By Abbe Baker for Clean Plates shares tips from experts on how to achieve your goals and make this your best year yet.
6 Simple Ways To Stick To Your 2017 Goals
We’re now three full months into 2017. By now, it’s likely you’ve abandoned some or all of those amazing New Year’s resolutions you made. Don’t worry—this is perfectly normal. There’s still plenty of time to make this your best year yet. We asked some experts to give us their top tips and tricks to help you reset your goals and stay on track:
SET REALISTIC GOALS
You swore you would go sugar-free. And also go to the gym for an hour every day forever. And also never eat bread again. But, perhaps a gentler approach might work better. Try making your goals more attainable, and start by knowing where you are currently, suggests Jose Luis Beltran, fitness manager at Rancho La Puerta. “Knowing where you are in order to know where you’re going is a key element for a successful wellness program,” he tells Clean Plates. “A simple assessment will help set up measurable goals.”
Once you’ve been on your wellness path for a while, “check in with yourself six to eight weeks later to measure your progress,” Beltran says. “This will help you decide whether to modify or continue with your current regimen.”
Tiffany Cruikshank, author of Meditate Your Weight and founder of Yoga Medicine, uses moderation to keep herself (or get herself back) on track: “My focus is on picking one to two days a week to enjoy the sugar, alcohol, or bread I cut out at the beginning of the year without going overboard,” she says. “The key is to slowly ease back into moderation to keep the momentum moving in a healthy direction.”
Click here to read the full article on Clean Plates.
Rachel Land for Yoga Journal discusses how to improve the function and fitness of your fascia, and how to incorporate it into your fitness routines.
How “Fit” Is Your Fascia?
Senior Yoga Medicine teacher Rachel Land says don’t worry if you’ve never considered the health of your fascia. As a yogi, you may already be doing what you need to anyway. Here, she outlines what it takes.
Fascia has long been overlooked in favor of muscles but has been receiving some much-deserved attention as of late. As fascia expert Gil Hedley, Ph.D., says: “If you want to understand human movement, study fascia!”
But this soft tissue component of the connective tissue system isn’t new—in fact, researchers like Robert Schleip, Ph.D., director of the Fascia Research Project in Germany, and Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains, have been studying it for years. Our understanding of fascia and how it functions has a long way to go. But, their work offers some interesting insights into how you can help your fascia function better. And it’s a little more involved than running on the treadmill! The work of Schleip and his team suggests that healthy fascia requires a new approach—the involvement of the whole body, as well as the mind.
Please visit Yoga Journal to read the rest of Rachel’s article.
Confidence is key. A common mantra, but is it easier said than done? Try these three simple beginner yoga poses to boost your confidence, so you can take on the world.
It will come as no surprise when I say that our body language, or non-verbal communication, governs how other people perceive us. Whether you walk into the center of a room and stand tall or cower into the corner, your choice of body language will inevitably determine how people react to you.
However, the impact of the subconscious messaging doesn’t stop here. Scientific research suggests that not only does your body language determine how other people perceive you, it also defines how you perceive yourself too. For example, if you stand up tall with your arms reaching high above your head, you can send a message of confidence to your mind. In contrast, if you sit down with arms and legs crossed you send the opposite message to your mind.
So, if our body language can govern how we think and feel about ourselves then we can certainly use our yoga practice to modify our internal dialogue and improve our confidence. BKS Iyengar once said, “Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.” So, the next time you feel a little anxious about an important meeting or nervous before an interview, here are 3 simple yoga poses to help improve your confidence:
Warrior 1 (Virabradrasana A)
Research suggests that if you want to trick your mind into feeling confident, you need to make yourself physically big and occupy the space around you. The strength and stability required to practice Warrior 1 is a perfect option for this as the name itself suggests. Imagine that you are a Warrior! In order to practice Warrior 1, step your front foot forward with the toes pointing straight towards the front of your mat whilst you back foot is at 45-degree angle.
Your feet aren’t on a tightrope here; have a little space between your feet so that you are able to square hips to the front of the mat. Bend into your front knee and notice that your knee is directly above your ankle or less. With your hips facing forward, find a neutral positioning of the pelvis. As you raise your arms up straight above your head, ensure that your shoulders are relaxed as you draw your shoulder blades towards one another and broaden your chest. There is a tendency here to flare into the front ribs so notice that you are using your core muscles here by knitting the front ribs back.
If you want to feel confident, stand tall and proud like a tree! From standing, shift your weight onto the left foot, keeping the inner foot firm to the floor, and bend your right knee. Draw your right foot up and place the sole against the inner left thigh, inner calf muscle or inner ankle with your toes touching the floor. Avoid placing your foot directly against the knee of the standing leg.
Notice that the center of your pelvis is directly over the left foot. Place your hands on the top rim of your pelvis to make sure that it is parallel to the floor. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Firmly press the right foot sole against the inner thigh/ calf or ankle and resist with the outer left leg. Raise your arms straight above your head, making sure that you keep your shoulders relaxed. Gaze softly at a fixed point in front of you on the floor about 4 or 5 feet away. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Step back to standing with an exhalation and repeat for the same length of time on the other leg.
Supine Butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Holding a pose, such as Supta Badha Konasana is an effective way to apply a gentle stretch to pectoral minor muscle. Pec minor is a postural muscle and one of its main actions is to bring the shoulder carriage forward. As we spend so much of our time with our shoulders in a hunched position (driving a car, on the computer or carrying children). This small but vitally important muscle can become pretty tight which results in poor posture as the shoulders roll excessively in towards one another.
Roll up your yoga mat until it’s diameter is between 3-4 inches. Lie back onto the rolled up mat so it supports the length of your spine and your shoulder blades can rest on either side of the mat. At this point, make sure the mat supports your head and you may need to adjust the diameter to make sure it is comfortable for you. Bend your knees and let them fall out to the side while you bring the soles of your feet together into Badha Konasana. Place your arms into ‘cactus’, making sure that your elbows are at the same height or higher than your shoulders. Practice this pose for 3-5 minutes, paying close attention to your breath by seeing if you can make your exhalation longer than your inhalation.
So if you are feeling down, depressed or anxious, you can take 10 minutes out of your day to establish a daily routine with these 3 simple postures. Practice the poses in this order at the start of each day to prepare your mind for whatever challenges lie ahead and notice how you can use your body to transform your mind.
About the Author:
Alice Louise Blunden is a London-based certified 500-hour Yoga Medicine teacher, primary school teacher, Teach First ambassador, language lover, kitesurfer, windsurfer, skier and traveller. She is honoured to be working with Tiffany as a Yoga Medicine teacher while continuing her education through the Yoga Medicine 1000-hour Master Teacher Training Program.
Lisa Marie Conklin for Readers Digest shares 11 weird sleep hacks from experts to help on those nights when you just can’t sleep.
11 Weird Tricks That Really Do Help You Go to Sleep
Can’t sleep? Maybe it’s time to try something a little different. These tricks from sleep experts may seem weird at first, but for some people, they are a one-way ticket to sweet slumber. Below is Tiffany Cruikshank’s tip for a falling asleep with ease.
Do a body scan
A body scan may conjure up images of an airport security check but a body scan can be an effective sleep trick to promote sleep according to Tiffany Cruikshank, L.A.c., MAOM, founder of Yoga Medicine and author of Meditate Your Weight. “The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for our ability to relax and fall asleep and body scanning is a simple technique that utilizes this by bringing awareness to the body one point at a time to bring that body back to a more coherent and relaxed state,” says Cruikshank.
“Close your eyes and turn your attention to the natural movement of your breath. Feel yourself relax there for a moment. Then begin by noticing the sensations at the top of the head, the face, scalp, and then the neck. Then, bring your attention to the right shoulder, arm, and then hand and repeat on the left side. Next notice your upper chest, abdomen, upper back, and mid- and low-back in that order. Lastly notice the right hip, leg, and foot then repeat on the left side. End with your awareness in both feet and then on the body as a whole.” Try not to favor any specific area or start judging specific body parts you don’t like. In 10 to 20 minutes, you should be ready for a peaceful slumber. Yoga is so much more than deep breathing: Find out what other benefits await when you say “om.”
You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. No pressure. So if you are looking for enlightenment, guidance, transformation, self-study, awareness, and growth, start with this list of the best yoga books! These are our top picks of what to read if you are ready to be the best version of you. We even included a selection for our young readers. This is also perfect to share with the little ones in your commitment to wisdom and evolution. This list includes playfulness and a light heart as well as some very deep soul searching and chakra work. Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body!
We are honored to have Tiffany’s book, Meditate Your Weight, listed on Yoga Digest’s list of Top Reads!
Meditate Your Weight:
Internationally renowned master yoga teacher and meditation, health and wellness expert, Tiffany Cruikshank (Lac, MAOM) offers an exciting way to use meditation: to lose weight and revamp your body-brain relationship with Meditate Your Weight. Meditate Your Weight provides a daily meditation program to guide you through various mental obstacles and poor habits and behaviors that stand in the way of positive body image and living a healthy life. Meditate Your Weight will help retrain your brain to rid your life of unhealthy mental habits, calm your nervous system, and maximize your mind’s role in a healthy metabolism.
By Locke Hughes for WebMD shares 5 healthy morning habits that kick-start your day and set you up for overall health.
5 Morning Habits Health Experts Swear By
Every morning, the choices you make can set the tone for your entire day and affect your health, for better or worse. Unfortunately, we all know how easy it is to get off track when you feel pulled in a million directions as soon as the alarm goes off. Still, creating healthy a.m. habits pays off. Making time for a balanced breakfast, for example, helps you stay at a healthy weight and can stabilize blood sugar levels. Morning workouts are also a boon for your body: People who exercise in the morning may burn more body fat and stress less.
Plus, there’s more to a successful morning routine than eating right and exercising. Many top health experts take advantage of the quiet morning hours to set goals and practice mindfulness, which is a research-backed way to boost your brainpower, increase focus, handle stress better, and improve your relationships. Read on to learn the top five ways health experts take care of their physical (and mental) health every single a.m.
Yoga Medicine®’s is a trademark used to identify products and services offered, related to the study and practice of yoga. None of these products or services involve the practice of medicine or take the place of medical consultation. We urge you to consult a physician or other health care professional of your choice before undertaking any form of exercise, including yoga, to make sure that it is safe and appropriate for you.
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