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Why I Wish I Tried Outdoor Yoga Earlier

Why I Wish I Tried Outdoor Yoga Earlier

I’ve been a yoga fanatic for some time and was getting to a pretty comfortable place at my studio until a friend invited me to go do an outdoor session with her one Saturday morning. It was phenomenal! Why hadn’t I tried it earlier?! The poses and movements I thought I was good at were suddenly so much harder and I was stumbling all over the place. But I didn’t feel like a failure, instead I felt like I had hit a new level with my yoga. In case you’re still unsure as to whether you want to try outdoor yoga, check out these following benefits. If I had known about these benefits beforehand, I would have tried outdoor yoga far sooner!

It Aligns You With Nature

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    Yeah, I know, it’s an obvious benefit—but just wait. This connection isn’t just for nature buffs, by practicing outside you can help with certain mental ailments. It has been shown that being outside can help with depression, stress, dementia, and your overall wellbeing. Practicing yoga outdoors can not only be a physical benefit for you but can also help with mental struggles. If you find yourself overly stressed by family life or work, try taking a morning or two to practice your yoga poses in the park or even in your backyard.

    It Increases Skill and Muscles for Balance

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      When I first started yoga, my balance was terrible! After months of practice, I found that I struggled less, but then I tried outdoor yoga. Talk about a shocker! You often think grass lawns are pretty flat, but my mat was rippled all over the place by the bouncy grass stalks and random little rocks or bumps in the ground. Since starting outdoor yoga, my balance has improved exponentially. In the gym, I often used certain spots on the wall or ceilings to focus to help with my balance, but almost everything outside was moving so I had to dig deeper into my muscles to keep steady.

      It Develops Inner Strength and Stability

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        Doing yoga outdoors tends to push you to become one with the wind and atmosphere. When you’re outside, you can’t really control the environment (or temperature!) which means that you begin to gain more strength and stability because you aren’t in such a quiet and perfect setting! Being outdoors forces us to accept these natural elements (noises, breeze, sun heat, etc.) which in turn helps us become more stable and stronger in more than just the physical aspects of our lives and bodies. Don’t forget that you may want to switch up your yoga pants for outdoor yoga. If it’s going to be warmer and you don’t have the choice of turning down the AC, you may want to get a pair of capri yoga pants when practicing outside.

        Oh! And by the way, another great benefit of outdoor yoga is that it improves your lung capacity. Your body has a 6-liter lung capacity and being outside often makes you want to breath deeper to get more oxygen in. This then breaks up pollutants or toxins that get trapped in your alveoli.

        It’s More of a Challenge

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          When practicing outside, there are more things to get distracted by. With so many variables and distractions you will need to focus harder on breathing and balance. This will improve your mental strength and clarity. Along with this, attempting to balance your poses in grass or sand can also produce more of a challenge! Because of uneven ground, little critters, or even the sun shinning in your eyes, you will need to try harder to keep your balance and focus on your poses.

          Most of us already know that yoga is a great form of exercise, not just for extremely active people either. And if you’ve already tapped into those great benefits, maybe it’s time to move up to the next level. If you’re looking for more a challenge or feel like you have hit a stalemate with your yoga, try switching up your studio time with a few more outdoor sessions. You will be so surprised by the growth and mental benefits!

          If you’re still looking for more information on the benefits of practicing outdoor yoga, take a look at the articles here and here.

          Featured photo credit: Stickney Brook Yoga 386/Matthew Ragan via flic.kr

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          Bethany Cleg

          Photographer, Entrepreneur

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          Last Updated on October 22, 2020

          The Truth of Rapid Weight Loss: How to Actually Shed Pounds

          The Truth of Rapid Weight Loss: How to Actually Shed Pounds

          “If I drink this supplement, will I lose 40 pounds in two weeks?”

           Another consultation with a new member in the fitness center that I manage, and yet another person that fell prey to the marketing-trap of a supplement company that promised immediate results and rapid weight loss.

          Rapid weight loss is enticing. It speaks to our human nature. It’s unfortunately also a false fantasy of ours.

          The truth is that while you might be able to lose weight in a very short time, it’s practically impossible to keep it off. Here’s why and how you can actually shed pounds sustainably and continuously.

          The Key to Patience

          A mentor of mine once told me bluntly: You can have it all young man. You can be a great salesman and entrepreneur. You can run a successful business. As long as you just refuse to give up.

          Is it that simple? It is.

          I came into a management position at a young age not because I’m the brightest but because I outlasted my colleagues.

          There are a lot of similarities between business and the results in the gym. They just produce different rewards.

          If something isn’t working simply because you don’t have the patience to push through, develop this crucial piece of the puzzle before moving on.

          You can learn more about just how long it takes to build muscle and lose fat here.

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          The Art of Weight Loss

          Weight loss is simple, but not easy.

          It’s not easy because it goes against our nature. We all have to know that our ancestors dealt with much rougher situations than we did. Over millions of years our genome has evolved to store energy in order to prepare for rainy days.

          Only in the recent decades have we gone from scarcity to absolute abundance. The supermarket just around my corner contains ripe fruits from all over the world. Packaged, conserved foods that can be stored in our shelf for years to come.

          While our recently-evolved, self-conscious forebrain is demanding us to keep losing 10 more pounds, our genome is desperately trying to hold on to all of those bits of energy storage, making rapid weight loss nearly impossible.

          Fat cells used to be our friends, and now they’re enemies. (Find out more about the reason why here.) In order to beat them and lose weight, we have to learn to go against nature and trick our genome.

          How to Trick Your Genome

          What if I told you that there is a way to soothe your genome and your brain at the same time? How can we manipulate both of these entities to reach our goals?

          Here’s everything that you need to know about substantial and sustainable weight loss in one sentence: Calories and satiety are not linked.

          We can eat a huge McDonalds meal with thousands of calories but still feel hungry after one hour. We can scoop out some ice cream late at night, and the only time we feel satiated is after we’ve gained 2 more pounds.

          On the other hand, we can eat 1-2 cups of broccoli or spinach and often feel full. What matters is the caloric density and the seven crucial factors influencing satiety.

          7 Parts of Satiety

          Hunger and satiety are sensations. Satiety is the absence of hunger. If we feel satiated, we feel full. If we feel full, we’re more likely to stick to a diet.

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          If calories are not linked to satiety, which factors are? Lucky for us, a study on satiety gave us some answers. The researchers concluded:[1]

          Servings of different foods vary greatly in their satiating capacity.[2]

          Optimize satiety for rapid weight loss

            And the effect of a food on one’s satiety is important, as the satiety heavily influences our future eating behavior. These are the components that played a role.

            Fiber

            Fiber fills up your stomach and speeds up digestion through your small intestine. This means that less macronutrients will get absorbed. Therefore, also less calories.

            Foods containing fiber-entrapped natural sugars produced the highest satiety scores in the whole study. If you want to feel full, start taking in more fruits and vegetables.

            Sensory Information

            Studies have shown that our sensory information can play a huge part in our satiety and rapid weight loss. We’re primed to seek a variety of foods, but if we routinize the habit of eating the same foods during our eating breaks, satiety might come earlier.[3]

            Water

            If a food contains more water, it will naturally also be less calorie dense. Not only that, but the increased water content also fills up our stomach more, boosting feelings of satiety.

            Protein and Carbohydrates

            Protein and (good) carbohydrates seem to have great satiating effects. Both of these macronutrients can, therefore, help you lose fat more easily. However, stay away from fatty products, as fat was inversely correlated with satiety. Fat also contains nearly double the calories.

            Plate Size

            The bigger the plate size, the more calories you will consume, which will slow you down on the road to rapid weight loss.[4] This may seem obvious, but many people eat far more than they should simply because they fill up a plate that’s bigger than a normal portion size.

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            Amount of Fat Cells

            Our fat cells, scientifically called adipocytes, release a hormone called leptin. Leptin levels are significantly higher in obese individuals. When we start dieting, our leptin level goes down fast—too fast. It’s an indication to our brain that we’re starving.

            We suddenly feel hunger, have reduced motivation, and burn less calories at rest. This means that if we’re overweight, our body wants to keep us like that.[5]

            Serotonin

            Do you ever wonder why chocolate is so addictive? This tasty, dark food is releasing serotonin in our bodies to the same extent as cigarettes. This explains why stress often causes weight gain.

            They crave that good-feeling neurotransmitter that gets released in our brains. This means that the less stress we have and the better we feel, the more satiety we will experience.[6]

            The Next Steps

            “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” -Abraham Lincoln

            It’s time that we start thinking about long-term weight results when it comes to weight reduction. We have to realize that if we use the dieting approach to rapid weight loss, we’re losing both muscle and fat mass.

            This means that every time we start a diet, it gets harder, not easier.

            It’s therefore absolutely crucial that we start with the end in mind. We have to start a diet that is sustainable for months to come. There are three ways to do that:

            1. Focus on Satiety

            While a calorie deficit is important, we also have to focus on staying full. If our brain thinks we’re starving, our diet is doomed to fail.

            If we fight against our genome, we enter a war we can not win. If we fight against our genome, we enter a war we can not win. Eat high protein foods while avoiding processed foods. This will get you started.

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            2. Add Weightlifting and Cardiovascular Training to Your Schedule

            Weightlifting and cardio can improve the ratio of lost fat and muscle mass and keep us healthy. Increased muscle mass will also make it easier to keep off the weight, as it increases our caloric need.

            You can learn more about why cardio is so good for you in this article.

            3. Add Incremental Changes

            A diet shouldn’t necessarily be a diet. It should be a long-term dietary change for the better. We lay the groundwork to our dieting success by beginning with the end in mind.

            Try making one small change to your diet each week to avoid shocking your body and mind. As you work incrementally, you’ll train your body to adjust slowly and sustainably.

            Conclusion

            Rapid weight loss is a false fantasy. There’s no supplement that will help you lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks.

            It’s practically impossible to keep the weight off long-term if you do this because the dietary switch was never sustainable in the first place.

            Instead of focusing on short-term results, we should pay special attention to long-term habit change to get us to a healthy weight and more balanced levels of body fat.

            Weight loss is a trojan horse. We might expect superficial results like an improved reflection in the mirror, but if we begin with the end in mind and focus on long-term habit change, it affects multiple components of our existence and can lead to a better quality of life overall.

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            Featured photo credit: Meghan Holmes via unsplash.com

            Reference

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