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Michael Greger, MD, recently wrote for NutritionFacts.org about the many benefits one can experience when eating a plant-based diet. The list is so incredibly long and well-researched, you might be convinced to give up meat altogether; however, if you’re not, you can at least learn about these many benefits and consider going veggie just one or two days a week!

Learn more about hosting your own plant-based, raw food detox yoga retreat with us!

A significant convergence of evidence suggests that plant-based diets can help prevent and even reverse some of the top killer diseases in the Western world and can be more effective than medication and surgery. See the following topics for research findings relevant to the most prevalent chronic conditions.

Additionally, plant-based eating may have a positive effect on reducing abdominal fat and acne, reversing the effects of aging and reducing the effects of allergies and asthma, and combatting overbearing body-odor. A plant-based diet can also positively impact cellulite, childhood IQ, cognition, eczema, gut bacteria, kidney stones, mood, oral health, waist circumference, and weight management – we were not kidding about how long the list of benefits is!

Plant-based eating also appears to help prevent:

Eating meat and other animal products may be associated with weight gain and a shortened lifespan. Meat also contains a high amount of saturated fat, trans fats, sulfur dioxide arachidonic acid, and heme iron. Meat, fish, dairy, and eggs may also increase our exposure to dietary antibiotics, industrial toxins, mercury and other toxic heavy metals, advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), cadmium, xenoestrogens in fish, and estrogenic meat carcinogens.

A plant-based diet can detoxify the body of these pollutants. Even just a step towards eating more plant-based might lengthen lifespan.

Contrary to popular myth, vegans have healthy bones and higher blood protein levels than omnivores, and most vegans get more than enough protein. In one study, within a matter of weeks, participants placed on the plant-based diet experienced improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin levels, insulin resistance, and C-reactive protein levels.

Vegans may have fewer nutrient deficiencies than average omnivores while maintaining a lower body weight without losing muscle mass. Those eating plant-based diets appear to experience enhanced athletic recovery without affecting the benefits of exercise. The arteries of vegans appear healthier than even long-distance endurance athletes and those on low-carb diets. In fact, the Paleo Diet may increase the risk of toxin contamination, DNA damage, and cancer.

There are two vitamins not available in plants: vitamins D and B12. There is a serious risk of B12 deficiency if no supplements or B12-fortified foods are consumed. Two other nutrients to monitor are iodine and zinc. Yeast- or algae-based long chain omega 3 fatty acids may also be beneficial.

Medical training continues to underemphasize nutrition education, meaning patients often do not receive information about all of the options for treatment. Doctors report they don’t practice preventative cardiology because they fear their patients won’t change their diet. Kaiser Permanente has begun more aggressive efforts to apprise patients about the advantages of plant-based diets.

Host a yoga retreat in Nicaragua that offers raw, plant-based meals to detoxify and rejuvenate while you practice yoga in paradise.

As the winter draws to a close, many people feel like the dark nights and cold days are never going to end. In the two months after the holidays, as we get back into the swing of work and daily stressors, we dream of traveling somewhere warm for a little well-deserved relaxation time. Turns out, this can actually be great for your physical and mental health. Here is Spirituality & Health’s list of the top 14 benefits of taking a beach vacation:

 

  1. Feel Refreshed—Beach mist is filled with an abundance of anions (negative ions), which boost the immune system, facilitate oxygen absorption in the lungs, and relieve stress and depression by regulating serotonin levels in the brain. These anions also act as antioxidants, cancelling out free radicals and thus increasing longevity and preserving youthful looks.
  2. Breathe Easier—Because gusts bring beach air to shore from the ocean, it tends to be clean and pollen-free. Sea air is also a natural nasal saline spray, clearing your respiratory passageways of allergens and pollutants. In fact, experts find that those who live by the beach and regularly swim in seawater tend to have healthier respiratory systems. If you have allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or bronchitis, swimming at the beach will naturally help flush out phlegm.
  3. Exfoliate—Your first step onto the beach begins to naturally exfoliate your feet. Now lie down and get a free, full-body exfoliation by gently scrubbing beach sand all over.
  4. Repair Skin Damage—Swimming in seawater opens your pores while sea salts (potassium chloride and sodium chloride) naturally seal any damaged skin. Regular swimming at the beach has been shown to relieve eczema, psoriasis, and rashes, as well as to shrink pimples and facilitate the healing of cuts and scrapes.
  5. Ease Pain—A plunge into cool water activates cold sensors positioned about 0.2 mm beneath your skin, which then trigger adrenaline and endorphin surges, thereby instantly dulling pain and invigorating you. Long term, bathing in seawater has anti-inflammatory effects that ease arthritis as well as your other aches and pains.

Practicing yoga is also proven to help ease muscle pain. Take your beach vacation to the shores of Nicaragua for a yoga retreat with world-class instructors.

  1. Moisturize—One study found that dry-skin sufferers experienced significant hydration after a 15-minute soak in seawater, but no benefit from a similar soak in tap water. (Note: One big difference is salt water’s magnesium, which helps boost the glow of moist skin.)
  2. Replenish Minerals—Seawater’s chemical makeup is similar to blood plasma. (After all, all life originated in the ocean!) Simply wading in seawater helps replenishes your blood with magnesium, iodine, potassium, sodium, calcium, and other minerals and amino acids, which enter through your pores.
  3. Beat Stress—Magnesium has also been shown to relieve anxiousness and irritability and to induce calmness. Beach swimming not only replenishes magnesium, it also preserves your melatonin (involved in sleep regulation) and tryptamine. In bringing all these neurotransmitters up to healthy levels, swimming in seawater relieves stress, relaxes muscles, and helps cure insomnia.
  4. Build Resilience—The more frequently you expose yourself to cool seawater, the less your heart and breathing rates will increase during physiological stress, ultimately making your body more resilient.
  5. Improve Cardio—When you enter cool water, your body quickly moves your blood from your extremities to concentrate it around your inner organs. Then, after your body heats up from swimming, your body moves your blood back around your extremities to prevent overheating. This super-cardio training will help keep you warm all winter.
  6. Detox—When your blood rushes from your extremities to your organs and back again, the cycle flushes out toxins through your pores.
  7. Boost Immunity—Studies show that, first, beach swimming increases white blood cell count over time. The theory is that the cold seawater acts as a mild stressor, like a workout for your immune system. Second, like breathing in beach mist, iodine enters your skin’s pores from seawater while swimming, further strengthening your immune system via enhanced thyroid regulation.
  8. Lose Weight—Cool-water workouts can burn twice the calories of warmer pool swims, because you burn energy to keep warm.
  9. Feel Sexier—Routinely exposing yourself to cold seawater increases testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in women. Your libido will increase, your fertility will improve, and you’ll feel better all over.

Couple your much-needed beach getaway with our Bucket List of Bliss yoga retreat with Cher Aslor to maximize your relaxation & rejuvenation. Sign up today!

Many people resolve to lose weight every year, starting January 1st. You’ve heard it – “New year, new me!” Unfortunately, studies show that a mere 8% of people stick to their new year resolutions, with new year diets lasting only about two months. We have a few tips to help you with your weight loss resolution (or if you just want to get healthy, or exercise more, or whatever!) in 2017.

  1. Make specific goals: Have you heard of SMART goals? Make goals specific, measurable, accountable, realistic, and timely. Yoga is perfect for SMART goals. You can pick a specific pose you want to be able to do (measurable, of course, by actually doing it), share your goal with your yoga instructor who can keep you accountable (and can agree that this is a realistic goal for you), and pick a deadline for being able to do the pose. You will have to work hard every day to work up achieving your goal, and can pick a new and more difficult pose every month – keeping you working all year.
  2. Be patient: Many people give up on their journey to health or a lower weight because they want instant gratification. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that. Use the non-exercise aspects of yoga – breathing, meditation, mindfulness – to stay present and grounded and remind yourself that achieving your goals will take time and dedication.
  1. Share your goals: Letting people in on your goals will help keep you accountable. Tell your friends, family, and most importantly your yoga classmates and instructor that you have set out a definite timeline of achievable yoga poses, and that you will be working all year to make it to those deadlines. You might be surprised at how many people remember and remind you to stay on track. Fitness, health, and weight loss don’t have to be done alone.

Even better, share a yoga experience of a lifetime with your friends at a yoga retreat in Nicaragua.

  1. Schedule it: This goes back to the “timely” aspect of SMART goals, and what better way to schedule work towards your goals than to sign up for yoga classes? You’ll have set times on set days that you have paid for and will want to stick to – especially if you’ve told all your friends and they call to ask where you are if you don’t go!
  1. Be resilient: Whether you get sidetracked by an injury or have a tough time keeping your schedule due to demands in other areas of your life, stick with it. Yoga can be done in short intervals every day, wherever you have time, which makes it a perfect activity for keeping up your weight loss or health goals all year. Just devote yourself to doing something every day, no matter how small.

Set yourself up to achieve your yoga goals this year by learning from and practicing with world class instructor Cher Aslor at her Bucket List of Bliss yoga retreat in Nicaragua.

Want to become an instructor rather than just practice? Join a Yoga Teacher Training right here in Nicaragua.

14 Yoga Poses to Revamp Your Vinyasa Routine

Once you start doing yoga, it doesn’t take long to get familiar with the basic poses. What was once intimidating is soon fun, and not only can you down dog with the best of them but you can even say “happy baby pose” without giggling. Eventually, you start to want more. Don’t get us wrong, you can always work on making your basic poses stronger, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to push yourself a little bit.” (more…)