Health Benefits of Yoga Pilates, and Deep Breathing

Yoga & Pilates have been around forever and knowing the benefits will help you understand why they’re so powerful!

Yoga, Pilates and Meditation are now known across the world, mostly for the extreme health benefits that they bring to the table. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what level fitness you are in; anyone can benefit from both.

More Than 20 Million Across the Globe

Take a Pilates or Yoga class or do Yoga and Pilates exercises in some form or another. This exercise regime is said to give people many physical and mental benefits.

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Both Yoga and Pilates Make Your body More Flexible and Help Stretch Muscles Giving you Valuable Energy …

Stretching or holding poses overtime and using the reformer on a regular basis not only extends your range of motion, but it makes you more flexible as well. Becoming more flexible will also help you achieve other physical improvements, such as relief from back pain.


Yoga Can Improve Your Breathing, and so can Pilates!

When you are in a Pilates class, careful attention is paid to your breathing patterns. Proper breathing helps with your blood circulation as well, which will make you feel fresh, energized, and happy even far after the Pilates class ends.

Deep breathing gives your body a better supply of oxygen, essential for almost all chemical reactions that take place in your body. Oxygen gives you energy. Breathing out rids carbon dioxide, or waste, from your body. Therefore, deep breathing is a great way to cleanse!


Both Can Help to Improve Posture

How many of us struggle with posture?

No matter what you are doing when going about your everyday life, taking Yoga or Pilates reminds to connect your body with your core pull your shoulders down and maintain the good posture.

Focus on posture is vital to your overall health and good posture in your class will change the way you carry yourself outside of class.

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Yoga Pants

Want to Build Better Balance and Core Strength? Yoga Pilates…

Using a Pilates ball or holding a yoga pose on a matt or a reformer makes you use physical coordination and also helps to build better balance.

“Active awareness” of your core muscles while performing Pilates balancing exercises helps you maintain your posture. And, because the core contains and controls your diaphragm improving deep breathing.


Overall: Yoga Pilates and even Meditation Make your Body Efficient!

These types of exercises that tone your body, improve your breathing and posture and make you more flexible.

Pilates and Yoga can also help make those at risk for injuries restore muscles, improve body and movement awareness preventing future injuries.

Yoga Pilates and other types of mindful exercises are sweeping the nation and can help you in becoming better, more balanced physically and mentally. Value your body and join Yoga or Pilates today!

Add Aerobics and You’ll Deter Aging

Yoga, Pilates, and strength training are all beneficial forms of exercise; however, a new study points out that good old aerobics can delay the aging process.

Jump On It!

With each decade, it seems that a new version of physical movement becomes all the rage. And with that, comes a deluge of media hype purporting the exercise’s superior advantage over others. Now we’ve got hybrids of ballet and yoga, swimming and Pilates, and strength training in circuits. And they’re all great!

Alternately, as research has recently reported, endurance training not only strengthens your heart but also blocks DNA from wear and tear. Jogging, cycling, and jumping rope have returned as your good friends. Aerobic exercise may very well slow down our aging process.

The Scientific Stuff

We have chromosomes. Packed inside each chromosome is DNA.

Our cells continuously divide and reproduce. To live a long, healthy life, we need to keep our cellular structure intact and active.

One thing that assists in protecting DNA is a thing called a telomere. A telomere is a cap that safeguards each strand of our DNA. As we age, the telomeres shorten, leaving portions of our DNA strands at risk. This causes deterioration to our cells. Eventually, cells become so weak they no longer can divide and reproduce. That’s, unfortunately, when we die.

So, let’s keep the telomeres long so they can keep protecting, and we can live longer!

The Aerobics Element

A recent study out of Belgium discovered that aerobics stimulates telomeres to grow in length. Blood samples and muscle biopsies were taken from participants in the study. Their task was endurance training. They began with 45 minutes cycling on a stationary bike. The researchers found increased levels of a particular enzyme. That enzyme prompts telomeres to lengthen.


The scientific truth points to—aerobics help telomeres grow. Some scientists, however, believe that some people are simply born with longer telomeres than others. That places them (if they live healthily) in a natural position to live longer based on their genetic predisposition.

A CEO of a fresh biotech firm believes in gene therapy. The company has experimented with lengthening telomeres in mice, and it’s been successful. The CEO places so much trust in gene therapy and her company’s experimentation that she, herself, has received doses. In the fall of 2015, she received “a dose of viruses containing genetic material to produce telomerase.” Telomerase is the protein that lengthens telomeres. She is the first (and only, so far) human patient to test the dose.

So for the time being, if we want to protect our cells, instead of gene therapy, we can exercise! Sweatin’ to the Oldies, Jazzercise, and other trusty forms of endurance training may come back into vogue. If those aren’t your style, what type of aerobic fun will you choose?

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Healthwise: Does Mozart Trump Yoga?

Mozart vs Yoga

Both practicing yoga and listening to Mozart create amazing health benefits. But does Mozart do more?

More than Baby-Proofing

A popular trend during the turn of this century was plopping your infant in front of a DVD with classical background music. Although it’s since been since proven the actual video didn’t make babies smarter, the music makes a difference. Listening to Mozart helps alleviate stress and regulate mood in babies (and adults.) Practicing yoga can deliver similar results. It turns out, both are great for your health, whether you’re young, old, or somewhere in between.

Blood Pressure Benefit

A new study out of Germany reveals Mozart-listening can lower blood pressure as much as exercising. Researchers monitored the blood pressure of 60 participants before and after listening to music. The listeners were treated to Mozart, Strauss, and the group ABBA. Mozart’s music lowered both systolic and diastolic rates, as well as decreased resting heart rate.

Several studies on the benefit of Mozart’s music agree that it’s the repetitive sound that helps. There’s generally a consistent rhythm, no rousing sequences, and always no lyrics.

In practicing yoga, many of the same elements exist. There’s often repetition in positions. It also alters the physiological system of the body, which ultimately affects your heart rate—in a healthy direction.

Cognitive Benefits 

Listening to Mozart’s music can cause changes in brain waves. One study notes its links to improved memory and problem solving. The research out of Rome showed that the cognitive effects were most pronounced in young adults and the elderly. Students have also reported better test scores when studying and test taking while listening to classical music.

Although yoga can’t be proven to directly affect cognition, it has a definite, positive impact on brain and behavior function. Practicing yoga increases good mood and reduces stress. With that, cognitive ability can improve due to lack of impairment from stress. Additionally, the nature of yoga requires mindfulness and focus. Improved attention ability is another advantage.

Cellular Benefits

In Finland, a study determined that classical music affects listeners on a molecular level. Scientists tested participants’ blood after they listened to Mozart, other composers, and then to no music at all. It turns out that classical music increased gene activity in dopamine and other brain synapses. The most notable gene positively affected was a “risk” one for Parkinson’s disease. It appears as if music therapy may be useful in preventing disease.

Yoga, through its ritualistic breathing practice, naturally brings more oxygen to your cells. Also, through movement, yoga increases blood flow. This improves hemoglobin levels as well as red blood cell count.
Is listening to Mozart overall better for your health than practicing yoga? I would imagine, if you get up and move, or dance to a waltz, the beneficial results would certainly rival one another. Why not try both and be a double-dose recipient of good health?

Check out if you want to explore more topics bringing good health to you and yours.

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Yoga and Tai Chi Instead of Medication

Medication may not be enough to relieve pain; Alternative non-medicinal approaches such as Tai Chi and Yoga can be successful pain relievers—without negative side effects.

Tough to Admit

Western medical professionals have voiced their doubts about yoga, acupuncture, and massage as practical healing approaches. These alternative practices, until recently, haven’t offered up the data required by health insurance companies to endorse them. Thousands of years of success in relieving pain just wasn’t enough, evidently.

Numerous studies, however, along with patient testimony, has finally given Tai Chi, yoga, and acupuncture their due place at the top of “modern” healing practices. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has publicly stated that non-drug approaches to pain management can be significantly beneficial.

The Studies Matter

We are living in a time where opioids as painkillers are overused and misused. Doctors and patients have been scrambling for non-medicinal, successful pain management for at least two decades. After all, each year, there are over 125 million adults in America who suffer from some type of pain. Forty million more suffer from extreme, chronic pain.

The NIH analyzed 50 years of data from 105 randomized controlled trials. Between 1966 and 2016, alternative treatment was provided for five different ailments. They were: back pain, neck pain, migraines, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.

Seven non-drug treatments were utilized in the study. Among them were: yoga, Tai Chi, acupuncture, massage, and relaxation techniques. They all reaped benefits to the participants, but the first-three proved to bring tremendous pain-relieving results. The study review was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

The findings suggested that with prescription medicines, these alternative treatments can be extra useful. They could, potentially, however, be worthy as stand-alone, non-drug, pain-relieving treatments.

Feel Good News

This news sheds optimism on finding and utilizing methods to reduce pain that garner no side effects. If acupuncture becomes addictive, so be it. If after a yoga session, pain is reduced and energy enhanced, so be that as well. Here’s to shedding pain and gaining comfort.

Check out for more info on pain management and optimum health.

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Yoga Is A Way To Explore Strength, Peace, And Harmony

The origins of yoga are shrouded in mystery, from its oral teachings to its historical text.  Dating back at least 10,000 years, it was practiced by religions, which may have had a foundation in Hinduism.  So why are we so fascinated by yoga and what makes it extremely popular in today’s society?

Yoga is no fitness fad, it’s a way of life and an outlook that many follow.  It was first introduced to the western world in the 1880s, as historical teachings.   Much later, it was expanded to include physical practice in the 1950s.  From that time to the present, yoga has grown in popularity, with many types of yoga to suit different lifestyles and needs.  Breaking down its methodology gives an overall view of its benefits:  karma yoga (action), to jnana yoga (wisdom).


Many turn to yoga looking for physical accomplishment and possibly body transformation.  Soon realizing that yoga is much more than just the physical action.  The practice has many styles, some of which include Iyengar, which focuses on precision and anatomical alignment and Vinyasa, which is a fun form of yoga poses, to rhythmic pattern.  Yin yoga, is also very popular today, focusing on lengthening and conditioning the body, whist calming the mind.  This yoga is great for those who want to master both patience and inner physical strength.   Bikram yoga, commonly referred to as hot yoga, was born out of traditional hatha yoga.  This form of action yoga is currently very prevalent with the practice room heated to a balmy 95-108˚F.  The heat is believed to cleanse, focus and warm the body, so strengthening and lengthening the muscles is easier.  Action yoga in general claims many health benefits, some of which include:


  • Strengthening of body core and muscles
  • Weight reduction
  • Enriched organ health
  • Increasing spine flexibility
  • Easing arthritis
  • Improving balance
  • Regulating metabolism, while improving digestion


Although yoga combines physical and spiritual strength in all its teachings, wisdom yoga is the mental segment of yoga.  An example is Himalayan yoga, which is based in sacred texts and Vedic knowledge.  To crudely put it, this is a collection of sacred mantras and hymns.  Recited aloud, these mantras/hymns are an ancient comprehension of the scientific makeup of our planet.  Today we could categorize this as philosophy.


Osho is a form of wisdom yoga that uses meditation techniques to rid the ego and escape modern day pitfalls of self centeredness and materialism.  Restorative yoga focuses on healing and relaxation.  Many of these practices have been used to develop modern day yoga classes, one of which even includes a laughter class, which focuses on its benefits as a therapeutic release.  Wisdom yoga and its practices, have been used in schools, to calm and focus children’s attention.  In the workplace, wisdom yoga can help center creativity and enlighten thought.  Many of the claimed health benefits for this type of yoga include:


  • Stress relief
  • Greater personal energy
  • Focus
  • Happiness
  • Self Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Freedom of inhibition


Making time for your own body and mind is crucial, so why not become a “yogi” (a playful term endearing someone who practices yoga).  Whatever the stated health benefits are, yoga is a way to explore strength, peace, and harmony in today’s high pressure society.


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3 Key Exercises to Soothe Your Sore Back

An aching back is zero fun—Here are three exercises to soothe, strengthen, and rejuvenate.

The Core Problem

Many times the origin of back pain comes from a weak core. Strengthening back and core muscles can help you avoid soreness and injury in the future. In the meanwhile, our objective is to get rid of pain. Certain yoga moves can be essential to recreating a healthy spine.

Some of the most common complaints are soreness, stiffness, and aches in the back, neck, and shoulders. Common causes of these complaints are from stress. (Breathing deeply during the exercises will help release tension, too.)

Other reasons for back annoyances are from: sitting improperly in your chair, poor posture, carrying a heavy purse on the same arm, bad mattress and/or pillows, and lousy footwear. This includes flip-flops as well as stiletto heels. Keep these in mind so that when you fix your back, you don’t mess it up again.

The Moves

Our vertebral column is categorized into three sections. The lowest portion is called the Lumbar. The middle is the Thoracic, and the upper section is the Cervical. Certain yoga poses focus on specific sections of the spine. Choose the ones that focus on your area of discomfort. Grab a mat, towel, or place yourself on carpeting or a soft wood floor. Let’s begin…

1) The Cobra

Lie flat on your belly, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor. Keep your thighs pressed into the floor as well. Spread your hands down on the mat under your shoulders. Keep your elbows pressed into your body.

Take a deep breath in, and lift your head and chest off the ground by straightening your arms. Bring your chin and your glance upwards. Hold the pose for 10 seconds. Exhale while bending at the elbows and releasing you chest and head back to the mat.

2) The Cat

Get on your hands and knees, keeping your back as flat and even as possible. Keep your head neutral and your eyes looking down at your mat. Take a deep breath in and hold it for five seconds.

As you exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling, like a scaredy cat. Relax your neck and let your head hang down comfortably. Inhale and return to your tabletop position, bringing your head back to a neutral placement.

3) The Child

Kneel, tops of feet pressed to the floor, now press your butt down. Reach forward with your chest and arms. Reach your fingertips way out in front of you onto the floor. Your head should be down and your neck relaxed.

Hold this pose for as long as you like. Breathe slowly and deeply and relish this lower-back stretch.

Repeat each move several times or mix and match. There are virtually hundreds of poses that are gentle and promote both healing and health maintenance. Adding yoga positions and stretching to your regular workout regimen can help keep you less sore and more injury free.

Check out for more tips on taking care of your human temple.

Wave Bye-Bye to Anxiety and Say Hello Yoga to Reduce Stress

Are you done being stressed out? Yoga to reduce stress is your saviorHello!  It’s time to introduce yourself to a proven means of relaxation. As a result, bid anxiety buh-bye! Most of all, you’ve got so many types of practices available, there’s sure to be a style that will fit your needs.

Y Yoga?

Seems like, your goal is to lower your anxiety levels. Probably, you can do this through delegating your workload or exercising. Maybe, you can cut down on caffeine, meditate, and/or utilize several other coping skills as well. Most remarkably, yoga not only helps reduce stress.  Especially relevant, it’s beneficial in so many other ways. Some are:

  • Improves flexibility
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Increases strength
  • Relieves pain
  • Assists with weight management
  • Improves circulation
  • Conditions cardiovascular system
  • Lowers blood pressure

What Type of Yoga is Right for Me?

First of all, in general, yoga is a practice that combines physical movement with attention to the breath. Yet, the focus is on creating calm and balance in the body and mind. Much as, yoga connects the body’s physical poses with mindful breathing in an attempt to shut down the noise in the mind. Consequently, anxiety levels are decreased and stress-reduction rules.

Especially relevant is choosing a style of yoga that is personal to you. Only you can know which type is preferable or can benefit you the most. So, below you can read brief descriptions of several common, various practices. They are:

  • Ashtanga
  • Iyengar
  • Bikram
  • Hatha
  • Kundalini


Hence, there are numerous styles of yoga to reduce stress from which to choose. As a result, others you may learn about and/or practice are: Restorative, Yin, Jivamukti, Pranayama, Ananda, Kripalu, Sivananda, Power yoga, among more.

Almost, with any class or practice, you will want to be as comfortable as possible. This would include wearing loose fitting tops or particular yoga clothing. Also, wearing your hair back will help when stretching or maintaining certain poses. In addition, having your own yoga mat is helpful for hygiene and personal comfort.

Ashtanga (pronounced Osh-tong’-uh)

Ashtanga yoga moves pretty quickly from one pose to the next. Another key here is the inhaling and exhaling of breath with each move. As a result, this style of yoga to reduce stress focuses on a series of poses linked by a specific way to breathe. Repeating certain movements like down-dog and push-ups can get you seriously strong in no time!


Iyengar (pronounced Ay-en’-gahr)

Many times, this yoga class is fairly slow-paced. That doesn’t mean it’s easy! It’s just that the Iyengar approach pays incredible attention to every detail of every fine movement and pose. This is a great style if you have injuries or are pregnant because it focuses on safety and meticulousness.


Bikram (pronounced Bih’ krum)

The main thing to note about Bikram yoga is the heat. Classes are held in rooms that are specifically set to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Include in that, 40% humidity. That’s some sweaty space. Yogis are expected to go through 26 different poses twice. Fortunately, the second time around, the poses are only held for a third of the time they’re held on the first go-around.


Hatha (pronounced Hah’-thuh or Hah’-tuh)

Hatha yoga to reduce stress focuses on strengthening the body-mind connection. Your body’s energy is the focal point. Mainly, it consists of obtaining balance. “Ha” means sun and “Tha” means moon. The essence is about combining all systems. Thus, relaxation is the target goal. Stretching, deep breathing, and meditation are all emphasized.


Kundalini (pronounced Koon’-duh-lee-nee)

We all have chakras, energy centers, according to Eastern healers. The chakras (pronounced shock’-rahs) in our body hold our life force. If they get “locked” or “clogged”, we may become physically and/or spiritually ill. Kundalini yoga to reduce stress works on unlocking blockages through yoga poses and emphasizing focus on the breath. This style aims to reawaken your life force. May your force reunite with you!


Regardless of the style of yoga you practice, the goal is to regain and maintain positive health. Certainly, stress-reduction is a step in the proper direction. If yoga is the catalyst for healthy renewal, why not give it a go?


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4 Pleasant Ways to Practicing Yoga in 2018

A new year is quickly approaching, and it’s usually our intention to make exercise and stress-reduction a priority. Unfortunately, we get side tracked and our health and fitness goals somehow fall by the wayside. However, for 2018, a healthy body and mind can be yours (and simply!) if you choose to follow these 4 pleasant ways to practice yoga.


Happy Yoga New Year!

Most of us already understand the benefits of practicing yoga. But there’s no harm in offering some friendly reminders. Health experts and exercise advocates can probably come up with at least 50 reasons why it’s essential to your overall health. Here are just a few main advantages included in your new-year yoga practice:


  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Builds muscle strength
  • Improves posture
  • Protects spine
  • Increases ability to focus
  • Improves balance
  • Relieves tension and anxiety
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Boosts immune system
  • Decreases pain and inflammation


Yoga is clearly healing to the body, but it is also incredibly beneficial for the mind. It’s a holistic practice in where everything is connected. For example, garnering better posture opens up your lungs and allows you to breathe more deeply, naturally. More oxygen into your blood improves your nervous system. You then become more relaxed and hopefully more content!


Practicing Can Be Pleasant

All too often we think of exercise and then, we think, “Ugh, I don’t want to do it!” But, yoga should be a joy—and it can be. For 2018, change your mindset to, “I want to do it. It keeps me healthy and I feel good!” And, it will be easy for you to have this attitude because practicing yoga can be enjoyable and rewarding.

Here are 4 perfectly pleasant ways to practice:


1) Set up a relaxing, clean space. You don’t have to invest in décor, statues, lighting, or a home with an extra bedroom. All you need is a comfy, clean area where no one will interrupt your dedicated time while in your space. Lighting and ventilation are important, but you can burn a candle or leave a window slightly open (as long as there’s no traffic noise.)

Also, keep your mat clean. It makes a difference when you are stretching or lying down.

(Think of nice clean sheets on your bed.)

Making a Great Start Even Better…

2) Begin with gratitude from the very beginning. Whether you are rushing into the yoga studio or anxious to grab a break in your home space, take a moment to breathe and center yourself before entering. You want your practice to start from a place of compassion and gratitude. This is a precious time and you will be glad you enter into it from a positive and calmer place, making the entire experience more pleasant.


3) Bring only yourself to your practice. Leave material objects and worries of the world outside your yoga time and space. Therefore, if you’re going to class, just bring a mat. Most studios provide blocks, blankets, and whatever else you might want or need. The idea is lighten your load, physically and mentally.

Do not bring your phone or have your phone on you whenever practicing. Finish whatever task you were doing before you enter. Allow yourself complete freedom of experience. Forget a watch or clock. If you have a given amount of time, you can always set an alarm outside your space. Honor the pleasant simplicity.

And Finally…

4) Choose 4 favorite poses. Many suggest you begin your practice in a “do nothing doll” or “corpse” position. Just lie down, stop moving, and connect to your breath. Then, start out with four different poses that you love and that help your body feel good. You will be way more inclined to anticipate your yoga session if you already associate it with enjoyment and pleasure.

Most of all, yoga should never feel like an obligation. It is a gift you are giving to your body and mind. So take note when you are stretching or posing what feels the best. Start your session with those poses and you’ll be more apt to make time with a positive attitude.


Even though we make promises every year, sticking to your practice can be a success in 2018. Approaching your commitment with simplicity and a feeling of pleasantry can make all the difference. Best of body, mind, and spirit to you today—and everyday!