Natural Health
Better living through nature


5 Ayurvedic Herbs to Protect Your Body in Winter

The Vedic sages had understood the rhythm of nature and forces – the rhythmic cycle of seasons – alteration of night and day can affect us as cycles and seasons in human life. Being in tune with nature also means being in tune with the individual constitution – Pitta, Kapha, and Vata – the energy of metabolism, lubrication, and movement.

It is important to make peace with the natural cycles and adjust with the changes in the environment by making little changes in food, ingestion of herbs, and exercise for staying healthy all year long. You cannot control external factors but small changes in daily meals can make a big difference. Cloudy and grey sky often cause an imbalance in Kapha, which is responsible for lubricating the joints, maintain immunity and moisturize the skin. In excess, it can persuade mucus related illness, sluggishness, negative emotions such as greed, envy, and excess weight. You can learn in detail by enrolling yourself in Ayurveda courses in India

As we know, food plays a crucial part in keeping us healthy. Incorporate buttermilk, unyeasted bread, steamed vegetables, cottage cheese, ghee, warm soup, and warming spices like cloves, cinnamon, black pepper to improve appetite, promote digestion, and increase circulation. For more details, you can go for an Ayurveda course in Kerala. Here is Ayurveda's view on winter and a guide to help you stay balanced all winter long by adding a few herbs in your diet.  

Ayurveda herbs

Brahmi

Brahmi – a blessing for the brain! In fact, the leaves of Brahmi have the appearance of the human brain. The word Brahmi describes two different herbs for instance Bacopa Monnieri and Centella Asiatica. Its leaves help in balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain. You can nurture both the intuitive and analytical side as well as both Shakti (feminine) and Shiva (masculine) aspects so that you can become whole. It stimulates the pineal gland as well as the endocrine gland located within the brain and assists with intuition. You can take Brahmi in the form of powder or syrup. Many brain-boosting supplements have Brahmi.

Peppercorn

Peppercorn – king of spices has a mild and sharp spicy flavor that enhances the taste of many dishes. This ayurvedic medicine has been used for thousands of years because of its beneficial plant compound and concentration of potent. Free radicals can damage our skin and leads to premature aging, certain cancers, and heart diseases. Peppercorn has a plant compound that helps in protecting it from free radicals and their effects. It has shown potential benefits for severe degenerative brain conditions, for instance, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Daily consumption of peppercorn leads to the absorption of nutrients like selenium and calcium. A study shows that it can be a natural pain reliever.

Cloves

This versatile spice is a staple of Indian cuisine. Found in both powder and whole form, it can be used in hot beverages, cakes, cookies, and pot roasts to add aromatic and sweet flavor with medicinal properties. It will be surprising to know cloves include minerals, fiber, and vitamins with some crucial nutrients. Cloves are rich in antioxidants and vitamins C. Cloves have antimicrobial properties that stop the growth of microorganisms, for instance, bacteria. A study shows that cloves are capable of killing three types of bacteria including E. coli. It can use as an herbal mouthwash for proper oral hygiene and improves gum health. Cloves promote liver health and regulate blood sugar.

Cardamom

An intense, sweet flavor spice used in ancestral medicines for centuries and both savory and sweet recipes – cardamom can easily be found in Indian kitchens. Cardamom – a simple spice has immense health benefits. It is highly beneficial in high blood pressure, contains cancer-fighting compounds, and has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps in protecting you from chronic diseases. This is not it cardamom has used to treat digestion problems for thousands of years. It often uses with other medicinal spices for treating vomiting, nausea, and discomfort. It improves oral health and treats bad breath. In some cultures, it’s common to eat cardamom after meals for freshening up your breath.

Cinnamon

A delicious spice prized for its medicinal properties. Modern science has confirmed what humans know for ages – cinnamon has effective medicinal properties. In Egypt, it was valuable for gifting to the king. There are two types of cinnamon – Ceylon (true cinnamon) and Cassia (we generally use). Cinnamon is stuffed with antioxidants like polyphenols and can be used as a natural food preservative. Cinnamon protects from the world’s common problem for early death – heart attack. As we all know, Insulin imbalance leads to diabetes. Regular use of cinnamon boosts metabolism, controls blood sugar and shows effective benefits on insulin resistance. It also treats diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and protects from cancer. A study shows cinnamon can treat HIV – 1.

You can include these ayurvedic herbs into your diet for immense health benefits. You can also take a break from the hassles of your life and go for a yoga retreat in Nepal. Hopefully, this little guide will be helpful for you in this winter. These spices will not only help you keep warm but also make you healthy. I hope you’ll adopt these habits in your daily routine for a healthy winter. 


Bipin Baloni is a yoga teacher from India and his core specialization is in Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga. He organizes 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh. Bipin Baloni conducts Yoga Teacher Training in India in different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda and Health.

3 Yoga Poses for Strong Legs and Thighs

Powerfully built legs are what everyone wants. Since legs are responsible for movement, the pair is of tremendous importance in one’s life. Most of one’s successes are based on the healthiness of the legs and thighs—from enjoying the beauty of this world to witnessing your success stories, a brawny pair of legs is quite significant. A number of people in the world believe in yoga for making their legs strong. In fact, there are numerous yoga asanas which can be extremely useful to strengthen the legs.

Here, we will discuss three yoga poses that are immensely fruitful in making the legs and thighs strong.

girl in boat pose outdoors
Photo by Vishal Bhutani on Unsplash

Navasana (Boat Pose)

One of the finest exercises for having a pair of well-built legs, Navasana is Sanskrit for Boat Pose. The practice is all about balancing the two halves of the body by balancing it from the hips. While indulging in the asana, the thigh and abdomen muscles undergo a good workout which in turn, enhances their strength. Boat Pose is considered a fine exercise to lose weight. Navasana is also given tremendous importance in various Yoga programs such as Yoga teacher training in Nepal, India, Thailand, etc., thanks to its all-round benefits.

How to Practice:

  • Navasana’s practice starts in Savasana — the state of complete rest on the mat.
  • Bring the feet together and make the body flexible.
  • Raise the upper body in the air, followed by the legs and thighs.
  • The elevation angle of the spine should be equal to that of the thighs.
  • Make sure the spine is elongated and the knees do not get bent during the process while the body is balanced on the sitting bones.
  • Extend the arms to bring them parallel to the ground, in line with the knees.
  • It is also very important to keep the chest opened.
  • You can take help from others if you are not able to balance the two halves on your own.

If one is suffering from asthma, heart problems, low blood pressure, etc., the practice is advised to be avoided. It should also not be practiced during menstruation. The stress-relieving asana is great for stretching the hamstrings. If you are a Badminton player or a footballer, give some serious time this asana for boosting the movement of your body. In addition to all the physical benefits, the pose is an awesome alleviating reproductive health problems. Also, if you are having digestive issues, this exercise will prove to be immensely fruitful.

Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

This one is quite an easy exercise when it comes to practice. Almost everybody can enjoy the asana’s beauty. And this is what makes Utkatasana an extremely popular Yoga pose among people of all age groups. The final position of the asana imitates a chair, for which it is also known as Chair Pose. Owing to its contribution to boosting the strength of the thighs and legs, this asana is very fruitful for athletes and sportspersons.

How to Practice:

  • The practice of Utkatasana begins in the standing position. Keep the whole body straight.
  • Make sure the feet are placed slightly apart from each other.
  • While bending the knees gently, push your pelvis down in such a way that looks like sitting in a chair.
  • It is better to keep the thighs parallel to the ground and let a right angle be created at the knees.
  • Stretch your arms in the air to bring them parallel to each other above your head. Instead, you can bring them parallel to the ground with palms facing the mat.
  • Make sure the elbows don’t get bent.
  • Keep the spine erect and elongated while trying to hold the body in the position.
  • Let the body relax and thighs muscles tone for about a minute.

At the end of the practice, it is very important to give your legs a much-needed rest. Sukhasana, Virasana, and Siddhasana are some of the most popular relaxing Yoga poses.

Since the whole weight of the body is placed on the thighs, the muscles get toned in an amazing fashion. It is advised that you should not force yourself to stay in the pose if you are not able to do so. In the beginning, you can practice 5-6 laps of 4-5 seconds each. You can increase the lap time as you become an expert.

Padangusthasana (Hand to Big Toe Pose)

Padangusthasana is an amazing exercise when it comes to strengthening the thighs and legs. It is a very impactful practice for the complete health of the body and mind. Traditionally, the asana is a major instigator of peace, since it leads to a good amount of blood flow in the mind. Also known as the hand to big toe pose, the Yoga pose is one of the most influential physical exercises. The best part about this asana is the fact that you can practice this anytime and anywhere. Making it an integral part of your life would ensure the fitness of your legs.

How to Practice:

  • Padangusthasana also begins in a standing position.
  • Bend the body down in the forward direction and bring the nose near the knees.
  • By making sure that the knees are not bent, plant the fingers below the soles in such a way that the palms face the soles.
  • Make sure the torso, thighs, and shoulders are in a comfortable position.
  • Come back to the original position and repeat the same practice a few more times.

The asana has various forms of practice. Instead of placing your palms below the soles, you can just hold the toes with your fingers. Many people station their palms on either side of the soles. One of its major variants is called Uttanasana. Give this pose at least 5-6 minutes in the morning as well as in the evening to get the maximum benefits. Along with bolstering the thighs, Padangusthasana is also beneficial in enriching the brain and all muscles with substantial blood. The asana nurtures the legs, shoulders, and hips with proper blood circulation throughout the body parts. Enjoy this pose for strong and better-functioning hamstrings.


Bipin Baloni is a yoga teacher from India, and his core specialization is in Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga. He organizes Ayurveda Courses in India specially in Kerala. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, meditation, Ayurveda and health

Helichrysum Essential Oil: A Potent Remedial With A Gentle Hand

Helichrysum essential oil is yellow-to-slightly reddish in color with a pungent, distinctive, earthy, warm, honey-like scent which some say reminds them of sweet curry spice. It is a relative newcomer to the essential oil market, but demand for it is high, given its undisputed ability to help heal damaged skin tissue and soothe achy, inflammatory conditions. Like lavender, helichrysum essential oil is a complete medicine chest in a bottle!

A strongly aromatic, shrubby herb, helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum, syn. H. angustifolium) produces small clusters of bright yellow, semi-dry flowers that can be kept for years in a dried arrangement; in fact, helichrysum is also known as immortelle  or everlasting.  The name helichrysum is derived from the Greek helios (sun) and chrysos (gold).  Usually taken in the form of an infusion (tea), helichrysum has long been valued for its astounding number of medicinal properties, especially in Mediterranean countries, where it has been used as a remedy for liver ailments, skin conditions, respiratory complaints, headaches, inflammatory conditions such as muscular aches, sprains, and strains, and rheumatism.  African cultures prized the plant as a wound healer and burned the fragrant leaves as ceremonial incense.

Extremely gentle but highly efficacious, helichrysum essential oil is a powerful wound mender; a wonderful skin rejuvenative for aging and environmentally-damaged skin, as well as skin exhibiting eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis; and a superb anti-inflammatory.  I especially like it for its ability to ease arthritic pain, sciatica, sprains, strains, and muscle spasms, including menstrual cramps.  It is recommended for soothing achy hands and feet, too. 

helichrysum and cobalt bottle
Photo by Mars Vilaubi, c2018, used with permission from Storey Publishing

From Herb To Oil

 Helichrysum is native to the Mediterranean region and North Africa, and its essential oil is mainly produced in Italy, Spain, France, Croatia, Corsica, Hungary, and Bulgaria.  It takes approximately 1 ton of hand-harvested helichrysum flowering tops to produce just over 2 pounds of essential oil by steam distillation.  Thank goodness a little goes a long way!

Psychological Benefits:  Helichrysum is considered generally uplifting, harmonizing, nurturing, and calming, which is helpful when you’re dealing with issues of depression, apprehension, phobias, lethargy, stress, mental unrest/exhaustion, irritability, and shock.  Thought to open the heart, it provides warmth and grounding to those dealing with emotional coldness and fear.

Essential Properties In A Nutshell:   Powerful skin cell regenerative, excellent for treating wounds, burns, and skin irritations and pampering environmentally damaged, sensitive, or mature skin; antibacterial; superb anti-inflammatory and pain reliever; gently warming; soothes emotions and strengthens resistance, especially in times of heavy stress.

Safety Data & Usage Information: Generally nontoxic, non-irritating, and non-sensitizing.  Do not use with children under 2 years of age.

Always dilute essential oils properly – according to age, health, medication intake, and skin condition – prior to application.  My book, Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide (Storey Publishing, c2018), is a good reference, complete with safety guidelines and dilution charts.

The following recipe highlights the therapeutic nature of helichrysum essential oil with regard to its muscle-comforting properties.

helichrysum pain relief rub
Photo by Mars Vilaubi, c2018, used with permission from Storey Publishing

Essential Sports Rub Recipe

This effective oil blend contains soothing anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and analgesic properties and has a subtly sweet herby aroma.  It is designed to improve muscular circulation during the warm-up process or to deliver relief from overexertion after any vigorous or prolonged physical activity.  It leaves muscles feeling fabulous!

This recipe calls for herb-infused oils of comfrey leaf, St. John’s wort flowers, and calendula flowers.  You can either purchase them from better online herb purveyors such as Mountain Rose Herbs or learn to make them yourself.  On page 211 of my book, Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide, I give complete DIY instructions!

Note:  This recipe is safe for folks 12 years of age and older. For children ages 6 to 11, omit the rosemary essential oil and substitute with 6 additional drops of lavender essential oil.

Essential Oils:

• 8 drops helichrusum (Helichrysum italicum, syn. H. angustifolium)
• 6 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
• 6 drops rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole or non-chemotype specific)
• 4 drops ginger root (Zingiber officinale)
• 2 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)

Base:

• 3 tablespoons comfrey-infused oil
• 3 tablespoons St. John’s wort-infused oil
• 2 tablespoons calendula-infused oil

Container:

• 4-ounce plastic (PET or HDPE) or dark glass bottle with a pump, screw cap, or dropper top

To Make The Rub: Combine the helichrysum, lavender, rosemary, ginger, and orange essential oils in the bottle, then add the comfrey, St. John’s wort, and calendula oils.  Screw the top on the bottle and shake vigorously for 2 minutes to blend.  Label the bottle and set it in a cool, dark location for 24 hours so that the oils can synergize.  Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 1 year.

To Use: Shake well before each use.  If possible, have a friend or partner massage this blend into your muscles, paying particular attention to any painful or tense areas, before and/or after activity.  Applying it to skin that is pre-warmed from a bath, shower, or heating pad encourages the oil to penetrate deeply, but it is not necessary.

Yield: 4 ounces (120 ml)

Bonus uses: This blend also delivers soothing pain relief to sprains, arthritic joints, and newly bruised tissue.  It effectively relaxes and comforts muscle spasms in the arms, hands, legs, and feet, too.  Apply to affected areas three or four times per day.


stephanie tourles book coverRecipe excerpted from Stephanie Tourles’s Essential Oils: A Beginner’s Guide, (c2018 by Stephanie Tourles). Used with permission from Storey Publishing. Cover by Mars Vilaubi and Michaela Jebb, c2018, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

5 Natural Ways to Treat Uterine Fibroids

By age 50, between 70 and 80 percent of women will experience uterine fibroids. Since most women will confront this common health issue during their lifetime, it's crucial to develop a treatment plan for each woman's unique needs.

While medications and pharmaceuticals constitute the most common form of treatment for these non-cancerous tumors, it's vital to consider every possible treatment plan available. If you're looking for a more natural way to treat your fibroids, you'll be happy to know that you have access to many different options. Below, we'll delve into a few natural alternatives you may want to consider implementing into your wellness routine.

healthy diet breakfast bowls
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

1. Switch Up Your Diet

Your diet has a profound impact on your overall health and sense of well-being — uterine fibroids included.

If you currently don't spend too much time worrying about the food that goes into your body, now's the time to start. Fortunately, eating a nutritious and nutrient-rich diet is simple and doesn't require too many lifestyle changes on your part.

When dealing with uterine fibroids specifically, try to cut out as many carbohydrate-rich and sugary foods as possible. Why? Since these foods can trigger your body to produce excessive insulin hormones, they can aggravate your fibroids or symptoms.

Not sure what to eat? Try loading up on fruits and vegetables and other uterine fibroid-friendly foods instead. 

2. Drink Green Tea

Green tea is hailed by many throughout the world as one of the healthiest beverages aside from water. Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, green tea is used as a remedy to ward off a multitude of illnesses or health risks, such as uterine fibroids.

Why is green tea able to achieve this desired shrinkage? As noted, green tea is rich in antioxidants that play various roles in ensuring your daily health. One such antioxidant — deemed epigallocatechin-gallate — is linked to fibroid shrinkage, and it happens to be found in green tea.

And that isn't just here-say, either. A research study examined the impact of green tea specifically on uterine fibroid growth. Results showed that women who took green tea extract experienced uterine fibroid shrinkage when compared to those who took a placebo.

3. Develop a Weight-Loss Plan

Women with excess body weight are at a higher risk of experiencing fibroids. Having a higher BMI can negatively impact hormone regulation, which is key in a woman's reproductive health. Since obesity is one of the leading causes of uterine fibroids, it's important to create a health plan that focuses on achieving a healthy weight. 

Avoid any diet pills or teas that promote rapid weight loss. In addition to eating healthy, engaging in daily exercise, such as yoga, weight training or biking, can help you more effectively lose weight and keep it off in the long-run. 

Aside from prioritizing a healthy diet, one of the top ways to ensure a healthy weight level is by engaging in regular exercise. Be sure to shed any excess pounds in a healthy manner gradually over time. 

4. Consider Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE) Treatment

Rather than taking multiple medications, you may find it more appealing to undergo a minor procedure called uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).

In this treatment, a skilled radiologist will insert a small catheter into your wrist or groin where it will be guided to the fibroid's blood supply. You'll then be free to go home the same day. The ultimate goal is to free small particles from the blood supply to cut off the fibroid's supply of nutrients.

While this procedure may seem ideal, it's not for every uterine fibroid patient. Your physician can determine whether you'd be an ideal candidate.

acupuncture in hand
Photo by Antonika Chanel on Unsplash

5. Try Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicine practice that centers on inserting thin needles into a specific section of the body to promote healing. While current research studies on acupuncture are limited, many women tout that the healing benefits of this treatment option cannot be overlooked.

In a research study, women who used acupuncture versus medication experienced fewer adverse effects. Consider discussing this option with your general healthcare practitioner to determine whether you could benefit from the practice. Many health enthusiasts in the Western world swear by it!

How Do You Plan to Resolve Your Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids are a common condition that most women experience at one point or another in their lives — so it's important to understand that you're not alone. Whether you're looking for a way to alleviate your symptoms or want to reduce the formation of uterine fibroids altogether, consider incorporating any of the alternative treatment options mentioned above into your wellness plan!

12 Poses of Suryanamaskar and Benefits on the Body

Isn't it stunning to find something so miraculously appealing, only because of the results and the benefits it emits? Yoga is that powerful force which attracts nurturing, growth, and balance of an individual. Gone are the days when you could ignore your health and wellness because the environment took care of you. Now that the climatic conditions are critical, materialistic tools are spread all over, pollution has broken world records, and the habits of people are not at all in favor of their own health, let alone others. It is time to develop habits which have become necessary to implement regularly.

Suryanamaskar, or Sun Salutation, is a connected sequence of 12 different yoga poses. It is an overall cardiovascular workout with immense benefits on the body and mind. For best results, practice a minimum of 2-5 sets, on an empty stomach early in the morning. It is a gesture to express your gratitude towards the Sun, and welcome abundance into your life. Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh provides you a better understanding and deep knowledge about yoga and how can you balance your life and make it simple. Here are the 12 Poses of Suryanamaskar and how they can boost your health.

sun salutation yoga
Photo by madison lavern on Unsplash

Prayer Pose (Pranamasana)

Pranamasana begins the Suryanamaskar sequence. To do this, stand straight on the ground or a yoga mat by keeping your feet aligned or joined. Open your heart chakra by resting your shoulders and expanding your chest. Take a long, deep breath, and bring your hands together in the prayer position right in front of your heart when you inhale.

Benefits: Increase your focus, patience, and concentration when you are in this pose.

Raised Arms Pose (Hastotanasana)

The name originates from the Sanskrit word "upward tree." To do this pose, stand straight, raise your arms, stretch back and lengthen your spine as you gaze upwards. Make sure that you can balance yourself and remain on the ground.

Benefits: This pose helps people suffering from headaches, asthma, backache, fatigue, or anxiety.

Standing Forward Bend (Hasta Padasana)

Now, bend forward, down to your knees to touch your toes with your fingers. You can keep your knees bent if you are not able to stretch your knees straight initially. Relax your neck and shoulders, and press your heels softly so that your weight is evenly distributed.

Benefits: This posture stretches the thighs, hamstrings, calves, knees, and helps in recovering from insomnia, osteoporosis, relieves stress, anxiety, headaches, etc.   

Equestrian Pose (Hasta Sanchalanasana)

Bend your knees and place both palms on the ground, in line with your feet. Stretch back your right leg and keep the left leg at 90 degrees on the ground. Balance your body on toes by distributing your weight evenly.

Benefits: The pose increases willpower, boosts lung capacity, strengthens the spine, stimulates the digestive system, tones kidney and liver. 

Staff Pose (Dandasana)

Exhale and step the left leg back to form a plank pose, your feet will remain touching the ground. Make sure that your elbows, shoulders, and wrists are perpendicular to the floor. Your buttocks should be elevated from the ground, while your arms should be stretched in front of you, with palms facing and touching the ground. Keep your back flat and stretch your entire body in this inversed V-shape pose.

Benefits: Dandasana tones the abdomen and builds up endurance.

Salute with Eight Parts (Ashtanga Namaskar)

Drop down from Dandasana and touch your chin, knees, and chest at the same time on the ground. Your arms should be right next to your chest, and your hips should be off the ground and pointed towards the ceiling.

Benefits: It strengthens the legs, shoulders, and arms. This yoga pose releases tensions around the neck, shoulders, and arms by also improving the flexibility of the spine.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

Inhale deeply and raise your head backward while your palms will be placed on the ground, and elbows are close to your body. Your feet, legs, and lower torso should remain in contact with the ground as you perform this Suryanamaskar pose.

Benefits: Bhujangasana strengthens the lower torso, improves blood circulation, tones the abdominal muscles. For women, it also helps during the menstrual cycle, relieves sciatica, cures backache and is also a therapy for asthma. 

Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Exhale and lift your hips towards the ceiling, only your flat-palms and flat-feet should touch the ground. You will again come to this inverse V-shape position with relaxed muscles of your neck and shoulders. Stretch out and reap unimaginable health benefits from this downward facing dog pose.

Benefits: It improves blood circulation, tightens the skin, relieves stress, reduces the symptoms of menopause for ladies, cuts down on headaches, back pains, and more.

Equestrian Pose (Ashwa Sanchalasana)

Inhale and bring your right leg forward and place it in between your palms. Your head should be facing up.

Benefits: It opens your lungs, adjusts your posture defects, and aligns your spine. This pose also tones your kidney and liver.

Hand to Feet (Hasta Padasana)

Exhale and bend down to place both your hands next to your feet on the ground. If you are not able to reach them, just try to touch the floor or your toes with just your fingers.

Benefits: It strengthens the thighs and knees by stretching the hamstrings, legs, and calves. Improves the digestion and stimulates the abdominal organs. 

Raised Arms Pose (Hasta Uttanasana)

Raise your arms and stretch back over your spine. Your head should be facing up, and arms away from each other by bending backward.

Benefits: It improves digestion, relieves anxiety and fatigue, and improves digestion.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

The final pose is called ‘Anjali Mudra,’ where you will be doing the Namaste gesture again like in the very beginning of your Sun Salutation sequence.

Benefits: Become grounded, rejuvenated, and more confident in your life by strengthening the body organs by the end of this pose.

As you complete the cycle of Suryanamaskar, you open the possibilities of letting the energy flow in the blocked parts of your body. Salutation to the Sun has served well for the mental, physical, and emotional health.


Bipin Baloni is a yoga teacher from India and his core specialization is in Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga. He organizes 200-hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh. Bipin Baloni conducts Yoga Teacher Training in India in different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, meditation, ayurveda and health.

Homemade Heat Buster Recipe

It’s been a terribly hot summer in this country so far. Everywhere people are trying to stay cool and hydrated. I have a little recipe that helps me. It’s better than store bought. It isn’t as sweet and it’s 100% natural.

I kind of slid into this recipe by accident. It was built on what I’ve been drinking for years for leg cramps. I am older and as time has gone by I started getting leg cramps at night. I have an active life and a few years back I’d come in, lie down and start to get leg cramps right away so I did a little internet research and concluded that I was sweating out potassium salts and other vital nutrients and that’s what was causing the cramps. I read that bananas were a good source of potassium but that coconut water was even better. I apologize but I am not a big fan of bananas. Except for red Jamaican bananas but that’s another story. So, coconut water for me!

Prior to the onset of the leg cramps I’d been drinking a large glass of sweet tea with water soluble fiber added to help with my cholesterol and with regularity. Years ago my doctor said this was a very good practice. So I started adding coconut water to my fiber drink, too, and, lo and behold, my leg cramps just up and disappeared. I am not a pill popper. I am from the old school of “food is your best medicine."

drink

Now that I live in an area that gets over 100 degrees on a regular basis during the summer I find that when I make a few modifications to my little fiber coconut water drink I then have a very nice electrolyte balancer.

Renee’s Summer Heat Buster Recipe

• 1 4-inch piece of ginger, peeled, grated
• 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 2 teaspoons honey, local if possible
• A pinch of salt (I use pink Himalayan)
• 2-3/4 cups coconut water, unsweetened, unflavored

1. Grate the ginger. I have this wizard little tool a friend gave me that makes it so easy to grate so you don’t skin your knuckles.

grater

2. Combine the ginger gratings, lemon juice, lime juice, honey and salt in a large glass jar, bottle or pitcher and let it set for a few minutes for the ginger to infuse. Strain through a fine mesh to remove the ginger fiber. Then add the coconut water and stir or shake. You can dilute it to taste with filtered water. Pour over ice or refrigerate.

Photos by Renee Benoit

How Lack of Sleep Impacts Hair Health

Did you know that one of the most important things you can do to live a long and healthy life is to sleep? While it is important to balance quality sleep with a healthy diet, exercise, and mental stimulation, sleep is what helps keep our mind stay alert, our moods and emotions balanced, and even affects the quality of our hair. 

Women spend countless hours and money trying to keep their hair looking strong, healthy, and full of life. But, without quality sleep, much of that time could be wasted, and here is why.

 

hair

Why Lack of Sleep Impacts Your Hair

While you sleep your body is running full speed to try to repair injuries, stem inflammation as well as process thoughts, memories, emotions, and much more. These processes require that your body goes through the nightly sleep cycles which manage your body’s nightly processes.  However, when you are not sleeping the recommended seven plus hours each night your mind doesn’t have the opportunity to properly regulate the chemicals and hormones in your body. This in turn results in both mental and physical stress which plays a critical role in maintaining healthy hair. 

Ways Your Hair Might Be Impacted by Stress and Lack of Sleep

It's Oily

A lack of sleep can be the reason you wake up with oily hair in the morning. As you sleep your mind uses that time to regulate functions in your body. However, when you are not sleeping enough those chemical and hormonal functions can be thrown off balance causing you to make too much of one thing and not enough of another. One way your body can overproduce is in the production of an oil called sebum which is created in the sebaceous glands. 

In addition to over productive glands, regular insomnia can lead to a lethargic state where you may be awake, but it is difficult to manage simple daily tasks such as taking a shower which only contributes to more oils in your hair.

It Falls Out

Hair is highly susceptible to stress in general, when that stress comes from lack of sleep there are studies that show hair loss may be even worse. This is due to how your body responds to the normal day-night rhythm and the production of hormones such as HGH. A low production of HGH can contribute to multiple medical conditions including thinning hair. In addition, sleep loss can cause your hair follicles to weaken resulting in hair loss.

Split Ends

The primary reason for insomnia is due to mental stress or anxiety. Simply, your mind is so fixated on the world around you that you can’t sleep. The result is a long night of tossing and turning and a frequent sleep/wake night. The friction caused by restless sleep often results in what is called a double-split split end. Stress may already deplete your hair of the necessary vitamins and minerals needed for strong hair, so when you are regularly jostling your hair at night damage becomes even more of a problem.

Whether it is sleep deprivation or you experience chronic insomnia, the stress brought on by these conditions has a direct correlation to your hair and damage. The good thing is that damaged hair and even hair loss can usually be reversed by eating a healthy diet, using beneficial hair products, and most importantly getting at least seven hours of quality sleep each night.

For more tips on how to live your best happy, rested, and healthy life, visit our newest health and wellness posts on Mother Earth Living today!







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