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Balance Love

Can Yoga Benefit Your Relationship?

Yoga is fantastic for self care, both physically and mentally. Yet, practicing yoga can also benefit your relationship with your partner as well! I hear it all the time “Relationships are hard work” they can be yet when you take care of yourself it makes everything else easier.

Something that helps you to regain your strength and ground you back to your true self is Yoga!

Seeking authentic intimacy with your partner, you open yourself up to give pieces of you to them. While this can strengthen your relationship, it can also be very ungrounding to your own energy. By practicing yoga, youll be able to focus on your self-care, which will in turn help create a healthy relationship for you and your partner.

Self-care is very important to a healthy relationship because it allows you to still feel connected to your true self. I notice that many people loose themselves when they enter a relationship. Here are some reasons why you should continue practicing yoga to benefit your relationship!

Yoga Grounds You

Things can get heated when you are in a relationships. In order to stay calm, yoga can ground you. This way you do not fly off the handle when things start to get rough and you say and do things you might not mean.

Beach yoga sunYoga Connects You to Your True Self

Being in a relationship can be challenging since you have to deal with another person, their needs, wants and especially their moods. Buy yoga keeps you connected to yourself so that you are less likely to be judgey, reactive or even defensive in your relationship.

Yoga Gets You Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you are hesitant about anything in your relationship, yoga will help you get out of your comfort zone so that you can experience true intimacy with your partner. It helps nudge you to get uncomfortable and outside of your head so that you can truly give yourself entirely to your relationship.

Yoga Opens Up Your Compassion

By practicing yoga, you will be more open to compassion. When Your relationship is in need of compassion you will be able to open your heart. You will b e less likely to get mad over the little things and will have more compassion for your parther, thus strengthening your relationship in general.

Yoga Makes You Feel Stronger

Love has it’s ups and downs. Practicing yoga regularly will help you feel stronger than ever! You will be able to weather the inevitable. Make sure to always utilize supplements to help enhance our internal health.

Yoga Makes You More Grateful!

Yoga has a way of making you more grateful for everything in your life. You will feel in tune with yourself and your universe. You will see your partner in grateful light and be happy to have them. Gratitude will allow your relationship to grow and evolve into something amazing!

Yoga Gets Your Endorphins Flowing

Yoga and exercise in general will get your endorphins flowing so that you feel better. This allows you to be able to contribute more to your relationship so that you are in a better mood all the time. You will be genuinely happy and yoga can keep that positive feeling going strong.

Yoga Makes You Feel Great

When practicing yoga you feel good and when you feel good, your partner and relationship flourish. You will be practicing self-care while also nurturing your relationship at the same time.

How do you start your mornings? Is it difficult to wake up?

Do you feel lethargic and fried? This is not a healthy way to begin your days!

Instead of feeling overwhelmed on trying to change your lifestyle drastically! Start slow… Give your self some hope.

Stretching in the morning allows you to ground your thoughts, breath deeper, and obviously increase flexibility. It is outstanding what you can achieve in less than 10 minutes.

Make sure to always be a  tiny bit warmed up before you stretch. I usually stretch after I shower! Yet, if you rather stretch right out of bed make sure to be gentle.

Now, what we all been waiting for! The Main Event: 8 stretches to add to your morning routine to feel strong, flexible and grounded af!

Upper back release- target is upper back and shoulders.

To begin stand hip width apart, you can bring arms up over head with a slight head tilt upwards. Exhale clasp your hands and lower them shoulder height. Round upper back keeping arms straight and engaged.

Hold for 2-3 slow deep breaths

Chest release – target chest, shoulder and bicep.

This one requires a wall, door frame or window ledge. Hold surface with left arm, step forward with left leg and turn entire body to the right including your hips.

Hold for 4-6 steady breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Side stretch – targets the IT band, obliques and shoulder.

Standing with right hand on bed, cross left leg in front of the right. Shift into left hip and reach left arm up and over head. Creating a long line from the left ankle to the left fingers.

Hold 2-3 breaths. Repeat on right side.

Seated spinal twist – targets the spine, neck and shoulders.

Sitting on edge of bed legs together lengthen spine rotating to the left. Bring left arm to ceiling with an inhale. Exhale place behind you. Bring right hand across body to left knee. Deeper stretch gaze over left shoulder.

Hold 2-3 breaths. Repeat on Right side.

We are halfway through! Ready? Get some water and deep breaths.

Standing hamstring stretch – target duh Hammies!

Bring right leg up onto bed supporting your knee. (If flexibility is not this advanced yet use the wall, step, or bench) Keep legs hip distance and parallel. Foot flexed. If you need to increase stretch, hinge at hips keeping spine straight.

4-6 breaths and repeat other side.

Standing quad stretch – target quads.

Brace yourself with right hand on bed. Slowly raise right leg grasping with left hand. Keep pelvis neutral and spine tall raising head to ceiling.

4-6 breaths repeating on other side.

Outer hip stretch – target hips and outer thigh.

Place right leg with knee bent onto bed. Square your hips and make sure front of the knee is outside of the front of your shoulder. Keep spine straight, hinge forward at the hips if comfortable, supporting yourself with your hands.

4-6 breaths other sides.

Standing forward bend – target low back and hamstrings.

Bringing your feet hip width apart knees slightly bent, inhale bringing your arms up over head. Exhale swan dive down to the ground. Allow your upper half to hang freely over your legs.

2-3 breaths you can release your neck by moving head side to side or nod yes and no. To come out of this pose pull in abs and slowly rise up vertebra by vertebra.

What are other ways you begin your mornings? Do you have other stretches you do in the morning? Do you add healthy food choices?

XoXo,

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Hello lovelies!

So, I woke this morning and unfortunately had the weirdest headache… On any normal occasion I  would never EVER take pain relievers. They damage our livers. Yet it would not shake. Sadly, I  took the damn pill…
The headache was still lingering like that damn Garbage song. I decided it would be a great idea to break out my old yoga moves! Duh!

I know the excuses come flooding in. Quite frankly I’m tired of hearing them and I’m tired of making them myself.
I decided on a yoga flow to build energy, relieve stress, and to lengthen my muscles.
Deep breath in and begin!

To start I stepped onto my mat and got into tadasana, mountain pose. Took couple breaths here.
Then:
*forward fold
*halfway lift
*forward fold
*rise to standing
Repeat 3-5x to lubricate the joints

Crawling down to the mat
*Cat Cow
*Thread the needle
*Child’s pose Favorite
*Downward dog
*Plank
*Cobra
*Downward dog
3-5 sun salutations at this time could be optional if you wanted to warm up more

*Low lunge Lovez!
*Half split
*Lizard pose
*Quad stretch
*Yogi squat
*Tree pose
*Seated twist
*Some neck stretches
*Meditation

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Ahhh at the end of this sequence I was refreshed, revitalized, and ready to paaaaartaaaaaay!
Movement, especially in the morning, is essential for a healthy strong body, mind, and spirit. It also leads to a more productive day, for sure!

So how can I make this a morning ritual?
-setup yoga mat the night before
-have yoga clothes on may just in case I need to feel like a”yogi” not just in a tank top and my panties!
-make sure my blocks, strap and meditation pillow are close by

I am so thankful to have such incredible knowledge and tools when it comes to giving my body what it truly needs to thrive!

What are some things you do to stay grounded, centered or balanced within our hectic daily lives? Post within the comments below!

 

XoXo,
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Tell me about your energy.

Statistically speaking, Americans feel 44% more stressed than they did 5 years ago. Then, 1 in 5 Americans experience “extreme stress” and 3 out of 4doctor visits are stress related ailments!

This brings us to energy zapper numero uno!

Mistake #1: Stressing out.

Everyone feels it, experiences it, yet very few of us take our stress seriously and understand the true threat it has on our overall health. When we go day in and day out with stress, it sends our cortisol through a roller coaster. This in turn weakens our immune system and wreaks havoc upon our energy.

Have no fear! We can learn to relax!

Learning how to relax can be a powerful tool. We can even train our bodies to handle stress with more ease. Meditation is one of the many tactics I utilize to reduce stress. Check out my article on 4 ways of Meditation Here!

Mistake #2: No Movement. 

Our bodies are not made for inactivity. Back as far as we can research, man was hunting, running, gathering, etc. Our cells contain spunky little engines called Mitochandria. These tiny powerhouses are responsible for turning our food into fuel.

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Now this is truly important:

The quality and quantity of these engines, determine the quality and quantity of energy we possess.

So, how do we build these little guys up? Through healthy lifestyle practices, duh! Exercise is right at the top of the list. What is one small change you can make that will add movement to your day?

Some examples you can find are within this article I wrote about Yoga to energize your mornings!

Mistake #3: Ignoring your gut.

In my most recent article, 5 ways to maintain gut health, I discuss how important the gut is to our overall well being. This is also directly related to our energy.

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There are 5 simple ways you can

start to heal your gut.

#1 Eat your fruits and veggies! Think of your gut as a garden. It needs proper care to thrive. The fertilizer that feeds your garden is fiber. So, eating more of a plant- based diet helps the good guys do their job and you feel fantastic in return!:)

#2 Reduce inflammation. This is a bit more difficult for our Standard American Diet (SAD). Honestly, there are way to many processed foods and especially refined sugars. This creates an imbalance in your gut which leads to inflammation. Replacing those foods with plant foods keeps harmful organisms at bay.

#3 Drink WATER. I couldn’t begin to tell you how important water is. This means ZERO soda, NO energy drinks. Rock that H2O!

#4 Chew your food! Beyond popular belief, your stomach is not equip with teeth. *Mind Blown* Use your teeth to help your stomach out. Digestion actually starts with the enzymes secreted within your mouth.

#5 Move your body. We already mentioned this one. Exercise actually increases the diversity of probiotics and also helps you poop! Woo Hoo:)

Now it is your turn. What is one thing you will do this week to begin healing your gut? 

Mistake #4: Chasing Perfection. 

This has to be my personal struggle. There is nothing fun or pleasurable about perfection. It is controlling, boring, and rigid. In fact, it is not even doable because perfection is a myth. What is one thing you’ve been beating yourself up for not doing “perfectly”?

Write it down and then cross that shit out! You’ve got more important things to do than worrying about being perfect.

It’s not about getting more energy. It’s about uncovering the innate energy and well-being that’s already inside you.

Again, make sure to leave a comment on how your energy has been feeling as of late and the things you will be doing to help increase it.

 

XoXo,
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Dear Stomach, You’re bored, not hungry So Shut Up!

We have all been here! The pint of ice cream, the chocolate chip cookies, the liters of soda taunting you from the kitchen counter. Yet, is it the actual food that is pestering you? NO! it is the CRAVINGS!

We all have them, yet do we really understand why? Better yet, do we know how to curb them? I have struggled and failed miserably being controlled by my cravings! What about you?

You probably are already aware that cravings are not a result of being hungry. But you may not be aware of how these damn things work. Cravings have a biological and a psychological influence.

The most common foods we crave are sugar, carbs, chocolate, salt and for some, cheese. First, let’s walk through the main causes of these cravings, and this will give us a better understanding of why this happens!:)

5 Causes of Food Cravings

Leptin Resistance

What the hell is Leptin? Well, Leptin is a hormone in our bodies that produce in our fat tissues. Its primary job is to stimulate your appetite and also tell us when you’re full. Clearly, mine is not working! This works harmoniously when our brains and stomachs are on the same page. But, it doesn’t work that way when constant surges of leptin trick your brain into feeling hungry even when you are not. Why does this happen? Well, one culprit is having too much body fat-more fat means more leptin produced. Simple enough.

Another cause is eating a diet high in sugary foods and processed crap. The sugar triggers fat cells which releases leptin. Whatever it may be, constant surges of leptin can lead to leptin resistance.

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to keep a normal balance of leptin in your body.

Serotonin Low

Most have heard of this incredible neurotransmitter. Yet, did you know that it is mainly produced within, none other than, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract? It is directly tied to our mood, appetite, and digestion. *Mind Blown*

This is a pretty important one. I have witnessed this one in action quite often especially in children who have eaten high carbohydrate and sugar products. When we consume these foods our mood increases for a short while. Then we come crashing down causing our brain to think

“I need more!”

Low serotonin can also be caused by poor gut health, alcohol consumption, depression(which can go hand in hand with many of these others), anxiety and OCD. You know what I am talking about! How often do you feel crumby and you want that comfort food? Or you convince yourself that it is okay to eat because you are feeling down and out?

Moving right along!

Endorphins

This is another big word, what does this have to do with cravings? First off, endorphins are basically opiates that help us relax. Eating sugary foods and especially salt increases the production of this hormone. When we eat these foods we experience a relaxing feeling. Obviously, we crave more! And with this, it can create addictions.

There have been recent studies that sugar can actually have more intense feelings of reward than cocaine. Clearly, this is not good. No wonder we have such issues with Obesity and mental illnesses. They are all closely related to food addiction. There have been many studies also indicating the addictive qualities of foods found in highly processed foods can cause addictive eating because of the rapid rate absorption.

The more you can avoid packaged and processed foods, the more control you’ll have over your food choices.

Sluggish Gut

Previously mentioned, serotonin levels are directly linked to cravings, and your gut is the epicenter of serotonin production. Unfortunately, in order to maintain those feel-good levels of serotonin, your gut needs to be in impeccable shape! This allows you to absorb nutrients from your food and pump out serotonin through your GI tract. Only this act is based on having a gut that is healthy with a proper balance of good bacteria.

Emotions

This one is the big kahuna! All emotions can prompt you to peruse the pantry! Who doesn’t want to bundle up on the couch and mow down some chips, cookies, and ice cream when you break up? Most cravings often disappear within an hour, choosing a healthier option or even better choosing an activity you enjoy may give you just what you needed!

Now that you understand a bit more about where these cravings begin, let’s discuss some ways to stop them!

5 Tips for Tackling Food Cravings

  1. Drink water. I am so sick of hearing people say “I don’t like water” Well, that is just stupid.. We are made up of 80% water. For our organs to function, you must be drinking roughly half your body weight in ounces DAILY. Do the math! Literally, thirst and dehydration make you feel hungry. Once you consume more water this will help control your hunger.
  2. Avoid sugary foods and processed carbs. Clearly, this is one I have been stressing greatly throughout this article. Avoid these as much as possible. I am not saying you cannot enjoy your sweet indulgences, just whip them up with lower amounts of sugar, higher fiber, and higher protein ingredients! Examples of these are dark chocolate (yay), almond flour, cassava flour, and bean flour. These will not trigger cravings and feed an appetite that just won’t quit.
  3. Exercise and plenty of rest. Within our society we are so high strung and exhausted. Truly not a great combination. Sometimes as we come home from our stressful days of work we head straight to the kitchen to seek out comfort and relax. Rather than relying on frenchfries and Oreos to help us relax, go for a short walk or go to bed earlier! These habits produce endorphins that are just like Hershey Kisses. If you do choose to exercise it boosts your serotonin levels. Any time I choose yoga, hiking or weightlifting I never want to ruin it with crap foods.
  4. Meditation and daily sunshine. Taking a few minutes, even at lunch, to get some fresh air and quiet your mind also boosts your serotonin levels. I know personally when I walk outside and the sun is shining a feeling of peace rushes over me. Meditation doesn’t have to be a complete silence either. I use journaling as my meditation as well as listening to music and just staying still!
  5. Avoid trigger foods for 21 days. It has been stated that 21 days is how long it takes for a habit to form. Clearly, we have enforced bad habits and now need to tough through 21 days without our trigger foods. You will be fine! Find healthier options to grab when you’re craving. Great choices are low-glycemic smoothies and desserts, fresh berries, guacamole or hummus with veggies, rice cakes or raw cashews.

Does this mean you cannot have your favorite treats anymore?

No Way! Yet, if you feel like your food cravings are running your life, take back control by understanding them more.

Do you have any tips for overcoming your cravings? Comment below because others may be in the same predicament that you are and could use your help! Oh! And another thing: brush and floss your teeth. It helps train your brain that you are done eating when your mouth feels all squeaky clean!

XoXo,

Jenna-Clark-Signature