Monday, 24 December 2012

Facial Yoga

Experts hail it as the simple and non-surgical way to turn back the clock
Next time, delay thc appointment at the wellness centre for chemicals or dangerous injectables that aim to turn back the clock. The latest technique to get rid of your wrinkles is simple and non-invasive and well, you can pull faces while doing it. Called face yoga, the set of facial exercises has caught the fancy of Hollywood celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston, who are said to be advocates of it. Here's how you can get glowing with pulling a few faces...

Its benefits
Like regular yoga, the moves in face yoga also have unique names. Want to try The Marilyn, Bumblebee or Lion — all expressionsintended to turn back the ageing clock and and reduce wrinkles. Experts state that face yoga not only rejuvenates the face, but simultaneously helps in putting back that glow. Explains yoga trainer Yogesh Chavan, "The face muscles are not different from the musclesof the rest of the body. Thus, if they are not exercised, they become flabby. Face yoga, which allows for oxygen to rush to the face, is extremely rejuvenating and acts as a beauty booster. It entails toning one's facial muscles by smiling, stretching the eyebrows outwards, twisting your lips or moving the cheeks from side to side, stretching out your tongue and even making the mouth into the shape of blowing a kiss. One can do this every morning or even while travelling."

How it has helped people
Face yoga aims to tighten facial muscles and aid blood circulation. Rajiv Ananth, an advertising executive, who regularly practises this yoga in the morning, is gung-ho about it. "Due to long work hours I had developed a puffiness around the eyes. But I tried face yoga and found it to be beneficial. After just a week of exercises such as Kapalbhatti and deep breathing techniques, I found that my dark circles had greatly reduced," he informs.

According to businesswoman Nisha Shrimant, what really attracted her to facial yoga in the past was the fact that she could do it anywhere. Says she, "With my schedule I travel a lot on work and so I can't get onto a treadmill or spend time on a yoga mat. I realised facial yoga could be done on the go and after my yoga teacher taught me a few exercises I loved it," she admits, adding, "Now, when I also feel my face tightening due to stress I take a break and go into a washroom or a quiet corridor and do facial contortions. It's funny to someone who sees me, but it really works; my face relaxes almost immediately," she adds.

Practise these exercises today!
While Chavan states that yogasanas like Simhasan (lion pose) and Vyaghrasan (tiger pose) are apt to fit into facial yoga, holistic health guru Mickey Mehta also presents easy face exercises to do at any time. "Chewing is a good exercise, as well as blowing (like blowing a balloon), sucking in one's cheeks holding it for seven to eight seconds and releasing it, frowning, then relaxing then a repeat of this also helps. In addition, try smiling, laughing and most important, 'still the face' for a few minutes each day. All these techniques can prevent wrinkles, stop further ones from happening and tighten up the face," he sums up.

If you love making faces, get started today for that glow!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Water Benefits

Overall maintenance: Water helps us in multiple ways and is a part of the cells in the body. Apart from quenching thirst, it regulates body temperature, helps to flush out waste products from the kidneys, keeps mucous membranes moist, helps in digestion, lubricates joints, maintains the viscosity of blood, and moisturises the skin.

Water helps in prevention of diseases. Water helps to prevent constipation by softening the stools and making it easy to evacuate the bowels. It helps to prevent urinary tract infection. It prevents premature wrinkling of skin by keeping the skin moist. It helps to prevent frequent infections and allergies by keeping the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, eyes, etc moist. Adequate water intake prevents dehydration and its effects.

Importance of getting daily requirement of water content through your food. Water can be taken plain in the required quantity or can be combined with fluids to maintain the hydration levels in the body. Nourishing fluids would include beverages like buttermilk, fresh lime juice, fresh fruit juice, tender coconut water, plain milk, clear soup. Some of the vegetables and fruits are high in water content and their intake helps in boosting the hydration in the body, especially in the hot summer months. Some examples are cucumber, ash gourd, watermelon, tomato and celery.

Water and weight loss. Drinking water right before a meal aids in suppressing appetite to some extent, thus, making one eat less. However, this does not contribute to weight loss directly. Weight loss takes effort and involves balanced food intake, physical activity, exercise, and so on. As far as water is concerned it has no calories and creates a false feel of fullness and might just contribute to weight loss indirectly.

The biggest take-home here is that water helps promote healthy metabolism, which in turn affects how our bodies handle energy production and fat storage. So get healthy, and drink up today!

Heat Remedies

If you have been out in the sun too long and are now dealing with the consequences, cucumber may be just what the doctor ordered. Cucumbers contain natural coolant properties, and when applied directly to the skin can help both in the reduction of pain, as well as increase the healing process of the damaged skin. For best results when treating sunburn, put some cucumber slices on it as soon as possible.

"Cucumber is one of the best cooling beauty products. It can be applied on the face, eyes and feet to reduce that heat-induced greasy feeling," says Mahima Trivedi, spa manager. To get rid of your tan, use a cucumber face pack, this acts like a natural bleach.
For oily skin 
- Even if your skin is very oily in summer, don't discontinue the use of sunscreen. Use a gel-based sunscreen instead of your regular cream-based sunblock.
- Apply fresh, cooled cucumber paste to the skin and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Wash your face at least two to three times a day.
- Use a scrub once in 10 days, depending on the sensitivity of your skin.
- Aloe vera gel is also an excellent coolant and moisturiser for oily skin.
If you get a tan
- Rub your face with ice cubes to close your pores to reduce breakouts. Ice also soothes burnt skin.
- Cool your palms by lightly rubbing them with ice cubes. Lightly massage skin with a gel (combination to oily skin) or cream (dry to normal skin).

Use a mixture of honey, rosewater and lemon to get rid of a tan.
- A face pack of unboiled milk, turmeric and some lemon juice is effective for the face. You can also blend gram flour, lime juice and some curd to make a face pack.
- You can make herbal sunscreen at home by mixing sesame oil, almond oil and olive oil.

Secrets to Beauty

Secret 1 
Drink water: Thinking it's no secret? Well, forget about the eight glass rule. Make sure you drink just enough that you don't feel thirsty. Says freelancer Prachi, "My skin gets all flaky and dry if I am not well hydrated."

Secret 2 
Sunscreen is a must: Sunscreen is a guarantee for youthful skin. UV rays is the most common source of skin cancer and ageing. Be it rains or sunshine, make sure your skin is nicely smothered with sunscreen- and you know the rule- apply it 15 minutes prior to walking out so the body absorbs it properly.

Secret 3 
Moisturise: Make sure you have a moisturizing body lotion that includes a self-tanner. It helps you hide spider veins on your legs and give a slimming effect all over.

Secret 4 
Hands and neck are important too: Treat your hands and neck like your face. Wash, cleanse and moisturise. Apply suitable creams and rub it nicely on your neck and hands to make sure they glow as much as your facial skin.

Secret 5 
Exercise! If you want glow on your face, facials are not the only option. Workouts help improve blood circulation and oxygen capacity. So hit the treadmill and enjoy the healthy glow!

Secret 6 
Eat right: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Stress a lot on vitamin A, C and E and they help deal with skin issues. Applying antioxidants on the skin also help...

Secret 7 
Feel good: Do things that make you feel great about yourself. If you look happy you will automatically feel the glow. So smile and stay cheerful!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Stomach Bulge...!

Even the most disciplined and the most hard working people find their Waterloo when fighting the stomach bulge.
From bloating because of water retention to the sheer frustration brought on by the stomach's refusal to fall flat, abdominal weight is a tough battle to win. Today we've picked out our top 5 tips about how to control the stomach bulge - 5 tips and bits of awareness that everyone entering this stomach bulge arena needs to know. So, let's get started!

Are stomach crunches enough for abs?
For six-pack abs one needs to strengthen the abdominal muscles and lose body fat. Unfortunately there is no escaping cardiovascular exercise and weight (or resistance) training to lose weight in a healthy way. That aside, in order to strengthen your abs you will have to follow exercises related to both, the abdomen and the back. There are different types of crunches and other abdominal exercises that focus on the entire abdomen, from the upper to the lower sections. These exercises are ideal to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

However, training your abs without training your back creates an imbalance in the musculature that supports your spine. And these muscles are not just for show! Therefore,the best exercises for your abdominal muscles are the ones that force your entire core to go into overdrive to support your spine as well. Some exercises that do this are squats and lifts.

Some more exercises, other than crunches, squats and lifts, that will help strengthen both the back and abdominal muscles: Sit ups, jack-knife sit ups , leg lifts, static holds and side statics.

So, while crunches, squats and other abdominal exercises will strengthen your core, overall fat loss will make this strengthened core visible.

The truth about beer belly fat
Beer drinkers around the world tend to be a part of the not-so-cute-n-cuddly beer belly band wagon.
What causes the dreaded beer belly?
Mukta Vasishta. A beer belly is caused by excess calorie intake and reduced calorie expenditure because of a sedentary lifestyle.
Sunita Roy Chowdhary. Consumption of excess calories (overeating or over-drinking) and having a sedentary lifestyle is the main cause of this kind of obesity. It can also be due to cushing's syndrome (it is a health condition which stems from long-standing contact of the body's tissues to high levels of the hormone cortisol) and certain drugs can also be the cause.

Can people with a beer belly be considered obese?
Mukta Vasishta. People with beer belly are not healthy. On the contrary the visceral fat (fat that lies deep inside the abdomen surrounding vital organs) deposited leads to secretion of cytokines which cause chronic inflammation and disease. People with beer belly are considered obese only if body mass index (a measure of body fatness) is more than 24.9 kg/m.
Sunita Roy Chowdhary. People with abdominal fat deposition are considered obese if the waist circumference is more than 102 cm (40inches) in men and more than 88 cm (35 inches) in women.

What are the prevention and treatment of beer belly? Is liposuction a safe and only method to get rid of it?
Mukta Vasishta. Prevention and treatment of beer belly involves:
- Losing weight.
- De-stressing by meditation and breathing exercise.
- Drinking plenty of water to flush out salt from the tissues so as to feel lighter and not bloated.
- Eating a proper diet by including anti-inflammatory foods like oats, wheat bran, brown rice, green vegetables, fruits, green tea, nuts, fish etc and avoid inflammatory foods like refined cereals, sweets, fried foods etc.
- Liposuction removes subcutaneous fat and not the visceral fat because it is too close to the internal organs which would make it unsafe.

 For the prevention and treatment of obesity one needs to have a healthy balanced diet with a regular exercise routine. One should not over eat. Eat a healthy balanced diet of three main meals along with two high fiber snacks in betweens every day. 30 minutes of exercise each day is enough to keep one in shape.

How yoga helps tone your abs?
Been dreaming of the perfect midriff, those sexy obliques, or that six pack? Here are some tips on yoga for core strength, and finally - great abs.

Why is development of core strength required for great abs?
Your core (your complete mid section) is the most instrumental for developing a fit, strong and lean body. This is because it supports the upper body, as well as the lower body and unless you have strong back and ab muscles, you won't be able to lift heavy, or run fast. And you should be able to lift heavy and run fast in order to get the perfect mid section.

Some functional workouts for a strong core are:
Squats - The most basic of all functional exercises and a full body workout, strengthening, the core, glutes, hips, upper thighs and calves.

Dead lifts - An extremely useful exercise whereby you bend down and pick up a weight using your back, arms, hips and hamstring.

Overhead press - Lifting dumbbells over your head not only works out your arms but your torso does a lot of work too, by balancing and supporting your arms that are lifting the weights.

To get rid of belly fat and strengthen your torso a good mix of the above weight training exercises as well as yoga works wonders.

So how does yoga help you get great looking abs?
Yoga postures - Take almost any yoga posture like the sarvangasana (shoulder stand), virbhadrasana (warrior pose), or the dhanurasana (bow pose). How well you are able to emulate these poses almost always depends on how strong your core is. Being flexible, but having a weak core, will allow you to do some basic postures like Uttanasana (bending forward and touching your toes), but will not allow you to make much headway in the slightly more advanced postures.

Yoga stretches - Basic stretches like the cow and cat pose (getting down on all fours and stretching your back in and out) and the mountain pose where you stand on your toes, extend your arms upwards and stretch your whole body out, are very essential in increasing flexibility to your core. Doing this will make you far less susceptible to injuries and will allow you to push your body more during weight training and/ or running.

Breathing - Yoga teaches you techniques of how to breathe in a way that promotes lung capacity, clears blockages and even clenches and unclenches stomach muscles. This, once again, promotes movement and flexibility of core muscles and all round core strength.

Although yoga alone will not help you achieve that six-pack, it is a vital addition to your fitness routine so that you can strengthen your core, which in turn will help you perform better in all your other fat burning endeavours. Strengthening your core in itself is vital if you want to tone your body for a sleeker torso and finally sexy abs.

How to get that V-shaped body
This one is for all the men out there. The fabled V shape is the epitome of manhood, just like the hourglass plagues many women's dreams. Here's how to get that V Shape:

A natural body deserves natural movements - Having identified that the V shape is the natural shape of the male anatomy, it's important to ensure that you workout in a way that is natural for your body to get into shape. Many men try putting on excessive amount of bulk and therefore get stuck with exaggerated frames like very large shoulders or are unable to workout in a way that reduces the belly fat.

In order to workout the whole body and get leanness in the midsection as well as over all, bodyweight workouts, functional training, and high intensity interval training is a must.

Hard gainers - For those who find it hard to gain muscle on their shoulders, which is important to get that V shape here are two must dos -
- Lift really heavy things. The foundation of your routine should be the big compound lifts: Squats, deadlifts, presses (bench and overhead), pull-ups, rows, clean and jerks. These engage multiple muscles while triggering your hormonal response systems.
- Eat lots and lots of healthy vegetables and meat. You are going to have to eat far more than before if you want to gain weight. Since body composition is 80% diet, you are going to have to stuff yourself. You need to provide lots and lots of proteins for those hormones to synthesize.
Flexibility and yoga - Working on flexibility helps towards achieving a lean and strong frame. In order to be lean and strong, you need to gain lean muscle mass and not bulk up on excessive unnatural muscle. Many men make the mistake of trying to convert fat into bulky muscle when they start going to the gym. In the process, this hinders the body shape. You would be far better off working towards a naturally lean body and once you manage to do this, the V shape will come automatically. Yoga helps to gain core strength and to make the limbs supple and lean.

How to tackle water retention
Water retention is everyone's favourite reason for explaining weight gain, or difficulty in achieving weight loss. Nutritionist Sushila Sharangdhar helps us understand what water retention is and how we can tackle it.

What is water retention? Water retention is a condition in which the body retains water. It is a condition that results from water leaking from body tissues to blood. It causes tenderness and swelling, especially in the abdomen. Sometimes it also causes swelling in the feet, legs, arms or abdomen.

Causes of water retention: Water retention occurs due to several factors like the body's reaction to humid weather, hormonal changes during menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause and side effects of oral contraceptive pills among women. Nutritional deficiencies, hypothyroidism, heart or liver disorders could be the reasons behind water retention for both, men and women.

Water retention can be diagnosed with the help of the patient's medical history, a physical examination and other tests like blood test, urine test, liver and kidney function test, chest X-ray or Electro Cardiogram, so that any heart, liver or kidney problems are ruled out.

How to fight water retention with food
- Eating a well balanced diet will help you fight water retention.
- Foods high in calcium such as milk, curd or buttermilk help eliminate excess fluid from the body.
- Include foods rich in potassium and Vitamin B complex: Fruits like bananas, papaya and pear; citrus fruits like orange and pineapple will help too.
- Cranberry, grapefruit, melon (watermelon, muskmelon), and avocado juices help fight water retention.
- Nuts like almonds or walnuts and flax seeds are good for water retention too.
- Other foods that will help fight water retention are lean meats like chicken, egg whites and vegetables that belong to the gourd family like bitter gourd, snake gourd etc.
- Increase your fluid intake: Drinking plenty of water (around 2-3 liters everyday), lime water, barley water or coconut water can also speed- up the process of eliminating unwanted fluids from the body.
- Use of diuretics: Diuretics are medicines that induce the kidney to eliminate excess water and sodium from the body, causing a decrease in the blood volume and thereby reducing the blood pressure. Hence, diuretics should be used under the supervision of a doctor or physician. This, of course, only applies to extreme cases of water retention wherein the patient seeks medical counsel.
- Avoid foods high in sodium or with added salt like processed salad dressings, pickles, chips and salted nuts. Any processed, packed or canned foods contain high amount of sodium and usually lead to water retention.
- Avoid excessive intake of caffeinated drinks and beverages like soft drinks, energy drinks, tea, coffee, and alcohol.

Exercise: Taking up an activity like brisk walk, running, jogging for at least 30 minutes can help combat water retention. Exercise helps dilate the blood vessels, thus increasing the amount of fluid that kidneys excrete.

An old home remedy for water retention, specifically for the legs, is to elevate the affected part while sleeping to improve blood circulation. While this does prevent the condition from aggravating, we still think that eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly are your safest bets against water retention. If you still experience water retention despite all the healthy foods, diets and activities in your life, maybe it's time to let a medical professional examine you and rule out any serious ailments.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Beverages to drink

Water : One should either drink warm water or water at room temperature. If you have existing digestive problems, cold water can just make it worse.Make sure that you use a good water purifier. Squeeze lemon, wedges into your water for a good flavour.

Herbal teas : Caffeine-free herbal teas are an excellent form of fluids. Peppermint, chamomile, and caraway in particular improve digestion and reduce bloating. You can also go for green tea.

Vegetable juice : Vegetable juices are a great way of getting your daily dose of vegetables and fluids. Avoid canned juices and vegetable cocktails that contain high levels of salt. Celery, wheatgrass, cucumber, fennel, parsley, and other non-starchy vegetables are some excellent choices. Carrots tend to be sweet, so be sure to drink carrot juice in moderation. If you enjoy the taste of vegetable juice, a home juicer is essential for you.

Smoothies : A smoothie, made of a combination of fresh or frozen fruits, a scoop of protein powder and skim milk, is a great way to start the day. If you are used to coffee or something sweet in the morning, you may find that a power smoothie gives you more sustained energy.

Fruit juices : In general, it is better to eat fruit than drink it. In liquid form, the sugar in the fruit juice is absorbed into the bloodstream relatively quickly. So, it is better to try diluting fruit juice with water - one part unsweetened fruit juice to one to three parts of water. Choose fruits that are not high in sugar content.

Decaffeinated coffee : Coffee as a rule isn't the best drink and can dehydrate you. If you like to drink decaf, make sure that it is water processed. And use a small amount of milk if necessary, but keep minimum sugar, honey or artificial sweeteners in the coffee. Drink water after to keep yourself hydrated.

Healthy Diet with Veggies

Vegetables are a healthy part of any diet. Whether you're interested in sculpting your body, or just want to tone it that extra bit, vegetables help in improving your overall health by maximizing your weight loss efforts. 
It is said that just eating 8-9 servings of vegetables in a day, you can improve your body's immunity against diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart ailments. But which vegetables are better disease-fighters than others? Here are top 10 vegetables for a healthy diet, that definitely set the ball rolling. 
Tomatoes. Technically called a fruit, tomatoes are mostly eaten as a well-liked vegetable. Tomatoes have lycopene and red orbs which are well known for their cancer-defending properties. They are full of Vitamin A and Vitamin K which help in keeping your blood pressure levels under control. 
Broccoli. When one talks about vegetables which can fight diseases effectively, broccoli ranks amongst the highest. They are a storehouse of antioxidants which help in fighting rectal, lungs and stomach cancers. They are also rich in folate, Vitamin C and beta-carotene which help in boosting your immunity to fight against colds and flus. 
Brussels sprouts. Excellent for pregnant women, these little veggies are full of B-vitamin and folic acid which keeps women away from uteral tube defects. They are also quite rich in omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, fiber and Vitamin C and K. 
Carrots. Carrots are full of nourishing properties for eyes, hair and skin. They are the best source of pro-vitamin and A carotenes. Known for improving night vision, carrots are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A which helps in regulating healthy blood sugar levels - good for the heart. 
Asparagus. Again, an excellent food for pregnant women, asparagus is full of fiber, folate and Vitamin B6 qualities which help in maximizing heart's health. These long veggie sticks are also pretty low in sodium and high in potassium content, which makes them ideal for the healthy working of our large intestine. 
Sweet potatoes. Grown under earth, sweet potatoes are full of ant-defending qualities as they are rich in manganese, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Good for our digestive system, they are full of iron and fiber which helps in giving us good amounts of energy. 
Eggplants. Eggplants have a unique antioxidant in them like nasunin (a complex compound which defends your brain cells against damage). Many studies have proved that they are good for lessening your risk of stroke and dementia as they are packed with fiber and potassium. The best quality about eggplants is that they are pretty low in calories, thus they have a positive effect on one's heart health. 
Bell peppers. Whichever colour of bell peppers you may go for - red, orange or yellow- they are full of heart-healthy properties because of folic acid and lycopene present in them. Again, they have been substantially proved to lower your risk again cancer too. 
Spinach. Popeye the sailor was quite right when crediting his muscle power to this green leafy vegetable. It is believed that spinach contains around 13 flavonoid compounds which keep us away from cancer, heart diseases and osteoporosis. 
Onions. Including onions in your daily food intake, gives your body's immunity levels a royal boost. They are full of peptide known as GPCS which helps in keeping your body's calcium level under control. Packed with Vitamin C and folate, onions promote good cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.