The events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have forced many Americans to reorder priorities.
I am fortunate to have highly spiritual students and clients. I n addition to regular Bible study participants, I also work with two ministers. Humbly, then, I offer these suggestions:
Use your exercise time as a time of prayer and meditation. For years, I have practiced reciting the 23rd Psalm and said my prayers on daily walks. Research shows that moving while memorizing improves your recall. I have also used Taoist meditative techniques to cleanse my internal organs while hiking. If you would like to learn how to use open-eyed meditation while walking, ask me how.
Dedicate all your efforts to becoming healthier and more fit to serving God for the highest good of all. If you are a leader, a mother or father or business owner,realize that your health and fitness is not a matter of vanity, but of great importance to those who love you. Several friends and parishioners have confided to me how thankful they are that Monsignor Ed Dillon’s nutrition and fitness regime has lowered his blood pressure.
Involve your entire family in exercise. One of my yoga students, Maya Netolicka, brings her husband Robert and daughter Anita to yoga class regularly. If you are single, allow your exercise time to reconnect you with a meaningful community. Let everyone in your family know that you care about their health. Then take care of yourself by eating right, exercising and managing your stress. Leadership by example is most effective!
To Improve Your Carbohydrate Handling, Sleep More
Having trouble with your blood sugar? Do you feel you are gaining weight around your mid-section? Are you insulin resistant? One of the simplest solutions to improve your carbohydrate sensitivity may be to get more rest. Research shows that anyone who sleeps less than 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours per night may an impaired ability to process carbohydrates. You need sleep to produce growth hormone, which helps you to burn off fat. . Weight training and aerobic exercise, including yoga, also improve insulin’s ability to handle carbohydrates. Take naps during the day if you don’t reach 7-8 hours of sleep.
Yoga Heals Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that yoga poses eased the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Years ago, at only the young age of 34, the pain in my wrists was so bad that if my husband held my hand, it hurt the next day. My fingers were so stiff I could not write by hand, and had to resort to using a computer.
I went to doctor after doctor, but no one could figure out how to make the pain go away. Then I improved my diet and began practicing yoga regularly, and to this day, I have no carpal tunnel.
In acupressure, we say that a person who has carpal tunnel usually has a blockage in the triple heater acupuncture meridian. This meridian is highly related to the health of the thyroid, which regulates our metabolism, and the adrenal glands, which enable us to respond to stress.
If you have carpal tunnel, ask me about how you might improve your nutrition program and about yoga poses for the arms, hands and shoulders. Eagle pose is especially helpful. You can even perform the arm portion of the pose at your desk. Here’s how: Cross one arm over the other, hooking at the elbow. Press the palms together at eye level, and relax the area between your shoulder blades. Many clients resort to surgery when simple exercises and nutrition may be far more effective!
Make Every Exercise an Abdominal Exercise
If you have been training with me, you know the drill: flexibility first, core stability second, then strength. In reality, a good workout should include all three.
Even if you are an advanced exerciser, you can challenge yourself further and increase the effectiveness of any exercise by learning to move from your core. In Brain Gym, we would call this learning to be centered—learning to be organized and emotionally balanced. In yoga, we would call this radiating from your core, breathing from your navel into your arms, legs and head for greater circulation, balance andstability. Learning to move from your core will improve your posture, balance, coordination, emotional stability and give you the cut abs you’ve always wanted. Here are a few suggestions:
Begin every workout with a posture realignment. Put your back flat against the wall, tuck your tail and pull your belly button towards the spine. Learn to breathe with your lower abdominals pulled in, your shoulders pulled back and down, chin parallel.
In every weight-bearing exercise, tuck your tail and contract your abdominals towards your spine.
In the brief rest between each repetition, contract your abdominals again.
Exercise and the Pill Increase Calcium Requirement
Exercising women who take contraceptives should be especially careful to get enough calcium in their diets. A new study suggests that if you’re under 30, take birth control pills and exercise regularly, you may be at greater risk of bone fractures later on than someone who doesn’t exercise. Weight-bearing exercis—lifting weights, doing yoga and jogging – is one of the most important things women can do to prevent osteoporosis. However, if you are on the pill, make sure your calcium intake is adequate—1,000 mg per day or 1,500 mg per day for postmenopausal women not taking hormone replacement therapy. Reduce or eliminate caffeine, which depletes calcium stores, and increase your intake of green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, parsley and broccoli. Soy foods may also exert positive bone-building estrogenic benefits.