Health and Nutrition

3 Simple Steps to an Inspirational New Year

Well, the New Year is here! This is a great time to set goals and aspirations for the coming months. Most often, New Year’s Resolutions revolve around specific achievements, such as losing weight, quitting smoking or saving money. However, what if there were some simple steps that would allow you to accomplish many goals at once? And what if those simple steps also helped you to become happier and more peaceful at that same time?

The ancient science of yoga is a holistic way of life that helps to inspire and motivate you from within, so that achieving positive goals is a natural side effect of being healthy, happy and productive. Yoga is different from ordinary goal-setting because rather than just struggling to achieve a particular goal, you simply embark on the yoga path to optimal physical, mental and spiritual well-being. You’ll be amazed at what you accomplish in the process.

So, here are those 3 simple steps that will propel you forward to an inspirational new year:

Wai Lana Yoga Peaceful Meditation

Step #1: Take a little time every day for peaceful relaxation and meditation.

When we feel stressed out and pressed for time, usually it’s the farthest thing from our minds to take time to stop and relax. We may feel that we can’t take a breather until we finish X, Y and Z. Of course the excessive stress simultaneously makes it harder to be productive, hurts our health, and leaves us feeling tired and drained. When we’re overly stressed, we simply can’t be at our best.

On the other hand, just 10 or 15 minutes of daily relaxation and meditation can work wonders for your overall health and well-being. Simple relaxation techniques, such as those in Wai Lana’s Rest and Relax CD, have a profoundly positive effect. On a physical level, your blood pressure lowers, your heart rate slows and relaxing “feel good” hormones are released. On a mental level, your mind becomes more calm and peaceful. And on a spiritual level, you’ll gradually experience a deep sense of happiness and interconnectedness.

Wai Lana Healthy Eating

Step #2: Try to gradually eliminate meat and processed foods from your diet.

The way you eat has a powerful effect on the way you feel. Eating foods such as meat and processed food leaves you feeling tired, sluggish and irritable. Modern scientists have found that the ideal diet consists of the same foods that yogis have recommended for thousands of years: whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and milk products. Every one of these foods has been found to have remarkable healing benefits. Yet you won’t find a single study showing that eating more meat, more artificial dyes, more white sugar or more preservatives has any health benefits!

It takes a little effort to change your diet, as it’s natural to be attached to eating the foods that you are used to. However, as you gradually make changes towards foods that are wholesome and healing by nature, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel and even how much better those foods taste! Taste is acquired; if you eat unhealthy foods, you’ll crave unhealthy foods. If you eat healthy foods, you’ll crave healthy foods.

Changing your diet for the better helps with so much more than just your health. It also helps you feel calmer and more peaceful. Researchers have even found that eating a wholesome diet makes it easier to give up undesirable habits such as smoking.

Warrior Pose

Step #3: Practice some type of soothing exercise at least 3 days a week.

We all know we should exercise, but sometimes it can seem so hard to stick with it! One of the reasons why so many people fall in love with hatha yoga is because it feels good. The gentle strengthening, stretching and firming movements of yoga leave you feeling peaceful and invigorated. Yoga actually releases calming “feel good” hormones that make it almost like a positive addiction!

Of course you don’t have to practice yoga to experience these benefits. Other eastern-inspired exercise systems, such as Tai Chi and Chi Kung, can also help you to achieve fitness while simultaneously relaxing your body and mind. Even walking, especially while listening to a soothing soundtrack such as Wai Lana’s Yoga Sound, can be very helpful.

So as you embark on your own personal journey over the course of this New Year, let us help you incorporate the wonderful, healing benefits of yoga into your life.
Happy New Year!

3 Ways to Improve Memory Naturally

A quick, sharp memory is a useful tool that comes in handy throughout our lives. Whether we’re trying to remember someone’s name, making a shopping list, learning a new language, or studying for exams, our ability to recall assists us with practically everything we do in a day—even remembering where we put our keys!

According to ayurveda, an ancient health system that means “life science,” our bodies become dryer and less flexible with age. Our joints stiffen and our eyesight weakens due to this dryness. Similarly, this dryness affects our minds and we can forget things more easily. This erosion can begin as early as our twenties—and when we neglect our health, it speeds up even more.

Fortunately, ayurveda offers simple remedies that are easy for anyone to apply. I often turn to ayurveda as a guide to health and healing in my own life because it includes positive lifestyle choices that are affordable, practical, and straightforward.

Apply these simple practices to sharpen your own memory:

Practice yoga asanas

The regular practice of yoga asanas is a boon for the mind. It improves concentration on a cellular level by assisting the body in breaking down carbohydrates into glucose—the primary fuel that your brain uses to focus. Upside down poses are especially helpful. Plough, Shoulderstand, Downward Dog, and all inverted poses increase your brain’s power by nourishing its tissues with fresh blood. In addition, yoga asanas have a relaxing effect on the psyche, and work to reduce stress and balance emotions—two things that cloud the mind.

Rejuvenate with herbs

Brahmi, also known by its Latin name Bacopa monnieri, is considered the greatest herb in ayurveda for revitalizing the brain’s cells. It removes toxins and blockages within the nervous system, improves circulation, and has a calming, nurturing effect on the heart and mind. For over 3000 years, brahmi has been used in ayurvedic medicine to improve memory, increase alertness, and ward off the insomnia, restlessness, and mental deterioration that come with age. I have included this wonderful herb in my Brain Boost supplement to help your memory function at its best. Brain Boost is made from 100% wild-crafted fresh brahmi leaves and prepared according to traditional ayurvedic principles.

Add antioxidants

Ayurveda emphasizes the important role that foods play in keeping our bodies and minds strong, healthy, and free from disease. Antioxidants in particular have the amazing ability to protect us from damage caused by dangerous free radicals. In excess, and without the support of a balanced diet, free radicals can speed up the aging process and contribute to memory loss. Although some free radicals are a normal byproduct of metabolism, most are born from pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, and pesticides. Fight free radical damage by adding fresh, antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, cranberries, kidney beans, and Red Delicious apples to your diet.

How to Cleanse and Protect Your Liver Naturally

Wai Lana, host of the long-running PBS series Wai Lana Yoga, shares tips on liver health.

Knowing the important role that my liver plays in keeping me healthy, I often share this simple truth with others: “Take care of your liver now, and your liver will take care of you.” A healthy liver will cleanse and nourish your blood, regulate your hormones, break down fat and cholesterol, form blood-clotting proteins, and store iron and other essential vitamins throughout your entire life.

Unfortunately, environmental pollution, chemicals and pesticides in our foods, and over-consumption of painkillers and other medical drugs are far too common in today’s world. In excess, toxins can overwork your liver. When your liver is weak, instead of purifying the pollutants that enter your body, it sends them into your bloodstream. When this happens, it can make you feel overly tired and sick. A sluggish liver can also lead to allergies, bad skin, mood swings, weight gain, and even obesity.

Mother Nature, as always, provides us with safe remedies in the form of foods and herbs that can help nourish, detoxify, and strengthen our livers. Here are a few healthy ways to make your liver sing. Remember too that regular gentle exercise such as hatha yoga, walking, and swimming will help you assimilate these nutrients and assist with the detoxification process.

Beets have such a vibrant bright red color that it’s not hard to imagine they are an excellent blood purifier. Try grating them on top of salads for a colorful and crunchy topping, or make a traditional Russian beet soup called borscht, which can be served hot or cold depending on the season.

Herbs like milk thistle, which is strengthening for the liver, and dandelion, which is detoxifying, have traditionally been used as liver tonics to keep the liver’s lifeline flowing and healthy. My Liver Support supplement combines these two potent herbs to gently cleanse and nourish your liver.

Bitter, leafy salad greens like arugula, endive, chicory, and dandelion mixed with regular salad greens are one of my favorite ways to end a meal. Bitter salad greens, when eaten after the main course, help your organs digest the starchier foods from the meal. They also stimulate bile flow from the liver, which helps your liver naturally cleanse itself. With an herbal vinaigrette (or, if you prefer, a creamy ranch-style dressing), bitter greens can feel very soothing and renewing to your liver.

Hot water with a little squeeze of lemon is a good way to start the day. It also helps cleanse and detoxify the liver. I recommend doing this for a few days in a row and then stopping for a few days since lemon juice in excess can be hard on the stomach.

Relieve Your Headache with Yoga

For many people, a headache is almost an everyday occurrence.  It can range from minor discomfort to debilitating, agonizing pain. Some people experience headaches everyday all day long, while others don’t get them at all.  (I’m sure they’re a minority!)

There are so many causes of a headache and the solutions for it are just as many.  Sometimes the solution can be as simple as drinking a glass of water.  If you live in a hot place, for example, chances are your headache is caused by mild dehydration.  So get out of the heat, chug down some water and head for a long cooling shower.  You’ll feel much better afterwards.

Some headaches, however, are caused by a serious health problem.  So seek medical attention as needed.  Depending on the cause, yoga asanas and yoga meditation can actually prevent and alleviate a headache, especially if it is triggered by stress.

Stress is one of the most common causes of a headache.  This is where yoga can help you.  By combining asanas, pranayam and meditation, you can have a powerful tool in combating a tension headache.

Yoga asanas can help by relaxing the neck and shoulder muscles.  When you are stressed, you tense up these muscles and the ultimate result is a headache.  So instead of reaching out for a dose of painkiller, take out your yoga mat for some gentle neck and shoulder stretches.  End each session with yoga nidra and proceed to Yoga Sound Meditation.

If you regularly practice Yoga Sound Meditation, you will come to a point where you will see the troubles and problems that give you headaches simply as a temporary, passing show.  Problems will come and go.  There is no need to immerse in it.

Even if the cause of your headache is an irritating person, Yoga Sound Meditation can still help you.  Sounds hard to believe?  Here’s why.  Through repeated practice of sound meditation, you will be more tolerant of others.  The obnoxious person won’t disappear, rather you will be more patient and will not be bothered as much.

So make time everyday to practice your asanas, pranayam and Yoga Sound Meditation and prevent your headache from getting worse.  If you already have a regimen to follow to manage your tension headaches, you can still incorporate these techniques I have just shared with you.  In fact, yoga will complement your current regimen and you’ll notice that nagging headache will nag you no more.

Wai Lana’s Asana of the Week: Lying Stretch

Banish tension with this feel-good stretch whenever you need a pick-me-up.

The steps to do this Lying Stretch Asana are :

  1. Lie on your back and raise your arms over your head.
  2. Inhale as you stretch the right side of your body, keeping the left side relaxed. Your right leg and buttock stretch down, while your right arm and the right side of your torso stretch up. Extend away from the waist in both directions. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
  3. Exhale and relax, then repeat, stretching the left side of your body.
  4. Now inhale and stretch your whole body. Stretch upward from the waist through your chest and arms, downward through your hips, legs, and toes.
  5. Exhale and relax completely. Repeat the entire exercise once or twice.

Learn this easy yoga pose with Wai Lana.

Focus in the Pose…

Stretch through your fingers and point your toes. Lengthen the side of your body that you are stretching.

Benefits…

  • Quick tension reliever
  • Relieves fatigue
  • Stretches the entire body

Wai Lana’s Swiss Cheese Yogi Chips™

All the goodness of Yogi Chips™ with a delicious Swiss cheese flavor.

Our Yogi Chips™ are a great option for deliciously wholesome, all-natural snack. They are free from GMOs, trans fats, cholesterol, artificial flavors, and preservatives. And they taste great too!

  • 100% Naturally Delicious
  • 40% less fat than regular potato chips!
  • Free from trans-fats and cholesterol!
  • Cooked in sunflower oil
  • Suitable for vegetarians
  • Kosher Certified

Free From:

  • Gluten
  • Wheat
  • MSG
  • Soy

Nutrition that’s delicious!

Ingredients: Cassava (Yucca Chips), Tapioca Flour, Sunflower Oil, Sesame Seeds, Shallot Leaf, Cane Sugar, Milk Solids, Maltodextrin, Sea Salt, Plant Fiber, Onion Powder, Yeast Extract, Vegetarian Cheese, Natural Acidity Regulator, Natural Colors.
Allergens: Milk

Three Ways to Prevent Sickness

Wai Lana, host of the long-running PBS series Wai Lana Yoga, shares tips on how to stay healthy naturally.

Getting sick is never fun. It not only makes us feel tired, achy, and sore, but also keeps us from doing the things we love. I have always felt that good habits are the foundation to good health. And, over the years, I’ve noticed that by practicing a yoga diet and lifestyle, I have far more energy and get sick less often.

Here are a few simple, effective ways to help keep yourself and your loved ones from getting sick:

Go to bed early

One of the most important things you can do to curb illness is to get enough rest. Studies show that cells regenerate themselves while we sleep. And although burning the candle at both ends is sometimes unavoidable, it can also weaken the immune system, making you more vulnerable to the latest bug going around school or the office. A busy schedule, heavy exercise, and even changes in the weather can sap our energy. That’s why it’s important to take care of ourselves and monitor how much sleep we’re getting. At the end of a tiring day, I like to get to bed an hour or two earlier. I find that a little extra sleep helps me feel relaxed, recharged, and more prepared for the next day.

Choose snacks wisely

The food we eat is the fuel our bodies need to function properly—down to the very last cell. So if our meals and snacks are nourishing, vital, and health-giving, our immune systems will grow strong and less prone to harmful bacteria, viruses, and disease. So skip the junky snack aisles next time you go grocery shopping. Opt for foods that make your body feel good, like fresh fruits, wholegrain breads, nut butters, and veggies and dip (a vegetarian egg-free mayonnaise mixed with a little mustard, honey, lemon juice, and salt makes a tasty, all-purpose vegetable dip).

Supplement your diet

When you consider that many of the foods sold in grocery stores today are over-processed, transported for long periods of time, and sprayed with chemicals and pesticides, it’s no surprise that many of them lack the vital nutrients we need to stay strong and resilient to infection. Drinking goji juice is one of my favorite ways to supplement my diet naturally with vitamins B, C, and E as well as beta-carotene. I often recommend drinking the juice from this ancient Chinese berry as a natural way to improve overall health, including eyesight and liver and kidney function. I am delighted to be able to add a pure goji juice to my line of supplements that contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. Made from fresh berries—not reconstituted or powdered—goji juice tastes delicious and contains naturally-occurring essential fatty acids such as omega-6 and linoleic acid, which also help to regulate hormones.

Good Digestion Naturally

I love being active. Gardening, yoga, entertaining friends and family, and hiking in nature are some of the activities I like to do to unwind and have fun. In order to fit in as much as I c an, I follow a healthy, balanced lifestyle that promotes good digestion. The benefits are numerous. Overall vitality and energy, proper absorption of food, clear skin, and quick reflexes all improve with good digestion.

Unfortunately, poor digestion is far too common today. It is linked to a number of health problems, including fatigue, food allergies, poor immune function, peptic ulcers, obesity, and hypertension. But it can be rectified in most cases by sincerely adopting healthy habits. Once you begin to experience better digestion, you will also likely feel more relaxed, have more energy, and look radiant to boot!

Hydrate your body

Adequate hydration is essential to good digestion. Drinking pure water, herbal teas, and fresh juices will moisten the body, transport nutrients, and eliminate wastes. I find that mini fresh juice fasts every now and then give my digestion system a boost and help clear out toxins and wastes that accumulate from environmental pollutants.

Supplement your liquids

Mother Nature makes many wonderful supplements available to us. The juice of the noni fruit, for example, has long been valued by Polynesians as a powerful health and beauty tonic. I am pleased to offer a 100% pure, raw noni juice with no additives or fillers, made from sun-ripened, hand-picked fruits. Noni juice in its purest form like this not only stimulates digestion but can also boost the immune system, fight inflammation within the body, and curb bacteria and parasites from setting up camp inside your digestive tract.

Chew your food well

Make a difference at mealtime simply by sitting down, relaxing, and chewing each bite well. This will reduce the stress on your digestive tract, and your stomach will have more energy to digest the meal. Chewing releases saliva into the mouth, which contains digestive enzymes that will break down food particles further and promote nutrient absorption.

Find good sources of fiber

Nature’s most cleansing, detoxifying foods are usually rich in fiber, which keeps your digestive system humming. Look to fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes as ideal sources. If you have the option, choose locally-grown organic foods. They are fresher and free from pesticides and other toxins that can weaken digestion.

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