After Work Yoga Poses

After Work Yoga Poses

If you’re anything like me, you juggle long days at work, family and friends (and maybe kids?!), all those fun grown-up responsibilities and trying to find some time and space for yourself amongst all of that. Sometimes, when I get home from a particularly big day, I just want to collapse into a heap and snooze for a week! Fortunately that doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does I have a couple of yoga poses that I find so beneficial. They help me feel centred, calm and relaxed afterwards – and even energise me enough that I can feel like a normal human being again. So next time you come home tired and worn out, why not give one of these ago and see for yourself? Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall) This pose is incredibly rejuvenating. It’s actually one of the most powerful of all the restorative poses and so effortless. This pose can help to boost your energy and it’s also great  for grounding your energy bringing you down to earth if you’re a little bit jumpy. And as this pose is very calming, and I recommend it to my clients who are suffering from insomnia as it helps you slow down and still your mind. It’s also brilliant for lymphatic drainage so if you’re legs are swollen and heavy from standing or flying, this pose is for you! Start by holding this pose for 2-3mins and gradually build up to a longer session of 10-20mins. Instructions: Place the long edge of the yoga bolster (or one/two pillows) a couple of inches from the wall Sit to the side of a wall Press into...
Healthy Reasons to Eat Chocolate. Yes. CHOCOLATE!

Healthy Reasons to Eat Chocolate. Yes. CHOCOLATE!

Chocolate Lovers Rejoice Good news for all the chocolate lovers out there (including this one!), new research has found this divine food has even more health boosting advantages than previously recognised. Not only does it enhance both cardiovascular and mental well-being, but it also lowers body mass index (BMI) and insulin resistance. However, before consuming chocolate with wild abandon, it’s important to discern between the different varieties – and choose only superfood grades for ultimate benefit.          Food of the Gods (and Mere Mortals too) Relished for over 3,000 years, chocolate (also known as cacao in its purest form) has been used as a potent tonic, aphrodisiac and mighty food across cultures and continents. The ancient Aztecs raised cacao worship to new levels, reserving it for royalty and specific ceremonies. Europeans stumbled upon the delights of this strange ‘almond’ while exploring the New World and quickly adopted it as a remedy for fevers, mental fatigue, tuberculosis, poor digestion and gout. Fast forward to the present day and modern research has uncovered still more health-enhancing features of this magical bean. Live your Bliss with Chocolate Containing a cornucopia of beneficial compounds, cacao has been shown to alleviate a wide-range of health complaints. But to reap the benefits, only high quality chocolate will do. Focus on raw, organic, dark cacao. And remember, the higher the percentage of chocolate, the lower the sugar. Below are some of the perks associated with this tasty superfood. Cardiovascular – Of all the known edibles, cacao ranks the highest in beneficial antioxidant polyphenols that curb heart disease. A study at the University of California Department of Nutrition in...
Stress Transformation; 7 Tips from Deepak Chopra

Stress Transformation; 7 Tips from Deepak Chopra

If you were to eavesdrop on the conversations taking place around you, stress would likely be one of the most common words you would hear. People talk about feeling stressed about their work, the economy, global politics, deadlines, their relationships, and just about everything else. Many suffer from the emotional and physical consequences of chronic stress, which include accelerated ageing and increased rates of heart disease, anxiety, cancer, depression, migraine headaches, and other serious disorders. While stress is considered an epidemic problem, I’ve never believed that it exists in the environment or in external situations. At the Chopra Center, we define stress as our response to what is happening. It’s not the overdue payment, traffic jam, or fight with our spouse that causes stress – it’s our thoughts and the story we tell ourselves about an event or circumstance that create the emotional upset, racing heart rate, shallow breathing, surging adrenalin, and other symptoms of the stress response. The analogy of a surfer is useful here: If you’re a skillful surfer, every wave is an exhilarating adventure or at least an opportunity to learn something new. If you’ve never learned how to surf, on the other hand, every wave is a terrifying potential disaster. Surfing the Waves of Change Fortunately, learning how to deal effectively with stress doesn’t require any athletic ability – it’s a skill that anyone can learn. With a little practice, instead of continually being triggered into a stress response by outside situations and thoughts in your mind, you can learn to spend more time in your own natural state of well-being. Here are a few...
Exercise may Protect against Future Emotional Stress

Exercise may Protect against Future Emotional Stress

Moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety and stress for an extended period of time post-workout, according to a study by kinesiology researchers in the University of Maryland School of Public Health published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (see also University of Maryland). “While it is well-known that exercise improves mood, among other benefits, not as much is known about the potency of exercise’s impact on emotional state and whether these positive effects endure when we’re faced with everyday stressors once we leave the gym,” explains J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. “We found that exercise helps to buffer the effects of emotional exposure. If you exercise, you’ll not only reduce your anxiety, but you’ll be better able to maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events.” Smith, whose research explores how exercise and physical activity affect brain function, ageing and mental health, compared how moderate intensity cycling versus a period of quiet rest (both for 30 minutes) affected anxiety levels in a group of healthy college students. He assessed their anxiety state before the period of activity (or rest), shortly afterward (15 minutes after) and finally after exposing them to a variety of highly arousing pleasant and unpleasant photographs, as well as neutral images. At each point, study participants answered 20 questions from the State-Trait Anxiety inventory, which is designed to assess different symptoms of anxiety. All participants were put through both the exercise and the rest states (on different days) and tested for anxiety levels pre-exercise, post-exercise, and post-picture viewing. Smith found that exercise and quiet...