Beautiful Places Healthy Activities Healthy Living

Himalayas of the American West

“Can you hear the roar of the universe?” MC Yogi

Back from Wanderlust with a yoga glow (or is it a sun burn? or both:)
all the while vibrations are still reverberating in my head almost “like billions of bees buzzing” to quote MC Yogi again.

To get the idea of the significance of the locale of Wanderlust, here’s an excerpt from Tahoe Social:

“World class athletes call Tahoe home, but so do thousands of outdoor enthusiasts who can’t wait to try something new. Here’s a question you can ask yourself in Tahoe: Mountains, meadows, lakes, beaches, rivers… where do I want to play today?

Have you seen the view from Mt. Tallac? Too steep? Then consider a beautiful walk through Kahle Meadows to the lake shore or an aerial tram ride to the top of Squaw Peak.

Is a paddle wheeler cruise your style, or do you want the adrenaline rush of water skiing? Truth is, the list of things to do in Lake Tahoe is nearly endless.”

The Lake is ringed by Sierra-Nevada mountains, tallest of which is Freel Peak, standing at almost 11,000 ft. in altitude. What a rush to practice in the midst of so much magnificence. You get the natural high from mother nature’s high peaks. To me, it’s the Himalayas of the American West. (The beauty is – you can still breathe up on the top unaided, with the best visibility of the Lake!)

Fun Facts:

Highest Peak in Sierra-Nevada mountains = 3,352 meters
Mount Fuji, Japan = 3,776 meters
Aconcagua, Andes = 6,961 meters
Himalayas (Mt. Everest) = 8,848 meters

Healthy Activities Healthy Living

Never Give Up!

“Just because I can’t do it today doesn’t mean I’m not going to be able to do it SOMEDAY…”
“Never underestimate what you can accomplish when you believe in yourself!”

A Pro wrestler turned yogi – espousing Yoga For Regular Guys, Diamond Dallas Page. Here’s one of his students, Arthur, the not so regular regular guy:

Arthur:There was a man with a MD behind his name… said that I should pretty much accept where I was at. That I will never walk normally again. At a certain point, I kind of accepted that which is the single biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my entire life. I let somebody else tell me what I couldn’t do.

So Boys and their parents – Yoga is not for girls only. Originally Yoga was intended for boys seeing that they had SO much energy and for some, unable to sit still. All that misdirected energy had to be harnessed positively and channeled to bring about calm so that they can focus better and think clearly with logic and reason. All this talk about ADHD, ADD – or aspergers syndrome these days as though it’s some modern day malaise – it’s nothing new. In the old days they were just called eccentric or full of curiosity and energy… rather than making these kids takes drugs, they should be allowed to try yoga or some form of body-mind-spirit therapy first. They can’t just sit around and play intense stimuli-rich computer games and expect to master focus and concentration! Get Authur or Diamond Dallas to teach them?

Today, looking around at the school aged children, there seems to be a misinformed notion among some that yoga is mostly for girls. Yoga, historically was intended for boys – girls were not even allowed to practice it, much less, teach it. It is said that first recorded yoga by a woman for women was Lady Niguma’s yoga from 1000 years ago and yoga has been around for about 5000 years…Books on philosophy and theories have been around for centuries prior, but it is said that Lady Niguma was apparently the first yogi to actually write down the asanas(poses) for record. I had to chuckle… of course, it takes a woman…apparently she took notes for record keeping to find what works for women( as her husband was a great yogi).

Today, we live in a modern enlightened world where Yoga is for both boys and girls, men and women, young and old, flexible or not, strong or not, healthy or not – to become stronger and healthier. It does not have to be looked at as an ultimate or as end-all. That is, for school aged boys (& girls already know this), it can be looked upon as performance enhancer (academic, sports, dance and more) & injury prevention for competitive sports, preparation and maintenance to stay in shape, injury, illness, surgery recovery, general wellness/fitness program and again, for mind & body awareness and self-knowledge to promote healthy lifestyle. It just lays the foundation you can build upon – It’s not about getting into pretzel poses and if you ever tried Ashtanga or Power yoga, it is not just relaxing and stretching (great benefits to that though). It’s sweaty tough fitness model with the spiritual element tucked in. It can be a very hard workout as any athlete would attest to! The reward at the end being the tension free body, tissues and veins relieved of tightness and blockages… Then comes the clarity of the mind. Some call it a rush of sorts, the natural way…

Plus Restorative yoga for renewal as recommended by Judith…Bliss.

This video is amazing – the power of the mind, the will… very inspirational.


Healthy Activities Healthy Living

Lost 100 lbs in 6 months!

and… (let the drum roll) 140 in 10 months!!! Unbelievable!

But I too have lost 20 lbs in one year so when you have a lot to lose, there’s a lot to gain from regular yoga practice.

Saw this on FB before but always good to revisit to get motivated.
Watch Authur’s story in the middle of this post.

Sharing an excerpt from an article by Dr. Mercola! Yes, yoga is anti-aging!
Exercise is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle, and it can be a part of your life no matter what your age. In fact, staying active becomes increasingly important as you get older, both for your physical and mental health.

Even frail seniors of advanced age can improve strength, agility, and even cognitive ability with exercise.

Loss of bone mass is one of the common signs of aging, because as you age your existing bone is absorbed by your body while new bone is created to replace it.

In the case of osteoporosis, the formation of new bone falls behind the rate of bone absorption, leading to weakened, thinner and more brittle bones.

A thinning hipbone is a major concern if you are elderly, because any fall increases the risk of a broken hip, which always carries a great risk of complications and usually requires prolonged specialized care for recovery. It’s estimated that 25 percent of elderly people suffering a hip fracture die as a direct result.

Weight-bearing exercise, like resistance or strength training, can go a long way to prevent brittle bone formation, and can help reverse the damage already done.

Interestingly enough, strength training also has brain-boosting side effects, which can help you avoid age-related dementia.

Any resistance training (which includes some styles of yoga) for older adults provide following benefits:

Improved sleep
Reducing your risk for medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, dementia, cancer, and premature death from any cause
Preventing falls and fractures
Improving your overall mood and outlook
Majority of Americans Don’t Get Enough Exercise

According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),the majority—79 percent—of American adults aged 18 and over are not meeting federal recommendations for physical activity for either aerobic- and muscle-strengthening exercise. Federal recommendations include getting:

At least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
Muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups, twice or more per week
Of the 450,000 respondents participating in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an annual CDC phone survey of adults, 52 percent said they meet the aerobic activity guideline, and only 29 percent reported meeting the muscle-strengthening activity recommendation. Disturbingly, as reported in the featured article by USA Today,3 other studies suggest Americans are even more sedentary than what these statistics show:

Strength training increases your body’s production of growth factors, which are responsible for cellular growth, proliferation, and differentiation. Some of these growth factors also promote the growth, differentiation, and survival of neurons, which helps explain why working your muscles also benefits your brain. Yoga can provide simple warm-up techniques and some basic resistance exercises for the target areas you’ll want to work, which include your:

Core muscles
Upper back
Lower body
High Intensity Interval Training as an Anti-Aging Tool

Make no mistake — virtually ALL forms of exercise are beneficial, but aside from strength training, high-intensity interval-type training may also be of particular benefit for aging adults. Once you hit the age of 30, you enter what’s called “somatopause,” at which point your levels of HGH (human growth hormone) begin to drop off quite dramatically. This decline of HGH is part of what drives your aging process, so maintaining your HGH levels gets increasingly important with age.

Exercises boost your body’s natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), which will help address the muscle loss and atrophy that typically occurs with aging. In fact, your production of vital human growth hormone increases by as much as 771 percent during a …workout. And the higher your levels of HGH, the healthier, stronger, and more “youthful” you will be…

Yoga After 50

While I believe you need to incorporate more intense forms of exercise for optimal health, such as anaerobic exercise (high intensity interval training) and strength training, there’s no doubt that milder, low-impact forms of exercise such as yoga can be an important part of a comprehensive exercise program. Yoga is particularly useful for promoting flexibility and core muscles, and has been proven beneficial if you suffer with back pain. A recent study has also shown that regular yoga classes can help improve atrial fibrillation5 (irregular heartbeat).

A recent New York Times article addresses the benefits of yoga after 50, pointing out that “yoga can be practiced fully and deeply at any age.” Naturally, as your body changes, your practice will need to be modified as well. This applies to any form of exercise; always listen to your body. In the article, Dr. Loren Fishman, a back-pain specialist in Manhattan who uses yoga in his rehabilitation practice, gives the following advice:

“…Aging brings impairments of range, motion, strength and balance that can require modifications, even among veteran yogis, like using the support of a chair or the wall for many poses. In addition, students may begin to feel the effects of arthritis, injuries and other ailments that may require students skip certain poses altogether. Someone with osteoporosis, for example, may want to avoid headstands and poses requiring extreme spinal flextion or extension, while someone with glaucoma may want to avoid taking the head below the heart in poses like headstand, handstand, shoulder stand and standing forward bends.”

Yoga is an excellent choice for helping you improve and maintain your balance, so make sure to include one-legged standing poses. Carrie Owerko, a New York-based teacher of Iyengar yoga who was also interviewed, mentions Tree Pose and Eagle Pose as examples. If you need to use a chair or wall for support, that’s okay.

Yoga for Weight Loss and Health Maintenance

The following video, featuring Arthur Boorman, a disabled veteran of the Gulf War, is perhaps one of the most inspiring yoga success stories I’ve ever seen. His injuries had put him on a downward spiral for 15 years, and his doctors had told him he’d never be able to walk unassisted again. Due to his injuries, he couldn’t perform high impact exercises, but one day, he came across an article about yoga, and the rest, as they say, is history… If you’ve ever doubted the transformative power of a low impact exercise such as yoga, I urge you to take a look at this video. It’s a truly remarkable story. Not only did he rapidly start losing weight, he also gained tremendous strength, balance and flexibility—to the point he proved his doctors’ prognosis wrong by walking unaided in less than a year!

Interestingly, research published just last year discovered that yoga has a beneficial impact on leptin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure.

Both insulin and leptin resistance are associated with obesity, and impairment of their ability to transfer the information to receptors is the true foundational core of most all chronic degenerative diseases. Leptin tells your brain whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce, or (partly by controlling insulin) whether to engage in maintenance and repair. In short, leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it.

Therefore, leptin may be on top of the food chain in metabolic importance and relevance to disease. If your leptin signaling is working properly.

When your fat stores are “full,” this extra fat will cause a surge in your leptin level, which signals your brain to stop feeling hungry, to stop eating, to stop storing fat and to start burning some extra fat off. Controlling hunger is a major (though not the only) way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful, ancient, and deep-seated drive that, if stimulated long enough, will make you eat and store more energy. The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry, and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger, the primary one being leptin.

Rounding Out Your Exercise Program

To truly optimize your health, it’s wise to incorporate a wide variety of exercises. As discussed above, each form of exercise has its range of benefits. Also, without variety, your body will tend to adapt and the benefits will begin to plateau. As a general rule, as soon as an exercise becomes easy to complete, you need to increase the intensity and/or try another exercise to keep challenging your body. I recommend incorporating the following types of exercise into your program. (The first three have all been addressed above):

Interval (Anaerobic) Training
Strength Training
Core Exercises
Stretching: My favorite type of stretching is active isolated stretches developed by Aaron Mattes. With Active Isolated Stretching, you hold each stretch for only two seconds, which works with your body’s natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscle joints. This technique also allows your body to repair itself and prepare for daily activity. You can also use devices like the Power Plate to help you stretch.
It’s Never Too Late to Take Control of Your Health

Following the advice in this article can go a long way toward maintaining healthy bones and muscle mass as you age. Granted, the earlier you start, the better, but remember, you are never too old to start exercising. Research shows that, no matter your age, you stand to gain significant improvements in strength, range of motion, balance, bone density and mental clarity through exercise. My mom didn’t start working out until she was 74 and now, at the age of 78, she has gained significant improvement in strength, range of motion, balance, bone density and mental clarity.

…There’s really no time like the present when it comes to taking control of your health, and exercise is a crucial component of optimal health. I guarantee it will make a major difference in your energy level, and probably your entire outlook on life. It is really THAT powerful, whether you’re 18 years old or 80!

And I SO agree!