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Yoga Helps Relieve Back to School Anxiety for Students and Teachers

First day of school jitters ensue this time of year for students and teachers alike. Just a few nasty side effects of back-to-school anxiety include  constipation, diarrhea, insomnia, and headaches. Your first reaction may be to pop a pill, but thankfully, yoga can help, too.

Practice these simple yoga poses in the morning before school and in the evening before bed to calm your nerves, clear your mind, and release stress and tension.

Easy Pose to Feel Grounded

More comfortable than trying to twist and tweak your knees in lotus pose, Easy Pose offers the same calming effect in mind and body. You don’t have to be a pro at meditation, either. This pose is appropriate for anyone willing to be more centered.
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Dispelling 3 Fears That Keep People From Practicing Yoga

I recently met a young woman at the farmers market who was inquiring about taking one of my yoga classes. After a few minutes of discussing the many varieties of yoga, she told me she was hesitant to try it for the first time because she was convinced that with the rising popularity of yoga, everyone by now must already be so advanced.

Not wanting to feel like a total beginner in a sea of what she thought would be only svelte and lithe yogis, she voiced her discouragement.

It is not uncommon for people to feel like they’ve lost their chance to try yoga for the first time because they are under the false impression that they will be too far behind compared with the masses who have been practicing for several years. While years of practice may yield impressive poses, yoga is really meant to inspire happiness.

The following are three fear-busting truths that beginner yoga aspirants should read, believe, and share with other soon-to-be yogis to alleviate anxiety or doubt about trying yoga for the first time.
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Teens May Benefit from Yoga More than Traditional Physical Education Classes

Attention high school teachers! Do you find yourself rushing to yoga after school to help you deal with the stress of being around teenagers all day? Perhaps you do, and you go because you know after an hour of yoga you will feel better, calmer, and have more energy for an evening of grading papers. It is generally understood that after practicing yoga, your mind will be clearer and as a result, you won’t stress over the little things that would otherwise bog you down and wear you out.

But if you are stressed from being around teens all day, how do you think the teens feel after constantly being around each other? Peer pressure, hormones, social anxieties and low self-esteem are all components that contribute to having a high level of stress.

The Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics recently piloted a study to determine the psychological effects of yoga on high school students. Led by Jessica Noggle of the Harvard Medical School in Boston, the results of the study concluded positive benefits of yoga on teenagers.

For ten weeks, one group of teenagers participated in regular physical education classes, while the other group practiced Kripalu yoga; a style of yoga that consists of yoga poses, breathing exercises and meditation. Prior to the start of the PE or yoga program, and after ten weeks of attendance in class, students completed a run of psychologically focused tests. Testing included measuring states of anxiety, tension and mood.


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Go Ahead Talk: Some Gossip Can Offer Health Benefits

Many of us are bashing Paula Deen for her diet choices, raking Mitt Romney over the coals for acting like every other politician, or clamoring over reasons why Jillian Michaels decided to leave The Doctors. You might be shaking your head if you are one of the rare Americans who doesn’t really care who has diabetes, or who lied to the media, or who is keeping their personal decisions private. But, according to scientists from the University of California in Berkeley, gossip may be good for our health.

Gossip is defined as idle talk or rumor about the personal or private affairs of others. Gossip is also referred to as tattling or reporting someone who was caught in the act of doing something wrong. Often times we tell ourselves to leave it be, because our grandmother told us that if we don’t have anything nice to say about others we should just not say anything at all.

The scientists of UC Berkeley set up several trials with volunteers to test the mental and physical effects of gossiping. Subjects were asked to watch two people playing a game, one of which who cheated. Subjects then had the decision to either let the next player know he or she was going to be playing with a cheater, or just let it pass. Results indicated that voicing the incidence of wrongdoings by others actually made them feel better by lowering their heart rates and calming their anxiety about the matter.


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Understanding Food Hoarding as a Symptom of Anxiety

Hoarding food is something that I talk about frequently in adoption preparation classes. It is common and to be expected that children who have not always had enough and not had parents to look out for their best interests would want to hide food for later. Parents need to be vigilant to clean out pockets so chocolate bars do not go through the wash, and clean up rooms to avoid rodents, insects, and rotting food. In cases of adoption, I encourage parents to be calm, avoid commenting on the behavior, and patiently wait for it to extinguish itself, which it will in the majority of cases.

There is less written about food hoarding in adults, although there is some written about older adults who hoard food, particularly those that have lived through the Great Depression. Primarily, hoarding food is a sign of anxiety surrounding the availability of food and sometimes it is a compulsion, something that one feels driven to do to ease anxiety. There is a slightly higher percentage of females than males that hoard food, and often the hoarder lives alone and is mostly socially isolated. Nearly three out of every four adults that hoard food do not believe that it is a problem.

Hoarding food is also a lesser discussed symptom of an eating disorder as well. It is most understood as a symptom of bulimia when a sufferer stashes away binge food items. Food hoarding can also be a symptom of anorexia, however. In the throes of anorexia, sufferers can become obsessed with food despite the fact that they will not allow themselves to ingest it. It can be comforting to anorexia sufferers to have food items available, especially if their body has transition into a starvation mode.


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