Yoga types, yoga benefits and yoga classes for your wellbeing.

Healthy Eating to Evolve Your Mind and Body

Trends in nutrition, like fashion, come and go – and the popular preoccupation with nutrition has fluctuated over the decades. In these post-modern times, the focus on a healthy lifestyle has become increasingly important to the average person. Today’s consumer finds it important to invest time and effort in quality nutrition, regular exercise and a healthy mindset – with millennials leading the way.

Bringing the Yoga Mindset into Your Eating Routine

The healthy living community has embraced yoga for its ability to offer multiple benefits, from mental and spiritual wellness to physical fitness. Yoga practice can be adapted to an individual’s specific needs, and its intensity can range from very gentle to a high-intensity workout. It can be practised with ease outdoors, at home and even on work breaks, as it does not demand special equipment.

Regular practice of yoga often affects different areas in your life. It gives you better control of your mindset, helping you get more in touch with your feelings. It also gives you better control of your body – and that shows in everything you do. Confidence leads to better relationships, while mindfulness moderates compulsive behaviour and anxiety. If you embrace yoga, it gradually becomes a lifestyle.

There is also a strong, though underemphasized, connection between yoga and healthy eating. Many people practise yoga despite unhealthy eating habits, so they don’t get to experience the full extent of yoga’s benefits as a lifestyle.

Food is something that can comfort you and make you happy; as a consequence, it is not easy to change your eating patterns and preferences. It also can be a matter of convenience: 41% of Canadians surveyed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation say they don’t have time to prepare healthy meals.

Healthy Eating Doesn’t Have to Be a Chore

Preparing your meals at home can be a huge money-saver, but its main benefit comes in controlling your nutrition. Healthy eating often is perceived as being expensive and time-consuming, but cooking and meal preparation can be incredibly adaptable to different lifestyles.

Life in a highly digitized community can be of great advantage to your goal of healthy eating. You can find motivation, inspiration and guidance by searching online advisors and publications. Each niche is now covered by specialized content, and you can find solutions for specific dietary needs.

The good news is that cooking healthy meals also can be fun and enjoyable; like yoga, it supports a balanced lifestyle. A balanced approach allows you some flexibility – unless you have a specific medical condition, you don’t have to reduce your options strictly, nor do you need to feel like you are on a clinical, bland diet. Food is about enjoying life and bathing your senses in stimuli. Yoga teaches mindfulness and focus, both of which you can apply to your eating, too. Smelling, tasting and feeling the flavours, textures and colours of food is a great application of mindfulness.

There is also the social aspect involved in preparing your meals at home. You can involve your friends or family members in the cooking process and really bond together. Websites such as Tree House Kitchen can give you plenty of recipe ideas and cooking tips, and can serve as a great inspiration for your meals. By putting together a menu for the day or week ahead, you’re involving yourself in a positive activity, whether you do it for yourself or for the whole family.

As with any lifestyle change, especially when it comes to exercise and nutrition, it’s a good idea to consult your health provider if you experience certain sensitivities or conditions. Create habits that fit your needs and lifestyle and keep learning about them. Practise yogic thinking, ask questions and experiment. Mindfulness can be very rewarding and lead to a healthier mindset and overall wellness.

yoga

Prenatal Yoga: A Restorative Exercise Routine for a Mom-to-be

When a woman expects a baby, it is a very special time in her life. Pregnancy comes with a long list of body and mental changes, including stress and anxiety. It’s a natural process, but sometimes it takes a while for a woman to become used to the symptoms associated with bearing a child. Many women must carry on with their pre-pregnancy lifestyle and work around it; for example, going to work while pregnant, or continuing their commitment to their passions and activities. At home, outdoors or even at the office, prenatal yoga can become a part of a mother-to-be’s adaptation process, by helping her to relax while staying active.

Safe Exercise During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, staying active is recommended strongly, unless your doctor advises you to do otherwise. Physical activity will help you rest and sleep well, while increasing the strength, flexibility and endurance of those muscles needed for labour and the recovery after birth.

You will want to shift your routine dramatically toward a healthier lifestyle, but it’s important not to overdo it when engaging in physical activity. If you know how your body changes when it’s carrying a child, you will become aware of the limits you need to impose. The first rule is to be aware of your body’s limitations and not start an exercise routine that is more difficult than you are used to.

You will find your joints becoming looser over the course of your pregnancy, in preparation for giving birth. High-intensity sports such as running or basketball can expose you to injuries to the joints. You will also notice tenderness and sensitivity in your breasts — another reason it’s wiser to choose low-impact sports. During the first trimester, you may be able to maintain your familiar levels of mobility and effort but, as your pregnancy advances, you’ll have to limit your routine.

pregnant-mother-feeling-relaxation-doing-prenatal-yoga-outdoors975xfull

The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Whether you have never tried yoga or already are a veteran of the practice, you will find that prenatal yoga is an ideal form of exercise during pregnancy. Not only will yoga keep your body in good condition, but it also will balance your mind and teach you relaxation techniques that can be of tremendous help during labour.

Breath-work practice is a wonderful tool; it can help during labour and also can keep your blood pressure and heart rate in check. Stress hormones can impact your baby’s development, so the relaxing effect of yoga practice is beneficial for both you and the baby. By slowing down, you are able to bring your focus to what’s happening on the inside. You are building awareness of how your body works and what it needs for you and the baby.

Prenatal yoga can decrease the incidence of lower-back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath.

Prenatal yoga classes also can give you a sense of community, as you find comfort in spending time with people who know what you are going through.

Joining a Prenatal Yoga Workshop

Prenatal yoga can be very beneficial for all moms-to-be. Join a workshop or class, where you can monitor your breath and listen to your body while the instructor gives you safe suggestions as needed. As your pregnancy advances, adapt your routine to what is needed to accommodate that growing adorable bump. Certain poses won’t be available to you any more, so you will want to modify your routine or change to a more comfortable pose. Prenatal classes can include take-home stretch lessons to help with the aches and pains of pregnancy. Yoga can restore you, help you stay grounded and let you flow through the worries of labour and being a mom. Try Evolve’s prenatal yoga workshops and classes.

Woman holding sore and tight neck trying how to stretch her neck.

Have Headaches and a Stiff Neck? Here’s How to Stretch Your Neck Effectively

Headaches and neck stress can sneak up on us without us really paying heed… until it becomes too painful or interferes with our activities and sleep.

While a headache can be a symptom for many conditions, it can be caused by poor posture. This is commonly the case if you spend a lot of time in front of a computer. Busy schedules often push us to bypass moments of self-care throughout or work day – such as stretching or massage breaks – that would prevent avoidable discomfort.

About your heavy head…

Your neck is constantly under pressure. It carries your head’s weight, which is about 10 to 15 pounds. (That’s 8% of your total body weight!) Optimal posture places the head’s weight vertically on the shoulders, but many times a day we lean forward, causing the neck to cope with greater force. Each time you lean towards your screen or check your smartphone, your neck is straining with more pressure. Be nice to yourself and learn how to stretch your neck!

Try these two simple stretches to relax your neck muscles and improve your posture. Repeat them several times throughout the day to keep your muscles more relaxed. (If you feel any discomfort or pain during any of these exercises see your doctor!)

A do-it-anywhere neck stretch

Give your neck a light stretch with this exercise. Either sitting or standing with good posture, keep your back straight and shoulders aligned with the hips. Move your head slowly and hold each position for about 20 seconds:
• Tuck your chin down while keeping your back straight. Hold and return.
• Lift your chin and tilt your head backwards. Hold and return.
• Tilt your head to the right by directing your ear towards your shoulder. Hold and return. Do the same move to the left. Hold and return.
• Turn your head to the right and to the comfortable limit of your motion. Hold and return. Repeat the same motion to the left. Hold and return.

Do the corner stretch

Open your chest to compensate for the neck-straining hunching posture we often take on.

  • Standing, face the corner of the room with your feet together.
  • Place your palms and forearms on each wall at a ninety-degree angle, keeping the elbows a little below your shoulders.
  • Gently pull down your shoulders while pushing your forearms against the walls and engaging your abdominals.
  • Take a step forward to lunge toward the corner, allowing your chest to lift slightly at you flow through this motion.
  • Hold, pull down your shoulders and lift your chest and abdominals in to the corner. Hold for about 20 seconds.
  • Step back and release.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

There are additional neck stretching exercises that deserve to be in your neck care routine. If you want to learn them or need any help with these stretches, book a consultation.

Stretching through massage and yoga

Yoga is a form of exercise that focuses on calming breath, lengthening of muscles and opening of joints. Therapeutic massage offers another way to stretch out tight muscles. Massage can work through relaxation techniques or deep tissue treatments that can break up scar tissue.

Learning how to stretch your neck and making a habit of it can make neck-stress-induced headaches and neck pain a thing of the past.

Our Top Tips on How You Can Sleep Well

Have you ever imagined how good it would be if you didn’t need sleep at all and could just use the 24 hours in a day as you wish? We all know how we feel after a late night, or a light and interrupted sleep! The reality is that deep and uninterrupted sleep helps us make better decisions, be more efficient and feel happier during the day.

Stick to a Regular Sleeping Pattern

One way to improve your sleep habits is by going to sleep and waking up at around the same hour each day. The amount of sleep required can vary by the individual and it can change throughout your life. Generally, it is recommended that you get six to eight hours of sleep every night. You might find it difficult to respect your sleeping hours each night, but getting your body used to a routine will help you calibrate your inner clock. You will soon notice that falling asleep and waking up gets easier over time.

Exercise Every Day

What you do during the day inevitably will affect your sleep pattern. Exercising each day, even for a little bit, will help you use your energy productively and sleep well at night. Yoga is wonderful for you because not only does it tone your body and add strength, it also teaches you how to focus on the present, connect to your mind and practise calmness. Include at least a few yoga poses in your daily routine and you will notice the difference.

Create Your Own Wind-down Ritual at Bedtime

Switching from daily activities to a more peaceful state of mind before going to bed is crucial, especially if you have trouble falling asleep. Many of us use our smartphones to browse social sites before going to sleep. This habit is counterproductive; it engages your mind and doesn’t allow you to switch to sleep mode. Turn off all screens (phone, tablet, TV, etc.) a couple of hours before bed. Consider reading a book or listening to calm, serene music instead.

Evening Yoga Techniques that Help You Sleep Well

Practising yoga helps your body in many ways, but you also may be surprised to see how much it helps you sleep. Adding a yoga practice to your evening wind-down ritual will help you channel your energy into the present, by releasing the rush and stress of the day. One of the most effective ways to fall asleep is a yoga asana called the corpse pose, which commonly is used to end yoga class. Lie in a comfortable position and start relaxing all of your muscles. Start with your toes, move through your legs and arms, then all the way to your neck and head. Regulate your breathing by inhaling more slowly and deeply. You will notice how your body is preparing to go to sleep.

Finding your Peace

These are only a few basic guidelines you can use to start regulating your sleep routine. Once you have a regular sleeping pattern and learn basic breathing techniques, you can experiment further with yoga. (Learn yoga in a group class. Once you become familiar with the movements and techniques, you will be more confident to use them at home.) There are many poses that will relax your body and mind and get rid of the day’s clutter and tension. Yoga nidra is a technique you may also want to learn. It is meditation that helps you achieve a deep state of peacefulness and joy.

Massage can also play a part in your overall state of mind and body. From relaxation to pain reduction, therapeutic massage can help you ease into your dreams.

If you have sleeping problems, especially stress-related ones, invest in yourself. Mindfulness, yoga and massage are healthy, natural and fulfilling ways to find your inner peace and sleep well.