3 Health Benefits of Yoga

You may have noticed that I’m a fan of yoga. I’m no guru, of course. Or, yogi, for that matter. I’m naturally bendy so that’s a plus but I’m not particularly strong so yoga tends to beat me often. The strength will improve as I keep it up. The thing is though, if there were no benefits to yoga other than the stress relief that I get from the practice, that would be enough. There are, however, numerous benefits to maintaining a regular yoga practice. The conscientious  among us might notice even the smallest of benefits after each session. It is always good to take stock of how you are feeling before and after your practice, and keep these niggles in mind as inspiration to continue.

Here are just 3 great benefits to establishing a regular practice:

1. Improved flexibility

It takes a surprisingly short amount of time to notice a vast improvement in your flexibility once you start practicing yoga. Touching your toes may seem like an impossibility today, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an inevitability. This flexibility will in turn go a long way to alleviating pains that arise from tight joints and muscle tension.

2. Build Muscle

Yoga combines muscle building with flexibility which leads to strong, toned muscles (which look beautiful) coupled with the health benefits of having stronger muscles. such as better protection against ailments like arthritis and back pain.

3. Better Posture

There’s something commanding about a good posture, and yoga can help you get one. Aside from the aesthetics, though, an improved posture may very well lead to improved health all round. A bad posture can, for instance, cause that feeling of constant fatigue. Improving your posture can also help with muscle and joint pain.

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3 Fun Ways to Reduce Stress

I think we probably all have our little ways of coping when our slow-paced hearts butt heads with this fast-paced world, but personally I’m a huge fan of chamomile tee and lavender bubble baths with real sprigs of lavender. Some folks run marathons and lift heavy things and do many many squats. We all have an idea of what works for us, but sometimes we just need a little something extra.

Here are some simple ideas for you to try:

1.) Hit the pool

It’s summer time here in South Africa and summer should never go to waste. Slip into your bathing suit and take yourself off for a little float. Forget the manic race to improve your length time (or whatever) and just take a few moments to float. Face up. Eyes closed. Slow breathing. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?

A Swedish study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that floating in water triggers the body’s relaxation response, helping lower stress-hormone levels. Even better, nearly 80 percent of the subjects showed improvements such as feeling less tense and depressed. ~ Shape

2. Listen to music

One thing we all got right as teenagers was the fact that music does wonders for that happiness thing that we’re all chasing. Remember back in the days when you weren’t able to go a day without listening to your favourite tunes? Go back there! Listen to music that uplifts you. Listen to music that makes you want to dance. Listen to music that makes you want to sing. And crank up that volume!

3. Cuddle your pet

Studies show that stroking an animal helps to significantly lower tension. It seems like such an insignificant act, but from personal experience I would have to admit that there has been a huge increase in my own personal happiness since I invited a couple of rescue animals to live in my home. (Just remember: when it comes to pets ADOPT DON’T SHOP!)

Do you have an simple stress relieving techniques that you would like to share?

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The Importance of Good Sleep

Ah, Sleep! There’s nothing quite like a good deep sleep to leave you feeling refreshed and ready to start your day. As little as two consecutive nights of bad sleep can leave you feeling groggy and irritable, but good sleep has far more benefits than the otherwise obvious. Sure, a good night’s sleep sets you up for a less grumpy day, and it might help keep those pesky bags-under-the-eye at bay, but good sleep is also worth so much more.

Here are just a few reasons for you to consider a slightly earlier bedtime:

Healthy Brain Function

A good night’s sleep goes a long way to keeping your brain functioning at optimum levels. Sleep prepares you mentally to face the next day and ultimately allows you the capacity to make decisions, solve problems, and cope with change.

Emotional Wellbeing

Lack of sleep can lead to various mental ailments such as stress and depression. Bad sleeping patterns can also lead to difficulty with focus and concentration, which can in turn lead to struggles that ultimately lead to stress and more lack of sleep. Staying out of this vicious cycle is exceptionally important to your sunny disposition.

Physical Health

You body performs all sorts of healing functions while you sleep. The heart and blood vessels especially benefit from a good night’s sleep, lowering your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Immune System

Good sleep plays a vital role in the way your immune system works. Compromised sleep may result in your immune systems response going off kilter, which will lead to your body struggle to fight off even the simplest of colds.

Appetite & Obesity

A good night’s sleep helps to maintain the balance between hunger and satiation hormones. Bad sleeping patterns may cause you to feel unnecessarily hungry all the time. Regular lack of sleep is also known to increase the risk of obesity.