Monthly Archives: April 2015

What Type Of Yoga Is Best For Me?

Have you wondered why there are different forms of yoga? Each one is a match to your kind of personality, physical need and fitness level. Some are gentle yet persuasive while some are rigorous enough for the advanced fitness enthusiasts.

First, know what you want to gain out of yoga. Are you after reducing stress? Do you need to I-dont-have-all-day2strengthen both mind and body? Or are you simply after flexibility as you are already in great shape?

Below are some of the popular yoga forms and how they can help depending on your needs.

  1. Ashtanga and Power Yoga: a challenging form but is great in increasing strength and losing weight.

Ashtanga involves a series of poses that you do nonstop. You learn a special breathing technique so that you are able to keep your mind focused while doing the postures. It teaches you discipline as well.

Power yoga is fitness-based so you can expect it to be vigorous. Some call it “gym yoga” because of its emphasis on flexibility and strength hence its name. It may have been patterned after Ashtanga, it does not follow a strict set of poses. Each session may differ from the other but it is a great way to work out especially if you are the type who easily gets bored of repetitions.

  1. Yin Yoga: a slow-paced form that is great for reducing stress.

If you are typically tired and your mind works nonstop, you will benefit from Yin yoga. It targets your body’s deep connective tissues stimulating them to peacefulness. It helps exercise your bones, joints and ligaments to the maximum.

Yin yoga is suited for all levels since stress knows no beginner or advanced. It can hit anyone.

  1. Hatha Yoga: this gentle form is great for beginners.

This form teaches more of the basic poses than the breathing techniques or exercises. It is mainly the physical form of yoga appropriate for beginners who are being introduced to the benefits of the practice.

  1. Iyengar Yoga: a slow-paced form that is gently suited for beginners

This form is similar to Hatha in gentleness but is more detailed. You may be asked to use some tools like bolster pillows or blocks and belts and other props that may be helpful so that you can do the poses properly.

  1. Bikram or Hot Yoga: advanced style with a higher degree of difficulty; not suited for those with heart diseases or low heat tolerance and pregnant women.

Bikram is known for its healing ability. Each heated class (105 degrees) is 90 minutes where you do a set of 26 consistent postures led by Bikram-trained or affiliated instructors.

Hot yoga is also done in a heated venue but less hotter ( 80-100 degrees). Poses vary depending on the instructor. In any of the two forms, you can expect to have every muscle, tendon, ligament and joint in your body to be fully worked so that you feel a systematic fresh change internally.

Below is a free Yoga workout to get you started!  For more Yoga workouts like this, go to:

How Does Drinking More Water Help Me Lose Weight?

Water is a universal solvent. That is a fact. But is it a magic formula to lose weight? I’d say YES and NO.

There have been several conflicting researches about whether or not drinking water can help in losing weight. Even popular professionals have different statements. A famous cardiologist believes water can help shed unwanted pounds because you consume up to 200 calories less a day after by drinking a few more cups of water a day. An internal medicine doctor however said Funny_picture_dog_drinking_water_fountainthat the mere addition of water in your diet will not help. Yet, he also added that drinking more water means drinking less sugar-laden drinks and that could help in losing weight. I can only agree because too much sugar consumption is a major culprit in weight gain. The more sugar you put in, the faster you grow – horizontally! Need I mention the illnesses associated with it?

Let me add some bits and pieces about the importance of water especially when you are dieting.

  • We often confuse thirst for hunger.  Next time you feel the need to eat, drink a glass of water and wait 15-minutes.  If you still want something to eat at 15-minutes, go for it!
  • If your body is properly hydrated, it works more efficiently.  And a more efficient body just naturally works better, which means more energy.  And an energized body burns more fat and calories.
  • Your liver is able to effectively metabolize body fats when you drink enough water while losing weight.
  • Water helps you turn glucose to glycogen when you consume ample amount of carbs.
  • You tend to feel full after downing a glass of water before a meal. You are then likely to eat less and less food leads to weight loss. Please note I said less food which is different from starving yourself.
  • Proper body fluid balance is maintained when you drink enough water.
  • Water is also essential for constructive metabolism to maintain nitrogen balance that helps influence muscle growth – a must for those in the fitness community.

I don’t encourage you to depend solely on water for complete weight loss. The smart way to do it is couple it with proper diet and exercise. Boosting your metabolism by drinking water is an establish premise but you also need to watch what you eat so that you reach your fitness goals more effectively. Begin and maintain your weight loss goal by limiting your calorie intake to 1200 to 1600 calories a day and by drinking an 8oz glass of water before each meal. Regular and proper amount of water intake is not only about keeping yourself properly hydrated but also about suppressing your appetite and dropping excess water weight you have. That would surely result to weight loss.

How Much Protein Do I Need To Eat?

Protein is the body’s main building block that plays an essential role where muscle, tendon, organ, skin, enzyme, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc is concerned. If you don’t get enough, your body could suffer. But how much protein do you really need to eat?

The average woman should consume about 45 grams of protein daily, or between 10% to 35% of your daily calories should come from protein. However, I would like to add that the right amount of protein an individual needs is affected by several factors including lifestyle, activity levels, weight loss or if you lifting weights to build muscles.

Are you among the following people with special protein needs?

  1. The dieter

You aim to lose body fat while maintaining lean muscles for effective weight loss. Properly portioned foods rich in protein help keep you full longer so that you stick to your diet more effectively. Your daily protein requirement is 0.35g to 1g/lb of body weight.

  1. The semi-vegetarian

You eat mostly vegetables but sometimes include chicken and pork in your diet in an attempt to get enough protein for your daily need. You require about 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of your body weight.

  1. The strict vegetarian 

You solely rely on pure vegetables but add beans and whole grains for your protein needs. Your daily protein range for every pound of your body weight is 0.36 to 0.86 grams.

  1. The fitness buff

You actively take part in sports and other physical activities. You regularly workout and because you know your protein need is twice as much, aside from your regular diet, you also take protein supplements. You need to have at least 0.7 grams to 1.6 grams of protein for every pound of your body weight.

Some women have higher protein needs such as those who are pregnant or lactating. They generally require an extra 10% of the recommended daily value to ensure they don’t suffer from deficiencies.

In general, a serving of meat, poultry or fish that is the same size and thickness of your palm or no more than 1/3 of your plate is fine. You should consume no more than 2 servings of that in a day. It is better distributed in your body if you spread your consumption throughout the day and not take it in one bulk.

Reduce Back Pain with a Foam Roller

The back is an intricate system of tissues, bones and muscles where your low back mobility is affected by 3 important muscles. These are the quadratus lumborum connected to the pelvis, ribs and lower spine. Next is latissimus dorsi, the long and wide muscle along the sides of the back that is connected to the spine, pelvis, tailbone, arms and armpits. Third is erector spinae, the muscle that helps keep the body straight covering the mid and upper spine.

Different physical activities can cause a lot of stress to the back and make it prone to aches and pains, a typical experience among athletes and fitness buffs. Here’s how you can reduce back pain using a foam roller.

  1. The low-back roll

Position the roller under your low back. Bend one knee and place your foot on the ground as you Foam-Rolling-Lower-Backhug one knee close to you. From the base of your rib cage, do a slow but steady roll down to the top of your glutes. Do up to 12 rolls then do the same on the other side.

  1. The glute move

Comfortably position the roller under your glutes. Allow one ankle to rest over the knee of other leg. Roll slowly up to 12 rolls then repeat switching leg positions from left to right.

  1. The hamstring distance

Just right below your glutes is your upper hamstring where you must position the foam roller. With your right leg crossed over your left leg, let the roller go up and down, the distance covering your glutes and the top of the back of your left knee. Switch leg positions and repeat after 12 slow but sure rolls.

  1. The iliotibial band or IT band assist

Place the roller behind your upper thigh with you lying on your side so that your legs and arms are able to support the movement. Allow the foam roller to run the entire IT band covering the upper maxresdefaultpart of your thigh down to the area above your knee. Do a roll of 12 then switch sides.

Often, knotted muscles cause the pain and the foam roller is a cost-effective solution to fix that pain away. Through these exercises with the foam roller, self-myofascial release happens through massage and flexibility combination. Aside from its therapeutic benefits, you are in essence re-training your muscles. This may help prevent low-back pains from coming back.

What’s The Difference Between Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga?

I have tried both Hot yoga and Bikram yoga to know that the two, while similar, are not the same. Both forms are practiced in a heated studio where postures are instructor-led…that is why perhaps some are confused but let me detail how they differ.

  • Hot yoga studio is heated to about 80-100 degrees with varying humidity. Bikram yoga setting is several degrees hotter: 105 degrees with 40% humidity.
  • Hot yoga poses vary while Bikram has 26 steady poses which includes 2 breathing drills imagesperformed consistently in a 90-minute session.
  • There is no bright light or surface requirement for Hot yoga sessions while Bikram requires
    mirrors and brilliant lighting.
  • Music, student-teacher interaction and clapping are common in a hot yoga class as opposed to Bikram’s hushed sessions.

The mirror

The mirror in a Bikram yoga studio serves as a tool to help establish a deeper relationship with yourself as you practice union of the mind and the body. It is there to help you appreciate what you find lovely about your body and confront, accept and liberate of what is not so lovable. It helps to have a deeper understanding of yoga.

Session duration

A typical Hot yoga session is 60 minutes long, enough to sweat it out really good and flush toxins out. Bikram is a longer 90-minute session which you may find tougher to get through but it is a matter of preference depending on your fitness level.

Class variation

As I mentioned above, Bikram follows a set of patented postures where all 26 are practiced consistently session after session. Hot yoga sessions on the other hand could vary depending on the instructor’s teaching style.

Teaching method

For those familiar with different yoga forms, you are likely to connect some Hot yoga styles to Vinyasa, Forrest, Iyengar, Ashtanga, etc. This is the kind of variation present in Hot yoga. Bikram yoga, meanwhile, strictly follows one style interpretation based on the training provided by its founder Bikram Choudhury where instructors and studios need to be affiliated.