Posts

Brain

Are “Smart” Headbands The Newest Stress-Relieving Technology Of The Future?

If you’re an avid headband wearer who also happens to love the newest innovative technology, this just might be the product for you. Speaking with BBC News, USA Bobsled/Skeleton team member Emma Baumert has taken to wearing a smart headband that measures brainwaves.

The headband, called FocusCalm, is a neurofeedback or EEG (electroencephalography) device. According to FocusCalm, the headband’s sensors pick up electrical pulses from your brain, which are then compared to an AI (artificial intelligence) model that shows the user their mental state.

Through the use of an app, FocusCalm offers the user the opportunity to build a routine while also improving their mental state thanks to games that are intended to engage the user’s brain in order to increase productivity and calmness.

Max Newlon, president of BrainCo., the firm behind FocusCalm, explained to BBC that the headband’s AI monitors 1,250 “data points” in the user’s detected brainwaves. A user score between 0 to 100 is then given, with 50 being the typical score as their website states.

While some may be skeptical of how well FocusCalm actually functions, Baumert— who became a part-time researcher for BrainCo. due to her education and sports-heavy background— vouched for the headband’s usefulness when it comes to improving a person’s overall state of mind and being.

“I got to visualize and learn how to have better control, and what training I need to do to get into a more relaxed state, while still being able to have very high explosive power output.”

A device like FocusCalm isn’t exactly new or exclusive, as other companies have taken a crack at neurofeedback technology. Muse and Cove work similarly to FocusCalm, using apps to deliver brain activity results and exercises to the user. Unlike FocusCalm, both respective products emphasize their ability as a sleep-aid.

Of course, not everyone is on board with the brain-reading headband. U.K. psychologist Dr. Naomi Murphy told BBC that EEG devices can have negative consequences, such as changing a person’s view on their brain activity after use.

“While some people find measurements useful or reinforcing, many are attracted to ‘neuro-tech’ because they identify with a vulnerability, an anxiety about their performance, and the use of data can exacerbate this.”

Additionally, others question how AI can successfully implement itself in meditation practices that have existed for well over 1,000 years, and advocate that you shouldn’t need to compare your mental results to others.

The going price for one of these headbands is almost $200. That also doesn’t include the app membership, which costs $149 for a lifetime account. While you may not be having stress following a purchase, your wallet might. If you’re out of that price range, don’t fret— there are other, less-costly methods that can help you break away from your anxiety-filled days.

Calm, an app that has received critical praise and was named an Editor’s Choice on the App Store, helps to bring users less anxiety through breathing and stretching exercises. Calm also promotes better, more relaxing sleep through music and bed-time stories told by well-known stars. Calm is also free, although it does contain in-app purchases.

If technology isn’t appealing, there are simple, classic ways of stress relief that you could do, even while reading this. From simple, 5-minute yoga techniques to taking a morning or afternoon walk or run, stopping to give yourself personal time, even for a brief period, could do your mental health good in the long-term.

Of course, don’t let anything stop you if you have the burning desire to give FocusCalm a go. You’ll be able to try out some fascinating hardware while also giving yourself a head start on a sci-fi costume for Halloween.

Morning Routine

How To Upgrade The Way You Wake Up In The Morning 

A morning routine is imperative for the success of any individual. Now that a majority of us are getting used to the new normal of either working from home or running our lives more thoroughly out of our living rooms, it’s important that we give ourselves a solid routine in the morning to properly start our days and keep us motivated to take on this ever-changing scary world. 

Remember, everyone is different when it comes to things that get them motivated or wake them up in the morning, however, there are a multitude of general tips one can implement into their daily routines that they can accustom to their preferences. For example, waking up early in the morning is the best way to ensure that you won’t have to rush or feel stressed to get your day going. Waking up earlier and giving yourself that extra time in the morning will have you starting your day on an already calm and leisurely note. However, maybe you aren’t exactly a morning person and don’t know how to just implement “waking up early” casually into your life. 

Embed from Getty Images

For this, experts would recommend you start slow, and that also starts with when you go to bed as well. Try going to bed even just a half hour earlier than you normally would, and see how much it makes a difference when you wake up. Beyond that, the best way to wake your body up in the morning is to get it moving immediately.

Studies suggest that starting your day with even 30-seconds of high-intensity exercise can give you the same energizing effect as a cup of coffee, and will help improve your cognitive function in the morning as well so you’re not left in that post-dream haze for hours. If getting out of bed and immediately doing 30-seconds of jumping jacks doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, try going the more relaxed route and do some quick yoga. 

Yoga stimulates the mind, body, and spirit, and is a great for waking up your body’s internal systems. Stretching, deep breathing, and focusing on balance and posture will center your brain to handle whatever daily tasks you’re about to endure as well. Another major part of this could be practicing meditation/reflecting on gratitude first thing in the morning. 

Embed from Getty Images

Robert Emmons, is a psychologist who is also the author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, a book about the importance of implementing gracious thoughts throughout your day. Emmons recommends starting your day thinking about three to five things, big or small, that you’re grateful for, and if it’s hard for you to think of them first thing in the morning, read from a gratitude journal to remind yourself. 

“Simply keeping a gratitude journal — regularly writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful — can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.”

Mornings are also perfect for planning your day, setting your weekly/monthly goals, and organizing. After you do your morning exercise, have some breakfast, and get yourself dressed, sit down with your planner and list out what things you’d like to accomplish either for the day or maybe week. 

Once you find aspects of your morning routine that help get you motivated, stick to it for at least two weeks. Those 14 days will help train your brain into thinking that these aspects of your routine are necessary to keep your mind, body, and spirit in a positive place throughout the day. During this two week “trial period” don’t be afraid to experiment with the order or your routine and if something isn’t working for you, don’t do it!

Girl Practicing Yoga at Home

The Benefits Of Doing Yoga While You’re Social Distancing

During this coronavirus pandemic, many of us are trying to find ways to spend our indefinite amount of free time without stressing too much about the aspects of this situation that we can’t control; which is most of it. Apart from working remotely, it’s important that we all try to find ways to occupy our time and remain productive. If we get caught in the trap of gluing ourselves to the couch and watching season after season of reality TV, it’ll be much easier to get caught up in negative thoughts and stresses, so we need to think of better ways to stimulate our mind, body, and soul. 

Doing yoga is one of the best things you can do for yourself during this pandemic. Yoga is a “super-workout” in the sense that it benefits your physical and mental health through its practices. It improves your physical health by promoting flexibility and proper blood flow throughout the entire body, while also focusing on the importance of breathing exercises and mindfulness as well. 

Thanks to services like Zoom and YogaDownload, there are a ton of digital yoga class options that put you in front of a live instructor to guide you as you move from position-to-position. If you aren’t trying to spend a lot of money, YouTube and other free video streaming platforms offer a wide variety of instructional videos on yoga from any level of fitness. 

Embed from Getty Images

As previously stated, one of the greatest physical benefits of yoga is how much it builds flexibility and balance. These are two essential qualities to any other form of working out as well, so when you are finally able to go back to the gym, you’ll have a greater grasp on proper techniques and stances that will best benefit you in your other workouts. 

Beyond just flexibility and balance, yoga has been proven to improve heart health as well. Stress is one of the biggest contributors to any sort of heart health ailments that one could face, and yoga is one of the greatest cures to stress out there. It forces you to focus exclusively on your body and breathing. The breathing techniques that you’ll learn through yoga practices are important to take into your everyday life. 

The breathing techniques in yoga are quite literally designed to center you both physically and mentally so that when you find yourself in times of stress or feeling  overwhelmed, you can use the same breathing exercises you would in a yoga class to calm yourself back down. 

Embed from Getty Images

Speaking of stress, our bodies release the hormone cortisol whenever we’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s known as the “stress hormone” because that’s the exact reaction we have whenever this hormone is released in our brains. Yoga has been scientifically proven to lower your levels of cortisol while you’re engaging in it, but also in the long run if you begin to practice yoga regularly. 

The same way that yoga is able to reduce cortisol, it’s also been proven to reduce the hormonal reaction in our brains that we feel when we’re depressed or anxious. Again, it all goes back to the breathing techniques that yoga instills in you while you’re stretching your body into a multitude of positions. It’s one of those athletic techniques that you’ll always find useful and want to bring into your everyday life. 

Now that we all are socially distancing and quarantining ourselves, there’s literally never been a better time to begin practicing yoga to reap it’s amazing long-term health benefits. Improve on your flexibility, balance, blood flow, stress levels and overall sense of feeling overwhelmed. We all could use some mindfulness at a time like this, so take some time to be with yourself and just breathe, we’ll make it through this.

Two Girls Working Out at Home

How To Keep Yourself Entertained During Quarantine

In times of global pandemics, it’s important to remember to do things to keep your mind occupied and distracted from the constant updates and statements about a rapidly spreading virus. Binge-watching your favorite shows and taking on some new hobbies are just two general examples of ways you can keep yourself busy during times of quarantine, so what should you try today?

Thanks to the many art and cultural institutions throughout the world, you can bring the likes of museums, Broadway plays, theatrical productions, and opera performances, right into your living room. Google’s Arts and Culture Department has collaborated with over 500 of the world’s most famous museums to offer virtual tours and lessons on some of the most famous artwork in history. 

In addition, Broadway has its own streaming service, and BBC is offering a digital “Culture in quarantine festival” for fans of all things theater and dance. The Metropolitan Opera is also streaming exclusive versions of some of its most famous performances every night. 

Embed from Getty Images

Another great way to keep yourself occupied, while also feeling like you’re doing something to benefit your physical health, is doing an in-home workout routine. There are plenty of free options covering a multitude of types of exercise on YouTube. Not only will you ensure that you’re keeping your body running to the best of its ability, but exercise also is a great mood-booster, especially when you’re stuck inside. 

Along those same lines, taking an online yoga or meditation course, or simply going on YouTube for free, will also improve your physical health while improving your mental well-being as well. The overall goal of keeping yourself entertained when quarantined and distanced from the outside world, is to do things that are enriching for your mind, body, and soul. 

You don’t want to simply sit in front of the TV and distract yourself with mindless reality shows all day, although that’s not the worst option, you want to do things that will keep you from being in your head too often throughout the day. 

The more time you spend just thinking, the more likely it is that you’ll get trapped in an endless stream of consciousness about all things COVID-19/pandemic related. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s just as important to completely separate yourself from that narrative that we’re constantly hearing about at all hours of the day. 

Embed from Getty Images

Some local entertainers are taking to their community Facebook groups to host online dinner parties, happy hours, hangouts, or even concerts. Just because we can’t all physically spend time with our distanced friends and family, living in a time of advanced technology gives us that ability. We have endless access and communication to whoever we want to talk to, whenever we want to, so might as well take advantage of it. 

“Join us tonight from wherever you are! Social distancing is good for the world right now, but still hard on us as individuals — emotionally, mentally and even physically. So let’s stay connected and, for the love of Pete, let’s keep making music!!” wrote New Jersey local singer Meghan Carey on her artist Facebook page before performing a virtual concert on Saturday.

Finally, make sure you’re going outside and getting some fresh air at least once a day. Just because you need to be socially distancing yourself from others, doesn’t mean you can’t go on a solo walk around town, assuming there’s natural spaces for you to go. Many national parks and services around the US are waiving their fees to encourage people to go for more walks while keeping a safe distance around other people. 

Fresh air is good for your physical and mental health, so like anything, just make sure you’re maintaining those two important aspects over anything. It can be easy to get trapped in a binge-watching marathon but that won’t be good for your mind or body in the long run, so get outside, do some yoga, and take a deep breath, we’re going to get through this.

Mindfulness Lotus Position

Is Mindfulness An Established Part Of Our Lifestyle?

As we approach the end of the first month of 2020, it’s normal to reflect upon how many of our new year’s resolutions have survived or slowly faded out. How many of our goals were essentially revolved around becoming happier and healthier? Can an overall objective of mindfulness help to fulfill them all?

In the last few years we have seen the area of mindfulness move away from a scorned and outlandish notion, to a legitimate health practice. As mental health slowly shakes its taboo and the desire for a more fulfilled and present lifestyle takes center stage, many turn to mindfulness. Practices such as meditation are used as a reprieve from the fast-paced pressures of day-to-day life in modern society. More and more people are openly admitting that they meditate and seeking out a different approach to life.

The roots of many mindfulness practices can be credited back to Buddhism, and many meditation teachers refer to these teachings in their practices. Some, like Andy Puddicome, co-founder of the meditation app Headspace, having come directly from practicing Buddhism for a decade.

Mindfulness itself has evolved and moved into the modern realm, making itself available and easily accessed by the average person. Rather than approaching monasteries for teachings of a calmer mind; articles, videos, books, and apps are available at your fingertips. Many argue that the growing trend of mindfulness practices are a result of the chaotic and overwhelming digital society that we live in. It is a little ironic therefore that a popular solution is the growing use of digital mindfulness apps. Learning mindful meditation from the comfort and privacy of your own home is an inexpensive and easy solution. Especially in the case of these apps, as a focus on ten-minute sessions or less are designed to easily slot into your lifestyle.

Last year the mindfulness market was estimated to be worth $1.2 billion (according to marketresearch.com) and it’s still growing; it’s estimated to be worth over $2 billion by 2022. There are over 1000 meditation apps available with Headspace, Calm and Buddify among the market leaders. From sleep exercises to breathing techniques, to mindfulness guides and meditation practices, it has never been easier to practice mindfulness.

The trend isn’t just in these apps, it is not uncommon to see more and more people turn to these practices as alternate health solutions. Doctors themselves are beginning to recommend mindful practices as part of a healthy lifestyle. Mindfulness retreats, classes, studios and training in the workplace are all becoming the norm. In January 2019, Vox reported that mindful activities such as Yoga and Meditation had tripled in the US between 2012-2017 and has since not shown signs of slowing down. You don’t have to go far to find a Yoga class or meditation workshop. Carving out sections of your busy schedule to slow down and focus on this sort of self-care is said to have tremendous benefits.

Anecdotal evidence may indicate that many of your friends, colleagues and acquaintances are embracing these techniques and showing signs of happier and healthier lifestyles. Can we argue that mindfulness is now an established part of society and not just a trend? Have you considered it yet?

So what are the benefits of mindfulness practices? Said to profit both mental and physical well-being, practicing to keep a calmer mind can alleviate mental states of anxiety, depression and stress. More surprisingly perhaps, researchers have begun to find that it can also help to relieve physical conditions such as chronic pain, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS, and even treat heart disease. Even without mental and physical health problems, mindfulness and meditation is a way of re-wiring the brain to become, among other benefits, a happier, calmer, kinder and more patient person.

Despite the booming economic market of mindfulness practices, especially meditation, mindfulness doesn’t need to be an expensive practice, but it does take practice. One of the main aspects of mindfulness and meditation is the notion of being present. Many techniques aim to help refine this ability, from mindfully eating to walking to meditating, all of which requires a focus on the body. Whether that is concentrating on a small morsel of food and recognizing taste, texture, and bodily reaction as you take your time to chew; or sitting down and meditating, in which you attempt to clear your mind, focus on the breath and the feeling of your body and allow wandering thoughts to come and go without judgement.

The practice of mindfulness has been hugely beneficial to many people and its shrinking taboo and growing availability has made the area easier to access. Consider seeing if your year could be improved by a clearer, calmer and happier mind.

Meditation

The Story of Alan Watts, Meditation’s Most Influential Advocate

The introduction of Eastern concepts to the West can be attributed to a number of factors, but perhaps the most prominent and influential figure in the expansion of Eastern philosophy is British author and philosopher Alan Watts.

Yoga

Do You Know The Biggest Health Trends of 2019?

Health and fitness continued to grow across America during 2019 but did you participate in the biggest trends of the year?

The annual Fitness Trends report from ClassPass has been released and it has taken a look at the many different trends in the last year as well as a sneak peak at what they believe will be the top trends to look out for in 2020.

Founded six years ago, ClassPass started increasing their bookings around three years ago and is a firm favorite for fitness lovers, meaning they were able to decipher what was hot and what was not thanks to over 100 million workouts carried out by their members in their 30,000 studios.

It seems that there is a trend that the bigger the city the bigger the person. Not only has strength training been the number one exercise carried out in Miami, New York, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco, but it has also seen an increase in participants in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Although the Workout of the Day (WOD) trend — which incorporates “Strength Training,” or CrossFit — has seen a reduction in numbers over the last few years, the actual number of gyms dedicated to the exercise regime has maintained a steady balance, with between 12 and 20 dedicated gyms in each of the mentioned cities.

However, there has also been a massive increase in interval-based strength training. Slightly similar to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), interval-based strength training focuses on lower to moderate intensities while HIIT focuses on extremely intense working periods, more commonly known as bursts.

While both interval-based strength training and HIIT are positive routines for helping you stay fit, it is important that you always work with a professional to ensure that each move is performed correctly, therefore reducing the risk of injury.

Another trend that has seen a massive increase, not just in the United States but across the world, is travel fitness.

With the focus in recent times on maintaining a healthy mental attitude, the wellness and travel industries have become closer. While in years past people would head off on their holidays to escape everything, nowadays there are more people looking for the local gym so they can continue with their workout routines.

It’s not just holidaymakers that are working out in other cities. According to a survey, 18% of professionals are utilizing gyms in cities that are not their base towns, an increase of 4% in the last twelve months. With the word “bleisure” now existing it is expected for these numbers to increase next year showing that a workout is becoming the new way to wind down after a busy day.

Yoga is also increasing with the popular activity becoming the most booked wellness class on ClassPass this year. Although New York had the most bookings throughout America, the rest of the country was close behind. With our lives becoming more stressful each year — especially with the effects computer and smartphone screens are having on our brains — a session of yoga appears to be calming us all down again.

Another trend that has hit our shores this year is working out with a friend. The survey found that 80% of people who were hitting the gym were going along with a friend. While this is partially due to the many different exercise classes that are offered now, doing your own individual workout with a friend is the latest craze that seems to have stuck. Maybe if you are looking to join a gym as your new year’s resolution you should “buddy up” to help you maintain your aim of not only getting in shape but keeping fit too.

If you are a fan of Pilates you have probably tried out Megaformer Pilates. The class became the quickest trend of the year, showing a 37% increase compared to last year. However, many have laid the reason firmly at Meghan Markle’s feet. When asked about her fitness regime she commented that the Megaformer machine had changed her body “in just two classes.” While trends among celebrities usually create a short-lived fad, this one seems to have stayed.

Perfect in a class setting, the Megaformers machine was invented by Lagree Fitness owner Sebastien Lagree. Bigger than the Pilates Reformer, the Megaformer emphasizes strength and balance while also focusing on quads, glutes, and abs. While on first glance the Megaformer appears to be quite difficult to master, it is relatively easy once a professional has demonstrated how to utilize the machine to your best ability.

It is also worth noting that more organizations are offering wellness and fitness packages which is helping them retain the best talent for their business, with 58% of professionals surveyed admitting these packages are more likely to sway their decision.

Which just shows that exercise is clearly the way forward to a healthy life, both physically and mentally.

Netflix

Netflix Documentary Affects Yoga Industry

While yoga has been a discipline of many for several centuries, the concept of “Bikram” yoga has seen a huge increase in popularity since its creation during the 1970s.

However a recent documentary on Netflix, focusing on claims of sexual abuse against founder Bikram Choudhury, has forced many yoga studios to invest thousands of dollars on rebranding in an attempt to keep hold of their share of the $16 billion Americans spend on the industry each year.

Family-owned yoga company Bikram Yoga Scarsdale has received many emails over the past year from clients asking why they have not changed their name and if they are even going to. Co-owner and yoga instructor Nicole Pike spoke about the effects the sexual abuse claims and company name has had on her business, confirming that they have had to rebrand. The company will now be known as Sweat Central and offers “original hot yoga” rather than Bikram classes in a further attempt to distance themselves from Choudhury.

Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator is currently available on Netflix and takes a look at the life of Bikram Choudhury, who made a fortune thanks to his trademarked Bikram hot yoga empire. However the main focus is on the numerous sexual abuse claims from women against him.

When allegations first started to appear over six years ago many yoga studios changed the names of their classes and studios in an attempt to distance themselves away from Choudhury while staying true to the original teachings, with Pike confirming that:

“While the classes themselves are amazing, Bikram the person has done terrible things we in no way want to be associated with. We want people to feel comfortable at our studio, and confident that their money is in no way supporting him.”

With this in mind she is spending around $20,000 on rebranding to keep her customers’ faith and trust in her business rather than stopping providing the actual classes.

Choudhury was once seen as a leader of mental and physical healing among the world’s yogi community, thanks to his form of hot yoga, which involved a sequence of 26 postures carried out for 90 minutes in a room heated to 105 degrees. According to research the exercise has provided many benefits to students, including improving endurance and lowering stress levels as well as aiding mindfulness and mental strength. It is also practiced to help improve balance, tone muscle and increase your flexibility.

Yoga as an industry has seen a massive growth worldwide with the sector now worth a staggering $80 billion in America alone, with $16 billion being spent each year not just on the classes but also on equipment, accessories and specific clothing. With over half of us using yoga as a much needed stress relief aid a further 59 percent claims it helps them to sleep better.

Still Hot Yoga in Druid Hills, Georgia used to be called Bikram Yoga Decatur until assault allegations started to surface in 2014, prompting studio owner Cleve Willis to change the name making sure his students would not link his studio with Choudhury.

Willis spent $1,500 in preparation for the backlash he said he could see coming. However, while he changed the studio’s name, signage and accessories, Bikram classes still appears on the schedules so as not to confuse clients that may be searching specifically for these classes online.

“They can still see we’re not associated with the guy, but we do the actual traditional class. Someone new coming into town may not know what it is. That’s why we didn’t change the name of the class.”

With roughly 36 million Americans taking part in yoga, an increase from 20.4 million in 2012, 72 percent are women. This has led to a #metoo style movement throughout the yoga community with many teachers as well as students coming forward to discuss unwanted touching in classes as many instructors are providing hands-on corrections without the student’s consent.

Unfortunately for 29 year old instructor Kelsey Lowe from Bikram Yoga Harlem in New York, she has had first hand experience of this abuse. Working with a male instructor at a different New York City studio she says this backlash has not come as a shock to her. Talking about her experience she says:

“He was coming to adjust me, but it was a little too close for comfort. You can feel someone’s body up against yours and it’s like, “I don’t even know this guy’s last name” kind of thing.”

After the incident she chose to change studios and works within her current studio, both practicing and teaching yoga. However she believes leaders gaining “cult-like followings” – such as Choudhury – aids sexual misconduct as “you can’t give all this power to one person.”

It is hoped that the backlash from the Netflix documentary will not affect the business in a negative way, rather making sure that unwanted actions are eradicated for good.

Yoga Elderly

Yoga Has Amazing Health Benefits For Senior Citizens

Yoga has definitely found itself in the mainstream when it comes to rest and relaxation. The market for stress relief has skyrocketed within the last few years, as general stress levels have also been on the rise. Millennials are known as the most anxious and stressed generation, our political climate has never felt more futile and divided, and our economy seems to fluctuate like ocean waves, which are filled with plastic now by the way. Regardless of the reasoning, people of all ages are living more stressful lives, and that takes a huge toll on our mental and physical motivation and health.  

Yoga is one of the top ways people relieve stress. The process involves breath control, deep stretching, hundreds of positions, mindfulness, meditation, and a sense of self control. The mental and physical health benefits are equally amazing, and allows individuals to do something that improves their overall well-being. There are many different types of yoga all at different levels of intensity, but all induce the same result. A certain connection of mind, body, and soul. 

Accessible Chair Yoga class

A growing type of yoga is taking the senior citizen community by storm and the only equipment it involves is an open mind and a chair. Chair yoga isn’t only for senior citizens and actually was originally started as a means for individuals just getting into yoga who have some issues staying balanced. The practice of Yoga in general can work to improve coordination and memory. What’s so attractive about it for so many is the ability to modify any position to adjust to your own physical limitations, while still experiencing a mood boosting sense of overall well-being. This is especially beneficial for senior citizens. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, every 19 minutes a senior citizen (someone aged 65+ years) dies from falling, many times ones that can be prevented. The CDC also reports that two thirds of senior citizens have multiple chronic conditions, and one third have high blood pressure. Those are large scale statistics, but luckily yoga has benefits for all of them. Yoga in any form or level of difficulty has been proven to work specifically on hip, knee, and ankle joint areas. It can improve mobility, and joint flexibility which is hugely beneficial for preventing a fall. In addition, learning simple controlled breathing techniques can help lower blood pressure and unnecessary stress levels, while increasing overall strength and endurance. 

Even though chair yoga involves a more simple set of positions, all the same principles are still present, and it shows the same exact results as standard yoga practices. Mental health and emotional stimulation are also extremely important for senior citizens. According to the World Health Organization, 15% of individuals over the age of 60 suffer from some sort of mental health issue such as depression, anxiety, etc. These problems in older individuals becomes especially dangerous and can lead to physical ailments to appear such as fatigue, muscle weakness, joint damage, etc. 

“Yoga has the effect of increasing joint mobility, it can help individuals cope with arthritis. Alzheimer’s patients can benefit because yoga improves cognition. A sequence of poses can improve both coordination and memory. Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Heightened GABA levels help prevent chronic disease. Calming the mind by relaxing and paying attention to breath can lessen one’s anxiety in this in-your-face world, increasing coping skills,” according to the Daily Record

The Daily Record also reported that when it comes to yoga specifically for senior citizens, instructors always make sure to generally keep classes small to make for a very personal experience, and also allows the instructor to work better with each person and any specific body limitations they have or might want to work on. The focus is always on reducing stress, mindfulness, and an overall relaxed well-being.

Relaxing

Why “Doing Nothing” Is Good For Your Health

Let’s be honest, doing absolutely nothing is a true art form, that we all have mastered in our own individual way. Whether that’s binge watching three straight seasons of a show you’ve already watched twice, or baking and eating a dozen cookies, or even just laying outside in the sun for three hours, we all have our own versions of decompressing from the real world. After a hard day at work, the art of nothing can sometimes feel like all we have, and yet from a societal standpoint, it’s almost shameful to just relax and allow yourself to be lazy. There’s a general work ethic, especially in America, that tells us when we’re not occupying our time, we’re wasting time and that’s simply not the case. A day of full on low energy nothing is not only good for your mental health but physical as well!! 

Obviously doing nothing all day everyday isn’t good for your overall health and well-being, however, having your time to yourself every week is necessary for living a fulfilling life. Gretchen Robin is the author of “The Happiness Project” and she spoke to ‘Grateful’ magazine about how important leisure time actually is. 

A “Doggy And Me” Yoga Class, Yoga In All Forms Is Proven To Provide Relaxation

“Doing nothing is about making good use of your free time, whether that’s meditating, going for a walk, talking to friends or binge-watching TV shows. Leisure activities are not necessarily ‘doing nothing’ — but, they make us happy and shouldn’t be viewed as wasted time. The key question is: If you know that you feel happier when you give yourself that downtime, how do you make sure that you get it into your life? When [you] feel constant pressure to be more and more productive and more and more scheduled, how do you give yourself that opportunity?”

Robin mainly defines “doing nothing” as simply doing something that allows you to be centered in the present moment. Allowing ourselves to become fully present and not worried about our surrounding stresses in our lives (family, work, relationships, chores, etc.) becomes a very grounding experience. It also shows us that it is possible to just stop, breathe, and live in one particular moment without being overwhelmed, which becomes beneficial when we actually get overwhelmed. It becomes easier to remind ourselves that whatever specific stress we’re experiencing on a given day, is just an in the moment experience, and it too shall pass. 

Doing nothing also has great benefits for anxiety and depression, however it’s easy for it to be just as detrimental. When you don’t give yourself a proper break, and keep working to the point where you can’t recharge or relax, you burn yourself out. In that case, it’s more likely you’ll fall into destructive “doing nothing” habits such as eating an entire bag of greasy food multiple times a week. When you actually go out of your way to dedicate time for a specific leisure activity that centers you, and allows you to acknowledge the present, it leads to a stronger focus and more productive energy.

The easiest way to relax your mind and body with nothingness and receive the positive benefits of it is to understand what true leisure is for you personally. Think about what’s actually mentally beneficial versus detrimental and depressive. For example, is watching another movie and eating another bag of chips truly going to make you happy? Or would you rather get out and do some retail therapy instead. Robin says it’s about separating activities that make you happy as opposed to things that just feel like lazy everyday habits. 

Schedule a specific time for your leisure. If you work a regular Monday to Friday job, schedule a Sunday afternoon of gardening and baking. Giving yourself a fixed date and time, even if it is just for doing nothing, can help ease you from living in a crazy work schedule and routine, into a work and relaxation routine. Change up your environment, remove distractions like electronics, procrastinate vacuuming and just center yourself on your personal leisure path. The more present you become, the more you’ll enjoy just doing nothing.