Not to be pedantic, but the sun has many benefits. It’s quite literally a source of life for our food, provides us with vitamin D, influences our circadian rhythm, and has the ability to affect our moods and emotions. It is also the source of about 80% of visible signs of skin aging and a major cause of serious skin issues (the most notable being melanoma).
Ultraviolet radiation has the ability to penetrate the epidermis where it damages the skin cells, proteins, and elastic fibers that keep skin firm. Additionally it can trigger melanin production, which can result in dark spots or “sun spots” in people prone to them. Finally, it has the ability to affect the skin cells’ DNA. This all leads to what we call photoaging. “Skin photoaging is a result of the oxidative stress from UV radiation,” explains board-certified dermatologist Kautilya Shaurya, M.D.
Click on the link below and find out how to reap the benefits while avoiding all the negative effects.
No matter how small, habits matter. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, our habits contribute to the building of our identity, both in a negative and positive way. Because of this, building a system of habits that are in line with the person we want to be can be more effective than setting big goals that lead to a big transformation. Over time, it is the effects of these habits that help us change and grow.
Most of our daily habits are small and, because they’re automatic, we barely notice them and how they affect our life. We check our phones while waiting for the elevator. We flip on the coffee pot before getting dressed for the day. What if we used these small moments to create habits that improve our happiness and our well-being?
Click on the link below for tips on improving your daily happiness with positive habits
Ah, spring-cleaning. If you’ve been feeling the urge to clean—like, really clean—your home as the temperatures warm and the flowers bloom, you’re not alone.
“Spring is considered the season of renewal, both in nature and in consumer or popular culture,” says Marni Amsellem, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Smart Health Psychology, of the desire to press reset. “After a long winter, we are eager to shed layers and activate. It feels good to do this in our homes as well.” The fact is we’re naturally in harmony with the seasonal shifts happening around us. “People’s energy can really be a lot lower during the wintertime,” explains Dr. Dawn Potter, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Cleveland during an episode of Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials podcast. “And we can see a corresponding surge of increased energy in the springtime: Days are brighter, days are warmer, people are getting outside more, and they feel more energized by that exposure to sunlight.” But the compulsion to improve the aesthetic and functionality of our homes goes beyond seasonality. It can also be an evergreen coping mechanism for daily stress and anxiety. “Cleaning and organizing can help us feel mastery over our immediate worlds,” Amsellem says. And who doesn’t want more of that year-round.
Click on the link below for a deeper look at the mental health benefits of spring-cleaning.
Many of us know that physical exercise is good not only for our bodies but also for our ‘soul’. It can give us a unique psychological buzz, especially when we do it with others – just ask your nearest SoulCycle devotee or Tough Mudder initiate.
Social motion comes in many forms across cultures and contexts – exercise, dance, ritual, labor, and play – but it is universally characterized by two components: coordinated movement and physical exertion.
Evidence suggests that synchronizing movement with others leads to feelings of togetherness or ‘oneness’ – perhaps because the intentional act of coordinating with another person necessitates sharing mental states. To row a boat down the river, the individual ‘I’ must become the collective ‘we’.
Click on the link below and learn how social motion, such as a group yoga class, can bring us closer to one another, and closer to the physical and mental health we require to thrive.
The early days of lockdown restrictions had a profound effect on people’s daily lives. Alcohol sales skyrocketed, physical activity dropped off sharply, and “comfort eating” led to weight gain, too.
So, what’s happened since March of 2020? After two years of pandemic life, many of these effects persist. The strategies we used to adapt and cope have cemented into habits for many of us. And this is not a surprise to scientists who study behavior change.
“We know when a shock arises and forces a change in our behavior for an extended period of time, there tend to be carryover effects because we’re sticky in our behaviors,” says Katy Milkman of the University of Pennsylvania, and author of the book How To Change. In other words, our pandemic habits may be hard to break.
Click on the link below for tips on how to reboot and reset.
When many people think of yoga, they picture the Instagram version: a super-fit, hyper-flexible yogi on a beach somewhere, twisting their body into a circus-like contortion or balancing in a gravity-defying pose. These images can easily make it seem like the practice is…not exactly the most accessible workout for your average person.
But those who are deeply familiar with yoga know that, in fact, the exact opposite is true. Yoga isn’t just about the physical poses, it’s a spiritual practice focused on calming your mind and becoming more present—and finding an accessible version for your particular body and goals is deeply embedded into its philosophy. Some teachers will even tell you that there is no such thing as being “good at yoga.” And indeed, it doesn’t matter what you look like, how old or young you are, or whether you can bend your body into extreme poses—everyone has a place in the yoga studio.
Click on the link below for three veteran yogis thoughts on common misconceptions about the practice, how to pick the best class for you, and what they wish they’d known the first time they rolled out their mat.
Traveling allows us to explore new places, meet new people, experience new cultures, and so much more. Of all the ways traveling can affect us, its effect on sleep is likely something you’ve never considered—but according to new research published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, it’s worth taking a closer look.
When it comes to how travel affects sleep, negative factors like changes in time zones and struggling to adjust to an unfamiliar bed probably come to mind.
Click on the link below to find out what the researcher found about going on mostly short, non-time-zone-crossing trips and how they affect sleep duration, or time spent asleep in bed, as well as bedtime and wake-up time.
In her book, Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, Dalton-Smith presents the idea that we all need seven different types of rest to feel fully alive and fully ourselves. And that the antidote to burnout isn’t just, say, a vacation—it’s identifying the types of rest you need most desperately and adopting small daily strategies to replenish them.
The seven areas of fatigue she writes about in her book are the seven areas that she consistently heard her patients talk about. They were universal across so many different patients with different jobs.
Work-life balance is such a misnomer because nobody wants work on one side of the scale and life on the other side—in that scenario, if you’re succeeding in one area, you’re failing in the other. Nobody wants that. We want work-life integration. We want work-life harmony. We want them to have an ebb and flow so that both can succeed and thrive. And so I spent over ten years researching, looking at the different types of rest, narrowing them down to the main ones I felt most people were missing and needed to be aware of to stay at their personal and professional best.
Click on the link below to learn about the seven different types of rest: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social, sensory, and creative.
Ayurvedically speaking, we are nearing the end of vata season and coming into kapha season, which occurs during the second half of winter and into spring.
The qualities of kapha season mimic the feeling of being nurtured, grounded, and steadfast. However, when we have excess kapha quality, we can feel heavy, dense, and stuck during this time of year.
Ayurvedic principles beautifully remind us how to stay in balance, especially when the seasons change. We do this by bringing in the opposite qualities that we are experiencing. The qualities that balance kapha season are light, warmth, and inspiration. Hello, spring!
Click on the link below to learn about three holistic ways to feel like your best self as we prepare to leave winter behind.
4 Ways to Incorporate Microbreaks into Your Work-from-Home Routine
Excerpted and adapted from Success.com
By Bob Marsh
The work we produce hasn’t changed radically since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet where and how we work has been transformed—and the results haven’t always been favorable to our mental health.
A Gallup poll from fall 2021 revealed that nearly half of American full-time employees worked remotely either some of the time or entirely. Additionally, the majority of remote workers—60%, in fact—reported feeling more productive than they thought they’d be. These are positive findings. However, they don’t encapsulate the whole work-from-home experience.
One of the biggest drawbacks of shortening our commutes from miles to feet has been intense feelings of burnout, which can catch us by surprise. Why are we all so burnt out? Because we aren’t taking enough breaks during the workday.
Certainly, we’re more sensitive than ever to our mental well-being—and the well-being of those around us—yet we still haven’t gotten a handle on how to overcome the feeling that we have to be working nonstop while we’re at home. We don’t think twice about scheduling back-to-back Zoom meetings, which doesn’t seem all that different from scheduling back-to-back in-person meetings when we were in the office. But, when we’re face to face, we took time to walk around between meetings, grab a bite to eat or a cup of coffee and perhaps hop in the car to drive to an off-site meeting. In other words, we naturally gave ourselves something that far too few remote workers enjoy now: microbreaks.
Click on the link below, and learn more about the value of microbreaks, and how to make them a regular part of your day.
At Radiance we recognize the need for microbreaks, and have included lots of options for 15-20 minute Yoga Breaks on our OnDemand channel. Visit the OnDemand page on our website to find out more.
We may be glued to our smartphones because of an evolutionary drive for socializing, rather than a technological addiction to them, new research suggests.
The desire to watch and monitor others, but also to be seen and monitored by others, runs deep in our evolutionary past, explains Samuel Veissière, a cognitive anthropologist who studies the evolution of cognition and culture.
Humans evolved to be a uniquely social species and require constant input from others to seek a guide for culturally appropriate behavior. This is also a way we find meaning, goals, and a sense of identity.
In a study in Frontiers in Psychology, Veissière, and Moriah Stendel, researchers in the psychiatry department at McGill University, reviewed current literature on dysfunctional use of smart technology through an evolutionary lens, and found that the most addictive smartphone functions all shared a common theme: they tap into the human desire to connect with other people.
While smartphones harness a normal and healthy need for being social, Veissière says that the pace and scale of hyper-connectivity push the brain’s reward system to run on overdrive, which can lead to unhealthy addictions.
Click on the link below, and learn about how you can take steps to limit and take control of your smartphone use.
Dean Ornish, M.D., is one of medicine’s great pioneers of the last 40 years. His work has shown that a plant-based diet and healthy lifestyle can not only reverse heart disease but also actually lengthen telomeres, perhaps slowing the aging process. Dean and his wife Anne Ornish have written a breakthrough, evidence-based book that provides a clear guide for living a longer, better life. From the team who proved that diet can reverse heart disease, they now open the aperture to show us not only the right foods to feel our best, they also reveal how social connectedness and even love are the next blockbuster drugs. Everyone from Nobel Prize-winning scientists to Beyonce endorses it. We do too.
Click on the link below, and learn about the Four Pillars of Ornish Lifestyle Medicine:
🍏 Eat Well
🤸♂️ Move More
🧘♀️ Stress Less
❤️ Love More
“What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?”
That’s what a depressed Phil Connors (played by actor Bill Murray) asks two men at a bar as he contemplates the bleak fate of repeating Groundhog Day over and over. One of them answers: “That about sums it up for me.
That about sums it up for a lot of people over the last two years. As lockdowns went into place, many of us were initially reminded of the film as a useful shorthand description of our new normal. No real travel. No commutes. No classrooms. Every day the same, all blurring together.
As we approach the end of year two of the pandemic, “Groundhog Day” still has lessons on how to manage our own loop.
Click on the link below, and be inspired to focus on three areas that can bring us closer to the happiness that Phil eventually finds!
It’s no secret that staying active is essential for maintaining both your physical and your mental well-being. But whether you’re just getting started on your fitness journey, or you’ve been working out for years and just want to mix up your routine, it can sometimes be challenging to build an exercise plan that is well-rounded.
To help, experts have created the “Physical Activity Pyramid,” which is a resource designed to make ticking all of the boxes easy. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity per week, while also focusing on bone and musculoskeletal health to help prevent falls and keep your muscles strong well into your life.
Made for adults, the pyramid is a guide that helps you plan out how to incorporate exercise and other physical activity into your day-to-day life. Like the food pyramid, the lower portion is the largest and holds the most important activities to do, and as you move towards the top, the activities become less beneficial, so those are the ones to do more sparingly. When used properly, it can help you to track the kinds of activities that you are doing and the ones that are missing from your daily life to create a manageable, healthy, and balanced routine.
Click on the link below, and learn more about the four levels, then visit the Schedule page to sign up for some yoga classes to keep your routine healthy and balanced from both a mind and body standpoint!
IA healthy immune system is crucial for your body’s ability to ward off viruses, bad bacteria, parasites, and other infections. When your immune system is compromised, you are more susceptible to getting sick.
Immune health has been a hot topic ever since the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, but how many of us are taking necessary measures to protect our immune systems at all costs?
Our own behaviors and choices have a definite impact on our health, and those choices can wreak some serious havoc on our immune systems.
Rather than wait before it’s too late to strengthen your immunity, you can take matters into your own hands with preventative care.
Click on the link below, for seven immune-compromising things you’ll want to avoid–starting now – hello yoga for exercise, stress relief, and community building!
It’s that time of year when people start picking up new habits. And with new routines usually comes a learning curve. I’d wager a few people will try their hand at dry brushing as part of their overall wellness and beauty routine. And guess who’s on board? Triple board-certified dermatologist Mamina Turegano, M.D., FAAD, the holistic dermatologist—who reps a huge following on social media, where she shares many of her mother’s favorite beauty secrets—says that dry brushing is an excellent way to take care of your body and skin below the neck.
Click on the Wellness Wednesdays link below, and find out why Mamina loves dry brushing, and why you always need to hydrate post-routine.
During a time when our stress levels are running at an all-time high, even wellness skeptics may be willing to anoint their pulse points with a head-clearing essential oil. After all, the herbal healing treatment, which dates back thousands of years and has recently been lauded by everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow and Miranda Kerr to NBA All Stars, can have serious mind-body benefits: “The olfactory senses connect very early in brain wiring to emotional centers, so the distance from when a scent hits the nose to when it hits an emotion is very short,” explains Leslie B. Vosshall, Ph.D., a molecular neurobiologist at the Rockefeller University, in Vogue’s June 2019 issue.
“Breathing in the essential-oil vapor instantly changes our brain patterns and can help us feel calmer and more grounded,” emphasizes Hope Gillerman, an aromatherapist and author of Essential Oils Every Day: Rituals and Remedies for Healing, Happiness, and Beauty. “They are not a cure” and cannot replace medication, she notes; however, they are one valuable “pathway into taking good care of ourselves.” And don’t we all need to do more of that?
Click on the link below, and learn almost everything you need to know about the best essential oils to buy—and how, when, and where to use them.
There’s nothing like a real Christmas tree to infuse your home with the spirit—and the scent!—of the season. And if you decorated your home with a tree, wreath, or boughs made from living evergreens this year, then you likely have all the ingredients you’ll need for an invigorating herbal steam.
Click on the link below and find out more about the benefits of herbal steams, how to make one and how do it safely.
Science Says Celebrating Holidays Could Make You Happier
Excerpted and adapted from MindBodyGreen.com
By Abby Moore
There’s just nothing better than a steaming hot mug of cocoa on a cold, winter day. Whether you top yours with a sprinkle of cinnamon or dark chocolate shavings—what goes into the hot chocolate might matter even more than what goes on top of it, which is why we was super excited when integrative medicine doctor Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., shared her immune-supporting reishi hot chocolate recipe with MindBodyGreen. Sure, you could dump some prepackaged cocoa powder into a saucepan full of milk and call it a day, but if hot chocolate is something you’ll be drinking all winter long, you may want to consider the nutritional value.
Click on the Wellness Wednesdays link below and check out Gandhi’s go-to version, packed with adaptogens and spices that help to support a healthy and resilient immune system, ease stress, promote deep sleep, enhance energy, and more!
Science Says Celebrating Holidays Could Make You Happier
Excerpted from BlueZones.com
Holidays are a time to celebrate. While it may be stressful to bake that extra batch of cookies for the bake sale, cart the family around to the neighbors’ holiday parties, and find the perfect gift for the person on your list who has everything, those who celebrate something are generally happier than those who don’t celebrate anything.
People from the happiest places in the world find ways to actively express their gratitude and celebrate life. In Mexico, Dan Buettner met famously happy columnist and humorist Armando Fuentes Aguirre (known as El Catón by his friends) who believes his country’s high happiness scores may be connected to their culture of celebration. “We celebrate everything. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Godfather’s Day…Something every week. We invent reasons together,” Fuentes said.
According to author and social psychologist Fred Bryant, when we stop to savor the good stuff, we build resilience which helps us to manage stress and the daily challenges that can cause it. His research, along with research from Vicotria University in New Zealand, savoring the little things, like family holiday celebrations, can lead to stronger relationships and improved mental and physical well-being.
Click on the link below and read more about how spending time with our friends and family can be a robustly positive predictor of our happiness.
Holiday shopping and gift-giving are hallmarks of the season for many of us. But that’s not to say the tradition doesn’t come without its stresses.
What does your sister, spouse, or parent actually want? Will the packages arrive on time? Are you spending too much or enough? (Spoiler alert: We spend a lot on holiday gift-giving — Americans are expected to spend an average of $837 on presents this holiday season, a Gallup poll released earlier this month estimated.)
Click on the link below and learn lessons from social psychology that can help take the stress out of holiday shopping — and help you give the presents that show you truly care.
Delicious Honey Ginger Mocktail That Calms Nerves and Boosts Your Mood
Excerpted and adapted from WellandGood.com
By Saanya Ali
The holiday season can be stressful for a whole host of reasons. There are invitations galore, work is busy, the frigid weather makes getting dressed (and undressed) a whole saga, there are gifting stressors, and sometimes the occasional family woes.
Luckily, there are just as many natural herbs, tinctures, and tonics that you can whip up with zero effort (and minimal ingredients) that can help ease your nerves.
Click on the link below and let Rachelle Robinett, herbalist and founder of Supernatural, teach you how to make a delicious honey vinegar mocktail mixer that will have your body, brain, and taste buds saying ahhhh. Who doesn’t love an elixir that both tastes deliciously tart and tangy and helps combat anxiety?
As we move swiftly towards colder weather and welcome darker nights, and our calendar begins to fill up with seasonal celebrations with family and friends, this Vata balancing warming Chocolate Orange Barfi is perfect for group get-togethers. Jasmine Hemsley developed this festive recipe for Diwali, but its flavors make it absolutely perfect for Christmas and New Year, too!
This last weekend’s daylight saving time change gave us some morning light back, but we all know that winter days can be cool, dark, and downright dreary. The temptation to stay in bed after your alarm goes off is all too real during the season—so MidBodyGreen asked board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., about his top tips for waking up refreshed, no matter how dark it is outside.
Click on the link below for his tips for waking up feeling refreshed — even when it’s dark and cold outside!
The days are becoming shorter and colder in the Northern Hemisphere, and as such, you might be noticing some changes around your home—like dry, stuffy air, or musty odors, for example. To find out how to quickly and cleanly transition your home into the chilly fall and winter months, MindBodyGreen asked environmental toxins expert and certified holistic health coach Lara Adler for her advice.
Click on the Wellness Wednesdays link below for three quick tips that she recommends to keep your home healthy this winter.
Swirling leaves, animals foraging to prepare for cooler months ahead, children laughing, running, and jumping into piles of fallen leaf litter – these are the images of autumn, the most Vata time of year. In Sanskrit, the root of the word ‘Vata’ means ‘to move’. This time of year summons images that reflect this movement through principles of mobility and activity in the body, in both mental and biological processes. In the physical body, this is manifested through the movement of food through the digestive tract, and through thoughts and emotional states in the mental and emotional bodies. As seasons change, we need to continue to keep our body in balance.
Click on the link below for some tips on how to balance your Vata Dosha through your asana practice.
“Green exercise” has become very popular in the past year. Basically, it’s any form of exercise performed outdoors – often with a group – while enjoying the natural scenery. From yoga sessions on the beach to pop-up tai chi classes in the town park, many localities and fitness centers around the country have moved exercise classes outdoors in the past year to promote social distancing and limit exposure to COVID-19. Green exercise surged during the pandemic and the trend may permanently change the way we work out – even if exercising outdoors is not actually a new concept.
Just think about it – for the majority of the time that humans have existed, most of our physical exercise has taken place outdoors in nature, whether hunting, farming, or migrating to new lands on foot. Even today in the original blue zones where people live the longest, residents don’t consciously think about working out. Instead, exercise is naturally built into their daily lives without a second thought. And as you might have already guessed – the majority of their exercise takes place outdoors whether they’re gardening, farming, walking, or riding a bike.
Click on the link below to find out more about the benefits of outdoor exercise, the healing power of sunlight, and ideas for how to get outside more!
If you are interested in practicing yoga outside join us for Radiance Yoga Outdoor at Belle Haven Park Monday through Thursday every week at 9:00am – visit the Radiance Outdoor page for more details and to sign up.
Even yogis need to laugh at themselves sometimes—just ask these yogi-comedians. Besides poking fun at the typical yoga stereotypes, these little gems of humor also touch on those everyday experiences in yoga classes or meditation sessions that make you wonder if you might be on some sort of hidden camera show. It’s OK to laugh about the girl who refuses to give up “her spot” in the studio, or the meditation practice that somehow sparks a million random questions in your brain. We’ve all been there, right?
Yoga Journal has rounded up five of their favorite comedic yoga and meditation accounts to check out the next time you find yourself in need of a chuckle. Plus, many of these creators are yoga teachers themselves—so you know they have tons of original content to work with (but hopefully not at your expense!). Click on the Wellness Wednesdays link below and get ready to be amused!
Your internal clock, also known as your circadian rhythm, enables your body to automatically know when to wake up and get out of bed and when it’s time to go to sleep, eat, and even ovulate. It also plays a major role in how productive and focused you are.
Click on the link below for a quick primer on how this fascinating system works, why it gets messed up, and how to optimize it so you can go through every day feeling energized (and sleep through every night feeling restored).
Every year a new technology provides us a way to make our lives more efficient, yet somehow, our lives just keep getting busier and busier. Imagine life in 1993: If you wanted to send a message to a friend you had to write it by hand, put it in an envelope, and wait three days for the post office to deliver it. If you wanted to know what was playing at a local theater, you had to go out and buy a newspaper. And, if you wanted to know who the 13th king of Spain was, or more about the mating habits of Tasmanian marsupials, you actually had to go to a library.
Despite all of the electronic conveniences that should theoretically make more time available for coffee with a friend, reading a book, or relaxing, it seems we just keep getting busier and more stressed. It seems every waking moment is scheduled with work or kids or social obligations or chores—and our electronics ramp up the urgency, pinging us with reminders.
Every time we feel worry, hurry, or stress, it triggers the inflammatory response. This inflammation builds up with time, creating the conditions that invite heart disease, several cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and even more wrinkles.
In the original blue zones regions, life unfolds more slowly, more quietly, and with less urgency. People’s lives aren’t laced with worry, hurry, and the constant need to be elsewhere. Not coincidentally, perhaps, they live longer lives.
Perhaps this week swap one of your more vigorous classes for a Gentle or Yin Yoga class, and let yourself mindfully slow down for an hour. Click on the Wellness Wednesdays link below for a few blue zones lessons for living slower and better.
If you’re looking for love (or heart chakra healing), rose quartz is probably the crystal to turn to. It’s the ultimate stone of love, says Heather Askinosie, crystal expert and author of CRYSTAL365 and Crystal Muse. “It has a very soft and gentle energy that heals and mends your heart, allowing you to open yourself up to the energy of love.”
And that goes for love from others but also love from yourself. As we know, the two go hand in hand, and rose quartz can help when it comes to clearing out the things that keep you from loving yourself and others fully while encouraging trust, compassion, and emotional healing.
We have a selection of crystals available for purchase in the boutique, including Rose Quartz for only $2;50 per crystal, and if you want to learn more about the chakras join Masuda for her regular chakra workshops – visit the workshops page to see what’s coming up!
Click on the link below to learn more about the history and properties of this crystal, and ways to use it.
As another summer comes to a close, you might be feeling the home improvement itch—especially as the pandemic keeps shifting the way we use our spaces.
“I’m seeing people approach this fall almost like a big spring clean,” Tracy McCubbin, a decluttering and organizational expert, tells mbg. But before you do, McCubbin has one suggestion: Be kind to yourself!
Life is overwhelming enough these days, and nobody needs the added pressure of feeling like their home has to be perfectly neat and tidy too.
Click on the link below for a low-stakes guide to fall cleaning and say hello to a gentler, more manageable way to declutter and organize.
Fall is a season for transition and change, a time for deep reflection into our self. Ayurveda offers us tools to help us during this seasonal transition.
Fall is a time to reflect on where we are in life, to shed what doesn’t support us on our path, and to make room for new growth. It’s not a time for burning bridges, or for abrupt change, but a time of deep reflection on how are we doing on our path and are the things/people/activities/etc in our life supporting us? Is the trajectory we are on still the right one or do some things need to shift?
It’s also important to remember that just because something is hard, that doesn’t mean it isn’t supporting us. Life throws challenges at us every day, and in the fall when everything in nature around is literally breaking down, it can be easy to fall into a trap of withdrawing instead of drawing in. When we are challenged, within reason, we can learn more about ourselves and the direction our life is going by taking the time to connect deeper within ourselves.
Click on the link below to learn more about the Ayurvedic transition from Pitta season (Summer) to Vata season (Fall), and get some Ayurveda tips to support you body, mind, and spirit as you move into autumn.
One thing for sure is that we’ve all been sitting down a lot more over the past 18 months – working from home, helping kids with homeschooling, grocery shopping from the sofa, etc. We know that spending hour after hour sitting down isn’t good for us, but just how much exercise is needed to counteract the negative health impact of a day at a desk? A 2020 study suggests about 30-40 minutes per day of building up a sweat should do it.
Click on the link below and find out more about how less than an hour of “moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity” every day is about the right amount to balance out 10 hours of sitting still.
At Radiance we love combining different types of yoga classes to meet our mind-body needs, but we also love coming up with creative ways of staying active while going about our days; squats and stretches while waiting for the kettle to boil, Sun Salutations when the coffee is brewing, leg lifts when brushing your teeth, lunges when making dinner, taking the work call outside for a walk if you don’t need to be in front of your screen, a dance party when doing the dishes, Boat Pose when watching TV…so many ways to sneak a little extra activity throughout the day!
James Garner once said, “You can never have too many friends.” Friends are a witness to our lives, a reflection, a sounding board, an ally, and a companion. They remind us why we are here and that no matter what may be happening, that we are not alone. At Radiance one of our core values is community, we love seeing the new friendships develop in class and around the community table!
Multiple studies have found that older adults with a broad array of “weak” as well as “close” ties enjoy better physical and psychological well-being and live longer than people with narrower, less diverse social networks. Also, older adults with broad, diverse social networks have more opportunities to develop new relationships when cherished friends or family members move away or die.
“Feeling connected to other people, not just the people who are closest to you, turns out to be incredibly important,” said Gillian Sandstrom, a senior lecturer in the department of psychology at the University of Essex in England. Sandstrom’s research has found that people who talk to more acquaintances daily tend to be happier than people who have fewer of these interactions. Even talking to strangers makes people feel less lonely and more trusting, she has discovered.
Click on the link below and find out how even casual interactions with your fellow citizens can be meaningful.
Being aware of your body, and developing a posture that is upright, aligned, and grounded but also relaxed, is surprisingly helpful in developing attunement—the ability to be aware of our own state of mind and body while also tuning in and connecting to another person.
An important part of attunement is physical, whether we’re conscious of it or not. Even if we have no physical contact with another person, attunement involves the use of body language, facial expression, and the coordination of our own movements with the other person.
Click on the link below to learn more, and of course sign up for a class at Radiance to help stretch out, align and release any physical tension.
Breathwork is the active form of consciously working your breath to bypass the mind and enter a different state of awareness. This is what most people seek when meditating, and breathwork takes you to that place very quickly. The practice gives the brain’s executive functioning something to focus on, so you can bypass the mental level of consciousness and drop into a deeper state of consciousness, where healing, spirit, and love reside.
Click on the link below to learn more about the science of breathwork and how it differs from yoga or meditation.
Tea is a symbol of hospitality, community, and family tradition. It is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and is packed with a variety of nutrients. Black, green, or herbal, we know tea is the longevity drink enjoyed among the longest-lived people in the world, but how does it work to extend longevity, relieve stress, protect against cancer, and decrease the risk of heart disease?
Grab yourself a cuppa and click on the link below to find out what drinking tea every day does to your body.
Think you have a willpower problem? If you’re like most health-seekers, what you actually have is an ultradian rhythm problem. Never heard of ultradian rhythms? You’re not alone. They’re not something we learn about in school, or from most health media. But just like heartbeats and eye blinks, we all have them, and we need them to function properly.
Our ultradian rhythms matter mightily to virtually all aspects of our physical, mental, and emotional health. They also play a big role in we think about as our “willpower” and our ability to carry out the decisions we believe to be in our own best interest.
Basically, ultradian rhythms are like mini-versions of circadian rhythms (our twenty-four-hour cycles of sleep and waking), except that they are much shorter, occurring many times over a single day. Like circadian rhythms, they have a powerful effect on your body, and when they are disrupted or ignored, they can really mess with your health, happiness, and general well-being.
Click on the link below to learn more about ultradian rhythms and how to understand and respect your own, and the importance of “ultradian rhythm breaks” so that you can get the best from your body and mind.
We are so thrilled to see our community growing! Some of you have been with us from the beginning, and many of you are just joining the Radiance Yoga family. With all of the new faces in the studio and on the LiveStream gallery, sometimes the prospect of striking up a conversation can feel a little overwhelming, especially after over a year of quarantine!
Psychologists have found that just making small talk with a stranger can be cognitively demanding, tiring, and even stressful. That makes sense. You don’t know the person, you don’t know where the conversation is going, so you must pay closer attention than you would if you were talking to someone you know well. But psychologists have found that talking to a stranger actually boosts your mental performance — for that same reason: It’s a workout.
In researching his book, Joe Keohane discovers that talking to strangers can not only be fun but also enhance our sense of well-being, make us smarter, expand our social and professional networks, and even help us overcome some of our most intractable social problems.
Click on the link below and find out what tips he gleaned for starting a conversation with a stranger.
During the pandemic, many people have felt their mental health decline. The problem has hit essential workers and young adults, ages 18 to 24, the worst, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in May. The percentage of adults with signs of anxiety or depression has grown threefold, from about 10% to 30%.
Although some people are starting to test the waters of public life again, planning vacations and socializing more, others may still have lingering signs of what psychologists call languishing. They may feel an emptiness or dissatisfaction in day-to-day life. Or feel like they’re stuck in weariness or stagnation.
Luckily, an emerging area of brain science has a new way to help lift yourself out of languishing — and bring more joy into your life.
Click on the link below and learn about simple ways to cultivate positive emotions and find your joy.
Now that the world is beginning to open up again, most of us will be booking a vacation as soon as we can! So with that in mind, we’ve listed some practical ways to be a healthier traveler, especially in this new age of masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing.
🌎 Buy a COVID-proof travel insurance policy
🌎 Don’t let your guard down just because you are on holiday, continue practicing the same protocols that you do at home – hand sanitizing/washing, masks in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces, etc
🌎 Get quality sleep before, during, and after your vacation
🌎 Drink plenty of water and herbal tea to stay hydrated
🌎 If you’re used to taking vitamins or supplements, bring them with you. Keeping up your levels of vitamins C and D can help you maintain your immunity. B vitamins can boost your energy. Maintaining your regular health routines will help your body stay balanced.
If you are interested in combining your vacation with yoga, consider our upcoming retreat to Costa Rica this October with Emily and Masuda!
The flight is booked; the itinerary set. Your bag is packed with clothes you haven’t worn in eternity, and you’re ready to take your first real vacation since February 2020. You’re just out the door when you spot them: The houseplants you’ve lovingly cared for (and that have cared for you) through months of lockdown. Will they make it on their own while you’re away?
Plants are more resilient than we give them credit for, and most will bounce right back after a short dry spell. But if you’re going to be gone for more than a few days, you’ll want to have a plan for ensuring your foliage doesn’t get frayed in your absence.
Click on the link below and learn how to make a self-watering planter for your plant babies.
Are you eating enough fruits and vegetables? We all know fruits and vegetables are important for good health, but many Americans aren’t getting enough of these foods in their diet. In fact, roughly 90% of Americans don’t meet the daily recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, let alone 30 different varieties a week! Tomorrow (June 17) is Eat Your Vegetables Day, a day dedicated to getting people to eat their veggies, and also in spreading awareness of their diversity and necessity in a healthy diet.
To get started, try to “Eat the Rainbow”. Eating different colored fruits and vegetables is a fundamentally healthy way to eat. Our bodies need a variety of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals to stay healthy, and nature has color-coded these for us. Each color provides various health benefits and no one color is superior to another, which is why a balance of all colors is most important. An easy way to make sure you’re getting all the different nutrients is to choose a variety of colorful vegetables to fill half your plate.
Red – Foods that are red help reduce cancer risk, boost your immune system, and enhance brain and heart health. This is because they contain compounds like anthocyanidins and lycopene.
Orange – Foods that are orange help boost your immune system and optimize eye and skin health. This is because they contain compounds like beta-carotene and curcuminoids.
Yellow – Foods that are yellow are anti-inflammatory and promote eye, skin, brain, and heart health. This is because they contain compounds like lutein and zeaxanthin.
Green – Green foods are anti-inflammatory, support your liver, and are vital for brain and heart health. This is because they contain compounds like chlorophyll and isoflavones.
Blue and Purple – Foods that are blue and purple are anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and are good for the brain! This is because they contain compounds like anthocyanidins and resveratrol.
White and Brown – Foods that are white and brown are anti-inflammatory, plus they support a healthy liver and optimize hormone health. This is because they contain compounds like allicin and tannins.
Click on the link below and find out pretty much everything you’ll ever need to know about fruits and veggies – from hot topics of interest to food safety, along with a slew of additional resources for your produce education!
Optimizing your brain health is no one-and-done venture. As many experts will tell you, it takes everyday interventions and a balanced, holistic approach to stay sharp throughout the years—everything from food to exercise to hydration can enhance your mental game.
Neuroscientist and author of Biohack Your Brain Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D., would agree: “Very simple lifestyle changes, if practiced consistently, will support your brain health for a lifetime,” she says. One of those simple changes? Burying your nose in a book for at least 15 minutes per day.Click on the link below to learn how poring over pages can better your brain.
How many of us have reached for that large coffee after a night of poor sleep? It’s not uncommon, but it also might not be all that helpful for getting us back on track, according to new research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition.
When we’re not getting enough sleep (i.e., quantity and quality), it can take a major toll on our cognitive abilities, making it more challenging to go about our day. Since coffee and other caffeinated beverages are often used to bolster us when we’re tired, researchers from Michigan State University wanted to know just how well caffeine actually counteracts inadequate sleep duration.
Click on the link below to learn what the study found. If you are struggling with sleep you might want to try out our Yoga Nidra classes or Restorative Yoga classes to help you de-stress and relax.
If being prodded with needles is your worst nightmare, you’re not alone—but here’s a plot twist you might not have expected: Using acupuncture for sleep may actually offer super-relaxing benefits that lead to dreamy nights, and even a nap mid-acupuncture session.
Click on the link below to find out more about how applying acupuncture to specific pressure points allows your body to heal and self-regulate, and offer sleep-inducing effects.
In Northern Virginia, we all know someone who has had, or is currently dealing with, Lyme disease. Even though Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the US, we have a long way to go to figure out how to prevent it and how to deal with its long-term consequences. We don’t know why a chronic condition persists in some people despite treatment. Patient activists have contributed greatly to the current understanding of Lyme disease: They have lobbied, protested, written, and funded research, pushing the medical establishment to recognize the full extent of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). They’ve also pushed insurance companies to pay for extended treatments and have supported research on better diagnostic tests and treatments.
Click on the link below to find out more about preventions, treatments and new research on this disease.
Chair yoga is a general term for practices that modify yoga poses so they can be done while seated in a chair. This practice makes it accessible for anyone who isn’t able to move through standing and supine yoga postures or who has challenges with balance. Chair yoga stretches are also ideal as a midday movement break, particularly for people who work at a desk all day long.
Click on the link below for some ideas to help you bend, twist, fold, and roll out any pent-up tension in your body.
One of the ways we can most deeply experience and tune in to nature is by gardening—spending intentional time to nourish the natural world. When we garden, we feel the tactile qualities of the greenery and the dirt, and get a close-up view of the insects, petal patterns, and other tiny details we’d usually skim over. And if you don’t have a garden, all it takes to zoom in to nature is to bring that same kind of intentionality to observing. Nature is abundant with nourishment, and even some surprises, if only we take our time and open our awareness to what it has to offer.
Click on the link below for some tips on how to best appreciate the nature around you.
Happiness looks different for everyone. For you, maybe it’s being at peace with who you are. Or having a secure network of friends who accept you unconditionally. Or the freedom to pursue your deepest dreams. Regardless of your version of true happiness, living a happier, more satisfied life is within reach.
Click on the link below for some suggested tweaks to your regular habits that can help you find more joy in your life and cultivate ongoing happiness – who couldn’t do with a bit of that?!
One of the first senses that come into play when eating is your vision. Your eyes stimulate your salivary glands, and your gastrointestinal tract is triggered. Color can help you eat healthier, control the amount of food you eat and generally feel healthy — and blue is an important color to have on your plate. For higher nutrient and antioxidant power, choose foods with a darker color. The antioxidant power provided by blue and purple foods comes from the presence of two main chemical compounds: anthocyanins and betacyanines.
Research hasn’t uncovered every aspect of what makes these berries so advantageous to our cognitive health, but we have discovered that improvements in the brain can occur rather quickly by simply adding them to a healthy diet. Purple berries are one of the easiest and most delicious ways to:
💙 Improve problem-solving, learning, and memory
💙 Highly neuroprotective and antiaging
💙 Help with fluidity of thought
💙 Improve coordination and balance
💙 Increase alertness and focus
💙 Enhance potential for neurogenesis
To discover more about this special class of superfoods click on the link below and read about the protective power of purple berries and how they can improve brain and overall health.
Does this sound familiar? “Although I’m a long-time meditator, I continually struggle to truly turn off my head. Enter my ‘monkey mind,’ the intrusive, restless thoughts that derail me from finding mental calm.”
Although the idea of quieting the mind and blissing out in meditation sounds wonderfully rejuvenating, actually achieving a meditative state can be an uphill battle for those of us with overactive thoughts.
If your mind goes a mile a minute, these meditation tips are for you. Click on the link below and get some tips meditation when you’re an over-thinker!
While many Buddhist monks take a vow of silence as part of their practice, one monk named Yogetsu Akasaka is combining beatboxing beats with traditional Buddhist sutras. The Tokyo-based Buddhist monk creates music for meditation, but his songs aren’t like the instrumental tracks you may have heard before! He says his goal is to make music for less anxiety and to help reduce suffering.
Whether you’re looking for tracks to help you shift into deep focus, elevate your sense of mindfulness or make you drift peacefully off to sleep, there’s a wide variety of mixes on his YouTube channel. Click on the link below and check out some of his amazing meditation music.
So what foods should you be eating before and after rolling out your yoga mat? Yoga is all about learning to get your mind and body in balance—about finding inner peace and stability. If you follow that logic, it seems that eating mindfully and healthfully should actually be a huge component of yoga.
Click on the link below to learn how to stop eating mindlessly—and instead to eat mindfully— for your best yoga practice ever.
Spring is a time for rebirth, renewal, sunshine, dewdrops, and the promise of sunny days. It can also be a time of intense allergies, congestion, and sluggishness.
During winter we sleep more, eat heavier foods, and take time to snuggle in for some alone time. In the spring we want to begin to balance this out by eating lighter and drier foods, waking earlier as the sun rises earlier, and beginning to spread our social wings.
According to Ayurvedic principles, allergies stem from all the Kapha we accumulate over the winter accumulating in our body. We need the Kapha accumulation in the winter to keep us warm, hydrated, and nourished. In the spring, this accumulation can lead to colds, allergies, and a general feeling of sluggishness.
Click on the link to discover what Radiance Yoga instructor and Ayurveda and Holistic Health Counselor Angelina Fox recommends to prevent allergies from starting this spring.
The brain is constantly undergoing neuroplasticity, meaning it’s growing and changing throughout our lifetime. One way to support that process and enhance memory function is by eating functional foods says neuroscientist and neurodegenerative disease researcher Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D.
Click on the link below to find out her go-to nutrients and food sources for a sharper brain.
Are you sitting while you read this post? Where are you sitting? On an office chair, or on your squishy sofa?
Okinawa, Japan is one of the 5 blue zones where people live exceptionally long and healthy lives and is home to the world’s longest-lived women. In Okinawa, people traditionally sit on the floor to read, eat, talk, and relax instead of sitting in chairs. Okinawan centenarians sit and get up from the floor dozens or hundreds of times per day. This exercises their legs, back, and core in a natural way as they get up and down all day long. Sitting on the floor also improves posture and increases overall strength, flexibility, and mobility. Studies correlate the ability to sit and rise from the floor without support with a longer life expectancy. Sitting on the floor also develops musculoskeletal fitness.
Click on the link below to find out why sitting on the floor is linked to health, mobility, and longevity, and how you can practice it at home.
Quick! How much water should you drink in a day? If you instantly thought of the eight-by-eight rule (or eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day), you’re not alone.
However, according to Dana Cohen, M.D., integrative medicine physician and co-author of Quench, it’s time we take a closer look at the pervasive gold standard. “Eight glasses of water a day—it comes from nowhere,” she says. Because let’s be honest: How can two people with completely different body types, environments, and lifestyles require the same amount of water? “It doesn’t make any sense,” she adds.Click on the link below to find out how to edit your water goals based on your body and lifestyle.
The practice of shinrin-yoku is based on walking through the forest at a gentle pace for two hours or more. Keeping your phone switched off allows time to soak up the environment around you and come into the here and now. The phrase shikan-shouyou means “nothing but wandering along,” something we rarely get a chance to do but that is very beneficial.
How to make your next nature walk even healthier for the body and mind:
Focus on your feet as they come into contact with the ground. Sense how every muscle in your body works together as you take one step followed by another. Become an observer of your thoughts. Acknowledge them and allow them to move on as you settle into the rhythm of walking. Take note of:
🌳 Which muscles engage as you lift up one foot from the ground in order to take another step?
🌳 Which part of your feet touches the ground first?
🌳 How do your arms synchronize with your legs?
🌳 How do you feel as you walk? Are there any aches and pains or sore areas? Imagine yourself breathing into these areas, and imagine the pain easing away.
🌳 How do you feel emotionally? Are you feeling happy, or do you have anxious thoughts going around your busy mind?
See how quietly you can walk so that you can notice as many of the details around you as possible.
Read more from Yoshifumi Miyazaki, a forest bathing researcher, about how to boost the health benefits of your next nature walk by clicking on the link below.
Forward folds (uttanasana) are an essential yoga posture that show up in nearly every yoga class—and for good reason. It’s an excellent stretch, as well as an inversion, and according to Tara Swart, Ph.D., neuroscientist and author of The Source, a nice, drawn-out forward fold may be just the thing we’re missing in our regular movement routine. Here’s how to properly do it, plus why it’s so beneficial.
🧡 Start by standing in mountain pose, with your hands either at heart center or on your hips. Inhale.
🧡 On your exhale, begin to hinge forward from the hips with a straight spine, as if you could lengthen your chest outward. If you wish, you can bend the knees, allowing your stomach to come to the top of your thighs.
🧡 When you’ve gone as far down as you can go, allow the head to hang heavy, grabbing opposite elbows with opposite hands. Thighs are turned slightly inward.
🧡 Begin to shift the weight into the heels, as you tilt the hips upward and straighten out your legs (without locking the knees). Keep exercising the motion of sending your hips upward, stretching the hamstrings, and letting the head hang.
🧡 If your legs are straight without having to round your spine too much, you can reach for the floor with your hands, pressing into the mat with fingertips or palms. For a deeper stretch, wrap the arms around the backs of your ankles, palms facing in.
🧡 Engage the fronts of the thighs to allow your hamstrings to release, and start shifting your weight into the balls of your feet.
🧡 Hold for up to 1 minute. As you inhale, work to lengthen the torso, lifting it slightly, and as you exhale, release, and you’ll be able to stretch even deeper.
🧡 To come out, inhale and rise up with straight legs and a flat back. Alternatively, you can rag-doll up, one vertebra at a time, with chin coming up last.
Read more about why this neuroscientist wants you to do more forward folds by clicking on the link below.