S | Diet Mantra

S: SPINACH, SATURATED FATS, SWIMMING, SUPER SUPER SLIMMING TIPS, SURYA NAMASKAR

Spinach

spinach

Nutrients

Vitamins B2, B3, C, E, folate, calcium, zinc

Did you know?

  • Spinach improves immunity levels. It helps fight heart disease and prevent lung, breast and cervical cancers.
  • The Vitamin C content keeps the skin and mucous membranes healthy, while the B Vitamins improve energy and nervous system conditions.

 

Saturated fats: what are they?

saturated-fats

Food companies and health professionals discuss fats in terms of “good” fats and “bad” fats. The good fats are monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, while the bad fats are saturated fats.

 

 

Why are fats referred to as “bad” or “good”?

The “bad” fats interfere with the removal of cholesterol from the blood, whereas the “good” fats reduce cholesterol from the blood.

 

What are examples of saturated fats?

Butter, coconut oil, palm kernel oil.

 

What are examples of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats?

Corn oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, canola oil.

 

What is the recommended consumption of fats in a diet plan?

A diet should contain less than 10 percent saturated fat, 10 to 15 percent monounsaturated and 10 percent polyunsaturated fat.

Swimming

An ideal exercise

swimmer

Swimming is probably the closest you can get to a perfect form of exercise. It is a non-weight bearing activity and places little stress on the joints. That is why working out in the water is a great exercise for those who have sports injuries, back or joint problems.

The best part of swimming is that it allows you to set the pace – it can be as strenuous as a sprint or as soothing as a stretch. You control speed, resistance and effort.

 

Buoyancy and resistance

The buoyancy of the water allows you to stay afloat or glide without much effort.

On the other hand, each movement requires greater exertion because of the need to overcome water resistance.

The combination of buoyancy and resistance of the water makes this sport ideal for working out without the risk of injury. It tones the entire body while providing an excellent cardiovascular workout.

 

Taking the plunge

If you are thinking of taking up swimming, take the plunge! The good thing about swimming is that the resistance of water allows you to control the intensity of the workout. The harder you push yourself against this resistance, the greater the challenge.

Super slimming tips

 

Eat like a slim person

Make healthy food selections, eat slowly and only when hungry. The Japanese have a word for this, “hara-hachibu” which when translated means “eat until you are 80-percent full”.

 

Make gradual changes

There are no “super foods” or “easy answers” to a healthy diet. Don’t expect to totally revamp your eating habits overnight. Changing too much, too fast, too soon, can get in the way of success. Begin remedying excesses or deficiencies with modest changes. Over time, develop positive, life-long eating habits.

 

Do not eliminate pleasure foods from your diet

Reduce, don’t eliminate pleasure foods. Eating is for pleasure as well as for nutrition. If your favorite foods are high in fat or sugar, eat these foods in small or moderate quantities and also consume them less frequently. Eliminating them only increases your cravings leaving you feeling deprived and unsatisfied.

 

Plan ahead

Do you tend to eat when you are bored or feeling low? Plan ahead. Think of a new stimulation, a new goal or a new sense of achievement.

 

For fast fat burning, pick up a pair of weights

Weight training builds muscle and raises your metabolism. Weight train thrice a week and do cardiovascular exercises the other three days to burn calories.

 

Separate food from television

You tend to eat mindlessly when you watch television. Whether it is junk or health food that you eat, you should always be fully aware of what and how much goes into your system.

 

Keep an apple with you always

You cannot predict hunger so always make sure you have a healthy snack accessible.

 

Never shop for food when you are hungry

The surest way of going off your diet is to go to the supermarket when you are hungry. You will be tempted by the goodies available. Eat before you shop. Filling your trolley with indulgences is likely to happen on an empty stomach.

 

Never finish the leftovers

Don’t treat each meal, as if it is your last supper. Refrigerate or distribute leftovers. Ask naturally slim people what they eat and you will get a consistent answer. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they have had enough.

 

Take pride in your efforts

Feel good about the efforts you make. Never say, “I’ve started to exercise, but so far I have lost only two pounds”, instead say, “I feel great after losing two pounds, now I am inspired to continue exercising”.

SURYA NAMASKAR: THE SUN SALUTE

 

“Hiranmayena patrena satya sapihitam mukham tat twam pusam apavamu satya dharmaya drustaye”

sun

Oh Sun, Like a lid covers a vessel, your radiance covers the path to salvation. Help me uncover the illusive and discover the essence of truth, which is salvation.

In Yogic philosophy, the sun is revered and worshipped as the protector of life, health provider and the illuminator of intellect. It is a symbol of immortal life and of the spiritual being. Since time immemorial, man has looked upon this star in awe and longed to imbibe some of its energy, strength and radiance.

 

Surya Namaskar: the meaning

Surya” means the Sun and “namaskar” means salutation. Surya namaskar is an integrated and dynamic form of movement. It not only promotes physical well-being, but also promotes mental and spiritual development. Traditionally, practised at dawn, facing the rising sun, the salutation originated as a series of prostrations to the sun. This ritual is a unique synthesis of inner and outer development.

 

A flowing routine

The beauty of the Surya namaskar is that each asana flows into the next, forming a graceful and continuous movement pattern. Each sequence consists of 12 asanas or postures. The number of sequences performed depends on individual goals. Emphasis is on inhaling and exhaling fully ‘into’ and ‘out of’ each posture. Breath, flow and movement are the essence of the Surya namaskar.

The flowing movements of one asana into the other increase the heart rate and improve oxygenation providing aerobic or cardiovascular benefits.

 

The perfected art of movement

The sequence of asanas which form the Surya Namaskar, involve vertical, horizontal, cyclical and inverted movements, which supply energy to the system by directing the blood supply to areas of the body that require it the most. Each cell is attended to, provided with a fresh supply of blood, allowing it to function efficiently. The asanas boost the metabolism, balance the respiratory, circulatory, nervous, hormonal and digestive systems perfectly.

The Surya Namaskar, improves strength, flexibility and cardiovascular stamina. The result?  A lean, strong and toned body.

 

Breath

“When the breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, when the breath is still, the mind is still.”

There exists a strong connection between respiration and mental states. Restricted breathing produces diminished mental ability. One of the simplest and most effective ways to achieve this is by focusing on the breath.

Our breathing is shallow and quick. We do not take in enough oxygen and as a result our bodies are oxygen starved. Also, we do not eliminate enough carbon dioxide and toxins, the result is toxic build-up. It is important to recharge every cell in our body with correct breathing techniques and discover the amazing power of the breath to soothe, rejuvenate and revitalize!

 

Wheels of energy

There are seven main chakras or “wheels of energy” in the astral body which are located within the spinal column. Yogic science recognizes that mental, physical and spiritual health is activated when these channels of energy are awakened. The Surya Namaskar uncoils and awakens these seven chakras.

Tension causes contraction and tightness of muscles, which leads to blocked energy channels. Through regular practice of the Surya Namaskar, dynamic energy starts flowing more freely and our entire being is charged with this “life current”.

 

Spiritual awakening

The increase of dynamic or pranic energy, can be used for spiritual awakening. The continuous postures free the mind from stress and mental disturbances and promote steadiness of mind, balance of emotions and clarity of thought.

 

Surrender of the self

Simplicity, humility and surrender, form the basis of all Yoga practice. The Surya Namaskar begins with the Namaskarasana, or the prayer pose, signifying the joining of the individual soul with the divine soul. This concept of union with the divine through devotion and respect, symbolizes humility and surrender of self to spirit.

 

Back to our roots

Yoga is a holistic science and its philosophy is eternal. Even though this science existed over 5000 years ago, its teachings are as relevant today as they were in ancient times. Especially, in this new age of fads and trends, no matter what health-promoting system may temporarily attract us, if we want a time-honoured system with a real pedigree, it has to be yoga.

 

The sequence of asanas

Before starting the sequence, take time to internalize and focus on your breath.

Stand tall, relax your shoulders and make sure the spine is in neutral position.

  • Namaskarasana (Prayer pose): Standing upright, exhale as you bring the palms together at the chest in the prayer position.
  • Hasta Uttasana (Hands up, spine arched pose): Inhale and stretch the arms up and over the head alongside the ears. Arch back from the waist, pushing the hips forwards and stretching the head back.
  • Hastapadasana (Head to knees pose): Exhale and bring the hands down to the floor on each side of the feet so that the tips of the fingers and toes form a straight line. Tuck your head in towards the knees as much as possible.
  • Ashwa Sanchalasana (Lunge pose): Inhale as you stretch the right leg back as far as possible, and drop the right knee to the ground. (On the next sequence you take the left leg back)
  • Parvatasana (Inverted “V” pose): Exhale and without moving hands or feet, bring the hips up as high as possible into the inverted “V” position.
  • Ashtanganamaskara (Knees, chest, chin on the floor pose): Inhale and bend the knees. Place the knees, chest and chin on the ground. Exhale and lie on the stomach in readiness for the next pose.
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra pose): Inhale and bend the elbows and arch the head and chest up into the Cobra pose.
  • Parvatasana (Inverted “V” pose): Exhale and without moving hands or feet, bring the hips up as high as possible into the inverted “V” position.
  • Ashwa Sanchalasana (Lunge pose): Inhale and bring the left foot forward between the hands. Drop the knee to the ground and look up. (Bring the right leg forward in the next sequence)
  • Hastapadasana (Head to knees pose): Exhale and bring the other foot forwards. Straighten the knees and bring the forehead close to the knees.
  • Hasta Uttasana (Hands up, spine arched pose): Inhale and stretch the arms up and over the head alongside the ears. Arch back from the waist, pushing the hips forwards and stretching the head back.
  • Namaskarasana (Prayer pose): Exhale, as you return to starting position, feet together and palms at the chest in prayer position.

 

Variations of Surya Namaskar

Depending on individual goals the Surya Namaskar can be performed in different ways:

  • If the goal is to increase flexibility, each position should be held for a longer duration.
  • To gain cardiovascular stamina, the number of sequences performed should be increased and a continuous flow should be maintained.
  • Varying the speed of movement challenges the body.

For example, the first 4 sequences could be performed slowly; the next 4, with increased speed and the last 4 again with reduced speed.

 

Practice norms

  • It is important to perform the Surya Namaskar on an empty stomach.
  • A well-ventilated room or outdoors is an ideal environment to practice asanas.
  • No footwear should be worn while performing the asanas.
  • Usually 12 to 14 sequences are adequate. But for improving cardiovascular stamina, one could gradually increase the number of repetitions.
Caution:

Anyone with hypertension, hernia, heart disease or knee pain should consult a doctor before performing these exercises. The routine could also be modified to suit individual needs.