Alternate Your Strength Training Workout With Some Yoga

Many who think of strength training equipment think of the massive muscles that many bodybuilders get and consequently show off in competitions. This can be a plus or a drawback for many consumers. The average consumer likes to be able to say feel good about themselves when they go swimming, but many are concerned about building too much muscle and suffering from stereotypical viewpoints. This needn’t be a worry for anyone considering strength training equipment.

The average body builder works out a lot in order to get the muscles they are famous for, plus they have to be on a very strict regimen with lots of protein and little or no fat. It would take you a lot of effort to become as built as the average bodybuilder. Many consumers can use simple free weights in order to maintain the muscle mass that they have or to add a little muscle strength. Some use strength training equipment to add a little tone or shape to certain areas of the body.

If you use them properly and alternate your strength training workout with some yoga or stretching exercises there is little risk of you bulking up too much. Many find that they enjoy the challenge of working out with strength training equipment. You can gradually increase the weight as you work out over a period of time and after your workout you really will feel the ‘burn’ in your muscles.

Though you should be careful of using too much weight at once. Its easy to sprain a muscle and hurt yourself, putting you out of commission for a few days or more. A good rule of thumb is that if you think you can start out with a certain weight begin about five or even ten pounds lighter and after a few repetitions move up to the next weight level. You can check out strength training equipment reviews online for an idea of what others are doing.

An All-around Yoga Exercise

One of the all-around yoga exercises is the 12-step salute to the sun. Do it once or twice

when you get up in the morning to help relieve stiffness and invigorate the body. Multiple

repetitions at night will help you to relax; insomniacs often find that six to 12 rounds help

them fall asleep.

1. Stand with your feet slightly apart, palms together, thumbs against your chest

2. Inhale deeply while slowly raising your hands over your head, and bend back as far as

possible, while tightening your buttocks. Hold for three seconds.

3. Slowly exhale and bend forward, keeping your knees straight, until your fingers touch the

floor outside your feet. (If you can’t touch the floor, go as close as you can.) Bring your

head in toward your knees.

4. Slowly inhale, bend your knees, and if your fingertips aren’t outside your feet on the

floor, place them there. Slide your right foot back as far as you can go, with the right knee

an inch or so off the floor, (a lunge position). Now look up as high as possible, arching your

back.

5. Before exhaling again, slide your left foot back until it is beside the right one, and with

your weight supported on your palms and toes, straighten both legs so that your body forms a

flat plane. Make sure your stomach is pulled in.

6. Slowly exhale, bend both knees to the floor, bend with your hips in the air, lower your

chest and forehead to the floor.

7. Now inhale slowly and look up, bending your head back, then raising it, followed by your

upper chest, then lower chest. Your lower body – from the navel down – should be on the floor,

and your elbows should be slightly bent. Hold for three to five seconds.

8. Exhale slowly and raise your hips until your feet and palms are flat on the floor and your

arms and legs are straight in an inverted V position.

9. Inhale slowly and bring your right foot forward as in position 4. The foot should be flat

on the floor between your fingertips. The left leg should be almost straight behind you, with

its knee slightly off the floor. Raise your head, look up, and arch your back.

10. Slowly exhale and bring your left foot forward next to your right one. Straighten your

legs and stand, trying to keep your fingertips on the floor, and try to touch your head to

your knees as in position 3.

11. Slowly inhale, raise your arms up and stretch back as in position 2. Don’t forget to

tighten your buttocks. Hold for three seconds.

12. Slowly exhale, lowering your arms to your sides. Relax. Repeat the series.

you thought Yoga Was Just Stretching

While on the way to spot a friend of mine at the local YMCA, he asked why I didn’t just join the gym and I explained to him that I practice Yoga and occasional calisthenics at home for my exercises and really didn’t feel the need for a gym membership. His response was predictable: “Yoga…isn’t that just stretching?”

I smirked at the familiarity of the question and proceeded to explain to him the theme of this article. As I told him and for those who may not know otherwise: No, Yoga is way more than just stretching or getting into supposedly awkward looking poses and positions.

It is a combination of stretching, breathing exercises, meditation and perhaps the most overlooked limb, adherence to a proper diet.

The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as a “union” or a method of discipline. Its ultimate goal is the union of man with God or the universe in one breath. Furthermore, it aims to liberate the spirit as the mind and spirit are equally involved in its practice.

Yoga is indeed the oldest existing physical-culture system in the world. Besides being a systematic and scientifically proven path to attaining physical fitness, it delays aging, rejuvenates and improves one’s appearance, maintains suppleness and increases vitality and the creative part of life.

With its core warm-up exercises known as the Sun Salutations (which are somewhat similar to the calisthenics exercise known as ‘burpees’), the inversion poses, forward and backward bending poses, balancing exercises for the arms and building focus, the average practitioner will attest to the fact that for attaining fitness, Yoga can stand its own.

Think Yoga can’t help with building strength? Think again. Heck, I challenge the most adept body-builder to hold the simple yet powerful peacock-pose for 90 seconds straight. Bet you they’d crash half-way in its execution-if they make it that far.

Yoga also offers unique breathing exercises which are wonderful for patients with respiratory disorders and even singers and public speakers, moreover with its unique relaxation pose, oft times practiced during and after its execution, Yoga offers a systematic means of deeply relaxing the entire body perhaps the way no other exercise can. (Keep in mind of course that several of the poses give a deep body massage not unlike the ones received in salons…just thought I should throw that in.)

With countless books, DVD’s, videos and classes being offered for all ages, levels of fitness and experience (some of them being actually free for the first couple of lessons to try Yoga out), I suggest you give it a trial and see for yourself what it can do.

One thing I promise you is this; you will walk out of your class and nod in agreement that indeed: “yoga is way more than just stretching.” It is THE exercise.

Yogic Breathing For Better Health

Swami Kuvalyanand once said: “Yoga has a message for the human body, for the human mind and the human spirit.”

This is a truism as a healthy body is the prime requisite for success and happiness in life. People are increasingly being convinced that yoga makes for good health, contentment and happiness in present day stressful life and is not just an exercise regimen.

In this article we will discuss Anuloma-Viloma (alternate breathing) pranayama. Pranayama simply means proper ‘management’ of the vital force – prana. Although the basic principle remains the same, many different types of pranayama have been devised, each with its own unique technique. Anuloma-Viloma or nadi shuddhi pranayama (nerve purifying pranayama) is one such kind and is considered one of the basic forms.

The practice of Anuloma Viloma is somewhat like the squad that regulates traffic on roads, looks after their cleanliness, beautification, etc and keeps the traffic moving smoothly and efficiently. The method involves breathing in (pooraka) through one nostril and vice versa. Therefore this pranayama has the name anuloma viloma, i.e. alternate breathing.

To practice this, you have to sit in any of the yogic sitting postures. To begin with, carry on normal breathing applying moola bandha (i.e. comfortable anal contraction). Keeping a stable moola bandha, breathe in and breathe out completely. Ensure that the moola bandha is not loosened during the process. Pause for a while between breathing in and breathing out. Breathe in deeply through the left nostril and breathe out through the right; then breathe in through the right and out through the left. Continue breathing this way, i.e. alternately from left and right nostrils, for one to three minutes.

After reaching a comfort level in this way, you may move to the next stage. Close the right nostril with the right thumb keeping the other four fingers together. Now, slowly breathe in through the left nostril at a uniform speed. Repeat with the other nostril. While breathing in, raise the shoulders and expand the chest taking the ribs up. The lower abdominal region, however, must be held in.

Benefits: The respiratory passage is cleaned and this prepares one well for the practice of other pranayamas. Breathing becomes easy and regulated. The mind becomes and heartbeat rhythmic. Also aids in enhancing concentration, memory and other mental faculties.

Contraindications: Severe pain in abdomen, swelling on account of appendicitis, enlargement of liver, very delicate bowels or intestines, disorders of the lungs, severe throat infections, growth in the nose (polypus) or blockage of the nasal passage due to cold, etc.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautions before following any of the asanas from this article and the site. To avoid any problems while doing the asanas, it is advised that you consult a doctor and a yoga instructor. The responsibility lies solely with the reader and not with the site or the writer.

The Importance Of Eating A Healthy Diet

There are many important reasons for anyone to eat a healthy diet of which the first and most important is in the name itself, health. Everyone has hear the saying, You are what you eat!

It is in this saying where most of the truth lies. Everything you eat can either be beneficial or dangerous to your personal health. The food can increase or decrease your risk of contracting certain diseases.

Unfortunately another truth is that eating healthy does mean that some of the best foods to eat do not taste very well and as a result, many people opt for the better tasting food which is bad for you. Some of these good tasting foods taste good because of the tempting ingredients within them like sugars which in some cases are a good thing but too much of a good thing can also be bad for you.

It is important to remember that in order to eat healthy, you first off need to focus on eating a variety of various foods and not just the same meal every day. The colors of the food play an important role and thus making sure that you eat meals with a wide range of colors can help you to maintain a healthy diet.

The color of a food is dependant on the vitamins and nutrients which make it what it is. These colors can tell you if the food is high in one vitamin or low in another and just the fact of eating a variety of different colors can lead to a healthier lifestyle.

It is important to remember that every meal needs to be balanced. Thinking back to grade school, everyone remembers learning about the various food groups and their importance in living a healthy lifestyle. The concept of making sure every meal has the right amounts of each food group has not changed since you were a child, in fact it has been a belief for many centuries so far and most likely will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

Everyone has the habit of snaking in between their meals and an important part of eating healthy is to make sure that these snacks are also healthy. Instead of grabbing for a bag of potato chips for your afternoon snack while stopping of at the local convenient store, grab some nuts or seed instead. There is a large selection of nuts and seeds available in almost every convenience store to choose from that not only taste good, but is also good for you.

By sticking to a diet of healthy foods that are good to you, you can loose weight, keep that weight off and have more energy to do whatever it is you need to do all day.