Practicing Yoga in the Morning

Practicing yoga in the morning reduces your stress, which improves your focus for other tasks such as work or school. A research reported that one hour of morning yoga practice, including meditation, reduced stress and improved confidence, leading to better performance throughout the day. There are so many awesome reasons to practice yoga first thing in the morning.

Yogic breathing stimulates your body and mind. All that fresh oxygen wakes up the brain like a jolt of caffeine. Yet, unlike coffee, the energy boost from deep-breathing lasts all day. Morning yoga will help you to feel more energized, helping you to be more productive during the day. After your hour-long practice, you’ll feel increased clarity of mind, ready to face your day brighter and more alive. This means that you will be able to accomplish more in less time during your work day.

Practicing yoga early in the morning will also set the tone for your whole day. It will calm and center you before you have to step out into the chaos of life. You will be ready for any situation that comes your way. That traffic jam? – No worries, you did yoga. Grumpy boss? – Just remember to inhale and exhale. Each early-morning session will remind you to set an intention to practice kindness, compassion and love. Others can feel that, and the world will start to reflect that peace back at you.

Aside from that, the stretching in yoga makes your body tighter, lighter and brighter. It raises serotonin levels, endorphins and other feel-good chemicals and that will all show up in the glow of your skin. Studies show people who practice yoga can actually slow down the aging of the heart, liver and kidneys. All of your insides will reflect on the outside. You eyes will be brighter. Your skin will have a glow. Your body will feel taller and longer. Your immune system will be stronger.

In addition, yoga also helps speed up your metabolic rate, which means that you can eat more and burn calories faster. When you practice yoga early in the day, you improve your digestion and food will burn up faster, and more nutrients will move through your body. When you have enough nutrients moving through efficiently, then your body metabolizes fats and carbohydrates faster and your insides will be running at tip-top speed and efficiency, so you can have that second bowl of granola and don’t sweat it!

Here’s a video of morning yoga poses to get your engine started early in the day.

Importance of Sleep to the Body and Soul

Do you often wonder why you feel tired sometimes or maybe even all the time? Since the invention of the light bulb people sleep much less, approximately 500 hours a year, or 1.25 hours a day. While the exact mechanism of sleep and how it impacts our brain function, it is clear that science knows that sleep is one of the body’s most important processes.

Overnight, the body’s cells are renewed, the body’s digestive system is at rest and the brain becomes only partially active which is why we feel so refreshed after a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation is the cause of many physical and mental problems including poor concentration, digestive problems, depression and accelerated aging. Over time sleep deprivation can also result in blurry vision and impaired judgement, while severe sleep deprivation can result in hallucinations, mania and nausea. Usually getting a good night’s sleep alleviates these symptoms but chronic sleep deprivation (such as night shift workers such as doctors and nurses, or mothers with newborn or sick children), may require longer periods of sleeping.

The way in which you treat your body can have a profound impact on your body, mind and soul balance. The body has its own natural rhythms that are designed to uphold its state of balance. This includes the natural cycle of sleep.  If our bodies are not functioning properly, it is a sign that there is disharmony in our body, mind and soul.

Here are some helpful tips you should remember the next time you sleep.

  • As a general rule, you should aim for 7 hours sleep a night. If you know you require less, make sure you get your minimum sleeping hours so that you are fully functioning during waking hours.
  • Have a routine for sleeping hours and try to stick to it.
  • Make your bed and your bedroom enticing to go to sleep in. Make sure it is quiet, dark and warm.
  • Do some form of relaxation before going to sleep. Yoga, stretching, meditation or reading can help orient the body and mind for sleep.
  • Don’t do any computer work directly before going to sleep. The brightness of computer monitors stimulates the brain.
  • Avoid large meals just before bed. Try to keep your dinner portions to a minimum and eat at least 2 hours before going to sleep.

So get the right amount of sleep to bring harmony with your body and soul!

Injury in Sports

The most common sports-related injuries primarily are overuse injuries. As the name implies, an overuse injury results from wear and tear on the body, particularly on joints subjected to repeated activity.

By far, the most common sport that leads to injury is running. According to James Garrick, MD, director of the Center for Sports Medicine at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco, running jars the body from the foot all the way up into the back. He has seen more runners than any other recreational athletes in his clinic, followed by those who participate in dance (including aerobics), tennis, skiing, basketball, gymnastics, football, soccer and figure skating.

 The most common sports injuries are sprains and strains, knee injuries, swollen muscles, achilles tendon injuries, pain along the shin bone, fractures and dislocations.

Certain types of injuries plague sports participants. Most of them, however, are minor. Knowing the early signs and what to do can help prevent them from becoming nagging problems. Here’s a video to give you more information on how to prevent sports injuries.

If you get hurt, you must stop performing the sport, because continuing to play or exercise can cause more harm. You can limit swelling and start healing faster after common sports injuries by using the PRICE principle:

  • P — protect from further injury. For more severe injuries, protect the injured area with a splint, pad, or crutch.
  • R — restrict activity. Restricting activity will prevent worsening of the injury.
  • I — apply ice. Apply ice immediately after a common sports injury. “Ice is the miracle drug” for sports injuries, says Putukian. “It’s an anti-inflammatory, without many side effects.” Use ice for 20 minutes every one to two hours for the first 48 hours after the injury. Don’t use heat during this time — it encourages swelling and inflammation.
  • C — apply compression. Compression with an elastic bandage will help reduce swelling.
  • E — elevate the injured area. Elevating the injured area above the heart will also reduce swelling.

Over-the-counter pain relievers usually relieve the pain of common sports injuries to a tolerable level. If they don’t, it’s probably time to see a doctor. You can also opt to go for a sports massage where your sore and tired muscles are gently rubbed and allowed to eventually heal. Be tough and smart in playing your favorite sport!