It’s normal if you spend a better part of your first yoga session staring at everyone else. Am sure you’ll be wondering, what the heck is going on here?? As a beginner, it’s good to first familiarise yourself with simple yoga poses suitable for beginners before you take your first class. You should also familiarise yourself with the English and Sanskrit terms for different yoga poses.
There are over 300 poses in the yoga practice (asana), but we’ll focus on “12-YOGA poses suitable for beginners to get started. These poses will help you learn so you can be comfortable in a class or when practising alone at home.
1. Downward Facing Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana
It’s a pose that’s used in most yoga practices. Its purpose is to strengthen or stretch the body.
How to do it
• Come onto the floor on all fours then put your hands directly under the shoulders and knees below the hips
• Walk your hands a few inches forward then spread your fingers while pressing palms into the floor
• Curl the toes under then slowly press the hips towards the ceiling to make a V shape, pressing your shoulders away from the ears
• Hold for 3 to 5 full breaths before allowing your knees and hands to drop back
2. Half Pigeon Pose or Ardha Kapotasana
Can be combined with the downward facing dog.
How to do it
• lift your left leg high then bring it under your body and put it in front
• Extend the right leg behind your body then rest its top on the floor
• Maintain the left foot in a flexed position
• Stay upright for 3 to 5 breathes
3. Mountain Pose/Tadasana
It is the base of all standing poses. Mountain pose gives you a sense of how to feel the earth through your feet. It may seem like just standing, but a lot happens while in this position.
How to do it
• Stand tall and ensure your feet are together
• Press down all your toes as you spread them apart
• Using your quadriceps, lift your kneecaps through the inner thighs
• Draw in and out your abdominals as you lift your chest while you press your shoulders from the top
• As your shoulder blades come towards each other, open your chest wide then let your palms face inwards towards your body
• Breathe deeply into the torso and hold for 5 to 8 breaths
4. Plank Pose or Kumbhakasana
This pose teaches us to use our body to support us while we balance on our hands. It’s a good way to tighten the abdominals. You learn how to use breath to help you stay in an awkward position.
How to do it
• Come onto the floor on all fours and your put hands flat on the floor then the knees below your hips
• Lift the knees from the floor then extend the legs behind you
• You are now standing on your hands and toes, and your body has formed one long line
• Involve your lower abdomen, draw your shoulders down, away from the ears
• Hold onto this position then breathe deeply for 3 to 6 breaths
5. Triangle or Trikonasana
It’s an excellent standing pose that opens up your lungs, stretches the sides of your waist, and strengthens your body and legs.
How to do it
• Stand tall and make sure your feet are about 2-feet apart
• Stretch your hands out from the sides and bend over to your right leg
• Turn your left foot about 45 degrees and your right foot about 90 degrees
• Let your right hand touch the floor then lift your left hand towards the ceiling and hold on for five breaths
• Stand and repeat the same on the opposite side
6. Warrior 1 or Virabhadrasana 1
Warrior 1 is a great yoga pose to help stretch open the front part of the body while you strengthen the hips, legs, buttocks, and upper body. These poses are good for giving you strength and stamina in the core and body. They give you confidence while stretching your hips and thighs.
How to do it
• Take a giant step back on your left foot
• Turn your left foot down at 75-degree angle
• Lift the chest then press the palms up overhead
• Step forward and do the same on the opposite side
7. Warrior 2 or Virabhadrasana II
Warrior 2 opens up the hips, inner thighs and the groin. It’s a nice starting position for side poses like the extended angle, half-moon balance and triangle poses.
How to do it
• Stand tall and make sure your feet are about 3-feets apart
• Stretch out your arms parallel to the ground below
• Turn your right leg 90 degrees and your left foot 45 degrees
• Turn your right knee till it’s directly above your right ankle and keep your torso even between your hips
• Stretch your hands out from the sides and gaze to your right
• Hold for 5 to 10 breaths then straighten the right leg and repeat the same on the opposite side
8. Tree or Vrksasana
It is an awesome standing pose for beginners to work on how to gain focus and clarity. It also teaches one how to breathe while upright and balancing on one foot.
How to do it
• Start like in the mountain pose with both your feet together and heels apart
• Hold your hands together in prayer and find a focus point to gaze
• Keep your focus on a fixed position to help you stay balanced
• Hold for 5 to 10 breaths before you switch sides
9. Seated forward pose or Paschimottanasana
It helps to stretch the sides, hamstrings and the lower and upper backs. It’s a perfect way to train your body to learn how to breathe when in an uncomfortable position. If you get a sharp pain, stop. If you feel tension when you breathe, continue, it will slowly let go.
How to do it
• Get seated with your legs close to each other while your hands alongside your hips, feet firmly stretched and not turning in or out
• Bend from your hips, keep the back of your body flat
• Fold your upper part of the body over the lower part
• If able to, grab the outside of your feet, shins or ankles
• Release your neck head and shoulders
• When you reach the maximum, stop and breathe about 5 to 10 breaths
10. Bridge or Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
An opposite pose for the seated forward bend pose. It’s a good pose to stretch the front and strengthen the back of the body.
How to do it
• Lie down on your back
• Place your feet about 2-feets apart
• Firmly press your feet then lift your butt
• Intertwine your hands then press the fists onto the floor and then open your chest out
• Imagine you’re dragging your heels onto the floor towards your shoulders
• Hold for 5 to 10 breaths then relax
11. Child’s Pose or Blsana
Everyone needs a great resting pose. It’s an awesome pose not only for beginners but for all yoga practitioners. It’s good to do it when you want a mental break or release tension or stress.
How to do it
• Begin on all fours
• Bring the knees and feet together as you bring your butt closer to your heels
• Stretch your hands forward
• Lower your forehead onto the ground, pillow or blanket
• Allow your entire body to release itself
• Hold for in there as you wish
12. Dancers Pose or Natarajasana
How to do it
• Stand tall and make sure your feet are close to each other
• Bend the left knee then bring your left leg near your glutes
• Using hands, grab your feet then slowly lift them towards the ceiling
• Press down with the right foot then open your chest, pull your left leg up
• Keep your chest up and hold for 5 to 8 breaths before switching sided
As a beginner, it will be hard for you in the beginning. You will get a few things wrong, but you will better with time. All expert yoga practitioners were once beginners. Focus and follow on these simple poses as you aim to know other poses.
Regardless of whether you take it as a green tea extract supplement or as a beverage, the effect will be the same.
4. Eat more vegetables
Eating vegetables has very many benefits when it comes to maintaining a healthy body.
In addition to that, vegetables have several properties that have been proven to make them very effective for weight loss.
According to studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20633234), they are dense in nutrients and fiber content but are very low in calories and this is the reason why people who consume more veggies prove to have less weight.
Although you will never go wrong with any type of vegetable, it is advisable to focus more on the dark and leafy vegetables.
5. Cut Back on Added Sugar
It goes without saying that sugar is by far the one extremely harmful ingredient in all the world’s diets.
Liquid calories that come from beverages like fruit juices and sugary soft drinks are strongly linked with an increased risk of obesity.
8. Lift weights regularly
When you are in the process of losing weight, your body will undergo a slowdown in the rate of metabolism.
This, on the other hand, can lead to loss of muscle.
One of the best ways to counter this problem is by lifting weights.
Studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18356845) show that weightlifting or resistance training fights this problem by helping you add lean muscle in addition to keeping your metabolism high even when you are dieting.
The best way to do this is by lifting weights at least 2 times in a week.
9. Drink lots of water
We all know that we are supposed to drink lots of water each and every day.
This, in turn, helps you to burn off a few more calories and shed more pounds.
In the study, those dieters who drank at least half a liter of water about an hour before having their meals ate fewer calories resulting to a loss of 44 percent more calories compared to those who didn’t.
10. Go to bed early
Another underrated tip for losing weight is getting better quality sleep.
According to studies, a lack of high-quality sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for obesity.
In fact, poor sleep is linked to up to 89 percent increase in the risk of obesity in children and about 55 percent in adults.
To get a good night sleep, it is advisable to keep your room relatively cold (below 70 degrees) and consider shutting of all lights in order to make the room pitch black.
A healthy weight is very important when it comes down to having a fully functioning body.
If your main aim is losing weight permanently, you should not hesitate from making these 10 very simple but useful tweaks to your lifestyle.
Unlike dieting which will always fail in the end, choosing to live a healthier lifestyle will not only nourishes your whole body through consuming healthy food, but also makes you become a fitter individual.
10 Astonishing Facts About Coconut Oil (That You Didn’t Know)
For some time now, coconut tree has been widely considered as the “tree of life” in most parts of the world like Southeast Asia, Philippines, and India. As it turns out, this name has got some merit, with over 1,500 studies proving how useful coconut oil is to our lives. In fact, there’re many surprising uses of coconut oil that you probably didn’t know about. For example, did you know that coconut oil can be used in your coffee as a creamer? Probably not! Keep reading as we take you through the top 10 astonishing facts about coconut oil (that you didn’t know).
1. Face and body moisturizer
Are you dealing with dry, flaky, chapped skin? Well, you should definitely try coconut oil because it can act as a natural moisturizer on both your face and body. This product is capable of penetrating the skin layers and because it’s well absorbed, it won’t leave you with an oily and greasy feeling. Furthermore, coconut oil helps prevent wrinkles because it boosts collagen production, hence strengthening the underlying tissues. You can also use it alone or mix it with any other essential oil for a more soothing experience.
2. Massage oil for newborns
If you’re already a parent, you probably know the benefits of giving a newborn oil massage. A 2005 study conducted in India revealed that massaging newborns with coconut oil leaves a positive effect on their growth. The same study also revealed that it greatly improves thermoregulation as well as encourage healthy weight gain. In short, it’s advised to give your 2-day newborn a coconut oil massage for at least four times every day until he/she is 31 days old. However, this should be carried out by a trained person to avoid any injuries.
3. Improves the immune system
Coconut oil contains antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties due to the presence of healthy fats, caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid. All these components make it an effective booster of your immune system. With that being said, the fatty acids found in coconut oil are converted to monolaurin, which can heal viruses like influenza, herpes, helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and candida. Coconut oil can also kill harmful pathogens like viruses, fungi, and bacteria if enzymatically digested.
4. Burn excess fats
Obesity has become a major worldwide health crisis in recent years. This has made some people to seek the help of coconut oil due to its fat-burning properties. The most traditional cause of obesity is excessive consumption of calories. This has made most of us to even consider the amount of calorie present in a specific food before consuming it. This aside, the MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) found in coconut oil can increase your total energy expenditure (amount of calories burnt). Research has it that daily consumption of around 15-30 grams of MCTs can increase your energy expenditure by 5% (120 calories per day).
5. Manage Type II diabetes
Coconut oil can help protect you against insulin resistance, at least according to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. The fats present in coconut oil are easily absorbed into the cells for quick conversion into energy because they are small enough. This greatly helps reduce the risk of contracting Type II diabetes. Apart from reducing the amount of fats stored in the body, consuming coconut oil can also improve insulin sensitivity. All in all, you can prevent and treat diabetes using coconut oil because it helps control blood sugar, promote effective utilization of glucose, and improve insulin secretion.
6. Improved dental hygiene
This traditional oral care practice is also popularly known as coconut oil “pulling”. Although it hasn’t been thoroughly researched by scientists, a study conducted in 2008 revealed that swishing coconut oil for about 15-20 minutes can eliminate streptococcus mutants. These mutants are the ones responsible for tooth decay. Additionally, scholars have added that mechanical swishing of this product also reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth. This tip isn’t very practical, but it’s fun nevertheless.
7. Consume in your coffee
Well, you can increase your coconut oil consumption by using it in your coffee instead of the regular cream. In fact, you might end up liking that slightly nutty taste that can make your coffee smooth and rich. All in all, this bulletproof coffee will increase your uptake of nutrients and vitamins in the body, as well as the very essential healthy fats.
8. Cancer prevention and treatment
Did you know that coconut oil can treat as well as effectively prevent cancer due to the presence of ketones found in it? To begin with, tumor cells require glucose to effectively thrive in the body. However, ketones will nullify any chances of developing tumors in the body. In an experiment carried out to support this assumption, coconut oil was added to the colon’s adenocarcinoma cells. Surprisingly, cancerous cell’s growth was effectively hindered, minus any harm being caused to the human colon cells.
9. Boost brain function
For patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, coconut oil has been found to boost brain function. This’s thanks to the presence of fatty acids which can increase the level of ketone bodies in the blood. The brain cells will therefore be supplied with enough energy levels, resulting to relieve of Alzheimer’s symptoms. To add on this, Alzheimer’s disease is arguably the most common cause of dementia, and primarily occurs in elderly people. The disease can reduce the body’s ability to make use of the energy generating glucose in some specific parts of the brain, hence frequent loss of memory. Thankfully, the MCTs present in coconut oil become an alternative energy provider for these malfunctioning cells. This can thereby reduce the symptoms of the disease.
10. Improve blood cholesterol levels
Studies carried out in both humans and rats revealed that coconut oil can improve important risk factors such as Total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol. This can translate into reduced risk of contracting heart disease. That being said, this essential oil is rich in saturated fats, which rises HDL (the good) cholesterol while changing the LDL one to a benign subtype. To back it up, a research was conducted pitting a person using coconut oil and another one using soybean oil. The end result was great reduction in LDL and Total cholesterol levels, as well as an increase in HDL in the subject using coconut oil. Therefore, it was concluded that this cardiovascular improvement can lead to reduced risks of getting heart disease. In conclusion, the many surprising benefits of coconut oil can simply not just be ignored. From health, cooking, to beauty, coconut oil can be used for almost everything. In addition, the benefits of coconut oil should be enjoyed easily because you don’t have to break the bank to get this product.
Eating healthy is the first step to getting healthy.
Another step is exercising regularly.
Everyone talks about weight management, but they do not talk about what to do about stopping the cravings for food.
Our bodies are designed to give us signals to tell us the status of our bodies as we progress through our day.
How do you control those signals in this busy, over-booked world?
Below are 8 handy all natural appetite suppressants to keep you feeling your best and put you back in control of your hunger.
Eating more protein and healthy fats is a way of reducing hunger and satisfying that growing stomach buy keeping it feeling full for hours.
This natural suppressant is a healthy alternative for weight management.
High-protein foods include, lean meat and eggs.
For people that do not eat meat, there are also beans, peas, soy products and Greek Yogurt.
Our bodies need protein to keep our bodies moving and healthy.
Protein nourishes the muscles and increases iron levels in the body which keep our brains and bodies functioning at their best.
Water hydrates the body and keeps our organs working properly.
It also aids in digestion and will help us feel fuller because often a person is only dehydrated not hungry.
Drinking water and staying hydrated will calm the parts of our brain that tell us we are hungry.
Drinking a large glass of water before a meal will also leave a person feeling more satisfied after eating a smaller portion of food.
Drinking water throughout your day will reduce the cravings for food as the water is replacing he empty feeling in your stomach.
3. High Fiber Foods
Eating foods high in fiber will stop a person from feeling hungry longer because high fiber foods do not break down as fast during digestion.
This means that the food will stay in your stomach longer meaning your appetite will not resurface as fast as if you were eating quick food calories.
Good sources of fiber are whole grains, beans, apples, avocados, almonds, chia seeds and vegetables.
Eating more fiber will also be a healthy weight of consuming your daily calories.
Most people need at least 50 grams of fiber per day and most people don’t even consume half that number of fiber calories.
Fiber is good for controlling your hunger and helping the flora of your gut thrive.
Exercise in itself is good for a healthy balanced life, but exercising before a meal is a great way to suppress your appetite.
Your body gets flooded with hormones when you exercise, especially high intensity workouts.
The hormone for hunger is suppressed because the body is focused on the workout that it just had and anything that needs to be done such as muscle repair or providing you with that lovely, post-exercise feeling.
Exercise also helps prevent the release of ghrelin which stimulates appetite.
If you exercise regularly then ghrelin will always be suppressed.
There are several teas on the market that will help with appetite suppressants and there are numerous reasons why they will work in varying ways.
In particular, a tea known as Yerba Maté tea is supposed to help with appetite suppressant.
Though ingesting teas of any sort will help as well as they are made with water, a natural appetite suppressant.
Green tea is another good tea to try if you are fighting off hunger pains.
The Catechins in green tea inhibits the rise of blood sugar and insulin which means your blood sugar stays more stable and you fight off the rise of your appetite.
6. Dark Chocolate
A good piece of chocolate helps a lot of people feel better.
In you must enjoy a piece of candy, reach for that dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate has natural antioxidants and has that bitter sweet taste.
The reduced amount of sugar will also keep you from experiencing a sugar crash with the higher levels of cocoa.
By eating dark chocolate ghrelin gets suppressed.
Ghrelin is a hormone produced by the stomach which stimulates appetite.
Ghrelin is also known as the hunger hormone and dark chocolate is a way of suppressing it.
Adding ginger to your foods has been shown to reduce hunger and increase the feeling of fullness in person who cook regularly with it.
Ginger is used as a digestive aid.
Ginger is good for cleansing the colon and helps with an upset stomach.
By adding ginger to your food you are increasing the pH of the stomach’s acid along with increasing the activity of your digestive enzymes.
The action reduces the acidity of your stomach and reduces gastric secretions which stimulate appetite cravings.
Ginger tea is a good appetite suppressant which because it combines two other items already listed in the article; tea and water.
Eat your vegetables.
Vegetables not only provide your body with a wide range of nutrients and n minerals, but they also can help you feel good about eating them.
Vegetables are high in vitamins which help your body get what it is really craving and you aren’t aware of.
They are also full of water which helps suppress appetite and helps you feel good about making a healthy eating choice.
Some good foods for snacking on, if you must snack, are carrots.
They can be purchased as they are or you can buy them pre-cut and ready to eat.
Vegetables are fiber and as listed above, increasing your fiber intake means controlling the environment of your gut and increasing your ability to control your own hunger.
A little extra tip: reduce your stress.
High levels of stress lead to compulsive eating because of the emotions associated with such stress.
Emotional anger or sadness affects your ability to control your appetite on your own.
Stress reduction will help in other areas of your life as well as controlling your appetite.
Getting proper sleep is an amazing tool for health and wellness that beats any energy drink on the market.
Tired people don’t make good food choices and it also means your body is not operating at its top levels for whatever you need to do in it.
If you need help selecting foods for natural body balance, please contact a nutritionist.
Coming up with well-defined abs and a strong core can be quite an uphill task if at all you have no idea where to start. Luckily for yogis, there are numerous poses that you can perform and end up with a lean abdomen and well-shaped abs that everyone will admire. All you’re required to do is achieve them daily, and your persistence will yield incredible results. You should, however, be aware that these poses are not as easy as they sound. You need to be someone with a strong will and determination to execute each one of them successfully.
Once you successfully master them, the next step will be to come up with a plan so that you can be able to do them without skipping a day or two. Remember, the amount of time it will take for you to achieve the results you are seeking will depend on how committed you are to your well-formulated plan; there is no otherwise. Below are some of the prime yoga poses that will leave you with well-defined nicely shaped abs and a strong core.
1. Dolphin Plank
This pose is also known as Phalakasana. You will first have to kneel and place your forearms on the ground. The inner part of your elbow should form a ninety degrees angle such that your lower part of the arm is horizontal on the ground while the upper section is vertical. You should then gently straighten your legs until you can feel the ground with your feet. Go ahead and support your lower body with your toes and stretch further so that your back is completely stretched while maintaining the vertical form of your arms. With your whole body straightened, raise your head to its usual position and so that you can see what is ahead of you. Maintain that position for quite some time. This posture is designed to enable you to achieve a strong core which is essential.
2. Warrior III Pose
Some people refer to this as Virabhadrasana III. This is a type of pose that requires balance throughout. To achieve it, you should first stand straight. You should then go ahead and balance your whole body with one leg while completely stretching the other backwards in such a way that your toes face downwards. Gently stretch your arms and let your palms meet at the further end. Maintain the pose, breath normally while raising your leg a bit higher. Drop it and repeat the pose with the other leg. This is designed to strengthen your core and build hip muscles.
3. Boat Pose
This is a pose that will see you strengthen your core, build your hip muscle and straighten you back. It is also known as Paripurna Navasana. To get to this form, you will first have to sit on the ground with your legs stretched out. You should then go ahead and lift your legs while maintaining their straight posture to about 60 degrees. Lean back a little bit and hold your toes with your fingers as you maintain a flat back. Ensure that you are seated on your tailbone. Maintain the position for some time while gently inhaling and exhaling. You should do it a couple of times while lengthening your stay.
4. Locust Pose
Once you perform this pose, you should be able to develop your abs, strengthen your core and open your spine. To achieve Salabhasana as it is otherwise known, you will have to lie flat on your stomach. You should then raise your legs to some degree as well as your head until you feel like a good part of your chest is off the ground. Then go ahead and raise your hand so that you can interlock your fingers with one another. Breathe in and out normally and keep the pose for some time. Try to lengthen the time you can maintain the pose every time you do it.
5. Side Plank
This is a very good pose for your arms and hips as well as your abs. For side plank also known as Vasisthasunuh, you should lie on your side with your arm vertical such that you can support your upper body with it. Ensure that your feet are stretched and that you have one leg on top of the other. Raise your other hand to achieve a straight posture. Turn your head so that you can face the raised hand. Your whole body should be well stretched in such a way that your palm and the ground should come in contact at a right angle. Maintain the position for some time then do the same with the raised hand.
6. Dancer Pose
This pose will enable you to shape your abs, strengthen your legs and arms. Its Sanskrit name is Natarajasana. To form it, start by standing upright. Gently raise one leg from behind and hold it with one arm. In that position, stretch your upper body as much as possible then straighten your other hand. Maintain this pose for some time then do the same with your other hand. The trick is to make sure that the muscles of your upper body are well stretched so as to achieve the benefits of the pose. The feet on the ground should also remain flat.
7. Extended Triangle
This is a very good pose for anyone who wants to have a strong core, great abs as well as strong arms and legs. In Sanskrit, it is known as Utthita Trikonasana. You first start by standing upright. Then gently stretch your feet to an inverted V shape with the front leg slightly stretched further. Go ahead and bend sideways until one of your palm rest on the ground flat in front of your leg. Stretch the other hand above your head and face it. Keep your knees straight throughout. Maintain this position for some time then do the same with your other hand.
These yoga poses are very fulfilling, and they will enable you to achieve a stronger core. You will also come up with incredible abs that have clearly defined borders. Other parts that you will keep in shape include your legs, arms, neck and spine. Some other poses such as the boat pose are also known to increase digestion. The trick is to perform them more often. That way you will be able to yield great results in the long run.