Schedule
Five Pillars Yoga

Posts Tagged ‘healthy lifestyle’

Right Movement: Holistic Wellness For Stress Reduction

The key to Right Movement is balancing productive stress with recovery – moving like a pendulum between periods of exertion and periods of rest and relaxation, with proper nutrition across the board.

This dance between these two states is known as pendulation, and it creates strength in the body, supports heart rate variability and improves overall health. Without both sides of the pendulum, the productive stress of exercise can quickly become “unproductive stress.” Our recovery time must consider nutrition, hydration, quieting the mind, flexibility and stretching, breathing deeply, and a way of removing lactic acid from the body such as an epsom salts bath.

The formula doesn’t work without each piece – it really is the sum of all of its parts:

Movement Matters

Movement

Those not as predisposed to enlivening workouts might wonder – “well what about if I just relax? Isn’t that a better way to reduce stress?” The truth is that a movement practice triggers its own wonderful bio-chemical waterfall (like endorphins – Yay!) that balances out the stress hormones (like cortisol – BOO!) that are swirling through most of our bodies on a regular basis.

But you don’t have to lift weights if that’s not your thing – or become a cardio fiend if it doesn’t call to you. The key is discovering your Right Movement – a practice that feels fun and challenging and gets the heart pumping and the muscles working in a way that is right for you. This might be walking, jogging outside or at the gym, taking a dance class, taking yoga classes, working with a trainer, dancing around your living room to an upbeat playlist for 15 minutes. Whatever it is, as Nike says, Just Do It!

Nutrition Matters

Nutrition

The body needs proper nutrition to fuel productive workouts and to recover and regenerate after them. Crowd out processed and packaged foods with an abundance of fresh produce and a moderate amount of whole grains/legumes. Limit meat. Reduce and maybe eventually remove stimulants/drugs. Shoot for three balanced meals and snacks to support recovery. Nutritional choices account for approximately 60% of unproductive stress in the human body.

By eating consistent meals with high quality nutrition, the body no longer responds by holding onto excess weight. A diet that removes foods that cause unproductive stress in the human body (ironically they are also the foods we crave when stressed) and stimulants (also consumed as a result of stress) creates optimal conditions in the physical body.

Recovery Time Matters

Recovery

Make a recovery plan and follow it: stretching, hydration, nutrition, relaxation, sleep. Alternate your movement practices to allow for recover – for example cycle one day, take a restorative yoga class the next. It’s not just the big muscles that need stretching and recovery either, it’s also the fascia and nervous system which are addressed by restorative, yin and yoga therapeutics.

 

Relaxation Matters

relaxationBook your favorite masseuse… every week! Take epsom salts baths. Breathe deeply. Head into nature… every day! Surround yourself by flowers, your favorite essential oils, candles, soothing and/or energizing music. Practice meditation, even just 5 minutes a day.

Our Top Four Tips For Spring Cleaning

Early Spring invites a wave of new crops to the Farmers’ Markets. Roots, peas, greens and strawberries will slowly begin to make their way into the city and onto our plates, supporting our bodies’ natural detoxification processes.

It is common to feel sluggish and a little bit stagnant at the end of the cold winter months. Just like plants and animals, we also go through natural cycles that reflect seasonal variations in weather patterns and sunlight.

At the beginning of spring, you may find that your body is naturally craving lighter and fresher fare, rather than the rich stews and heavier meals that supported you through winter. When the cravings for wholesome foods begin, do not hesitate to listen- you will not only support your body’s physical health but your mental health as well.

Discover our top four easy breezy tricks for spring cleaning- inside and out!

1) Spring Clean Your Pantry and Refrigerator

Have you heard of the saying that structure implies behavior? The way we set up our kitchen  and the food we keep in our pantries and refrigerators determines what and how we will eat. Take some time to go through your food stash and replace processed, sugar-loaded items with fresh, healthier alternatives.

Consider this simple trick: When you go to the grocery store, begin your shop on the outer periphery of the store, starting with the produce section. You will avoid the colorful temptations of the packaged goods in the center isles.

2) Get Inspired With a Meal Plan

Another way to create heathy behavior is to create a delicious (and doable) meal plan. Take a moment to consider the foods and meals that help your body to thrive. Brainstorm a list of your favorite breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. For inspiration, peruse healthy food blogs and your favorite cookbooks. Consider the influx of spring produce and try to incorporate as much seasonal, fresh (and maybe even local) food as possible.

Tip: Keep your meals simple and fresh to start. Make it easy to follow your meal plan. If you are successful with your first week of meal planning, you are more likely to continue with your healthy habits.

3) Get Your Sweetness From Love Not Sugar

Sugar has made its way into every meal, not to mention drinks and snacks. As a nation, we have such a powerful sweet tooth that companies now add sugar (or corn syrup) to salad dressings, sushi, condiments, soups, sauces, smoothies, yogurts, crackers, breads, and so much more. Our food industry understands the addictive powers of sugar, and they use it so we will crave more and buy more. Read labels, avoid processed foods and cook at home as much as possible, so sugar doesn’t sneak its way onto your plate unconsciously.

So why does this matter? Eating processed foods and sugar spikes our blood sugar levels to unhealthy levels, causing our bodies to quickly respond by releasing the hormone insulin. After spiking in an energetic high, a blood sugar crash with quickly follow. When we repeat this cycle, we can develop insulin resistance and eventually, type-2 diabetes. Beyond wreaking havoc on our hormonal systems and metabolism, our bodies store excess sugar as fat, leading to unwanted and unnecessary weight gain.

Tip: Cut out sugary beverages and you are half-way there. Consider saving your sugar quota for a delicious and satisfying dessert that you share with your loved ones. And enjoy your sweets with some healthy fat, which helps to slow blood sugar spikes.

4) Green Is The New Black

How much green can you fit into your day? Green smoothies, green salads, sautéed greens, stir fries, soups, and even green (kale) chips not only taste delicious when prepared with care, but they support every system within your body, providing essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

We understand that it is so easy to go through your life and skip the greens. When life gets busy, home cooking is stressful and preparing greens can feel like too much work. After all, lettuce and spinach are not designed to fill you up, and this makes them easy to skip.

Tip: Add greens to your meal plan and shopping list, and prepare ahead of time to ensure you treat your body and mind with an abundance of plant-based foods that help you to thrive.

* healthy refrigerator image taken from 101cookbooks.com