Thursday, March 26, 2015

6 Compelling Reasons to Meditate

Meditation: Why it is good for your Mental and Physical Health

Meditation is the art of focusing 100% of your attention in one area. In the area of mindfulness meditation we're starting to get a better understanding of why it seems to be beneficial for so many aspects of life, from disease and pain management, to sleep, to control of emotions. What is Mindfulness exactly, as described by Perspectives on Psychological Science Study mindfulness is a "the nonjudgmental awareness of experiences in the present moment"

Here are 6 compelling reasons to begin a meditation practice:
  • IT LOWERS STRESS - LITERALLY - Research published in the journal of Health Psychology shows that mindfulness is not only associated with feeling less stressed, its also linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  • IT CHANGES THE BRAIN IN A PROTECTIVE WAY - University of Oregon researchers found that integrative body-mind training -- which is a meditation technique -- can actually result in brain changes that may be protective against mental illness. The meditation practice was linked with increased signaling connections in the brain, something called axonal density, as well as increased protective tissue (myelin) around the axons in the anterior cingulate brain region.
  • IT MAKES MUSIC SOUND BETTER -  Mindfulness meditation improves our focused engagement in music, helping us to truly enjoy and experience what we're listening to, according to a study in the journal Psychology of Music. 
  • IT SUPPORTS YOUR WEIGHT-LOSS GOALS - Trying to shed a few pounds to get to a healthier weight? Mindfulness could be your best friend, according to a survey of psychologists conducted by Consumer Reports and the American Psychological Association. Mindfulness training was considered an "excellent" or "good" strategy for weight loss by seven out of 10 psychologists in the survey. 
  • IT HELPS US EVEN WHEN WE'RE NOT ACTIVELY PRACTICING IT - You don't have to actually be meditating for it to still benefit your brain's emotional processing. That's the finding of a study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, which shows that the amygdala brain region's response to emotional stimuli is changed by meditation, and this effect occurs even when a person isn't actively meditating.
  • IT MAKES YOU A BETTER PERSON - Sure, we love all the things meditation does for us. But it could also benefit people we interact with, by making us more compassionate, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science. Researchers from Northeastern and Harvard universities found that meditation is linked with more virtuous, "do-good" behavior.
Interested in starting a meditation practice?  Be realistic in your expectations. Training or taming the mind is a skill to develop over a lifetime. Sure, there are some immediate benefits to be found, but some take longer than others. If expectations are too high then you may well feel disappointed and demotivated at some stage. So just take one day at a time. 
A wonderful method to try is simply breathing! Breathing Meditation: This technique takes those pre-yoga class "Oms" to the next level. Also called yogic breathing or Pranayama, this meditation style is all about controlling the inhales and exhales. Greatist Expert Dr. Jeffrey Rubin explains, "Longer exhales tend to be calming, while longer inhales are energizing. For meditative purposes either the ratio of exhale to inhale is even or the exhale is longer than the inhale for a calming effect."

Interested in exploring meditation a bit more, come try Candlelight Yin Yoga Sunday evenings 7:00PM-8:30PM at Sana Vita Studio.  This meditative style of yoga holds postures for longer lengths of time, increasing flexibility, melting away tension, decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety, and increasing a sense of calmness and peacefulness. CLICK HERE for more information of to sign up!

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Eating Habits are Contagious

Do you wish you made better food choices? Interestingly enough, reading the latest book or scouring the internet is not the best way. Studies show the best way to change the way you eat is to talk to someone who you consider healthy and learn about their daily diet. You are more likely to stick with a new healthy lifestyle if you socially engaged with the person or group you consult. Good thing we offer group nutritional coaching classes at Sana Vita Studio!

Simply, we do not want be to told what to do, but want to be told what others do. Just think about it when you were young and began making choices about your wardrobe.... which one seemed like the better option: wearing what your mom told you was cool or wearing what friends valued as cool? Same difference when it comes to food choices. As soon as we can start making choices about what we eat, we become greatly impacted by the influence of others which we admire and by groups of people we dislike. For example, if you get happy hour cocktails and appetizers every Friday with your favorite co-workers, you probably look forward to it! You may associate happiness with this weekly feasting. On the flip side, if a group you dislike enjoys a certain kind of food, you adjust your tastes so you do not align with whatever they like, because you do not want to be associated with them.

Make a list of your favorite foods or frequented foods...
  • Are any of them something your family or friends enjoy? 
  • Are any of them well respected by a group of people you aspire to be like or associate with? Maybe from a publication, food source (store or restaurant), people or person you respect...
  • Are any new foods (healthy, think chia seeds or or unhealthy, think cronuts...) you enjoy that a friend or family member told you about?
I thought about my favorite foods: baked potatoes, pad thai, cookies, peas, collard greens, raspberries, tuna, tamales and lasagna.

Baked potatoes, tuna, peas, cookies, chef or chopped salads - all family favorites. And i'm constantly finding new ways of preparing all of them on food blogs and from publications. Pad thai, collard greens, tamales - all friend favorites and things we like to eat when we are together. Raspberries - my favorite fruit after I watched a family member incorporate them into her diet. They are low GI, full of antioxidants, and fun to eat. Lasagna - my idol, Garfield's favorite food.

All of my favorite foods neatly fit into a category above... how about yours?

We are socially engaged with food. We should consider the way the internet, specifically social media, impacts the foods we crave. Try following healthy people and blogs that will motivate you, instead of looking pictures of your friend's Sunday night football chicken wing platters. Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter give you the ability to discretely hide or mute posts by friends or family that may be throwing stones at your new healthy lifestyle.

Because healthy (and unhealthy) behavior is contagious try posting new recipes and exercises you have found tried and true that are actually good for you. You could change your love ones lives by being a positive food and fitness source! Posting pictures of Sana Vita Studio or a cute #healthie (like a #selfie... but when you are being engaging in something healthy) keeps you health-positive and motivated and in return may do the same for people that follow you on social media!

Click here to read more about our nutritional coaching services.
Be kind to yourself..follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bring a Friend for Free in March

BRING A *FRIEND FOR FREE DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH! 
Exercising with a friend offers many benefits:
Friends hold each other accountable. Fewer skipped workouts mean you maintain and reach your fitness goals.

You will push yourself further. Working out with a friend pushes you to do the exercise and do it to the best of your ability. You are more willing to try something new. Friends provide the confidence boost to try new classes and enjoy the new experience together. Have your friend REGISTER HERE and select FREE SPRING FRIEND. Get fit and healthy together!

* Free Friend must be a new client to Sana Vita Studio. This offer is not valid with any other deal or a client registered under Class Pass. One class only and valid for Pilates Equipment, Pilates Mat, Power Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Yamuna Body Rolling.

New Classes - based on your feedback!

Monday's 7:00PM Pilates Mat with Kara
Thursday's 7:30PM Pilates Mat with Annette
Sunday's 7:00PM Candlelight Yin Yoga with Deanna
Sign up today!

Spring is almost here!
Stay motivated with a friend!