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The benefits of Yoga: Physical and Mental

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Yoga is primarily a spiritual discipline that concentrates on subtle science that focuses on achieving harmony between an individual’s mind and body. The word Yoga first appeared in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda and is derived from the Sanskrit root “Yuj” which means join or unite. According to the Yogic scriptures, the practice of Yoga leads an individual to the union of consciousness with that of universal Consciousness. It eventually leads to a great harmony between the human mind and body, man & nature.

Yoga in Vedas means a yoke. In some early writings, Yoga was mainly used in describing a warrior dying and transcending into the heavens while at the back of his chariot to the gods and the higher powers of being. During the Vedic times, Vedic priests were generally self-disciplined and avoided any forms of indulgence instead; they performed sacrifices which were known as yajna and used poses that most researchers believe are the precursor of the kind of Yoga poses we use today in the modern world. In the 3rd Century BCE, the word “yoga” became common in other religions like Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist writings. In Mahayana Buddhism, the practice of yoga for both spiritual and meditative use was known as Yogachara which consisted of eight significant steps of meditation called “insight”.

The first core value analyzed an individual’s perception and cognitive state while understanding the cause of suffering and eventually using meditation to solve the issue. The second core value focused on boosting consciousness, and the third was used as a way of achieving transcendence. The fourth value was full of mystery because it used Yoga to penetrate into other people’s bodies and act supernaturally. Yoga later became widely valued because of the Indian nationalist movement as a way of building up pride and cultural identity. Surprisingly, the practice of Yoga was widely promoted by powerful families, institutions, and activities until India attained its independence in 1947.

Origin of Yoga

Today, Yoga is practiced worldwide by millions of people in many forms and variations. At Replenish we focus on ancient wisdom, modern living approach to Yoga. Join us in honoring the traditions of Yoga with a modern approach as we travel to India this November.

Yoga’s history has many places of obscurity and uncertainty due to its oral transmission of sacred texts and the secretive nature of its teachings. The early writings on yoga were transcribed on fragile palm leaves that were easily damaged, destroyed or lost. The development of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, but some researchers think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old old. Yoga’s long rich history can be divided into four main periods of innovation, practice and development.

Pre-Classical Yoga

The beginnings of Yoga were developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in the oldest sacred texts, the Rig Veda. The Vedas were a collection of texts containing songs, mantras, and rituals to be used by Brahmans, the Vedic priests.

Classical Yoga

In the pre-classical stage, yoga was a mishmash of various ideas, beliefs, and techniques that often conflicted and contradicted each other. The Classical period is defined by Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtras, the first systematic presentation of yoga. Written sometime in the second century, this text describes the path of RAJA YOGA, often called “classical yoga”.

Post-Classical Yoga

A few centuries after Patanjali, yoga masters created a system of practices designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong life. They rejected the teachings of the ancient Vedas and embraced the physical body as the means to achieve enlightenment. They developed Tantra Yoga, with radical techniques to cleanse the body and mind to break the knots that bind us to our physical existence.

Physical and mental Benefits of  Yoga

 

There are many different methods of achieving yoga, each of which has its own schools and philosophies about how it is best accomplished. However, they are all, at their core, attempting to liberate the individual consciousness from Maya and . in doing so, merge with the supreme consciousness. Or perhaps, to realize they were never separate in the first place.

There is nothing new about yoga. Even in the Yoga Sutras (ancient Hindu texts), it was taught, and its path of relaxation and meditation used as a path to inner tranquility.

The main reason that yoga works is the combination of physical activity and mental calmness. When we become less anxious, less stressed, and a little more relaxed, we are able to focus our attention on something else besides our stress and anxiety. This is when we find our focus returning to us quickly. Yoga offers us a safe place to use our minds to relax.

The benefits of yoga for the mind include the ability to focus our thoughts and get more done, the ability to be more aware of our body, and also a much better understanding of what we are doing physically during the physical activities we do. We know that exercising is good for us, but we don’t always remember that if we aren’t mindful of what we are doing during our physical exercise activities. By paying attention and focusing on physical aspects, we can achieve things we never thought possible.

Physical Benefits

Flexibility: Moving and stretching in new ways will help you become more flexible, bringing a greater range of motion to tight areas. Over time, you can expect to gain flexibility in your hamstrings, back, shoulders, and hips.

As we age, flexibility naturally decreases, which leads to pain and immobility. Yoga can ameliorate this process.

Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg (such as in Tree Pose) or supporting yourself with your arms (such as in Downward Facing Dog). Holding poses over the course of several breaths also builds strength.

Muscle tone: As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles.

Balance: Improved balance is one of the most important benefits of yoga as you get older. Poses where you stand on one leg and, for more advanced students, inversions, are great ways to build core strength.

Joint Health: People with arthritis often see a marked improvement in their pain and mobility with regular gentle yoga practice. People with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can also benefit from specific types of yoga exercises.

Pain Prevention: Increased flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain.

Many people who have back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga also improves your alignment, both in and out of class, which helps prevent many other types of pain.

Better Breathing: Most of us take shallow breaths and don’t give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to take deeper breaths, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages (helpful for people with allergies) and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.

Mental Benefits

Mental Calmness: Yoga asana practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing a calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching the breath and how to disengage from your thoughts. These skills can prove to be very valuable in intense situations off the mat, like childbirth, a bout of insomnia, or when having an anxiety attack.

Stress Reduction: Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Because of the concentration required, your daily troubles, both large and small, seem to melt away during the time you are on the mat. This provides a much-needed break from your stressors, as well as helping to put your problems into perspective. The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future. You will leave a yoga class feeling less stressed than when you started. Reducing stress can also make a big difference for people struggling with infertility.

Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.

You’ve probably heard that yoga is good for you. Maybe you have even tried it and discovered that it makes you feel better. A regular practice can offer all kinds of mental and physical health benefits. Some, like improved flexibility, are clearly evident. Others, including mental clarity and stress reduction, maybe more subtle but are just as powerful. When puttingting together, all the benefits below contribute to an increased feeling of well-being, which helps explain why so many people find yoga so addictive.

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Health

World Human Spirit Day Thoughts

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World Human Spirit Day Thought

February 17 is observed as the World Human Spirit Day to encourage mindfulness through meditation. World Human Spirit Day was started in 2003 by Michael Levy to serve as the day to promote a human spirit that lives a creative, peaceful, and loving life.

Here are a few quotes for the World Human Spirit Day

The human spirit was the strongest medicine on earth. And sometimes all it needed was a little encouragement to pull off a miracle.

The human body has limitations; the human spirit is boundless. – Dean Karnazes

Man never made any material as resilient as human spirit. – Bernard Williams

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. – C C Scott

Difficulties are meant to rouse not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict. – William Ellery Channing

Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit. – Ronald Reagan

You have to, in some ways, trust in the human spirit and in human ingenuity. – Ariel Garten

Don’t ever forget that you’re a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things are easy, things are free, things that you can do every day. Civility, respect, kindness, character. – Aaron sorkin

Ways to develop Human Spirit

  1. Meditation
  2. Talk to yourself
  3. Prayer
  4. Fill with positive words

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Health

Vitamin B3 Protects Skin Cells From The Effects Of UV Exposure, New Research Finds

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We all know just how important eating our vitamins are. Vitamins are essential nutrients that nourish our body and keep vital organs functioning smoothly. While some help with immunity, others regulate the skin and hair.

And turns out a few of them can even keep you safe from cancer. In fact, a recent study found that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3 can protect the skin from the ill-effects of UV rays, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers.

Researchers in Italy isolated cells (human primary keratinocytes) from the skin of patients with non-melanoma skin cancers. These cells were treated with three different concentrations of nicotinamide (NAM), a form of vitamin B3, for 18, 24, and 48 hours and then exposed to UVB rays.

Vitamin B3 can work wonders when it comes to protecting the skin:

Results show that pre-treatment with 25mM of NAM 24 hours before UV irradiation protected the skin cells from the effects of UV-induced oxidative stress, including DNA damage. Furthermore, it decreased antioxidant expression and blocked local inflammation by showing decreased nitric oxide release and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and reduced iNOS protein expression.

Lara Camillo, a research student from the dermatological unit of AOU universitaria Maggiore della Carita, Novara, Italy says: “Our study indicates that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3, which is readily available in the daily diet, will protect the skin from some of the effects of UV exposure, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers. However, the protective effect of vitamin B3 is short-acting, so it should be consumed no later than 24 to 48 hours before sun exposure.”

Research presented today at EADV’s 29th Congress, EADV Virtual, shows hope that a form of vitamin B3 could protect skin cells from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) exposure: the main risk factor for non-melanoma skin cancers.

Researchers in Italy isolated cells (human primary keratinocytes) from the skin of patients with non-melanoma skin cancers. These cells were treated with three different concentrations of nicotinamide (NAM), a form of vitamin B3, for 18, 24, and 48 hours and then exposed to UVB.

Results show that pre-treatment with 25μM of NAM 24 hours before UV irradiation protected the skin cells from the effects of UV-induced oxidative stress, including DNA damage. NAM enhanced DNA repair, demonstrated by decreased expression of the DNA repair enzyme OGG1. Furthermore, it decreased antioxidant expression and blocked local inflammation by showing decreased nitric oxide (NO) release and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and reduced iNOS protein expression.

Lara Camillo, a research student from the Dermatological Unit of AOU Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy says: “Our study indicates that increasing the consumption of vitamin B3, which is readily available in the daily diet, will protect the skin from some of the effects of UV exposure, potentially reducing the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers. However, the protective effect of vitamin B3 is short-acting, so it should be consumed no later than 24 to 48 hours before sun exposure.”

Non-melanoma skin cancers are the most common malignancies in the Caucasian population and incidence is increasing worldwide. The main risk factor is UV radiation exposure, which damages the DNA, increases ROS production, activates local inflammation, and depletes cellular energy, leading to genomic instability and cell death.

About skin cancer:

There are two main types of skin cancer: non-melanoma skin cancer (which includes basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer and other rare types) and melanoma skin cancer. Basal and squamous cell cancers are most often found in areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, and arms, but they also can occur elsewhere (2). They are very common but are usually very treatable (2). Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops when melanocytes (the cells that give the skin its tan or brown colour) start to grow out of control (3). Melanoma is much less common than some other types of skin cancers but is more dangerous because it’s much more likely to spread to other parts of the body if not caught and treated early (3). Non-melanoma skin cancer is the 5th most commonly occurring cancer in men and women, with over 1 million diagnoses worldwide in 2018.4 Melanoma of the skin is the 19th most commonly occurring cancer in men and women, with nearly 300,000 new cases in 2018.

About EADV:

Founded in 1987, EADV is the leading community to further the knowledge of health professionals and advocates in the field of dermatology and venereology. It is a non-profit organization with over 7,000 members, across 113 different countries in the world, providing a valuable service for every type of dermato-venereologists professional. The EADV is committed to improving the quality of patient care, continuing medical education for all dermato-venereologists within Europe and beyond, and advocacy on behalf of the specialty and patients.

About EADV Virtual:

This year’s Congress is a first in EADV’s history. EADV Virtual – New Frontiers in Dermatology and Venereology provides an exceptional opportunity for colleagues from around the world to explore the latest developments in science and patient care that are at the heart of the academy’s mission. The user experience is immersive and simple to follow.

 

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Passion fruit: what are the health and medicinal benefits of passion fruit? What do you know about passion fruit?

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Modern lifestyle diseases, such as obesity and metabolic syndrome (MS), may lead to many complications, including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease. They also accelerate the aging processes. Appropriate dietary interventions may help to regulate glucose and energy metabolism, and thus improve the outcome for affected individuals.

Among the interventions are caloric restriction, which helps reduce insulin resistance by preventing sustained hyperglycemia. This often requires long-term control of dietary choice and portion size, which is difficult to maintain for a majority of overweight subjects. For this reason, functional foods, such as passion fruit are being studied for their potential contribution to reducing weight and insulin resistance.

Metabolic Benefits

One compound in passion fruit, which has garnered plenty of interest is piceatannol, an analog of resveratrol. The latter is a polyphenol, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, and to increase stamina, in several rodent studies.

A clinical study on resveratrol in humans with excessively high body mass index (BMI) confirmed these results, as well as its ability to produce a reduction in blood pressure and higher mitochondrial respiration in muscle tissue, as well as the activation of several muscle kinases. Piceatannol shares many of these benefits, improving metabolic parameters and glucose breakdown, reducing vascular tone, increasing eNOS levels (which is vaso-protective), promoting collagen synthesis, and reducing ultraviolet damage to the skin. In fact, its activity is higher than that of resveratrol.

One study showed that insulin levels in serum were significantly reduced in the fasting state in overweight men with piceatannol supplementation, as well as a fall in the blood pressure and the heart rate. This was not seen in women or in men with a normal BMI. Another study in mice showed inhibition of postprandial rises in blood glucose levels as well, which points to the potential for anti-diabetic activity with piceatannol supplements. Further studies are needed to understand the variation in effect with body composition and gender, as well as to perform more sensitive and long-term evaluations of the changes in glucose and insulin parameters.

Cardiovascular Benefits

The cardiovascular effects of piceatannol seem to be mediated by the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the polyphenol. It is known that failure of vasorelaxation, which is mediated by eNOS activity, is a characteristic of endothelial dysfunction. This would lead eventually to atherosclerosis via lipid oxidation and inflammation of blood vessels. It also activates dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase, and thus inhibits the natural deactivation of eNOS. Again, it increases eNOS stability, thus prolonging its half-life. It has other mechanisms of vascular anti-inflammatory action as well. Piceatannol thus has profound cardioprotective effects, and a central mechanism of action cannot be ruled out as well. In addition, it may help to stabilize cardiac myocytes.

Each 100g serving of passion fruit supplies about 30g potassium, or a quarter of the daily requirement. This is one of the best things to do to reduce cardiovascular risk. Potassium is a vasodilator, and it is necessary for the operation of the vital ion channels in the cell membranes.

Antioxidant Benefits

Passion fruit also contains many other antioxidants, such as C-glycosyl flavonoids, chlorogenic acid, isovitexin, caffeic acid, quercetin, rutin, and luteolin. These also play a role in glycemic and lipid control, but the exact effects and doses have to be elucidated through further study. A single serving can contain about 30g of vitamin C, and significant amounts of carotene and cryptoxanthin, all of which are powerful antioxidant molecules lowering the risk of age-related degeneration, cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C also stimulates collagen synthesis and improves epithelial health, as well as being an immunomodulator to boost innate immunity.

Dietary Fiber

Passion fruits also contain large amounts of dietary fiber (98% of the daily recommended intake), which helps improve intestinal health, reduces the pH and ammonia levels in the colon and thus encourages healthy intestinal microbiota, and relieves constipation and flatulence. Again, fiber reduces appetite and this again leads to lower insulin levels and reversal of the metabolic syndrome. It also results in lower levels of cholesterol in the blood. The rind of the fruit is also rich in soluble fiber, which has independent anti-diabetic and anti-dyslipidemic effects. Fiber also lowers the risk of colorectal cancer. Piceatannol also counteracts colonic irritation leading to intestinal inflammation.

Eye Health

The large amounts of vitamin A in passion fruit can safeguard eye health against age-related macular degeneration, prevent cataracts, and lower the rate of skin aging and wrinkling.

Anemia

Passion fruit also contains appreciable amounts of copper, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, contributing to bone health and to normal RBC counts, which helps to counter anemia.

Anxiolytic Benefits

Some rodent studies found a marked anxiolytic and sedative effect upon supplementing the diet with passion fruit, due to the alkaloid harman. This can also help to relieve insomnia.

Anti-Tumor Benefits

Anticancer effects include apoptotic actions upon human cancer cell lines, as well as inhibition of migration and epithelial anchoring of metastatic cells in breast and prostate cancer. Piceatannol also inhibits HDL uptake by neurons to which ecto-F1-ATPase autoantibodies are bound. It may thus may slow the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It may also inhibit antigen-induced WBC degranulation and thus prevent allergic reactions.

Conclusion

Passion fruit is not just a delicious tropical addition to the menu, but a powerhouse of several potential health benefits and should become a part of a varied and rich diet whenever available in season.

 

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