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Body Pain Comes From Weak Communication Between Muscles And Brain, And These 5 Yoga Poses Can Help

Body Pain Comes From Weak Communication Between Muscles And Brain, And These 5 Yoga Poses Can Help

We all know that stretching,[1] to some degree, helps to relieve muscle tension and tightness. However, some complain that the benefits of stretching provides only short-term, minimal relief at best, making it a waste of time and energy. In order to truly understand muscle tightness and how to reap the benefits of stretching, one must first understand the complexities of the muscle and brain connection.

Muscle tension begins with messages from the brain to contract certain fibers in your body. Chronic stress, however, leads your brain to contract muscles of your body that are not needed in order to perform particular tasks.[2] In these instances, stretching alone will only provide minimal relief for muscles.

How Stretching Impacts The Muscles

So what happens when you stretch?[3]

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New scientific revelations show that stretching is much more complex, dynamic, and fascinating than what has previously been imagined.

We now understand that increasing our flexibility has much less to do with the physical length, size, and shape of our muscle tissue, and much more to do with the part of our body that controls and moves our muscles: our brain. Stretching regularly allows us to reach our stretch “tolerance” enough times that our brain adapts to this new level of tension and informs our muscles that this new deeper range of motion is acceptable.

5 Yoga Stretches That Improve Your Mental And Physical Range Of Motion

The best way to get your muscles to relax and reap the full benefits of stretching is by learning not to send “tense” messages from your brain to your muscles, except when they are truly needed. Chronic tension sufferers will really struggle with this, especially in the beginning, as your brain has long forgotten how to turn off those chronically tense muscles.

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Practicing yoga not only produces temporary physical benefits,[4] such as increased flexibility and range of motion, muscle strength, and improved posture, it also improves sleep, lowers cortisol levels in the brain (which is produced by stress),and improves mood and mental focus.

1. Downward Facing Dog[5]

    via AllPosters

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    • Start on all fours with your hands directly under shoulders and knees under your hips.
    • Walk your hands a few inches forward and spread your fingers wide, pressing your palms into the mat.
    • Curl toes under and slowly press hips toward the ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V, pressing shoulders away from your ears. Feet should be hip-width apart and your knees should be slightly bent.

    2. Happy Baby Pose[6]

      • Lie on your back. With an exhale, bend your knees into your belly.
      • Inhale, grip the outsides of your feet with your hands (if you have difficulty holding the feet directly with your hands, hold onto a belt looped over each sole). Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits.
      • Position each ankle directly over the knee, so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex through the heels.
      • Gently push your feet up into your hands (or the belts) as you pull your hands down to create a resistance.

      3. Warrior Pose[7]

        via Ekhart Yoga

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        • Stand with legs 3 to 4 feet apart, turning your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly.
        • Bring your hands to your hips and relax your shoulders, then extend your arms out to the sides, palms down.
        • Bend your right knee by 90 degrees, keeping your knee over your ankle. Gaze out over your right hand. Hold this position for 1 minute.

        4. Mountain Pose[8]

          via Fitness Magazine

          • Stand tall with your feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, and your arms at sides.
          • Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with your arms straight.
          • Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.

          5. Staff Pose[9]

            via YogaBird

            • Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended in front of your torso.
            • Your sacrum and shoulder blades should touch the wall, but not your lower back or the back of your head.
            • Without hardening your belly, firm your thighs, and press them down against the floor.
            • Rotate your thighs slightly toward each other and draw your inner groins in toward the sacrum.
            • Flex your ankles, pressing out through your heels.
            • Take four deep breaths in and exhale

            According to yoga experts, the overall purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body. When the brain and body connection is strong and in sync, chronic pain, muscle tension, and stiffness will vanish.

            Reference

            [1] Lifehack: 7 Practical Tips For Stretching
            [2] Anxiety Stress Centre: Do You Get Tensed Just Thinking about Relaxing
            [3] Yoga Dork: Stretching Is In Your Brain: A New Paradigm of Flexibility and Yoga (PART 1)
            [4] Yoga Journal: 38 Health Benefits of Yoga
            [5] Yoga Outlet: How to Do Downward-Facing Dog in Yoga
            [6] Yoga Journal: Happy Baby Pose
            [7] Fitness Magazine: Yoga Poses for Beginners
            [8] Fitness Magazine: Yoga Poses for Beginners
            [9] Yoga Journal: Staff Pose

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            Last Updated on March 3, 2021

            9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier

            9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier

            Planning your meals is one of the best ways to save money and eat healthy at the same time. When you make a meal plan before you shop, you are not only making for a less stressful week, but you are giving yourself a chance to eat a healthier diet. Planned meals allow you to avoid mindless snacking and stay in control of your caloric intake. Meal planning apps utilize technology to help you lay out your meals for the week and put you in control of your food.

            Let’s take a look at 9 meal planning apps that will place you on the road to healthier eating.

            1. Pepperplate

               

              Pepperplate hopes to make meal planning easier in various ways. Firstly, attacking the indecision that comes with coming up with meal choices, Pepperplate allows individuals to organize the recipes they find on the application, as well as those they add themselves to their personal Pepperplate account.

              It works as a grocery list companion as well. From there, Pepperplate walks you through recipe instructions to prepare meals in a snap. By planning meals ahead of time, days, or even weeks in advance, you can ensure that your favorite recipes are there for you when you need them.

              Price: Free

              Get the app here:Android

              2. Paprika

              Paprika Recipe Manager 3 App – Mobile and Tablet Apps Online Directory – AppsDiary

                 

                Paprika works by making its way into every part of your digital life. On your computer as both an application and website, Paprika also finds itself on multiple mobile platforms, as well, making it one of the most accessible meal planning apps. This allows you to grab recipes you find just about anywhere and have them added to your list.

                This is, of course, with all of the features that we come to expect from meal prep applications, including advanced grocery lists, the ability to plan meals well in advance, and adjusted recipes.

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                Price: $4.99

                Get the app here: iOSAndroid

                3. Ziplist

                ZipList's Grocery List & Recipe Search App Gets Overhauled | TechCrunch

                   

                  Along with weekly meal plans, with Ziplist individuals are able to also get coupons to ensure that they are continuously saving money while also saving the stress of coming up with creative meals. From food sites, you constantly have a curation of unique and tasty meals to choose from.

                  The web recipe clipper that can be found on the ZipList allows you to constantly add new recipes to the app. Furthermore, ZipList allows individuals to share recipes. This is a great way to get input on the dinner selection for the night.

                  Price: Free

                  Get the app here: iOS, Android

                  4. AllRecipes Dinner Spinner

                  Allrecipes Dinner Spinner App Review - Appedus App Review

                    Using various categories, including cuisine, dietary restrictions, and even cooking time, you are able to make a weekly meal plan that will always keep things interesting with this meal planning app. As a great way to remember your meal plans, the web component of Allrecipes’s meal planning tool allows you to also print the plan for the week. This is great to put on your refrigerator to let the family know what to expect for dinner each night.

                    Furthermore, videos are available to ensure that you don’t get lost in the recipe instructions.

                    Price: Free

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                    Get the app here: iOS, Android

                    5. MealBoard

                    The Best Meal-Planning Apps for 2021 | Digital Trends

                       

                      After we go to the grocery store, we don’t use our whole supply of purchases on one meal. We usually have some left over that can be used to create new meals. MealBoard makes use of these leftover ingredients in the recommendation of new meals from the application.

                      By looking at the old meals you have included in your meal plans, you are able to use the leftover coriander or cauliflower from older recipes you had that week. Along with this, you have the other obvious features, like shopping lists and sharing. You can also make constant adjustments to your meal plans when cravings change.

                      Price: $2.99

                      Get the app hereiOS

                      6. Love Food Hate Waste

                      Best eco-friendly apps to go green in 2018

                         

                        Similar to how the previous application allows you to make use of leftover ingredients for meal planning, Love Food Hate Waste makes use of leftover meals to give you new suggestions. Along with being cost conscious and health conscious, this application is also environmentally conscious in reducing the amount of waste that comes with planning and cooking a new meal every single night, making it one of the best meal planning apps for those who want to give Mother Nature a helping hand.

                        All meals come with step-by-step instructions, and portion control is a focus of this application as well to ensure you’re staying healthy.

                        Price: Free

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                        Get the app here: iOS, Android

                        7. Menu Planner

                           

                           

                          Menu Planner is another application with many of the features we come to expect, but it’s only available for iOS. There’s also the feature of ingredient shopping based on cost and the store in your town.

                          The UI is very navigable and allows you to split your meals based on breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack. You can create meals based on ingredients already in your pantry or make use of the convenient shopping list to go to the store to prepare new meals.

                          Price: $2.99

                          Get the app here: iOS

                          8. Cook Smarts

                          Cook Smarts Makes Meal Planning Easy for Busy Families - helloyummy

                             

                             

                             

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                            Cook Smarts is the most advanced of all the meal planning apps that we mentioned today. Available as an online application, Cook Smarts is a regimen that not only offers general meal recommendations, but meal plan recommendations based on your preferences and dietary restrictions.

                            Cook Smarts presents videos and other resources to make healthy eating easier and more approachable, all while emphasizing the use of natural ingredients. It helps you learn how to prepare a dish while also offering lessons in the care of produce. Unlike the applications mentioned, Cook Smarts doesn’t just offer the meals to you or even just the step-by-step ingredients; the program gives you tools to carry these tips on for life.

                            Price: $21 / 3 months

                            Get the app here: Website

                            9. Evernote Food

                            Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 4.56.10 PM

                              Evernote, the largely popular note-taking application, would be a good application for those looking to plan meals. However, it’s easier to have an application geared toward such a feat, rather than working around one not specified for it. Because of this, Evernote created Evernote Food, which allows you to not only collect recipes, but also pictures of some of the food you encounter, to save and create those meals in your own home.

                              Unlike the other meal planning apps, Evernote Food understands that you won’t find yourself cooking 365 days a year, so the integration of restaurants is a great way of ensuring you can eat out with friends and family and still keep your healthy eating habits on track.

                              Price: Free

                              Get the app hereiOS, Android

                              Final Thoughts

                              If you’re trying to eat healthier and reduce the stress around your meals, meal planning apps are a great place to start. They can help you find interesting recipes, organize your grocery list, and use leftovers from the night before. Choose any of the above to start laying out healthy and delicious meals that will fill your week with tasty foods.

                              More on Meal Planning

                              Featured photo credit: Edgar Castrejon via unsplash.com

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