Tag Archives: meditation

Yoga for PMS

It is that awaited time of the month right before our period starts when many women may cry at the drop of a hat, scream at the slightest disturbance, crave the saltiest potato chips and want to sleep until noon. Our mood changes, our behaviors are tweaked and our emotions run wild; and we are not only the ones affected. Those around us tend to want to run for cover as well.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, premenstrual tension, a.k.a. PMS (premenstrual syndrome), affects 75% of women during childbearing years. While symptoms vary slightly from woman to woman and even month-to-month, they are not often what you would describe as pleasant.

The following is an easy to remember guide to Yoga for PMS, as it shares the same acronym (PMS) and can be beneficial in addition to your other favorite remedies. These simple yogic practices help lift your mood, reduce your cravings and balance your emotional states so you can lighten your monthly burden for yourself and for those around you.


Gym Music Playlist of the Week: The Meditation Mix

This week we’re going to do something a little different in our workout mix. In reality, it’s not a workout mix at all. This time we’re going to address an aspect of our health that gets the least attention: our mental health.

While we need to do cardio and strength training exercises for our physical health, we also need to take time to relax and maybe even meditate. There have been plenty of studies that back the health benefits of meditation (and considering the fact that my 5-year-old daughter is currently throwing a temper tantrum in the other room, I may need a little time for it after I finish writing).

Meditation has been shown to do everything from lowering stress and anxiety levels to enhancing the immune system and normalizing blood pressure levels.

The following is a mix of ambient music and atmospheric jazz that will let you get lost in the soundscapes and hopefully leave you more grounded and ready to take on the stresses of everyday life. (more…)

Positive Daily Affirmations for Healthier and Happier Moments

By Jill Lawson from Jill Lawson Yoga

Many of us believe the power of thought can greatly affect the course of a day, if not our feelings and attitudes that shape the opinions we have of ourselves. As quoted by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny,” thoughts can promote positive or negative experiences for us.

The following daily affirmations work to cement positive thoughts in our subconscious mind, allowing us to practice healthier habits and lead us to more fulfilling and much happier moments. They are helpful when we are having a bad day, but equally as effective when we are feeling good already. The more we can put a positive thought toward something, the closer we are to actually bringing that thought into our reality.


Cortisol: the Stress Hormone’s Effect on Your Health and Weight Loss

Stress is simply a part of life. Stress can be a positive thing: It can save your life in a fight or flight situation, or it can be the kick in the butt you need to finally finish that project at work you’ve been putting off. Too much stress, however, can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health. In today’s society, where we are moving faster, taking on more responsibility and are constantly technologically connected to the demands of work and home, our lives are becoming more overwhelming, and it may be taking a toll on our waistlines.

Cortisol, dubbed the “stress hormone”, is an important hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, responsible for many functions in the body including regulating metabolism and blood pressure, immune function, inflammatory response, and releasing insulin, which maintains blood sugar levels.

Cortisol isn’t only secreted when the body is under stress, but it is secreted in higher levels during the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress (think of when something pops out and scares the crap out of you. That surge you get is your body’s fight or flight response- you either jump and run, or start swinging.) The stress we encounter on a daily basis isn’t always so obvious or sudden, but daily stress, i.e. a jam packed schedule the next day or not knowing how you are going to afford next month’s bills, isn’t immediately remedied, so your stress levels stay elevated for an extended period of time until the stressor is remedied, or more often than not, until another stressor comes along and takes over.

Just as with everything in life, too much of something is never a good thing. Elevated cortisol levels cause many physical, negative changes to the body, including impaired cognitive function, blood sugar imbalances, high blood pressure, and lower immunity, causing you to feel slow and drained of energy, or even come down with an illness.


5 Ways to Use Lent to Clean Up Your Diet

Starting with Halloween, it’s a slippery slope through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, a fast run full of overindulging and dietary no-no’s. Mardi Gras is often the crowning glory in a literal Fat Cake of Food. After so much indulgence, it’s almost with relief that we observe the calendar shifting to the more penitential observance of Lent. A solemn time of fasting and sacrifice, Lent is most commonly observed by Catholics and many of the Orthodox and Protestant religions.

Lent is observed as a 40 day period of time that begins on Ash Wednesday and culminates on Easter Sunday, although many religions differ in how to count the days. Traditionally, Lent is a time of spiritual discipline, in which you give up a favored food, be it dessert, coffee or chocolate. In the Middle Ages, a more strict observance of Lent required a total abstinence from any meat, eggs and dairy products of all kinds, feeling that a more sparse menu would lead to a greater religious experience.  Modern rules have changed in most religions, but almost all observers of Lent use the time period to improve themselves.


8 Tips to Live a Longer Healthier Life

Most people want to live long, healthy, and personally fulfilling lives. Unfortunately, there’s not a Fountain of Youth that will magically give you these things. If there was, I bet we would all be waiting in line for a glass of water from that spring. However, there are some things you can do to improve the quality and length of your life.

Get Physical. Physical fitness is a great way to keep yourself healthy and in shape. All you need to do is add 20 minutes of fitness to your day. Try something that is fun for you, whether it is dancing, walking, yoga, or something else entirely.

Milk It. You need calcium in your diet to prevent osteoporosis. Try eating at least one food that contains high levels of natural calcium, such as dairy products, salmon, and leafy greens.


Practicing Yoga Breathing Helps Promote Balance

You’ve probably all heard of yoga – a physical and mental exercise that originated in India. While there are different types of yoga for people at all levels of physical fitness, breathing is the most important part of any yoga practice.

“Though some people have difficulty learning the physical poses and routines, others find it difficult to adapt to the yogic breathing patterns that can relax us and keep us balanced,” said expert yogi and professional yoga instructor Rodney Yee.


What is Active Meditation?

Relaxation is a calm mind and a calm body. Meditation is a technique that is often used to help achieve relaxation; however, meditation is primarily about creating a calm mind.

If you are chronically multi-tasking, if your mind jumps from topic to topic, or if your to-do list is never-ending, you would probably benefit from meditation. Ok, everyone can benefit from meditation. If you are chronically multi-tasking, if your mind jumps from topic to topic, or if your to do list is never-ending, you will probably find the stereotype of meditation pretty difficult. If you sit with your legs crossed and your eyes closed, you’re either going to fall asleep or make a shopping list, draft a blog, and practice a conversation with your child all in under ten minutes, right?

If that sounds familiar, active mediation might for you. Like all things, learning to focus your mind takes practice (practice, practice). Focusing on nothing is much more difficult than focusing on one thing. We have to start with getting our minds to focus on one thing for a short amount of time before we try to get it to focus on one thing for a longer period of time. (more…)

Start a Meditation Practice in Five Steps

Guest blogger Tracy Connery is the editor of MommyOm. She is also a wife, mother, writer and photographer. Her days are taken in any number of directions, but a long-term relationship with her yoga mat has kept complete craziness at bay. MommyOm is the best in all things yoga and meditation for parents from one mom’s expanding perspective.

Life is crazy!

And, as if it weren’t crazy enough with work, home, family, and stressful financial concerns, we’ve now got the constant pull of emails to answer, tweets to twat and keeping up with everyone we barely know anymore on Facebook.

So many of us are in desperate need of some space in our heads; a little solace from the din of this world that truly no longer sleeps, that in our search for some mental relief, we’ve been brought to the doorstep of meditation, but found the welcome, well, less than hospitable.

Here are a few easy steps to get you over what can be an intimidating threshold, and find a little peace within the crazy:


An Introduction to Raja Yoga

Some common names we think of when it comes to yoga include Ashtanga, Bikram, or Vinyassa, but Raja yoga is not one that quickly comes to mind, unless you’re Deepak Chopak or a devotee of this ancient spiritual practice.

So exactly what is Raja yoga? Here is a basic overview of this transforming and meditative style of yoga.

The Philosophy

Raja yoga, or sometimes referred to as Raj yoga, literally translates to the “royal way to union,” with union representing the melding of the mind, body and spirit.