Yoga Nidra Meditation


Yoga nidra literally means ‘sleep of the yogis‘. It is a technique by which one reaches deeper levels of awareness as one sleeps. This explanation seems incredible because we cannot associate awareness with sleep. However, as per the beliefs of Hinduism to which this technique traces its roots, there are three levels of consciousness. They are waking, dreaming and deep sleep. Though we lose awareness while we sleep, our consciousness reaches a different level than it achieves while we are awake. Through this meditation, we try to take our consciousness to a sublime level of consciousness.

How to do Yoga Nidra Meditation?

Here are the steps that would guide you to do yoga nidra meditation. It needs to be done in a place that does not have too many distractions. This technique requires a relaxed mind and a calm and peaceful place. One should also ensure that one is comfortable as one lies down for this yoga meditation technique. The steps to be followed are:

Step 1:

Lie down on the floor in a relaxed state. Keep legs apart at a distance of 1 to 1.5 feet. Lay your hands by your side, not touching your body but a little away from it. Let the palms face upwards. Relax your entire body.

Step 2:

Take a few deep breaths to first relax yourself completely. Now instead of concentrating on your breath, start with concentrating on the toes of one leg. Say, start with those of left leg. Start with the big toe finger and then, shift on to the smaller ones, one by one. The key to this meditation technique is to feel the sensations in one’s body as one shifts his consciousness from one part to the other. Feel the vibrations, the warmth or the tingling sensation, whatever you feel in your toes.

Step 3:

Now slowly move up your left leg. Concentrate on your sole. Let your mind linger on that part for a few moments. Then move on to the ankle, calf muscles, knee and thigh. As you make your mind trail up your leg, spend some time on each part. Repeat the step with your right leg.

Step 4:

Now focus your awareness in the pelvis region. Feel the mattress below pressing against your lower pelvis region. Move your consciousness around the whole of the pelvis.Photo0742Step 5:

After you are through with the pelvis region, focus your awareness to the abdominal area. Concentrate on the falling and rising of the abdomen. Try to feel your muscles relaxing and getting rejuvenated. Slowly move up your awareness from the abdomen through the stomach muscles to the bottom of the rib cage. As you do so, spend some time on each of these parts and try to visualize the muscles as they should move with every breath you take.

Step 6:

Now slowly move down to the lower back. Try and concentrate on the base of your lower back. Then slowly move your awareness up the spine, concentrating on the lower back, middle back, upper back and finally, reach the shoulders.

Step 7:

Bring your consciousness to your chest. Focus on the heaving of the chest as you breathe in and out.

Step 8:

Now move your awareness down along the upper arms, lower arms to each of the fingers, one by one. Then, move back up and move up along the neck and throat. Focus your awareness on various parts of the face starting from the jaws, cheeks, mouth, eyes, temple and finally, the forehead. Let your awareness remain on the head for sometime. Now move down your body doing the meditation in the reverse order.

The yoga nidra meditation needs some practice before it can be done perfectly. However, it is believed to be one of the most effective forms of meditation that allows one to develop a stronger will power and improve one’s personality from within.

via Yoga Nidra Meditation.

Tree Pose (Vrikshasana) in Yoga


Tree pose improves balance, concentration, flexibility, makes a person calm and stress free. Read on to know the step wise procedure to perform this yoga pose correctly as well as to know its benefits for the mind and body.

According to yoga, it is a calm and well-nourished mind which leads to a healthy body. That’s why, the various yoga poses are performed to balance the mind and body of a person. One of such poses which provides all the yoga health benefits is the tree pose. Let us know how to perform this pose as well as what are its benefits.

Tips on How to do the Tree Pose

Step 1

Stand straight on the ground. Your feet should be joined. Arms should be straight and should fall on the sides. However, do not keep the body uptight.

Step 2

Shift your body’s weight onto the right foot, as you prepare to lift your left foot off the ground.

Step 3

Lift your left foot from the ground. Bend your knee and place the sole of the left foot on your inner right thigh. You may hold your ankle with your hand and keep the foot on the thigh.

Step 4

Keep your left foot pressed into the insides of your right thigh and side by side, stretch your body upwards. At this point, focus on a single, stationary point in front of you, as it will help you maintain your balance.

Step 5

Bring both your hands in front of your chest and join the palms in a “Namaste” or prayer position. Now, slowly raise your arms in the same position above your head. If you are doing it correctly, your elbows should be on the sides and the joined palms over your head.

Step 6

Stretch your body as much as you can, while keeping the right foot firmly pressed on the ground and the left one pressed into the thigh. You should feel the stretch in all your body parts, including your legs, hips, back, chest, arms, hands and fingers. Hold on in this position for about half a minute. You may stretch it to a minute at a later stage. Keep the breathing normal.

Step 7

Lower your arms as well as your left leg and come back in the original position as mentioned in step 1. Repeat the same beginner yoga pose on the other leg.

Some Precautions : Initially, if you are not able to do this pose correctly, try to balance yourself with a wall. Also, if you are finding it too difficult to get your foot to the inside of your thigh, you can place it a bit lower. However, do not keep it on the knee or it may cause an injury. When it comes to doing yoga, the key lies in not attempting something your body is yet not ready for. Take things slowly, practice daily and automatically you will learn how to do the poses correctly.

Benefits

Like all standing yoga poses, tree pose too, has numerous benefits.

  • Tree yoga pose contributes to increasing the flexibility of the legs, hips, knees and groin.
  • This basic yoga pose improves the balance and stability of the body. It also strengthens the feet and the legs.
  • If practiced regularly, it improves mental concentration and focus of a person.
  • As the tree pose stretches the spine and the hips, it is one of the effective yoga poses for back pain.
  • This pose is beneficial for people suffering from health problems and conditions such as flat feet, sciatica, arthritis, rheumatism and circulatory problems.

As you can see, there are numerous benefits of tree pose for the body. However, those people who suffer from hip or knee problems, should never perform this yoga pose without consulting a trained yoga practitioner. In fact, to derive maximum physical and mental benefits out of yoga exercises and poses, they should always be learned from an expert.

via Tree Pose in Yoga.

Ayurveda for Constipation


If late night sleeping habit, stress, eating unhealthy food and lack of exercise are some of the characteristics of your lifestyle, you could face a problem of constipation. It may not be severe, but it surely requires on time medication.

An inability to meet the urge to pass normal stool is a primary symptom of constipation. The other symptoms include irritable bowel syndrome, infrequent bowel movements and hard stool. In constipation, passing the stool becomes difficult and painful. An unhealthy lifestyle is the main cause of constipation. It involves insufficient water intake (8 glasses of water is the daily water requirement of your body), excessive consumption of caffeine in form of tea and coffee, consuming refined foods lacking vitamins and minerals and eating meat.

Constipation and Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, the vitiation of vata dosha is the primary cause of constipation and the other doshas responsible for constipation are pitta and kapha. Constipation felt mostly in hot months is due to vitiation of the pitha dosha, characterized by dry stool. And in the constipation caused by vitiation of kapha dosha, it becomes painful to pass the sticky feces, because of the excessive mucus blocking the rectal passage. The severity of constipation varies depending on the age of the person. Initially, constipation leads to infrequent (typically three times a week) and difficult bowel movement. But, if not treated in time, it may lead to severe or chronic constipation accompanying significant pain and discomfort and lead to complications such as fecal impaction or fecal incontinence. A prolonged constipation may lead to a feeling of heavy abdomen, headache, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Constipation should be treated on time to avoid total apathy. The most effective remedy for constipation is available in Ayurveda. Below is the list of ayurvedic medicines for constipation.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Constipation

Ayurveda gives prime importance to the daily diet. Including fiber rich foods, raw vegetables and fruits such as papaya, tomato, beetroot and sugarcane proves to be beneficial. Below is a list of ayurvedic medicines for constipation:

Triphala Churna:Triphala Churna is the best ayurvedic herbal medicine. As the name suggests, it is made up of three (tri) fruits (fals) namely, amla (Indian gooseberry), haritiki (chebulic myrobalan) and bibhitaki (belleric myrobalan). It is an excellent cleanser, rejuvenator and it works wonders. Available in both powder and capsule form, it is advisable to take 1 tablespoon of triphala choorna with lukewarm water twice a day

Aloe vera: Another ayurvedic herbal medicine is aloe vera juice known as ‘Kumari Saar’ in Ayurveda. It acts as a natural detoxifier, cleans the intestine and removes endotoxins from the blood. It is taken twice a day, one dose of which consists of 20-30 ml of aloe vera juice mixed with equal quantity of water.

Isabgol or Psyllium husk: The isabgol or psyllium husk is an effectual herbal ayurvedic medicine for constipation. It helps in emptying bowels with ease. Advisable dose is 1-2 table spoons of powdered isabgol with lukewarm water before going to bed. How well it suits an individual, depends on his/her constitution. So it\’s good to consult a doctor for its dosage.

Rhuharb: It is another herb which is effective in acute constipation only. But, should be used with caution as in the long run it can precipitate constipation.

Sometimes, in case of chronic constipation

  • Agastya rasayana
  • Abhayadi modaka
  • pancha sakar choorna
  •  madhu yashthayadi choorna (Mulethi churan)

are also prescribed. These ayurvedic medicines help in improving the intestinal functions and strengthen the intestinal valves.

Special ayurvedic therapies to treat constipation are purgation therapy named virechana karma and enema therapy named vasti karma. But, these therapies should be taken under the guidance of ayurvedic experts only.

Drink lots of water, especially in the morning. For better results, drink the water kept overnight in a copper vessel. Take vata pacifying food (containing adequate amount of oil and ghee). Avoid rice and take wheat instead. Improve your sleeping habits and your constipation will also improve, finally coming to an end.

via Ayurvedic Medicine for Constipation.

Triphala and its benefits


Triphala powder is one of the most popular herbal formula, which has been used in ayurvedic medicine since time immemorial. There are many uses of triphala and they range from hair care to digestive aid.

Triphala powder is a Ayurvedic herbal formula, that is made using equal parts of Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki. The other names for these herbs are Amla, Baheda and Harada respectively. The word triphala is a Sanskrit word, which in literal terms means ‘three fruits’. The powder of the three herbs is made from the fruits, without the seeds. Each of the fruits are rich sources of different nutrients. Amla for example is a rich source of Vitamin C, whereas baheda is a bitter fruit, that is rich in Vitamin A, proteins and Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Harada is not only popular in Ayurveda, but also in Tibet, where it is known as ‘king of medicine’ and is a heart and brain tonic.

Amalaki (Emblica officinalis)

  • Amlaki or Amla is a fruit which is the richest source of vitamin C, which helps build immunity.
  • It is an effective antioxidant which helps to remove harmful toxins from the body.
  • It helps in strengthening and nourishing our lungs and respiratory tract, by removing mucus out of the lungs.
  • It helps to maintain good reproductive health by regulating the menstrual cycle and helps increase fertility in both males and females.
  • Amalaki helps induce iron (Fe), which helps purify blood tissues and also helps in blood circulation, thus maintaining the proper functioning of our heart.
  • It also acts as a muscle toner by increasing protein synthesis.
  • It aids the absorption of calcium and other minerals into our body. Calcium helps to strengthen the bones while important minerals and nutrients help prevent hair fall and premature graying of hair.

Bhibitaki (Terminalia chebula)

  • Bhibitaki helps to maintain proper balance of all the systems of our body. It acts as a blood purifier, and helps curb hemorrhage.
  • Bhibitaki acts as an internal cleanser, removing harmful toxins, and excess fats out of the body.
  • It is anti-viral and anti bacterial in nature. It nurtures voice quality and improves eyesight.
  • It helps to strengthen our hair roots and enriches hair color and texture.

Haritaki (Terminalia bellirica)

  • Haritaki has five rasas, or tastes, namely, sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent out of the existing six rasas.
  • It stimulates the functioning of our digestive system and strengthens the sensory organs.
  • Haritaki provides effective cure against piles, anemia, diarrhea, gastro-intestinal infections, and gallstones.
  • It helps in fighting fever, headache, cough, and asthma.
  • It is effective against heart diseases and helps regulates blood pressure.

Health Benefits of Triphala

We have just seen the benefits of each of the ingredients that is used to make triphala powder. All the herbs together in combination is useful for treating multiple ailments, as the most important of the triphala uses is that it helps in removing accumulated toxins from the body. Therefore, it is said to be the best herbal remedy for constipation and an effective formula in the process of colon cleanse. At the same time, like is the case with other medicine used to treat constipation, a person does not get habituated to this formula.

There are other benefits of this powder benefits are well. It is also used to improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure, improve liver function and not to forget, it also aids in the weight loss process. The properties of triphala are also beneficial in fighting bad bacteria, viruses, allergies and other mutagens, thereby keeping the body free of all ailments. According to some hardcore practitioner’s of Ayurveda, it is a panacea that is able to cure all illnesses. Research is underway about the benefits of triphala for hair growth. Triphala, however, can be used for cleaning oily hair, that needs washing frequently. Many also claim that this powder can also be used as an acne face pack. Recent studies conducted on the mice have concluded that triphala inhibits the growth of cancer cell in laboratory mice.

Triphala powder is also said to be beneficial for the eyes. It helps in strengthening the muscles of the eyes and improves eyesight. It also helps in curing a number of eye problems, such as cataracts, glaucoma, progressive myopia as well as conjunctivitis. It can also be used to wash the eyes to reduce the redness in the eyes. It can also be used to treat impaired vision.

It has been used to treat obesity, as it regularizes the functioning of the digestive system. Use of triphala is said to be beneficial for the liver, as it helps in secretion of bile juices, that are necessary for burning fats. At the same time, it helps in reducing water retention and thereby induces weight loss.

Dosage

Triphala can be had in both powder as well as tablet form. The traditional method of consuming triphala is to mix the powder with warm water and drink the concoction before going to bed. In severe ailments three doses of one gram each is recommended after every meal with warm water. An alternative could be to take a single dose of three grams in the evening with warm water after dinner.

Side Effects

Triphala powder is one of the rarest formula, that is being blessed with the quality that it does not have any side effects, when taken in the recommended dosage. It can be taken by anyone above the age of 3 years. It acts as a natural anti-aging agent, hence is often recommended to people in the higher age group. Due to the non-addictive quality of this powder, it is often recommended for treating an array of ailments. However, it should be taken under medical supervision by pregnant women or by people suffering with conditions such as diarrhea, dysentery, etc.

Comparing the benefits of triphala powder to the side effects, benefits certainly do out weigh the side effects. However, it is recommended you talk to a certified Ayurveda practitioner before you actually start the use of this powder.

via : Triphala Powder.

Shatavar and its Benefits


A very popular herb in India, Shatavar has long been used inshatavari1 Ayurveda, the traditional medical science of the country. The herb is claimed to have numerous health benefits, especially for females.

Shatavar or Indian asparagus (Asparagus racemosus) is a climber with woody stems and leaves that resemble pine needles. Though this plant shares the same genus (Asparagus) with the edible asparagus (Asparagus Officinalis), both are different species. Native to India, Shatavar is a plant that is widely popular in the country, as a herbal medicine. In fact, the benefits of Shatavar have long been identified by the Indians, and it is one of the highly-valued herbs used in ‘Ayurveda’.

It is the roots of these plants that are used for medicinal purposes. shatavari2The Shatavar plant has numerous lengthy, tuberous roots with tapering ends. It is said that even a single plant can produce around hundred roots, which are slightly sweet in taste. The roots are dried and used for treating various medical conditions, especially those relating to the female reproductive system. It is mainly used as a rejuvenating herb for females. The Sanskrit meaning for Shatavar is ‘hundred roots (‘shata’ for hundred and ‘vari’ for roots’). It is also interpreted as, “she who possesses a hundred husbands”, indicating the herb’s use in promoting female reproductive health. The plant is also known as ‘bahusuta’, which means many children. This name also indicates the herb’s efficacy in boosting fertility.

For Female Health

  • Shatavar is claimed to be beneficial for maintaining hormonal balance in females, by regulating the rate of hormonal secretions in the body.
  • It nourishes the female reproductive organs and also enhances fertility. It is used for treating irregularities in ovulation and menstruation.
  • Being a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, Shatavar is said to be useful for reducing inflammation of the reproductive organs during menstruation.
  • The herb is also used for providing relief from menstrual pain and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It also aids in controlling blood loss during menstruation.
  • The herb is said to be good for women with low estrogen levels, as it contains phytoestrogens. Shatavar is used to increase sexual desire and to counter conditions, like vaginal atrophy.
  • According to the exponents of this herb, it can enhance production of breast milk in nursing females. It is one of the popular galactagogues that has been used for a very long time.

Apart from the benefits mentioned above, Shatavar is also said to be useful for relieving morning sickness and fatigue, during pregnancy. It is also claimed to be good for preventing miscarriage and even premature birth. However, the use of Shatavar during pregnancy and lactation is still a much-debated subject. Its effectiveness as a herb is not scientifically proven, but, Shatavar is widely used by Ayurveda practitioners, and is found to be effective to a great extent.

Other Benefits

Gastrointestinal Health: Shatavar has long been used as a digestive tonic. It aids in the process of digestion, and at the same time reduces inflammation caused by conditions, like Crohn’s disease and ulcers.

Stress Relief: Shatavar benefits include its use in combating stress. It is believed that the herb is useful for protecting the body from the damage that can be caused by stress and anxiety.

Male Fertility: When it comes to infertility problems, the use of this herb is not limited to females. Shatavar is recommended for males who have problems like low sperm count and loss of libido.

Nutrition: Shatavar is also known for its nutritive and immunity-boosting properties. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. So the herb is also recommended as a tonic.

Anti-microbial Agent: The herb is also found to be useful for preventing vomiting and diarrhea caused by bacteria like, E. coli and dysentery. Studies show that Shatavar shows a strong antimicrobial activity, and works against a wide range of disease-causing bacteria, like Vibrio cholerae, Salmonella typhi, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas putida, Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus, etc.

In short, Shatavar is claimed to have numerous health benefits, and has been used for treating a host of medical conditions, throughout the years. It is also claimed to be effective in inhibiting breast cancer, but studies regarding its anti-cancer activity are still underway. Oil infused with Shatavar is used for relief from disorders of the nerves and joints. The herb is said to be beneficial for treating dementia. There are reports suggesting the blood sugar lowering properties of Shatavar. Shatavar is also used to reduce fever and headaches.

To conclude, very little research is done on Shatavar, its therapeutic properties, and possible side effects. Though the herb is considered safe, it would be advisable to consult a qualified herbal practitioner, and use it as per his/her instructions. You may also seek the opinion of your doctor, before starting any herbal treatment.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.

via Shatavari Benefits.

Ovarian cysts: types, symptoms and complications


English: 2 cm left sided ovarian cyst
English: 2 cm left sided ovarian cyst (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. They are located in the lower abdomen on both sides of the uterus. Women have two ovaries that produce eggs, as well as the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Sometimes, a fluid-filled sac called a cyst will develop on one of the ovaries. Many women will develop at least one cyst during their life. In most cases, cysts are painless and cause no symptoms.

Types of Ovarian Cysts

There are various types of ovarian cysts, such as dermoid cysts and endometrioma cysts. However, functional cysts are the most common type. The two types of functional cysts include follicle and corpus luteum cysts.

  • Follicular cyst
  • Corpus luteum cysts

Other types of ovarian cysts include:

  • dermoid cysts: sac-like growths on the ovaries that can contain hair, fat, and other tissue
  • cystadenomas: non-cancerous growths that can develop on the outer surface of ovaries
  • endometriomas: tissues that normally grow inside the uterus can develop outside the uterus and attach to the ovaries, resulting in a cyst

Some women develop a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome. This is when the ovaries contain a large number of small cysts. This condition can cause the ovaries to enlarge, and if left untreated, polycystic ovaries can cause infertility problems.

Symptoms of an Ovarian Cyst

Often times, ovarian cysts do not cause any symptoms. However, symptoms can appear as the cyst grows. Symptoms may include:

  • abdominal bloating or swelling
  • painful bowel movements
  • pelvic pain before or during the menstrual cycle
  • painful intercourse
  • pain in the lower back or thighs
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea and vomiting

Severe symptoms of an ovarian cyst that require immediate medical attention include:

  • severe or sharp pelvic pain
  • fever
  • faintness or dizziness
  • rapid breathing

These symptoms can indicate a ruptured cyst or an ovarian torsion. Both complications can have serious consequences if not treated early.

Ovarian Cyst Complications

Most ovarian cysts are benign and naturally go away on their own without treatment. These cysts cause little, if any, symptoms. But in a rare case, your doctor may detect a cancerous cystic ovarian mass during a routine examination.

Ovarian torsion  This is when a large cyst causes an ovary to twist or move from its original position.

Ruptured cysts, which are also rare, can cause intense pain and internal bleeding.

Diagnosing an Ovarian Cyst | Diagnosis

Your doctor can detect an ovarian cyst during a routine pelvic examination. Imaging tools used to diagnose ovarian cysts include:

  • CT scan: a body imaging device used to create cross-sectional images of internal organs
  • MRI: a test that uses magnetic fields to produce in-depth images of internal organs
  • Ultrasound: an imaging device used to visualize the ovary

Because the majority of cysts disappear after a few weeks or months, your doctor may not immediately recommend a treatment plan. Instead, he or she may repeat the ultrasound in a few weeks or months to check your condition.

If there aren’t any changes in your condition or if the cyst increases in size, your doctor will request additional tests to determine other causes of your symptoms.

They include:

  • pregnancy test: to determine whether or not you’re pregnant
  • hormone level test: to check for hormone-related issues, such as too much estrogen or progesterone
  • CA 125 Blood test: to screen for ovarian cancer

Ovarian Cyst Prevention

Ovarian cysts cannot be prevented. However, routine gynecological examinations can detect ovarian cysts early. Benign ovarian cysts do not become cancerous. However, symptoms of ovarian cancer can mimic symptoms of an ovarian cyst. Thus, it is important to visit your doctor and receive a correct diagnosis. Alert your doctor to symptoms that may indicate a problem, such as:

  • changes in your menstrual cycle
  • ongoing pelvic pain
  • loss of appetite
  • unexplained weight loss
  • abdominal fullness

Although some doctors take a “wait and see” approach with ovarian cysts, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove and examine any cyst or growth that develops on the ovaries after menopause. This is because the risk of developing a cancerous cyst and ovarian cancer increases after menopause. Some doctors will remove a cyst in premenopausal and postmenopausal women if it is larger than 4 inches in diameter.

Ovarian cysts do not increase the risk of ovarian cancer.

Foods which Boost Testosterone Level


Ball-and-stick model of the testosterone molec...

Testosterone is the principal male sex hormone , It play an important role in development of male reproductive organs and secondary characteristics , You cant be injected with testosterone without medical prescription but you can eat foods that enhance testosterone level in the blood , and this list contains  foods that can boost this level :

Oysters: Protein, magnesium, lots of zinc

Along with increasing your physical endurance, oysters pack more zinc than almost any other food source just six gives you almost seven times the RDA and zinc plays a key role in muscle growth and testosterone levels.

Beans: Protein, fiber, zinc

Beans are indeed the magical fruit. Beans pack a bigger shot of zinc than any other member of the veggie family; some (like baked beans) even rival the zinc content of red meat. Add that to a food that’s high in protein and fiber and low in fat, and you have a winning combo.

Poultry: Protein and little fat

High-protein diets have a positive impact on muscle mass and thus testosterone levels and high fat seems to have the opposite effect. So while chicken and turkey lack high zinc levels, their protein-to-fat ratios make them important to your diet.

Eggs: Protein and cholesterol

Testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol, and as such, food containing cholesterol is a good source of building blocks for testosterone. Eggs are a source of pure, unadulterated cholesterol, and one recent study showed that the excess cholesterol in eggs isn’t as harmful as previously thought.

Cottage Cheese: (1% Milk Fat)Protein with very little fat

One cup of 1% cottage cheese has more protein and less fat than a serving of lean beef or chicken. Have it as a snack or with a meal for testosterone-boosting potential.

Broccoli: Indole-3-carbinol, fiber

Elevated estrogen levels lead to fat accumulation and can interfere with muscle growth. In a clinical study, indole-3-carbinol cut the largely female hormone estradiol in half for men. Broccoli contains high levels of indoles, food compounds that help reduce bad estrogen.

Cabbage: Indole-3-carbinol, fiber

In addition to exhibiting the same estradiol-restricting properties as other cruciferous vegetables, cabbage is high in fiber. Fiber is great for controlling weight, as it prevents the consumption of fattier foods. Keeping weight down has an anti-estrogen impact.

Garlic: Allicin

In clinical studies, garlic’s active ingredient enhances testosterone levels and inhibits cortisol, a hormone that competes with testosterone, limiting its actions and breaking down muscle tissue.

Brussels Sprouts: Indole-3-carbinol, fiber

You should have listened to your mom: Brussels sprouts do help you grow up big and strong. Like the other vegetables on our list, these specifically target bad estrogen and pack just as much fiber.

 

via 10 Foods To Boost Your Testosterone Level | Fac Medicine – Faculty of Medicine – School of Medicine.

How Yoga Helps the Back


English: Vrksasana, the tree position, a Yoga ...

The most commonly practiced form of yoga is Hatha yoga. A physical form, Hatha yoga incorporates a series of poses called Asanas, while relying on a breathing technique, referred to as Pranayama. By adopting very basic and sometimes very complex body postures and breathing techniques, the goal of yoga is to provide the practitioner a number of physical and mental benefits.

Physical Benefits of Yoga Exercises

Strengthening from holding yoga positions. Yoga helps increase strength in very specific muscles and muscle groups. Holding positions in yoga is not intended to be uncomfortable. However, it does require concentration and specific use of muscles throughout the body. Muscle strength improves by remaining in these yoga positions and incorporating various movements.

Many of the postures in yoga gently strengthen the muscles in the back, as well as the abdominal muscles. Back and abdominal muscles are essential components of the muscular network of the spine, helping the body maintain proper upright posture and movement. When these muscles are well conditioned, back pain can be greatly reduced or avoided.

Stretching and relaxation from yoga. Yoga incorporates stretching and relaxation, which reduces tension in stress-carrying muscles. Yoga requires that the individual hold gentle poses anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds. Within the pose, certain muscles flex, while others stretch, promoting relaxation and flexibility in muscles and joints.

For people with lower back pain, stretching is very important. For example, stretching the hamstring muscles (in the back of the thigh) helps expand the motion in the pelvis, decreasing stress across the lower back. In addition, stretching with yoga increases blood flow, allowing nutrients to flow in, toxins to flow out, and overall nourishment of the muscles and soft tissues in the lower back.

Breathing is considered very important during the yoga poses. While holding a position, the tendency is to hold the breath as well. Instead, the intention is to have a deep, free, and rhythmic breath through the nose on both the inhale and the exhale. The quality of the breath in many ways determines the quality of the yoga practice. This will emphasize a relaxed body and encourage strong circulation.

Posture, balance, and body alignment through yoga. The yoga poses are meant to train the body to be healthy and supple. Consistent practice and application will result in improved posture, and an increased sense of balance, with head, shoulders and pelvis in proper alignment. Additionally, unlike many other forms of exercise, yoga helps stretch and strengthens both sides of the body equally.

Proper body alignment and good posture, which helps maintain the natural curvature of the spine, is an important part of reducing or avoiding lower back pain.

Awareness of the body through yoga increases with practice. In theory, specific positioning and repositioning not only limbers the body, but also trains people to understand the limitations of their body. An increased awareness acts as a preventative measure, in that the individual will know what types of motions should and should not be avoided.

Mental Benefits of Yoga Exercises

Engaging in Hatha yoga affords the practitioner with a mental state of mind that is ready for meditation, which in turn reduces stress and enhances mood. These mental benefits play an important role in the overall healing benefits of yoga.

via How Yoga Helps the Back.

Using Yoga to Rehab Your Back


English: Ushtrasana yoga pose

Over the last few decades, the ancient practice of yoga has become an increasingly popular form of exercise in the Western world. Whether you prefer a vigorous physical practice or something more relaxing and meditative, the various styles of yoga offer something for everyone.

Yoga has become a preferred form of exercise for many patients suffering from back pain or recovering from an injury; its attraction often lies in the individual nature of the practice and the opportunity for modifications. Besides helping to alleviate pain, a regular yoga practice can also help restore mobility and work to prevent future injury.

Though they vary in method and practice, each style of yoga is grounded in three main components: body posture, breathing, and meditation. When it comes to back pain or injury, finding poses that don’t cause any excess pain is essential to developing a safe and effective practice. Once the fundamental movements have been established, the physical benefits abound. Some of these benefits include:

Strengthening of targeted muscle groups. Yoga challenges you to hold certain poses anywhere from a few seconds to a minute or more. Holding is what increases strength in the muscle. Especially important for the spine are poses that require the use of the core muscles, which help with spinal movement and stability and help to reduce the risk of injury.

Stretching and relaxation. While you are holding a pose, certain muscles flex, allowing the antagonistic muscles to stretch and relax. An example of this is the hamstring and hip muscles, which can be the culprit in many instances of low back pain. Stretching the hamstring and hip muscles expands motion in the pelvis, helping to reduce stress on the low back. In addition, stretching improves circulation and brings much needed healing nutrients to damaged tissues.

Posture and balance. Yoga poses focus on proper alignment, and you may even hear, “Stack bones on bones.” In order to accomplish this stacking, it is necessary to bring head, shoulders, and pelvis into alignment. With consistent practice, this stacking will become natural and you will notice an overall improvement in your posture. Allowing the weight of the bones to support each other will reduce tension in the muscles and help avoid lower back pain.

Body awareness. After you have been practicing yoga for a while, you may start to notice an increase in flexibility and also an awareness of your body’s limitations. This awareness is important in preventing future injury, as you will know which motions should be avoided.

Many of our readers have expressed interest in incorporating yoga into their exercise and rehabilitation routines but are unsure of how it will affect their pain. Fellow readers who have tried yoga shared some advice in our forums:

  • Before beginning a yoga practice, it is essential that you consult with your doctor, especially if you have had spine surgery. Depending on your specific condition, yoga may not be an advisable exercise.
  • Often back pain can make forward bending and spinal twisting very uncomfortable, at the least. Make modifications when necessary. Forcing a painful posture will only make things worse.
  • Try a slower, gentler style of yoga,  yoga focuses on proper body alignment and precise movements, and uses props like blocks or straps to make poses more comfortable.
  • Find an instructor who has experience with back patients. A well-trained, knowledgeable instructor will be able to guide you in which poses you should and shouldn’t do, and can offer modifications whenever necessary. If possible, schedule some private lessons with an instructor for more individualized help in creating the right yoga practice for you.

via Using Yoga to Rehab Your Back.

Early Signs of Liver Problems


NDDIC provides information about digestive dis...
NDDIC provides information about digestive diseases to people with digestive disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. This publication is not copyrighted. The Clearinghouse encourages users of this fact sheet to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired. What I need to know about Hepatitis C (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The human liver is an important bodily organ essential for living a healthy life. Its primary function is to breakdown nutrients from food we eat and help with digestion. It performs several other functions which makes it important to pay attention to the health of your liver. Here are symptoms of liver damage that should be taken seriously:

1. Skin changes

One visible symptom of liver damage is changes in the color of your skin. If your skin starts becoming paler or yellowish and your nail tips turn yellow your liver is not performing well and requires help. Newly yellow tints in skin are caused by the liver not releasing toxins which leads to bilirubin accumulation beneath the skin.

2. Abdominal changes

The liver is located near the rib cage, when liver health starts deteriorating it causes pain in the lower abdomen and ribs. Ascites can develop if the problem goes untreated.

3. Frequent gassy sensation

If you frequently suffer from a gassy sensation accompanied by stool pressure its an indication that the liver is not able to secrete digestive juices which are essential to break down food. It also means the digestive system is affected by liver problems.

4. Tiredness

When the liver breaks down food it releases energy used to perform daily tasks. Getting tired easily is a sign of lack of energy which can indicate the liver is unable to do its job properly.

5. Urine changes

When our liver starts getting damaged the color of urine changes to darker variants of yellow. It may also become bloody or tar-colored. Some think this change in color is due to dehydration, if you are ingesting sufficient fluids it indicates poor liver health.

6. Itchy skin

An indicator of liver problems associated with skin is itchiness. If you find itchy areas on your skin that continuously get worse its a sign of liver problems.

7. Nausea

Digestive issues such as indigestion and acid reflux are symptoms of liver damage. If digestive problems or nausea dose not improve with dietary changes its a sign of liver damage. In severe cases it may also lead to vomiting.

8. Severe weight loss

Sudden, unplanned weight loss can be seen as a symptom of liver damage. If you are losing weight without trying it may be from loss of appetite which happens when the liver becomes weak making you thin and malnourished.

9. Fluid retention

Fluid retention in various parts of the body, especially feet, is a sign of weak liver. This condition is known as edema and looks like swelling, it can happen in your ankles, hands, feet, and thighs. If you press a finger gently into a swollen area the imprint will stay a few seconds with edema.

10. Stool changes

Changes in stool can indicate liver problems. If you observe traces of blood in the bathroom, call your doctor. Other signs of liver damage associated with stool may include periods of constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.

via 10 Early Signs of Liver Problems – PositiveMed.

The ancient way to …….. back to health

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