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7 Powerful Ancient Practices For Daily Rejuvenation

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To say I’m not a morning person would be a gross understatement, but it hardly feels like the choice has been my own. Each night I routinely beg my consciousness to wake me up at 7:30am every morning with “ample amounts of energy,” only to find myself struggling to rise the next day, rolling over and continuously pressing snooze on my physical and mental alarm.

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Simply put, I struggle. A lot.

I firmly believe that once you have your morning routine down, the rest of your day is bound to be full of productivity and optimism.

One piece of information I’ve always been privy to and will never forget is the benefit of waking up 2 hours before you have to leave the house. This is a common habit ‘successful’ people have adopted. Doing this ensures you have some ‘me’ time, especially if you have a family where your evenings are occupied playing catch-up with your children and/or spouse.

The moment you put the needs of others above your own most basic ones is the moment you enter into the game of catch-up with yourself. Avoid putting yourself on the back burner, because the lower we put ourselves on our list, the less effective we are, and that includes in our efforts to help those around us. Taking time for yourself is vital to the stability of your mind.

So if you’re anything like me in the mornings, you may want to give these next few tips a try.

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1. Tongue Scraping 

This ancient Ayurvedic practice boasts a number of benefits, including strengthening your tongue’s palate. A more sensitive palate means you need to use less salt and sugar in your food to get the same flavour.

Tongue scraping also removes the Ama from your physiology, an accumulation of toxic residue in the mind-body, and it helps to stimulate the internal organs, improve digestion by increasing your sense of taste, and cleanse the body and increase mental clarity by reducing toxins from the head.

It’s best to do this right in the morning before consuming any food or drink, as it improves the communication between your food and your body by removing any coating that is interfering with that connection.

According to The Charaka Samhita, “tongue scrapers should be made of gold, silver, copper, tin and brass and should be non-sharp and curved, so as not to injure the tongue.” High quality stainless steel is also acceptable.

Start by getting one of these funny looking devices for scraping your tongue. Begin with 7-14 gentle strokes from back to front. You can rinse in between if there is a lot of accumulation. If you find you are gagging, you are most likely reaching too far back and too hard, so start a little closer to the front of the mouth and see if that feels better.

2. Meditate

I know you’ve heard this before and I’m going to say it again. Meditation is the key to maintaining a healthy balance between your mental state and the state of the world. So yes, this is me harping on you to sit down and meditate. It is one of the oldest known methods of achieving mindfulness, and it became prevalent in the second half of the 1st millennium BC in India and China.

One of the best times to meditate is in the morning because we are already in a relatively calm state, unburdened by the happenings of the day and undistracted by all our duties. It’s easier for our minds to slip into an altered state at this time. I wouldn’t recommend sitting in bed and doing this, however. Rise up, stretch, and then go to a separate room where you can get comfortable and relax (without falling back asleep). If you’d like to incorporate a stretch and meditation, then yoga is another great way to ease your mind and body.

Meditation offers us a fun way to set the stage for the rest of the day. You can use your meditation as an opportunity to Visualize. You can imagine how you’d like the day, week, or even the coming months to go, and see yourself accomplishing your goals.

3. Oil Pulling

Oil pulling, also known as  kavala or gundusha, is an ancient cleansing and detoxifying technique from Ayurvedic medicine that dates back over 3,000 years. This practice helps to draw toxins from your mouth by gathering up all bacteria, fungi, and viruses within the oral cavity. It’s been known to fight against gingivitis and headaches, whiten teeth, increase energy, and improve skin tone.

Here’s how it works: Take a tablespoon of oil — traditionally sesame oil, but olive or coconut oil works as well —  and put it in your mouth. Swish the oil around your mouth and in between your teeth for 20 minutes, then spit it out.

Do not swallow the oil or all that work will have been wasted, because you’ll just be ingesting all the toxins you worked so hard to remove. You can rinse with fresh water or, better yet, brush your teeth right after.

4. Dry Brush

Our largest organ on our body is our skin. It absorbs whatever we put onto it and is responsible for 25% of our body’s detoxification efforts each day. It’s full of nerves, glands, and cell layers.

By brushing your skin you not only help to detox the body, but also improve circulation, reduce cellulite, stimulate your lymphatic system, increase cell renewal, reduce stress, and even improve digestion and kidney function.

Use a proper dry brush that’s made for brushing your skin. Start by brushing on dry skin in a circular motion from the soles of your feet up to your heart and then your head. The heart centre is important to focus on because most of our lymphs live there. Avoid your genitals, breasts, and face. You can do this before working out or taking a shower. Take your time with this process and enjoy each moment — it can become quite addictive!

5. Self-Massage With Black Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is traditionally used for abhyanga, an ayurvedic self-massage. Ancient ayurvedic scholar Charaka claims that it is the best of all oils because it is rich in linoleic acid and has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. This practice helps stimulate and balance the energy points in the body and can help keep the skin, hair, nails, and joints healthy. If you do not have sesame oil you can use other oils as well.

Massages are a great way to naturally wake the physical body. By doing a self massage, you are re-familiarizing yourself with your physical being, all while giving yourself some love.

Get some black sesame oil online or in a health food store. Begin by gently warming the oil on a burner or even with your hands and then massage your limbs and work your way towards your heart centre. Warm black sesame oil is great for penetrating the skin and lubricating joints.

6. Grounding & Sun Gazing

The idea behind ‘Earthing,’ otherwise known as grounding, relates to the intense negative charge carried by the Earth. This charge is electron-rich, theoretically serving as a good supply of antioxidants and free radical-destroying electrons. Earthing serves as a natural and “profoundly effective environmental strategy” against chronic stress, ANS dysfunction, inflammation, pain, poor sleep, disturbed HRV, hyper-coagulable blood, and many common health disorders, including cardiovascular disease.

All you have to do is walk outside barefoot for 10 minutes and you will immediately feel a sense of ease. While doing this, you can also incorporate the ancient Egyptian practice of sun gazing.

Sun gazing has its own array of benefits as well, including:

  • Relief of stress and tension
  • Increased energy
  • Boosts production of the feel-good hormones serotonin and melatonin
  • Improved eyesight
  • Reduces hunger pains — body is completely nourished by the sun (Some people claim to have been able to take part in this practice and not eat anything during the entire process, which usually lasts about 9 or 10 months)
  • Stimulation of the pineal gland
  • Increased size of pineal gland
  • Releasing of internal blockages
  • Increased human potential

You must do it during the very first or very last 45 minutes of sun each day. Start with 10 seconds and then build up from there. Do not practice this at any other hours of the day, as you can seriously damage your eyes from the sun’s UV rays.

7. Hot & Cold Shower

This is a form of hydrotherapy practiced by the ancient Essenes who were known to plunge into the cold waters of the Dead Sea. Hydrotherapy use has been recorded by ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilizations.

Cold showers alone host a number of benefits. They can:

  • Improve your immune system
  • Stimulate circulation
  • Ease stress and depression
  • Improve hair and nails
  • Increase alertness
  • Alleviate muscle soreness

Coupling this with a hot shower either before or after also helps to detox and cleanse the body, hydrates cells, and improves overall function of major organs.

There are many different ways to do this. An easy method I myself have tried is doing 30 seconds cold followed by 30 seconds hot before going into my regular shower. Others suggest starting very hot and then quickly dousing your whole body, being sure to cover your neck and head, then decreasing it slowly to freezing cold, covering your body in the same way, and then repeating 7 times. Repetition is important to get the full effect.

Your Nighttime Routine Counts

While your morning routine helps to set your day, your evening routine is what determines how easily you can wake up in the morning.

Here are some tips to ensure you get a great night’s sleep and ensure you have a spectacular morning;

  • Limit your screen time before bed and turn off screens at least 2 hours before you plan to sleep. The blue light emitted from your phone can keep you from falling asleep by preventing your brain from producing melatonin.
  • Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bed as well as anything high in sugar.
  • Have a spoonful of raw honey before bed; honey will raise blood glucose while you sleep, allowing for a deeper sleep.
  • Do some writing to ease a chattering mind. Try writing down three things you are grateful for each night before bed, so that you can go to sleep with a smile on your face.
  • A nice warm epsom salt bath will help alleviate any stress and get your body into a perfectly relaxed state.

Finally, be patient and kind to yourself. I may not be ‘perfect’ and reach my goal each morning, but I definitely am not going to give up on myself either! If I can get at least one of these techniques in I know eventually I’ll be able to incorporate more, and benefit from each one I include.

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Awareness

Tips On Overcoming Sleep Problems During Pregnancy

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Getting a Good Night’s Sleep in the Third Trimester is a Challenge

As the body changes, a pregnant woman may suddenly find a handful of reasons she can’t get to sleep at night. Try these tips for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

A common complaint among pregnant women, particularly those in their third trimester, is the inability to fall (and stay) asleep at night. Many factors are often to blame, making it difficult to know exactly how to address the issue. From growing size to frequent urination, there seems to be no break for a rest. But some very basic techniques can help pregnant women get the sleep they need.

Why Can’t I Sleep?

As the body changes throughout the first and second trimesters, some women may notice changes in their sleeping pattern. Most, however, aren’t too affected until they reach month seven or so. As the body rapidly adapts to the growing baby, some issues may arise:

Frequent urination can be a huge annoyance. As the kidneys do double-duty to filter the increased blood volume (about 40% more than normal), the body produces more urine. At the same time, the baby’s growth has increased pressure on the bladder, making the time between bathroom trips very short. Babies active at night may also increase the number of trips for some mothers.

A rapid heartbeat is needed to pump that extra blood throughout the body, but some women find it difficult to relax in these circumstances.

Shortness of breath, due to pressure on the lungs and the release of certain hormones, can make it a challenge to fall asleep at night. As the fetus grows, the diaphragm will compress more and more, increasing the pressure on the lungs.

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Aches and pains are quite common, since a pregnant woman’s center of balance shifts and places extra pressure on new areas. Leg cramps and lower back pain are a typical night-time complaint since the hormone relaxin is working to stretch out and loosen the ligaments to prepare for delivery. Injuries and strains become more likely later in pregnancy.

Digestive problems, like heartburn and constipation, abound as the process of digestion slows down. Food backs up in the digestive tract, taking longer to break down, and the result is mom’s discomfort.

Get Comfortable

Doctors recommend that pregnant women lay on their side at night to allow proper blood flow throughout the body. For stomach- and back-sleepers this might be difficult, but it’s important. Choosing a comfortable mattress and pillows is a must as they will help make a pregnant woman more comfortable at night. Use pillows under the belly, behind the back, and between the legs. Try experimenting with different pillows (body pillows, wedges, etc.) and different positions.

Get Prepared

When it’s almost time to get to sleep, start preparing the body for bedtime. Take a relaxing bath, have a glass of warm mylk, or a night-time massage. Putting the mind at ease can help make the transition to sleep easier. For some, foods high in carbohydrates, like a snack of bread or crackers, will help with sleep troubles. And to limit bathroom trips, be sure to avoid drinking fluids too close to bedtime!

Get Healthy

The right nutrition and exercise can go a long way, especially during pregnancy. Certain things should be avoided and added to optimize sleep:

Adding calcium to the diet will help to curb those painful leg cramps.

Protein-rich diets can ward off those unpleasant pregnancy nightmares.

Skipping caffeine, or limiting it as much as possible, can have a dramatic effect. Many pregnant women’s bodies cannot break down caffeine, so it remains in the system much longer than usual.

Avoid foods that trigger heartburn.

Get enough fibre to reduce constipation.

Try yoga for relaxation, walks to keep joints limber and moderate activity to help promote sleep. Adding exercise every day might be the key to getting to bed at night.

Paying attention to the body, staying relaxed, and getting the right nutrition is essential to quieting the mind and getting a good night’s sleep during pregnancy. Follow these tips and try to stay positive; only a few more months (or weeks) to go!

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Lifestyle

10 Quick & Nourishing Smoothie Recipes That Taste Great

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Smoothies are a great way to pack a lot of nutrients into a filling, delicious meal any time of the day. In our fast-paced world, they help provide a great way to stay healthy on the go.

  • Reflect On:

    If you find combining sugars and fats bloat you, keep them separate. Sugar that comes from eating whole fruit is not the same as added sugar!

Have you ever compromised on a nourishing and filling breakfast because you are running late for work? Well, it has happened to all of us, especially women with kids.

And the good news is, smoothies! That’s right! Smoothies are nutrient-rich, delicious and can be made within minutes. You can replace it with your coffee on-the-go as it is much more healthy, filling, and tasty.

Here are 10 such smoothies prepared using a variety of fruits, veggies, and other ingredients. Some of the ingredients are rich in antioxidants, some are protein packed, and a few others are the best anti-inflammatory foods. So indulge in a smoothie marathon and try out one of the below smoothies each day; either as a fully-loaded breakfast or as a filling snack.

Breakfast Smoothie

This is a protein-rich breakfast which is clean and detox-friendly. It consists of,

  • 180ml of coconut milk
  • 1tsp cacao 1tsp coconut oil
  • 120 ml coconut water
  • 25 grams of oats
  • half a banana (either fresh or frozen)
  • 1tsp almond butter
  • 3 ice cubes

Blend everything together and you are ready to kick start your day on a super healthy note. It contains protein, fibre and all the essential nutrients required for a wholesome breakfast.

Peanut Butter Banana Apple Smoothie

Another protein packed smoothie that is just delicious! This recipe is as easy as it comes.

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  • Add two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • a banana
  • some sliced apples and
  • a few ice cubes

There you go! Banana will give you instant energy, protein from peanut butter, and loads of vitamins and minerals from apple. Nothing can get better than that!

Watermelon Basil Smoothie

Another simple and quick smoothie with just three ingredients. It is healthy, quick and delicious. This smoothie includes watermelon, basil and coconut water. It is super-hydrating and healthy. Watermelon is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and many other nutrients. It aids conditions such as inflammation, obesity, diabetes and heart diseases. Basil is an amazing source of vitamin K, magnesium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids. What more do you need?

Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Cherries are the best summer fruit ever! Put one cup of cherries along with one cup coconut milk and one scoop of protein powder. It is naturally sweet, creamy and full of deliciousness. This will fulfil your daily dose of protein in a single gulp! Cherries are packed with antioxidants and cancer-preventing elements. Studies show that it also promotes sleep by increasing melatonin levels, relieve arthritis pain, reduce belly fat and is an excellent post-workout snack that can reduce muscle pain.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

 This healthy and tasty smoothie has only three ingredients; Strawberry, banana and non-dairy milk or water. Just throw all the ingredients and then blend! It’s creamy, colourful, healthy and delicious! Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C, folic acid, and dietary fibre good for skin health and can beat the top moisturizers in terms of the benefits offered. It will help to keep skin healthy and glowing and fights aging, acne, and wrinkles. The banana provides increased energy throughout the day. It can be consumed as a perfect healthy breakfast or as a snack.

Pineapple smoothie

With just two ingredients, it is possible to have a tropical beach experience at home. Don’t know how? This pineapple smoothie is just what everyone needs. Frozen or fresh pineapple and almond milk are the only ingredients in this. It is quick, easy and a perfect after workout drink. This combination can never go wrong. Pineapples improve bone strength, eyesight, delays muscle degeneration and aids in digestion. Having this smoothie first thing in the morning can help with smooth bowel movement.

Banana Blueberry Chocolate Smoothie

Who doesn’t love chocolates? This smoothie can fix the craving for chocolate and in a healthy way. Adding sugar and other sweeteners can ruin the whole purpose of having a healthy smoothie. Cocoa powder is a perfect substitute that can solve this issue. And blueberries offer a myriad of benefits such as regulate cholesterol and heart diseases. It has fibre, potassium, Vitamin C and other essential nutrients.

The ingredients are

  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Water or crushed ice can be added.

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

This is a nutrient-packed smoothie with simple and easily available ingredients. Simply put 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 scoop of green powder, one tablespoon vegan yogurt, two handfuls of spinach, some almond milk, few mint leaves and 1tsp cocoa powder. The greens offer plenty of vitamins and minerals along with the benefits of avocado. Mint acts as a palate cleanser and improves digestion and bowel movements. It also reduces the symptoms of inflammation, depression, asthma, respiratory diseases, promotes oral care, cures nausea and headache and even prevents cancer.

Post-Workout Smoothie

Tired of the same old peanut butter? Try this smoothie recipe with non-dairy milk, almond butter, bananas, one tablespoon of flaxseeds, natural oats, and honey. It is packed with protein, dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and plenty of other nutrients. Needless to say, extremely delicious. Makes up for an excellent post-workout snack that promotes muscle strength, repair of damaged cells and provides energy.

Beetroot Cinnamon Smoothie

The ingredients are,

  • 1 small raw beetroot
  • 1 handful of almonds
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • ripe banana
  • ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

This smoothie can be customized by adding more fruits or greens. It is perfect for breakfast or as a snack option. Beetroot is a good source of iron, nitrates, magnesium and other antioxidants. It also improves skin health and glows, lower blood pressure and prevent dementia. This smoothie is an ideal option for a pre-workout meal.

So what are you waiting for? Try out these incredibly easy and healthy smoothies and pamper yourself with a great breakfast that nourishes your soul. It’s time for some self-love!

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266886.php
https://bellatory.com/skin/Top-5-Benefits-of-Strawberry-for-Skin
https://www.livescience.com/45487-pineapple-nutrition.html

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So far, the response to this interview has been off the charts as people are calling it the most concise update of what's happening in our world today.

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Consciousness

8 Comics Showing How Much Today’s Childhood Differs From Ours

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The childhood experience today is inevitably affected by--and sometimes even centered on--technology.

  • Reflect On:

    What is technology giving to our children, and what is it taking away? Should we be more proactive about our children's exposure to technology?

When I was a child, there was no shortage of getting told by our parents and other adults about how much better we had things than they did when they were children.  Stories of having to walk for miles to go to school, sleeping in the same bed until they became an adult, having the same food all the time, and having only a few simple toys to last them several years were not uncommon at all. There was a definite sense that as society modernized, things were getting better for children.

And as children we certainly didn’t disagree — hearing our parents’ stories did indeed make us feel that we were better off than they were. We certainly would not be inclined to exchange our childhood for their more rugged, austere version. And yes, to some extent these stories gave us a bit more ‘appreciation’ for what we had, despite not showing enough of it to satisfy our parents.

How About Today?

Today, I’m not sure that familiar line of conversation that has spanned many generations is going on anymore between parents and children. As the father of a 4-year old, the most immediate difference I notice is that we seem to have less time for our children than our parents did, especially if both parents are working full-time, which is just about a requirement these days.

The other major difference is the level of technology children have access to. And in some ways, technology has come in and ‘filled the gap’ where a parent’s attention is absent. Now, undoubtedly, there are some benefits to technology for our children. But when we take time to reflect on it, we might recognize that we have come to a particular stage in the modernization of our society where most of us are not sure that ‘newer, bigger, faster, more convenient’ is necessarily better, especially with regards to the type of childhood that serves as a foundation for a happy and prosperous adult life.

Here are 8 pictures comparing childhoods then and now, where technology has become ubiquitous in the lives of our children. Do you think our children have it better than we did?

Are they having more fun?

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Are they being more creative?

Are they more ambitious?

Are they healthier?

Are they understanding consequences better?

Are they feeling things more deeply?

Are they experiencing more frustration?

Is their sense of wonder being cultivated more?

How Did You Score It?

How you answer these questions might give you some insight into how much you want your children’s early experiences to be influenced by technology. As everyone knows, childhood is the most formative time of a person’s life, which is why, as parents, some of the choices within our control that we make about our children’s exposure to technology might have a significant impact.

Drawings courtesy of Sergey Raskovalov.

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