Relaxation yoga for weight loss support

Boost Your Weight Loss with Healthy Relaxation

There is no question that the best way to lose weight is to reduce your caloric intake while engaging in regular physical activity. But did you know that you can maximize your weight loss with relaxing self-care?

Eating ice cream in your pyjamas might seem relaxing, but it isn’t going to help you reach your goals. Instead, opt for a combination of these healthy self-care practices that will leave you feeling happier and lighter. You really can support your weight loss with healthy forms of relaxation.

Help Muscles Recover With Yoga

There are several reasons why it’s helpful to incorporate relaxing yoga techniques into your weight-loss plan. First, if you want your muscles to give their all during your workout, you need to give them time to recover after heavy weight-bearing exercises and extended cardio sessions. Second, incorporating relaxing yoga helps you to avoid burning out. The symptoms of burnout, including feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, are the primary causes of people giving up on their healthy lifestyle. Finally, relaxing yoga is a proven stress-buster, helping you to handle the challenges that come by incorporating healthy eating and fitness into your daily lifestyle. 

Meditate Mindfully

Studies have found several positive physical effects of regular meditation practice, including a reduced risk of heart disease, lower levels of depression, and a reduction in the symptoms associated with many inflammatory illnesses. Schedule some time every day or every week to tune out to your favourite meditation app.

Warm-Up at an Infrared Sauna

Infrared saunas can reach temperatures of 54°C, speeding up your heart rate and forcing your body to work harder to cool you down. This metabolic process burns calories in much the same way as a workout. If that’s not enough, the warmth is super-soothing (especially in the cold winter months!). Play it safe (consult your doctor first) and begin with a five-minute sauna session, gradually working your way up to 30 minutes.

Indulge in a Massage

There are countless different types of massage, and each helps boost weight-loss efforts in a different way. Sports massage is designed with the athlete in mind. The registered massage therapist uses a variety of techniques to treat fitness-related injuries and, more importantly, reduce the risk of future injury. On the other hand, a relaxing hot stone massage can help you forget about worries related to body image, weight, or fitness level. No matter which type of massage you choose, make sure it is delivered by a registered massage therapist.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

In order to lose weight, you need to give your body at least seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. A lack of sleep can mess with your body’s insulin levels, which ultimately causes your body to store fat instead of burning it. Similarly, adequate sleep is necessary for your body to balance its hunger-causing hormones (such as ghrelin and leptin). When these hormones are out of whack, it causes insatiable cravings for unhealthy foods. Improve your sleep hygiene by leaving your electronics in the living room, investing in light-blocking curtains, and keeping your bedroom comfortably cool.

Take a Responsible Rest Day

Every fitness fanatic knows about rest days — those days when you aren’t scheduled to go to the gym or the running track. However, slouching on the couch with a bag of tortilla chips could undo all of the hard work you put in that week. Instead, engage in light activities such as walking the dog or splashing around in the community pool.

Pushing yourself too hard is a recipe for weight-loss disaster. It’s important to balance your diet and exercise routine with a responsible self-care regimen. Following these healthy rest and relaxation tips will keep you feeling as good as you’re going to look.

Relaxing with tea, reading on a yoga staycation

The Benefits of a Wellness Staycation

If you usually feel tired after a vacation due to travel stress or overindulgence, consider a wellness staycation that will leave you feeling healthier, happier, and relaxed!

Mental Focus and Clarity

Wellness staycations allow you to focus on your practice without the distractions of work and rushed agendas. You can pay attention to your own health and well-being at a relaxed pace, and you will meet like-minded people in your community. If you are a complete beginner, a wellness staycation ia great time to try a daily yoga practice and experience its benefits for the body, the mind and the spirit. If you are going to yoga classes regularly but want to learn more, a wellness staycation represents a chance to focus more deeply on your practice.

Daily Yoga Classes

If your normal daily schedule does not leave any time for yoga classes, a wellness staycation becomes a chance to leave routines behind and focus on yoga, relaxation, and well-being. A typical yoga staycation includes a yoga class once a day, with additional classes and workshops as desired. If you are a beginner, a wellness staycation is a great way to try many types of yoga classes quickly, to inform your new yoga practice in a supportive environment. If you are an experienced yogi, you can take your practice to a new level of intensity. There are many benefits to experiencing yoga classes in a group. You soon will notice the benefits of daily yoga practice, and you might be inspired to continue your daily practice on a regular basis.

Massage Therapy

To fully enhance the overall sense of emotional and physical well-being, prioritize registered massage therapy. The benefits of massage therapy are numerous—from reducing anxiety, stress, and muscular tension to increasing lymphatic drainage and joint flexibility. This is a big part of your restorative staycation. Be sure to book ahead to secure your sessions.

Daily Wellness Reading & Meditation

Allow daily quiet time for reading about meditation, relaxation, yoga philosophy, nutrition, and wellness. Add our wellness blog to your reading list to get started. Book a meditation yoga class to inspire your private daily meditation sessions.

Mindful Eating

Plan ahead for healthy meals during your wellness staycations. Allow time to savour and honour the preparation process. Cooking healthy meals can be fun and enjoyable; like yoga, it supports a balanced lifestyle. Smelling, tasting, and feeling the flavours, textures, and colours of food is a great application of mindfulness. Take a moment to feel gratitude for all the various elements that led to this eating moment. A week of healthy and mindful eating may inspire you to make permanent changes in your ongoing dietary habits.

Take a Digital Break

A wellness staycation can also be a break from social media, or it even can be a complete digital detox. A week without constantly checking your phone and your social media accounts gives you time to de-stress, enjoy being fully present, and spend time mindfully in nature.

Try One New Thing

A week-long break from your usual routine provides an opportunity to experience something new and learn something new about yourself. A wellness staycation clears your calendar, giving you time to try something new and gain new perspectives on life and yourself. What activity, skill, group have you secretly wanted to try but didn’t have time to pursue? The creative challenge of stepping gently out of your comfort zone can invigorate your spirit. Also, if you have wanted to change something in your life, a wellness staycation is a chance to make that change.

Plan Your Wellness Staycation

When planning a restorative staycation, ask yourself what your priorities are. Are you looking for a staycation that involves some meditation but also a lot of time for reading, for a personal hobby, for social activities, for being a tourist in your own city of Hamilton, or for relaxing in Hamilton’s nature areas? Would you prefer an intensive week that focuses on yoga classes and workshops, meditation, and yoga philosophy without too many additional activities? Make sure you know what type of staycation you are seeking.

There are many ways to experience a wellness staycation, depending on your personal needs and preferences. A wellness staycation allows you to focus on your wellbeing with like-minded people and without the distractions of daily life. A week of yoga classes, healthy food, meditation, and relaxation will leave you feeling energized and balanced — and you may even want to continue mindful habits after the staycation.

Healing yoga practice and restorative yoga classes increase relaxation.

Looking After Your Health While Living with Hypothyroidism

Massage therapy can be a wonderful and healing part of your routine as you learn to live with Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid gland, is a thyroid disease in which the thyroid gland fails to produce an adequate amount of thyroid hormone. It’s an increasingly common condition, affecting more women than men. According to the Thyroid Foundation of Canada, it’s estimated that 1 in ten Canadians suffer from a thyroid condition and half may be undiagnosed.

The Thyroid hormone is responsible for the body’s metabolism and use of energy. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland include poor ability to tolerate cold, fatigue, weight gain, and constipation. It’s not known what causes hypothyroidism; it may be caused by a number of conditions including autoimmune disease, radiation, and medications.

In the majority of cases, hypothyroidism is treated by supplementing the thyroid gland with levothyroxine, a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4). This medication is typically taken in pill form on a daily basis. In Canada, a common brand name for levothyroxine is Synthroid.

However, many people find that taking a daily dose of levothyroxine isn’t enough to make them feel well, or as well as they did before they developed the condition. If you too find that you’re struggling to remain healthy while living with hypothyroidism, the following may help.

Reduce Stress

It’s especially important that people with hypothyroidism be mindful of any stress they might be exposing themselves to. Cortisol, a hormone released when the body is in a stressful situation, can adversely affect the function of the thyroid gland, in turn exacerbating hypothyroidism symptoms. Take steps to ensure that you’re managing stress as best you can, and if you feel that you’re not coping, then speak to your doctor.

Massage therapy can be a huge source of relaxation and has many additional benefits. For example, hot stone massage therapy is a soothing option. Another example, manual lymphatic drainage is a type of gentle massage which is intended to encourage the natural drainage of the lymph, which carries waste products away from the tissues back toward the heart.

It may be that you can cut back on some tasks or get support from friends or relatives with certain commitments you have. It could be that you just need to slow down. Put your health first and make any changes you feel you need to.

Exercise Right

While hypothyroidism shouldn’t stop you from exercising, you may find that you can no longer maintain the exercise schedule you previously did, or that you now need a lot longer to recover from a workout than you did before you developed hypothyroidism. These scenarios are fairly common for people with an underactive thyroid gland, so it’s important to learn not to push yourself and recognize when you are overdoing your activity. If you’re struggling to stick with an exercise regimen, consider switching from any high-intensity workouts to activities such as aqua aerobics or yoga. The benefits of yoga are many and the various types of yoga classes provide something for everyone. For example, Gentle Hatha yoga classes focus on breathing, basic poses, slow movements, and relaxation to enhance the awareness of the mind-body connection. Yin yoga classes involve passive poses that are held for up to five minutes in order to encourage the softening of connective tissue and induce deep relaxation. These types of activities will still provide a beneficial workout but will be less stressful on your body.

It’s important to continue exercising and remaining active. As well as the physical benefits you will gain, keeping physically fit in group classes can help you avoid feelings of depression, another common symptom of hypothyroidism.

Gluten-Free Diet

Although there’s currently no scientific evidence to prove a gluten-free diet will help those with hypothyroidism, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest it might. This is especially true if you suffer from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also called Hashimoto’s disease, autoimmune disease and a common cause of hypothyroidism. With Hashimoto’s disease, the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The anecdotal evidence suggests that gluten triggers an attack on the thyroid gland; therefore, eliminating gluten from your diet may prevent such attacks.

Further anecdotal evidence has linked an immune intolerance in people with Hashimoto’s disease to dairy products. Again, it’s believed the body may mistake dairy for gluten, which triggers an attack on the thyroid gland.

If you’re failing to see improvements in your health while taking the medication prescribed by your doctor and are prepared to make modifications to your diet, with approval from your doctor, you may want to start by eliminating gluten or dairy, or both, from your diet.

Moderate Carbohydrate Diet

While a gluten- and dairy-free diet may help alleviate hypothyroidism symptoms, there is evidence to suggest that those with hypothyroidism should avoid a diet too low in carbohydrates. This is because insulin is needed to convert inactive T4 (which is what the thyroid gland produces) into active T3 (which is what the body’s cells use), and the production of insulin is generally low on a very low carbohydrate diet. Furthermore, restricting the intake of carbohydrates can cause a drop in blood sugar, which the body compensates for by producing an excess of stress hormones including adrenaline. The thyroid gland is needed for the production of stress hormones, so this process can be taxing on the thyroid gland. So you may want to check that you’re including a moderate amount of healthy carbohydrates in your diet if you don’t feel your health is as good as it could be.

Don’t look at hypothyroidism as preventing you from living the life you used to enjoy before your diagnosis. Massage therapy and activity can be a part of your new lifestyle. All that’s needed are a few changes so that you can better manage your condition, and you’ll be more than able to continue to enjoy life and get the most from it.

Four Yoga Poses for Knee Pain

Knee pain is the second most common cause of chronic pain, often caused by conditions like arthritis or injuries like torn ligaments. It can be debilitating and often means that people feel unable to do exercise. Yoga, a series of stretches, poses, and breathing, which was developed in India thousands of years ago, can often seem particularly daunting to anyone suffering from chronic pain. But if you change your practice to suit your body, you can still do as much yoga as you wish. Talking about your knee pain to your yoga instructor can help you understand how to comfortably modify poses.

Here are a few favourite yoga poses for knee pain. These yoga positions improve the wellness of most people and will feel particularly good to anyone suffering from knee pain. Just remember that using supports is a great idea. Don’t push yourself, and remember to do only what feels healthy and good. Contracting the muscles around your knees as you practice will help you strengthen them.

Mountain Pose


You might think that mountain pose doesn’t entail anything except standing still, but it can help your body’s alignment. Learning to do mountain pose correctly will be useful in all areas of your life and make you considerably more comfortable, along with warding off further knee problems and pain. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and make sure that all four corners of your feet are pressed equally into the mat so that your weight is evenly distributed. Engage your leg muscles and make sure that your spine is straight; hold your head over your heart and push your shoulders down and back. Engage your quads and inner thighs while tucking your tailbone in and relaxing the muscles in your face. Inhale and exhale deeply eight times, making sure that your body stays aligned.

Bridge Pose

In order to do bridge pose, slowly lower yourself to the ground and spread out on your yoga mat, facing upwards. Make sure that your back is supported by the ground and move your shoulder blades beneath you so that your chest is open and you can feel your pectoral muscles working a little. Breathe in and out deeply before bending your knees and planting your feet firmly on the ground, at the same width as your hips and shoulders. Press into your entire foot and put your arms down at your sides, your palms pushing against your yoga mat. Then lift your hips off your mat, squeezing your glutes as you rest on just your shoulders. This will strengthen your hamstrings without putting too much strain on your knees.

Half Moon Pose

Make sure that you have a block for support, or maybe a small stack of books, and ensure also that you’re leaning against the wall. This pose will stretch your hamstrings and strengthen your legs. Stand with your back against the wall and separate your feet, with your right foot pointing towards the front of your mat. Lift your left leg off the floor so that it’s parallel to the ground – or however high feels comfortable – and use the wall and the block or pile of books for support as you stretch forward with your right hand. Inhale and exhale three times before gently moving back into a standing position and shifting so that you’re balancing on your left foot. Make sure that you press your standing foot firmly into the mat so that you’re balanced calmly.

Chair Pose


A great way to strengthen your knees is through chair pose. Stand with your feet and legs together, or with your feet separated – whatever feels better to you. Lift your chest and make sure that you breathe deeply. Resting your weight on your heels, sit back as if you’re sitting on a chair, and lift your arms. This will tone your legs and strengthen your core, while your weight is balanced in your hips rather than your knees. If you want extra support, lean your back against a wall.

Yoga is all about experimenting to find what makes you feel good in both your body and your mind. If you feel knee pain that goes further than a gentle stretch, it’s time to stop. (If you have health challenges, consult with your health advisor before starting a new activity.) Enjoy experimenting with these yoga poses for knee pain as you strengthen and protect your knees. And be sure to support your recovery by booking consultations with our various wellness experts, including massage therapists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and manual osteopathic practitioners.

5 Great Ways to Exercise During Pregnancy

Keeping fit and getting regular exercise during pregnancy not only helps you to regain your pre-pregnancy figure after childbirth, but it also reduces stress levels and helps to prepare you physically for labour. Many women worry about harming their unborn baby through exercise, but there are several ways to safely exercise while pregnant, and here are five of them.

1. Yoga

Yoga is an excellent form of exercise during pregnancy. for pregnant women. It tones, strengthens, and stretches your body, and it provides relaxation and inner peace. Practicing yoga strengthens your core, calms your mind, and loosens up your body – all great practice for labour. There are specific prenatal yoga classes and DVDs readily available, but if you prefer to stick with your regular class, be sure to let your instructor know that you’re pregnant. There are certain yoga postures that you shouldn’t do while pregnant, or that will need to be modified while you’re pregnant. Better yet, sign up for yoga classes designed specifically for pregnancy.

2. Swimming

Swimming is a great form of low-impact exercise that is suitable for everyone, including pregnant women. The buoyancy of the water supports your body and joints in a way that you don’t find in most other forms of exercise. It provides a combination of gentle aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening movements in a safe environment where you’re unlikely to injure yourself. It supports a larger range of motion and helps you avoid overheating. As long as you take the usual precautions, such as avoiding food for an hour before swimming and keeping well-hydrated, swimming is a safe and beneficial form of exercise during pregnancy.

3. Walking

One of the easiest and cheapest forms of exercise is walking. It’s perfect for those that are pregnant and for anyone new to exercise. Walking for 30 minutes every day at a moderate to brisk pace provides cardiovascular benefits, strengthens the body, and increases flexibility. As long as you wear comfortable and supportive shoes and keep well hydrated, walking is ideal for pregnant women. Even if you have a busy schedule, walking is something that can be incorporated into your day-to-day routine. Try leaving your car at home when you go on short journeys, i.e. to the doctor’s office or picking the kids up from school. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or go for a 30-minute walk during your lunch break.

4. Weight Training

Weight training with free weights, weight-lifting machines, or resistance bands can condition your body and strengthen your core. If done carefully with proper lifting technique, it can be a superb form of exercise for pregnant women, as it strengthens tummy muscles and your pelvic floor – both areas that are usually affected by pregnancy. As with yoga, some weight training exercises should be avoided or modified for pregnant women, so make sure that you discuss your pregnancy with your fitness trainer or sign up for a specific prenatal class.

5. Water Aerobics

Water aerobics, also known as aqua aerobics, is one of the safest forms of exercise during pregnancy because the buoyancy of the water supports the body. Your joints, which are already strained due to pregnancy weight are protected and there’s no risk of falling or injuring yourself while in the water. Like in swimming, the water supports a larger range of motion and helps you avoid overheating. The water also gives great resistance so you’ll still feel like you’re working hard to keep fit and healthy.

Whatever exercise you choose to do while pregnant, always do so only under the guidance of your doctor or midwife, and always listen to your body. If something hurts or feels wrong, then stop. Keep workout sessions to a moderate duration and frequency. Drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout. Move smoothly and with full-body awareness. Avoid saunas and hot tubs. As long as you follow these tips, you’re on track for a happy, healthy pregnancy.

Don’t forget to recover with massage

A great complement to exercise during pregnancy is relaxing massage therapy. Reduce muscular tension, correct muscle imbalances, increase joint flexibility and enjoy the calm. Book your registered massage therapy session here.

Woman trying to reduce back pain

Reduce Back Pain with Massage and Simple Lifestyle Changes

Eight out of every 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. An estimated one in three sufferers finds the symptoms severe enough to affect their daily lives, including interfering with work. These figures come as no surprise, as back problems are more or less an accepted part of modern life. Working to reduce back pain is a necessary part of personal care.

What’s perhaps more surprising is that nearly nine in 10 sufferers never discover the primary cause of their condition, which makes it almost impossible to find a suitable cure. For the vast majority of patients, reducing back pain is all about the reduction of symptoms, allowing you to lead as normal a life as possible while your body works to heal itself. This article will give you helpful steps to reduce back pain.

Here’s how to do that with some simple lifestyle changes that don’t require medical intervention.

1. Light Exercise

When you’re stricken with painful back spasms, exercise of any kind may not feel like the right thing to do. However, staying active as long as possible is one of the best ways to counteract the symptoms of chronic backache. Light exercise, such as walking or swimming will strengthen your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to help support your spine in a natural way.

It’s important not to exercise your way through acute pain, as you don’t want to risk further damage. Make use of relatively pain-free periods to tone your back and reduce the recurrence of symptoms in the future.

2. Pain Management

Sometimes your back pain will feel debilitating regardless of what measures you take to control it. In these situations, soothing the discomfort is important. Pain and stiffness can quickly become a vicious circle where you’re too tense from the pain and immobile from the stiffness to release the spasms. Medication is often the only option here. When taking medication for pain, be careful that you’re not simply masking the symptoms and making them worse by moving when you should be resting.

For a more natural treatment, try alternating between hot water bottles and ice packs, pressing them into the painful area for ten minutes each whenever the discomfort becomes too great. Try relaxing in warm Epsom salt baths to ease muscle pain. A Registered Massage Therapist can also work wonders (Try Evolve’s Registered Massage and Hot Stone Massage therapy sessions.). Some people find that acupuncture and chiropractic therapy offers relief. Try a variety of therapies that won’t further aggravate your condition until you find what works for you.

3. Relaxation

Lastly, trying to relax as much as possible is important although naturally, this is difficult when you’re in pain. Tension, stress, and anxiety all tighten your neck and shoulders, putting extra strain on your back. This can cause you to tense up, further exacerbating the problem. Yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, breathing exercises, and other relaxation techniques can all be of great help during a painful episode.

4. Pay Attention to Posture

Light exercise will help to improve your posture, but it’s also important to be mindful of how you’re sitting and standing throughout the day. Try to avoid putting your back under too much strain. If you feel yourself slouching or bending, try pushing your shoulders outward and backward to gently move your spine into a straighter position.

For more tips on how to stretch to reduce neck stress, click here.

5. Take Care with Sitting

More than half of people with backache symptoms report that they spend the majority of their day sitting down with poor sitting habits often playing a major role in the worsening of symptoms. If you spend your working days at a desk, it makes sense to invest in an ergonomic office chair to provide proper support for your back. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. It’s important, however, to always choose a solid chair that’s not too soft and giving and that supports your lumbar region.

It’s essential to make sure your chair is properly adjusted for height; your arms and thighs should be in a right angle position when sitting comfortably at your desk with your hands on your keyboard or desktop. Try keeping your shoulders relaxed yet upright and remember to get up from your desk and walk a few steps at least once an hour to reduce muscle cramping.

6. Sleeping

Back pain sufferers need to sleep like anyone else, but spending up to eight hours a night in a soft or lumpy bed isn’t ideal for the lumbar region. Your mattress should be reasonably firm so your body doesn’t sink into it and you should try to sleep on your back, which is the best position for relieving back pain. Although it may be relaxing to read in bed before sleep, this habit is particularly bad for your posture, so try to do your late-night reading in a comfortable armchair instead.

7. Slim Down a Little

There’s no need to panic about carrying a few extra pounds, but being overweight will put extra strain on your back. Making the effort to shed even a little extra weight will help. If you’re already suffering from back problems, the extra misery of a crash diet is probably not the answer. By bringing the yoga mindset into your eating routine, you can transform your body into its healthiest version.

8. Quit Smoking

If you smoke, you’re probably already well aware of the many good reasons to kick the habit. However, you may not know that smoking can also contribute to backache among all the other health problems it causes. Not only can smoking cause degeneration in the spinal discs, but every bout of coughing places extra strain on your back and can quickly lead to spasms when you already have a weakness.

9. Comfortable Footwear

Poorly fitting footwear that makes it difficult to balance will eventually create problems, such as back spasms and back pain. Specially made orthopedic shoes can be extremely helpful, but even padded insoles can help correct poor walking posture. Avoid high heels whenever possible. If you must wear them, switch to flats when you can, i.e. when you’re sitting at your work desk.

Back pain can quickly make life a misery. Surgical treatments are to be considered if no primary cause can be found, but they are a gamble at best. Thankfully, making these simple lifestyle changes can reduce back problems to a level where they don’t interfere too much with daily life, allowing your body the chance to heal naturally.

Healthy Morning Habits

Have you ever felt like you got up on the wrong side of the bed, triggering a downward spiral that lingered all day? How you wake up in the morning has everything to do with how the rest of your day will go. With this in mind, it’s helpful to develop a routine that will set the stage for a more positive and productive day.

Try adding these 6 healthy morning habits to your daily ritual:

1. Drink a glass of water right away.

If you’re waking up groggy and tired after a full night’s sleep, there’s a good chance mild dehydration is at play. While asleep, the only fluid you’re swallowing is saliva and that’s not nearly enough to keep your body hydrated. A full glass of water will help bring your cells to life and get your digestive system working. If you incorporate this into your healthy morning habits, you’ll probably notice better-looking skin and improved digestive function.

2. Pause before checking your phone or email

When you sleep with your phone nearby and check it as soon as you open your eyes, you create an exaggerated sense of urgency that can lead to a stressful day. Your mind will be much more clear and focused if you learn to wait at least an hour before checking emails, messages, and social media. Instead of using the alarm on your mobile phone, invest in a real alarm clock—eliminating any excuse to keep your phone within reach.

3. Create a gratitude list as part of your healthy morning habits

Instead of waking up with a sense of dread, try focusing on gratitude. Come up with a list of things you’re grateful for the night before and read it when you wake up. The longer the list is, the better. By the time you jump in the shower, your mind will be focused on positive thoughts. This can make all the difference in how you interact with others throughout the day.

4. Get outside

Take in some fresh air and natural sunlight as soon as possible. Weather permitting, get into the habit of taking a 15-minute walk each morning before doing anything else. Your body needs sunlight to produce sufficient quantities of vitamin D and if your workdays are spent locked up inside an office or warehouse, your best opportunity to soak up the sun’s rays may be in the early morning.

5. Move your body

If you start your morning with exercise, the rest of your day will seem less stressful. The physical movement and effort you make will get your blood pumping and restore alertness after a night’s sleep. Any form of exercise will improve your sense of well-being, including stretching and tai chi. Walking and running are popular among morning exercise enthusiasts, especially those who enjoy the outdoors.

6. Eat a healthy breakfast

Skipping breakfast deprives your body of vital nutrients it needs to operate properly—it will have already gone a minimum of eight hours without food since your last meal. Instead of eating the same processed cereal you always eat, try feeding your body real nourishing food that will boost your metabolism and provide the fuel you need to get through the day. Eggs, oats, fruit, greens, and breakfast shakes are excellent options that won’t take long to prepare.

Establishing healthy morning habits will ensure your day gets off to the best possible start.

Remember, your morning routine will largely determine how the rest of your day goes. It may take some time for these new wellness habits to stick, but if you work on them one at a time you’ll soon see a difference that should inspire you to keep at it!

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 practiced 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 practice 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. Practice yogic thinking, ask questions and experiment. Mindfulness can be very rewarding and lead to a healthier mindset and overall wellness.

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 of 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 our work-day – such as stretching or massage breaks – that would prevent avoidable discomfort. Taking a moment to properly stretch your neck can do wonders for your overall wellness.

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 as you flow through this motion.
  • Hold, pull down your shoulders and lift your chest and abdominals into 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.

Stretch your neck through massage

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 to Help You Sleep Well

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 practice 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

Practicing 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.