The purpose of yoga is to build strength, flexibility, and awareness. The muscle stretching in yoga can lessen arthritis pain, backache, and headaches. Yoga has many benefits for your heart and lungs as well. It lowers your blood pressure and slows your heart rate. Yoga may also help increase muscle strength, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and improve breathing and energy.
Aside from the physical benefits, yoga can help manage stress. Yoga involves paying attention to your breath, which can improve mental well-being. Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness. It relieves chronic stress patterns, relaxes the mind, and sharpens concentration.
More than 100 different types of yoga exist. There is a form of yoga for everyone! Your size or fitness level does not matter. Every yoga pose can be modified. Beginner classes are available in every style. If you’re new to yoga, practice these 12 basic yoga poses to get started at WebMD (www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/ss/slideshow-yoga-pose-basics).
Have you ever looked at your plate and been surprised to find your meal gone? If so, you may benefit from eating more mindfully.
What is mindful eating? It is a purposeful awareness of the food we eat and being present during the meal experience. When we employ mindful eating, our busy lives slow down when we eat and we are aware of the flavors, tastes, and textures of the food. Our meal becomes more relaxed and enjoyable.
Here is an exercise you can do to practice mindful eating:
Take a grape, piece of chocolate, or piece of cheese. Observe the appearance, shape, and texture. Notice the color and indentations.
Smell the food. Notice the aroma.
Take a bite or place a small amount of the food in your mouth, but do not chew it. Describe the texture and flavor before you chew the food.
After 30 seconds, chew the food and describe the texture and flavor.
Do you notice any difference?
Your newfound awareness can put more mindfulness on your plate.
Sources: Today’s Dietitian; January 2019; The Merits of Mindfulness—How Mindfulness Practice Can Enhance Health and Well-Being Today’s Dietitian; March 2013; Mindful Eating—Studies Show This Concept Can Help Clients Lose Weight and Better Manage Chronic Disease
Food portions can be a challenge, but choosing sensible amounts of all food is important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The best way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is to make small, long-term changes in what you eat and drink, along with getting daily physical activity.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables—think variety and make it colorful.
Make half your grains whole grains.
Choose low-fat and fat-free dairy products.
Vary your protein—poultry, seafood, meat, eggs, nuts, and beans.
Other helpful tips:
Avoid portion distortion—read labels, measure, and place servings into containers or baggies.
Record the amount of food you eat with a three- to five-day food journal—you might be surprised!
Use smaller bowls and plates at mealtime.
Choose foods with less saturated fats, sodium, and added sugar.
Cook more often at home to control the ingredients in your food.
When dining out, look at nutritional information before ordering.
Drink water or low-calorie beverages with meals.
Get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
Set realistic and achievable goals for your health. Remember, if you slip up one day don’t dwell on it, just press on with your health goals in mind. Download Key Nutrients from the Extension Store for additional information.