10 new ways to overcome workout laziness

10 new ways to overcome workout laziness_11Originally Published on Mensfitness.com By Sara Greenfest

So you skipped a few workouts, and now anything—even shoe shopping with your girlfriend and her mom—sounds more appealing than getting back to the gym. And with the highest-stakes (shirtless-ly speaking) season having just come to a close, what’s the big deal with putting on a little extra pudge, right?

Come on. Snap out of it and get your lazy ass back on track. The longer you avoid the gym, the harder it’ll be to get back into your workout routine, says Mike Gray, General Manager of UFC Gym. And truthfully, sometimes all you need to overcome the workout blues is a little switch-up in your routine. Luckily, Gray helped us put together a list of the best ways to help you start fresh. Read this, and you’ll be back at the gym in no time.

1. Keep your playlist fresh

It’s really that simple. A recent study by the University of Wisconsin La Crosse Exercise and Health Program reported that listening to upbeat music while working out can reduce the perception of effort and increase endurance by 15%. You won’t feel like you’re working as much—meaning you’ll go longer and harder. So, whether you like listening to hip-hop, rap, techno, or pop, keeping your playlists updated is one of the major keys to steady workout motivation.

2. Try a boot camp workout

First off, any new workout is going to reboot your motivation, period. But recent research from the American Council on Exercise found boot camp workouts in particular to be the most effective fitness style. Why? Since they’re team-oriented—boot campers feel united by having to “survive” the workouts together—it pushes participants to exercise even harder.

3. Get a workout partner

Whether it’s a lifelong friend or an office buddy, gym partners give you a real boost. “Partners not only help with the motivational aspect, but they can help in getting you better results, too,” says Gray. “They push you a little harder than you’d normally push yourself, and make sure you actually go to the gym even when you feel like going home.” And to make sure you both keep each other motivated—make a game out of it: First guy to flake on the gym buys the other a beer (a light one, of course) at happy hour. Make sure to hold each other to it.

4. Set realistic goals

In order to stay inspired, you want to feel like you’re getting results—so keep your objectives practical. “Setting goals is extremely important, but setting realistic goals is even more important,” says Gray. So, as much as you may aspire to get Mark Wahlberg’s pecs, just keep in mind that those puppies didn’t grow overnight. “Celebs are great eye candy, but they have loads of time and money to put into working out,” says Gray. “Look at their lifestyles before looking to them for motivation.” How can you stay inspired? Set small, attainable, performance-oriented goals specific to your abilities. Each week, tell yourself you’ll add more reps or weight to your chest press, for example—and you’ll be feeling like Marky Mark in no time.

5. Talk up your workouts to friends

Once you have the reputation of being a badass gym go-er, you can’t flake out because you’re lazy. “Allow your family and friends in on your workout journey so they can help you stay motivated,” says Gray. “After all, they’ll notice your results before you do.” Plus, the positive feedback from them will help you stay on track—as will the sarcastic quips when they see you enter couch potato mode.

6. Think about how good you’ll be in bed

A study conducted at UC San Diego tracked a group of men who were put on a workout regimen of one hour of cardio done three to four times a week. After only nine months of continuous exercise, the subjects reported that their sex lives were way more satisfying—they had better stamina and orgasms. In comparison, a group of men that performed light workout routines, such as walking at a much slower pace, had no major improvement. This reason alone should get you back to the gym…and start working hard.

7. Add some competition

Sometimes all you need to light a fire under your butt is a little bit of trash talk. So sign up for a weekly sports league or join a CrossFit gym. The competitive edge will help you want to push your workout further. Then again, you can always compete with yourself. Apps like Fitocracy, iMapMyFitness, and Gym Buddy let you track your workouts, share your progress with friends, and compare your routine with others. So, next time you finish a six-mile run in less than an hour, post your time and show it off. Who knows, your buddy might beat your time tomorrow. Game on.

8. Take your workout outside

A study carried out by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry found that people who exercise outside feel more energized and rejuvenated after their workout. Outdoor exercisers reported feeling less stressed, depressed, and frustrated with the daily B.S. life brings. Plus, they reported they’d be much more likely to exercise all over again. So, instead of drinking your work frustrations away—go for a run. You can always grab a drink on your way home.

9. Inflict gym-only TV privileges

Trying to lose weight but hate cardio? Try this sneaky tip. Here’s how it works: Allot one TV series as watchable during gym-time only. This way you’ll know you need to make it to the gym to watch your guilty pleasure—whether you’re catching it live or downloading it to your phone or tablet. Plus, when you’re trying to burn a ton of calories, it makes the time pass much faster.

10. Embrace the long-term benefits

We all have our lazy days, but keeping to a consistent workout schedule today is extremely important for staying healthy tomorrow. A study by Northwestern University found that maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout young adulthood and middle age will lower the risk of cardiovascular disease as one gets older, no matter what your DNA says. So before you blame any future bad health on your grandfather—get your butt of the couch and do what you can do to take control of your body.

The Best Vegan Chili Ever!!!

The best thing about not eating meat is that you know that nobody had to die in order for you to eat.  It may not seem like it matters but after you do it for a while and then eat meat, you can really notice the difference.  Meat just doesn’t have the same appeal anymore.  It just looks like big chunks of death and suffering.  But that’s just me and if you want to get spiritual, get ready to go to new heights.  All that meat weighs you down spiritually.  I mean you can’t kill things and then think that you’re going to be favored.  But that’s just been my experience.  I used to eat meat for years so I understand the craving for meat.  But I don’t miss it.  I hope you enjoy this recipe.  XOXO Valerie

Originally published on Itdoesnttastelikechicken.com on January 10, 2017 By Sam

The Best Vegan Chili Ever!!!

It has been nose-nipping, fingertips feel like they’re falling off, wonder why I don’t own snow pants, scarf wrapped high enough to meet my hat so that I just have a wee slit to see through, kinda cold this week. That and I seem to have one of those never-ending colds that don’t want to go away, no matter how much I ignore it. (I admit there are better cold remedies).

So between the two colds, all I wanted was something insanely delicious, hearty, satisfying, a big ol’ pot of warm me up from the inside. And then it happened, I made The Best Vegan Chili Ever!!!

See what I mean? Don’t you just want to bite that spoon!?

No really, this is serious stuff, friends. This isn’t the first pot of vegan chili that I’ve ever made. I’ve cooked up many of those three bean type chili recipes in the past, which are good, but they never feel particularly special to me. They were missing that oomph.

Today, the colds must have sparked some mad scientist creativity, because I decided to use a similar method to prepare tofu that I use in my Tofu Bolognese. The key is that the tofu is seasoned and then dried out in the oven. Then when you stir it into the sauce, it gets this gorgeously chewy, amazing, can’t-stop-eating texture. I used this same technique in this vegan chili recipe, and let me tell you, it was seriously the best idea ever.

This vegan chili is bursting with gorgeous spices, the double-bean action makes for a scrumptious heartiness, the rich simmered tomatoes, and that chewy, totally addictive tofu. I’m so deeply in love!

Just with all chili recipes, this vegan chili was delicious freshly made, but it was even better the next day. The tofu stays perfectly chewy and the flavours deepen and get even more flavourful.

The Best Vegan Chili Ever!!!_5

To make the best vegan chili ever: Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent and just begins to brown. Add the tomatoes, beans, water, and all of the spices. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer for 1 hour. If the chili gets too thick, just splash in more water to reach desired consistency.

In the meantime, prepare the tofu crumbles. Mix nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and olive oil together in a large bowl. Open and drain the tofu (no need to press it), then break off chunks and crumble with your fingers into the bowl. Do this with all of the tofu until you have a large bowl of crumbles. Stir the tofu crumbles well making sure all of the tofu is evenly coated in the nutritional yeast mix.

Spread the tofu mixture evenly over the pan. Bake for about 45 mins, stopping to stir the tofu every now and then. Keep a close eye on it towards the end so that it doesn’t burn.

You want the tofu to be nice and browned. The smaller crumbles will be darker than the larger crumbles, and that’s ok because it will provide a variety of texture. Mmmmmm tofu crumbles. I can’t help but eat a few right from the pan, but I seriously have to control myself as I may eat them all!

The Best Vegan Chili Ever!!!_6

When the chili and tofu are both prepared, stir in the tofu crumbles and continue to cook the chili for another 5 minutes. This will allow the tofu to absorb the sauce and get gloriously chewy.

Serve hot with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of chives if desired. The best vegan chili ever!!! I’m so excited, I need to make another pot ASAP.

The Best Vegan Chili Ever!!!_3The Best Vegan Chili Ever!!!_4

5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health

Originally Published on WordPress.com on April 29, 2016 By Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman

5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health
Yoga teacher and licensed psychotherapist Ashley Turner says yoga is the key to psychological and emotional healing as well as resolving issues with self-confidence, relationships, and more.

Ever notice how good you feel — mentally — when you’re practicing yoga regularly?

Yoga teacher and licensed psychotherapist Ashley Turner, who is launching a groundbreaking new Yoga Psychology 300-hour advanced yoga teacher training next month, says yoga is the key to psychological and emotional healing as well as resolving issues with self-confidence, relationships, family of origin issues, and more.

“Yoga is a psychology — the whole practice helps us work with the nature of the mind, the nature of being a human, how emotions live in our bodies, how they affect our behavior and our minds,” says Turner, who reveals that yoga helped her recognize and cope with her own low self-esteem. “This course is reclaiming the deeper roots of the practice, not just asana — the mental and emotional benefits.”

See also Let It All Go: 7 Poses to Release Trauma in the Body

Below are 5 ways that yoga can benefit your mental health and well-being and even improve your relationships, according to Turner.
5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Mental Health

1. It moves you from the sympathetic nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system, or from flight-or-flight to rest-and-digest. You typically have less anxiety and enter a more relaxed state. As soon as you start breathing deeply, you slow down out of fight or flight and calm your nervous system.

See also The Science of Breathing

2. It helps you build your sense of self. Through yoga, you get to know yourself and cultivate a more nonjudgmental relationship with yourself. You are building self-trust. You exercise more and eat healthier, because your unconscious mind tells you, “I’m worthy of this me time, this effort.” At the end of the day, everything comes down to your relationship with yourself. When you get more confident and become more rooted in your sense of self and your center, you develop a healthy, balanced ego, where you have nothing to prove and nothing to hide. You become courageous, with high willpower. You’re not afraid of difficult conversations — you know you’re still going to be OK at the end of the day.

3. It improves your romantic relationship. When you’re more centered and more peaceful with yourself, you’ll be the same way with your partner — you’ll view them through the same lens of compassionate, unconditional love. You’re less reactive — for example, you may know that snapping at your partner is not a wise choice.

4. It helps you become aware of your “shadow” qualities. The yoking of solar and lunar (light and dark) in yoga makes us recognize qualities in ourselves that we were not aware of, helping us be more mindful. A lot of my work centers on the shadow concept from Carl Jung. How do we look at those places in our bodies where we hold tension, tightness, knots of energy? That’s typically where we are holding our psychological or emotional energy. We work from the outside in, so asana is so important. A backbend will open your heart and release the stiffness between the shoulder blades — at some point, you will have some sort of emotional release, which you may or may not be conscious of. It’s about doing the inner work to shift or change and be open to doing your best with your weaknesses and faults.

See also Mandy Ingber’s Sequence to Heal Your Heart + Embrace Joy

5. It helps you deal with family of origin issues. Essentially that’s our karma — we can’t give back our family, we’re born into it and that’s what you get. It’s about owning what I call sacred wounds (rather than blaming) and taking them on more mindfully. You’re the only one that can change — the only thing you can do is control your actions and your behavior. Other people will inevitably be forced to show up in a different way you’re showing up in a different way. Think of the Warrior poses — yoga helps you rise up and do your best.

See also Pillars of Power Yoga: 10 Strong-Core Poses for Confidence

Fast Track through Dr.Wayne Dyer’s The Power of INTENTION

Have you ever read a book and it’s called something like How to have The Best Sex of your Life?  And you really want to find out, How to have the best sex of your life.  And the author is just talking about the history of sex and ethics and religion and mores.  And you want to just get to the part about the sex.  But no you have to weed through all of that stuff until way back on page 250, they start to get down to the nitty gritty.wayne dyer quote

Well I read Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, called The Power of INTENTION.  Now I will say that it was a very good book and I do recommend reading it in its entirety.  But if you want to read this blog instead, I will give you the highlights of how you can go about living a really abundant life and hopefully cut through a bunch of bull shit.

Now some of these concepts may be a little bit advanced, and that’s fine.  But it’s kind of like something to shoot for.  It’s like when you read the Olympic Athlete’s training schedule and then you say, Oh that’s how they are in such good shape.  So it’s kind of a way of taking your spiritual blood pressure and heart rate.  Just a little assessment about where you are and maybe where you might choose to be.

Step 1:  See the world as an abundant, providing, friendly place.  When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.  When you see the world as an abundant and friendly, your intentions are genuine possibilities.  They will in fact, become a certainty, because your world will be experienced from the higher frequencies.  In this first step, you’re receptive to a world that provides rather than restricts.  You’ll see a world that wants you to be successful and abundant, rather than one that conspires against you.

abundance

Step 2:  Affirm: I attract success and abundance into my life because that is who I am.  This puts you into vibratory harmony with your Source.  Your goal is to eliminate any distance between what you desire and that from which you pull it into your life.  Abundance and success aren’t out there waiting to show up for you.  You are already it and the Source can only provide you with what it is and consequently what you are already.

Step 3: Stay in an attitude of allowing.  Resistance is disharmony between your desire for abundance and your beliefs about your ability or unworthiness.  Allowing means a perfect alignment.  An attitude of allowing means that you ignore efforts by others to dissuade you.  It also means that you don’t rely on your previous ego-oriented beliefs about abundance being a part of or not a part of your life.  In an attitude of allowing, all resistance in the form of thoughts of negativity or doubts are replaced with simply knowing that you and your Source are one and the same.  Picture the abundance you desire freely flowing directly to you.  Refuse to do anything or have any thought that compromised your alignment with Source.

Step 4:Use your present moments to activate thoughts that are in harmony with the seven faces of intention.  The key phrase here is present moments.  Notice right now, in this moment, if you’re thinking that it’s hopeless at this stage of your life to change the thoughts that comprise your belief system.  Do you defeat yourself with thoughts of having had such a long life practicing affirmations of scarcity and creating resistance to your success and abundance that you don’t have enough time left to counterbalance the thoughts that compromise your past belief system?

Make the choice to let go of that lifetime of beliefs, and begin activating thoughts right now that allow you to feel good.  Say I want to feel good whenever anyone tries to convince you that your desires are futile.  Say I want to feel good when you’re tempted to return to low-energy thoughts of disharmony with intention.  Eventually your present moments will activate thoughts that make you feel good and this is an indicator that you’re reconnecting to intention.  Wanting to feel good is synonymous with wanting to feel God.  Remember, “God is good, and all that God created was good.”

tony robbins

Step 5: Initiate actions that support your feelings of abundance and success.  Here, the key word is actions.  I’ve been calling this acting as if or thinking from the end and acting that way.  Put your body into a gear that pushed you toward abundance and feeling successful.  Act on those passionate emotions as if the abundance and success you seek is already here.  Speak to strangers with passion in your voice.  Answer the telephone in an inspired way.  Do a job interview from the place of confidence and joy.  Read the books that mysteriously show up and pay close attention to conversations that seem to indicate you’re being called to something new.

Step 6: Remember that your prosperity and success will benefit others, and that no one lacks abundance because you’ve opted for it. Once again, the supply is unlimited.  The more you partake of the universal generosity, the more you’ll have to share with others.  In writing this book, wonderful abundance has flowed into my life in many ways.  But even more significantly book editors and graphic designers, the truck drivers who deliver the book, the auto workers who build the trucks, the farmers who feed the auto workers, the bookstore clerks… all receive abundance because I’ve followed my bliss and have written this book.

Step7: Monitor your emotions ad a guidance system for your connection to the universal mind of intention.  Strong emotions such as passion and bliss are indications that you’re connected to Spirit, or inspired, if you will. When you’re inspired, you activate dormant forces, and the abundance you seek in any form comes streaming into your life.  When you’re experiencing low-energy emotions of rage, anger, hatred, anxiety, despair and the like, that’s a blue that while your desires may be strong, they’ve completely out of sync with the field of intention.  Remind yourself in these moments that you want to feel good and see if you activate a thought that supports your feeling good.

Step 8: Become as generous to the world with your abundance as the field of intention is to you. Don’t stop the flow of abundant energy by hoarding or owning what you receive.  Keep it moving.  Use your prosperity in the service of others, and for causes greater than your ego.  The more you practice detachment the more you’ll stay in vibratory harmony with the all giving Source of everything.

Step 9: Devote the necessary time to meditate on the Spirit within as the source of your success and abundance.  There’s not substitute for the practice of meditation.  This is particularly relevant with abundance.  You must have an understanding that your consciousness of the presence is your supply.  By repeating the sound that is in the name of God as a mantra, you’re using a technique for manifesting as ancient as recorded history.  I am particularly drawn to the form of meditation I’ve mentioned previously, called Japa.  I know it works.

Step 10: Develop an attitude of gratitude for all that manifests in your life.  Be thankful and filled with awe and appreciation, even if what you desire hasn’t arrived yet.  Even the darkest days of your life are to be looked on with gratitude.  Everything coming from Source is on purpose.  Be thankful while empowering your reconnection to that from which you and everything else originated.

Well there you have it.  Wish you all the abundance and love in your life now and forever.

Love,

Val

Feel Good Hot Chocolate

Feel Good Hot Chocolate

Who’s ready for ultra-cozy vibes? (Hand raised!)

This easy hot chocolate recipe requires just 7 ingredients and 15 minutes to make.

While I have a more basic Vegan Hot Cocoa, I wanted to elevate it to include maca powder (where the feel-good vibes come in) and ensure it was naturally sweetened.

FEEL GOOD Vegan Hot Chocolate! 7 ingredients, naturally sweetened, SO creamy and rich! #vegan #glutenfree #plantbased #hotchocolate #dessert #chocolate #minimalistbaker #recipe

It starts with making our own chocolate base with cocoa butter, cacao powder, and a little carob powder, which intensifies the chocolate flavor and adds a little natural sweetness.

Next comes coconut milk, maple syrup for a little added sweetness, cinnamon for warmth, sea salt to bring out the sweetness, and vanilla to enhance the chocolate flavor.

Then comes maca powder, which is an adaptogen rich in minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc. It also helps boost mood, balance hormones, and support the thyroid. It tastes like something between caramel and honeycomb. In other words, I’m obsessed.

Feel Good Hot Chocolate_3

Once everything is mixed and hot, it’s time to serve! Enjoy as is or elevate it even more with homemade coconut whipped cream and more cacao powder.

I hope you all LOVE this hot chocolate! It’s:

Rich
Creamy
Chocolaty
Warming
Naturally sweetened
Surprisingly healthy
& So tasty

This is the perfect hot cocoa for chilly evenings spent inside. You can even make it in advance and heat it up on the stovetop as needed.

If you’re into warming, cozy drinks, also be sure to check out our 5-Minute Vegan Golden Milk, Easy Vegan Chai Latte, Best Vegan Matcha Latte, Healing 3-Ingredient Turmeric Tonic, and Apple Cider Rooibos Hot Toddy.

If you give this recipe a try, let us know what you think! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers!

Feel Good Hot Chocolate

Print Friendly Version
Prep time
5 mins
Cook time
10 mins
Total time
15 mins

Insanely rich, delicious, refined-sugar-free vegan hot chocolate infused with real cocoa butter, cacao powder, and maca powder for serious feel-good vibes. Just 7 ingredients required!
Author: Minimalist Baker
Recipe type: Beverage, Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free
Serves: 2
Ingredients

HOT CHOCOLATE

3 Tbsp (40 g) chopped (food-grade) cocoa butter*
1/4 cup (24 g) unsweetened cacao (or cocoa) powder, sifted
optional: 1 Tbsp (6 g) carob powder, sifted (adds richer chocolate flavor)
2 1/2 cups (600 ml) canned light or homemade coconut milk, divided (or sub other milk // sub full-fat coconut milk will yield for creamier hot cocoa)
Dash ground cinnamon
1 tsp maca powder (adds honeycomb flavor, promotes hormone balance + energy)
Pinch sea salt
2 Tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup (or sub stevia or coconut sugar, or blend the mixture with dates then strain)

FOR SERVING optional

Coconut Whipped Cream
Chopped dark chocolate / cacao powder

Instructions

Add 1 inch of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Place a glass or ceramic bowl on top that rests inside the saucepan but doesn’t touch the water, and add cocoa butter, sifted cacao powder, sifted carob powder (optional), and 1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut milk. Whisk occasionally to melt until well combined.
Carefully remove bowl from heat with a towel, and discard any remaining water in the saucepan.
Transfer melted chocolate mixture to the saucepan, add cinnamon, maca powder, sea salt, maple syrup, and remaining 2 cups (480 ml) coconut milk, and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat until just beginning to bubble.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more maple syrup for sweetness, cinnamon for warmth/spice, maca for caramel flavor, or cacao powder (sifted) for more intense chocolate flavor. Additional cocoa butter will add more creaminess.
Serve between two mugs and enjoy as is or top with coconut whipped cream and chocolate or cacao powder.
Best when fresh, though hot chocolate keeps covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until hot.

Notes
*In place of cocoa butter you could also sub naturally-sweetened vegan dark chocolate, such as Eating Evolved brand. Just scale back on sweetener elsewhere in the recipe to compensate. I used cocoa butter to keep this recipe naturally sweetened.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 2 servings without optional ingredients or toppings.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/2 of recipe Calories: 315 Fat: 26.1 g Saturated fat: 15.9 g Carbohydrates: 26.1 g Sugar: 15.1 g Sodium: 150 mg Fiber: 4.1 g Protein: 2.9 g

 

 

Yoga

Originally published on webmd.com on December 10, 2017 By Jennifer Robinson

Yoga

How It Works

Workout fads come and go, but virtually no other exercise program is as enduring as yoga. It’s been around for more than 5,000 years.

Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.

There are more than 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense. Others are gentle and relaxing.

Examples of different yoga forms include:

Hatha. The form most often associated with yoga, it combines a series of basic movements with breathing.
Vinyasa. A series of poses that flow smoothly into one another.
Power. A faster, higher-intensity practice that builds muscle.
Ashtanga. A series of poses, combined with a special breathing technique.
Bikram. Also known as “hot yoga,” it’s a series of 26 challenging poses performed in a room heated to a high temperature.
Iyengar. A type of yoga that uses props like blocks, straps, and chairs to help you move your body into the proper alignment.

Intensity Level: Varies with Type

The intensity of your yoga workout depends on which form of yoga you choose. Techniques like hatha and iyengar yoga are gentle and slow. Bikram and power yoga are faster and more challenging.
Areas It Targets

Core: Yes. There are yoga poses to target just about every core muscle. Want to tighten those love handles? Then prop yourself up on one arm and do a side plank. To really burn out the middle of your abs, you can do boat pose, in which you balance on your “sit bones” (the bony prominences at the base of your pelvic bones) and hold your legs up in the air.

Arms: Yes. With yoga, you don’t build arm strength with free weights or machines, but with the weight of your own body. Some poses, like the plank, spread your weight equally between your arms and legs. Others, like the crane and crow poses, challenge your arms even more by making them support your full body weight.

Legs: Yes. Yoga poses work all sides of the legs, including your quadriceps, hips, and thighs.

Glutes: Yes. Yoga squats, bridges, and warrior poses involve deep knee bends, which give you a more sculpted rear.

Back: Yes. Moves like downward-facing dog, child’s pose, and cat/cow give your back muscles a good stretch. It’s no wonder that research finds yoga may be good for relieving a sore back.
Type

Flexibility: Yes. Yoga poses stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion. With regular practice, they’ll improve your flexibility.

Aerobic: No. Yoga isn’t considered aerobic exercise, but the more athletic varieties, like power yoga, will make you sweat. And even though yoga is not aerobic, some research finds it can be just as good as aerobic exercise for improving health.

Strength: Yes. It takes a lot of strength to hold your body in a balanced pose. Regular practice will strengthen the muscles of your arms, back, legs, and core.

Sport: No. Yoga is not competitive. Focus on your own practice and don’t compare yourself to other people in your class.

Low-Impact: Yes. Although yoga will give you a full-body workout, it won’t put any impact on your joints.

What Else Should I Know?

Cost. Varies. If you already know your way around a yoga mat, you can practice for free at home. Videos and classes will cost you various amounts of money.

Good for beginners? Yes. People of all ages and fitness levels can do the most basic yoga poses and stretches.

Outdoors. Yes. You can do yoga anywhere, indoors or out.

At home. Yes. All you need is enough space for your yoga mat.

Equipment required? No. You don’t need any equipment because you’ll rely on your own body weight for resistance. But you’ll probably want to use a yoga mat to keep you from sliding around in standing poses, and to cushion you while in seated and lying positions. Other, optional equipment includes a yoga ball for balance, a yoga block or two, and straps to help you reach for your feet or link your hands behind your back.

What Family Doctor Melinda Ratini MD Says:

There are many types of yoga, from the peaceful hatha to the high-intensity power yoga. All types take your workout to a level of mind-body connection. It can help you relax and focus while gaining flexibility and strength. Yoga can also boost your mood.

Even though there are many instructional books and DVDs on yoga, it is well worth it to invest in some classes with a good instructor who can show you how to do the postures.

Chances are, there’s a type of yoga that suits your needs and fitness level. It’s a great choice if you want a holistic approach to mind and body strength.

Yoga is not for you if you like a fast-moving, competitive workout. Be open-minded, since there are physical and mental benefits you can gain by adding some yoga into your fitness plan, even if it isn’t your main workout.

Is It Good for Me If I Have a Health Condition?

Yoga is a great activity for you if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease. It gives you strength, flexibility, and mind-body awareness. You’ll also need to do something aerobic (like walking, biking, or swimming) if you’re not doing a fast-moving type of yoga.

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart problems, ask your doctor what you can do. You may need to avoid certain postures, like those in which you’re upside down or that demand more balance than you have right now. A very gentle program of yoga, coupled with a light aerobic activity like walking or swimming, may be the best way to start.

Do you have arthritis? Yoga can help you stay flexible and strong without putting added stress on your joints. You get the added benefit of a mind-body approach that can help you relax and energize.

If you’re pregnant, yoga can help keep you relaxed, strong, and in shape. If you’re new to yoga or have any health or pregnancy related problems, talk to your doctor before you give it a try. Look for an instructor who’s experienced in teaching prenatal yoga.

You’ll need to make some adjustments as your baby and belly grow and your center of gravity shifts. After your first trimester, don’t do any poses that have you lying on your back. And don’t try to stretch any further than you did before pregnancy. Your pregnancy hormones will loosen up your joints and make you more likely to get injured.

While you’re pregnant, avoid postures that put pressure on your belly or low back. Don’t do “hot” yoga, where the room temperature is very high.
WebMD Fitness A-Z Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on December 10, 2017

 

Classic Fresh Salsa

Originally Published on TheSpruce.com on December 6, 2017 By Diana Rattray

Classic Fresh Salsa

If you’re looking for a fresh and flavorful salsa, this recipe is an excellent choice. The combination of diced tomatoes, peppers, and garlic make for a classic fresh salsa. Serve it with tacos, burritos, or as a party dip with tortilla roll-ups or tortilla chips. It is a very good condiment to serve alongside grilled or baked fish fillets, grilled chicken, steaks, and pork chops.

The salsa is made with fresh tomatoes and peppers, and it is seasoned perfectly with cilantro and lime juice. See the tips and variations for some add-in ideas and more.


How to Make It

01 Put chopped onion and garlic in a strainer; pour 2 cups boiling water over them then let drain thoroughly. Discard water. Cool.

02 Combine onions and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

03 Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors.
04 Serve as a dip or a condiment with Mexican style dishes. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 to 7 days.

*Use hot or mild chile peppers in the salsa. Jalapeno peppers, serrano, New Mexican, and Anaheim are good choices.

Tips and Variations

  •  Plum tomatoes are an excellent choice for salsa. They are firmer and have fewer seeds, and they’re easier to dice.
  • If you’re not a fan of cilantro, omit it or add fresh parsley.
  • For extra texture and color, add about a few tablespoons of drained and rinsed black beans and a few tablespoons of cooked corn kernels.
  • For something a little different, try this peach salsa or this tasty corn and pepper salsa.

 

 

Have a Plan if You are Freaking Out

awake guyHave you ever woke up in the morning with so much to do that you don’t even know where to get started.  Your thoughts include, “I  have to put away the dishes, and then take a shower, get ready for work and after work take my kid to the Dr. And that project is due and I have to work with that bitch I can’t stand.  I wonder if my boss really hates me?” You lie there thinking these thoughts over and over and meanwhile the clock is going tick tock tick tock and you’re not getting anything done.

And if it’s your day off then the to do list is just a little different but you’re still thinking about all the chores and what are you going to make for breakfast and it can begin to drive you a little nutty.

And sometimes the thoughts have to do with the thoughts.  “Why am I thinking this?  Is there something wrong with me?  Am I sick?  What does it mean when I feel pressure on my chest?”  On and on and on.

Well guess what?  These thoughts will not just go away by osmosis.  But what also won’t go away are all of the plans you have and things you want to do.  So what you have to do is have a plan when you wake up with all of thoughts that are somewhat paralyzing.
planning

You can just say yeah yeah to the thoughts.  And tell them what Scarlett O Hara said in Gone With the Wind,  “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”   The trick is that you have to have a plan.  You just have to get up and start your day.  Now if it’s 2:00 AM and you went to bed at midnight and you are waking up, you might not want to get up.  But if you went to bed at 10 and it’s 4:00 AM, well guess what, it’s time to start your day.  That’s right.  Get your ass up out of bed and make it.

When you wake up early and everyone else is asleep, this is the hour that God is calling you.  It is the time when everyone else is asleep and it’s quiet.  When you wake up early it is the perfect time for meditation and yoga.  It’s also in the rhythm with the natural circadian rhythm of our bodies.  Our bodies naturally want to wake up early.  They also want to go to sleep when it’s dark.

Because we have only had electricity within the last 100 plus years, our bodies have not really adjusted to it.  We’re still hard wired like our ancestors.  Which means we rise when the sun does and we go to sleep when the sun goes down.

So our bodies get out of sync and that’s when the anxiety starts up because our body is warning us that we are pushing ourselves too hard.  But you can turn it around.
baby-1356093__480

You have to treat yourself like you are a baby. Which is a perfect time to read an article on how to properly care for yourself here.

This is a super quick post.  But I am kind of just being really short with this post because to be honest, I can write quite a bit and it seems like people have short attention spans and just want the info really quick.  So I am just getting this out fast.

So do people like information really fast and direct or do they prefer lots of detail.  That’s the question.  Please feel free to let me know.  Because I really would love some input.  That’s me asking for help.  Because when you need help, PLEASE ASK!!!!!!!!!!

Valerie is a Yoga Instructor and a  Health and Wellness Coach.  She lives in Northern California with her daughter and puppy.  Please contact her here.

 

Top 25 Peppermint Oil Uses and Benefits

Valerie’s tip:  The other benefit to this oil is that it can be used to get rid of spiders and rodents.  Just put some peppermint oil on cotton balls and put it where ever you don’t want mice to go. You can pick up some really good peppermint oil here.

Originally Published on Draxe.com

Top 25 Peppermint Oil Uses and Benefits

Pleasantly suitable for an abundance of oral and topical uses and antimicrobial properties, peppermint may be the most versatile essential oil in the world along with lavender. Literally, there are few body, health, and mind issues that it cannot help.

Peppermint essential oil gives a cooling sensation and has a calming effect on the body, which can relieve sore muscles when used topically. It also has antimicrobial properties so it can help freshen bad breath and soothe digestive issues.

Peppermint is a hybrid species of spearmint and water mint (Mentha aquatica). The essential oils are gathered by steam distillation of the fresh aerial parts of the flowering plant. The most active ingredients include menthol (35–45%) and menthone (10–30%).

Clinically speaking, peppermint oil is recommended for its anti-nausea benefits and soothing effects on the gastric lining and colon because of its ability to reduce muscle spasms.

Not only is peppermint one of the oldest European herbs used for medicinal purposes, other historical accounts date its use to ancient Chinese and Japanese folk medicine. It’s also mentioned in Greek mythology the nymph Mentha was transformed into an herb by Pluto who had fallen in love with her and wanted people to appreciate her for years to come.

The health benefits of peppermint oil as well as peppermint oil uses have been documented back to 1,000 BC and have been found in several Egyptian pyramids.

Peppermint Oil Benefits

Some of the most common peppermint oil uses include:

  • Reduces stomach aches
  • Soothe digestive issues
  • Freshens bad breath
  • Relieves headaches
  • Antimicrobial properties
  • Improves mental focus
  • Clears respiratory tract
  • Boosts energy
  • Releases tight muscles
  • Cost-effective natural solution to replace pharmaceutical drugs

I cannot honestly think of one reason why anyone on the planet would choose not to have peppermint oil in his or her medicine cabinet at home!

Top 25 Peppermint Oil Uses

Ready to start harnessing the health benefits of peppermint? If so, here are 25 ways to use this incredible herb:

1. Muscle Pain Relief –Peppermint essential oil is a very effective natural painkiller and muscle relaxant. It is especially helpful in soothing an aching back, sore muscles, and melting away a tension headache. A study shows that peppermint oil applied topically has pain relief benefits associated with Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. The study found that peppermint oil, eucalyptus, menthol, capsaicin and other herbal preparations may be helpful. Calyptus, menthol, capsaicin and other herbal preparations.(1) Try my recipe for homemade muscle rub to ease muscle pain.

2. Sinus Care –Inhaling diffused peppermint oil can oftentimes immediately unclog your sinuses and offer relief to scratchy throats. Peppermint acts as an expectorant and may provide relief for colds, cough, sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis.

3. Joint Therapy –When your joints get achy, applying some pure peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil can cool muscles like an ice bath, but help you to stay warm and dry.

4. Reduce Hunger Cravings –Inhaling peppermint essential oil can stave off the munchies and can help you feel full faster. If you can’t have a diffuser with you at dinnertime, try applying a couple drops on your temples or chest, or take a couple of deep sniffs from the bottle.

5. Natural Energizer –For a non-toxic alternative to dangerous energy drinks, take a few whiffs of peppermint. It will perk you up on long road trips, in school or any other time you need to “burn the midnight oil.” For those with chronic fatigue syndrome, peppermint oil may improve focus and concentration.

6. Improve Your Shampoo –Add 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil to your regular morning shampoo and conditioner to stimulate the scalp, energize your mind, and wake up! Because it is a powerful antiseptic, peppermint can also help remove dandruff and lice. Try my homemade rosemary mint shampoo, a safe and economical shampoo for you and your family.

7. Allergy Relief –Peppermint oil is highly effective at relaxing muscles in your nasal passages and can help clear out the muck and pollen during allergy season. Diffusing peppermint along with clove oil and eucalyptus oil can also reduce allergy symptoms.

8. ADHD Support –Try spritzing some peppermint oil on your child’s shirt before study time or placing a drop on her tongue or under her nose for improved concentration and alertness.

9. Anti-Itch –Whether you’re battling a rash or poison ivy, applying some peppermint oil mixed with lavender oil is certain to cool and soothe any itch.

10. Fever Reducer –Because of peppermint oil’s cooling effects, it is an excellent natural treatment to bring down a fever especially in children. Simply mix peppermint oil with coconut oil and rub it on a child’s neck and on the bottom of their feet to help stabilize a fever instead of aspirin or other drugs.

11. Natural Bug Repellant –Ticks aren’t the only bugs that hate peppermint oil. In fact, ants, spiders, cockroaches, mosquitos, mice, and even lice will be repelled. Follow this recipe and make your own natural bug floor cleaner!

Top 25 Peppermint Oil Uses and Benefits_2

12. Skin Health -Peppermint oil has calming effects on skin inflammation. You can mix peppermint oil into lip balm and body lotion for a nice cooling sensation. Try my Lavender Mint Lip Balm to nourish lips throughout the year. Mixing peppermint and lavender essential oils can improve eczema and psoriasis when applied topically.

13. Acne Treatment –According to medical studies one of the best Peppermint Oil Uses is facial treatment thanks to anti-microbial properties so is an excellent ingredient to help cure acne naturally.

14. Headache Cure -Peppermint oil has the ability to improve circulation, heal the gut and relax tense muscles. All of these conditions can cause tension headaches or migraines making peppermint oil an excellent natural treatment. A study from researchers at the Neurological Clinic at the University of Kiel, Germany, found that a combination of oils, including peppermint oil had “significant analgesic effect with a reduction in sensitivity to headaches.” The oils were applied to the forehead and temples for pain relief.(2)

15. Hair Growth -Peppermint oil is used in many high quality hair care products because it can naturally thicken and nourish damaged hair. Simply add some peppermint oil to your current shampoo or make your own homemade rosemary mint shampoo that can help stop hair loss and thinning.

16. Sunburn Relief -Peppermint oil can hydrate burnt skin and relieve the pain from sunburns. You can mix peppermint oil with a bit of coconut oil and apply it directly to the affected area, or make my natural homemade sunburn spray to relief pain and support healthy skin renewal.

17. IBS Treatment -Peppermint oil taken internally in capsule form has been proven to be effective at naturally treating IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). One study found a 50% reduction in IBS symptoms with 75% of patients who used it.(3)

18. Improve Bloating and Indigestion -Peppermint oil has been established as a natural alternative to drugs like Buscopan to reduce spasms of the colon. It works by relaxing the muscles of your intestines, which can also reduce bloating and gas. Try peppermint tea or adding 1 drop of peppermint oil to your water before meals.

19. Freshen Breath and Reduce Cavities -Tried and true for well over 1,000 years peppermint has been used to naturally freshen breath. According to studies, peppermint oil performed better than the mouthwash chemicals chlorhexidine at reducing cavities. You can make homemade toothpaste, mouth wash, or add a drop under your tongue followed with glass of water, this freshens bad breath too.

20. Reduce Nausea –A medical study found that peppermint oil uses reduced nausea that is induced by chemotherapy better than standard medical treatments. Simply adding a drop of peppermint oil to water, or rubbing 1-2 drops behind your ears, or even diffusing it can help to reduce nausea.

21. Respiratory benefits -Peppermint essential oil has the ability to open your airways and act as a decongestant. Mix it with coconut oil and eucalyptus essential oil to make my homemade vapor rub to help reduce the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.

22. Colic -Medical research has discovered using peppermint oil is equally effective as the drug Simethione for treating infantile colic, without the side effects associated with prescribed medications. Peppermint oil is an essential part of my natural remedies for colic.

23. Teething -Peppermint oil is a great natural remedy to relieve the pain associated with teething in infants. Simply mix peppermint oil with coconut oil at a 1:1 ratio and rub on the gum area.

24. Balance hormones and relieve symptoms of PCOS -Peppermint oil may have hormone balancing effects and be therapeutic for polycystic ovarian syndrome.

25. Cancer treatment -Clinical research indicates that peppermint contains the compound menthol, which inhibits prostate cancer growth. Also, studies found peppermint protects against radiation-induced DNA damage and cell death.(5)

Peppermint Oil Studies and Research

At the time I wrote this article, there were 302 scientific studies referring to peppermint essential oils and 2297 about menthol. Believe me when I tell you, the research out there is air-tight! If you make it a point to incorporate this powerful remedy into your daily routine, I promise you that your life will change in more ways than you can imagine.

Take for instance, a 2012 study out of Clayton State University that tested peppermint oils ability to reduce postoperative nausea and vomiting. Generally occurring as a common side effect of general anesthesia, about one-third of all people undergoing surgery suffer from these conditions at various degrees of intensity.

For Moms who just had a C-section, this can be especially devastating as it is very likely to interfere with breastfeeding and could prevent them from that wonderful bonding experience with their baby.

The study tested evaluated how 35 Moms responded to this ancient aromatherapy and discovered that peppermint essential oil was not only quite effective in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting, it “significantly lowered” the sickness levels of participants compared to women who received standard anti-nausea medications.

More than just aromatherapy, just one drop of peppermint oil rubbed on the stomach or taken internally can calm indigestion in no time flat. The powerful ability of peppermint to help with gastrointestinal concerns has just been tapped by the scientific community.

New research has found peppermint can improve antibiotic resistance and help heal your body from the overuse of prescription antibiotics and other chemicals that affect your body. This is probably part of the reason it is so effective in treating IBS.

A combined medical study of all the literature on peppermint’s ability to cure irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was just published this July and, of the nine studies combined they stated:

“Peppermint oil was found to be significantly superior to placebo for overall improvement of IBS symptoms and improvement in abdominal pain.” They concluded,

“Peppermint oil is a safe and effective short-term treatment for IBS.”
Peppermint Oil To Repel Bugs

Growing up in mosquito country, one of my favorite uses for peppermint oil is definitely to repel bugs!

A study that was published out of Israel last year compared how 7 different commercial bug repellants fared against each other. As you’d expect it, the All-Natural Essential Oil Mosquito Repellent (which is a blend of cinnamon, eugenol, geranium, peppermint, and lemongrass oils) was tied as the most effective mosquito repellant with OFF!® (which is loaded with toxic chemicals like DEET). A further study showed that peppermint oil resulted in 150 minutes of complete protection time against mosquitos, with just 0.1 mL of oil applied on the arms.(6) The researchers noted that after 150 minutes, the efficacy of peppermint oil decreased, and needed to be reapplied.

Peppermint Recipes

One final way I would encourage you to use peppermint is as part of your diet. Here are some of my favorite peppermint recipes:

Homemade Peppermint Patties

Mint Chocolate Protein Shake

GI Healing Juice

Concerns and Potential Interactions

Peppermint oil is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food, and when used topically.(7) Ingesting peppermint oil may cause side effects for some that include heartburn, flushing, mouth sores, headache. Some prescription medications and over-the-counter medications may adversely interact with peppermint oil. Enteric-coated peppermint oil supplements may cause rapid dissolving leading to heartburn, nausea, and rapid absorption of some medications. Take necessary precautions.

The following medications carry a “moderate” potential for interaction with peppermint oil:

Neoral, Sandimmune, Elavil, Haldol, Zofran, Inderal, Theo-Dur, Calan, Isoptin, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Diazepam, Valium, Soma, Viracept, Cataflam, Voltaren, Ibuprofen/Motrin, Mobic, Feldene, Celebrex, Elavil, Warfarin/Coumadin, Glucotrol, Iosartan, Cozaar, Mevacor, Nizoral, Sporanox, Allegra, Halcion.

The following medications carry a “minor” potential for interaction with peppermint oil:

Over-the-counter and prescription antacids including Tums, Rolaids, Ripan, Bilagog, Amphojel, Tagamet, Zantac, Axid, Pepcid, Prilosec, Prevacid, Aciphex, Protonix, Nexium.

Natural supplement precautions:

Peppermint can reduce the absorption of iron when taken simultaneously. If taking iron supplements and peppermint oil, allow at least 3 hours between the two. Peppermint oil also increases the absorption of quercetin when taken at the same time; allow at least 3 hours between taking these together.

If you want to learn more about the incredible health benefits of essential oils, check out this free Dr. Axe’s Guide to Essential Oils.
How about you? What do YOU use peppermint essential oil for?

Ancient Healing for a Modern World: a Full Color Wellness Gift Book

Originally Published on wholeyoga-ayurveda.com
Ancient Healing for a Modern World

Discover how the inspired lifestyle teachings of Ayurveda can transform your everyday life. This book offers 108 accessible practices from the Ayurvedic pantheon to help you achieve optimal digestion, improve sleep, diminish stress, and find inner balance. These practices make it possible for you to reclaim, maintain and enhance your health at all levels, on any budget, with any kind of schedule.

The Ayurveda Way presents Ayurveda’s paradigm-shifting holistic health perspective in a way that’s intuitive and easy to follow, allowing even beginners to find it simple to use this time-tested wisdom to awaken to your naturally healthy mind and body.

36 practices promote healthy eating, gentle digestion, and radiant natural beauty.

Ayurveda teaches that food, digestion, and even physical beauty are all key components of health.

1 Eat warm, cooked, gently oiled foods.

To kindle the digestive system and help food travel smoothly through the body.

12 Sleep like a baby with spiced milk.

To give your mind a wonderful feeling of clarity, balance, and peacefulness.

19 Cook with love.

Since your emotions and intentions are transmitted into your food.

34 Oil your hair.

To enhance blood circulation and help drive away stress.

25 practices foster a positive mental and emotional state.

Ayurveda teaches that how anything is done — including eating — can be just as powerful as what is being done.

39 Sit in Thunderbolt Pose after meals.

To support digestion and counterbalance hyperacidity, indigestion, and constipation.

49 Light a lamp.

To epitomize the victory of the light of knowledge over the darkness of negative thinking, addictions, destructive habits, and excess emotional reactions.

51 Do something of service, without strings attached.

Because by helping someone else, we automatically become filled with joy.

57 Let go of shame.

And instead channel that energy into healthier feelings of remorse to fuel you toward acting for your own good.

23 practices develop deeper spiritual connections and personal inspiration.

Ayurveda teaches that loving others begins with loving yourself.

64 Give yourself the gift of silence.

To hear the sound of the spiritual and occupy the space in which your own wisdom can flower.

69 Reclaim your inner power in Cobra Pose.

To channel the strength necessary to thrive on the challenging path toward spiritual awakening.

71 Go outside.

To absorb nature’s medicine and learn to yield gracefully to change.

75 Create a personal sanctuary space in your home.

To connect your spirit to the people, places, and things that are personally meaningful to you.

81 Let go of negative thoughts and emotions with a special water practice.

To visualize navigating personal transitions and letting go.

What People Are Saying

“If you want to change the world, this is the book for you because change starts with ourselves. These 108 steps are simple, clear, and doable. This liberated ancient wisdom illuminates the path with clarity and light.”

– Susan Davis, co-author of Social Entrepreneurship: What Everyone Needs to Know, Adjunct Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Columbia University School of Public and International Affairs, founder and former CEO of BRAC USA

“An enlightening and beautifully written book on how to live a balanced life. It’s the perfect gift to type A people like me who think they’re too cool for healthy living.”

– Trabian Shorters, New York Times bestselling co-author of REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading and Succeeding and founding CEO of the 40,000 member BMe Community

“An honest window into Ayurvedic traditions, providing simple, powerful, and effective strategies to choose health.”

– Lara Galinsky, author of Work on Purpose and Be Bold: Create a Career with Impact

Ancient Healing for a Modern World_2

Meet the Author

ANANTA RIPA AJMERA is committed to making Ayurveda understandable and applicable to a diverse, modern audience. She serves as Director of Branding and Yoga Studies at Vedika Global foundation for the living wisdom of Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta, teaches at Ayurveda and yoga conferences, and presents Ayurvedic health improvement, stress management, and meditation sessions for corporate clients including ABC News, Stanford University, and California probation departments. Ananta has studied Yoga and Ayurveda with Acharya Shunya, an eminent traditional Vedic spiritual teacher and lineage bearer, and her writing is popular on MindBodyGreen, Elephant Journal, and The Huffington Post.

The Ayurveda Way releases on April 18th, 2017, and is now available for preorder.