Cold Body, Warm Yoga
When Old Man Winter breathes icy breath across your window, and the chilling draft seeps in under the sill, it’s hard to put on yoga clothes and hit your mat for a home practice. These tips are desgined to get you in the mood for a long, flowing, heating yoga practice:
- Use a space heater in a smaller room (a dedicated space for practice is best) so it’s toasty when you begin.
- Light candles and incense to create a warming ambience
- Begin your practice with 2-3 layers and peel them off as you get warmer
- Have a mug of steaming spice tea handy to sip in between poses
- For svasana and seated meditation, don a thick pair of wool socks, sweater or a shawl to keep you warm for longer meditation
- To relieve tight hip flexors (and keep your tootsies toasty), fold a blanket in half and roll it into a long roll. In your crossed legged seat, place the center of the roll on top of your feet and tuck the ends of the roll under your calves
Go Low – Sodium, That Is
Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, a Finland study encourages us to put down the salt shaker, go easy on processed foods, and use a minimal amount of salt when cooking.
A 30% reduction in salt intake over 30 years was revealed – leading to living an additional 6-7 years! Even in subjects without high blood pressure (140/90), the population as a whole reduced blood pressure by 10mmHg points.
Cholesterol levels were less, too – together, meaning less heart disease and stroke. Salt and obesity were closely linked as a higher sodium diet led to higher thirst which led to drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages which led to obesity!
It is recommended you eat no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day (about 1 t. salt). This is easier if you omit fast foods, restaurant and processed meals (like chips and salty snack foods, canned foods), and have lots of wholesome fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Read food labels and choose those with lower sodium levels. It breaks down into:
- Low-sodium food: less than 140 milligrams per serving
- Moderate-sodium food: less than 400 milligrams per serving
- High-sodium food: more than 400 milligrams per serving
Log on to http://www.americanheart.org for more tips on how to go low on salt.