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Read This If You Want To Have A Better Yoga Experience

Read This If You Want To Have A Better Yoga Experience

Want a better yoga experience? Drop your expectations. If you could approach your yoga practice without any expectations at all, that would be perfect. However, that’s impossible for most of us. Do the best you can: breathe, relax, and be present. Your life will change.

These eleven tips will help.

1. Take a Yoga Class, and Get There Early.

Want to learn yoga? Take a yoga class. Yes, you can learn from videos and books, but you’ll feel much more confident, and will get more out of your practice, if you take a class. Your yoga teacher can help you to understand your body’s responses to the asanas (postures).

Talk to your teacher before you sign up for a class, and don’t be insulted if your teacher suggests a beginners’ class. Most importantly, get to class early. You can get a good position, and can stretch and warm up before the class begins.

2. Respect Yourself and Your Own Experiences in Your Yoga Practice.

Yoga isn’t just a series of exercises, nor is it a competitive sport. Yoga is union:

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Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning “to yoke” or “to unite”. We practice yoga to unite the body, breath, mind, and heart… The Yoga Sutras say, “Yoga is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption.” Another interpretation is that yoga means to be in harmony with a higher power, the universe, or your highest self. – Bend and Bloom Yoga

Most importantly, yoga is experiential — no one can tell you what to experience. Your experiences are your own, and you won’t be able to put them into words. Indeed, you’ll realize that words aren’t necessary.

3. Go Within: Accept and Listen to What Your Body’s Telling You.

We assume that our mind is separate from our body. However, neuroscientist Candace Pert, in her ground-breaking book Molecules of Emotion, suggested that your mind lives in every cell of your body.

Yoga will show you that this is true. Yoga makes you comfortable in your body. You’ll be more relaxed, more confident, and your life will improve. Indeed, after practicing yoga for a while, your life may change in ways you don’t expect.

You’ll discover who you are. All you have to do is listen to your body as you do yoga.

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4. Be Present: Turn Off Your Phone, and Inhabit Your Body.

To truly listen to your body, you need to be present. Be aware of your body. Turn off your phone. Relax into each asana, and stop struggling. Breathe.

5. Accept Joy: Smile, Within and Without.

Smile. Your mind and body are united. When you smile, you’ll become joyful. Try it. Smile as you do your yoga practice. You’ll learn to trust the joy you feel. Your friends will notice that you’re happier. Who knew that a smile could make such a difference?

6. Your Breath Is Everything: Breathe Into the Tightness in Your Body.

Your breath is your life. You can’t live for more than a few minutes without breathing. As you relax, and your body releases tension and toxins, you’ll be able to breathe more deeply.

Use your breath. Direct your breath into the tight areas in your body. As your body becomes more flexible, so will your mind.

7. You’re You: No Judgments or Comparisons.

You’ll find yourself making comparisons between your own body and those of the other people in your yoga class. You’ll want to be as calm and serene as one person, and as flexible as another. You may feel superior — or envious.

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Whenever you feel yourself drifting into a day dream about other students in your class, or about what you have or don’t have in your life, gently bring yourself back to your breath, and breathe into your body.

8. Do Your Homework: Practice Gentle Yoga Stretches at Home — And in the Office.

You may take a yoga class once or twice a week. You’ll benefit most if you also do some yoga stretches at home. Speak to your teacher. Ask them what asanas they recommend for your home practice. Perhaps they’ll ask you to do a round or two of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) each day.

Surya Namaskar is a popular dynamic sequence of asanas, which is reputedly over 2,500 years old. It includes eight basic postures. You can do the entire sequence dynamically, as a flow of postures, or you can take a minute or two with each posture, if you have more time.

Do some stretches in the office too. Several minutes of yoga will both energize you, and relax you.

9. Invest in Yoga and Meditation Accessories: They Help.

Mats, belts, cushions, blocks — which yoga and meditation accessories do you need? You’re unlikely to need any as a new student. Be guided by your teacher. Before you use items like a belt, or blocks, ask your teacher which postures you should use them in.

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As your practice deepens, and you’re more familiar with your body, you’ll understand how and when to use accessories.

10. Accept Your Emotions: Smile, or Cry. No One Will Judge You.

Emotional breakthroughs are common in yoga. Yoga releases emotions that are buried in your body. The first time another student bursts into tears during practice, you’ll be startled. If you’re the person who’s emotional, you may feel as if there’s something wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong. Accept whatever happens.

11. Have Fun: Wear Comfortable Yoga Clothes, and Relax.

You’ll quickly come to look on yoga class, and your daily practice of yoga at home and in the office, as the best part of your day. Expectations will arise. Forget them, and just relax into the postures. Yoga does its magic subtly and powerfully. All you need to do is enjoy it. Wear comfortable clothes, and if you’re practicing in your office, close the door and take off your shoes.

Use these tips for a better yoga experience. Yoga will subtly transform every area of your life, unlocking the person you are as it unites your body, mind and spirit.

Featured photo credit: Rance Costa via Photopin

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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