Tag Archives: healthy-living

Siddhasana


Siddhasana or  Muktasana, Accomplished or Expert Pose

How to Perform Siddhasana

Sit with your legs stretched in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your left heel on your perineum. Bend your right knee and place your right heel over your left heel.

Sit straight, relax your shoulders and place your hands facing upwards in the Anjali Mudra on your heels.

Benefits of Siddhasana

This sitting yoga pose stimulates the root chakra, the first chakra and with it the Kundalini energy.

Siddhasana is said to stimulate sexual energy. Additionally it is good for the reproductive organs and the gynecological system.

The accomplished yoga posture is used in meditation as it helps the mind to focus. It is a pose that benefits your nervous system and helps regulating your blood pressure.

Focus Point

When in the pose, you should be able to feel a slight pressure on your perineum.

Tips and Help

Whenever you feel tired in the pose and feel strain in your legs, exchange them by putting the right foot below the left one or the other way around.

When to Avoid Siddhasana

If you have knee problems, pain and weakness in the knees or if your ligaments are worn or torn, you should avoid this position. If you are in doubt, please consult your doctor or physiotherapist and let your yoga teacher know about it.

via Siddhasana – Muktasana – Stimulate Sexual Energy.

Neem: “The drugstore of nature”


Scientifically known as Azadirachta indica, the neem tree belongs to genus azadirachta and family meliaceae of Mahogany trees. The tree is revered in the Indian subcontinent for its medicinal properties and that is where it was first planted. Did you know that the neem tree is called “nature’s drugstore” in its native land? Yes, it is rightly called, because it is indeed one. It has medical properties you would have never imagined; and this article will make you aware of these properties. Scientific experiments have also confirmed that the various ingredients in neem leaves do have miraculous effects for overall body health.

How is Neem Useful?

The use of neem being very popular in India, it were Indian scientists who first began the research to discover the compounds in neem that have healing effects. There are over 135 compounds in neem that are classified into two broad categories – isoprenoids and non-isoprenoids. Some of the chief identified ingredients in neem leaves are – nimbin, nimbidin, ninbidol, gedunin, quercetin, salannin, azadirachtin and sodium nimbinate. All these compounds collectively impart neem leaves its blessed healing powers. As far the medicinal properties of neem leaves are concerned, they have remarkable anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-carcinogenic properties. These properties and others have been discussed in the coming paragraphs.

Neem leaves have commonly been used in Indian households since time immemorial.

  • Regularly applying a paste of neem leaves on the face keeps it clean and fresh looking.
  • Dried neem leaves can be added into grains to protect them from the attack of pests.
  • The anti-inflammatory and antifungal effects of chemicals nimbin and nimbidin in neem leaves helps in treating skin infections and diseases.
  • A massage with its oil reduces the inflammation that arises as the result of joint pain from disorders like arthritis.
  • Neem has the power to treat common skin ailments like acne, ulcers, vitiligo and skin infections to complex skin diseases like psoriasis and leprosy. In the olden days neem was used for chickenpox and smallpox treatment in India.
  • Neem based products for hair effectively cure dandruff and other hair worries. Beauty skin products with a neem base lighten marks on the face and also have a moisturizing effect on the skin.
  • It also has properties that cure cough and cold in the person.
  • The chemicals in neem leaves also have properties that work against diseases like malaria, rheumatism, anorexia, epistaxis, biliousness and arthritis.
  • The leaves also possess anti-pyretic properties, that is they can take the body temperature down from a high raised level.
  • Degenerating lifestyle has left many people susceptible to heart disorders. Extracts of neem will make your heart strong, and keep it protected from blood pressure fluctuations, bad cholesterol and changes in the heartbeat.
  • Diabetes is a serious disease which affects many people the world over. People who suffer from diabetes depend on insulin injections for maintaining the normal sugar levels in the blood. The tablets prepared from various extracts of neem leaves reduce the insulin requirement of a person to a huge level. Neem is thus, a natural hypoglycemic; and it is believed that chewing a neem leaf every morning reduces the dependability of a diabetic person on the hypoglycemic drugs.
  • Chemicals in neem also are bestowed with anti-carcinogenic properties, that is they reduce the risk of cancer to a certain extent. Research is still in progress to find ways to utilize these magnificent benefits of the leaves in cancer treatment.
  • Neem leaves can also be used to prevent tooth decay and gum problems (this is the reason it is used in many teeth care products).
  • In the Asian continent, since centuries neem leaves have been consumed by people for treating intestinal worms,
  • Neem is also used  for conditions like eye problems like conjunctivitis and infection. The water distilled from boiling fresh neem leaves can be used as an effective eyewash for treating these eye problems.
  • Neem leaves also have cooling effect and neem water can be used as a natural astringent. Chewing 10-20 neem leaves daily morning with water reduces the heat in the body.
  • Neem also purifies the blood and safeguards the body from resulting injuries.
  • A juice prepared from its leaves is recommended for curbing thirst.
  • It is thus a natural anti-diuretic. the leaves are safe for daily consumption and will keep you away from urinary tract infections and liver disorders.
  • It is advised that pregnant women should consume the leaves under the supervision of a physician (this is because, some studies suggest that neem has contraceptive effects, thought the effects have not been proved).
  • The neem tree is also an excellent tree for the environment, as it absorbs carbon dioxide. Each important part of the neem tree is blessed with benefits, be its bark, stem, twig, seeds or leaves. Though the properties are much concentrated in the bark, the leaves too have same effects. So, harness the benefits of this ‘sacred tree’ and its leaves for a trouble free life ahead.

via Medicinal Properties of Neem Leaves.

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.

Garlic: a friend of heart


English: A basket of garlic (allium sativum) o...

Fresh garlic can significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels without hurting beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. Garlic appears to act by blocking the liver from making too much LDL cholesterol.

Garlic helps support the body’s anti-clotting mechanism in arteries and veins. It helps in reducing  heart disease.

Garlic can mildly lower blood pressure by dilating or expanding blood vessels. And garlic helps prevent blood clots and therefore reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by decreasing the stickiness of platelets.

Garlic helps in the treating  high cholesterol. Garlic ensures smooth coronary function.

Garlic has also been shown to reduce pain and other symptoms in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Garlic has  anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties and hypoglycemic action.

Garlic rejuvenates a tired liver and promotes its normal functioning.

Garlic helps in boosting weight of babies destined to be too small.

Garlic is used as a aphrodisiac, expectorant, and stimulant.

Garlic possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, hypolipidemic and anticoagulant properties.

Garlic regulates metabolism and assist in the discharge of toxic food residuals.

Garlic helps in better breathing process and improves lungs activity, especially if you are asthmatic.

Garlic is observed to be a very efficient vessel dilator for improved blood vessel health and performance for human vital senses.

Functions of garlic are the same way as Vitamin E, which is known to improve blood circulation, to cleanse the blood, to increase red corpuscles, and to refresh cells by promoting the circulation of oxygen throughout the body, by its antioxidant activity.

Garlic reduces the size of some cancerous tumors and helps prevent some cancers, particularly those in the intestines.

One of the oldest uses of garlic, however, is as an antibiotic. Garlic kills a range of microbes, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, and can be effective against such conditions as athlete’s foot, thrush (a fungal infection of the mouth), viral diarrhea, and the ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori

Foods That Can Improve Your IQ


IQ means intelligence quotient. It tells about your ability to grasp new things and learn them. Different people have different IQ levels. These levels determine how well you react to challenging and difficult situations. There are various factors that influence the IQ of a person including regular exercise and diet. This article will discuss some foods that can help you improve your IQ.

Walnuts

1 ounce of walnuts contains 2.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids and one tablespoon walnut oil contains 1.4 grams of polyunsaturated fats. These omega-3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats are not obtained by the body naturally, they are obtained by food. Walnut oil increases the brain’s memory acuity and benefits the body in other different ways.

Raw eggs

Raw eggs are one of the best and least expensive nutrition-packed foods and are important for a developed IQ. Raw eggs contain protein and healthy fats that critical for brain development especially in young adulthood. One study also found that the less you cook the egg, the more its nutritional value remains. The best way to consume eggs for brain development is to boil them and eat the whites.

Antioxidants

Foods rich in antioxidants like green tea are beneficial for the development of IQ. Antioxidants have the ability to fight and defeat free radicals in the body which improves problem solving and logical reasoning. Other foods rich in antioxidants are kidney beans, cranberries, and artichokes.

Blueberries

Apart from being tasty food blueberries are effective for brain health. This small food is densely packed with a wide range of potential phytochemicals directly associated with the development and growth of your brain. This food has also been credited to reverse aging effects on the brain. Blueberries can be added to your favorite smoothie or cereal to make it more tasty and beneficial to your health.

Avocado

English: Avocado with its cross section. Pictu...
English: Avocado with its cross section. Pictured in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. App 18 cm (7 inches) long. Français : Un Avocat entier et en coupe. Photo prise à Dar es Salaam, en Tanzanie. Longueur 18 cm environ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

40% of Avocados are oil made of oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat. Our brain cells are covered with a layer called myelin which is enriched by the oils in avocado. Any damage to this protective layer deteriorates the brain’s capacity to send information signals to different parts of the body which leads to a decline in skills and cognitive abilities.

Fish

Fish is a food consumed in almost every part of the world. As mentioned the omega-3 fatty acids are important for sound mental health, fish are one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Some varieties of fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines are known for having omega-3 acids in the form of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. These acids already exist in our brain and eating fish reinforces them. Per University of Maryland Medical Center these acids increase memory sharpness and improve mental function.

Green vegetables

A lot has been said about the health benefits of green leafy vegetables. Apart from being good for heart health these green roots are also beneficial for your brain. They are a rich source of vitamin E which is essential for a healthy brain. Vitamin E also puts a check on the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. You can also enjoy kiwi and nuts to get required vitamin E.

Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s important for the brain. Studies have shown that having a healthy and nutritious breakfast daily leads to a more creative and focused you.

via 8 Foods That Can Improve Your IQ – PositiveMed.

Tips to Lose Weight


quick-weight-loss-tips

Most people aren’t worried about losing weight during the holiday season. Instead, this tends to be the one time of year when we give ourselves a break from obsessing about going down a pant size, and instead focus on maintaining weight.

But countering indulgence with some healthy habits may just help tip the scales in the other direction, without much effort on your part at all. Here are some tips that may help you lose weight this holiday season.

  • Cut liquid calories. Cutting back on a glass of wine with dinner or that cold beer after a long day can reduce your overall daily intake by about 100 calories, making way for another few bites of that Christmas pie. Instead of soda or fruit juice, drink water with lemon, or herbal tea.
  • Try a salad starter. One study, found that women who started meals with a salad ate 10 percent fewer calories over the course of a day, without consciously dieting.
  • Go nuts. Eating a handful of peanuts daily may help you keep weight off. In fact, people who ate peanuts or mixed nuts daily were more likely to keep from gaining weight than those who didn’t consume high-fat snacks, according to a 2001 study in the International Journal of Obesity. Maybe those roasted chestnuts aren’t such a bad idea.
  • Just stand up. If you’re planning to entertain this holiday season, sitting probably isn’t a luxury you\’ll experience often, but the rest of us can use a reminder to get off the couch. The average person burns about 40 more calories per hour by standing than they do by sitting.
  • Sleep soundly. A lack of sleep is often associated with weight gain, as well as metabolic problems, according to a study published this year in the journal Lancet. Be sure to get adequate shut eye around the holidays to help keep your metabolism healthy.

via 5 Tips to Help You Lose Weight This Holiday Season | Fac Medicine – Faculty of Medicine – School of Medicine.