5 Ways to Modify Yoga Poses as We Age!

1. More  Stretching
Always begin by stretching. Muscles need to be warm to function effectively, maybe as long as 12-15  minutes. You can include;   twists, cross-legged forward bends, stretching with arms overhead and doing a twist in both directions and side bends,  extended forward standing bend with arms over head and some knee flexes from side to side. Watch you flexibility continue to increase.

2. More Restorative Postures
Bringing the body to balance and flexibility is a benefit of any yoga practice. However, an extended focus on restorative yoga postures is a grounding and calming experience. It’s a way to let go of mind clutter and decompress from a stressful day. Putting your legs up the wall is a great posture to fully open your heart and pay more attention to the breath. Child’s pose is another way to be fully present to your mind, body and spirit.

3. More Neck Rolls
Neck rolls sound simple, right? You may think it’s kind of an okay thing to do in yoga, but the neck roll movement is so very important to the base of our neck, upper back, shoulders and to the all around line of our spine. One intention in yoga is to keep the neck vertebrae in line with the vertebrae of the spin, which forms a straight line from the crown of the head down to the lumber and sacrum. So spend more time with head rolls rather than glossing through it.

4. More Knee Work in Chaturanga
Putting your knees down first on the floor. That puts less weight on your back, shoulder and arms as you lower yourself down to the mat. This will still strengthen all the muscles involved in the upper back and arms,  without the added physical stress.

5. More Time in Savasana
Savasana or corpse pose is the most important posture in a yoga practice. Don’t get antsy because most everything you want to do can wait! With a more meditative and purposeful yoga practice, you give yourself due and mindful respect.  Feel the benefits of letting go and gaining acceptance as you end your practice.

ACCEPTANCE
Sometimes a (temporary) physical limitation or healing injury can teach you more about the profound benefits of yoga than you could imagine. Go for the longevity of your yoga and meditation practice. Honor your body with greater awareness. Each one of us is perfectly imperfect!

adapted & edited from HuffingtonPost

Top 3 Health Benefits of Hugging

Hugging is an extremely positive form of communication. It expresses the values of love, approval, gratitude and forgiveness. Hugging is a great form of emotional satisfaction, but it also has some surprising health benefits
1. Hugging reduces the risk of heart diseases

High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. Studies have also shown that hugging lowers blood pressure and with it reduces the risk of heart diseases. For people with weak hearts or high blood pressure, this one is probably the most important one from all the health benefits of hugging.

2. Hugging relieves stress and makes you feel calmer

Several studies have shown that hugging makes you happier (what a surprise!). Hugs increase the level of hormone called oxytocin. This hormone is a trigger for bonding and caring responses. This hormone makes you feel calmer and less anxious.

3. Hugging is good for your relationship

When you think about it – it´s pretty obvious. But do you know, how hugging is good for your relationship? Hugging releases the hormones serotonin and dopamine. Those hormones make you feel good and lift your mood. As a result you feel more closer to the person who makes you feel good. Good relationship has also a positive effect on your overall health.

Those were the top 3 health benefits of hugging. But there are also other health benefits of hugging that should inspire you to hug more – longevity, stronger immune system and higher self-esteem. Some studies have even shown that hugging reduces some symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Please share so we all feel better!

Thank you  Good Relaxation


Golden Mushroom Soup

Golden Mushroom Soup       mushroom soup

1      yellow onion , diced
2      tablespoons olive oil
3      cups fresh shiitaki or miitakes mushrooms, slice
4      cup vegetable stock or water
2      teaspoons sea salt
1/4    cup parsley, finely chopped
2      teaspoons garlic, crushed
1/2    teaspoon thyme
1      dash black pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons kudzu
3 to 4 tablespoons tamari

Heat oil in a cooking pot and sauté the onions for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper, crushed garlic, and half the parsley. Sauté for 2 minutes longer. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes longer. Add the thyme. Blend the kudzu with 1/2 cup water and gradually stir into the soup. Simmer 5 minutes longer. Add the tamari. Pour into serving bowls and garnish with parsley and/or croutons.


Little Value and Possible Harm in Taking Vitamins

“In the modern world, the abundant supply of a wide variety of foods makes it possible to satisfy virtually all nutritional needs by eating a healthful, balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and protein sources. But based on the idea that more of a good thing is better, companies are now selling Americans $12 billion worth of vitamins a year. Many scientists and doctors, however, question the value of gobbling vitamins—and there is evidence that large doses of some vitamins may actually be harmful. A recent long-term study of more than 400,000 people concluded that ‘most vitamin supplements have no clear benefit’ and warned that excess vitamin E and beta-carotene may actually weaken the immune system’s ability to kill cancer cells. ‘The case is closed,’ the study authors wrote. ‘Enough is enough.’”

Source: “Too much of a good thing,” THE WEEK, July 18, 2014


5 Top Reasons to Pracitce Yoga at All Ages

1. Cognitive Resiliencyolder people doing yoga

Yoga’s process of drawing distinction between body parts, sensations and degrees of effort supports increased self-awareness, and balance. By coordinating different and often contrasting regions of the body, both sides of the brain communicate better, which could be linked to improved memory and decision-making skills.

Engaging in new physical routines builds and strengthens brain pathways. This action of neuroplasticity has been shown to increase intelligence.

2. Improved Circulation

Breathing practices alone will help to increase movement in the upper back and chest at a time in the aging process where this region is often stiff, dehydrated and compressed. Regular yoga practice can also act as a preventative measure for pneumonia in older populations that are especially vulnerable to this sometimes fatal condition.

When gravity has been pressing down on the sphincters, vessels and cavities of our bodies for decades, the fullness of circulation can deplete and pulmonary issues are more likely. With age and habit, connective tissues harden, leading to discomfort and inflammation.

The dynamic movement sequences in a typical yoga class cause pressure and release for the organs and connective tissues that hold the body together, thought to work like a gentle massage for these areas. Whenever we increase blood flow to an area of the body, that innate healing intelligence activates, improving our odds to fit off stress and its consequences.

3. Sustained Strength and Flexibility

With age, our joints and bones become more vulnerable to fractures and inflammation, but yoga’s signature method of low-impact, resistance training builds muscle tone and strength. Even a gentle practice with just a few weight-bearing poses can help retain strength and stave off issues related to arthritis. That adage about “being set in their ways” isn’t so far off in this case. Habits and a more sedentary lifestyle will atrophy muscle tissue, causing weakness and poor circulation. But, hatha yoga encourages the body to lengthen muscle fibers that are often short and stressed, increasing flexibility and also resiliency.

4. Improved Focus and Willpower

Concentrating is difficult enough in our busy, over-stimulated modern world.  When that kapha influence of laying low and keeping cool are the signature influences of this stage of life, willpower and the motivation to exercise or meditate can be daunting (especially if regular exercise and mindfulness work isn’t part of the daily routine). A regular hath yoga practice can quell the stiff inertia of immobility without the over-exertion of more athletic exercise programs.

5. To Maintain Well-being

Getting into the healthy habit of a regular yoga practice promotes socializing, sharing and community building. Mindfulness, resiliency in the body-mind, and honoring the aging process for what it is, all help to maintain wellness. Living a healthy, active life aids in increasing the feel-good hormones in the brain that elevate mood. Also, having cross-generations mingle together in the supportive environment of a yoga class sets a great model for younger generations who have outdated ideas about what it means to grow older.

Like wise-elders types – can dole out some pretty wonderful insights about growing up and getting closer to death. They talk about  how yoga makes them feel young and strong.

If we are really only as young as our spine is healthy, could you imagine what our world would be like if our oldest tribe members were backbending their way to the grave. 

Via Niki Saccareccia’s blog