6 Weeks to a Younger You: Week 6

September 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm , by

Welcome to the final segment of our “6 Weeks to a Younger You” plan. This week is about finding your balance—literally and figuratively.

First, the literal. Your equilibrium starts to dwindle as you get more, ahem, mature. And that can lead to falls and fractures later—which can really affect the quality of your life and make you feel old. You can train yourself to have better balance by practicing it. Yoga classes are great for that, of course. Amelia and I are testing out our yoga Tree Pose,  right, and bending in the wind, as young trees do to weather storms. If you don’t want to be a tree, just practice balancing on one foot while you’re in line at the grocery store or brushing your teeth at the sink. Do it every day on both legs and you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll get at it with practice.

Now the figurative.
Too often we go to extremes. We eat too much junk, then decide to starve ourselves in penance. We skip exercise all week because it’s humid and rainy, then go crazy on the weekend and end up with sore muscles or an injury. Balance is better.

That means eating healthy meals and not snacking all day long. You may have heard it’s healthy to eat several smalls meals throughout the day. But studies show that if you never give your digestive system a break, your body may not have time to remove damaged cells and toxic stuff that accumulates. And that can make you more vulnerable to diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Four to six hours between meals is optimal.

Regular exercise is key, too, not just for your body but also for your brain. Just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week for three months increases the part of your brain you use for short-term memory. Yes, regular brisk walks may actually improve your memory! For more details, read our interview with our favorite memory expert and neurologist Majid Fotuhi, M.D. here.

You need to balance your spirit, too. Are you a “doom and gloom” personality type? Studies show that Type D’s, as they’re called, have a higher risk of heart disease and are more likely to die from it, too. You can help yourself become a more relaxed type, like young trees that bend in the wind (see us above, hint, hint!), by practicing yoga or meditation, and getting more exercise, which is guaranteed to lift your spirits.

Woo-hoo to a younger (more balanced) you!

Photo by Cassandra Tucker

I Did Yoga WHERE?

June 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm , by

It’s been a mere three weeks, but I’ve already decided I love the energy and excitement of New York City. As the new editorial intern at Ladies’ Home Journal, I have moved to the city for the summer. Every day, there’s something new to do or see. I’ve explored museums, shopped at discount department stores, watched free movies in the park and eaten the most delicious cupcakes. Yet as much as I enjoy living here, it can get really overwhelming. The subway is dirty and hot and crowded. The streets smell like garbage, which piles up on the sidewalks. Vendors constantly pester you to buy their hot dogs and knock-off purses. Taxi drivers honk nonstop, and the noise is so bad, I have to wear earplugs when I sleep.

It’s hard to achieve a sense of calm with all this insanity around me. So when a friend suggested we attend a yoga event on the Solstice, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to slow down. The only catch was that it took place on the asphalt in the middle of Times Square. (That’s me, to the right, getting my “om” on.) I was skeptical of how calm I could feel in the busiest of all busy intersections. But when else would I get do yoga in the heart of New York City?

The instructor jumped up on stage at 7:30 a.m. and got us started to the sounds of Alicia Keys’s re-mixed, relaxing version of “Empire State of Mind.” For the next hour and 15 minutes, it was just me and my yoga mat… and more than 1,000 others in my “class.”

Surprisingly, all the hustle and bustle faded away as I curled into cat, pushed back into downward dog, stretched into warrior and balanced in tree pose. I had somehow reached my center through all the madness. I realized if I could relax in Times Square, I could relax anywhere.

I ended lying on my back, feeling like a true yogi. As I slowly rose from the mat, the sun began to peek around the skyscrapers. The buses and taxis sounded a little louder; the neon signs shined a little brighter. It was back to reality, but I couldn’t stop smiling. I had just found peace and tranquility in the most unlikely of places. Invigorated, refreshed and relaxed, I was ready to start the day.

Trying It Out: Hyp-Yoga

September 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm , by

Hyp-Yoga Session

Everything goes with yoga—or at least, that’s what it seems.  There’s hot yoga, power yoga, laughter yoga, and of course the hybrid-types like yogalates and doga. So when I got an email about trying a session of Hyp-Yoga, a new wellness program founded by Carly Cummings which blends—you got it—hypnosis and yoga, I couldn’t resist.  Sound like an unlikely pairing?  A little.  But it’s not as odd as it initially seems.

Research shows that there are there are plenty of health benefits of yoga and hypnosis.  While yoga can help improve your flexibility, lower blood pressure and fight stress, hypnosis has been used to help people lose weight, quit smoking and control pain.

Did that mean that in a Hyp-Yoga session I could get two for the price of one?

Read more

Categories: Health | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments