Can Anyone Do Yoga

Often, the images of yoga ingrained in our minds are those of super-fit yogis performing seemingly impossible physical feats, leading us to believe that yoga is only for a select few. However, the good news is that anyone can take up the discipline and experience its numerous benefits, and all it takes is a few guidelines to consider before joining the class, which we shall also discover as we read on.

To begin with, the main focus of yoga is achieving inner peace by reconnecting with your innermost being. This helps us define our purpose, know who we are, why we exist, and what we need out of life. All of us need an answer to these critical life questions and therefore yoga is crucial for all of us.

Other Benefits of Yoga

It is best to point out that even though inner peace may be the focus, the following benefits can never be ignored due to their sheer importance:

• Increased flexibility and mobility

• Improved respiration

• Stronger and more toned muscles

• Better blood circulation

• Improved metabolism

• Prevention of muscular and skeletal injuries

And now that we have outlined some of the key benefits, let’s look at what you need to consider before joining the next class.

A Few Guidelines for Joining the Yoga Class

1. Get Time for Yourself

The hustle and bustle of modern living often leave us with no time for ourselves. And yet, in order to make sense of the world we live in, we need to take time from it all, sit still, and think. Yoga is perfect for that. It’s the quickest way to recharge our batteries. Paying for the next class is only the first step: finding time to actually attend the class is just as important.

2. Look for the Most Convenient Class

It is crucial that your class can easily fit into your daily routine. Give yourself an allowance for delays such as traffic jams. And be honest with yourself, know when your body works best. A morning person will find the morning class invigorating while an evening person may struggle a bit in the morning but be the star of the evening class. You could also choose the option to practice from home due to time constraints.

3. The Yogi is an Understanding Person

The yogi is still on a journey to achieve inner peace, just like the beginner joining the class today. They are understanding people who are not judgemental or on a fault-finding mission and will always be ready to help you get the best out of yourself. Therefore, if your yogi is showy, a brag or acts impatient, and this is rare, then it is time for you to consider changing classes.

4. If Having a Chronic Condition See Your Doctor First

Before joining the class, it is best to consider whether you have any chronic conditions for which you need the doctor’s opinion before you proceed. Yoga is a versatile discipline and your trainer can design a regime that fits your needs in the event that your physician advises caution but does not forbid you from the class, which is frequently the case.

Good luck. And welcome to this amazing yoga journey of self-discovery which anyone can be a part of.

4 Successful Weight Loss Strategies

Most people who set out to lose weight fail to reach their goals. Losing weight is by no means easy, but many of these failures can be attributed to sub optimal strategies. You have to get your ducks in a row if you want to be successful in your efforts. This requires knowledge, planning and consistency as well as the ability to adapt to unexpected life changes. If you have some extra weight to lose, use these 4 proven strategies to optimize your approach and increase your chances of success.

1. Make a Firm Commitment

There is a subtle difference between trying your best and making a commitment to succeed. The latter leaves no room for failure. When you make a firm commitment to reaching your goals, you are basically promising yourself that you will not quit until you hit your target. This is the kind of commitment that is required, as life will inevitably throw you a few curves balls along the way. You have to roll with the punches, deal with setbacks and, most importantly, keep going.

2. Motivate Yourself

Change must come from within, and this goes for motivation as well. No one can give you motivation or keep you on task if you let your fire go out. For the first few weeks, before the novelty wears off, you will probably enjoy going to the gym and eating healthy. Unfortunately, this enjoyment will come to an end soon after. You will get tired of eating grilled chicken and broccoli, you will loathe going to the gym and you will begin fantasizing about sitting on the couch all day eating donuts.

Most people throw in the towel at this point. In order to stay on the wagon, you must find ways to keep yourself motivated. You can use inspirational photos, quotes, people at your gym and anything else that will keep you motivated to continue. The important thing is to find some way to carry on and fight through the boredom and discomfort that come with sticking to a weight loss program.

3. Set Concrete Goals

Setting goals is an important part of the process, but not just any goals will do. Your goals should be aggressive, specific and realistic. You should also set both process and outcome goals. Getting to the gym five days per week is a process goal, while losing five pounds by May 1st is an outcome goal. As far as being realistic goes, most dieters can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week with a good nutrition and exercise regimen in place.

4. Stay Active

Staying active involves more than going to the gym a couple times each week, as this will hardly be enough if you spend the rest of your week being sedentary. Shoot for 3 to 5 workouts per week, but get in some activity in between workouts as well. Take the stairs, bike to the store, go for a walk and take advantage of any other opportunities you have to get off your butt and burn some extra calories. Over the course of several months, those extra calories burned will make a significant difference.

Foods You Should Stop Eating

Moderation is the key to good long-term health, but there are some foods that are so unhealthy, the only sane approach is to eliminate them from the diet altogether. These foods not only lack nutritional value of any kind, but also contain ingredients that have proven to be unequivocally detrimental to our health. Will a bite or sip of these foods compromise your health? Probably not, but consuming them with any frequency is not recommended.

Soda

It is hard to pick the worst offender from the list of ingredients in soda, but only because they are all so bad. Carbonated soft drinks contain high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate and phosphoric acid; ingredients that lead to tooth decay, insulin resistance, allergies, eczema, asthma, mineral depletion and osteoporosis. In addition, soda is very high in both sugar and calories, and does nothing to satiate hunger. People who drink soda regularly throughout their lives are prone to obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. Consuming empty calories like those in soda makes it very difficult to lose or even maintain weight, so dieters should avoid it at all costs.

Fried Foods

Many of us love eating fried foods. After all, they can be quite crispy and delicious. However, when you think about coating something in simple carbohydrates and allowing it to absorb hot oil for a few minutes, it is easy to see that this is not a very healthy method of cooking. In some cases, frying foods actually doubles the amount of calories in a meal without adding any useful nutrients. Eating fried foods has been shown to increase the prevalence of cancer, and it also correlates quite highly with obesity. Baking, poaching and sautéing are all vastly superior to frying, and these methods should be used as an alternative by those who wish to make healthier dietary choices.

Fast Food

Fast food seduces consumers with cheap, salty, fatty foods that are almost completely devoid of nutritional value. The average fast food meal contains over 800 calories, which is nearly half of what the average adult needs to consume in an entire day. These calories are disproportionally made up of non-essential fats and simple carbohydrates. There are no fresh vegetables, fruits, or whole grains, and lean protein sources are hard to come by. Foods can be judged by their ratio of nutrients to calories, and fast foods summarily fail this test with the lowest possible marks.

Commercial Baked Goods

Baked goods are generally quite unhealthy, and commercial baked goods are much worse than those prepared “from scratch.” The former contain all of the sugars and starches of the latter with the addition of trans-fatty acids to lengthen the time they can remain fresh on the shelves. These trans fats have been linked to heart disease and hypercholesterolemia, and have been banned in many locales because of these dangers. If you must consume baked goods, opt for the homemade variety and save them for special occasions, as their high calorie content and lack of vital nutrients make them a poor choice for regular consumption.

Foods that can easily replace Gluten

Everyone is worried about being healthy, keeping fit, whole foods, and dieting. On that list of famous diets is the gluten free foods. But what exactly is gluten and what are the effects of indulging in gluten foods? Gluten is a protein that is common in cereal crops that include wheat, barley, rye and trirticale. It is a protein that binds the cereal structure thus giving it its shape. These are ingredients that constitute a large fraction of the foods that we eat ranging from bread, pasta, tortillas, cakes, cookies, beer, gravy, sauces, soups, and the list goes on and on! Now you might have gotten the picture as to exactly how hard it is to avoid gluten. Hard as it may be it is not entirely an impossible feat.

There are great number of foods, sweet and savoury that can quite easily replace gluten. While this may largely include entirely avoiding the very ingredients that contain gluten, it doesn’t mean a boring plate. While it can hide in a lot of the ingredients that are available a basic rule of thumb is to avoid processed foods first and foremost. Next fill your grocery basket with lots of vegetables and fruit. These will keep that sweet tooth occupied so when your cravings for cookies hit, have strawberries and bananas instead. Now for the hardest part, replace the carbs with other whole grains. These would include rice, flax, amaranth, soy, teff, quinoa, corn, and buckwheat. The list is long, but clearly this already caters for all our baking and pastry needs.

While whole sweet fruits are most recommended, one should be extra cautious of apricots, mangoes, melons, papaya, prunes, and pineapple. Ensure that these along with the fore mentioned grains are used with minimal processing if any. For proteins, legumes and nuts are the most preferred source. Most dairy products as well as fresh eggs and meat that has not been batter-coated are excellent gluten free alternatives. Beer may be off this list but red wine easily replaces beer. For that sweet kick in pastries and even teas and coffee, gluten free solutions are available in dark chocolate and sweeteners such as stevia which is not only gluten free but also low in calories. Call it killing two birds with one stone.

While considering to delve into the gluten free foods zone may seem easy, it’s possible to still indulge in it unknowingly. While potatoes and potato flour are safe, it is present in flavored potato chips. Therefore avoid the following foods; soy sauce, soups and sauces containing thickeners, condiments that are not from fresh blend spices, seitan commonly known as vegan meat, coffee substitutes, pickles, hot dogs and other processed meat products.

The secret is to be able to discern the four sources, avoid them and keep an eye open for the less conspicuous culprits. Gluten has been linked to various ailments and disorders with irritable bowel syndrome being top on that list. Stay healthy.