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By Ashley Ebner
Many of us wish we had exercised more, worked harder and focused more on healthy living. When considering healthy living what many people tend to neglect is to set aside the time needed to create a balance between the mind, body and soul. Instead people continue to live in chaos and stress, which is reflected in the poor health among many individuals. The traditional Hindu system of philosophic meditation and asceticism otherwise known as Yoga is an effective means to remove this stress. Yoga’s aim is to unite the body, mind and soul. It is made up of small movements that focus on breathing, strengthening and toning the body’s muscles as well as promoting inner-self balancing. Having attended a number of Yoga classes, I have struggled with a common problem that many Yoga beginners face: clearing the mind. Clearing one’s mind is an essential part of the Yoga process, but the busy life that accompanies inner city living brings many issues that fuel our thoughts. Yet only by freeing our minds will we become completely relaxed and realize the full benefits of Yoga.
Proper breathing and posture are also important elements of Yoga. Earth, a shoe company, has designed a shoe with a negative heel. Earth claims that wearing their shoes creates a Yoga posture where breathing and balance are improved, shoulders rolled back and spine and pelvis are aligned. The shoes have a broad range of fashionable styles and are available in many shoe stores.
While Yoga classes are offered throughout Toronto, Yoga in itself will not lead to improved health because many of us are suffering from a lack of nutrients and vitamins. Even in a developed country, such as Canada one in four women have iron deficiency, which is the primarily cause of fatigue.
Pilates is a form of body toning that focuses on building muscle strength. Pilates is growing in popularity with 57% of Canadian health clubs now offering some form of Pilates-based classes. These exercise classes usually focus on strengthening specific muscles groups, such as abdominal or thighs and like Yoga, proper breathing techniques and a flowing pace are essential ingredients of this workout.
Besides engaging in physical activities there seem to be an endless number of products that one could acquire, all promising to deliver a healthier lifestyle. A natural ionizer company called Salt Crystal Rock Creations claims that their lamps and candle holders release small amounts of negative ions into the air which kill bacteria and lessen the number of colds you’ll catch. BIJA offers a huge selection of teas as a form of natural medicine. Available in most grocery stores, these teas are made up of organic ingredients and promise relief from a variety of ailments. These teas claim to inducing relaxation; improving the digestive system; build immunity to colds and flu’s and even improve the urinary tract.
Even exercising one’s mind, body and soul as well as following a better diet one cannot create a healthier lifestyle without setting goals to further the changes that will occur in the future.