7 Beginner Yoga Poses That Increase Flexibility

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This is a guest post from Sam Negrin | creator and EIC of AllGoodHealth.net and editorial manager of LEAFtv

The practice of yoga has so many incredible healing benefits to both our mind and body. The word Yoga in Sanskrit actually means, to yoke or bind, to unite [mind, body and spirit]. Far too often I hear people say that they aren’t flexible enough to go to a yoga class. If that’s you – this stops now! Yoga is a life-long practice that has no goals or expectations, that’s the beauty of it. In addition to strength and endurance, flexibility is an essential component to leading a healthy, fit life as we grow older. In the words of K. Pattahbi Jois (founder of ashtanga yoga), “Whether you do your first downward dog at 14 or 44, it’s not your history but your presence on your mat that counts.”

These are 7 beginner yoga poses that you can do at home everyday to increase flexibility. Here are some free, short at-home yoga videos you can watch too.

1. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend): Contrary to what it looks like, this pose is not just flopping forward over your legs. Stand evenly on both feet hip-distance apart, micro-bend your knees to avoid hyper-extension and hinge over your legs from your hip joint (not your upper back). Engage the quadriceps and hamstrings so vigorously that you feel yourself finding more extension in your back and folding deeper. Keep tucking your lower belly in to avoid too much rounding in the low-back. Inhale, find length in the back and exhale, fold deeper.

2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): This is a great intro to deeper backbends. Lie on the floor with the tops of your feet, thighs and pubis bone pressing firmly into the mat. Place your palms underneath your shoulders and on an inhale, lift the sternum. Draw your shoulder blades down the back to create space in the neck. Work on pressing your palms into the mat as you find length in the upper back, possibly straighten your arms–but be careful not to compress the lower back (this might mean you keep your arms bent, as pictured). Stay for 10-15 breaths.

3. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog): This is an incredible stretch for your entire body. Start on your hands and knees with your hands 4-5 inches in front of your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Inhale, and on your exhale begin to lift the hips and straighten the legs. Press firmly into all 10 fingers, especially the index fingers and thumbs. Gaze at your belly or in-between your thighs. Read more on alignment for this pose here.

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This Cool Bathing Suit Line Is Perfect For The 4th

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With summer here and the Fourth of July just around the corner the time for a cool bathing suit is NOW!  Have you seen Issa de’ mar suits?  Designed by Marissa Eveland and Melissa Jasniy, good friends who surf and lived on the North Shore of Oahu together, the line is rad if you’re looking for something with a little more umphhh.  Just be sure to wear sunblock under some of those strappy pieces! Avail here and here.

p.s. how gorgeous is their lookbook? more after the jump!

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How To Take Control of Your Skin Naturally

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This is a guest post from Sam Negrin | creator and EIC of AllGoodHealth.net and editorial manager of LEAFtv

If you didn’t have skin problems as a teen, you’re lucky. But for most of us, acne and inflammation have been a regular occurrence for years. If you feel like you’re way too old to be worrying about constant acne, you aren’t alone! Skin is a tricky thing and I, for one, have tried (almost) everything. Dozens of dermatologists prescribing specialty ointments, pills, creams, brand name ‘acne treatments’ that cost over $100/bottle… you name it: my bathroom cabinet had it. Well, I finally got completely fed up with my overflowing cabinet of products that worked for 3-4 weeks and then suddenly stopped. So, I tried a different method. ALL NATURAL! That’s right. I tossed everything, bought a lemon, and started fresh.

Here are 5 tips that worked for me, and I am certain will help you on your journey to glowing skin.

1. Alkaline Your Body. This is extremely important to keeping a healthy gut (digestive tract), which directly correlates to the skin. But what does “alkaline” mean? Our body has different pH levels – ranging from acidic to alkalized. High acidity can lead to acid reflux, heart burn, digestive issues, acne, inflammation and discomfort. Today, the average person tends to lean towards the acidic side – you can pick up a pH strip at the drug store to measure yourself. In any case, research shows that balancing pH first thing in the morning leads to clearer skin and reduced inflammation. You can do this by drinking warm water with lemon or adding 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar to a glass of water coupled with a daily probiotic.

2. You Are What You Eat. I can’t stress this enough. Your skin forms from the inside-out. High sugar and dairy intake can cause inflammation and disruption under the skin, which are a big cause of those terrible cysts. By nourishing your entire body with nutrient-dense foods that have a high amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, iron, essential fats and zinc, you are doing your skin a major favor. Think: dark leafy greens, fruit & veggies with rich colors (beets, carrots, peppers, blueberries), and anything probiotic (kombucha, yogurt). Here are 7 foods that can help. You can still treat yourself of course, but if you’re having skin problems, be careful with the sugar- and dairy-rich foods for up to 2 months and notice the results.

3. Drink Lot of H2O! Staying hydrated is essential. Drinking a substantial amount of water keeps your entire body functioning properly, notably: digestive system, which translates to glowing, dewey skin. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, and make sure to re-fill it throughout the day. No more excuses.

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