You’re not alone if you don’t automatically pair tech and yoga in your mind, but what should you do if you still want to get your yoga practice in but for some reason you can't get to a yoga studio?
You can access yoga classes, yoga apps, and even guided meditations to make your home practice your main practice — and keep your body and mind happy.
Yoga Apps: What Can They Do?
While looking at your phone isn’t quite as zen as having someone guide you through a class, some zen is better than none at all. Thankfully, there are yoga apps out there for everyone, no matter what stage you’re in on your yoga journey. The best ones are paid, of course, but we’re talking about less than it costs for a cup of coffee once a month.
Pocket Yoga is a great option for Apple users since it will connect with your Apple Watch and your Apple TV if you have one/both. There is an Android version, but it doesn’t have the same linking capabilities. This app is about $3 per month and shows you how to do at least 200 different poses. It will even let you know how long to stay in each pose and show you variations for your mood or difficulty level.
This app sometimes references the use of a yoga block or a strap. Using yoga accessories makes it easier for beginners and those with flexibility or injury limitations to access certain poses. Yoga should never hurt, so please use them as necessary.
Yoga on the Go
Let’s say you don’t have time to do a full hour-long yoga practice or even a full 20 minutes. Then you should check out the app Five Minute Yoga. It’ll take you through some guided and — you guessed it — five-minute routines that help you get zen on the go.
Want to access this app and not run your data out when you’re not on WiFi? Make sure you have a phone plan that allows you to use a data hotspot without charging you an arm and a leg.
Thanks Sheila Johnson @ZENthusiast
Essential oils may seem like the unicorn of the medical world. The essential oil industry’s list of assets is vast, intriguing, and honestly – pretty confusing, leaving many of us asking, “are these plant extracts actually effective?” The answer that has repeatedly been proven through science and research is “yes”.
Although the use of essential oils may sound new to us, they have actually been used for thousands of years by our ancestors to enhance physical and mental well-being throughout their daily lives. So how, exactly, can essential oils help you?
1. Fight off sickness
Some essential oils like cinnamon and eucalyptus are known to help the body stimulate the growth of white blood cells. This results in a boosted immune system and a healthier psyche overall.
As an added bonus – if you’re already feeling sick, using a diffuser can increase the needed humidity in the air to relieve your cough and sinus pressure.
2. Sleep better
Getting a good night’s rest is an essential part to our body’s health and wellness, but sometimes a good night’s sleep is hard to come by. In fact, the CDC has reported that 1 in 3 Americans are not getting enough sleep at night, leading to researchers and other professionals to turn to essential oils for support.
At the very basis of their usages, essential oils have relaxing properties that can help almost any night owl get a good night’s sleep. Chamomile and lavender are the most well-known for assisting us in our sleep, helping our mind and body start to relax and wind-down for bed.
3. Safer than candles
If you love candles for the aromas that they give off but are worried about an open flame in your home, essential oils may be a more suitable option for you.
With an essential oil diffuser, you can continue your aromatherapy practices while you sleep without having your mind constantly worry about the potentially hazardous situations that candles bring, such as burns, wax spills, or even having your pet knock it over.
4. Increase Your Energy
When we don’t wake up feeling refreshed, we often turn to (multiple) cups of coffee to combat our lethargies. Oftentimes, this may not be the healthiest option for us, as coffee can sometimes lead to headaches, a rise in blood pressure, and in some cases, an increased risk of heart attacks.
To completely eliminate these effects from coffee, consider using essential oils that will increase vitality and reduce fatigue. Some great essential oils for boosting energy are peppermint, grapefruit and lemongrass.
If you haven’t yet hopped on the essential oil train, it’s not too late – the market size in the US is valued at $3.36 billion and is only growing, with an expected growth rate of 9% from 2016 to 2024. If you’re looking for a technique that will leave you sleeping better, feeling more energized, and is all-around safer than traditional methods, essential oils might just be the right option for you.
Article written by Elise Morgan
Image by pexels
Yoga is a form of exercise that involves physical and mental wellbeing, and it has been said to help relieve body pain. In this article, we will concentrate on low back pain and how yoga can play a role in relieving it.
What Are The Benefits of Yoga
Yoga offers both physical and mental benefits for the human body.
The physical benefits are:
Causes of Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common work-related injuries. It involves pain at the waist and a lot of factors contribute to the pain.
The causes of low back pain are:
1. Sitting or lying poorly puts stress on the back
2. Tight muscles of the back and abdomen
3. Involuntary contraction of the back muscles, which is known as spasm
4. Falling and landing on your back or being hit at the back
5. Lifting with your back bent over instead of bending your legs
6. Overstretching of ligaments and muscles, which is popularly known as a sprain and strain respectively
7. Weakness of the back muscles or abdominal muscles
8. Tight muscles in the legs
9. Sitting for long periods of time
10. Pregnancy, which puts a lot of load on the back muscles
11. A slip of the discs that allow for easy movement of the bones in the back on each other
12. Medical conditions like cancer, kidney stones or weak pelvic muscles
How Can Yoga Help With Back Pain
Many times we look at conventional remedies for backache like analgesics, tens units or even massages. But looking at the benefits of yoga and causes of back pain, we can see that yoga can help prevent back pain and alleviate the pain as well. We will be looking at yoga poses that can target the major causes of pain.
While doing yoga, always remember to breathe.
Some of these yoga poses that can help relieve the causes of low back pain are:
1. Downward Facing Dog
This pose balances out muscles in the back and lower legs and also stretches the muscles of the back, hamstrings and calf muscles.
2. Cobra Pose
This pose stretches the abdominal muscle and decreases any form of stiffness in the lower back
3. Child’s Pose
This pose stretches the lower back and muscles in the legs. It also helps in reducing stress and relaxes the muscles on the anterior part of your body.
4. Cat-Cow Pose
Pregnant women can do this pose. This pose stretches the back muscles and the abdominal muscles. It increases flexibility in the spine.
5. Spinal Twist
This pose lengthens the spine and prevents the intervertebral discs from drying up.
Yoga offers a lot of poses that stretch the major muscles in the body. It also has a balancing complex which means it engages other muscles that may contribute to lower back pain such as downward facing dog pose that stretches the back muscles and hamstrings which, when tight, can cause pain at the low back.
Yoga is effective in pain relief and also has added benefits. The poses can also be done anywhere even at work.
Article by Dr. Charles-Davies, a medical doctor that spends some of his time sharing helpful health information across the internet.
Guest article by Jason Lewis.
If you’re a senior, then you have already entered your golden years. You’ve conquered obstacles, worked hard, and earned the right to live your best life — all day, every day.
For each person, quality of life takes on a different look. Nonetheless, whether your best days will be spent traveling, gardening, volunteering, pursuing your passions and hobbies, and/or spending time with loved ones, one thing is certain: You will need to be in your best health. This article will discuss the steps you can take now to improve your quality of life for the long term.
Don’t Forget to Exercise
Regular exercise is a key contributor to a longer, healthier life. It’s never too late to get your body moving and reap the benefits. Set a goal to be physically active for 30 minutes a day. If you’re not used to exercising, start slow and gradually increase your time and exertion. Exercise will not only improve your energy and joint health, but it also:
Your Brain Leads Your Body
While the brain is a mystery, a sure fact is that we use it every day. The brain is the control center for your whole body, and just like every other organ, you need to take care of it and be in tune with its needs. If you make it a regular habit to stimulate your brain with puzzles, classes, experiments, or art and crafts, you will find that your mind remains sharp and even improves through making new connections between nerve cells and generating new cells.
Mind Your Mental Health
Part of caring for your brain is caring for your mental health. Your mood and emotions affect all areas of your life, including your relationships, blood pressure, energy levels, ability to combat diseases, and zest for life. You can invest time in your mental health by doing daily breathing exercises, getting adequate rest, boosting your vitamin D levels with regular exposure to light, and writing out three things you are grateful for each day.
You can also foster your mental health by taking supplements that can help you battle anxiety, mental fogginess, or negativity. Research the best vitamins based on your needs, and consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that the vitamins will not interact negatively with any existing health condition. Then, find the most enjoyable way to take those vitamins (juice, smoothie, shake, or perhaps a delicious homemade granola bar).
Your Body Is Your Temple
More than half the battle in having a healthy body is what you put into it. Take control of your life by controlling your diet. Those who lead a healthy lifestyle not only live longer lives, but they also face less illness. Assess your needs, and from there, investigate the different foods that would help provide you with a balanced diet that wards off health problems. For most people, a diet rich in vitamin-filled fruits and vegetables, foods and drinks filled with calcium to promote bone health, hydration through water, healthy fats, and protein will help you feel 100 percent.
Your golden years can be your best years; it all comes down to taking control of your health. Keep your mind stimulated on a daily basis to stay sharp and improve cognitive function. Foster your mental health each day, and make a nutritious diet part of your routine. Start exercising 30 minutes a day. Not only will you realize immediate benefits by forming these habits, but you will also be adding healthy years to a life well lived.
Photo Credit: Pexels
If you’ve been trying to find ways to get better sleep at night and wanting to get a little more exercise, there’s a simple way to do both. You can reduce your stress, improve your sleep quality, wake up feeling better by incorporating yoga into your bedtime routine.
If you have a firm mattress and no partner, or a partner that goes to bed later than you do, you can even do yoga in bed!
1 - It will help you reduce stress. Even doing yoga twice a week has been found to reduce stress, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing. In that study, nurses that did yoga for an hour twice a week for six months had lower amounts of work stress than their counterparts in the non-yoga group.
Having lower amounts of stress will help you get to sleep easier, and actually sleep better in the long run. Given that 80 to 90 percent of doctor visits are stress-related, this can also help keep you out of the doctor’s office over time.
2 - It will improve your sleep quality. Yoga has also been found to improve sleep quality. The nurses in the previous study also had higher quality sleep than their control group counterparts. Another long-term study in the 2009 Biological Psychology Journal also found that yoga helped to modulate cortisol in long-term practitioners, which helps to improve sleep quality.
3 - You’ll be less likely to wake up with aches and pains. The act of stretching is incredibly helpful when you’ve been waking up with aches and pains. Doing yoga before bed can help you manage those aches and pains, as well as avoid them by stretching your muscles.
A 2010 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences found that people with chronic pain were able to reframe their pain, and to make it less bothersome, or less intense, by doing yoga. Some participants found that they could recognize the signals their body was sending and adjust to avoid pain.
Yoga has even been found to have a positive impact on your cognitive ability during menopause, according to a study published in BJOG, an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
4 - You can improve your mental health through mindfulness. When used as part of a person’s worldview, the mindfulness that yoga encourages you to practice is found to have a large impact on that person’s mental health
Yoga may also be effective in helping people with PTSD manage their symptoms, according to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2017. It’s also been found to be helpful for women with a major depressive disorder, according to a study in Psychiatric Nursing.
The study stated that the data trends suggest that yoga may convey a long-term positive effect on depression, stress, and anxiety.
“Whether an individual continues with yoga practice, simple exposure to a yoga intervention appears to provide sustained benefits to the individual,” the study states.
About the author: Samantha (Sam) Kent is a researcher for SleepHelp.org. Her favorite writing topic is how getting enough sleep can improve your life. Currently residing in Boise, Idaho, she sleeps in a California King bed, often with a cat on her face.