Stiff necks are very common among different individuals regardless of their age and gender. In most cases, they result in pain which tend to extend to the shoulders if left unchecked. Well, there are numerous ways with which you can either prevent or get rid of these conditions, but none of them is more natural and effective than Yoga.
Practicing yoga has proved to be very beneficial in a number of ways. The kind of posture you make is very significant in determining what you will gain from it. Below are different postures that are meant for stiff neck and shoulders.
1. Child’s pose or Balasana.
Child’s pose popularly known as Balasana in Sanskrit is a very important yoga pose meant to relieve neck and back pains. The pose is easy to achieve, and it enables you to restore your inner strength. To assume that position, you will first have to kneel. You should then sit on your heels while making sure that your knees are comfortable. Go ahead and bend forward with your arms stretched to support your neck and your head as low as possible. Maintain the position for some time while breathing normally. This pose has a way of calming your body thus relieving stress. It can also be used in treating anxiety.
2. Thread and needle pose.
There is no doubt that thread and needle pose is the type of yoga to turn to when experiencing significant neck and shoulder pains. This is because unlike many yoga poses, it involves twisting the body muscles giving you the massage you need so much to loosen your neck.
To achieve it you will have to start by standing on your four limbs. This means your knees and elbows. You should then take your right arm and stretch it further towards your left arm. Make sure that palm is facing upwards. Once you are comfortable, take your left hand and walk it around your back as far as possible. Remain in the position for half a minute then switch to the other side doing the same thing.
While on thread and needle pose, ensure that you breathe normally and gently. Most people find it hard to balance the first time, but with practice, it won’t be a problem at all.
3. Cow and Cat stretch.
This is one of the simplest yoga postures and yet the most effective. The cow and cat stretch is very good at stretching your neck, shoulders and even your back. The first thing you will do to attain this pose is to stand on your four limbs. Your palms and knees should be on the ground. Make sure that your knees are directly aligned to your hips and your palms to your shoulders.
While in that pose, move your face gently towards the ceiling while maintaining the position of your arms. This way you will be assuming the cow pose or stretch. Maintain that position for some time then go back to your initial pose. Raise your back as high as possible while keeping your head low. By doing this, you will be assuming the cat posture. Maintain the position for some seconds. Keep in mind that while attaining each pose, you should keep breathing normally as a way of relaxing your muscles.
4. Hand to elbow.
Hand to elbow is a yoga pose that involves only the upper body. With this pose, you will be able to stretch your shoulders, triceps and also your neck. The first thing you will need to do is to stand completely upright. You should then lift your right hand with your palm facing your back.
Slowly bend your inner elbow until your palm rests on your spine. Go ahead and bend your left arm over your head until your fingers rest on your right arm’s elbow. You can use it to push your right hand’s elbow further thus expanding your triceps. Maintain the pose for 7 to 10 breaths then switch to your left arm. Once you are done you will feel some relief from your shoulders all the way to your neck.
5. Shoulder rolls.
So many people perform shoulder rolls without knowing that it is a type of yoga posture meant to loosen your shoulders and give you the much-needed relief. With shoulder rolls, you will not only make the pain disappear but also keep your shoulder joints active. All you have to do is start in a yoga sitting position. You should then stretch both your arms sideways with your palms facing upwards. Go ahead and bend both your arms until your fingers rest on your shoulders. While in that position, gently roll your shoulder joints concurrently and in the same direction. The idea is to ensure that you involve your whole shoulder if at all you want to get incredible relief.
6. Corpse pose or Shavasana.
Corpse yoga posture is meant to relax your body muscles incredibly. With it, you will feel at peace and much better than you were feeling before. To get into the posture, you will need to lie completely flat on your back. Make sure that your legs are straight and your arms are stretched out at a 45-degree angle.
The trick is to ensure that a large part of your body is in contact with the surface. Maintain your usual breathing and remain in that position for a while. This posture should be able to give you total peace, unlike any other yoga posture. It is usually meant for those people who are suffering from anxiety. You will also feel your neck pains subside and its mobility restore. Doing this a couple of times a week will ensure you have a relaxed core and your mental status will also be taken care of.
The above yoga postures are some of the few that will enable you to relieve your neck and shoulder pains. The poses are designed to increase the mobility of your stiff neck and shoulders by improving blood flow throughout. Ensure that you perform any of them a couple of times a week and you will be impressed by how effective they will prove to be.
In fact, you’ve probably done everything humanly possible.
But the scale just won’t budge.
However, don’t raise the white flag just yet.
Because there’re several hidden factors that could be messing with your weight-loss goals.
To help you out, here are the 12 reasons why you can’t lose weight.
1. Overeating healthy foods
We all know the benefits that come with eating healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.
However, this shouldn’t be an excuse to overeat some of these foods.
Overeating nutritious foods like nuts, chocolate, and avocados can be a recipe for weight gain.
Some of these foods are rich in calories, therefore if overeaten the excess macro-nutrients can be stored as fats.
You can use a calorie calculator or calorie counters to help you keep track of your calorie consumption.
It’s recommended that you get 30% of your calorie consumption from proteins.
2. Hereditary genes
Hereditary genes passed down from parents can also play a major role in frustrating your weight-loss goals.
Thanks to something called epigenetic, negative lifestyle choices made by past generations can reflect in your DNA.
In short, it’s possible that your grandparent’s couch-potato ways or poor eating habits are taking a toll on you.
3. Getting little sleep
Recent scientific studies have proved that there’s a strong link between weight gain and lack of sleep.
A recent study conducted by Columbia University found out that you can increase your chances of being obese by an unimaginable 73% if you sleep for less than 4 hours every night.
Well, the study didn’t stop there because it also found out that you’re 23% more likely to be obese if you sleep for less than 6 hours a night.
In conclusion, lack of sleep can destabilize the regulation of hunger and fat hormones, leading to voracious appetite and increased fat cells.
4. Lack of enough whole-food diet
It’s an open secret that eating healthy foods can help regulate your appetite as well as improve your overall well-being.
That being said, make sure your diet is rich in whole foods instead of processed foods that can damage your weight loss success.
If you regularly eat whole foods, you’ll definitely feel more full compared to eating processed foods.
Don’t be fooled by the “healthy food” labels in most processed foods, because most of them aren’t really healthy.
5. Lack of enough protein diet
When it comes to losing weight, protein is actually one of the most important nutrients.
Eating proteins at 25% to 30% of calories can boost your metabolisms by at least 80-100 calories/day, hence greatly reducing your daily calorie intake.
Eating proteins can also reduce cravings and your snacking desires, thanks to its appetite-regulating hormones like ghrelin.
In fact, studies show that people who take high-protein breakfast have fewer cravings and feel less hungry throughout the day.
6. Not lifting weights
No doubt, exercising can play a major role in helping you achieve your weight loss goals.
However, resistance training like lifting weights can help you hit your targets much faster.
Strength training is known to prevent loss of muscle mass which is often associated with weight loss.
Lifting weights can also prevent metabolic slowdown, ensuring that you stay toned.
7. Not drinking enough water
In order to stay properly hydrated, drinking enough water is a must.
Although the 8×8 rule is somewhat dated, your body still needs enough water to carry out vital life processes.
That aside, drinking enough of this priceless commodity can also help with weight loss goals.
A recent study conducted by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found out that drinking more water can increase metabolism, with 500ml of water increasing metabolic rate by at least 30%.
8. Working a lot
Having an overwhelming schedule can lead to being stressed out.
And we all know that stress can have a negative effect on our weight loss objectives.
If you feel stressed, your body releases cortisol hormone, and this can directly affect fat storage leading to weight gain.
A study conducted by the University College London revealed that individuals with higher cortisol levels have a higher BMI and larger weight circumference.
9. Drinking too much alcohol
If you like alcohol but would like to lose weight, then we have some bad news for you.
Beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages are known to be very high in calories.
In fact, alcohol itself has around 7 calories/gram, which is very high.
However, the good news is that moderate drinking is fine.
Also, mix your spirits such as vodka with zero-calorie beverages to be on the safe side.
All in all, heavy drinking can lead to weight gain.
10. Eating close to bedtime
Eating those late-night meals can impact negatively on your weight loss plans.
This may raise your overall body temperature, insulin, and blood sugar, making it difficult for your body to burn fat.
The best thing to do is to eat dinner at least three hours before bedtime.
Also, try to avoid snacking unhealthy foods such as potato chips and ice creams after supper.
This can greatly increase your calorie intake.
11. Problems with overall health
There’re several medical conditions that can make it tougher for you to slim down.
Medical conditions such as bulimia (eating disorder), heart disease, hormonal disorders, or sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can deal a big blow to your weight loss efforts.
Another thing that could be hindering your weight loss success is some medications you might be on.
For instance, drugs for the following conditions might prevent you from losing weight:
• High blood pressure
• Bipolar disorder
So if you’re experiencing one of these conditions, it’s wise to talk to your doctor, because he/she might prescribe a different type of medication.
12. Having unrealistic expectations
Most people often have unrealistic expectations, especially with their weight loss goals.
During the first phase of your weight loss regimen, it’s possible that you’ll lose weight fast, but maintaining the same rate every week can become a problem.
The truth is that we all can’t be like professional bodybuilders and fitness models we see on those magazine covers.
In fact, most of these photos are enhanced, so it might be time for you to accept yourself the way you are if you’ve already lost some weight.
The summing up
All said and done, achieving your weight loss goals is no mean feat, with numerous factors bringing you to a standstill.
First forward, it’s important to be mindful of your calorie intake, by making sure that your intake is always less than your expenditure.
In the end, however, your dedication, resilience, self-discipline, and perseverance will determine the result.
7 Bone Broth Recipes for Weight Loss and Vibrant Skin
Anyone with a desire to feel and look younger, then bone broth is the solution. It’s basically made up of animals’ connective tissues and bones. These make up a stock. The stock contains collagen, gelatin, and amino acids. The Bone broth diet is packed with skin-tightening collagen components, fat-burning nutrients, and anti-inflammatory and gut-healing properties.
Bone broth recipe is the simplest to prepare. Less time is required in preparation as compared to other diets that involve a lot of preparation and cooking, hence less time in preparation and more in enjoying the meal.
For a healthier, slimmer, younger and happier life, consider bone broth diet in your meals. Healthy gut aids in weight loss and skin improvements.
Who is fit for the bone broth diet?
Whoever is interested in improving their health, looking younger and losing weight then bone broth is the best diet. The recipe is fit for combating inflammation and healing the gut. The gut is the major root of health. As a result, the bone broth has improved symptoms for high blood pressure, diabetes, skin condition, and mood swings.
Bone Broth Base recipe
Fill a stock pot with bones. Cover with clean water up to about 3 inches below the crock pot top. Pour in 3 tablespoons of vinegar plus some pepper (if desired) and salt.
Let it boil and then simmer in the crock pot at low heat at least 24hrs. If you notice in 2-3 hrs some foam rising to the top, use a spoon to skim it off. Strain the bones out after 24 hours and use the broth for the following recipes.
Top bone broth recipes
It is the simplest recipe to prepare as it requires fewer ingredients. The basic ingredients include animal bones, apple cider vinegar, and water. It’s recommended to obtain the bones from a clean trusted source.
Bones from organic meat is highly recommended as compared to those obtained from animals treated with antibodies.
1. Bone Broth Soup for Breakfast
Many people prefer consuming hot foods e.g. oatmeal and coffee for breakfast. Considering soup for breakfast isn’t a crazy thing. In fact, it’s a comfortable meal with lots of healing in it. People who consume bone broth for breakfast especially on an empty stomach have an extra healing benefit over it. In addition, apart from the soup proving a drinking feeling, it contains proteins hence more satiating than drinking flavored water.
• 2 cups of bone broth
• lemon juice
• 1 egg
• 1 sweet potato (just a small size)
• 1 teaspoonful olive oil
• Garnish with parsley (optional)
i. Chop 1 sweet potato into small size (cubes).
ii. Take the cubes and put them in a bowl containing olive oil.
iii. Roast them for 20min-30min at 400 degrees.
iv. While the potato is still boiling, mix your broth with salt and lemon juice in a pot and heat them. Make sure that you put enough salt in the broth for the perfect flavor.
v. Take a small bowl and crack the egg into it. Sprinkle some salt.
vi. Slide the egg gently into the simmering soup.
vii. Let it simmer for around 3-4 minutes. If you notice whites spreading from the yolk while they cook, fold the white back in.
viii. Take the roasted potato and place on a bowl and lay the egg gently on top of it. Pour your soup over everything. You can now enjoy your breakfast.
2. Chicken Zoodle Soup
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 3 finely chopped celery
• 3 minced cloves garlic
• 2 finely sliced carrots
• 4 cups of bone broth
• Finely chopped or shredded leftover chicken
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1-2 zucchini which are spiralized into “zoodles”
i. Take the olive oil in a pot and heat. Add garlic, onion, and celery. By stirring, cook until the onions become soft and translucent. They should not turn to dark brown.
ii. Add the carrots and broth and let it simmer up to 20 minutes.
iii. Add the chicken till its heated through.
iv. Add the zucchini spirals. Let it simmer for 2-5 minutes for softness impartment.
v. Add salt
vi. Enjoy you meal.
3. French Onion Soup
It uses few ingredients hence simple to make. Traditionally it was made from beef stock but nowadays any bone broth is able to make a delicious French Onion Soup.
• 4 yellow onions large in size
• 7 cups of bone broth
• 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped thyme
• 2 tablespoon of coconut oil
i. Slice the onions into thin slices. Take a stock pot and put the coconut oil in it and add the sliced onions. Cook it under moderate heat for around 30 minutes while frequently stirring it. The onions should turn slightly golden brown and not dark brown.
ii. Pour in the bone broth after the onions have slightly caramelized. Add salt and thyme.
iii. Let it simmer up to 45 minutes to ensure the merging of flavors.
iv. Your meal is ready for serving.
4. Vietnamese Noodle Soup
This type of soup contains flavors and is filling, hence making it feel exotic and sumptuous.
• Rice noodles
• 2 cups of bone broth
• Shredded cooked pork or chicken
• 1 smashed garlic clove
• 1-inch grated chunk of ginger
• 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon of hoisin sauce
• Lime wedges
• Chili (Optional)
i. Simmer bone broth, garlic, and ginger in a pot for about 10mins. The heat should be medium temperature.
ii. Add fish sauce, soy sauce and hoisin sauce.
iii. Add enough salt while tasting the broth for flavor.
iv. Cook rice noodles in broth as per the package directions.
v. Add shredded pork or chicken and wait until it is heated.
vi. Spoon it into bowls, adding mint, cilantro, sriracha and lime wedges as garnishes.
5. Bone Broth Burgers
If you aren’t interested in the soup then bone broth burgers are the best alternative for you.
• 1 pound ground pork, beef, turkey or chicken
• 2 tablespoon of olive oil
• sliced yellow onions
• 1 cup of bone broth
i. Combine meat with pepper and salt, making 4-6 patties.
ii. Put the oil in a skillet and heat. When the oil starts to smoke, add burgers.
iii. Take the onions and put them next to the burgers that are in the pan.
iv. Flip the burgers and then cook through as per your preferences. Remove them from the pan.
v. Add bone broth into the onions that are left in the pan. Boil the broth plus the onions under a medium-high heat until broth reduces to leave a thickened sauce.
vi. Spread the sauce over the burger. Eat it over sautéed greens.
6. Parsley + Cilantro
This bone broth recipe has an Asian flavor because of the Cilantro effect. Cilantro aids in eliminating heavy metals such as mercury from the body slowly. Parsley is rich in vitamins (A, B and C) thus important in immunity of the body.
• 1 tablespoon of fresh minced parsley
• 1 tablespoon of fresh minced cilantro
• Celtic sea salt
• 1 cup of bone broth
i. Put bone broth, parsley, cilantro and salt in a saucepan.
ii. Boil the mixture.
iii. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for around 5 minutes.
iv. Serve it in a mug and enjoy.
7. Ginger + Turmeric
It’s a super herbal additive bone broth. Inclusion of ginger is a sure natural medicinal value. It treats the stomach, circulation, and intestines. Turmeric, on the other hand, is a blood purifier, natural pain reliever, and decongestant.
This combination is pure medicinal bone broth hence improves the health standard of the individual.
• 1 cup of bone broth
• 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
i. Put the bone broth, turmeric, ginger and salt in a sauce pan.
ii. Bring it to boil.
iii. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
iv. Serve it in a mug and enjoy it.
For your gut improvement in terms of healthy, wonders are done by the bone broth. Gut healing will though take a bit of time but to improve this you may add some good probiotics.