September is National Yoga Month!

Those who have practiced yoga, whether as beginners or as novice yogis can attest to the abundant benefits they’ve gained from this ancient form of enlightenment and mental and physical achievement. Positively impacting the mind, engaging a deeper sense of meaning on the soul, and strengthening the entire physical body, yoga continues to be a practice for the ages. It is a mere piece of healthy living that ALL can enjoy and embrace—regardless of age, size, or any seeming infringement on the body or mind. Regardless of your personal physical, mental and health status, you too can benefit from this practice.

New to yoga?  It’s okay—everyone starts somewhere and you are no exception!  It’s not about keeping up with seasoned yogis or being able to hold an awkward pose longer or more gracefully than those around you. It’s about allowing yourself the time to learn how to breathe, how to improve your sense of self, how embrace your physical abilities, and to accept the abundant joy that often accompanies even the simplest of yogic practice.

*REMEMBER: yoga can be practiced in a multitude of positions. Start in a comfortable chair or even in a position where you are lying down comfortably on your bed or on a soft blanket. If available to you, use props to assist you with new positions and for balance. There are no set guidelines in yoga. It’s merely about focusing on a gradual progression of your breath, becoming more mindful, and engaging in gentle movements (where recommended) until you feel inclined to face the challenge of standing poses and advanced techniques.

Not sure which form of yoga is right for you? Research in advance and try a few on for size!  Remember that if you are new to yoga to begin with level 1 or beginner’s classes to avoid over-straining your body. Here are a few forms of yoga you might have available in your community.

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Hatha

A gentle form of yoga that focuses on performing basic poses while placing an emphasis on improved breathing.

Ideal for: Beginners, injuries, limited mobility, senior citizens, infants/adolescents, pregnant women

Ashtanga

A non-stop session of yoga that uses special breathing techniques that help you to focus on the flow of oxygen through the body while improving the focus of the mind.

Ideal for: someone who has tried yoga before, someone who would like to deepen his/her yoga practice, athletes, those who want to deepen the mind-body connection.

Iyengar

A gentle form of yoga that focuses on each detail of movement and breath. This practice generally involves props, such as straps, blocks, and bolsters to assist with achieving correct alignment.

Ideal for: those who like to achieve a deepness during their practice and are attempting to improve posture and physical alignment.

Bikram

A challenging sequence of 26 yoga poses that are performed in a heated room (generally above 100°F

Ideal for: those are have been practicing yoga and want a challenge. Those who want to detoxify and improve circulation, or strengthen their physical strength.

Kripalu

A gentle form of yoga that includes a series of slow movements that gradual progress through three levels to deepen the mind-body connection.

Ideal for: newbies to yoga, children, senior citizens, those who have injuries that won’t be exacerbated by the movements, those who want to deepen their practice and improve mental wellbeing.

Kundalini

Similar to Kripalu, though enforces more of an enlightened and spiritual awareness. This form of yoga includes meditation, chanting, and various breathing techniques to enforce this spiritual practice.

Ideal for: those who seek a higher enlightenment or would like to venture into meditation practices, all ages and physical abilities, beginners to yoga practices.

Feeling adventurous?? Try one of the many unique types of yoga that is available. Here are just a few examples:

  1. Paddleboard Yoga
  2. Doga (yes, man’s best friend can join in on this too!)
  3. Acroyoga/Aerial Yoga
  4. Equine Yoga
  5. Tantrum Yoga
  6. Karaoke Yoga
  7. Mommy & Me Yoga

Find a local event—many yoga events are affordable or even free, especially during the month of September! Oftentimes because the weather hasn’t yet cooled beyond a brisk autumn breeze, it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and spend time on the mat. Look for local yoga festivals, community events, and nature-based classes in your area—if you look hard enough, you’ll see that there’s a lot out there!

Give yourself a chance!  Many assume they are either ‘made for yoga’ or not. Be patient with yourself and know that we are all different in how yoga impacts us. As a long-term yogi (over 20 years now!), I know my limitations and have accepted them. You may find that the thought of touching your toes is just out of your abilities. Maybe you feel dizzy or nauseous anytime you try a pose that places you upside down. These feelings are OK and absolutely acceptable, so be patient and find the ability to love whatever benefits and limitations you feel from your yoga practice. And, above all else—Practice, Practice, Practice!

Building a Healthier Burrito

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1 | Wrap it up

Choose a wheat tortilla over flour or skip the tortilla all together and have a burrito bowl!

2 | Pick your protein

Chicken or steak is usually your best bet! Many burrito joints now have vegetarian options like sofritas as well.

3 | Choose your carbohydrate

Opt for brown rice over white rice for more nutritional benefits.

4 | Beans, beans the wonderful… fruit?

Black beans tend to be slightly lower in sodium than pinto beans.

5 | Don’t forget the veggies!

Add some fajita veggies, lettuce and pico de gallo.

6 | Some fat can be healthy

Skip the sour cream, cheese and queso and opt for guacamole instead. By making this swap you will get less saturated fat and more of the good, unsaturated fat!

7| Top it off

Top the burrito with your favorite salsa for an extra dose of vegetables.

8 | Split it!

Although it might be hard, cut your burrito in half and split it with a friend or save the other half for your next meal. With such large portions, one burrito at the popular burrito joints can be well over 2,000 calories even when picking the healthy options so your body should be satisfied with just half.