Benefits of Yoga

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga has many benefits for natural health that can have a profound effect on your mind, body and spirit. You may be surprised by the multitude of ailments that can be remedied by including Yoga into your daily life.

The practice of Yoga brings with it many physical and emotional benefits that the majority of people are unaware of. This article is quite long, so we have broken it up into two parts. The first part is an introduction to Yoga and a overview of the major physical and psychological benefits of Yoga, while the second part shows how practicing yoga daily can have a profound effect on your ability to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself.

Yoga is a science; and indeed, in many places in the world (such as India), it is referred to as a science. This is not merely playing with words; it truly is approached as a science, which means that it is understood in terms of scientific methods.

Yogic science seeks to verify cause and effect, and build principles based upon objective observations. Indeed, in many places in the world, to be a yogic master of any credibility, one must be highly educated in the sciences, including physics and the biological sciences.

This discussion on yoga as science is important for us to include because it allows us to sensibly ask the question: what are the benefits of yoga? After all, if yoga is a faith or a belief, then asking this question isn’t fair; because it’s one that yoga cannot answer in terms that we can objectively understand.

Yoga is a science; as empirical and pragmatic as kinesiology, or exercise science, which seeks to understand how the body acts and reacts to changes in the internal physical environment. And even more simply than any of this: each of us has a right to ask the basic question, “why should I bother practicing yoga and what experience or benefits can I expect?”

Indeed, while the experience of yoga cannot be reduced to words – just as reading a book on preparing for a marathon isn’t going to actually physically prepare you to run a marathon – the goals and principles of yoga can easily be discussed.

Here’s the Mayo Clinic’s take on the benefits of meditation:

“Meditation is used by people who are perfectly healthy as a means of stress reduction. But if you have a medical condition that’s worsened by stress, you might find the practice valuable in reducing the stress-related effects of allergies, asthma, chronic pain and arthritis, among others.”

Yoga involves a series of postures, during which you pay special attention to your breathing — exhaling during certain movements and inhaling with others. You can approach yoga as a way to promote physical flexibility, strength and endurance or as a way to enhance your spirituality.

The Mind-Body Connection

Yoga is centered on the mind-body connection. This mind-body harmony is achieved through three things:

– postures (asanas)

– proper breathing (pranayama)

– meditation

Mind and body draw inspiration and guidance from the combined practices of asanas, breathing, and meditation. As people age (to yogis, ageing is an artificial condition), our bodies become susceptible to toxins and poisons (caused by environmental and poor dietary factors).

Yoga helps us through a cleaning process, turning our bodies into a well synchronized and well-oiled piece of machinery.

Physical Benefits

By harmonizing these three principles, the benefits of yoga are attained. And just what are these benefits?

– equilibrium in the body’s central nervous system

– decrease in pulse

– respiratory and blood pressure rates

– cardiovascular efficiency

– gastrointestinal system stabilization

– increased breath-holding time

– improved dexterity skills.

– Improved balance

– Improved depth perception

– Improved memory
Psychological Benefits

As noted above, Yoga also delivers an array of psychological benefits; and in fact, this is a very common reason why people begin practicing it in the first place. Perhaps the most frequently mentioned psychological benefit of yoga is an improved ability to manage stress. Yoga diminishes an individual’s levels of anxiety, depression, and lethargy; thus enabling him/her to focus on what’s spiritual and important: achieving balance and happiness.

5 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Using 1 Great Fruit

5 Easy Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Using 1 Great Fruit

Have you had your lycopene today? If you ate a green salad with fresh chopped tomatoes, then you not only got a healthy dose of this powerful antioxidant, but you have also taken significant action toward lowering your blood pressure. A recent double-blind study conducted in Israel has confirmed what hearth-healthy Italians have enjoyed for centuries – tomatoes (and tomato sauce) lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.


Have you had your lycopene today? If you ate a green salad with fresh chopped tomatoes, then you not only got a healthy dose of this powerful antioxidant, but you have also taken significant action toward lowering your blood pressure. A recent double-blind study conducted in Israel has confirmed what hearth-healthy Italians have enjoyed for centuries – tomatoes (and tomato sauce) lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

The Israeli study was led up by Dr. Esther Paran, head of the hypertension division of Soroka Medical Center. It involved patients who were already being treated for hypertension, but were not responding well to the medications. Dr. Paran had patients take a supplement of tomato extract. The results were a significant drop in blood pressure after just four weeks.

Tomatoes are so effective at lowering blood pressure because they contain lycopene. This potent antioxidant is even the focus of some hybrid tomatoes grown by the Israeli company, Lycomato, in order to have higher concentrations of lycopene in each piece of fruit. Other antioxidants found in tomatoes make this one super-food in the prevention of heart disease. It can even help keep LDL cholesterol from oxidizing which makes it stick to the arteries and narrow the passage way causing blood pressure to increase.

Even during the peak growing season it can be difficult to consume four whole tomatoes each day, which is the recommended amount for having a positive impact on blood pressure. Here are some ways to get the benefits of tomatoes without having to eat them straight off the vine.

1. Make Chili. Using tomato puree, which is a concentrated form of tomatoes, as the base for your chili utilizes the antioxidants without the bulk of a whole tomato. Add some ultra-lean and high protein ground bison and kidney beans with minced garlic and onions, and cayenne pepper and you have a heart-healthy main course and a full day’s allowance of tomato.

2. Since using olive oil with the tomatoes enhances the curative quality, make your pasta sauce red with tomatoes, tomato paste and olive oil to sauté the garlic and onion. Tomato paste used in making sauce contains more than 10 times the nutrients of a single tomato.

3. Have a fresh salad as a side dish to either of these entrees and cut one whole tomato on top. You’ll get one-quarter of you tomato intake right there.

4. Drink tomato juice. It is better to make your own fresh juice so that you can control the sodium. Store bought juices can be high in sugar and sodium-based preservatives. If you have a juicer, you can make some incredible veggie juices to suit your own tastes by adding carrots, celery and some low-sodium seasonings.

5. Take a tomato supplement. If you just can’t stomach tomatoes, then a 200 mg supplement provides the equivalent of more than the recommended four tomatoes.

Adding tomatoes to your diet can reduce systolic blood pressure by 10 points and diastolic pressure by 4 points as was evident in the Israel study. Whatever way you slice it, tomatoes will keep strengthen your immune system and lower blood pressure.

Copyright 2006 Frank Mangano

10 Tips To Help Lower Your Cholesterol

Important Facts You Should Know About Whey Protein

Important Facts You Should Know About Whey Protein

Are you concerned about taking care of your body before and after strenuous activities or workouts? Do you try to avoid supplements that contain additives and possible side effects?

If you are interested in better health and improved physical fitness you have surely heard that bodybuilders and other athletes are turning to a simple, natural supplement called whey protein.

WHY DO ATHLETES USE WHEY PROTEIN?

Protein levels are depleted through exercise. Muscles require amino acids to prevent deterioration, give endurance and build mass. Proteins supply these amino acids to the muscles which is why athletes use whey protein.

WHAT IS WHEY PROTEIN?

Commercial whey protein comes from cow’s milk. Whey is the by-product of making cheese and was usually thrown away as a waste product. Now researchers know that whey protein is high quality, natural protein that is rich with amino acids essential for good health and muscle building. It is naturally found in mother’s milk and also used in baby formula. It is being considered for use as a fortifier of grain products because of its considerable health benefits and bland flavor.

Although protein is also found in other foods such as meat, soy and vegetables, whey protein is proven to have the highest absorption (digestion) levels in comparison to all others.

WHO SHOULD CONSIDER USING WHEY PROTEIN?

Whey protein has many health benefits including immune support, bone health, sports health, weight management and overall well being.

Because amino acids are ‘building blocks’ for the human body it is sometimes used by patients to speed up the healing of wounds or burns.

The high quality protein that comes from whey makes it a recommended choice for those who need optimal benefits from restricted diets including diabetics, those on weight management diets and even ill patients not able to consume enough protein in their diet to assist with healing.

CAN WHEY PROTEIN BE DANGEROUS?

Whey protein is a food and so it does not have have the risks associated with other supplements. That said, too much of anything carries risks. Extremely high use of whey protein can overload the liver which can cause serious problems. Moderation is always recommended.

If you are lactose intolerant you might try whey protein isolate which has less than 1% lactose and should be tolerable for most users.

Whey protein is a natural and healthy way to bring protein into your diet and increase well being.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

author:Hamoon Arbabi
source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/health/article_1956.shtml

6 Ways to Healthier Eating

6 Ways to Healthier Eating

With so much ‘diet advice’ around today it is little wonder if you feel somewhat confused. Whether you are wanting to lose weight, maintain your weight or help your family eat more healthfully…these six, simple ideas will help you to eat more healthfully.

1 Stay away from the inside aisles

When you grocery shop, fill up your trolley from the aisles around the outside the perimeter of the store. This is where the fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh foods are kept.

2 Eat small amounts frequently

Don’t allow yourself to get hungry. Keep your appetite in control with smaller meals and healthy snacks in between.

3 Keep close to nature

Fresh is best and generally much better for you than pre-packaged. For example, a fresh potato baked in its jacket is more healthy than pre-packaged “potato au gratin”.

4 Experiment and use spices

Get used to cooking with a wide variety of spices. It’s possible to get fabulous flavor with spices without adding high calorie fats and oils.

5 Read “fat free” labels carefully

Many “fat free” items contain additional carbohydrates in the form of sugar or fructose to compensate for reduced flavor and can do more to add to your weight than the “full strength” product.

6 Use low fat dairy products

For adults, much healthier as low fat dairy products have the nutrients without the extra fat.

author:Kim Beardsmore
source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/health/article_921.shtml

6 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Personal Trainer

6 Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Personal Trainer

Once reserved only for the rich and famous, personal fitness training has hit the mainstream.  A personal trainer is now as common as a pair of good cross trainers and a water bottle.

But unlike your hair stylist, your fitness trainer doesn’t need to be tested and licensed by a state licensing board. Someone with little more than a great body–but no experience–can print business cards, call themselves a personal trainer, and take your money.

So if you’re looking for a trainer, you’re on your own. Here are six questions to ask trainers either in person or by phone before hiring them.

1. Can I have references?

This is the best way to get honest information. A prospective trainer should be more than happy to give you a list of at least three clients whom you can contact.  Ask the references if they achieved their goals, how the trainer helped them to do so, and what they liked best about the trainer.

If the trainer refuses to give references or acts as though it is a major inconvenience, look elsewhere.

2. Through what organization are you certified?

Certification is a credential given by an agency or institution with its own educational and testing procedures. Quality credentialing agencies require a thorough, and often expensive, process of certifying trainers. Usually this includes written, oral and practical exam components. Other agencies will literally “sell” a certification as long as the check clears.

Current popular and reputable certification associations include the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and American Council on Exercise (ACE).  Certification from any of these organizations doesn’t guarantee trainer excellence but shows only that the person successfully passed the minimum requirements for certification.  While important, certification is a factor that should be used in combination with all of the other information that you are collecting.

The trainer also should also be certified in CPR/First Aid and be able to show you the credentials.

3.  What is your training/exercise philosophy?

A credible trainer should be able to explain a philosophy of exercise training. You don’t need a doctoral dissertation here, only a description of how they help clients reach their goals. How do they train clients? How do they motivate them? Is there an assessment process? Find out as much as you can about how they work with clients to achieve goals.

What you are looking for here is a reflection of trainer credibility. If the trainer says something like “I kick my clients’ butts…No pain, no gain, dude,” thank them for their time and move on. Be an intelligent consumer. Ask for specifics and clarification if you don’t understand something. This person is going to tell you how to exercise, give you lifestyle information and hold very heavy weights over your head.

4. How much do you charge and how do you expect payment?

Prices for personal fitness instruction vary widely based on where you live and trainer qualification and experience. As with everything else, you usually get what you pay for, but there’s no guarantee that the most expensive trainer will be the best suited for you and your goals.

Talk to other people who have used fitness trainers. Or call health clubs near you to determine the average rate in your area. If the trainer is meeting you at your home, expect to pay slightly more than average. If you are meeting at a health club, prepare to cover the cost of a guest fee if there is one.

Get specifics on all fees and how payment is to be made. Some trainers charge on a per session basis, while others offer packages and discounted rates for a given number of pre-paid sessions.  Some accept only cash. Others accept checks and credit cards.  Most fitness trainers have some sort of cancellation policy. Agree on all financial obligations before the first session and insist that both parties sign a billing contract.

Avoid at all costs the trainer who responds to a question about fees with statements like “How much can you afford?” or “How much are you looking to spend?”  This is someone who has their wallet—not your fitness goals—in mind.

5.  How do they look?

You should never base your selection solely on physical appearance.  A person with a flawless-looking body may not know the first thing about safely teaching you how to achieve your own goals. This is especially true if they have achieved their own results through things like drugs, eating disorders or exercise obsession.

The person you hire will be teaching you skills and lifestyle habits and doesn’t need to look like a model in a fitness magazine. But trainers do need to practice what they preach. Let’s face it. Are you really going to respect someone’s opinion if you’re in better shape than they are? Probably not.

6. What’s your comfort level?

Above all, make sure you choose a trainer with whom you feel comfortable and whether their personality is a good match with yours. Above all, trust your instincts. Hiring someone with superior training knowledge is worthless if you don’t feel comfortable. You need to trust, respect and feel at ease with them.

You wouldn’t buy a pair of exercise shoes without at least trying them on to see if they’re comfortable. The same concept holds for hiring a personal fitness trainer. Set up an interview, ask the right questions, and follow your instincts for the perfect fit.

author:Jon Gestl
source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/health/article_405.shtml

7 Great Tips for Yoga Success

7 Great Tips for Yoga Success

Yoga has been proven to relieve stress by using exercises that unify the mind, body, and spirit. If you are new to yoga, these seven tips will start you on the road to a more centered life.

1. Talk to your doctor and explain what type of yoga poses you intend to practice. Show your doctor pictures of the poses for illustration. Your doctor may rule out specific poses if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, a history of retinal detachment, or heart disease. Make sure you follow your doctor’s recommendations.

2. Find a yoga class that best fits your abilities. Talk to prospective teachers, and decide whether of not you can handle a program before you sign up. It’s very important to take it one step at a time. Try a few beginner classes before you attempt more vigerous classes. Don’t move ahead too quickly. Allow your body to adjust to your exercises.

3. Listen to your body and be aware of your physical abilities. You don’t want to hurt yourself. Make sure the instructor understands your level of experience and any limitations you may have. Don’t allow anyone to push you ahead too quickly. Remember, this is supposed to be fun and relaxing.

4. If you can’t find a class that meets your needs, you can always practice yoga at home. There are many books, programs, and tapes available to help you get started. Search for the best products on the Internet and read reviews. Talk to others for recommenations.

5. Why not try private lessons? You can book some one-on-one sessions with a teacher in your area. Most yoga instructors offer private classes or can help you design your own program. This is a good way to get started. You can always take group lessons or practice at home after you’ve had private lessons and learned the basics.

6. Find a yoga buddy. It’s nice to practice with someone and it will help reduce injuries. It’s also a great way to keep up your enthusiasm and interest.

7. Eat lightly before practice. Wait at least two hours after meals before yoga class or practice. An empty stomach is best, but don’t let yourself get too hungry to think. You won’t be able to focus on the poses or enjoy yourself during the relaxation or meditation exercises.

Now it’s time to grab your mat and a towel and get the most out of your yoga exercises.  Smile & Enjoy!