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Coping with Autoimmune Diseases

A friend of mine told me about an article she read about a woman dealing with people's reactions to her chronic illness. Having a chronic illness like an autoimmune disease can make life very complicated, as it’s difficult to get an accurate diagnosis of what is happening in your body. A general consensus from the medical community is that many autoimmune illnesses are not curable so the focus should be on treating the symptoms.

However, autoimmune disease symptoms, at different times, can be intense or minimal and can come and go. It is always good to check with your doctor before you try any new treatments, but there are two simple lifestyle changes that can help minimize the symptoms: diet and exercise.

Diet and exercise play such an important role for anyone looking to enrich their lives and sense of wellbeing. Transitioning towards a plant-based diet, rich in whole foods and fresh fruits and vegetables, is a great place to start. And for exercise, obviously I’m a fan of yoga asanas.

Whether or not we suffer from an autoimmune disease or other chronic illness, each of us can alleviate our stress with the regular practice of meditation. I recently produced a very user-friendly & Easy Meditation Kit, which is suitable for all ages and health conditions. You can easily learn how to practice meditation in the privacy of your own home, and practice at a pace that suits your lifestyle and limitations. You can also find soothing relief and relaxation just by watching some of the inspirational yoga wisdom meditations like this below.

10 Minute Guided Meditation Experience by Wai Lana

Keep in mind that a person suffering from an autoimmune disease does not always display the external symptoms of someone who has, for example, a broken arm or a twisted ankle. And it may be hard for those of us who are physically healthy to grasp that some people just don’t have the energy to get out of bed for several days in a row. Two key principles of the yoga lifestyle are being humble and not judging others. By developing a non-judgmental attitude, we can make everyone we come into contact with, whether they have an autoimmune disease or not, feel valued and loved.

Wishing you well,
Wai Lana

 

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Busting Myths about Mental Health

People often approach the subject of mental illness with trepidation and fear. However, recently I read a blog article by Danielle Hark called 7 Myths That You Shouldn’t Believe About Staying in a Mental Hospital that gives readers a more realistic picture of what staying in a mental health facility is like.

Danielle describes her own short stays in several facilities as a far cry from the “creepy monochromatic clinical space filled with zombies and screaming people” that is perpetuated by the movies.  She paints a more down-to-earth picture of real people learning to cope.

Her article inspired me to share coping tools from a yogi’s perspective, to help break free from the myths that hold us back from experiencing real wellness.

What influences us
As sentient beings, we are impacted by our surroundings throughout our lives. TV shows, movies, politics, the news, popular music, and the conversations we have—including what we see and hear in our minds—all affect our consciousness. Sometime these influences can lead to suffering and or confusing.

Trying to be detached so that we don’t become too overwhelmed is a great challenge, especially when it comes to the influence the mind has on us. We’ve all experienced how hard it can be to bring stillness and peace to the mind.

Know thyself
A little perspective goes a long way….

    Body

    Yoga teaches us that just as we wear a pair of jeans or a winter coat, we, the eternal living being, also have on a physical covering—the body. The body we have can also be compared to a machine or a car since we use it to do things and to get us places.
 

   Mind

Just as we wear external garments like pants and jackets, we also have undergarments, which in this analogy would be the mind. We can’t see it, but we experience the mind’s presence and flickering, unsteady nature. However, we are not our minds, as evidenced by the fact we can change or try to control our minds.
 

   Soul

Through yoga we can come to experience the peacefulness and freedom from fear in knowing that we are actually spiritual beings, distinct from the physical body and subtle mind.We are the soul within the body which gives the body life and consciousness.

A yogi sees the deeper aspects
True Yogis see all beings as spiritual and recognize the need to not only take care of their own physical, mental, and emotional health, but also their spiritual well-being, in order to be happy and fulfill their true purpose.

This way of seeing our true selves gives real meaning to our human journey. It helps us get through the hard times, when our bodies are out of balance or sick and our minds are troubled. It gives us a way to stay steady and focused through life’s ups and downs.

Wishing You Well
Wai Lana

 

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Get Relief from Stress and Anxiety

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The Root Cause of Back Pain

I happened to come across an article entitled 9 More Yoga Stretches to Help Relieve Hip & Back Pain. The largely sedentary lifestyle that many of us have adopted, no matter how fit we think we are, will inevitably lead to some sort of pain and discomfort in the body. According to the American Chiropractic Association, most cases of back pain are caused by how we move or don’t move throughout our day, not by serious conditions like arthritis, infection, fractures, or even cancer. What this means is that we can not only alleviate back pain but also prevent it, based on how and how much we move throughout our day.

There were some nice yoga stretches presented in that article. I even teach some of them in my Easy Series Yoga DVD because I know they work. Along with that, as I witness the bodies of my friends and family, as well as my own, aging, I have realized that hip and back pain prevention lies largely in the lifestyle choices we make. Whether I choose to take the stairs rather than the elevator; if I choose to drive a mile up the road rather than walk; whether or not I chose to begin each day with some yoga or walking rather than a quick cup of coffee; if I choose to watch a few hours of TV at the end of a long work day, rather than take a relaxing, contemplative walk.

Half of all Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. How can this be prevented? We can’t simply treat exercise like a prescription drug that we take for some time and then stop once the pain goes away. Eventually, it always comes back to the question: what can I do to relieve and prevent back pain?

One suggestion is that we adopt a regular well-rounded yoga routine that will not only relieve hip and back pain but prevent it from occurring in the first place. If a 30-minute practice doesn’t suit your busy schedule, then practice 15 minutes twice a day or even 15 minutes once a day. Or how about adding a brisk walk at the beginning or end of each day.

And don’t overlook the mental and emotional stress that can lead to back pain. A good friend of mine who is quite active in her daily life admits that when she is under stress, she eats more and moves less. As soon as she takes the time to slow down, take a walk, and become more contemplative, adopting some of the meditation techniques mentioned in my blog, 3 Tips for Integrating Meditation into Your Busy Routine, her back pain goes away. A new approach to your back pain may truly be life-changing.

Wishing you well,
Wai Lana

 

More Content on this Topic by Wai Lana

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Yoga videos from Wai Lana to relieve back pain

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Albert Einstein: So Much More Than E=mc2

Albert Einstein is arguably the most recognized scientist of the 20th century.  His claim to fame is his seemingly simple but ground breaking understanding of the correlation between mass and energy contained in his equation E=mc2. But there was so much more to the man than this equation.

In a most revealing article by UPLIFT, Albert Einstein marveled at the mystery of God in nature, and applauded the ideals of great spiritual teachers such as Buddha and Jesus. In comments, made in a series of meetings with William Hermanns in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, he gave us a fascinating glimpse into how he saw the world:

                                             Image credit: upliftconnect.com

“The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation. If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune, and the piper who plays this melody from an inscrutable distance—whatever name we give him—Creative Force, or God—escapes all book knowledge.”

Albert Einstein was exposed to eastern mysticism through his friendship with the Indian scholar and writer Rabindranath Tagore, the very first non-western winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 who was also a friend of Mohandas Gandhi.  His understanding of the interplay between what is spiritual and what is material was clearly influenced by his interest in the ancient Vedic literature, the source of much yoga philosophy.

“Creation may be spiritual in origin, but that doesn’t mean that everything created is spiritual. How can I explain such things to you? Let us accept the world is a mystery. Nature is neither solely material nor entirely spiritual. Man, too, is more than flesh and blood; otherwise, no religions would have been possible. Behind each cause is still another cause; the end or the beginning of all causes has yet to be found. Yet, only one thing must be remembered: there is no effect without a cause, and there is no lawlessness in creation,” he commented.

Remarkably, Albert Einstein said if he hadn’t an absolute faith in the harmony of creation, he wouldn’t have tried for thirty years to express it in a mathematical formula. “It is only man’s consciousness of what he does with his mind that elevates him above the animals, and enables him to become aware of himself and his relationship to the universe,” he added.

Einstein believed that the real scientist has faith in God.  “If we want to improve the world we cannot do it with scientific knowledge but with ideals. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi have done more for humanity than science has done. We must begin with the heart of man—with his conscience—and the values of conscience can only be manifested by selfless service to mankind. Religion and science go together. Science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal—the search for truth. Hence it is absurd for religion to proscribe Galileo or Darwin or other scientists. And it is equally absurd when scientists say that there is no God. The real scientist has faith, which does not mean that he must subscribe to a creed. Without religion, there is no charity. The soul given to each of us is moved by the same living spirit that moves the universe.”

The process of yoga is a quest to understand the truth as it is—regardless of whether the yoga practitioner wants to believe that truth or not. Albert Einstein was unlike many modern day scientists, who are predisposed to disbelieving in the existence of the Supreme Lord. So while everyone knows that Albert Einstein was a scientist, few realize that he was actually a yogi in the sense that he was seeking out the actual truth and open to accepting what was revealed to him.

 

Wishing you well,

Wai Lana

 

Other Suggested Readings

Yoga Can Help Teens Cope with Anxiety
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/11/19/yoga-can-help-teens-cope-with-an...

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https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/11/17/how-to-prevent-back-pain-before-...

3 Tips for Integrating Meditation into Your Busy Routine
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/11/09/3-tips-for-integrating-meditatio...

Mindfulness
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Meditation as an Alternative to School Detention
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Meditation Made Easy
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Yoga Can Help Teens Cope with Anxiety

It is really saddening to know that more than 1 in 4 young people between the ages of 13 and 18 suffer from anxiety disorders. But in some ways, it’s not surprising. Navigating the pressures of social interaction, as they transition from childhood to adulthood, can be very intense for kids.

Many of today’s generation have grown up spending lot of time behind a screen—whether it be watching movies, playing video games, or on the web— rather than developing the healthy life lessons and skills gained through real world group interaction (i.e. playing). In addition, it’s difficult to completely shelter kids from the pop culture bombardment of sex, drugs, and violence.

Adolescence is intense enough by itself with enormous real-life peer pressures, yet many teenagers also have to contend with the stress of managing their online social reputations. It can all be a bit overwhelming to say the least. It’s no wonder therefore that so many teens are struggling with anxiety

Unfortunately, rather than addressing the potential lifestyle causes of anxiety—such as diet, unhealthy relationships, lack of exercise, and so on—antidepressants and other medications are often introduced.  I was encouraged by a recent article, Kids with Anxiety Disorders ‘Significantly’ Benefit From Mindfulness Exercises, to see that researchers from the University of Cincinnati are exploring other treatment options for anxiety disorders, namely practicing “a wide range of therapeutic techniques that include meditation, yoga, and learning how to pay non-judgmental attention to one's life.”

Photo courtesy : Pixabay

According to the co-author of the university’s recent study, "Mindfulness-based therapeutic interventions promote the use of meditative practices to increase present-moment awareness of conscious thoughts, feelings, and body sensations in an effort to manage negative experiences more effectively.”

In the article, it described that children who are high risk for bipolar disorder or other anxiety disorders often have poor coping skills when confronted by stress, and only a few get the help and support they need. It is so important that we help our children develop coping skills from an early age.

That’s where yoga comes in. Yoga isn’t just for adults. Regular practice of yoga asanas, simple breathing techniques, and meditation can help children prepare for all the hormonal changes and emotional challenges they’ll face during adolescence. This is one of the main reasons I’ve produced my extensive line of Little Yogis products. By making yoga fun for kids, it gets them active and exercising with enthusiasm. This, in turn, nurtures their attraction to a health-giving yoga lifestyle and offers them practices to help them stay grounded throughout their sometimes tumultuous teen years.

I was glad to see this common sense approach backed up by a scientific study. In fact, the results were encouraging as they indicated that the anxiety of the patients was significantly reduced following treatment, and the more mindfulness they practiced, the less anxious they felt. After the 12-week experiment, the researchers concluded that mindfulness therapy increased neural activity in a part of the brain that plays in a role in processing cognitive and emotion information and also increased brain activity another part of the brain that helps monitor how the body feels psychologically.

For people who might be reluctant to start their kids on medication, yoga and mindfulness based therapies offer an exciting alterative choice. Every person and every case is different, but at least knowing there may be more natural alternatives to antidepressants will give many parents hope.

Wishing you and your family well,

Wai Lana

 

You may wish to checkout some videos based on above topics like breathing techniques, meditation, beginner yoga practice and yoga for kids:

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Learn Meditation from Wai Lana

 

Yoga for Kids

 

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Some tips to cut back on screen time:
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Unblock insights by help of meditation:
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Meditation made easy
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Learn more about Wai Lana

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How to Prevent Back Pain before It’s Too Late!

In a recent blog post, 9 Yoga Stretches to Help Relieve Hip and Lower Back Pain, the writer said they had been inundated with requests for more poses to ease back pain following a previous posting. This is not surprising considering back problems are a common complaint, high on the list of reasons people visit their doctor.

According to a report on back pain posted in the NY times, 8 out of every 10 people have some type of back ache at some time in their lives. For many people, back problems can be debilitating. NIH reported that they are a major contributor to work absence and the most common cause of work-related disability.

Back problems are especially difficult to treat or cure, so prevention is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, most of us only start thinking about our back once it starts aching, rather than considering how to avoid a potential problem. A good example is Peter Lynch, an athlete who had always considered his back healthy.

He regularly played sports. He commented. “Actually, I was quite proud of how flexible and strong my back was, so I never worried about how I lifted or carried things. One day, I tried to pick up a container and I felt a painful twinge in my lower back. I immediately realized I had screwed up. That happened three years ago and ever since, I’ve had chronic back problems. Some days I don’t have any problems at all, but on other days there’s a subtle pain or discomfort, and still other days, it’s quite painful. I often wish I could go back in time to when my back was completely healthy and strong.”

Heavy lifting isn’t the only preventable cause of back injury. Many people suffer chronic back problems not from overdoing it, but rather from lack of movement.

In the past, people exercised their bodies while they worked—bending, lifting, reaching and stretching virtually all day long. Nowadays we’re a lot more sedentary. Most of us don’t exercise while we work, we’re not walking to the fields, we’re not working in the fields, and we don’t do much manual labor. In fact, many people spend their work days sitting in a chair, collapsing on the couch in front of television as soon as they get home.

A 2006 study showed that sitting in a conventional chair puts pressure on our spine—specifically the disks in the lower spine. Furthermore, when we’re sedentary our abdominal muscles weaken which puts more pressure on our spine. 

But sedentary lifestyles aren’t the only culprit. As per WebMD, back pain can be attributed to other life-style factors and habits such as slouching, smoking, and being overweight. Emotions such as stress, anxiety, and depression also play a role.

While certain yoga asanas can help relieve back pain, prevention is worth pounds of cure. This is where following a yoga life-style can be extremely beneficial:

Regular practice of Yoga Asanas

Practicing yoga asanas regularly can help you cultivate a strong, supple, and healthy back. Certain poses such as Sacrum Massage and Lower Body Rock can also help release tension from your back.

 

 

Yoga asana practice also makes us more aware of our posture and how we move. This heightened awareness helps us correct our movements or posture, whether it’s the way we lift or carry things, the position in which we sleep, or the way we sit or stand. Overall, we naturally begin to move more wisely and carefully.

Healthy Yoga Diet

A healthy yoga diet combined with regular exercise is the most effective way to maintain a healthy weight and thus reduce your risk for back problems.

Yoga Breathing

Complete Yoga Breathing is very effective as a pain reliever and relaxant. Each time you inhale, the distance between the vertebrae increases slightly, taking a little pressure off the spinal discs. Feel your spine lengthen as you inhale, then feel the tension leaving your back as you exhale. Try to practice this as often as you can.

Yoga Relaxation and Meditation

Stress is at the root of so many ailments, including some types of back pain. Regular practice of yoga relaxation and Yoga Sound Meditation are key components in preventing and relieving stress-induced back pain.

Of course, preventing back pain is only a side benefit of a healthy yoga lifestyle. By making yoga an integral part of your life, you’ll be healthier, more peaceful, and happier!

 

Best wishes,

Wai Lana

Watch some easy to follow videos by Wai Lana that helps to relieve back pain:

 

 

30 Days to a Healthy Back Series

 

Other Suggested Readings:

Simple measures to help maintain the health of your spine and back muscles:
https://www.wailana.com/lifestyle/articles/tips-healthy-living/simple-ti...

Asana practice for a healthy back:
https://www.wailana.com/yoga/insights/asana-practice-for-a-healthy-back

3 Tips for Integrating Meditation into Your Busy Routine
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/11/09/3-tips-for-integrating-meditatio...

My Experience of 8 Energizing Yoga Moves You Can Do in Bed
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/11/07/my-experience-of-8-energizing-yo...

1 Minute Mug Cake Recipes
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/11/05/1-minute-mug-cake-recipes

Getting Our Kids to Eat Their Veggies
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3 Tips for Integrating Meditation into Your Busy Routine

I recently came across an article from Entrepreneur Magazine called 3 Tips for Integrating Meditation into Your Schedule. Much like the yoga asana movement, which has boomed in popularity in the last two decades, meditation is quickly gaining mainstream acceptance. Or so it would appear. The meditation and “mindfulness” practices that we often hear about should more accurately be described as pre-meditation techniques.

There are many misperceptions about what real meditation is, some of which can actually interfere with people adopting a meditation practice. For example, one might assume that you need 20-30 minutes a day in a quite secluded place to meditate. With our busy careers or family life, many of us simple don’t have that luxury. Others may think the goal of meditation is to clear your mind of all thoughts. However, anyone who has tried to sit quietly for any length of time (and not fall asleep) will know how restless and active their mind really is.

Image credit: entrepreneur.com

As referenced in this article, the practice of “meditation brings, clarity, enhances attention and provides proper perspective.” And this is certainly possible with various pre-meditation techniques. But these benefits are a natural side effect of an authentic meditation practice. Real meditation is not simply an artificial attempt to clear your mind, or attempt to be more present in the moment, or meditate on a so-called mantra like “Let go”, as recommended in that article. Common sense tells us it’s possible to focus our mind on just about anything. I can repeat to myself “apple, apple, apple” all day long, but is this real meditation?

The ultimate goal of meditation, which is to achieve yoga or union with the Supreme Soul, is realized not by clearing your mind of all thoughts, but rather it is achieved by immersing your heart and mind in that which is transcendental, or spiritual. In fact, real meditation begins when you focus your attention on the Supreme Soul.

The easiest, most effective and most practical way to do this is through the ancient process of Yoga Sound Meditation. By putting ourselves in contact with the spiritually purifying yoga sound (or sacred mantras), we not only reap the benefits of pre-meditation (i.e. relief from stress and anxiety, mental clarity, relaxation, and so on), but we naturally progress on the path of self-realization and the path towards real and lasting happiness.

Watch a couple of videos on Meditation that will help to become familiar with the meditation process.

 

 

 

With this in mind we can adapt and apply the 3 tips that were described in Entrepreneur’s article:

Use a technique

There are many techniques of Yoga Sound Meditation. In fact, we teach 10 different methods in my Easy Meditation for Everyone Kit. Once learned, these techniques can be easily integrated into your busy schedule. For example, one technique is to simply listen to the transcendental sound. So any time you have during the day to listen to music, you can be listening to transcendental sound and thus engaging in meditation. Who would have thought you could meditate while driving to work, exercising at the gym, or cleaning house?

 

Become location agnostic

Other techniques like Japa Meditation are wonderful to practice while you’re on a walk, or even while you’re waiting in line at the store. While it’s certainly advantageous to have a peaceful place to be more focused on your meditation practice, it’s not required. The busiest of people need meditation the most, so it makes sense to adopt a practice that can seamlessly fit into what might otherwise be a chaotic daily routine.
 

Remember, it’s your very own refresh button

Yoga Sound Meditation can absolutely help clear your mind, allow you to see things from a fresh perspective, and give shelter and rest to a troubled heart. Any time you’re feeling a sense of anxiety, loneliness, emptiness, or stress, you can instantly turn to your Yoga Sound Meditation practice and find almost instant relief.

I hope this information has helped encourage and inspire you to add meditation to your life. The key is to practice regularly in order to experience the sweet fruits that real meditation offers. If you have any questions on how to add meditation to your life, I’d love to hear from you!

Wishing you well,

Wai Lana

 

Other Suggested Readings

Meditation Made Easy by Wai Lana
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/10/21/meditation-made-easy

How Yoga breathing and meditation can help you feel vibrant and alive
https://www.wailana.com/yoga/insights/get-high-with-yoga-breathing-and-m...

1 Minute Mug Cake Recipe
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/11/05/1-minute-mug-cake-recipes

Getting Our Kids to Eat Their Veggies
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/10/31/getting-our-kids-to-eat-their-ve...

Heartfulness for Deeper Sleep
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/10/20/wai-lana-yoga-heartfulness-for-d...

My Experience of 8 Energizing Yoga Moves You Can Do in Bed

LiveStrong.com always has a lot of interesting articles on health, so when I have time, I like to browse through them. This article on doing yoga in bed (on the bed, really) caught my eye since I occasionally do a few poses on my bed before I get up.

Of course, it’s going to depend on your bed… my bed is nice and firm so it works well. I have enough support to feel stable in most of the poses. If your bed is soft, though, I’d recommend transitioning to the floor. On cold mornings, I often spread a soft blanket over my mat for the cozy factor (at least for most seated, lying, and kneeling poses).

Image credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

I like the sequence Sophie Jaffe offers, starting with Wide-Legged Child’s Pose. It feels really good to stretch out your back and hips after sleep. Sometimes I’ll relax my chest down into the bed for a passive stretch, or I’ll actively reach my arms forward—either way, it gently wakes up and decompresses the spine while loosening up the shoulders.

Her next one, Cat Pose to Cow Pose is another favorite of mine and feels wonderful in the morning. There’s just something about undulating the spine with the breath that is so smooth and rhythmic—almost like a dance. It’s also really effective for getting rid of any kinks that may have crept in during the night.

Seated Forward Bend in the morning? That one is challenging first thing! Why do the hamstrings tighten up so much overnight? If I do this one in the morning, l usually bend my knees. I also like to massage the backs of my thighs, too, especially near the knees; it seems to help them warm up faster.

The Supine Spinal Twist is perfect for the bed. Gets into tight hips and gets the spine spiraling nicely.

I don’t generally do Fish on the bed, I find I need more support than the bed provides. When I do it on the floor, I can really press my elbows down to help me lift the chest and get right onto the top of my head. That’s a little harder for me to do on the bed. But of course, it’s good to include a backbend. I suggest Simple Backbend.

 

I like this one and you can vary it according to your ability or how you feel. If my neck is at all sensitive, I just keep my head up and look forward. I still get a great arch in my back. I tend to take it slowly in the morning so I don’t usually walk my hands back—I save that for later in the day when my body’s more warmed up.

 

Image credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

Happy Baby feels good on the bed, a supportive but soft surface to rest your back against. It’s relaxing and a great hip opener. I really focus on abdominal breathing in this one, enjoying the way I can feel the effects of the breath helping me to deepen the stretch in the hips, inner thighs, and all around the groin area.

 

Pigeon follows up on the hip opener and doesn’t feel quite as intense as doing it on the floor, which is fine for the morning. Just be careful if you have any old knee injuries. You might want to follow Happy Baby with Biking Pose to warm up the knees before trying Pigeon.

 

Image credit: LIVESTRONG.COM

Her last seated pose is perfect for doing some yoga breathing or meditation to cap off an awesome start to your day. If you’d like to join me for Ujjayi Pranayama with Yoga Sound Meditation, come visit me here.

Wishing you well,
Wai Lana

 

Other Suggested Readings:

Tips for a Safe Beginners Asana Practice
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/10/22/tips-for-a-safe-beginners-asana-...

Extra Care for Yoga Flow - A few words of caution
https://www.wailana.com/yoga/insights/extra-care-for-yoga-flow

Too Tired to Practice? - Take your pick
https://www.wailana.com/yoga/insights/too-tired-to-practice

Inside Out Yoga
https://www.wailana.com/yoga/insights/inside-out-yoga

Don’t let the cold winter days stop you from practicing
https://www.wailana.com/yoga/insights/yoga-exercise-cold-winter-days

Mindfulness
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/10/27/mindfulness

Meditation Made Easy
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/10/21/meditation-made-easy

Heartfulness for Deeper Sleep
https://www.wailana.com/blog/2016/10/20/wai-lana-yoga-heartfulness-for-d...

1 Minute Mug Cake Recipes

I love finding new recipes and came across this article from Athletic Avocado. I’m wondering why I’m only learning about these now—a cake you can microwave in a cup in just minutes. What a great idea for a quick dessert! There are so many to choose from… combos for every taste preference. And you don’t have to make them vegan or gluten-free if you don’t want to.

I got excited and wanted to try one right away so I chose the Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Mug Cake from Kitchen Treaty, since I had all the ingredients on hand.

 

It was soooo easy! I just scooped the ingredients into a tea mug, stirred them around, which took all of 30 seconds, and skeptically put it in the microwave for 60 seconds. And after just 1 minute, it was done perfectly. I sprinkled a few chocolate chips on top and even though they were cold from the fridge, they melted sumptuously onto the hot mug cake.

I’ll be honest; it wasn’t as fluffy and moist as the cakes I usually bake. But it was still very tasty and the convenience of having a cake in just a couple minutes from start to finish made this baking adventure a success worth sharing.

I later experimented with a carrot cake recipe and topped it with cream cheese icing. It was rich and absolutely delicious. I had a couple of bites and my grandson devoured the rest! I’m sure it’s going to become a thing now… every time he comes over he’s probably going to ask me to make him one. But I won’t mind… they’re so quick and easy and actually pretty healthy depending on the ingredients you choose. In fact, next time I think I’ll help him make it himself.

Carrot Mug Cake Recipe:

1/4 cup unbleached flour

3 Tbsp grated carrots

½ Tbsp organic sugar

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp of white vinegar

1/8 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

Grease the mug with butter. Mix the ingredients in the mug. Then heat in the microwave on high for 60 seconds (plus an additional 15 seconds if needed).

 

I’m a firm believer in getting kids involved in the kitchen early on, and these mug cakes are ideal for kids. Just measure (think math opportunity, especially for your home-schoolers), mix, and bake. They get to have the fun of doing it themselves AND taste the delicious results almost immediately, giving them a great sense of accomplishment. What better than the sweet taste of success to spur them on to explore other culinary delights!

I have a section on smoothies in my Wai Lana’s Favorite Juices book, so now I’m going to be on the lookout for the perfect mug cakes to pair with my favorite smoothies and fruit juices to make when the grandkids come over.

Of course, it’s not only the grandkids that are going to love these. As soon as the word is out, I’m sure their parents will to want in on these easy and tasty desserts as well. I can just see the whole family in the kitchen, each one with their own cup, measuring out the ingredients for their favorite mug cake concoction. Water boiling for tea, the blender whirring for smoothies, then all sitting down together to enjoy a nutritious, home-made dessert and some quality family time.

Wishing you well,

Wai Lana

 

Other suggested readings:

Review of the Wai Lana Juice Book by New Age Retailer Magazine
https://www.wailana.com/product-reviews/wai-lanas-favorite-juices-book/a...

Review of the Wai Lana Juice Book by Vegetarian Baby & Child
https://www.wailana.com/product-reviews/wai-lanas-favorite-juices-book/b...

See Wai Lana’s suggestion on how to Stay Healthy and Hydrated with Fresh Juice
https://www.wailana.com/wai-lana/in-the-media/stay-healthy-and-hydrated-...

 

Wai Lana Yoga & Healthy Lifestyle Products
http://shop.wailana.com
http://www.yogastudio.co.uk/collections/wai-lana
https://www.yogaoutlet.com/wai-lana/
https://www.amazon.com/Wai-Lana-Yoga-Easy/dp/B0000E6FOU
https://www.amazon.com/Wai-Lana-Yoga-Beginners-Workout/dp/B0000YEET4

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Getting Our Kids to Eat Their Veggies

It is a challenge that every parent faces: How to encourage our kids to eat more vegetables. Most health-conscious parents know that there is no substitute for salads, raw veggies, and cooked vegetables and greens. Vegetables are the most nutrient-dense of all foods, containing vital minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and other nutrients that promote good health better than any supplement we could take. But how can we convince our kids to eat them? With pizza and pasta vying to take center stage as favorite dinners in many households, it can become quite a challenge to change eating habits.

A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics by Dr. David R. Just, a professor of Applied Economics at Cornell, indicates that the key to this dilemma can be found in the same marketing techniques that have been used for decades to try to get kids to eat junk food. Professor Just and his research colleagues assigned ten elementary schools to one of four groups. In the first, they posted vinyl banners around the salad bar depicting cartoon vegetable characters with “super powers.” In the second, they showed television cartoons of the characters. The third got both cartoons and banners, and the fourth group, designated a control group, and got no intervention at all. They ran their study over six weeks.

Photo Credit: Damon Winter/The New York Times

The study was reported on by the New York Times “Well” blog, and the results were remarkable. Compared to control schools, TV segments alone produced a statistically insignificant increase in vegetable consumption. But in schools decorated with the banners alone, 90.5 percent more students took vegetables. And where both the banners and the TV advertisements were used, the number of students taking vegetables increased by 239.2 percent.

So it seems that our children can change their eating habits for the better if they have the right information and constant reminders. Dr. David R. Just commented that marketing is not all evil. It can be used to do good things too. But putting healthy eating programs into practice, he said, presents problems for schools if they are left to do their own marketing. He advocates national programs with sufficient funding to reach all sectors of society.

 

Of course, nothing beats home education. We as parents can teach our children much more by what we do than by what we say. If our children see us eating a healthful diet at home and we teach them the benefits of vegetables and other wholesome foods, then there is a good chance that they will take healthy eating habits with them into adulthood.

I have written Wai Lana’s Favorite Soups and Wai Lana’s Favorite Juices to help you with ideas to get fresh vegetables and fruits into your family’s diet.

Wishing you well,
Wai Lana

 

Other valuable content by Wai Lana related to this topic:

The Benefits of a Plant-Based Yoga Diet
https://www.wailana.com/yoga/insights/the-benefits-of-a-plant-based-yoga...

Simple steps to create a healthier environment for both parents and children
https://www.wailana.com/lifestyle/articles/tips-for-healthy-living/tackl...

Healthy Snacks for Kids (and Grownups)
https://www.wailana.com/lifestyle/articles/tips-healthy-living/healthy-s...

See collection of delicious and healthy snacks (Natural, Gluten free & Vegan)
https://www.wailana.com/snacks

Hearty Vegetable Soups Recipes
https://www.wailana.com/lifestyle/recipes/salads

Review of Wai Lana’s Favorite Juice and Smoothie Recipes
https://www.wailana.com/product-reviews/wai-lanas-favorite-juices-book/o...

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