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Monday, February 18, 2008

Mind, Body, and Soul: Benefits of Yoga

It has been nearly 8 years since I set foot in a yoga studio, but last week I did just that. Part of the get back to being me lifestyle change this year I suppose, that and sleeping 8 hours a night, which by the way I have been pretty good about so far. When I first decided to take yoga I really had no idea what it was. I thought everyone sat around relaxing and meditating.

Boy was I wrong but in a completely wonderful way. Yes, yoga is relaxing but it also strengthens the body, makes it more flexible, and like most forms of exercise is a terrific stress reliever. It does all this through a series of asanas or active poses, breathing exercises or pranayamas, which are passive poses.

What I like best about taking a yoga class however is that I feel like I am back in touch with my body. Instead of feeling hunched over from sitting at a computer all day, I'm sitting straighter and standing taller. My stomach is more taut, my legs stronger, and even the face peering out at me from the mirror appears more relaxed than it was before class.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Stress Reliever: Relaxation Tanks

One of the best stress relievers in life is simply breathing deeply. Then there's meditation, massage, yoga, and, floating in a relaxation tank, preferably one that is warm, filled with saltwater and is light and soundproof.

The feeling of weightlessness, warmth, and lack of sensory stimulation helps heal the body. In fact, studies show that blood pressure along with stress hormones are reduced. People feel less stressed and anxious, and prolactin, the hormone associated with breastfeeding and a feeling of well-being, levels increased.

Sounds good to me. It reminds me of floating in the Caribbean Sea. There's nothing like it really. I even had a dream I once had a dream about floating in those warm, tropical waters. When I woke up, I was of course still in my bed, but I was amazed at how relaxed I felt. It was pretty much like being in that relaxation tank except it was all in my mind. When I take my kids to the pool I often pretend that I'm back floating in that warm Caribbean Sea. And it usually works at least for an hour or two.

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