How to Move to a More Plant Based Diet

 

When we follow the path of yoga, it seems inevitable that we will eventually come to the part that involves the food we eat. The practice of Ahimsa, the principle of nonviolence and non-harming, including treating our bodies with kindness, becomes something that we pay more attention to as we question what we put into our bodies. 

 

The importance of proper nourishment is undeniable when we understand how food affects our behavior, our energy levels, our mental state, our physical stature and even our relationship with our environment. Some turn to a plant-based lifestyle because of their connection to animals. Choosing to follow this type of diet can also be a simple choice of wanting to provide your body with healthier options, or wanting to avoid hormones and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). 

 

Whatever your reason may be for wanting to include more plant-based meals in your diet, there are likely some questions you may have. Although there are some who have become vegan cold-turkey (pun intended) in an effort to make it a smoother transition, I would advise anyone intrigued by this lifestyle to take it one step at a time.





 

Purchase Some Good Cookbooks

 

Do some research and take the time to find some good plant-based recipes. The key is being prepared. I have always had one or two vegetarian meals a week that I already knew my whole family enjoyed. Knowing this helped make it easier to incorporate more of them into my weekly meal plan. Have fun looking online and visit vegan or vegetarian forums where people share their advice and experience. You can also have fun at your local bookstore and select a cookbook that speaks to you. 

 

Switch Some of Your Favorite Ingredients

 

Adding new items into your pantry to help make the transition to a plant-based diet easier may seem challenging at first as there are a lot of ingredients that may appear very foreign to you; and similarly, you may be unsure of how to use them. This is why having recipes picked out ahead of time is helpful, as well as taking the time to research what you need to expect. 

 

Words like quinoa, nutritional yeast, sprouted wheat, almond meal, hemp hearts and the like, may seem intimidating; but you don’t have to rush out and buy everything all at once. Start with similar recipes that call for a few different items. If you have always liked eating healthy salads, then purchasing some hemp hearts, which are essentially shelled hemp seeds, is a great way to add some protein when sprinkled on your favorite salad. Take some time and walk through your wellness aisle in your grocery store and ask questions if you are unsure.

 

Tips and Reminders

 

During this transitional time, you may find that it is not a small change and that it will take a physical and emotional toll on your body. Our bodies go through detox when we eliminate foods like meat and dairy and this can lead to a variety of symptoms that include fatigue, headaches, skin changes, and mood swings. Don’t worry, this shall pass and is your body’s way of letting go of the toxins found in the animal-based foods you are used to consuming daily. 

 

If you are worried about how letting go of meat and dairy will affect your body, ease into it. If you normally eat five to seven meat-filled meals a week, cut back one or two each week. Also, if you regularly have milk in your cereal each morning, in your yogurt, and in your hot beverages, start eliminating the amount of dairy you consume. Make the switch to oatmeal with almond milk, or toast without butter, but keep the dairy in your coffee for a little bit longer. 

 

We develop emotional attachments to the food that we eat, and holding onto the memory we associate with a meal is very common. Remind yourself that you are not losing the memory or the people you associate with the meal, just the meat or dairy that comes with it. This is difficult, so allow yourself time to grieve. 

 

Have faith and don’t give up if you have only been on this diet change for a week or two. Persistence is key and even though you may be feeling signs of detox, such as fatigue and headaches, your body is not yet ready to process the good changes that will come after only one week. If you want to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet then you will need to stick with it and stay strong. 

 

Battling Mononucleosis

“Swallow on three.” I tell myself. “1, 2 … I can’t … ouch … 3. It hurts.” I know I’ll have to go through the same pain in a minute and the minute after. My body became my enemy. I have been estranged to sickness prior to that incident. I’ve never been to the hospital before I turned 20, except for the time I was born. My life at 20 was a spider net of academic endeavors, difficult workouts, neglect of relationship with my tennis coach and distance from my family.

I came down with mononucleosis, a rare bacteria that flourishes in hot climates, such as the Sonoran Desert and the like. I spend most of the day in bed, but during the 1 hour that I’m consciously awake, I try to eat and manage to force some grapes down my shrunken throat. It’s as tiny as a straw. It’s disabling me to even talk. The good thing is we live in tech times when text messaging or emailing is an option. My mom calls regularly, but the few words that I manage to blur out don’t make much sense. “In bocca luppo.” I hear my dad screaming in the background. It means “good luck” in Italian; it is just a phrase that he always says instead of saying “bye”. This time, it actually drew a wrinkly smile to my face.

It all started on a tournament trip when I suddenly felt a bad cold coming. I’m typically not one to take medicine right away unless I try all the alternative options before. But this time, neither of it worked. I was happy to get back to my dorm after the tournament completed. I was looking forward to some much-needed sound sleep. But as the weekend rolled around, I felt worse. All I did was wait for Monday to go to the athletic training room and get some medicine that actually works. I didn’t think I’m sick enough to go to the emergency room. That would just make me look weak, and I don’t want to admit that I’m sick. I’ve never really given control of my health over to someone else before, and that scared me to the core.

I walked over to the athletic training room, and with teary eyes, explained to the trainers that basically everything hurts, and I just want to sleep. I would be scared to open up in the same way to my coach. While we were on the tournament trip, I felt like I couldn’t tell her that I don’t feel well; winning matches was the only thing that ever mattered. Finally, I felt safe about being honest, and in the emotional breakdown, all my fears came out in the shape of tears. The trainer took me to a little room where no one would disturb me. Another one handed me a huge bottle of isotonic beverage. Hugging the bottle, I crawled onto the tiny bed and fell asleep for the rest of the day.

It took a good 3 months for me to step back to my feet and feel well. My shrunken body had difficulties holding me up. Muscles deteriorated during that time–it is a known side effect. But what I did gain during the time of illness was a new found appreciation for my body and very low-impact workouts like stretching, and meditation. Health after all starts from within. Before, I was all about lifting heavy weights and converting that strength to explosiveness through short sprints. If I haven’t sweat enough, I was not satisfied because my coaches leading up to then made me believe that it is what I should do. I was so wrong about trusting them. I was exhausted and poorly nourished. When the little mono bacteria crossed my way, it was enough for me to break down.

My advice to you as a friend or a teammate of someone who you see struggling is to start doing healthy things with them and educate them through healthy examples. I feel like it is the best lead you can initiate. Approaching them from the wrong way might actually make you lose their trust. Show them healthy options, then you can let them ask you for help first, rather than you coming to them saying they have a problem. Celebrate their successes and show them how proud you are of them. Oftentimes, there’s no one else around who would recognize their hard work.

What Women Should Know Before Buying Tight Yoga Pants

Yoga pants are comfy, stretchy, and all you want them to be when you need that reliability and comfort. Yoga leggings are genuinely the most superior of the pants family—they are more versatile than jeggings, comfier than jeans, and more satisfactory to wear in public than pajama pants. 

When it comes to yoga pants, dressing for yoga by women has its own complications. However, you can find the perfect pair of yoga pants for women for your yoga practice by leveraging a retail option that provides a broader range of choices over the traditional brick-and-mortar vendors and sticking to a few easy do’s and don’ts for buying yoga pants.

Either way, yoga pants have become a substantial part of daily life. It is enough reason to look at what’s good and what’s not when it comes to wearing your own pair of them. But, just like any other available fashion wear, some unrecorded regulations are applying to tight yoga pants in and out of the comfort of the house.

Let’s examine them.


  • No Muffin Tops

You need to ensure that your yoga pants are not EXCESSIVELY tight. You will find a muffin top that actually makes your body appear ill-fated if the waistband is smaller than your waist. Super soft yoga pants are available out there with broader waistbands which prevent this problem rather effectively.


  • Ensure They Breathe

For unclear reasons, a number of the more fashion-oriented producers are offering tight yoga pants produced of materials that give your skin slight or no air to breathe. Make sure you don’t end up with one of the unventilated plastic leggings when you are buying a pair as they are horrible for your skin and make you sweat excessively.


  • Look For Holes And Transparency 

You must find out whether your new yoga pants are transparent before you go out with them. Ensure no one can see your underwear as it just looks wrong and you might be humiliated by people criticizing it. Make sure your underwear is a different color if you choose to wear white yoga pants.

In addition, ensure there are no holes in the crotch area, anytime you buy and wear yoga pants. It is particularly vital if your pants are black and the underwear you are wearing (provided you’re wearing any) is not.


  • Put On A Thong – Or Nothing

This rule of wearing a thong or nothing really applies to women who prefer wearing tight yoga pants outside of the comfort or their home. There had been no too many women going against this rule recently, but it is definitely worth mentioning. 

Conclusion

In recent years, yoga pants have turn out to be somewhat of excitement in the world of fashion. At times, it looks as if these leggings for women are really drawing more attention to yoga than any other area of the practice itself.

However, consider the above rules before buying yoga pants to make sure you are choosing the right one for your yoga practice. 

Chakras Of Matter

Upon discovering the different elements of spirituality via yoga, research, and personal inclination, learning about chakras may have become something of interest. The chakra system originated in India and appeared in the Vedas. In Sanskrit, chakra means wheel. In yoga, it is referred to a wheel of energy along the body starting at the base of the spine and ends at the top of your head. There are seven chakras throughout the body associated with different colors, meanings, chants, and symbols. These activate different levels of consciousness with characteristics. Chakras stimulate energy within the body and appear to interact with a mental realm. The importance of chakra energy is to create a balance amongst all seven. Incorporating yoga practice will stabilize the emotional, psychological, and spiritual states of functions. The energy of the chakra is constantly moving but can either be activated or blocked, so it is suggested to stay open. 

Muladhara, Svadhisthana, And Manipura are the three important Chakras of matter.

1. Muladhara is the base chakra located at the spine. The characteristics involve our basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. With a yellow square in the center, it has four lotus petals. The mantra is Lam, which removes the blockage and releases energy. God of the root chakra is an elephant with seven trunks. In Hindu, the elephant symbolizes prosperity and wisdom. Physical signs of imbalance are depression, constipation, and pelvic pain. 

2. Svadhisthana is the second chakra, also known as the sacral chakra. Its characteristics involve emotion, sexuality, and creativity. It is connected to the reproductive system, and sex organs, which can initiate mood swings. The color is orange, and it represents procreation, emotions, unconscious desires and intimacy. A balanced chakra will encourage creativity. It will also help the individual learn to step away from dealing with ego and control issues. Sometimes frustration and anger can deter our creative expression making it challenging to open the sacral chakra fully. A balanced chakra will enable a person to be self-aware of these emotions. An unbalanced chakra will result in excessive sexual urges and frustrations. Physically, the lower back area can be painful. Individuals can experience frigidity, lack of inspiration, and emotional instability. 

3. Manipura is the third chakra or the sacral chakra. It is located in the navel area and is associated with personal power and identification. It is yellow with a petal. The main characteristics embrace self-confidence and self-awareness. It empowers individuals to learn about their self-knowledge. Listening to your intuition can strengthen Manipura energy. It also regulates the function of the pancreas and digestive organs. Lockage in Manipura can exhibit issues in the pancreas and cause digestive disorders.

Chakras are a moving force that need to be activated by affirmations, yoga practice, diet and lifestyle choices. It is important to find a balance to create harmony within ourselves. Balance keeps emotions in sequence and increases self-awareness and consciousness. 

3 Tips to Find Joggers That Are Perfect for Yoga

Joggers are quickly becoming all the rage among yogis who want to be both comfortable and stylish. These unique pants are a hybrid of traditional sweatpants and yoga leggings, giving yogis the best of both worlds. You can easily find a pair of joggers on the endcap of any popular athleisure apparel store, but how do you decide which ones are the best for yoga?

Choosing the right style is an extremely personal choice, but yogis should be more concerned about the overall fit of their joggers instead. Similar to purchasing a high-quality pair of yoga leggings, you will only want to wear a pair of joggers that is comfortable throughout your routine. What attributes should you look for in these increasingly popular yoga pants?

Look for Breathable Fabric

Many of the joggers on today’s store shelves are made from heavy cotton material. This can often collect sweat during the course of a rigorous yoga practice. Nobody likes the feeling of wearing damp pants during a long practice. This warm feeling could be intensified, particularly if you regularly practice hot yoga.

Instead, you need to search for a pair of joggers that is made of either very thin cotton or a different type of fabric. Try them on to see which pair of joggers feels lighter and more breathable before making a final purchase.

Make Sure the Fabric Stretches

Some asanas require you to move your body in ways that you ordinarily wouldn’t have to. Joggers weren’t necessarily designed with yoga in mind. That means that not every pair will stretch well. Before you buy a pair of joggers, you will want to try them on and attempt to move through a few basic yoga poses.

Try to move into the downward facing dog, a high lunge, or the pigeon pose to determine how well the fabric will move with you. If you feel like the fabric is restricting your movement, it’s time to search for a different pair.

Don’t Buy Baggy Pants

Some joggers are inherently designed with bulky fabrics and lots of room to move around. They still give your body a little bit of shape because of the cuffs around the ankles. However, baggier versions aren’t likely to be comfortable to wear during your yoga practice.

As you move into some of your yoga poses, you’re likely to find that excess fabric becomes bunched up behind your knees. This can irritate your skin, particularly if the fabric is drenched in sweat. You may spend a lot of time adjusting your joggers instead of focusing on safe alignment.

Joggers can definitely be a fashionable addition to a yogi’s wardrobe. While they may never completely replace the ubiquitous yoga leggings, the right pair of joggers could be a valuable asset. This gives your outfit a completely unique look that still allows you to comfortably practice yoga. Be sure to keep these tips in mind to find a pair that will work for your everyday life and your yoga class.

Three Benefits Of A Yoga Retreat

A short vacation can offer immense benefits for both the body and the mind. Many individuals plan for an annual break from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, a respite from work and family responsibilities. The break is designed to give them some much-needed rest and more mental clarity to return to their tasks with enthusiasm. 

The same concept applies with a yoga retreat, which has the potential to offer even more benefits than the average vacation. What can you look forward to on a yoga retreat? After you see these benefits, you’ll be ready to pack up your yoga leggings and workout clothing in no time. 

1. Return To Your Normal Life Refreshed 

A yoga retreat is designed to care for your body, mind, and spirit all at the same time. Particularly for retreats stationed in exotic locales, yogis can surround themselves with immense beauty and time away from the humdrum rhythms of their daily lives. In between sessions, yogis have the opportunity to make time for practicing other aspects of their spiritual disciplines or taking care of their bodies through rest. 

Heading out of town gives you the opportunity to unplug from social media and the call of your electronics. Don’t miss this opportunity to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally, as well as physically. Taking a break from the constant chatter is a good way to detox from those difficult people in your life. When it’s time to head back to the daily grind, you’ll feel better for having taken some time for yourself.

2. Dedicate More Time To Your Practice 

When you spend more time on the mat, the basic principles of yoga tend to flow over into other areas of your life. A yoga retreat gives attendees the opportunity to participate in multiple classes or sessions each day, perfect to get your body back in the habit of rolling out your mat. Practicing yoga on several occasions each day can help you to further your practice physically as well as mentally. 

3. Gain Perspective

Getting a new perspective is inherent to traveling somewhere you’ve never been and surrounding yourself with new faces. Whether you choose to make lifelong friends with the yogi over two mats or not, you’ll certainly gain the perspective that comes with learning in a class filled with unique individuals. Experience the teachings and philosophy of new teachers, taking the time to go just one step deeper in your practice. 

By having a new perspective on what your yoga practice has the potential to look like, you may find your regular routine changing dramatically or even just slightly. Don’t underestimate how important it can be to learn new things and expose yourself to new situations. It can be great for your psyche and your emotional health, just as your yoga practice is good for your physical health. 

A yoga retreat has the potential to offer invaluable benefits to those who attend. What’s been holding you back from packing up your high-waisted Capri leggings and implementing a brief change of scenery?

Five Easy Yoga Poses to Combat Insomnia from the Bed

If you have ever been lying awake late at night, trying to fall asleep, you know that insomnia can be frustrating, as well as mentally exhausting. Experts agree that the average amount of sleep needed each night is between 6 and 8 hours. Individuals’ needs can vary within this range, depending on health, age, and other influencing factors. Getting enough sleep to fuel your body is critical, but the pressure to do so and seemingly helpless failure to fall asleep on time can cause even more stress. There are several restorative yoga poses that can help calm the body and support your quest for sleep. If you are experiencing insomnia, try these poses which have been chosen for the convenient ability to be carried out while in bed.

Corpse Pose, Savasana

Lie on your back with your arms outstretched, palms facing upwards, and shoulder blades tucked beneath the back. Allow your feet and legs to open outwards naturally. Relax the space between your eyebrows. Lick and part your lips and breathe easily. If you are feeling discomfort in your lower back, try placing a pillow beneath your knees, allowing your legs to rest slightly bent.

Legs-up-the-wall Pose, Viparita Karani

If any side of your bed aligns with a wall, try this restorative pose. Scoot your bottom as close to the wall as comfortably possible. Your legs should be stretched out, with a slight bend in the knees. With your heels resting against the wall, tuck your shoulder blades in to create more space in your chest. Extend your Arms near the sides of your hips and face your palms upwards. If necessary, roll a few layers of blanket below your neck for cushion and to support the natural curve in your cervical spine. Breathe easily.

Bridge Pose, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

If your mattress is slightly firm, bridge pose can be a simple restorative pose that makes way for an easy transition to your sleeping position. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed. As you exhale, press your hips towards the sky. Tuck your shoulder blades in and clasp your hands on the bed beneath your hips. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and exhale to release, slowly lowering your spine onto your bed.

Extended Puppy Pose, Uttana Shishosana

This pose can be particularly convenient for stomach-sleepers. Start on all fours. While keeping your hips up, walk your hands forward, allowing your torso to dip and forehead to rest on the bed. Breathe easily.

Easy Pose, Sukhasana

Sit cross-legged, with your knees wide, allowing room for each foot to rest directly underneath the opposite knee. Lift your chest and drop your shoulders, opening the heart-space. Rest your hands, palms down, on your knees. Be sure to do this pose in the center of the bed, away from temptation to rest the spine against the headboard. Breathe calmly.

Slowly come out of each pose before allowing yourself to fall asleep. Happy sleeping!

Stiletto Yoga

Stiletto heels are beautiful but they are not known for their comfort. Some women won’t even wear heels because they hurt their feet too much. It seemed that the only way to wear heels was if you were ok with being in pain. However, one yoga instructor decided that she had enough. Here is all about this new type of yoga that is specifically for wearing heels.

Yamuna Zake is a yoga instructor from New York. Zake watched countless numbers of women everyday struggling to walk down the street for the sake of fashion. She decided that enough was enough. Zake decided to create a form of yoga that would help women strut their stuff pain free. She created a new style of yoga called Stiletto Yoga. Stiletto Yoga targets the muscles that are needed to walk in heels. Routines focus on strengthening the feet, legs, and back in order to not only walk properly in heels, but comfortably. It might seem like a silly new form of yoga, but it has enabled women to continue to wear the heels they love and be free of pain.


Yoga usually targets the whole body, so what can you expect from a stiletto yoga class? Zake made her class so that it follows a traditional yoga class but targets specific parts of your body. Instead of doing poses for your whole body, you do poses that will specifically help you wear heels. She also incorporates a small half-ball called Foot Wakers into class. Foot Wakers are used to massage and exercise the feet. The shape of the ball better prepares your foot for wearing your favorite stilettos.

It may seem silly to have a yoga class specifically for wearing heels, but it’s important to a lot of people. Some women love heels and wear them day in and day out as a fashion statement. But keeping up with the trends is no walk in the park. Wearing heels can really be excruciating. It can leave you with huge knots in your feet and bleeding blisters. Zake has provided a way for women to wear the heels they love, and feel sexy, confident, and comfortable in them. This is priceless. There are no comfy heels, but if there is a way to make your favorite pair of heels more comfortable. Give it a go!