Why Apple Cider Vinegar is so Popular and You Should Consider Using It More

There has not been a skincare routine video that I have stumbled upon that does not promote the use of apple cider vinegar. I am, however, a little skeptical of it at first when there are many stigmas surrounding its use. Enter on a journey with me to come clean on what works and for whom it is beneficial.

Here’s a fact to keep in mind throughout this exploration. Vinegar contains an active ingredient called acetic acid. While darker vinegar might contain more antioxidants that can be found in fruits of more tanned colors, they also taste smoother than apples, but that’s up to personal preference.

The first thing to know before starting to taste test what it does to your health is to start out slow in small quantities. Add a tablespoon of it to a glass of water so it dilutes well before drinking it on an empty stomach. Mixing it with other foods might make you uneasy while exaggerating could cause your lungs severe pain–equal as if your lungs would experience a bad sunburn.

When drank in moderation, we’re talking a tablespoon of it on an empty stomach, reduces bloating as it helps digest the rest of the foods you’ve eaten. To some smaller extent, it cancels out the carbs you’ve eaten, and slows the rush of sugars to your bloodstream, so they spike sugar rushes less violently as well as they don’t make you crash afterwards. After all, you are allowed to indulge. The foods that accompany those choices hold the reins to how they are going to make you feel.

You often hear that certain foods boost enormous amounts of healthy properties, but do you know how to pair them correctly to fuel your body with the best nutritious values each of them has to offer? Your stomach actually can’t produce enough acid on its own, and it needs help absorbing certain nutrients like folate, calcium, and iron. Apple cider vinegar is there to help absorb those and increase the values of minerals and vitamins you ingested. It can moreover affect your muscles to produce energy more efficiently for the same absorption qualities. Acetic acid helps muscles turn carbs into energy. You can hear extreme athletes talk about how they drink a little of it prior to eating a carb-packed meal leading to the bigger events.

Don’t worry. Drinking a little apple cider vinegar won’t make your body sour. It actually balances your body’s pH values and can, in turn, lead to better bone health. While it makes your body’s pH more basic, it also depends on the combination of things you’re eating and doing. Greater bone density is achieved by more alkaline diets (eating more vegetables and fewer meats). It is probably not good enough reason to turn you into a vegan but worth noting for when you feel rather weak.

Apple cider vinegar is not useful only in cuisine, but it is a great medium to clean anything from fruits and vegetables to stains on your clothes and bathroom tiles because it is filled with antibacterial properties. Again, it should be used in moderation. While taste testing it on my own, I would rather be cautious about some of its popularly advised uses.

Cleaning acne: yes, it does have antibacterial effects but can oftentimes also irritate the skin. Therefore, I say try it. Start using it only a little and very diluted before bathing your whole face in it hoping for it to create miracles.

There are no studies confirming that it suppresses appetite. The amount you would have to drink is too big and would certainly make you nauseous rather than full.

I would definitely not recommend it as the greatest option to clear wounds with it. It can irritate the healthy skin around too. There are other antibacterial products designed to serve the same purpose that won’t make you scream your lungs out because of their burn.

Obviously, there are numerous uses for something like an apple cider vinegar can offer, but I would stick to the proven ones and experiment in moderation in cases when you decide to do so.

Using Aromatherapy for Vitality

Vitality can be defined as a state of being active, energetic, and alive. It is the cultivation of strength, both mental and physical. Much of the positive effects of using herbs depend on our intention of using them. We can cultivate our intention by having faith in ourselves, our ability to receive benefits, and our faith in the medicinal properties of these herbs. Using aromatherapy with these herbs is a great way to change our immediate mental state from a less than desirable and perhaps sluggish state to a more invigorated, energized, or motivated. Some great herbs and flowers that can be used for aromatherapy include:

  • Tulsi (Holy Basil) – Cimum Sanctum/Cimum Tenuiflorum. This herb has an adaptogenic or stress-relieving effect, but it can also gently energize you when it is used. You can use tulsi (holy basil) if you are seeking a gentle boost but not necessarily needing an intense level of concentration. It can be diffused into teas or used in aromatherapy. It could be arranged or grown in areas where you can frequently provide a regularly accessed aroma.




  • Rose petals (Rosa). This incredibly versatile flower has many uses. Its value and chemical components are still not fully understood. Chinese tradition uses them as well. They are used to increase energy or “qi” as it is referred to in Chinese medicine. These flowers can be dried and used in teas or consumed on their own. But rose petals are also commonly used in aromatherapy and can be infused to create steams. Having roses growing in your garden or arranged in vases throughout your home could give a vitalizing aroma to your experience.




  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Rosemary herbs can be dried and used in many ways. Teas infused with rosemary are believed to improve cognition and enhance mental clarity. It is also used by soaking the dried herb to create ointments, which are great for the skin but also works as a method of aromatherapy. Rosemary can help you create the clarity and sharpness of cognition needed to push yourself into your space of creativity. 

These three herbs can be used in their purest form for many purposes. All of them are also available in essential oil form. There are many other options for essential oil blends that assert to be blended for vitality. One blend example contains cedar oil, black pepper oil, fruit oil, clove oil, ho leaf oil, vetiver root oil, lemongrass oil, ginger root oil, pine leaf oil, ravensara twig oil, citral and geraniol. However, these oils are superstrength condensed form of the plant. Therefore, it is important to use the oil in minimal amounts and for its power to be respected. Sometimes over-harvesting of plants is needed for one bottle of essential oil. Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin for the purpose of aromatherapy. If you would like to use it and smell it all day, blend it with a carrier oil and then use this oil on your skin. If possible, try using the pure form of the plant first before using essential oils and diffusers. 

YOGA AND THE THREE GUNAS

“You are what you eat,” “Carrots help you see in the dark” and “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” are quotes about the food we are all familiar with. “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” is another famous portraying our everyday diets. 

Quotes like these will enlighten you to exactly how powerful and important your meals are and how much of our everyday life is dominated by the food we consume. 

There are a lot of food advertisements around us, and there are sandwich bars, cafes and fast food stores on every street corner. It seems like our whole life is surrounded by deciding what kinds of food we should eat. With a whole lot of choices around, how do you know the food you eat will protect and nourish your body? Obviously, you are aware of the benefits fruits and vegetables can offer to your body, yet you still find it challenging to buy them when you are faced with those glorious displays at your local grocery stores? 

Yoga exercise has a lot of benefits. One of the benefits of yoga is the provision of simple solutions to help you select your food. With yoga exercise, you find it easier to choose food that has optimal nutritional value, and that is energizing and nourishing. One of the philosophies of yoga is that you must eat foods that contribute to your wellness and health. You must eat food that brings you inner rest of mind and encourages your spiritual growth. 

From a yogic perspective, all diets are classified into three categories known as the three Gunas. This classification is based on their energetic qualities. These three qualities are known as Sattvic, Rajasic, and Tamasic.

1. Sattvic Foods 

Sattvic foods are natural and pure foods. They are foods that offer energy, stability, and vitality to your body, mind, and soul. Sattvic foods are best eaten in their natural states such as raw, organic, steamed or lightly cooked foods. Sattvic foods include grains such as rice, oats, millet and barley, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, etc. 

2. Rajasic Foods 

Rajasic foods are energetic and proactive foods that activate and stimulate the mind and body. Examples of Rajasic food include coffee, alcohol, tobacco, onion, vegetables, and heavily salted and spiced foods. Rajasic foods in most cases have a sour and bitter taste. From a yogic perception, rajasic foods work up the mind and make it challenging for you to be calm. 

3. Tamasic Foods 

Tamasic foods are foods that are stale, overripe or unripe. They are dead or overcooked foods. Examples include meat, fried or burnt foods. From a yogic point of view, tamasic foods are not easily digested; they have a lot of saturated fat and have the lower nutritional value of all the three Gunas. 

The classification of our foods into the three Gunas has allowed us to know the nutritional value and energy quality of our foods. These classifications are a guide for the foods we consume. The foods that are nutritional help enhance and improve our physical health and emotional state of mind.

Would You be Comfortable Wearing Shorts to Yoga?

Yogis tend to flock toward a handful of favorites when it comes to clothing choices for their practice: yoga pants, yoga leggings, and high-waist capri leggings to name a few. Most of the essential pieces of a yogi’s wardrobe are designed to cover the vast majority of the bottom half, typically ending somewhere between the knee and the ankle. Fabrics come in a variety of colors to make this modest clothing selection very popular among all yogis.

However, a handful of brave individuals are now finding that shorts are the ideal choice for their yoga class.

It takes a lot of confidence to opt for a pair of shorts over yoga leggings the first time. The question for many yogis is why shorts could be an ideal solution and whether or not they would be comfortable in that situation.

First, it should be noted that the reason shorts aren’t typically worn is to give yogis the peace of mind that they are adequately covered throughout their practice. In poses such as the three-legged downward facing dog or the warrior III, having your leg extended high could reveal too much skin when wearing short shorts. Loose-fitting shorts and those that are super short don’t offer much coverage during poses such as these.

For yogis who do opt to wear shorts, they should never fall into the “loose” or “short shorts” category. While it is uncomfortable for the wearer to don such revealing attire, it can be equally uncomfortable for classmates. Many of the shorts that yogis are opting to wear to class are longer in length and are created out of spandex material that hugs their legs closely.

The most significant benefit to wearing shorts to class is improving your alignment. Without having the joints covered up by loose-fitting yoga pants, yogis can see exactly where their knee is during all of their asanas. This is especially important during poses, such as the warrior II, where the knee should extend straight in the direction over the middle toes but still remain in line with the ankle.

Overextending the knee in poses such as these can cause a serious injury and should always be avoided. Being able to visually notice where your joints are throughout the flow makes it much easier to have a safer practice. Similarly, it also allows your yoga instructor to offer better advice faster when they notice your alignment is slightly off-kilter.

In a hot yoga class or a more rigorous practice, wearing shorts could provide a cooler solution. Yogis who aren’t focused on overheating find more focus on their practice instead of seeking reprieve from the heat.

Wearing shorts to yoga is a very personal and bold move for yogis who are confident in their practice. They must be of high-quality fabrics and offer plenty of protection. Bermuda-length shorts or bicycling shorts are a great option for those who are mulling over this ensemble. Consider whether this change to your usual yoga leggings may help you to move one step deeper in your practice this week.

Proper Yoga Etiquette for Individuals Joining a New Studio

Joining a new studio can bring amazing benefits to individuals looking to develop growth in their yoga journey. Being an active part of a yoga community is both beneficial to one’s practice and fun! As with any group activity, there are a few unwritten rules when it comes to behaviors and expectations. If you’re new to a studio or if you have fallen into a very comfortable place with your long-lasting yoga group, here are a few friendly reminders of proper etiquette that will keep you in high regards by your fellow classmates:

Be Respectful of Space

There’s nothing worse than having your mat set up and ready to go when another yogi rushes in and sets his/her mat in a way that cramps your style. If there is plenty of room in the studio, spread out a bit and set your mat with a healthy distance from your peers. Also, be aware of the instructor’s line of sight. Notice where the instructor will be positioned before the class begins so that you do not set your mat in a place that may block someone’s view. Studio spaces can often become crowded, and the open slots are far and few in between; it’s okay, don’t worry! Simply squeeze in where you can and politely ask your neighbors if they feel comfortable before the class begins.

 

Be Respectful of Emotional Boundaries

Many people regard membership with a studio as a way to increase social bonds and build friendships. This is great. However, remember that this is not the primary goal of many studio-goers. Be friendly and open to getting to know your fellow yogis, but do not pressure anyone to be chatty with you. For those individuals who seem to be shy or not interested in developing deeper relationships, a friendly hello and smile will suffice.

 

Don’t Be Late

Meditation can be easily disrupted by someone straggling in late and making noise setting up his/her mat and grabbing props. Be sure to allow enough time for yourself to arrive to class early, use the restroom and set up your mat and props with extra time to spare. When the class begins, ultimate focus and relaxation should begin, too.


(Part of proper yoga etiquette is dressing appropriately for the studio. For all of your yoga apparel and athletic legging needs, 90 Degree by Reflex has you covered. Find the right attire by shopping the above look here.)

Don’t Stare

Yoga asks us to open up to our deepest vulnerabilities and face them. While the class is in session, yogis are in the process of uniting their bodies, minds, and spirits, which often means very different things to different people. If you are unsure of a pose or get lost during a flow sequence, it is okay to glance at those around you. However, do not stare at others. Even if you are internally admiring another person’s pose, they may think you are critiquing them and become unsure of themselves. Also, you should be focused on your own practice anyways. To play it safe, consult the instructor if you are unsure of a pose, and keep your mind free of anyone else’s practice.

With a kind and respectful approach, you will quickly become a positive member of any studio.

Improving Health for Children With Yoga

Hatha Yoga is an ancient series of physical postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques, which helps to balance and rejuvenate the entire body-mind system. Practicing yoga on a regular basis can tremendously support children’s health, both physically and emotionally. A regular practice of yoga, in the range of one to five times a week, has been shown to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, heighten self-esteem, and lower stress and anxiety levels that can contribute to the development of depression.

Yoga for Children’s Health

Due to the overuse of television and computer technology, childhood obesity is at an all-time high in many developed countries around the world. In fact, childhood obesity has become one of the most critical health issues children are facing in the world today. Just getting children “on the mat” and actively participating in a structured exercise program, will help them to lose unwanted pounds, feel healthier, and boost their self-esteem.

Yoga can be adapted to any age range of children and many different levels of ability. In this way, a great yoga class can be modified and tailored for a group of first-grade students, or a group of high-school age students, and beyond. On a purely physical level, the physical postures (or asanas) of yoga, help children to develop good coordination skills, enhance somatic capabilities, burn calories, while increasing strength and flexibility. Cosmic Kids Yoga video titled Squish the Fish demonstrates a great video that can keep children motivated and interested in yoga sequences.

Yogic Solutions for Lowering Stress in Children Today

In today’s fast-paced world, many children feel a significant amount of stress in school and at home. There is a lot of pressure on children and teenagers to keep pace with the increasing speed of life and to do more and more tasks in less time than generations before them. Slowing down enough to practice yoga postures, breathing exercises, a few minutes of meditation or relaxation techniques, will help children to feel more grounded and less anxious about the pressures in their lives.

A vigorous yoga practice will help children to release excess energy and feel exhilarated. A yoga practice that is fun and challenging will also help to lower the high levels of stress hormones that can compromise their emotional, mental, and physical health. As children’s stress levels decrease, they will be more able to focus on their school work and will gain perspective on issues that are causing them anxiety and stress. Some of these issues may require outside therapeutic support. Other issues may be resolved, without outside support, as a child’s brain chemistry is re-balanced and an overactive nervous system is calmed by a regular practice of yoga.

Summary

While there are issues regarding the safety of unsupervised Hatha Yoga practice by children, the risks pale in comparison to other physical activities. It would be wise for parents to expose children to gentle forms of yoga in a supervised environment. Seeking out a competent yoga teacher, who specializes in teaching children, is a must. Parents, who are serious yoga practitioners, may find a family practice to be fulfilling; and this is healthy for family bonds. Children need to socialize in a less competitive environment. So for this, specialized Kids Yoga classes give children a sanctuary from multi-tasking. Check out this interesting video by Manduka Yoga!

4 Best Prenatal Yoga Poses to Prepare the Body for Birth

Giving birth is an amazing and life-changing experience. However, we all know it is not an easy one. But, did you know yoga could make childbirth easier? Well, we do and we want to share our insights with you. During pregnancy, a lot of women complain about lower-back pain which happens because of a shifted gravity center of the body. Here are some of the most efficient prenatal yoga poses to consider in order to relieve some of these issues.

Here are top four best prenatal yoga poses you will love.

1. Ankle-to-Knee Pose (Agnistambhasana)

 

This prenatal yoga pose is great if you suffer from back pain. It opens your back and hips, relieving tension in the muscles, especially the glutes.

  1. You must start this pose from a seated position.
  2. Keep your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Try not to strain the shoulders.
  3. One leg should be on top of the other.
  4. The right knee must rest on the floor while the left knee will remain on top of the right foot.
  5. Put your palms on the legs, in a resting position.

2. Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

On the one hand, pregnancy represents a celebration time for most women. On the other hand, there might come a moment when you feel like you’re about to lose your mind. Well, that’s the perfect time to try this prenatal yoga pose, called the extended triangle. You can easily regain your inner balance, relieving anxiety and stress.

Start from a standing position, keeping your feet wide apart and the palms down. The right foot should be pointing out until it reaches a 90-degree angle. Meanwhile, the left foot should be turned a little bit to the right. Extend your torso but don’t forget to exhale while doing that. Moreover, stretch your left arm up, to the ceiling.

3. Wide-Knee Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Some of you might already know how powerful this pose is. It is a great prenatal yoga pose, especially because it takes away some of the belly pressure.

  1. The first step is to kneel on the floor.
  2. Place your butt on your heels and stretch the torso in front, against the ground. For a better experience, your big toes should touch each other.
  3. Slowly press your chest towards the mat. You can even keep your upper body between the legs.
  4. Go ahead, and finalize this pose by extending your arms and touching the mat with your forehead.

4. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)

This is another great prenatal yoga pose if you want to get rid of some of that belly pressure. During this exercise, the focus must be on the breath. Just move easily while breathing deeply.

  1. Sit on all fours and inhale before starting the pose.
  2. Look up and bend your back in a natural way without forcing the move.
  3. Then, exhale while rounding the back and curling inward.
  4. On the second part of the pose, look down towards the navel.

The Conclusion

As you can see, all the above prenatal yoga poses are a great way to relax, unwind, and lower body pain and muscle tension during pregnancy. Try them all and let us know how well they worked for you.