Nothing is quite as satisfying as a yoga practice that’s filled with movement. Whether you prefer an intense and sweaty vinyasa practice, a gentle but deliberate viniyoga practice, or something in between, all systems of hatha yoga provide a contented afterglow for the same reason: You sync your movement with your breath. When you do, your mind stops its obsessive churning and begins to slow down. Your attention turns from your endless to-do list toward the rhythm of your breath, and you feel more peaceful than you did before you began your practice.
For many of us, accessing that same settled, contented state is more difficult to do in meditation. It’s not easy to watch the mind reveal its worries, its self-criticism, or its old memories. Meditation requires patience and-even more challenging for most Westerners-time. So, why would you put yourself through the struggle?
Quite simply, meditation can profoundly alter your experience of life. Thousands of years ago the sage Patanjali, who compiled the Yoga Sutra, and the Buddha both promised that meditation could eliminate
the suffering caused by an untamed mind. They taught their sudents to cultivate focused attention, compassion, and joy. And they believed that it was possible to change one’s mental powers and emotional patterns by regularly experiencing meditative states. Those are hefty promises.
But these days, you don’t have to take their word for it. Western scientists are testing the wisdom of the masters, using new technology that allows researchers to study how meditation influences the brain.
The current findings are exciting enough to encourage even the most resistant yogis to sit down on the cushion: They suggest that meditation-even in small doses-can profoundly influence your experience of the world by remodeling the physical structure of your brain. Read on to find out how, and then put each finding into practice with meditations by yoga teachers Christopher Tompkins, Frank Jude Boccio, and Kate Vogt.
(source-article has been updated)
Health Myths - Foods You Think are Healthy but are Not
by Dr. Ann
Health myths abound when it comes to food. Many so called “health foods” are nothing more than nutritionally defunct, empty calories masquerading as the good guys you want them to be. What follows are the most notorious
“health food imposters.”
Flavored yogurt products:Although these
“health favorites” provide some calcium, B vitamins, and essential amino acids, they are loaded with added sugar - in many cases more than is typically found in a standard dessert. “Yogurt” products, through slick packaging and clever marketing, have very successfully garnered what is referred to as the “health halo effect” - meaning consumers naturally assume any product with “yogurt” on its label is wholesome and good for you. The only truly healthy “yogurt” is low-fat plain. If you prefer it sweetened, combine with some berries or cut up fruit or add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup or honey.
Meal Replacement/Energy Bars:Whole some are a bit more wholesome than others (15 vs. 40 or so ingredients), these popular, modern day favorites are the ultimate in 100% pure factory made, processed foods. In my book, they are not food, but food-like artifacts that are generally high in sugar and/or unhealthy fats. Have a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit as a real, healthy alternative. (If you must - Kashi, Nature’s Path, Luna, or Pria are the best options.)
Infused Water:Like yogurt,
“water” has the health-halo effect and the beverage industry is currently exploiting it to the max. Water infused with all sorts of supposedly healthy extras, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and herbs are the fastest growing beverage products. Most of them are nothing more than sugar-fortified drinks like their first cousins, soda with a smidge of a few added vitamins. There is zero evidence that extracting nutrients from their native context (foods) and adding them to water has any health benefit (and may even have risks). If you use these products, you are paying several 100 times more than you would for tap water (which is more rigorously monitored than bottled water). By the way, pure water is the only beverage that provides 100% of what we need and why we have to drink to stay alive - namely H2O. (source)