Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Keep a proper diet that includes varied and nutritious foods. Follow a daily routine and keep a consistent sleep schedule.

People who stay at home for a long time may easily have their normal routines turned upside down. Some people may stay up late at night and fail to get up during the day.

Some people may even have sleep problems. And no sleep or lack of sleep may make us feel anxious, pessimistic and depressed.

Sleep is important for your personal health. Sleep helps the immune system. And good sleep, especially deep sleep, can reduce anxiety. So remember to keep a regular schedule during this period.

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DEAR YOGA TEACHERS

Embodying Liberation

While I am humbled and grateful to have had very kind and wise white teachers, there’s a lot of work to be done.

Thin white women are still the gatekeepers of the yoga world and it is time for a change. Not only does it deface the original meaning of yoga to dominate its power financially and aesthetically; it perpetuates harm to the people who need and deserve to access the profound psychosomatic benefits of yoga: children, Black women, non-English speaking people, disabled men, folks in captivity, trans- people, and the like.

The costs associated with earning yoga teacher certification is a barrier to recruiting teachers who can do meaningful and powerful work in their communities. I would challenge yoga studios and practitioners to consider how they can contribute to offering more learning opportunities to Black teachers as means of removing the financial burden, expanding the reach to traumatized communities, and ceasing to monopolize the voice in the yoga community.

In my experience, yoga teachers can often pretend to colorblind. It stems from political correctness and may be well-intentioned but again it is undermining the power of yoga. How can we say we practice yoga and deny what we see in front of us? (avidya) Is that not a form of stealing someone’s precious identity? (asteya) Does it not promote a sense of community (kula)- when we have the capacity to hold and celebrate differences rather than focusing on our similarities? If we are to achieve a state of enlightenment (samadhi), it will require that we get uncomfortable and observe and reckon with that which lives in us- bias, misogyny, fear, all things, unconscious, unloving, exclusive, afraid of change or difference…just like an uncomfortable side crow.

This would require yoga studios to shift from power of one to the tenderness of many. Classes and sequences should be intentional and serious about moving beyond asanas and maximizing the opportunity to responsibly connect students to a sense of collective compassion.

Questions to consider around racism discussions in the yoga world:

– Who’s in the room?

– Who has decision-making power?

– Who has the authority to empower others? Do they use it? Can it be decentralized?

– Who’s voice is missing?

– Who should be listening vs. speaking?

– Who is doing more of the labor?

– Which do we communicate: you’re allowed to be here OR this space was made intentionally with you in mind?

– Do our teachers reflect the type of students who need yoga the most?

– Are our teachers living their yoga?

– Does our dharma reach towards liberation for ourselves and others?

– How are we creating space for rage, anger, grief?

– Does your yoga practice make you more complicit in the face of injustice or does it ignite your inner warrior and defender of truth?

My question to yogis in the United States: what are we really doing if we aren’t changing lives?

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EMBODYING LIBERATION

Embodying Liberation

EMBODYING LIBERATION –> Rock bottom is fertile ground for seeds of personal revolution they say. That’s where I found myself.
My non-profit salary left me with food insecurity, late bill payments, and overall inability to self-advocate and self assert. My most trusted friend group was disintegrating into turmoil. And to top it off, I had just walked away (with restraining order in hand) from a toxic relationship with a closet sociopath. All within a 5-week span. Maybe I was 6 inches beneath rock bottom. Knowing that the body settles the score, this trauma found its home in my reproductive organs. My body responded with blood clots, hemorrhaging, abdominal muscle spasms that made my entire body feel like it was under siege.

After a long night self-medicating and a serious wish to no longer exist, I found myself on the ground. With everything heavy, I couldn’t move a muscle. The only strength I had was offered to my next breath. At that moment, I realized breathing was my only hope. And therefore, the only thing that mattered. The next day I sought out free opportunities to learn how to breathe. I would go before work and I found that each pose conjured new things out of me. Shocking, devastating, curious, terrific, cathartic things. I would sink my hips back in child’s pose and tears would flood down my cheeks. I would bend my standing leg in a peaceful warrior’s pose and somehow I found a little more grit left in me. I would simply sit cross-legged and forgiveness would spill out on me.

Even as I write this, I can’t help but get emotional and filled with gratitude. I sit with the effects of each flow and I know that yoga saved my life.

And now, 4 years and a 200-HR certificate later, I know that if it doesn’t change your life, then it’s not yoga.

This is how I know yoga was made for those who dare to be courageous. Once we get more curious and go beyond asanas, we will find that yoga is a practice that provides skills to build harmony in life. It is a practice that reminds you of your greatest power and illuminates all of your weaknesses. It is a practice that deepens your compassion for Self and expands your loving reach towards community and the collective.

My experience of the profound healing effects of yoga also comes with the reality of how the Western yoga world has yet to be fully whole or courageous enough to operate without harm. The yoga world (yoga studios, yoga events, yoga merchandise, experiences) is a microcosm of the larger reality we live in which is currently hyper-individualistic, capitalistic, lead by cis-heteronormative patriarchy and white-supremacist ideals. People of color are marginalized, discriminated against, and harmed in the yoga world just as they are in regular life.

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YOGA FOR RUNNERS: THE 10 BEST POSES FOR RECOVERY

Yoga for Runners: The 10 Best Poses for Recovery

While running is a great form of cardio and can help to strengthen your leg muscles and core, and can be a great form of moving meditation, running can also leave you prone to tight hips, hamstrings, and quads. Yoga before or after running is an excellent complement to running, as a regular practice can help to open up these tight areas, boost your balance, improve flexibility (which reduces injury) and help to strengthen your core and glutes, making you a stronger runner. No matter where you’re at in your running journey, these yoga poses for runners are great to add to your practice.

1. BUTTERFLY (BADDHA KONASANA)
An awesome seated pose, butterfly pose is a great way to open up your hips after a run. Because it’s a seated pose, it provides restorative benefits, and can also help to stretch your psoas, inner thighs, and lower back, all of which can become tight after running.

See picture above for butterfly pose. Begin seated on the floor, with legs outstretched in front of you. Bring the soles of your feet together, letting your knees fall open like a butterfly, keeping the bottom edge of your feet pressed into the mat. Allow your feet to peel apart like a book to stretch your feet and ankles, slowly let your knees fall to the floor, but not forcing them. If this stretch is too intense, you can sit up on a block, blanket or bolster to more gently open the hips, ensuring that you’re still keeping your back straight.

2. HALF-PIGEON (EKA PADA RAJAKAPOTASANA)

Half-pigeon is another wonderful hip opener. While the front leg may seem as though it is the one getting an awesome external rotation, the back leg is also working to stretch the psoas and hip flexor.

To bring your body into the pose, sit down on your mat and lengthen your left leg long behind you.  Pull your right shin so it’s parallel to the front of the mat, flexing your right foot to protect your knee.  Work on keeping your hips square as you relax them. You can use your hands to support you in this upright posture, or to take it further, lower down onto your forearms for a deeper stretch.  You may need to use a block under your back leg to help support your body.  After 30 to 60 seconds (or longer!), switch your legs.

3. HAPPY BABY (ANANDA BALASANA)

Happy baby is a reclined yoga pose that helps to open the hips and release the lower back, glutes, and groin, which can become tight as they’re used to stabilize your body during running.

Begin laying on your back on the mat, bending your knees into your belly.  Use your hands to grip the outer blades of your feet, drawing your knees into your armpits, and keeping your feet flexed.  Hold your body here, relaxing into the stretch, and continuing to pull your knees into your armpits, resisting with your legs. You can even rock gently back and forth here, massaging your lower back.  If necessary, use a strap rather than holding onto your feet to make this pose accessible.

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GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

“I spend countless hours doing cardio and never seem to lose that last ten pounds!” is a common complaint I hear from clients. Give yourself permission to shorten your workout. Believe it or not, overtraining could be the problem. Your body can plateau if not given adequate rest to restore itself, ultimately leading to a decline in performance. Fatigue, moodiness, lack of enthusiasm, depression, and increased cortisol (the “stress” hormone) are some hallmarks of overtraining syndrome.

Creating a periodization program — breaking up your routine into various training modes — can help prevent overtraining by building rest phases into your regimen. For example, you might weight train on Monday and Wednesday, cycle on Tuesday and Thursday, run on Friday and rest on Saturday and Sunday. You can also help balance your program by simply incorporating more variety.

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Can You Have Blocked Arteries With Low Cholesterol?

Closeup view of cholesterol plaque in blood vessel

Low Cholesterol : Blocked or clogged arteries typically occur when a substance called plaque builds up on your artery walls and significantly reduces your normal blood flow. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for plaque buildup. However, a number of other factors also contribute to the process, and you can develop blocked arteries even if you have low cholesterol levels.

Blocked Artery Basics

All plaque contains some cholesterol, as well as fat, calcium and various other materials in your blood. When plaque builds up on your artery walls, it triggers an artery-hardening process called atherosclerosis. In turn, the reduced blood flow associated with atherosclerosis can lead to a serious medical condition called coronary heart disease, which is characterized by reductions in the amount of oxygen received by your heart muscle. Partially blocked arteries can become completely blocked when an area of plaque breaks open and triggers the formation of a blood clot in a narrowed arterial passageway. Both partial and complete blockages in a coronary artery can lead to the onset of a heart attack.

Major Risks

Anything that damages the inner layers of your coronary arteries can lead to plaque buildup, artery blockage and heart disease, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, or NHLBI. Apart from high cholesterol levels, known major risk factors for this type of damage include high blood pressure, abnormal resistance to the effects of a hormone called insulin, smoking, lack of exercise or physical activity, diabetes, smoking, advancing age, being overweight or obese and consumption of an unhealthy diet.

Another major risk factor, called metabolic syndrome, arises when you simultaneously have several other heart disease risks. Some people also have a genetic predisposition toward coronary heart disease that creates a major risk apart from any additional factors. Men typically have higher heart disease risks than women.

Additional Potential Risks

Certain other factors may also increase your coronary heart disease risks, the NHLBI reports. They include heavy alcohol consumption, stress, the presence of a condition called sleep apnea, high blood levels of a fatty substance called triglycerides and the presence of a pregnancy-related condition called preeclampsia. You may also have an increased risk for atherosclerosis in your coronary arteries if you have a history of artery-related problems such as an aortic aneurysm or a stroke.

Considerations

If you have non-cholesterol-related risks for blocked arteries and heart disease, your doctor may recommend a variety of medications to lower your blood pressure, relax your arteries, improve the blood flow to your heart or reduce your heart’s workload. Potential options to achieve one or more of these results include beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, clopidogrel, prasugrel, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, nitroglycerin or other nitrates. If you have cholesterol-related risks, your doctor may prescribe a drug from a class of medications called statins. Consult your doctor to learn more about your risks for blocked arteries and coronary heart disease.

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The Effects of Exercise on Diabetes

A woman with type 2 diabetes exercising with dumbbells

Getting regular exercise is another crucial way to stay healthy when you have type 2 diabetes. Moving more helps with blood sugar control, improves insulin sensitivity and can help you get to a healthy weight. And bonus: It can aid in relieving stress, which often worsens diabetes.

For the most effective workout plan, you’ll want to incorporate aerobic exercise (think: walking, biking, swimming), strength training and mindful movement activities like yoga into your weekly routine.

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Building a Healthy Diet When You Have Diabetes

Happy older couple on a diabetes diet preparing a smoothie at home

If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you’ll work with your doctor or health care team to keep the condition in check and lower your risk of complications. One of the most important ways to do that is by adopting a healthy eating plan.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all “diabetes diet,” there are guidelines you can follow to help control your blood sugar levels and improve your health overall, which will help you better manage the disease.

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How Weight and Diabetes Are Connected

Electronic bathroom scale and glucometer, stethoscope and healthy food

The relationship between diabetes and weight is a complicated one. Case in point: Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes — but sometimes people at a healthy weight develop the condition, too.

What’s more, type 2 diabetes is linked to both weight loss and weight gain — and gaining weight when you’re treating your diabetes might actually be a good sign.

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How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Senior African-American couple riding bikes together to help prevent type 2 diabetes

Whether you have prediabetes or are facing risk factors that make you more likely to develop diabetes, take heart: There are things you can do to lower your chances of type 2.

Since diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body processes food, it may come as no surprise that modifying your diet is a major prevention method. But exercising regularly, controlling your weight and getting blood tests at routine health check-ups are all important, too.

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