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benefits of sleep

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.

Say Goodnight to Insomnia Through Wai Lana Yoga

A good night’s sleep is valuable for our overall health.  Did you ever notice that when you are sick, you’d rather sleep and sleep?  This is the body’s natural way of healing and repairing.  Indeed, the role of sleep in maintaining the healthy functions of the body cannot be overemphasized.  Some people are lucky and fall asleep as soon as they close their eyes.  Some are less fortunate and toss and turn on their beds all night waiting for sleep to come.

Whatever kind of sleep difficulty you may be experiencing – yoga asanas and yoga meditation is very beneficial in achieving a restful slumber.  Yoga asanas relieve muscle tension from stress and can also lessen common health problems that may interfere with your sleep, such as indigestion and any kind of body pain.  Try to avoid intense poses that involve twisting and bending backward too close to your bedtime.  These poses are invigorating rather than relaxing.  Gentle forward bends will make you relax.   As with any of your asana practice, proper breathing is of utmost importance.  So breathe right during your asana practice and end your session with yoga nidra to fully experience the good effects of yoga asanas and pranayam to your sleep.

You can find many articles and studies on how to improve and sustain one’s sleep – from drinking warm milk and taking warm showers to taking an array of different drugs, whether natural sleeping pills or heavy sedatives.  All these may help you sleep.  However, most do not address the problem of a restless mind.  A restless mind is one of the most common causes of insomnia.  Unless we control and restrain our minds, it will jump from one thing to another, just like a monkey.  A restless mind is very troublesome and will never give us rest.  Just like our bodies need rest, our minds also need rest and we can do this through Yoga Sound Meditation.

By the regular practice of Yoga Sound Meditation, you can greatly reduce tension and stress and overcome anxiety, worry, and other disturbances of the mind.

So instead of letting your mind trouble you until the wee hours in the morning, I encourage you to do Yoga Sound Meditation.  Once your mind is focused on the yoga sound, you’ll notice that you are able to finally fall asleep because your mind is no longer troubling you.  You will feel at peace.

So say goodbye to sleepless nights and those sleeping pills by doing yoga.

 

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