Benefits of Yoga, and What to Eat Before a Session

What-to-eat-and-avoid-before-a-yoga-session

So you’re practicing your yoga poses each day. You’re feeling great. Calm and peaceful during and after your session.

But did you also know that your body – your actual insides – is improving as you’re doing yoga? In other words, yoga provides real, immediate physical health benefits!

Here are just some of the physical benefits:

  • Yoga can make your bones stronger.
  • Bikram yoga can increase back, shoulder and hamstring flexibility.
  • Hatha yoga has been found to improve focus, memory and cognition.
  • Some forms of yoga can help alleviate depression, improve your overall mood and provide back and neck pain relief.
  • Yoga may help women increase sexual desire, arousal and improve orgasm.
  • Yoga can improve lung capacity.
  • Diabetics may want to start practicing yoga because it can lower blood sugar levels.
  • Yoga can reduce blood pressure.
  • And so much more!

While you’re actually performing your yoga moves, your internal systems and organs may start doing the following:

  • Breathing, focusing and the yoga movements themselves cause your vagus nerve – a neural highway in your body – to start the opposite of the body’s “fight-or-flight” response to stress, known as the “rest and digest” response.
  • Practice yoga regularly and you may notice that your resting heart rate becomes lower, both during and after your session.
  • Your lungs expand during belly breaths, helping increase your oxygen intake.]
  • Yoga encourages deep breathing and doing so activates your prefrontal cortex. One study reports that yoga practitioners scored higher on cognitive tests just 20 minutes after completing a session.
  • The aforementioned vagus system may release cells during yoga that help fight infection.
  • Focusing as intently as one does during yoga helps quiet the brain’s amygdala, helping you control fear and anger.
  • Yoga stretches your muscles and tendons. It helps improve your balance.

Priming Your Body for a Yoga Session

Since yoga improves your physical health pretty much immediately, make sure your body is ready and able to take full advantage of yoga’s health benefits: prime it for your session by eating the right foods to help you get the strength, energy and peace that will help you make the most of the session.

As with any exercise, if you eat too soon – or too much – before practicing yoga, you’ll feel sluggish and bloated. It’s best, therefore, to eat a meal no sooner than two hours before class. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, keep the meal smallish – no more than 300-400 calories.

Opt for a meal of protein, carbs and healthy fats. Don’t eat much fiber or saturated fat – you could have an upset stomach if you do.

A good meal could be some Greek yogurt topped with nuts and fruit; a piece of whole-wheat toast spread with nut butter and fresh, sliced strawberries; or an English muffin topped with chicken salad. Drink no more than 20 ounces of water prior to your yoga session as well.

If you’re going to go to yoga right after work and haven’t eaten anything since lunch, consider having a medium-sized banana or some crackers 30 minutes before class. If heading to class just after rising in the morning, make your snack super small: half a banana or a few swallows of a fruit smoothie are best.

As you nourish your lungs, muscles, heart, and brain from yoga, also nourish your skin with Beckon’s organic cotton yoga clothing. Cotton allows yours skin to breath while you move through your poses and our organic cotton is softer than “regular” cotton. Shop our site now.

Best Yoga Locations to Try This Summer

 

Best-Yoga-Locations-to-Try-This-Summer

As summer approaches – and depending on where you’ve been living this spring, it can’t come fast enough – if you love yoga, we urge you to take advantage of the warmer temperatures that are coming and take your yoga mat to perform your moves in spots you may never have considered before.

Try a sandy beach.

The sound of the waves and the gulls combined is very peaceful. If there’s a breeze, it can cool you. The soft sand under your mat and feet helps ground yet support you. The feel of the sun on your skin reminds you why you perform sun salutations religiously.

Take your mat to a park – or to the lawn in your backyard.

Feel the grass between your toes and under your mat. Listen to the birds in the trees and the breeze waffle through the leaves. Rest afterwards, lie on your mat on your back and see how many different objects, people and animals you can make out in the cloud formations. If you meditate, before or after, take a close look at the grass and watch the small bugs crawl by.

Try Yoga on a paddle board.

If you are more adventurous and have a paddle board, take it to a lake or the ocean on a calm day, put out to the lake/sea, crawl atop the board and see how many poses you can do. Enjoy the extra fun of splashing into the cool water when you tumble.

Go bouldering.

If you don’t mind being a tad uncomfortable, take the mat to a park or space where large boulders stand. Place the mat in a large and quiet nook among the boulders, if possible, or at their feet, if not. As you go through your poses, feel the pebbles beneath your feet and toes. Take some time to press your hands into the boulders themselves. Listen for wind or breeze whistling through the boulders’ passes. See if you can hear birds fly or lizards scuttle by. Stay quiet before or after and see if you can feel the boulder’s spirit. (Native American spiritual practices are of the belief that all spirits live in all objects, living or inanimate, including rocks.)

Your goal should be to establish a personal yoga practice that you can do at anytime, anywhere, even if you have no teacher to guide you. In fact here are some fun photos of Adi Carter and Luz Raquel doing Arco Yoga over a pond to inspire you. If you feel not yet ready to practice yoga without guidance, stream a yoga video on a tablet or smartphone anywhere you have a signal.

Proven Benefits of Practicing Yoga Outdoors

No matter where you decide to practice outdoors, we encourage you to do so because being outdoors as you practice your moves – or being outdoors doing anything – is proven to be highly beneficial for you emotionally, spiritually and even physically.

Dr. Matthew Baral, a WHAT, has spoken on how nature connects us to our “primeval world.” “Nature connects us to our roots,” he has said. “The grass, the ocean, the trees…. It is where we feel most at home.”

Amos Clifford, the director of the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy, say that spending time outside delivers signals to our brain letting it know it’s back in a home environment. The brain then attunes itself to stay alert. What’s more, spend a good amount of time in a forest and you’ll soon feel energy, and standing and posing on uneven ground strengthens your core.

Being outdoors also makes all of your senses more acute. You hear things more clearly, you see things you normally would miss, you smell things that weren’t there when you first arrived. Eat or drink something, and it will taste better than if you had eaten it at home.

In addition, a University of Southern California study found that just seeing the green of nature increases your endorphins.

If you meditate as you pose, doing so outdoors can boost its benefits: people who are in a forest environment rather than a city showed a lower concentration of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Naturally, whether you practice yoga indoors or out, we hope you’ll do so in our organic cotton yoga clothing. Our clothing is beautiful, comfortable, and made from organic cotton so it’s softer than clothing made of “regular” cotton, and helps support a clean environment. Shop our organic yoga clothing for all the best looks to match your style.

Shop-Organic-Yoga-Clothing

Beckons and Doreen Virtue Collaborate

This fall Beckons Yoga Clothing and Dr. Doreen Virtue, author, motivational speaker and angel-intuitive, teamed up to raise awareness and money for Students Against Sweatshops by selling organic cotton, fair trade t-shirts. We developed two t-shirts, Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle and Peace, Love, Angels. Doreen’s book, Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle, is available on Amazon.com and at your neighborhood bookstore. Her book is a wonderful guide to making choices that support your greatest self, including buying organic and fair trade products.

DV100442630-doreen-virtue-PLA-t-shirt-blue-only

Together we raised over $3,000. What fun!

Stay tuned, we will be designing more angel-inspired t-shirts in the next few months. There are a few t-shirts still available on our website.

Yoga Clothing for Women Over 50

I am looking for women over 50 who wear Beckons Yoga Clothing and testimonials as to why our garments work with your body. Our goals is to provided clothing that services all ages and body styles.  We want to hear from you to see if this is working. Please also send photos that we can share.

This photo features Margie Krest. She is the beautiful owner of Dancing The Soul: A Center for Creative Movement and Stillness. She has sold Beckons Yoga Clothing and has been in business for five successful years. You can find out more about her Denver-based studio at dancingthesoul.com

 

Celebrating our Fall 2015 Models: Cetan

D1610490-grace-long-sleeve-dress-teal-best-formatted

Cetan is a Colorado native having grown up in Golden and Lakewood. She was privileged to attend Jefferson County Open School from 4th grade to graduation. In her time there, she pursued passions of social justice and environmental health through experiences like Katrina relief work in NOLA; working in orphanages and installing water collection systems in Tanzania; documenting historic inscriptions on the Navajo Reservation; and canoeing the lakes of the Boundary Waters and the Green, Colorado, Missouri, and White rivers. All these accumulated experiences led her to pursue a B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Water Management and Hydrologic Science, which she is currently working on.

Aside from school, Cetan has a two-year-old son who she adores. “My future is brighter with his life to accompany mine, and I am excited to see where this journey leads.”

Thanks for wearing Beckons well and making us proud, Cetan!