutraSweet, Sweet and Low…)
- Avoid refined sugar. Refined sugar increases insulin and adrenal hormone production, depletes vitamins and minerals, feeds yeast and other “bad” organisms in the gut, leads to mood and energy swings, increases cravings, disrupts sleep, and increases pain and inflammation.
- Pastured, organic, grass-fed meats, poultry, and eggs are excellent, healthy sources of protein, as are organic unsweetened whole milk dairy products (no low/non-fat).
- Consider healthy sources of vegan protein as well: hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds, nuts, beans and legumes, and spirulina.
- For the past 60 years, Americans have been on low-fat and/or poor quality fat diets. We are a society extremely deficient in healthy fatty acids. Additionally, the research from decades ago that suggested that fat consumption was responsible for heart disease, diabetes, and obesity has now been debunked as flawed and false.
- Fats benefit our health and well being in so many ways: they satisfy our appetite, they are the building blocks of healthy hormones, they provide a long-burning source of energy, and they aid in the formation of anti-inflammatory substances in the body.
- Good fats are vital for every aspect of health: nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado. Avoid “vegetable oil” or “canola oil”—no oils in clear bottles on the grocery shelves.
LIQUIDS: As a general guideline, drink half your body weight in ounces of good quality water throughout the day. No sodas, juice, vitamin water, or sweetened drinks. Adequate hydration will improve a number of health problems including sinusitis, constipation, inflammation, allergies, fatigue, joint pain, headaches, and many others.
Remember: Always choose the best quality products possible.When possible, choose Certified Organic.
Avoid processed foods, fast foods, chemically treated foods, and industrially prepared foods. Pay attention to the quality of the ingredients that go in your mouth. Shop, plan, and cook for yourself. Just eat real food. (There is no pasta tree!)
Ellen Lovelace, MPH, NTC helps health-challenged people to overcome the confusion and nutrition “noise,” and achieve optimal wellness through the use of a whole foods-based nutrition plan. She helps clients focus on what they CAN eat, finding good alternatives to not-so-good choices. Ellen specializes in digestion issues, food sensitivities, and general wellness counseling.