Feeling The Fall Cleaning Itch? Here’s Your Gentle 5-Step Guide
By Emma Loewe.
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 – A Time for Deep Reflection
By Angelina Fox.
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.
Scientists Figured Out How Much Exercise You Need to ‘Offset’ a Day of Sitting
By David Nield.
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!
Why We Need Casual Friendships Too
By Judith Graham.
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.
The Essential Precursor To Active Listening That Most People Miss
By Edward S. Brodkin, M.D. & Ashley A. Pallathra, M.A.
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: How To Tap Into The Incredible Power Of Breath
By Gwen Dittmar
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.
What Happens When You Drink Tea Every Day
By Elisabeth Almekinder
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.
Use the Science of Ultradian Rhythms To Boost Productivity, Energy, and Willpower
By Pilar Gerasimo author of The Healthy Deviant: A Rule Breaker’s Guide to Being Healthy in an Unhealthy World.
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.
The Power of Strangers
By Joe Keohane author of The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World
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.
Stuck In A Rut? Sometimes Joy Takes A Little Practice
By Michaeleen Doucleff
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.
How to Not Get Sick While Traveling
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!
Click on our Wellness Wednesdays link in our bio and find out what tips John Ayo, a healthy travel expert, keynote speaker, and author of Travel Balance: Where Healthy Travel Drives Greater Business Profitability has for reducing stress and staying well whilst on the road!
2 Ways To Make A DIY Self-Watering Planter Before Your Vacation
By Emma Loewe<
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 & Vegetables?
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!
This Is The Exact Number Of Minutes You Need To Read For Better Brain Health
By Jamie Scheider
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.
New Research Says Coffee Can’t Actually Make Up For Poor Sleep
By Sarah Regan
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.
Acupuncture May Help You Have the Absolute Best Sleep of Your Life
By Mary Grace Garis
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.
The Latest on Lyme Disease
Excerpted from Goop.com
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.
7 Chair Yoga Stretches That Are Perfect For A Midday Movement Break
By Juanina Kocher
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.
7 Ways to Appreciate the Natural World
Excerpted from Mindful.com
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.
How to Be Happy
Excerpted from Healthline.com
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?!
The Protective Power of Purple Berries
By Juanina Kocher
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.
9 Tips for Meditating When You Are an Over-Thinker
Excerpted from Healthline.com
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!
Yogetsu Akasaka – The Beatboxing Monk
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.
What to Eat Before and After Yoga
By Gina Tomaine
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.
Keep Clear this Spring and Beat Allergies with Ayurveda
By Angelina Fox
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.
A Neuroscientist’s Go-to Nutrients and their Sources for Brain Health
By Abby Moore
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.
Why the Okinawan Practice of Sitting on the Floor is Linked to Health, Mobility and Longevity
Excerpted from BlueZones.com
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.
How Much Water Should You Really Be Drinking?
By Jamie Schneider
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.
Discover the Benefits of Forest Bathing
By Yoshifumi Miyazaki, PhD
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.
One Word: Uttanasana!
By Sarah Regan
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.