Archive | May, 2012

Yoga: 3 ways it can change your life

21 May

I’ve been practicing yoga for about a year now, ever since I took a yoga class for school credit a few semesters ago. I can’t mention enough how awesome it is. I used to think I hated yoga. It seemed boring, slow, pointless. Did it really enrich my life so much by breathing a lot and moving slowly? I have dealt with anxiety issues, and it was hard for me to sit still long enough to even try and reap the benefits of a yoga session. That’s when I discovered power yoga, which is basically a constant flow workout that can really get your heart rate up, get a good sweat going, and also leave you feeling more relaxed and stretched out. Perfect. Here I wanted to highlight the main reasons I think yoga is amazing: 1. Doing yoga helps me love my body. I’m sure many can relate when I say this isn’t always easy. Yoga can be a very intimate experience with all the twisting, turning, and bending. It helps one feel strong, lean, and beautiful. 2. I recognize my limits. If I’m not feeling particularly energized that day, I take it easy, and if I want to get a good sweat on I can do more of the challenging yoga flows. Yoga is about being kind to yourself. 3. I’m reminded to BREATHE. I have this horrible habit of holding my breath or taking very shallow breaths when I’m stressed, busy, or even bored. Yoga constantly reminds you to take deep breaths even at the hardest times. So, now, my advice to you… Try it! I suggest hitting up YogaDownload.com if you’re new to yoga or need some help getting started, or even if you’re an advanced yogi looking for new routines. This website has tons of classes with different types, experience levels, and class lengths (I usually download the beginner/intermediate power yoga classes). You can download a 20 minute class for free, or pay a small price to download longer classes to keep. You could also look for yoga classes in your area. Or… You don’t even need a class! Now that I’m familiar with most of the poses, I like to make up my own routines as I go. That’s the beauty of this — you go with what’s best for you! Here is a link to sun salutation poses that can give you a great workout. Namaste!

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Coffee: To drink, or not to drink?

9 May

My name is Lauren, and I’m a coffee addict.

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I used to think there was nothing wrong with drinking coffee, that I NEEDED coffee to get around, to do my schoolwork, to focus in class. I’m still not completely convinced that I don’t… but I’m also aware that could just be the addict in me talking. Because within the past year I’ve realized coffee also tends to make me more anxious and on-edge. Plus, what I’ve read/heard about the effects of caffeine turn me off.

When my parents and I attended the Farm 2 Forks event in Austin, Dr. Essy spoke about how coffee causes damage to the endothelial lining of our arteries. Of course no caffeinated coffee was served over that weekend, but I was surprised to find myself alert and focus despite having lack of sleep and no morning coffee. It seemed the deliciously healthy food had something to do with my high energy levels. 🙂

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I’ve also noticed no caffeine has kept my energy levels more consistent — no extreme highs and lows like when I’m hyped up on caffeine (and sugar). Of course, I do sometimes enjoy those highs, but I’ve found overall that the resulting lows aren’t worth it and leave me more cranky, anxious, and tired. And I can actually stay up late more easily without coffee. Who would have known?

So I’ve actually been going without my regular morning and afternoon cups now, and I have to admit I feel wonderful. The first few weeks were tough and i found myself wanting to eat ALL THE TIME, but that has pretty much balanced out now that I’ve adjusted. Do I miss coffee some mornings? Hell yeah. And there have been a few particular times I’ve been low on sleep and have caved and had a cup… But was sad to admit I just didn’t like how it made me feel anymore.

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I think it’s safe to conclude the best steady source of energy is healthy plant-based foods! (And exercise!)