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Using Yoga and Meditation to Cope with Addiction

Addiction is a brain disease, but the repercussions of addiction affect much more than just the brain. Biologically it affects your brain, it affects your body physically, and it affects your soul emotionally. For those who are recovering from addiction and working to remain sober, it’s important to be hyper-aware of your body and mind in order to get healthy. Overcoming substance abuse is a marathon, not a sprint, and requires constant inventory of emotions, feelings, and your body. Utilizing yoga and meditation can be a great tool in this endeavor since these activities also affect the mind, body, and soul and keep a full body and mind inventory in the process.  

For the Mind

Ultimately, addiction starts in the mind. There are many factors that come into play when dealing with addiction such as environment, biology, and brain development. A person’s environment and social surroundings has a lot to do with the beginning of substance abuse. Living in a home with substance abuse or in an area where substance abuse is common increases the chances of addictive behaviors. Some addicts are also predisposed to addiction due to having a history of addiction in their family or if they were young when they began using. Not only does substance abuse become a natural behavior if they start using early, but since the brain isn’t quite developed yet, the chemical compounds of the drugs being used and their role in the brain alter its development.

Yoga increases both serotonin and dopamine, which is also what happens while using drugs. They affect the reward centers and mood, which is why using substances make you feel good and are difficult to quit using. When dealing with addiction recovery, yoga can be used in place of this craving. Once the brain connects serotonin and dopamine release with yoga instead of drug use, it’ll really help the brain to recover more effectively.

Using Yoga and Meditation to Cope with Addiction - Yoga Travel Tree
Using Yoga and Meditation to Cope with Addiction - Yoga Travel Tree

For the Body

Addiction is also a very physical disease and it can have a negative effect on almost every system in the body. Addiction can have an effect on body weight, muscle mass, strength, and stamina. Tooth loss, gum disease, lung disease, heart disease, liver damage, kidney damage, stroke, convulsions, and infection are all physical risks that can stem from substance abuse.

In recovery, it’s important to focus on both physical and mental health. Yoga might not be able to help many of the more serious ailments caused by addiction, but it can help with overall health and wellness. In terms of obtaining a healthy body weight, regaining muscle mass, and increasing strength, and stamina, yoga improves these aspects of health that may have been negatively affected by substance use.

Whereas a more intense cardio or strength workout might be more difficult for those recovering from addiction, yoga is a great low impact exercise that focuses on strengthening the body as well as the mind. You’ll build muscle mass and flexibility while increasing heart rate and lung capacity. The physical damage done by substance abuse may not be able to be repaired, but focusing on relaxing and adaptable exercise like yoga can help to work towards a healthier lifestyle that doesn’t involve substance abuse at all.

For the Soul

Addiction affects the soul. There are many aspects to addiction that involve emotions and self-worth that are incredibly difficult to heal from. Not only is the brain recovering from addiction, but so is the body, and the soul. The brain recovers biologically and learns to rewire its communication and reward centers. The body recovers by detoxing and flushing out toxins and rebuilding physical health. The soul recovers by being held accountable for actions, asking for forgiveness, and forgiving yourself.

Many things happen in the brain when recovering from addiction, and some of the things that can be the most difficult to recover from are the shameful aspects of addiction. Recovering addicts tend to suffer from anxiety and depression stemming from guilt associated with using. Coping skills are extremely important to obtain in addiction recovery and yoga and meditation can be a vital aspect to this part of recovery.

Yoga offers so much more than just the physical perks of exercise. Unlike many workouts, it offers a mental piece of mind as well. Meditation can be a major aspect to yoga and many classes focus on clearing the mind and focusing on positivity. Those practicing yoga will focus on understanding the things their body can do and watch the progress being made, which can be incredibly empowering to those battling addiction. Seeing positive change that you’ve created is really rewarding for those working hard to change the mistakes they may have made while using or questioned their ability to stay clean.

Yoga is an exercise for both the body and the mind which are two things that are in a sensitive state during recovery for many addicts. Yoga and meditation keeps you healthy while focusing on living a healthy and positive life. While maintaining sobriety, it’s essential to focus on these positive aspects of recovery that may help the negative side of recovery. Utilizing yoga as a coping mechanism during this time will offer another tool towards recovery for the mind, the body, and the soul.

Author Bio
Author Bio

Author bio: Chelsy Ranard is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She enjoys yoga, talk radio, and cold coffee. Follow her on Twitter!

How Yoga Helps Heal the Whole Body

Your mind and body are intricately connected, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that they influence one another. Even the daily stressors you experience as a regular part of life have an impact on your mind, body and soul. In some cases, it simply can’t be helped that you get sick, such as with influenza, but the state of your mind can certainly have an impact on your recovery. One of the best ways to strengthen your body and mind is through yoga. Yoga has been proven to help with a variety of conditions, including:

Aches and Pains

You’ve probably heard that stress gives you gray hairs or wrinkles, and basically ages you before your time. That may be true, but the more surprising thing is that meditation and moving meditation like yoga has the opposite effect. It signals to your genes to stress less and age more slowly.

Yoga also reduces inflammation, which is a major factor for different kinds of pain. The effects may help diminish things like tension headaches, backaches and even arthritis. It may not be the Fountain of Youth, but it might keep the hair on your head its natural color for a few more years.

Parkinson’s

There are many different kinds of yoga. Aerial yoga is challenging, hot yoga is intense and smells, and aquatic yoga is a smooth, relaxing experience. A person that suffers from Parkinson’s disease will benefit greatly from aquatic therapy, which should include some yoga.

Parkinson’s sufferers have several symptoms, including things like difficultly balancing, tremors, rigidity or stiffness, a weak voice and small movements, among others. Aquatic yoga has several benefits. It helps increase strength and balance, both of which are affected by Parkinson’s. It’s usually held in a heated pool, which relaxes muscles and, even if you do fall, you’re cushioned by the water.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that creates widespread pain and tenderness all over the body. It also contributes to a large amount of fatigue, which can be disabling in its own right. It’s thought that part of the reason fibromyalgia flares up and sticks around is because the body has trouble regulating stress. As a result, the muscles stay tense and the nervous system remains in the stress response mode.

Yoga, however, switches that off and gets the nervous system to calm down. It’s referred to as a relaxation response and is measured by a lower heart rate, calmer brain waves and ease of breathing. It lengthens and stretches the muscles, working out cramps and alleviating some of the pain. Since there is no known cause of fibromyalgia, we can’t say yoga will cure it. It will, however, help to alleviate the symptoms, and for sufferers of a chronic illness, that can be worth its weight in gold.

Cancer

In a really amazing study, researchers found only benefits from having cancer patients practice yoga as part of their cancer treatment. The yoga didn’t make the cancer go away, of course – that was a job for medication. However, it did help to reduce their stress and cut down on many other symptoms that go along with cancer treatment.

Plus, yoga in a group setting is a social event. People who are suffering with cancer often feel very isolated, and this can help contribute to depression. The yoga classes helped to prevent that, and keep them in a better frame of mind.

Cardiovascular Disease

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in America. According to the CDC, approximately 25 percent of all deaths are due to heart disease. When you consider what can happen due to heart disease, like heart attacks and stroke, you have some pretty significant reasons to try and reduce your risk. Even though yoga isn’t usually considered aerobic exercise, in a large study, it was found to have the same effects on cardiovascular disease as classic exercise, like jogging or cycling.

One of the reasons people fall in love with yoga is because it helps to attune your body to your mind, making you more aware of yourself. Making an effort to check in with yourself is an important part of maintaining both a healthy state of mind and a healthy body.


 

JenPic (1)Jennifer Landis is an avid yogi who loves ginger tea, any and every nut butter, but mostly being a mom. She writes about her adventures in parenting, yoga, and clean eating at her blog, Mindfulness Mama.  You can follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.

 

Feature Image via: We Are Social

7 Tips to Create a Peaceful Meditation Space

  If meditation is a part of your life or if you want it to be, you need to create a special space for your meditation. Having a space designated to meditation will remind you each day to make time for it, eliminate distractions that might interfere with your practice and create a space where you can recharge and renew your body and mind.

So, if you’re ready to make a special space for your meditation practice, find out how to get started with these tips.

Choose an Area

If space allows, an entire meditation room would be a great getaway, but is not necessary. Dedicating a corner or area of a room to be your meditation space will work just as well.

Consider the amount of foot traffic going through the area to ensure that when you are meditating, you will not be interrupted. Use a bamboo screen or curtain to separate the area from the rest of the room to create a unique space solely for your relaxation.  

If there is no space inside, try creating a space in your garden or backyard. An outside space creates a great connection to nature and is usually a distraction-free zone. Weather may interfere with this space though, so be cautious.

The most important thing is that your space is separate from the rest of your home but remains inviting and comfortable.

Eliminate Distraction

Make your meditation space a strictly no-technology zone — No phones, TV or tablets. Items like to-do lists, magazines, laundry baskets and other work should not be in your sight while in this area. It’s also a good idea to tell anyone else in the house that when you are in the meditation area, they should avoid interrupting you if possible.

You want to be able to focus on your meditation and relaxation. Distractions will take away from the feeling of peacefulness that you are trying to achieve. Do all you can to give yourself an uninterrupted meditation session.

Simplify

When it comes to a meditation space, less is more. A few basic and simple items in your area will create a serene and relaxing space. Consider a meditation pillow, a yoga mat or blanket, a small table for an altar and a throw rug.

You can also add a few other items that are personal to you — things that make you smile and feel relaxed. Just try to keep the space cluttered to set the tone for decluttering your own mind.

Activate All of Your Senses

Add an item that will stimulate each of your senses. For smell, add incense or a candle. For sight, bring in a painting or statue that means something to you. For touch, some mala beads or a stone to hold during your meditation will calm your hands. For sound, you can add quiet and calming music or use wind chimes for a more natural sound. For taste, keep a small glass of water nearby to replenish yourself after or during your meditation.

Having something for each of your senses will allow you to focus on your mind and body during your practice.

Invite in Mother Nature

Meditation is about connecting to nature and the Earth. Adding a small item will give you the healing that nature provides. Try a small plant, bamboo shoot, sand, shells or a small water fountain.

The touch of nature will connect you to the world around you and bring your meditation practice full circle.

Choose Lighting and Colors to Achieve the Mood

You may choose to make your meditation space bright and vibrant or you may choose to go serene and calm. Whichever you decide, make sure your lighting and color choices help foster the feeling you want.

If you want a brighter and cheerful area, you can let in natural light, use bright lights and choose vibrant or pastel colors. If your style is muted, use dim lighting and darker colors. If natural light still comes in, use a sheer fabric to diffuse the light and make a darker room.

The color of the area affects your mood and the lighting will set a certain tone, so make sure both are helping you achieve the meditation mood that fits you.

Meditate

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.21.09 PMNow that your area is created and decorated, don’t forget the most important step: Use it. Set aside a time each day or week to use your meditation space. Also, make sure to keep your space clean and dedicated only to meditation.

The best thing you can do when creating your meditation space is to make it unique. However you want your space set up, be sure that it invites you in, makes you feel at home and creates a feeling of relaxation for you. The space is for you, so do whatever you want to make it your own.


 

Megan Wild is a ½ home designer and ½ writer. She loves finding inspiration from the outdoors and the places she travels to. When she’s not DIY-ing a project, you can find her chronicling her adventures on her blog, Your Wild Home.

 

How Spending Time with Nature Can Boost Your Awareness

  Sometimes answers we are looking for are right in front of us, but in a busy daily life, absorbed in routines and habits; it is easy to become blind.

When is the last time you have really listened to yourself?

When was the last time you allowed yourself to do nothing but observe?

To cultivate a deep awareness of your surroundings?

To surrender yourself to the present moment?

 

If you now tell yourself that you do not have time to sit still and cultivate awareness, you are among those who need to do so the most!

Taking time to meditate, will give you that time.

A useful meditation exercise is to find a quiet place in nature.

 

Look around you.

What do you see?

What are you drawn to?

When you have found that thing that attracts you, ask it, “What is your secret?”

Then listen with your heart.

What are the sounds, what are the shapes, what are the feelings that reach you?

Observing nature can grant you more than just a pretty view for the eye. Nature is full of wisdom.

 

Take for example the ocean.

Let’s ask the sea together, “Dear ocean what is your secret?”

The answer of the ocean:

“I have so much to give from. There is enough of me to be of service to all: plants, animals, and human beings. I invite everybody in, and surround them with my presence. I am a source of life, a source of food, a source of joy. I cool you down when you are warm, I let you ride me, and I let you explore my endlessness. You can float on top of me and use me for transportation, or you can dive into me and feel me more closely. You can stare at me as long as you like. I share my beauty with you, and keep nothing for myself.

I am the glue that holds the world together. I touch all continents, and without judgement, I offer everybody what I have to give. I reach up and fade into the infinity of the sky.

My waves will sing you a lullaby to keep you calm, but sometimes they play heavy metal. Opposites must be balanced.

Though I can be caring, and carry you far, I forge respect.

I show my essence in various disguises. I take on many forms. I can be still as a mirror. I can be powerful. My strong waves can carve out the sand of beaches with my force. I can turn into playful rings. I can sway softly, or wave brutally. I can even go through the body of a whale, be blown into the sky with force, fall back home and return to the shape I had. I can be dark, blue, turquoise, green, brown, white, and red. Sometimes I mirror the colors that surround me. Sometimes I put on my silver dress and dance in the moonlight. Yet, it is always me. I am the same, no matter how I look and what I act like.

You can likewise take on different shapes, and still be you. Your outer can change, whilst your inner essence stays intact. As I can, you can embrace and be valued for all the forms you take on. Each form of you has a specific quality, you just need to figure out which.

And like me, you can make yourself available to the world. You can without judgement give what you have to offer. Make yourself useful, appreciated and limitless.”

 

Thus, dedicating a bit of time in nature with nature can be very rewarding.

If you're lucky, you become aesthetically recharged, learn about yourself, and find guidance to live rather than just moving along through life. Natures greatest gift is awareness.


 

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 9.46.52 AMMaria is a RYT200 and Reiki II practitioner from Yandara Yoga Institute. She has practiced since she was a teenager, but as she moved to a bigger town in 2011 she discovered that yoga is much more than asana practice. In 2014 she began to practice daily, which transformed her life. To Maria yoga is philosophy, mantras, meditation, and ethics. Yoga is a life style. It is a choice to be a happy and loving person. Last but not least, yoga is an art form. It is a way to find elegance and to connect with the inner self.

Besides from being a yogini, Maria is a master student of social anthropology, a travel enthusiast, and an amateur cook and blogger. Connect with Maria on Facebook!

Featured Image via: Clare Jim

The Ultimate Guide to Staying Motivated into the New Year

Even though we're already a couple weeks into 2016, there's no reason why you can't choose a resolution now. The holiday season has its share of wonderful moments; it's always great to see family and celebrate, while taking some time off work. However, there's no doubting that the season is also full of hectic situations. From planning events to buying gifts, it's easy to feel exhausted going into the holidays; there’s just so much that has to be done.

Staying motivated throughout the New Year instead can be extremely beneficial to your focus, efficiency and overall health. The six tips below will help you use the chaos of the holiday season as a surprising way to stay focused and motivated into the New Year:

 

Maintain Your Exercise Routine

It’s easier to stay motivated if you strive to maintain your exercise routine to a reasonable degree into the New Year. Doing so will shake off the holiday grogginess that many people feel come after New Year’s, mostly due to sitting around and eating/drinking. Those things are fine; it’s the holidays after all. Just be sure to start back up with your usual exercise ASAP to burn it off and stay motivated.

 

Give Time, Money, or Gifts to Others

Charity is mutually beneficial; it helps others while boosting your own sense of self-worth (and rightfully so). A lack of motivation can be due to fear of failure or lack of faith in one’s abilities, both areas that can be aided by the work and resulting feeling of helping out in a soup kitchen, donating your bonus to charity, or going gift shopping for others. Being charitable not only during the holiday season, but all year long is the right thing to do and helps you stay motivated as well.

 

Set Realistic Goals

There's a lot of stress injected into our lives during the holiday season, largely because we're deliberating about changes to our lives in the near future. With this in mind, it's always important to set realistic goals, as opposed to over-encumbering yourself with unrealistic expectations. Making short term goals as opposed to long term goals can help provide a likelier positive mental payoff that rewards your psyche and maintains focus.

 

Visualize Tasks

Getting back into a routine after the holidays can be tough. It's a useful habit to use visuals to aid in organizational skills. This can be done as simply as placing yellow post-its on your fridge, or using a small section of your home for work with a small board displaying tasks that need to be accomplished.

There are also a wide assortment of mobile apps that aid in task management. Many of them feature notification options that will notify you via a text message or pop-up when a certain task needs to be done, or simply a friendly reminder. This is particularly useful for those who are wary of losing track of time and responsibilities during the holidays, which is certainly the most vulnerable time of the year for such to occur.

 

Do the Mundane Tasks Right Away

Specifically by attending to any pending mundane tasks, like paying off your credit card, addressing any bills, making any repairs you’ve been putting off, etc. This will make the transition from holiday break to work a lot easier when the time comes, keeping you motivated, focused and confident as opposed to unprepared and overwhelmed.

 

Show Interest in the Careers of Others

Not only is showing interest in this admirable conversationally, but it can also keep you motivated; hearing of others’ business successes will motivate you to do the same, while more bleak tales of business can serve as a lesson of things to avoid.

 

These six tips should keep you alert and motivated throughout the holiday season, enough to make the transition seamless when it passes, resulting in a very ideal way to start the New Year.


Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 8.48.46 AMKacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for "The Drifter Collective."  Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her.  Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Twitter. Pinterest.

The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.

 

Best Morning Detox Routine for a Healthy Life

  There is undoubtedly an overwhelming flow of advancements in medical fraternity that aims to heal and cure sickness; however, it seems to me that our society is sicker than ever. You have to understand, toxins affect us daily. These harmful toxins are present everywhere from the air we breathe, the food we consume, white goods we use, and so forth. The point is, living without a toxic buildup is impossible. But, we can surely develop an effective detoxification process to help our bodies’ release toxicity within.

Luckily, there are several known detoxification protocols who claim to provide you with the natural cleansing. If I were to recommend, I would encourage you to employ the below mentioned morning detox routine for a healthy life.

Start your morning with warm lemon juice

In order to clean the system and have healthy digestion of foods, it is strongly advisable to start your mornings with a glass of warm lemon juice. Unlike, regular lemon juices, this is a bit unconventional as it involves a few cups of warm water and not cold water. So start your day by squeezing the juice out of a lemon into warm water, and drink the lemon juice before having your breakfast. Stick to this warm lemon juice schedule for at least a month before you start seeing the results.

Exercise and Detox Yoga

It is a good idea to exercise for at least an hour every morning. We are not talking about just any form of exercises, but instead, exercises that make you sweat. Perhaps hitting the gym, walking uphill, hot yoga or boxing should be considered. 

Hop onto your yoga mat and start doing some detox yoga poses. By performing these yoga poses every morning, you are letting yourself have a wonderful start to your day. Yoga detoxifies and cleanses your entire system remarkably well.  You can start doing “Side Boat Pulses”, “High Lunge Twist Repetitions”, “Seated Twist”, “Shoulder Stand” and “Seated Heart Opener”.  All these detox yoga poses will help you eliminate toxins from your body and give you a thorough cleansing of your body from top to bottom.

Get your breakfast right

Breakfast is going to be the first meal of your day and it better be right.  Wholegrain is known to be the best to help in the detoxification process. Moreover, you can also think of adding asparagus in your breakfast menu since asparagus contains prebiotics and probiotics, which are pertinent to maintaining a healthy digestive tract.

In juices, you must include a green juice or a smoothie as it can help you in fetching essential nutrients required on a daily basis.

Detoxifying the mind

Enough said and done about detoxifying the body, now let’s focus on the mind. Just like the body, your mind too needs a lot of detoxifying and removing of clutter. One of the best ways to help your mind detoxify is by meditation. All you need is a 15-minute schedule in the mornings for meditation.  Or, you could even try breathing exercises. Acquire the right breathing skills and follow this technique consciously every morning. Breathing and meditation only for 15 to 20 minutes in the mornings will immensely help your mind.

Dry brushing your body

You cannot forget skin detoxification as the skin is the largest organ of the body. Dry brushing has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. Dry brushing involves brushing your skin in a particular pattern with the help of a dry brush, generally before taking a shower.  You brush your skin toward the heart, start brushing from the feet and hands.

Dry brushing is known for improving blood circulation, stimulating the lymphatic system and for overall rejuvenation of the nervous system. In addition, it is also useful in treating or at least reducing cellulite.  

Clearly, in the beginning, our skin is not used to feeling the roughness of brushes. But, over time, it will get used to dry brushing and will start producing enormous results.

 

The process of detoxification can be overwhelming, and rightfully so! It takes time and efforts to cleanse the toxic build up of so many years. However, don’t give up and wait for the results to finally start showing. Your efforts for detoxifying the body and mind will, slowly and gradually produce impeccable results. Start slow and consult a qualified health care expert to guide you at every step of your detoxification process.

 

Author Bio:

Hi! I am Jorge Gonzales. I am a blogger, sports lover and a fitness enthusiast who believes in healthy living. Through my write ups, I share my knowledge about health, fitness and muscle-building too.

The Good in Volunteering

  We’ve all been told from a young age that sharing is a good thing so it should come as no surprise that sharing our time by volunteering can benefit us in many ways. Time is a product that many of us have a limited supply of, so sharing it gives a sense of fulfillment while offering something that all organizations are begging for. While volunteering is great for our resumes, it also does a ton for our community and our psyche. Because of this, volunteer programs are on the rise and our young people are taking part in this trend to help their community as well.

For the Community

The obvious winner for those who volunteer is the community that they are volunteering for. Volunteering your time offers resources for the community free of charge, works to help the business you are volunteering for, and sets an example in your community. For many programs that have volunteer opportunities, they are providing a service that isn’t for profit. Many of these institutions help animals, children, or those in need. They keep cities clean, help to rebuild, and raise awareness. Because these organizations aren’t creating a product for profit, volunteers are the legs keeping them standing. When you volunteer for organizations like this, you are really making a difference in the community that the organization is a part of.

The latest estimated value of volunteer time is $23.07 per hour. According to the Corporation for National Service, about 62.6 million Americans gave 7.7 billion hours of volunteer service worth $173 billion in 2013. These numbers show just how much time costs to the organizations receiving volunteers and how much the price of volunteering has become more profitable for organizations since 2001 when the value of volunteering was around $16 per hour. These numbers literally mean life or death for many organizations helping people across the world.

For the Soul

Many people have issues with the idea of volunteering for any reason that may benefit them. Since volunteering is essentially very selfless and altruistic in itself, it’s difficult to look at volunteering as a way to gain anything tangible for risk of sounding selfish. Realistically, volunteering is good for the soul. It allows you the chance to make a difference even if it feels small. It increases self-confidence, provides a sense of purpose, and combats depression. According to a study done by the London School of Economics called Simple Changes, Big Rewards: A practical, easy guide for healthy, happy living, the more people volunteered, the happier they were and the higher their average income compared with those that don’t.

[bctt tweet="Volunteering is good for the soul. It allows you the chance to make a difference even if it feels small."]

Ultimately the message is that giving to others does positive things for your psyche and it is okay to seek out opportunities to help others in order to gain happiness within yourself. Volunteering time to your community is a circular thing. You volunteer time to help others and then you are profiting from others that are volunteering. Each person is giving, gaining, and living a happier life.

For the Youth

There are many popular volunteer organizations for small children all the way up to young adults. Young people are more likely than any other age group to have volunteered informally in the past years. Youth volunteer participation is higher now than it’s ever been. This is due to more programs being offered every year, many schools and jobs that offering preference to those that have volunteered, and many schools offering volunteer programs through their institutions. Because so many communities are offering perks for volunteering, young people are willing to take these volunteer opportunities to gain experience, more chances for scholarships, and the prospect of adding to their resumes.

For college students as well as recent graduates, volunteer programs with abroad options are becoming a popular way to gain experience, enhance their resumes, and change the world in some small way. Travel has always been a popular wish for the youthful and now there are more options than ever for those who wish to help out other communities and travel while doing it. For those that want to experience different cultures, the options for volunteering abroad have become a popular choice over the traditional ways of travel. This trend for our young people shows the example the generation previous had for us and the example we will leave for our children.

 

With so many perks associated with the act of volunteering it’s no wonder that the trend has been on the rise. Many people are sacrificing their time to organizations that make a difference in their communities. Without these volunteers, most of these non-profit organizations wouldn’t be able to exist, so for those that see the good in volunteering they are changing the lives for so many people around them including enhancing their own happiness.


 

Author bio: Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She spends her time with her animals, exploring Idaho with her fiancé, and volunteering at Simply Cats.

 

Feature image: ResoluteSupportMedia

 

What You Don't Know about Yoga Clothes...but Should!

Yoga as a practice has soared in popularity over the last few years, and so has the demand for yoga apparel. Some surveys even point to ‘yoga wear’ outpacing the growth of the practice itself. This essentially means that there are more people who wear yoga clothes than the number of people actually doing yoga! However, awareness needs to be raised throughout the global yoga community about clothing that is increasingly made out of plastic. While the serious yoga practitioner is conscious about their food, their carbon footprint, their holistic lifestyle and their connection with the universe, many are unaware or have been kept in the dark about the presence of plastic in yoga wear. We estimate that nine out of 10 yoga pants are made from plastic or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fabrics such as polyester, nylon and acrylic, and that is very alarming.

[bctt tweet="Nine out of 10 yoga pants are made from plastic or polyethylene terephthalate (PET)"]

Wearing certified organic clothing made from natural materials has huge benefits for the body, mind and spirit, as well as the environment. And that is what’s missing in the larger yoga apparel market. We made that our vision when we started Proyog, a certified organic brand focused on the serious yoga practitioner with styles inspired by 3,000-year-old ancient Indian designs.

During the two-year design process, we consulted hundreds of yogis across the globe. Ninety-eight percent of those we surveyed said they prefer to wear natural materials. This overwhelming fact motivated us to create a line that resonated with their core philosophy and was conducive to the practice of yoga. As a yoga practitioner myself, I believe yoga asanas should be done wearing naturally breathable clothes that allow the body to move freely and are gentle on the skin. Yoga clothes should not be constraining in any way.

Breathable fabrics let air in and out, keeping the body cooler and drier. Clothing made from all natural fibers and materials like cotton, bamboo, or hemp are best suited for this purpose. Another great benefit of natural fibers like cotton is that they harbor fewer bacteria types, thereby causing ‘less’ odor. In addition, cotton is naturally hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin. In fact, Proyog’s trademarked HyperBreath fabrics are made from naturally breathable materials, unlike the synthetic fibers used by many global brands. Our textile engineers and production processes have been pushed to the limits to help translate core-spun technology into yoga friendly fabrics - based on our mandate that plastic should not come in contact with the skin.

Additionally, the use of organic materials also ensures that we are not polluting the earth with harmful chemicals. When the conscientious and the serious practice yoga in organic clothing, they actually feel the difference in body and mind.

So the next time you go step into your yoga class, we’d like to remind you to test the difference between synthetic and natural. Make sure to check the garment labels in your yoga wear to see if they belong to the PET category. The simple choice in selecting clothing made from natural fibers will go a long way to enhancing the joys of a wholesome yoga practice. Remember that yoga is not just about getting your body in shape; it is about being free to be absolutely one with the universe.

[bctt tweet="Yoga is not just about getting your body in shape; it is about being free to be one with the universe."]


Autor Bio

Malika Baruah

Product Head and Co-founder, Proyog

From her early days of pattern-making under Pierre Cardin, to heading design at Levi Strauss India, Malika Baruah has been in the fashion retail business for over 20 years. As a design head, Malika has conceptualized and successfully launched nine brands in the India. Her experience is nothing if not remarkably diverse. Drawn toward natural and sustainable design, her Indian roots seem to find a quiet expression in everything she does. She believes that design in the fashion realm unites beauty with form and comfort, eventually reflecting one’s personality. Over the last few years, Malika has had her sights set on the online world. She runs Binary Bulb, her own a digital design agency in Bangalore. She is also a partner at Fisheye Creative Solutions, a specialized marketing communications company. Her love for yoga began in 2001, and she has been practicing ever since. Proyog is the inevitable realization of her personal and professional passions.

The Long-Lasting Mental and Physical Benefits of Doing Yoga

  It should come as no surprise that any kind of exercise is beneficial to you. However, there are different kinds of exercises, and some of them can produce different results. Yoga is one of the few exercises that can help you not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Part of finding the wonder of the poses is to find the stillness in them — to hold them with a minimum amount of movement and be able to mentally move away from the difficulty of the pose. Some of the effects of a regular yoga practice last long beyond the actual practice.

[bctt tweet="The effects of a regular #yoga practice last long beyond the actual practice."]

Long Life

While yoga can’t stop the aging process, it can help slow it down. There are a wide variety of benefits from yoga that can affect the aging process. Everything from lower cholesterol, better sleep, superior muscle tone, caloric restriction, increased bone density and improved balance can contribute to a longer lifespan. Yoga helps with all of these! These, however, are only the physical aspects. Yoga can also help with mental problems like stress, which lowers the risk of obesity and heart disease and helps lead to a longer lifespan.

Overcoming Addictions

When struggling with an addiction, it almost always helps to find something to do. Finding something to keep your mind occupied and your fingers busy can help fight the inevitable urges. Yoga is not only a form of physical exercise, although it can be that if you choose. Many types of yoga focus on a mind-body connection, promoting physical, mental and spiritual health. Because addiction also impacts all of these areas, it only makes sense to use a method that can also address those aspects. There are even some specific poses that can be helpful in addiction recovery such as camel pose, dancer’s pose and corpse pose.  

Working With Mental Disorders

Mental disorders have become increasingly common in the U.S. You or someone you know might suffer from anxiety or depression. While yoga cannot provide a cure for these disorders, it can help regulate them. Studies on depression and anxiety have shown that yoga does provide emotional relief from these devastating symptoms. However, for severe cases, it has not been found to be more helpful than medications and traditional therapy. It can be a wonderful tool for those who suffer from mild anxiety or depression, but speaking with your doctor is always recommended.

Reduction of Fight or Flight

Our sympathetic nervous system is a powerful tool, responsible for sparking the “fight or flight response” when a person encounters a stressor. Our bodies assume those stressors are life and death situations, but it’s often a yearly performance review, missed deadlines or a traffic jam. Yoga, on the other hand, taps into our parasympathetic nervous system, which is basically the opposite. This stimulates what’s referred to as the “rest and digest response,” which is where your body feels relaxed and safe enough to perform normal functions. By activating the restful side of your nervous system, you can give your body a real chance to reboot. That’s why yoga can be so refreshing — you’ve literally reset the wiring.

Better Sleep

Since you’re working to reduce your stress and your body’s responses to stress, you’ll find that you’re more able to relax. In addition, the physical exercise you can get will also help tire your body out and help you forget about the problems you faced throughout the day. Even short term yoga practice and gentle yoga routines can have a beneficial impact and improve both the length of time you sleep and the quality of sleep.

The end result is the same no matter how many items are listed — yoga is good for you. A regular practice is likely to impact your life in ways you never imagined. Make some time to get on your mat a few times a week. You’ll be glad you did!

[bctt tweet="Make some time to get on your #YogaMat a few times a week. You’ll be glad you did!"]


 

Kacey Mya is a lifestyle blogger for "The Drifter Collective."  Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her.  Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, continuously building her strong love for style while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.