Yoga anyone?!

Physical activity goes hand in hand with healthy eating in a healthy lifestyle.  There are lots of ways to be active; yoga was in the news lately  (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/fitness/yoga-may-help-heart-as-much-as-aerobics/article22239648/) for it’s potential to reduce cardiovascular risk factors.  “Based on 37 clinical trials, researchers found that performing yoga lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and other cardiovascular risk factors in increments comparable to those seen with aerobic exercise.”

A yoga class or practice often integrates physical activity, breathing and meditation and results  in increased strength, balance, flexibility, as well as enhanced ability to relax and stay present and focus on what’s happening in the moment.  If you’re wanting to start a yoga practice, whether it’s at home or in a yoga studio, then axiom ‘everything in moderation’ applies just as well here as it does to healthy eating.

At a recent yoga workshop the teacher, a very knowledgable East Indian guru, was asked “How do I get my children to practice yoga?” His answer made me smile. He said, ” Adults need to do yoga to become more playful and child-like; children don’t need to do yoga, they just need to be themselves”.  Keep this in mind as you start or continue with your yoga practice and have fun!

Here’s a ‘recipe’ for a simple yoga meditation for those of you who would like to incorporate that element of yoga into your practice.  It’s a food meditation and  it fits well with PPEP’s healthy eating mandate.  Some of you may find this a bit corny, but it’s a nice simple way to focus on the moment, enjoy one of the simple pleasures of life and connect to the food that nourishes us.

Ingredients:

1.  Comfortable clothes.

2. A relatively quiet spot in your home, office or a park nearby (in season :)!

3.  A small serving of your favourite fruit (or veggie) snack – in bite-sized pieces.

Directions:

1.  Sit in a comfortable position.  Take a nice deep breath and exhale completely, then return to ‘normal’ breathing.

2.  Take a piece of fruit in your hand, feel it, smell it, take a look at the colour and shape.

3.  Place the piece of fruit in your mouth. Chew! Feel the burst of juice, the flavour, the texture.

4. Continue to chew until each piece of fruit is dissolved into liquid.

5.  Swallow and repeat.  Enjoy!

 

Other:  The first two ingredients above are optional but they can make it easier to cut out distractions and focus your attention on the activity.