5 Tips to Break Your Yoga Rut - David Magone

via Huffington Post

We’ve all been there. You’re on the mat, you’ve been practicing the same yoga poses again and again and you just feel stuck… maybe uninspired, maybe in a rut, or feeling as though your hamstrings will never open despite the fact that you’ve been stretching them for years. 

What do you do when this happens? How can you get things moving again?

Follow these five simple steps to break out of the rut!

Tip #1: Determine Where Your Limitations Lie

We all get stuck sometimes. When this happens in our personal or professional lives, we typically analyze our barriers to determine what it is that’s holding us back and then try to find solutions to overcome our challenges. There’s no reason that you can’t do the same with your yoga practice.

The next time you step onto the mat, take a good honest look at yourself, and determine which areas of your practice could use some extra work. Can you backbend like a cheerleader but have a hard time touching your toes in forward folds? Do you have great flexibility, but find that you can barely hold yourself up in poses that require strength? When you discover these types of things, take note of them in a practice journal. Later on, you can use this information to create a practice plan to help strengthen the areas where you feel limitation.

Tip #2: Practice What You’re Not Good At

While playing to your strengths is good, it’s equally if not more important to focus attention on those areas that are not so open — especially if you feel stuck in your practice. If you’ve found that you have a spaghetti noodle in your spine and hamstrings made of iron, then maybe it would make sense to integrate fewer backbends into your practice for a while so that you can have more time to focus on developing your forward-folding range of motion. Or, if your postures are really open, but you find yourself getting stressed out over little things all of the time, then perhaps you should consider integrating more meditation into your practices to cultivate mental balance. Overall, focusing on strengthening and balancing the areas of yourself that aren’t as developed is the key to true transformation.

Tip #3: Mix It up: Alternate What You Practice

Doing the same set of exercises every single day can lead to cranky muscles and tired joints. To avoid this, alternate what you practice. For example, you could create a yoga sequence to be practiced Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and switch things up by doing some cardio or weight lifting on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Your body will love the variety, and you’ll progress much more quickly than if you do the same thing every day.

Tip # 4: Be Consistent

This is the singular most important part of reaching your goals. If you work really hard once or twice per week, and spend the rest of your downtime drinking lattes and surfing the Internet, you won’t make any progress at all. To set a rhythm, choose a consistent daily time to practice and stick to it. Be patient with yourself and repeat your weekly practice routine at least three times per week for best results. Remember, it’s better to practice a little bit every other day than really hard once or twice per week

Tip # 5: Journalize and Share Your Progress With a Friend

This is a really important step that most people ignore. However, when it comes to personal transformation, accountability can be a powerful motivator. A recent article in the Atlanticsuggested that weight loss programs that encourage journalizing and social interaction between participants were much more likely to succeed in taking and keeping off weight than other programs that depend solely on willpower.

To integrate this step, get a small notebook, and create a series of boxes — one for each day of the week you are planning to practice. Give yourself a + for every day that you practice, and a - for those days when you skip out. Jot notes down for every practice, recounting what went well and what areas there are to improve upon. At the end of the week, share your progress with a close friend or practice buddy. Be gentle, but honest with yourself. Adjust your practice plan as necessary based on your journal and practice experiences. Soon, you’ll find yourself progressing nicely.

For more by David Magone, click here.

For more on yoga, click here.

Flickr photo by yogalifestudios

TURMERIC via Pharmaca

Even if you’ve never taken turmeric as a supplement, there’s a good chance you’ve tasted it; it’s a common spice and kitchen staple used in almost all Indian dishes, as well as many Thai and Persian foods.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) grows mainly in southern and southeast Asia and is known for its brilliant deep yellow hue. As part of the ginger family, turmeric has a pungent, peppery taste that contributes a great savory flavor to many dishes. The rhizome, or underground stem, is the part of the plant utilized for medicinal purposes.

Decades’ worth of research has shown that in India, where turmeric is a staple, the occurrence of chronic illness is dramatically lower than in Western countries (especially the U.S.). The active constituent of turmeric is curcumin (scientifically referred to ascurcumanoids), a compound that has a multitude of powerful, protective health benefits that provide more than 50 healing actions—probably why it has been used medicinally in India and China for more than 2,000 years.

Turmeric’s diverse range of therapeutic uses include as an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, a circulation stimulant, an antibacterial and an anti-fungal. It has also been used for its anticancer, liver-supportive and cholesterol-reducing properties. Turmeric can be used daily to maintain and prevent disease, or can be used in a range of health conditions, including:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Fever
  • Gallstones
  • Liver dysfunctions
  • HIV/AIDS support
  • Indigestion
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis, back and joint pain, or psoriasis and eczema

Turmeric can be found in a number of different formulas, listed either as turmeric or its active constituent curcumin. Some formulas also contain bioperine—a natural, patented form of pepper (also known as piperine, Piper nigrum) that has been proven to increase the absorption of other nutrients.

Here are some of my favorites:

Thorne Research’s Meriva-SRMeriva is a patented time-release formula of curcumin that has superior bioavailability (i.e. absorption).
New Chapter Turmeric Force, a very pure and potent formulation.
Pharmaca brand Turmeric includes bioperine from an always-trusted source for herbal medicines
Jarrow Formulas’ Curcumin 95
Integrative Therapeutics’ Curcumax Pro, which uses the better-absorbed Merivacurcumin and pairs it with boswellia extract, which helps support range of motion in the musculoskeletal system
Pure Encapsulations Curcumin 500 with Bioperine, a patented formula that includes black pepper for enhanced absorption

Turmeric was once referred to as “poor man’s saffron,” due to its deep yellow hue (and much lower price). People now call it Indian gold because of its plethora of health benefits. Try taking turmeric for general illness prevention, maintaining good health or treating a current illness. With its wide range of therapeutic actions and powerful health benefits, turmeric can be a great asset to your wellbeing.

Kate Brainard attended Bastyr University’s doctorate program in Naturopathic Medicine. She currently manages Pharmaca’s La Jolla store.

(Source: pharmacablog.com)

Our Nation - News and Analysis on the State of Tibet (2012 Episode-01)

h2ociscokid said: are you from saint paul to:)

i am! stpaul is where it’s at.

think happy. be happy

think happy. be happy

This is an amazing adventure blog that I found via Wordpress. 

A community campaign based out of Saint Paul, Minnesota to advocate the freedom of Tibet and to raise awareness. Follow on Twitter for news updates and local event information.

My dear friend shared this photo with me this afternoon. Please keep all of those who are suffering in your thoughts and prayers. OM MANI PADME HUM

My dear friend shared this photo with me this afternoon. Please keep all of those who are suffering in your thoughts and prayers. OM MANI PADME HUM


Facebook has failed to recognize Tibet as a possible home town for users.

Free Tibet director Stephanie Brigden told The Huffington Post: “By denying Tibetans the right to identify their homeland as Tibet Facebook is contributing to China’s systematic abuse of the Tibetan people.

This is smart…