We have all been to the gym and know what it like to life a weight for 12 repetitions, and then do it again two more times. How often do you start to daydream and forget how many you have done? That is habitual movement. Doing the movement without really focusing on the physical sensations your body is feeling. In Nia, we move functionally and with purpose. We practice without shoes, so that we are aware of how we are moving. The 7000 nerve endings on the foot intensifies the physical and psychological feeling of being grounded. Turn off auto-pilot and move with purpose. You are not a robot.
Fitness must address the Human Being, not just the Human Body. Exercise that is done strictly for it's own physical sake, divorced from emotions and human spirit, isn't satisfying, isn't fun and eventually fails. Nia simultaneously addresses the body, mind, spirit and emotions. Nia uses physical activity to integrate one's neurology with one's outer body. Check back soon for a class near you!
Lose your shoes and you stand to gain. Wearing shoes can reduce how much you use the muscles in your arch, the foot's core, and dampen the feedback cycle between your feet and your brain. That causes foot muscles to weaken with bones and joints taking the brunt of the force, which increases the risk of heel pain and other foot and leg problems. So dig your toes into the soft summer grass and let the pain-easing magic begin. Or better yet, take up Nia! In Nia we dance in bare feet for exactly this reason.
Confused about the different styles of yoga? I have been practicing for many years and only recently discovered the difference between the several to choose from. Here is the readers digest version.
The joy of movement is the secret to health. Excess exercise puts as much stress on your body as does over eating or mental anxiety. The key to health is the pleasure principal. If it feels good do more of it and if it doesn't then stop. The "no pain, no gain" or "feel the burn" has no place in any fitness regime. If you enjoy the movement then chances are you will continue and fitness will be a pleasant by-product to the activity. This is the philosophy of Nia. Check out a class. The first one is free! If nothing else, come for the pants and stay for the dance!
This ancient Vedic saying underscores the importance of not what you eat but how you eat. Your body will assimilate more of the nutrients from a Big Mac eaten under a tree at a park, than a salad eaten in your car rushing from one place to another. Food consumed mindfully is better than any elimination diet and will produce better results than following the latest fad diet. "To eat is human, but to digest is divine."
After lathering up in a warm shower, do a 30 second blast of cold water! Once the initial shock wears off, you will feel more invigorated as blood flows away from the surface of your body toward your core to try and conserve heat. One study found that it actually helps release endorphins, so that your polar bear moment could have an antidepressant effect.
I often suffer from bloat for many reasons, flying (in an airplane), eating cold foods, irregular routine, and driving in the city. All activities that increase the air in my system and therefore the bloat that goes with it. One of the best ways I have found to combat the feeling of exploding is to drink a tonic made from cumin, coriander and fennel.
Flat Belly Tea for Two!
I don't know about you all, but I have just worked through a very unpleasant cold/cough/flu. One remedy that I find helpful is to sip on Ginger Cinnamon Tea often throughout the day. This tea is especially good for colds that include congestion, headache, body aches and a runny nose. It is also a great way to ward off a cold when you feel it coming, on as it boosts immunity.
Ginger Cinnamon Tea
1 tsp. of grated ginger
1/2 tsp. freshly ground cinnamon or 1 small stick
pinch of cardamon or 1 crushed cardamon pod
Add the ingredients to one cup of boiling water and let steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain into a cup and add one teaspoon of raw honey once it has cooled a bit.
Word of caution, do not combine ginger and aspirin as they are both blood thinners and should not be taken together.
Once again I find myself drawn to the topic of sleep. Perhaps because it is the one process that can restore health without any effort! One of the easiest changes to make in order for your sleep to function at its best is to sleep on your left side. The stomach and pancreas (which make digestive enzymes) hang on the left side, like slings. If you lie on your left side, they hang naturally which will allow for optimal and efficient digestion. The food is encouraged to move through the stomach naturally and the pancreatic enzymes are released as needed, rather than dumping them out all at once, which happens while laying on your right side with the pull of gravity. The liver and gall bladder, however, hang on the right side. Resting on the left side of your body allows them to hang freely and secrete bile into the digestive tract with the help of gravity. Precious bile emulsifies fats and neutralizes the acid in the stomach. A small change that will allow for optimal digestion and therefore optimal absorption of nutrients.
As a life long learner with a ferocious growth mind set, Kammi devotes a minimum of 30 minutes a day to reading. Join her as she passes on abridged versions of the topics she finds most interesting. Enhance your life by taking what you need and leaving what you don't!