What are the Benefits of Yoga for Anxiety?

Anxiety is caused by different external factors. It can be a result of stress from work and school. Your marriage or relationship can also contribute to this condition. For people who are sick and are expected to take medication, this can also be one of the side effects. Anxiety may not be considered as a critical disease but it needs attention.

No matter what factor is causing your anxiety attacks, you need to do something about it. Aside from doing different activities that make you feel happy, yoga is one of the exercises that you can try. Yoga is an activity that involves mental, physical and spiritual aspect, perfect for all gender and all ages. Unlike exercise, the main point of yoga is to relax the body and to help oneself in finding inner peace.

How Does Yoga Help Cure Anxiety?

Yoga includes different techniques to help you relax and meditate. There are studies showing that yoga can help relieve stress and anxiety. If you are thinking about how yoga can be helpful to you, here are different ways on how it can help cure anxiety:

1) Yoga Reduces Tension and Promotes Relaxation

When you are anxious and stressed, your physical body reacts negatively. You will feel how your neck, your shoulders, and your muscles become stiff. This usually happens when you have worked the whole day. As a result, this tension is transferred to your brain. Your mind will react to the muscle tension by sending a signal that will make you feel uneasy. The goal of yoga is to reduce tension and promote relaxation.

2) Yoga Helps to Regulate Breathing

When you are anxious, you will notice that you have rapid and short breathing. This is how anxiety affects you and makes you feel uncomfortable. Yoga breathing technique can help you with this. Remember that breathing can help you calm down. Here is a very simple yoga breathing practice that you can try:

  • Breathe and focus on how you do it. This is called breathing awareness.
  • Now shift your focus on the movement of your ribs and abdomen as you breathe.
  • Just try to feel how your ribs expand when you breathe out and how it contracts when you breathe out.

3) Yoga Increases Bodily Awareness

In yoga, you will need less force and more sensitivity to your body. This is what you need after days of stress and a lot of work. As we do our daily jobs, we fail to notice that the tension in our body is piling up to the point that we already suffer physically and emotionally. In yoga, you will be stretching without using force. As you try to explore a pose, you are becoming fully aware of yourself in the process. You are putting effort without pressuring yourself. With this activity, you will be able to learn to find what is good for your body.

4) Yoga Helps Increase Productivity at Work

Most companies and employers are considering yoga as one of the best activities to help their employees become more productive. Just by doing the simple poses and breathing techniques you are already working on your productivity. Here’s how yoga can help:

  • It can improve your mental, physical and emotional well-being. With this, you can be more energetic and you can stay focused on doing your work.
  • It can make you more creative. It enhances concentration and let you think outside the box.
  • It can help you relieve pains such as a headache and muscle tension.
    The simple yoga poses can help you avoid the feeling of fatigue.

5) Yoga will Help You Feel Fresh

Yoga is not a simple exercise. It has a philosophical background and it is capable of making you feel fresh. It establishes a link between the emotion, your breath, and your movement. Your heart, brain, and muscles are connected as you do the different poses. Deep breathing can help in eliminating the toxins and in purifying your blood stream. When the mind and the body are at peace, you will definitely feel fresh and more relaxed.

Anxiety and stress cannot be totally eliminated from life. These are results of the frustrations, problems, and issues of life. Instead of looking for ways to free yourself from the responsibilities, you need to learn how to manage yourself and your emotions. Yoga can help a lot in managing your emotions and stress. You can integrate it into your regular activities and you will definitely be happier every day. Give yourself 10-30 minutes daily for yoga, and you will have a more relaxed day ahead.

Seven Steps For A Yogi Path

There’s a lot of confusion about yoga these days. For many, it’s just a brand to market their products, or a tool used in social media as a way to get thousands of likes and followers. However, yoga is not only about a perfect headstand pose, or holding your leg behind your neck. The asana (poses) practice is a very important part of this whole technology; it helps you be in a good physical condition, prevents you from loosing the right function of your body, helps you detox and restore your system from all the negative impact of the environment but is not definitely the only aspect of it.

When I became interested in yoga, I had no idea what I was doing, in fact, I had many misconceptions about it, like yoga is for women, yoga is for flexible people, yoga is religion and so on. Anyways I went for classes every week until I fell in love with it. Fortunately, thanks to this first approach to yoga and meditation, in a few months my life changed completely in the four areas: personal, social, professional, mental. I could witness my body and mind changing, while my heart started to open little by little allowing me to connect with my intuition, self-love, and compassion.

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root YUJ, which means “to unite”. And the ultimate goal of it is liberation, also known as Samadhi, through the union of the individual self with the universal soul. According to the old scriptures, yoga began with the universal sound OM, the powerful cosmic vibration that lies in the bottom of all atomic energies, the word of creation.

For me, one of the most important aspects of engaging into a yoga lifestyle is to have the right reasons; you need to be one hundred percent committed to your daily practice Sadhana if you are to have success in maintaining it. Your “why” should be more important to you than the reasons and excuses for not doing it. So, before you start any yoga practice, you want to create a Sankalpa or a personal intention, formed by the heart and the mind, which serves as your personal resolution.

If you are wondering where to start, here are simple steps for a yogi path:

1) Moral discipline

As human beings, we have the ability to choose between the right and wrong. This can be considered as a very important practice for training our thoughts, speech, and actions in relation to the external world. Remember, we are not alone, we depend on others not only to survive but to build pure and lasting relationships, either you practice yoga or not.

2) Positive duties

This is a practice for healthy living concerned with ourselves and bringing an impact to the outside world as well. Some of these duties include purifying our body and mind, cultivating an attitude of contentment, self-discipline, self-study or inner exploration, and if you are deep into spirituality, you may consider surrendering to your spiritual source.

3) Posture

According to Patanjali, the physical aspect of yoga is the third step on the path of freedom. Asana means “seat” (for the practice of meditation), the posture should be steady and comfortable. Instead of focusing on only one posture that we can hold comfortable and motionlessness, we should be able to attain many poses really comfortable and steady.

In this article, I am taking the risk of stepping out of the Indian tradition and honoring the Tibetan Lamas with these Five Rites to activate and stimulate the seven main Chakras (wheels of spinning energy). According to Peter Kelder “performing the Five Rites stimulates the circulation of essential life energy throughout the body”.

4) Breathing techniques

In sánskrit it is called Pranayama, the yogic practice of regulating and channelling one’s breath. Another path translates it as “freedom of breath”. The goal is to change our state of being so that we become more focused on what is to be the focus especially to meditate without distractions. My two favorite practices are:

Chandra Bhedana: our left nostril is energetically associated with the moon, our body’s cooling energy.

Surya Bedhana: our right nostril represented by the sun, carries our body’s healing energy.

5) Meditation

So far we reviewed the moral aspect of the being, the physical body and the breath as a source of balancing the energies. Now I am reaching one of my favorite aspects of yoga which is understanding the nature of the mind. We have two parts: the body and the mind, like the hardware and the software. The software controls the hardware, so the software needs to be optimized and clean in order for the hardware to work properly. The same way we need to keep the mind clean and optimized; keep it positive all the time, rest and let go of everything that no longer serves us. Meditation is a very effective tool to control the mind, desires, thoughts, speech and finally our actions. Research shows that regular meditation helps improve concentration skills, clarity, and emotional positivity.

I recommend you to start with a guided meditation.

6) Yogi eating

The type of food we eat plays an important role in our lifestyle, the energy levels and the deepening of the meditation and asana practice. It is our responsibility to fulfil all the requirements for the body, be aware of the quality of the food, and make it simple.

Avoid intoxicants like alcohol, drugs, smoking. This keeps you stimulated, and your ability to perceive and feel changes. The level of clarity gets limited, and you may make wrong decisions. Another advice is to make 40% of your diet plant-based, with fruits and veggies. Animals carry memory and information that your body absorbs and make it part of itself. As evolving beings, we no longer need to eat large quantities of meat. And, of course, if you are willing to spread love and kindness to all beings, think about all the sacrificed animals that die in order to satisfy your old habits and cravings.

7) Heal yourself

Emotionally, psychologically, physically and spiritually, we all have something to heal, in fact, I truly believe that the only reason we are born is to know who we really are. We carry deep fears, self-judgments, imposed beliefs, that are hard to face and can only be eradicated with the willpower and courage to recognize when something is wrong. Since my first contact with yoga, I notice a change in my consciousness and a deep desire to develop my life, cultivate my inner desires and dreams only by listening to the heart and getting away from all the possible distractions of the matrix.

As the Dalai Lama says: “Be free to experience on your own what works for you or not.”

These paragraphs that I’m sharing with you are not the ultimate truth but all of the tips mentioned have been used for thousands of years in many traditions and cultures. Too often, I keep repeating to myself that everything happens for a reason, and thanks to yoga I can understand myself better and spread the words of well-being around me. I believe in changes, and one by one we can all change the situations, mindset, and misperceptions that keep us away from being happy and at peace.


Tips for a More Mindful Pregnancy

There’s a saying that giving birth is the most creative aspect of life. By giving birth, people create new beings and that is undoubtedly one of the greatest and hardest decisions one can make. Women have been involved in pregnancy since the beginning of life. In the past, it was simply one of the jobs that women were going to undertake unquestionably and inevitably; any woman would have children someday!

However, being pregnant and having children one after the other was not easy. So with the progress of science and invention of birth control methods, things have changed. In the modern world, women have a choice to become a mother. It has been mostly said that women love to experience pregnancy by nature, however even if this is true and ALL the women want to have babies, it may not always be done with enough self-awareness.

When you do something unconsciously, the risk of dangers and inefficiencies are high. Needless to mention that we are all aware of the great efforts and pain that our mothers and fathers went through to bring us up well. Hence, we are going to talk about the ways which make this part of mothers’ lives more comfortable and less demanding; ways which add more mindfulness to the journey of pregnancy. What should we do to enjoy this period of life?

1) First of all, bear in mind that you have a CHOICE! It’s your life and it depends on you if you would like to add this role to other parts of your life. Being a mother is an endless effort, so you should want it strongly.

2) Decide for the best time. This largely depends on how much you and your partner are prepared for that. In addition to your family’s economical situation, the mind preparation is also important. Are you ready to deal with the obstacles you are going to face? Is your partner eager enough to study the issues and stand besides you? Are you both able to dedicate enough time to nourish your little baby?

Photo by Jacob Postuma on Unsplash

3) Clean up your diet and eliminate unhealthy foods. You need to prepare your body, mind and spirit for the journey of bringing life into this world. You also need to limit your exposure to toxins. A conscious mother does not want to expose her baby to something which might lead to probable abnormalities.

4) Balance your life. If you have no health problem, you do not need to quit your job. But you need to dedicate some time for yourself. Avoid crazy working hours and enjoy your time. Have enough sleep and some time to study the books related to childbirths and child education or simply enjoy reading novels and doing other entertainment.

5) Do yoga. Yoga is considered as one of the best exercises for pregnant women. It is beneficial for both your body and mind. It improves your sleep and increases the strength and flexibility of your muscles which makes the childbirth easier. It also reduces stress and anxiety.

6) Meditate every day. If you feel weak and scared, it’s probably the time to connect more with your body and inner self. Meditate every day; it strengthens your mind and gives you enough power to deal with your fears. It also helps you reduce stress and be more relaxed.

Doing yoga and meditation are very important for those mothers who feel vulnerable and have a big fear inside. Fear of labour pain is sometimes so high that some mothers prefer to have a Caesarean section (also known as C-section) rather than a natural birth. We should indicate that although science has brought us invaluable benefits and improved our life, it has a tendency to interfere too much with our choices. In some countries which have a high rate of C-Section, pregnant women are usually considered as patients who need medical help! You are not sick, this is very natural for a woman’s body. Your body is created for that. If your tests are good and you have a healthy body and normal situation, you don’t need to face the risks of C-Section. You are strong enough to give birth.

Do you have further recommendations? Comment below.

Photo credits: Josh Bean on Unsplash

5 Things That Change When You Practice Yoga

Mindfulness, self-development and mental well-being are all intricately woven together into a web that guarantees internal peace. In fact, the self-development industry is thriving with a net worth of $11 billion and is forecasted to grow by 5% annually. Each year $500 million is spent on personal development products.

Likewise, mindfulness has gained traction. 8% of the US population practices meditation and roughly 22% of businesses have mindfulness programs in place. It brushes up the performance and productivity of the employees, which explains why these businesses encourage such training sessions.

Despite these statistics that egg on further developments in mindfulness and self-care, the picture of mental health isn’t as bright. Nearly 18% of the US adults deal with the demons of some form of psychiatric conditions. Even more disturbing is the fact that 9.6 million people entertain suicidal thoughts.

In the light of these figures, it is clear that working toward improving mental well-being is the need of the hour. The links of mindfulness, self-development, and mental health need to be strengthened. It’s not going to happen over a cup of coffee or anytime soon. However, yoga episodes can help, as they afford the development of all these elements.

Here is a look at five things that change when you practice yoga:

1) Improves mental health

Yoga is a helpful tool to add to your arsenal of psychological well-being. It helps relax your mind, which takes stress levels down. It also improves your body postures that cause headaches, fatigue, backache, and more. These, in turn, summon or contribute to depression as explained by Dr. Min Yeo, a yoga teacher.

Upon digging deeper, studies support the role of yoga in treating depression. It works to curb anxiety and depression symptoms. Erin Wiley, a clinical psychotherapist in Ohio, gives yoga the credit of calming patients who experience anxiety. She explains, “It teaches clients that they have control of their stress reaction, gives them a coping skill for when they are overwhelmed, gives them experience in practicing calming down which is helpful for times of distress.”

A 2016 research further confirms that yoga is also beneficial for individuals with the major depressive disorder who only partially respond to medication. Another study indicates that yoga assists in improving the symptoms of schizophrenic patients too. It is also found to be helpful in dealing with eating disorders and PTSD as well.

2) Enhance self-regulation

Yoga encourages a quiet mind that sets the foundational stone of personal improvement. A calm mind that doesn’t keep rumbling about your past or fretting about the future is the prerequisite for effective mindfulness. Consequently, by doing yoga, you can live in the moment, shape a wholesome framework of thoughts, and appreciate yourself better.

Yoga also stirs the wheel of mindfulness by promoting the mind-body connectivity. It calms the fight or flight response of the body, widening the scope of your self-regulation. In essence, self-regulation orbits around the idea of better self-care. To this end, yoga facilitates relaxation and self-awareness, two essential means to the goal of self-development.

Negative thoughts blur as you practice yoga. Not only does this amp up your overall health but it also makes you more mindful. Awareness of the present, unpolluted by pessimism, is a crucial characteristic of mindfulness therapy.

3) Shrinks stress

Not only is yoga an antidote for diminishing the symptoms of psychiatric conditions but it is also the magic potion that reduces stress. Our daily life is a jumble of incidents, accidents, and negative thoughts mixed in with a couple of mistakes. There’s only stress that mostly remains a constant during these daily troubles.

On a scale of 1-10, the Americans rate the average regular stress level at 4.6.

Yoga can ward off the tension and stressors. Research outlines that by practicing the three vital yoga elements, meditation, poses, and breathing, you can regulate your heart-rate variability (HRV). Yoga helps to reduce HRV so that you are better able to deal with stress. Another study points out that regular yoga influences the way amygdala responds to stress.

Additionally, 48% of people complain about restlessness at night as a by-product of stress. Evidence indicates that daily yoga can lessen insomnia and even prevent it altogether by courtesy of relaxing yoga postures or asanas.

4) Promotes physical fitness

In addition to the psychological benefits, yoga encourages good physical fitness. A survey reveals that 40% of people who practice yoga opt for healthier eating. These yoga practitioners also report eating sustainably. An additional 75% of yogis tend to participate in fitness or sports activities, and approximately two-thirds exercise more.

Yoga also shoulders the responsibility of upgrading balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Furthermore, it swells the overall quality of your life. Evidence correlates yoga as a useful intervention for helping you deal better with pain.

20% of yogis relay that yoga instills in them a positive body image and a greater sense of strength and mental clarity. The reduction in anxiety and stress due to regular doses of yoga also keeps the physical effects of such psychological concerns at bay. Thus, yoga augments physical fitness in several ways.

5) Increases compassion

Research reveals that yoga impacts compassion and effects interpersonal harmony. It makes a person more compassionate, such that a yogi offers help even if peer pressure works as an antagonist.

Yoga nurtures various other essential morals, in addition to compassion. These include self-disciple, kindness, and truthfulness. It also cultivates a greater sense of unity. Around 50% of the yogis tend to volunteer and donate to their community.

Coral Brown, an internationally recognized vinyasa yoga teacher, and psychotherapist, claims, “Practicing the ethical codes from every perspective helps fortify the concepts within the body and the mind. And what you practice, you become.” Yoga centers around the heart, therefore, reaping compassion, a heart-oriented emotion is only natural.

Consequently, yoga furthers self-development, mindfulness, and mental health. Simultaneously, it revamps your physical health. The number of practicing yogis has almost doubled from 6% to 11% during 2002-12, which is a step in the right direction.

Photo credits: Unknown

Excusas Para no Alcanzar tus Sueños

A veces la curiosidad no es suficiente para crear nuevos hábitos o alcanzar tus objetivos y sueños. Nos llenamos de excusas, las cuales, probablemente solo sean una forma disfrazada de nuestros temores o simplemente estar en una zona muy segura de tu vida.

Pero, ¿Qué podemos hacer para salir de nuestra zona de confort y empezar con el pie derecho un sueño guardado en la gaveta del escritorio o un proyecto nuevo? Personalmente salí de mi zona de confort hace casi un mes, aunque mis planes cambiaron tiempo atrás… y me dediqué a cerrar ciclos enfocándome en mis nuevas herramientas que aprendí a lo largo de 3 años.

Y este cambio fue porque porque mi espacio laboral se transformó. Vuelvo de nuevo al trabajo como freelancer y me siento lo bastante apta para sobrevivir en el medio.  Esto me ha llevado mucho a la reflexión y a no olvidar el enfoque a mis proyectos que están sobre ruedas, a los que dejé en el cajón del escritorio y los que apenas visualizo.

Lo que me ha llevado a encontrar desde mi silencio interior las mil y un excusas que hago para seguir en el lado cómodo de las cosas y es una lista larga. Sin embargo, les comparto mi lista sobre cómo enfocarte a nuevos retos a través de fomentar hábitos positivos en la vida.

  1. Haz conciencia del momento presente.  Estar en el presente implica varias actividades en el día que te enfocan en el aquí y el ahora. Y,  ¿cómo hacerlo? Para mí lo que mejor funciona es meditar el tiempo que mi mente requiera por la noche para irme a descansar tranquila y levantarme meditando para tener la energía necesaria para el día.  Otra manera para estar presente durante mi día es observar a detenimiento algunas actividades rutinarias, por ejemplo, cuando lavo los trastes o me doy cinco minutos para leer o dedicar un tiempo a mi hobby de preferencia.
  2. Observa actividades simples que haces en tu habitación. La más sencilla es ordenar tu cama después que despiertas. Aunque sea algo que hagas diario y sea de la misma forma, ayuda mucho a tu mente a seguir un orden, lo que no te será difícil seguir después el orden de cosas por hacer en el día. Ordena tu espacio y ordena tu mente.
  3. Observa tu cuerpo. Practicar Ashtanga yoga para mi es una lucha que gano los días en que me levanto temprano y hago de mi práctica una meditación activa. No hay mejor forma de estar consciente que practicar alguna actividad física, no necesariamente tiene que ser yoga, no importa la actividad que hagas si te deja una tranquilidad mental. Hace poco un conocido me dijo “no hago yoga porque no soy flexible”; para el no es una excusa, sin embargo es una realidad y probablemente un reto que no le interese hacer, el crecimiento personal y el autoconocimiento nos obligan a buscar nuevas cosas por aprender y hacer, no te detengas, haz yoga, practica, practica y sobrepasarás tus límites.
  4. Aprende cosas nuevas. Emprender un nuevo proyecto conlleva mucho a sacar a la luz lo que ya sabes y al auto aprendizaje, hoy día hay muchas plataformas con cursos sencillos en los que puedes aprender cosas nuevas. Hace dos años compré un violín que no he usado “porque no he encontrado un maestro para aprender a tocar el violín; sin embargo un amigo muy querido me dijo que hay una página donde puedes aprender lo básico de violín online, así que sin pensarlo ya he comenzado el curso como parte de las cosas nuevas que quiero hacer.
  5. LEE. Leer es una manera muy útil para ejercitar nuestro cerebro y mantener nuestras neuronas atractivas y habidas de conocimiento. Además, es una forma de mantenerte presente sin generar distracciones, simplemente por el hábito de seguir la mirada línea tras línea. Intenta leer todo tipo de textos, habrá cosas que se quedarán en tu memoria de por vida.

Cada día comienza de la misma forma y me voy a dormir de igual modo, pero lo que hace la diferencia en mi día es seguir esta lista y surfear las olas ósea “los nuevos retos” para no perder de vista mis objetivos. Estas cinco cosas me han ayudado mucho en mi nueva rutina, y mantienen mi mente aceptando cada reto que se presenta en el día. Si tienes alguna rutina en especial déjala en los comentarios, me gustaría mucho saber qué haces.


Fuente: Shutterstock

Why To Study Peace?

As a Peruvian, all my life I have heard a lot of people referring to my country as “underdeveloped”, and I have always asked myself: in what way are we “underdeveloped”? I love and appreciate my country for many reasons, such as our spirituality, our strong connection with the land, our knowledge of a large variety of natural medicines, the history of Inca, the beauty of our natural landscapes… The list goes on and on. And then I also ask myself: why do we allow ourselves to be called “underdeveloped”?

Communication for Development

I grew up during the time of internal armed conflict in my country. It was during the civil war that started about two years before I was born and eventually began decreasing in intensity after 1992 when the leader of Sendero Luminoso was captured. Most parts of the country were devastated by the activity of three actors: Sendero Luminoso, Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru and the Peruvian military forces. The victims were mostly Quechua native speakers, farmers from rural areas, who were considered as the very “poor”.

When I had finished my secondary schooling and was able to comprehend this enormous tragedy suffered by my country, I decided to study Communication for Development. This is a specialisation in which you would learn how to create participatory processes of communication for the creation of well-being among people. During my years of study, I found myself becoming dissatisfied with the terminology used in the field of development such as “third world”, “underdeveloped” and “ordinary people” versus “experts”, and with the vertical approach experienced in development projects. I worked in several conventional projects that focused on benefiting the local community materially. In all of them I found that the detachment of most aid workers from the local community was incongruous with their purpose in being there.

The importance of a horizontal approach

It was not until I participated in a project where I shared my knowledge of yoga with young girls and in another one where I coached young adults in learning meditation, that I learnt the importance of a more horizontal approach. This prompted me to seek out methods to reduce the distance between the parties in development projects.

I have practised yoga and meditation for several years already. The most important influence on me has been the realisation that yoga and meditation are not only good for my health in reducing anxiety and developing physical strength, but that these practices also help me understand who I am, and to analyse and understand my identity as a Peruvian, a daughter, a sister, a girlfriend, a friend, a professional, and many other roles I have taken on in my life. They have also helped me interact with my environment more actively. The relationship I have with myself, my family, my friends, and my community have all markedly improved.

Inner peace work in practice

I found a different relationship between aid workers and the local community in those two projects which involved yoga and meditation. It was more horizontal and respectful and contributed greatly to the strength of those projects. I asked myself if inner peace work could improve the way development is implemented in the field.

This discovery and these questions motivated me years ago to study a Master in Peace, and I was amazed to see how meditation was a part of these studies. If you want to learn more about this, I recommend you to read Many Peaces by W. Dietrich and The Moral Imagination by J. Lederach.

Prenatal Yoga Pros: Do Now, Reap Later!

Pre-birth or prenatal yoga is one of the best things that you can accomplish for yourself, and in addition for your developing infant. It’s essential that you locate the right yoga practice for you, whether it is setting off to a yoga studio, finding a DVD, or building up your own practice at home. Listen to your body and do what feels right to you. One advantage concerning yoga is: it makes you stronger everywhere. You’ll require that additional strength in your lower body to convey the additional pregnancy weight. Also, you’ll need it in your abdominal area to handle the weight you’ll be bearing for the year or so after birth, which is carrying your child.

Doctors strongly are in the favor that all pregnant women should do yoga and listed below are a couple of reasons why it’s so strongly encouraged.

Relieves back pain
Back pain is a typical pregnancy problem, frequently aggravating as the weight of the uterus and the infant in it is on the rise. Pre-birth yoga strengthens the muscles that support this weight, taking pressure off the lower back. Numerous ladies experience inflammation of the sciatic nerve during pregnancy, and yoga can likewise be awesome for this. The pigeon stance and half-moon posture can extend this range to counter agony and inversions can make space in the pelvis to diminish inflammation. To help make pregnancy easier you can also use the aid of certain items that are designed to help you ease your back pain such as maternity belts that help share the baby’s weight or you can also try some exercises to strengthen your core.

Stress levels dip
Yoga can help reduce all that anxiety and stress that you’re constantly under when pregnant. It helps you relax and gives you space you need for yourself and for your baby. Yoga makes you relatively calm so you tend to handle chaotic situations better which is vital when you have a life growing inside of you. Plus, studies have indicated that stress affects your baby’s health and the key to delivering a healthy child is to remain calm all the time.

It’s good for your hips
Pre-birth yoga can help you with flexibility, relaxation of muscles and bone structures in the front and back of the hips. Hormones discharged throughout pregnancy often unwind joints and ligament between bones in our pelvis to set it up for labor. Be that as it may, getting the muscles prepared helps in making delivery easier. Lower Body workouts and Mindful yoga practices specifically for this part of the body would be of tremendous benefit at the time of delivery as it would strengthen the center of gravity where all activities would eventually be taking place.

Reduces constant nausea

Ask any woman what the worst part of pregnancy is and they’ll tell you that it’s the constant morning sickness and throwing up. You always feel sick and certain smells make you puke instantly that aren’t actually that bad. Yoga helps with the morning sickness, it helps you feel fresher and active and there’s a significant reduction in nausea.

Helps practice breathing
Yoga as we all know is all about breathing, taking in the atmosphere, connecting to the environment and strengthening your breathing. This is very helpful during contractions and moments just before the delivery.

Balance and feet
Our feet get us around the whole day and we barely take proper care of them. The focal point of gravity in your body moves as your pregnancy advances, this changes our position and weight in our feet and joints. The two most basic issues arise during this phase are over pronation and edema. These issues can
prompt agony at the heel, arch, or the ball of the foot. Numerous ladies might likewise encounter leg cramping and swollen veins because of weight gain.

All in all, there are innumerable benefits that could be reaped once you do it while the baby is inside and the fruits of your efforts could be reaped later!

This post is written by Brittany Whistance  who is a health and lifestyle blogger currently associated with Wish Shape.

4 Easy Ways To Release After-Office Stress

Once we get into the economic society and establish a daily routine, our life becomes pretty predictable: wake up, shower, dress, eat breakfast, go to office, come back home. How do you feel once your work day is over? Do you sometimes find yourself still thinking about the work when you could actually be giving this time to yourself?

In order to give a break to your mind and avoid thinking about the work once the day is over, it is very important to create a new habit. Here I would like to share what I do on my daily life in order to stop thinking about work.

1. Find a physical activity that relaxes your mind

Doing a physical activity on your daily routine will do more than just release your stress. We always hear “healthy mind in a healthy body”, and it is true. Exercise bring a bunch of benefits such as producing endorphins that will help you be happier, regulate your calories, build strong muscles and bones and generally improve your well-being.

As a person who practices yoga I strongly recommend you to start the journey as yogi. However, if you feel like doing something more active, you may choose any of these: going to the gym, cross-fit, swimming, even dancing could be an option. 

No matter which activity you chose to practice, the important is the perseverance of doing the exercise which will allow you to make it a habit until it becomes something natural to you on your day-to-day basis, just like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. 

2. Spend time with someone you care for

Once returning home from office, many of us continue either thinking about the work or just spending time on social media or TV. We may often skip even having dinner with our family members and spend a quality time together. Here is another simple, yet important aspect that will help release after-office stress: spend time with your family or someone you care for.

There is noting more rewarding than meeting real people and sharing quality time together. Go for a dinner with your friend or have a cooked meal at home with your family. You may even organize some activity together, like going for a movie, attending a concert, or just sitting in a park, talking and enjoying the nature.

We are a part of the society and living real life apart from social media will give you fresh energy to be used for the time that you spend at the office and need to be productive again.

3. Disconnect yourself

Living in a busy life, being overwhelmed with many responsibilities and equipped with many gadgets that require our immediate attention, it is very important to allow some precious moments to absolutely disconnect from everything.

One of the main things that we usually do is to get online right after finishing our work. Though you may be using internet for personal reasons and scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram just for fun, this habit actually does not let our brain rest fully. We are still consuming information and making ourselves engaged in external events or happenings. Try to be at least 5 minutes only with yourself. It will give space in your brain to slowly connect from one activity to another. You will see how after 5 minutes of being with yourself, you will do every next activity with more awareness and enjoyment. Be aware to approach those moments of silence in the most positive way.

4. Meditate 1 minute as a first step

To meditate for 1 minute a day? Yes, start with baby steps. 1 minute meditation after finishing your office work will create an empty space in your mind that will positively help you get rid of your thoughts, but not only that. It will create a habit to consciously decide on spending time to release and relax your mind.

Meditation is a very simple tool that you can use to relax your body and the mind. The main purpose in meditation is to focus your mind on a single thought. Is it possible? Yes, eventually when your practice becomes more constant and you add more minutes to your meditation, you will be able to spend more time and train your mind to be focused on a single thought. And this is where the magic happens: when you observe your mind relaxed and concentrated, you will observe how easy your body starts to relax with every breath in and out.

No need to take your work home and stress about it. All it takes is creating a new habit which will not only make your mind and body relax; it will increase your productivity at work.

Have you tried any of these tips before? Share with us and Jason L how it was and let us know if you have ideas for more tips that could help release after-office stress.

Mi Lucha Interna Del Día A Día: Practicar Ashtanga Yoga


Cada mañana suena la alarma a las 6:00 a.m. Sin abrir los ojos y, supongo que en ese lapso de solo algunos segundos, recurren a mi mente mil y un pensamientos y excusas para no levantarme. Finalmente abro los ojos y mi primer pensamiento consciente es “PAIN” en español “dolor” (y es en inglés por ser más rítmico y rápido de asociar a ese pensamiento madrugal).

Por otros 15 minutos mientras me voy a la ducha a despertar finalmente, otra secuencia de mil y un excusas para no hacer yoga vienen a mi mente.  Para mi, cada mañana es una lucha interna mental para levantarme y hacer un esfuerzo sobrehumano para salir de casa e ir al shala (estudio de yoga) donde hago mi práctica.

El inicio

Comencé a practicar yoga en el 2004 y no me enamoré la primera vez de la práctica. El primer día apenas y pude sostener el volante para regresar a casa. El amor vino después cuando pude levantar mi pie, tomar el dedo gordo y hacer lo que nunca pude en la barra de ballet. ¡Aplausos! Estuve practicando alrededor de 6 meses, no recuerdo la razón por qué dejé de ir pero la semilla se había plantado, tardó en germinar otros años más para considerarme una estudiante de yoga.

Los años vacíos

Mi práctica varió por otro par de años, algunas veces lo hacía por algunos meses y así. Fue en el 2013 después de ir a mi primer retiro de Peace Revolution y de practicar meditación en serio que hubo una intención por querer retomar el yoga.

Entre 2015 y 2016 me vino a la mente la necesidad de ir a practicar Ashtanga a la fuente, a Mysore India; y sabía en ese momento que el camino no sería sencillo ni fácil si no hacía del yoga un hábito. Retomarlo, como la meditación cuando deja de ser un hábito, fue difícil, dolor emocional y dolores musculares varios. Si dejaba de practicar y volvía unos días después la sesión se volvía dolorosa y me sentía un costal de arena que tenía que levantar.

Flow…  o el compromiso conmigo misma

Hace casi un año sentí el flow y decidí ir a India este año para ser una estudiante más de yoga en Mysore.  Antes de irme a India, tuve la oportunidad de estar en retiros de meditación, los mismos que me ayudaron a afinar la auto observación y la contemplación.  Una vez de terminar mi temporada de maratones de meditación estuve lista para subir a un avión y continuar con el reto: 1 mes de práctica son Saraswathi Jois, hija del famoso Gurú Pathabbi Jois y mamá del Gurugui Sharat.  Después de este mes de práctica fui observando cómo mi cuerpo se fue haciendo más dócil a la práctica y como  el hecho de meditar y hacer yoga te da un estado de atención que antes no había experimentado.

Photo credits: Mmatad, me with Saraswathi Jois

Ya de regreso en casa seguí con la práctica y con mi lucha interna. A veces hay muchos distractores como en todo. Pero supongo que lo que me sigue moviendo internamente es esa necesidad de mi mente por mantenerse alerta a cada respiración, a cada movimiento y regresar a casa, meditar y sentir que se ganó una batalla más.

Desde mi muy personal punto de vista, el desarrollo personal es eso, es una lucha por continuar y por sentirse agradecido por cada nuevo hábito que pudiste mantener en el día, por esa decisión tomada y que fue la más acertada. Hasta hace poco entendí por qué mis maestros de meditación, monjes budistas tailandeses, recomendaban practicar yoga; y no fue hasta que logré una sincronía de respiración con ojos abiertos (haciendo yoga) y ojos cerrados (meditando) que vi la imagen completa.

Hacerte consciente de cuidar la mente y el cuerpo te lleva a un desarrollo de nuevos hábitos más saludables, de empatizar con las personas que están a tu alrededor y de simplemente disfrutar el momento presente, aunque el dolor y la lucha despierten al día siguiente.

Sea cual sea el deporte que practiques de forma continua recomiendo ampliamente tener espacios para tomarte una pausa, respira, duerme o medita si quieres. Hay algo que me ha marcado mucho este año y me sigue haciendo sentido, citando a Murakami El dolor es inevitable el sufrimiento es opcional.

Photo credits: Mmatad