relaxation

The Three R’s

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Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for ALL ages.  It rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to learning and memory function.  On the other hand, not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level.

The three R’s for maintaining a healthy lifestyle have nothing to do with natural resources and waste management, although those are GREAT things to practice for the environment (reduce, reuse and recycle).  Rather, most importantly, the three R’s that need to be a part of our lives consistently are rest, rejuvenate and renewal.

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Rest

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1. Make time for down time.  Consider a leisurely walk or a 5-minute mini meditation.  Just close your eyes and focus only on your breathing for 5 minutes.

2. Follow a routine.  Consider waking up 10 minutes early each day for some simple stretches to start your day rather than jumping into high-speed mode.  Stretch and wind down before bed each night.

3. Give your mind a break.  Consider participating in an activity that directs your mind to full attention on that task.  Fully “be in the moment,” which will give your mind a mental break from a nagging “to do” list.

Rejuvenate

Rejuvenation

1. Schedule your “me” time.  If we don’t take the time to step back from the chaos, even a few minutes each day, and rejuvenate that emotional energy, we soon run out.  We crash.  Carve out a few minutes EACH DAY to catch up with friends, paint your nails, read, go for a jog, or even just meditate.  That small moment can refill your emotional bucket and ready you for the evenings’ madness.

2. Journal.  Take 15 minutes to think of the positives in your day or something you look forward too.  Write.  Practice gratitude.  Being thankful truly is a natural stress-buster and antidepressant.

3. Splurge and get a massage.  Not only will this ease sore muscles and release stress toxins from your body, but you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for life!

Renewal

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1. Get creative.  Creative renewal is such an important part of the creative process.  Every mind goes stale after a while.  You need to empty your cup.   Do you paint?  Start an outline or watercolor.

2. Enjoy the outdoors!  Turn on the Discovery channel or tune into David Attenborough or repeats of the late Steve Irwin to get enthused about this wonderful world you inhabit.  Better yet, get out into your garden or the local park.  Go hiking.  Get down on the grass and watch the ants.  Follow a butterfly or gaze closely at a pretty flower.

3. Embrace your hobbies!  Pleasures can bring a lift to your mood.  Because hobbies generally incorporate pleasures into your life, maintaining hobbies can be good for your overall sense of joy in life.  As well, gratifications can lead to a reduction in stress and a sense of well-being, and hobbies are usually experienced as gratifications.  If you want more happiness and less stress experiences in your life, hobbies provide a direct route to gratifications that can lead to this.

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The three R’s are just as important as maintaining a good diet and exercise for our overall well-being, and quite necessary for our joy and health.

Wishing you all a rejuvenating weekend,

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Yoga for Dumber than Dummies!

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If you remember, I tried Yoga for the first time a few Friday evenings ago and mentioned I would come back and talk about my experience.  To be honest, I have simply put this off because of how ridiculously dumb I felt after my very first EASY Yoga workout.  Oh, and the aches and pains I had for days afterwards…I have felt so ashamed to even share with you all!  I went at this so ill-equipped.

The workout I used I now have come to love.  It is relatively easy and very gentle, and I especially appreciated that there are three instructors to exercise with based on your level of expertise.  You can find this DVD here:Image

I think the most important thing one can do before a Yoga workout is to review the different postures, especially if you have never performed Yoga before.  That was my first mistake!  It was very difficult watching the TV at the same time as I was engaging in the exercises, which I had never before done, and I truly believe this caused my neck to ache for days afterwards.  Yoga is supposed to relax you, and all I felt was extreme stress during my first workout because I had not properly prepared.

Here is a great site for a simple review of basic Yoga positions as well as more advanced techniques for relaxation, prenatal and back pain: www.yogadownload.com.

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Secondly, water is so very important after a work out.  Why?  Some yoga exercises squeeze and soak your kidneys, which releases toxins in your body. You need to drink water to help flush out those toxins.  I did not do this, rather I had a glass of wine!  Dumber than a dummy!  All my body toxins just settled back to their original locations and it felt like they multiplied because I felt so stressed trying to get the positions right!  I truly could hardly move the next morning.

Breathing is another important part of Yoga.  I found I was holding my breath through many of the exercises!

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You should have the ideal automatic breathing pattern.  This slow and relaxed diaphragmatic breathing pattern provides the human body with superior body oxygenation: about 2-3 minutes for the DIY body-oxygen test (stress free breath holding time after usual exhalation). There are many other effects that correspond to the ideal breathing pattern. You can find them on many Web pages devoted to the ideal breathing pattern for Yoga.

Additionally, the body and cells require oxygen 24/7.  (A Yoga novice can practice in the best yoga sessions, but if he or she sleeps on their back at night, or breathes through the mouth while sleeping, all the positive effects of yoga practice will be demolished by tissue hypoxia and free radicals generated during sleep.)

Here are some other additional Yoga tips I have discovered:

Motivation for Yoga
You should examine your motivation behind trying Yoga. Many students are happy with improved form and physique. To this end, they try impossible poses which may be beyond their capacity. They should remember that Yoga has physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits.  Sometimes, instead of trying a difficult pose, the student may be better served performing a simple one.  

Don’t Try for Yoga Perfection
You may have seen perfect Yoga poses in a picture or video. Do not try to imitate the seeming perfection of the pose. It may have been morphed, for all you know. Striving towards superficial Yoga perfection can be dangerous. So, do not sacrifice your body trying the perfect pose. Rather than trying to contort yourself into a pretzel, focus on how your mind and emotions feel when you do Yoga.

Form Over Feeling
One of the main Yoga dangers is putting form ahead of feeling. This tendency is becoming widespread, leading to increasing Yoga injuries.

Yoga Injuries
Straining too hard can cause back injury, bone spurs or tendonitis. These injuries can be slow to manifest. Even some seniors, denying their age, try to perform poses which are too difficult for them. Take care not to fall into this trap. Trying too hard can cause injuries which may take many years to manifest. And, it may take some more years to rectify the damage. Therefore, do Yoga poses within your limitations to prevent injuries.

Summary

I really hope my mistakes and tips about Yoga have helped you!  Remember to relax, breathe and know your Yoga positions before attempting a DVD, and especially drink your water after your workout!  If you are just beginning Yoga or are interested in giving it a try, taking a class with others is a fantastic idea to have hands on guidance with your session.  Otherwise, if you already enjoy Yoga as part of your lifestyle, I think you would really enjoy the DVD I myself use.

Have a lovely weekend,

Wendy