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Shared: 12 Yoga Poses To Undo The Damage Of Your Desk Job


yoga desk job

Personally, I’ve never tried yoga, aside from the Child’s Pose (shown in the list below) which really does a great job of stretching out the back.

What I do have though, is all of the muscle aches and posture issues listed below! “Sitting is the new smoking” (Wired Magazine) is a pretty scary thing to hear. It’s important to get up and move around if possible throughout your work day. Go get a drink, take a brief walk during your lunch, stretch your limbs. On some days when I’ve been stuck in traffic, or feel particularly achy after a night of not-so-great sleep, I make a point to use other devices such as the Pain Therapy System or the Neck Comforter to help relieve muscle aches and better my posture while I’m at work. After all, when aches and pains are at the top of your mind, it’s difficult to stay focused on the tasks at work.

The yoga poses below are low impact, simple, and require no equipment. A couple of these you can even do during  a quick bathroom break or when you’re on your lunch, like the Mountain Pose, Standing Forward Fold and Slow Neck Stretches. If you’re looking to get rid of some aches and pains from sitting all day (at work or at home), check out some of the suggestions below!


This original article below including photos are from The Huffington Post, written by Carolyn Gregoire (August 7, 2013).

You may joke that your job is slowly killing you, but it might actually be true.

And while job-related stress seems like the main culprit when it comes to health and your career ( it can have negative health effects as far ranging as increased heart attack risk, depression or premature aging), there’s another danger lurking in the office: Sitting.

“Sitting is the new smoking,” warned Wired magazine earlier this year. And indeed research links a highly sedentary lifestyle with a shorter life span and increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, among other serious health problems.

As most desk jockeys know (and feel), sitting over a keyboard for hours can contribute to tightness in the hips and legs, in addition to neck, shoulder and back pain and discomfort. Camping out all day at a desk can also create an unhealthy posture — that you take with you when you leave for the day — in which the back and shoulders hunch down and the neck protrudes forward.

“There are a lot of very negative physical reactions created when the body’s not in movement,” Vyda Bielkus, certified yoga instructor and founder of Health Yoga Lifestudio in Boston, tells The Huffington Post. “Between sitting eight hours a day and then being in the elevator looking at your smartphone, you’re totally misaligning the spine.”

Yoga postures that target areas of tension can be an effective antidote to many desk-job ailments, according to Bielkus. And, as an added bonus, mind-body practice may help address the damaging stress of a high-pressure job by helping to calm the mind and quiet racing thought patterns.

“Yoga allows us to tap into the space between our thoughts, into our quiet mind and our awareness,” Bielkus says. “That’s what helps us gain perspective that stress is a choice — I can react with ease or I can react with stress and anxiety. Yoga helps us create some distance from our reactions.”

Here are 12 asanas to help undo the damage created by long days spent sitting at a desk.

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

downwardfacing dog yoga

If you only do one yoga pose after a long day at work, make it a downward-facing dog, a holistic pose that stretches and strengthens many parts of the body. To come into the pose, move into an inverted “V’ shape. With hands outstretched in front and you, lift the hips and ground the feet (at about hips-width apart) into the floor. Ground all the fingers into the floor and point them forward, bring your attention to the breath as you enjoy the stretch for 30-60 seconds.

“It helps you lengthen and strengthen muscles in the body,” Bielkus says. “It reduces tension in the shoulders, relaxes the neck, and lets a little more blood flow get to the brain. You’re also able to really stretch the legs, so if you’re sitting all day, the legs are getting inactive.”

The pose is also great for stretching out the wrists and hands, which may become sore or tired from hours of typing.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

mountain pose

Counter a long day of contracting the back with this powerful back and chest-opening posture. Come to a comfortable standing position with feet hips-width apart, bring your hands up over your head with palms facing forward and thumbs hooked as you bend gently backwards and breathe deeply.

“This is a powerful pose to free up tight chest muscles,” Bielkus says.

Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

fish pose yoga

Fish pose is an excellent tension reducer, and can also be therapeutic for fatigue and anxiety, according to Yoga Journal. To come into the pose, sit up on your hips with legs stretched out together in front of you and toes pointed. Bring your hands under your hips and lean back to prop yourself up on your forearms. Then, lift the chest above the shoulders and drop the head back to the ground behind you. Breathe deeply and rest in the pose for 15-30 seconds.

Fish pose “releases tension in the neck, throat, and head, helps stretch the chest muscles and opens up the lungs,” Bielkus says.

Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

yoga forward bend

A forward bend provides a soothing feeling of release — making the pose therapeutic for stress and anxiety — and with the added arm bind, this standing forward bend variation provides a deep shoulder stretch as well.

Stand with your feet at hips-width distance, and slowly bend forward from the hips to come into the forward bend. To take the strain off the lower back, bend the knees slightly. Then, try adding an arm bind to stretch the shoulders: Interlace your hands at the lower back and stretch the arms over your head and hands towards the ground in front of you. For those with tight shoulders, hold a belt between your hands, allowing the shoulders to get a deep but less intense stretch.

“By binding the hands, you also allow the arms to stretch and tight shoulders to relax,” Bielkus says. “After sitting all day, it’s a great idea to turn your world upside down and bring some blood back to the brain while getting a great stretch for the legs.”

Cat & Cow Pose (Marjaryasana & Bitilasana)

yoga cat pose

Cat-cow tilts can be an effective headache reliever, in addition to opening up the back and stretching the spine. Start with hands and knees on the floor in a tabletop position with a neutral spine. On the inhale, round the spine and curve up into your cat pose (pictured above). On the exhale, arch the back and lift the chest to come into a cow pose. Repeat three to five times, focusing on the breath.

“It also helps bring the neck back into the position over the spine — people tend to protrude it forward, and this pose brings the vertebrae back to homeostasis,” Bielkus says.

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

butterfly pose yoga

This pose helps to open the hips and ease sciatica discomfort that can be made worse by sitting for long periods.

Sit up tall with the soles of the feet touching and knees spreading open, bringing the feet in toward the pelvis and clasping your hands around your feet. Flap the knees up and down several times like butterfly wings, then sit still and focus the weight of the hips and thighs into the floor, easing pain in the sciatic nerve.

“The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back and runs down both leg, and sciatic nerve pain can occur when the nerve is somehow compressed,” Bielkus says. “Long commutes and sitting for long periods of time exacerbates it.”

Slow Neck Stretches

yoga neck

To counter neck discomfort from staring down at a keyboard or phone, Bielkus recommends a few repetitions of yogic slow neck stretches.

Sitting in a cross-legged pose, lean the head to the right and extend the left arm and hand toward the ground until you feel a deep stretch on the left side of the neck. Breathe deeply and hold for a few breath cycles, repeating on the other side. You can also try standing in Mountain Pose and stretching the neck to one side, gently pulling with the same hand.

“This can also easily be done standing anywhere, even in a cubicle,” she says. “It eases neck tension and strain.”

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

yoga cobra pose

“This pose is an accessible back bend for most people,” Bielkus says. “It lengthens the spine, opens up the chest and counteracts sitting hunched over all day.”

Lying on the floor, put your hands on the ground slightly in front of you and tuck the elbows into the chest. Push up into your hands, lifting into a slight backbend and drawing the shoulders down. Turn your gaze upwards, and try not to take any tension into the face or jaw.

Half Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

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The hips can get tight from long hours of sitting. To improve flexibility and range of motion in the hips, and open up the chest and shoulders, try a half pigeon pose. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, sliding the right knee forward and left leg back, as pictured above, trying to bend the front leg at a 90-degree angle. Sit up tall, and on the exhale, hinge the chest forward and bring the arms out in front of you to feel a deep stretch.

“A half pigeon is great for opening up the hips,” Bielkus says.

If you’re particularly tight in the hips, try rolling up a blanket under the hips and sitting upright, and then gently hinging forward.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

yoga blood pressure

“Child’s pose helps us turn inside and slow our minds down,” Virayoga founder Elena Brower recently told The Huffington Post.

The foundational resting pose in many yoga classes, the soothing Child’s Pose can help put the mind at ease while also gently opening up the back, hips and shoulders, according to Bielkus.

Sit down with your legs folded beneath you, toes touching and knees spread apart from each other. Drape your chest down between your thighs, bringing your forehead to the floor and either extending the arms out in front of you or resting them by your sides. Breathe deeply and rest in the pose for as long as desired.

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

happy baby yoga pose

“This pose opens the hips and groins and is very calming for the mind and body,” Bielkus says.

Happy Baby Pose is accessible even for beginners, but still provides an excellent stretch for the hip joints, which can get stiff from too much sitting. Lie down on your back, draw the knees into your chest and grab your feet from the inside, pulling them down so the knees extend on either side of your torso. If the stretch is too intense, grab behind your thighs. Try to bring the hips down to the floor. Breathe deeply and rock gently side to side, returning to stillness at your center for 30 seconds.

Sitali Breathing

yoga breathing

This cooling breath is the perfect antidote to a long, stressful day. “It releases tension in body and mind, and helps us relieve stress and anger and brings us to a more balanced and clear state,” she says.

To perform this refreshing pranayama exercise, sit in a chair or on the floor in an easy crossed-legged position with your eyes closed. Stick your tongue out and curl up its outer edges. (If you’re having trouble tongue curling, try your best and form a slight “O” with the mouth). Inhale through the mouth, letting the air pass over the tongue, feeling a cool breath, and then exhale through your nose.

“Continue long rhythmic breathing for three minutes,” Bielkus says. “You’ll feel totally refreshed!”

Copyright 2013 Huffington Post and Carolyn Gregoire <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/yoga-desk-job_n_3707818.html>

 

Have you tried any of these, or do yoga on a regular basis? What works or doesn’t work for you? Comment and share your experiences below!




Why (and How) You Should Eat Raw Garlic


(Image from: Agora Cosmopolitan)

In many cultures, garlic is considered the go-to herb for ailments ranging from the common cold and the flu to stomach problems or athlete’s foot.

But more recently, scientists at the Jiangsu Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention considered the consumption of raw garlic and whether it affected one’s chances of developing lung cancer. The results were published online in the journal of Cancer Prevention Research, reporting that consumption of raw garlic at least twice a week could significantly decrease your chances of lung cancer, even if you are a smoker. It is believed that this is related to a chemical named allicin, which is released when raw garlic is crushed or chopped.

Just how common is lung cancer in Canada? Lung Cancer Canada reports that it is the most common form of Cancer in Canada, with 1 in 12 Canadians diagnosed each year.

Before you go running to gobble down some raw garlic though, the first thing to remember is that adults should not eat more than one or two cloves of raw garlic each day as it can upset the gastrointestinal system (and possibly offend those around you since garlic can cause rather fragrant breath).

Knowing this, how exactly can you eat raw garlic? It can be difficult, to say to least, to just pop it in your mouth, chew and swallow. Here are some easier ways you can try:

1. Garlic Toast.

Simply mince the garlic, mix it with butter, and spread on your toast, bread, whichever you want!

2. Garlic Dip.

You can mix the raw garlic in any sort of dip, or salsa, or salad dressing, even your pasta sauce!

3. Guacamole.

A lot of people complain that avocado by itself lacks a bit of flavor, but that’s not the case when you make guacamole! Throw in some raw garlic, but depending how much you put in, you may not even taste the garlic.

4. Mashed Potatoes.

You can add minced garlic to the mashed potatoes and just mix them in. It will add a bit of kick to the potatoes.

5. Raw Garlic.

If you’re really so inclined to just eat the garlic as a clove or just minced on a spoon, be very sure that you don’t forget something like olive oil to coat and protect your stomach, even if you’re chasing the garlic with a large glass of water.

AFTER the garlic, if you’re not a huge fan of chewing gum, some basil or mint leaves can also help to get rid of the potentially fragrant breath.

 

Have you ever tasted raw garlic? Do you frequently use it? If so, comment and share your recipes below!




Journal of American Medical Association says, “…it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”


 Journal of American Medical Association says, "…it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements."

Are you currently taking a good multi-vitamin?

If not, you should.  According to the Journal of American Medical Association, "Most people do not consume an optimal amount of all vitamins by diet alone…it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements." 

Your body needs sufficient nutrients to help you deal with your busy, stressful lifestyle and to ensue optimal health.  The question is, are you eating enough fruits, vegetables, and lean protein to get all the vitamins and minerals you need?  Probably not.  And it is for this reason that the Journal of American Medical Association recommends you take a daily multi-vitamin.  Now the question remains, which multi-vitamin?

I challenge you to find a multi-vitamin at your nearest drug store that is better than my new multi-vitamin.  I noticed that many people take separate supplements to get their nutrients – one for omega-3s, one for calcium, one for vitamin D, and the list goes on.  With this in mind, i created my multi-vitamin to include everything you would need.  Click here to learn more.

Click HERE to learn why my new multi-vitamin is better



Benefits of Seasonal Cleansing


Spring is around the corner and we can all start looking forward to the forthcoming warm summer months.  I’m sure you have many other things to do during the spring time, but I usually take this time to start my Spring Cleansing Digestive Detox regimen.  

Changes in seasons tend to be transitionary phases not only for your lifestyle, but more importantly for your body and its overall digestive health.  This is largely due to the fact that our diets change from season to season.  For example, during the cold winter months we tend to eat more comfort foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta, and contain hearty meats, such as beef and pork.  These common winter meals can make optimal digestion difficult.  During the warmer months we eat more raw fruits and vegetables – don’t forget that raw foods contain higher levels of bacteria and parasites.  We also tend to indulge in cold, sweet desserts, such as ice cream, that can ‘shock’ our digestive systems.  These sudden changes in diet make it tough for your digestive system to work normally.  This is why detoxing and cleansing with a change of the seasons is very important as it helps to "reset" your digestive system to work consistently and maintain better digestive health.

Apart from the dietary benefits of a seasonal cleanse, I recently came across a very alarming study that highlights the importance of keeping the body and digestive system clean.  This study was undertaken by EnviroSolutions Consulting Inc. and involved measuring the level of toxic chemicals that reside in our bodies.  The study measured 68 chemicals in the blood of 1,800 Americans, ages 12 and up.  The results found a banned fungicide called hexachlorobenzene in 99.9% of the people tested.  99.9% of the individuals also tested positive for DDE (Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene), which is due to the bodies metabolism of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), an insecticide that is toxic to both humans and animals.  Now the good news is that the levels of toxins in our bodies seem to be decreasing, but the bad news is that many of the chemicals which were evaluated in this study were banned or regulated many years ago.  In response to the study, Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health, stated that "It’s a wake up call – a reminder that chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the body, and they are going to be with us for a long time1."  

It’s hard to control the environment around you, but it’s easy for you to take your health into your own hands and to make informed decisions that can improve your health.  Seasonal cleansing may not be a cure to all your problems, but it’s something that you can do to institute a healthy lifestyle for you and your family and help flush the lingering toxins and bacteria from your body.

Best of Health and Happiness,
Dr. Ho
 



Top 5 Tips for a Successful Digestive Detox & Cleanse


I love receiving correspondence from my customers. It helps me keep up-to-date with how well my products work and what you like about my products. More importantly though your feedback helps me to improve upon what we offer.

I recently received a letter from Claire in Ontario, Canada asking: "How can I have an effective cleanse each time I use your system?" This is a great question that will benefit everyone who does a cleanse.

My Digestive Detox System is extremely easy to use and because it’s a 30-day cleanse you DO NOT have to drastically change your diet. By this I mean that you don’t have to restrict yourself to three meals of salad and fruits per day – I know that I couldn’t do that. Instead, I’m going to share my top 5 tips for a successful cleanse. These are things that I make sure to include with my seasonal cleansing regimen.

Tip #1

One of the most important things you should do while cleansing is drink 6-8 glasses of water everyday. I know this may sound tough, but it really isn’t. One 450 ml bottle of water equals two 8 oz. glasses of water. That means you only have to drink 3 to 4 bottles of water a day. The water is important to help flush the toxins and bacteria from your system and also helps to hydrate your body.

Tip #2

Reduce the amount of meat you eat. Now I’m not telling you to cut out all meat products, but try reducing your portion sizes to start. In particular, try to eat more lean meats, such as chicken and fish, as they digest much more readily within your digestive system. Many people aren’t aware that red meat, such as beef, can take weeks to be completely digested and flushed out of your system. Undigested food can cause constipation, bloating and smelly gas.

Tip #3

Adding more fiber to your diet is very important. Fiber not only helps lower cholesterol, but is also an important factor for maintaining regularity. Ideally, you should consume 20-24 grams of fiber per day. My Digestive Detox System helps you achieve this goal by supplying approximately 20% of your daily recommended fiber intake. To get the rest of your fiber, add slightly steamed vegetables to your meals. Also, instead of having an unhealthy snack, try having an apple, pear, banana or orange.

Tip #4

Adding a comprehensive multi-vitamin to your diet can greatly add to your success. Not only will a digestive cleanse help increase your energy levels, but it can also help to improve the amount of nutrients that your body absorbs from the food that you eat. By taking a high-quality multi-vitamin, you can ensure that your body receives proper nourishment as well as a good variety of essential nutrients. When choosing a multi-vitamin, make sure that it comes in capsule form, as this makes it easier for your system to absorb those important vitamins and minerals.

Tip #5

Exercising regularly will also help to improve your results. Not only is exercise important for keeping your heart healthy, but it also helps your body expel toxins through sweating. If you suffer from constipation or irregularity then regular exercise can also help to increase your bowel movements. Now, you don’t have to be athletic or be at the gym everyday. You can try a simple task such as walking for about one hour everyday. I personally enjoy taking a brisk walk after dinner to enjoy the fresh air and to help digest my food. Anybody can do it and it doesn’t require a huge commitment.

I hope my personal tips provide you with the best digestive cleanse that you have ever had. If you have any good tips to offer please leave a comment. I’m always interested in hearing what works for others, so that I may be able to try it out myself.

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