As the winter draws to a close, many people feel like the dark nights and cold days are never going to end. In the two months after the holidays, as we get back into the swing of work and daily stressors, we dream of traveling somewhere warm for a little well-deserved relaxation time. Turns out, this can actually be great for your physical and mental health. Here is Spirituality & Health’s list of the top 14 benefits of taking a beach vacation:

 

  1. Feel Refreshed—Beach mist is filled with an abundance of anions (negative ions), which boost the immune system, facilitate oxygen absorption in the lungs, and relieve stress and depression by regulating serotonin levels in the brain. These anions also act as antioxidants, cancelling out free radicals and thus increasing longevity and preserving youthful looks.
  2. Breathe Easier—Because gusts bring beach air to shore from the ocean, it tends to be clean and pollen-free. Sea air is also a natural nasal saline spray, clearing your respiratory passageways of allergens and pollutants. In fact, experts find that those who live by the beach and regularly swim in seawater tend to have healthier respiratory systems. If you have allergies, asthma, sinusitis, or bronchitis, swimming at the beach will naturally help flush out phlegm.
  3. Exfoliate—Your first step onto the beach begins to naturally exfoliate your feet. Now lie down and get a free, full-body exfoliation by gently scrubbing beach sand all over.
  4. Repair Skin Damage—Swimming in seawater opens your pores while sea salts (potassium chloride and sodium chloride) naturally seal any damaged skin. Regular swimming at the beach has been shown to relieve eczema, psoriasis, and rashes, as well as to shrink pimples and facilitate the healing of cuts and scrapes.
  5. Ease Pain—A plunge into cool water activates cold sensors positioned about 0.2 mm beneath your skin, which then trigger adrenaline and endorphin surges, thereby instantly dulling pain and invigorating you. Long term, bathing in seawater has anti-inflammatory effects that ease arthritis as well as your other aches and pains.

Practicing yoga is also proven to help ease muscle pain. Take your beach vacation to the shores of Nicaragua for a yoga retreat with world-class instructors.

  1. Moisturize—One study found that dry-skin sufferers experienced significant hydration after a 15-minute soak in seawater, but no benefit from a similar soak in tap water. (Note: One big difference is salt water’s magnesium, which helps boost the glow of moist skin.)
  2. Replenish Minerals—Seawater’s chemical makeup is similar to blood plasma. (After all, all life originated in the ocean!) Simply wading in seawater helps replenishes your blood with magnesium, iodine, potassium, sodium, calcium, and other minerals and amino acids, which enter through your pores.
  3. Beat Stress—Magnesium has also been shown to relieve anxiousness and irritability and to induce calmness. Beach swimming not only replenishes magnesium, it also preserves your melatonin (involved in sleep regulation) and tryptamine. In bringing all these neurotransmitters up to healthy levels, swimming in seawater relieves stress, relaxes muscles, and helps cure insomnia.
  4. Build Resilience—The more frequently you expose yourself to cool seawater, the less your heart and breathing rates will increase during physiological stress, ultimately making your body more resilient.
  5. Improve Cardio—When you enter cool water, your body quickly moves your blood from your extremities to concentrate it around your inner organs. Then, after your body heats up from swimming, your body moves your blood back around your extremities to prevent overheating. This super-cardio training will help keep you warm all winter.
  6. Detox—When your blood rushes from your extremities to your organs and back again, the cycle flushes out toxins through your pores.
  7. Boost Immunity—Studies show that, first, beach swimming increases white blood cell count over time. The theory is that the cold seawater acts as a mild stressor, like a workout for your immune system. Second, like breathing in beach mist, iodine enters your skin’s pores from seawater while swimming, further strengthening your immune system via enhanced thyroid regulation.
  8. Lose Weight—Cool-water workouts can burn twice the calories of warmer pool swims, because you burn energy to keep warm.
  9. Feel Sexier—Routinely exposing yourself to cold seawater increases testosterone levels in men and estrogen levels in women. Your libido will increase, your fertility will improve, and you’ll feel better all over.

Couple your much-needed beach getaway with our Bucket List of Bliss yoga retreat with Cher Aslor to maximize your relaxation & rejuvenation. Sign up today!

Many people resolve to lose weight every year, starting January 1st. You’ve heard it – “New year, new me!” Unfortunately, studies show that a mere 8% of people stick to their new year resolutions, with new year diets lasting only about two months. We have a few tips to help you with your weight loss resolution (or if you just want to get healthy, or exercise more, or whatever!) in 2017.

  1. Make specific goals: Have you heard of SMART goals? Make goals specific, measurable, accountable, realistic, and timely. Yoga is perfect for SMART goals. You can pick a specific pose you want to be able to do (measurable, of course, by actually doing it), share your goal with your yoga instructor who can keep you accountable (and can agree that this is a realistic goal for you), and pick a deadline for being able to do the pose. You will have to work hard every day to work up achieving your goal, and can pick a new and more difficult pose every month – keeping you working all year.
  2. Be patient: Many people give up on their journey to health or a lower weight because they want instant gratification. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that. Use the non-exercise aspects of yoga – breathing, meditation, mindfulness – to stay present and grounded and remind yourself that achieving your goals will take time and dedication.
  1. Share your goals: Letting people in on your goals will help keep you accountable. Tell your friends, family, and most importantly your yoga classmates and instructor that you have set out a definite timeline of achievable yoga poses, and that you will be working all year to make it to those deadlines. You might be surprised at how many people remember and remind you to stay on track. Fitness, health, and weight loss don’t have to be done alone.

Even better, share a yoga experience of a lifetime with your friends at a yoga retreat in Nicaragua.

  1. Schedule it: This goes back to the “timely” aspect of SMART goals, and what better way to schedule work towards your goals than to sign up for yoga classes? You’ll have set times on set days that you have paid for and will want to stick to – especially if you’ve told all your friends and they call to ask where you are if you don’t go!
  1. Be resilient: Whether you get sidetracked by an injury or have a tough time keeping your schedule due to demands in other areas of your life, stick with it. Yoga can be done in short intervals every day, wherever you have time, which makes it a perfect activity for keeping up your weight loss or health goals all year. Just devote yourself to doing something every day, no matter how small.

Set yourself up to achieve your yoga goals this year by learning from and practicing with world class instructor Cher Aslor at her Bucket List of Bliss yoga retreat in Nicaragua.

Want to become an instructor rather than just practice? Join a Yoga Teacher Training right here in Nicaragua.

14 Yoga Poses to Revamp Your Vinyasa Routine

Once you start doing yoga, it doesn’t take long to get familiar with the basic poses. What was once intimidating is soon fun, and not only can you down dog with the best of them but you can even say “happy baby pose” without giggling. Eventually, you start to want more. Don’t get us wrong, you can always work on making your basic poses stronger, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting to push yourself a little bit.” (more…)

The editors of Travel & Leisure spilled their top travel resolutions – “whether it’s nailing the art of healthy travel, booking flights earlier to save cash, or snagging elite status from their favorite airlines.” These are our favorites, and ones we have resolved to do ourselves some day:

Get Outta the Country

“My priority for 2016 is to obtain a passport and take a maiden voyage out of the country. Not having many American cities left to visit on my bucket list, it’s time for me to venture out.” Mariah Tyler, Digital Photo Editor

Buy Tickets Early

“Start buying my tickets at the right time! I’m a chronic procrastinator when it comes to buying plane tickets, and while I’ve managed to get lucky so far, I could save serious cash with smarter planning. And thanks to the new bunch of forecasting apps, it’s easier than ever to buy at the right time, even for lazy shoppers like me.” Lila Battis, Associate Editor

Sign up & buy your tickets now to come learn to be a yoga teacher in the paradise of Nicaragua with Ella Luckett.

Cut the Gluttony

healthy vegetable wraps nicaragua yoga

“While eating like a local can be the highlight of a trip, it doesn’t mean that you have to pig out. I generally overindulge when I’m on the road, whether it’s too many snacks or frequently eating out. My goal for the upcoming year is to reign it in a bit and focus on eating healthier while on vacation (at least part of the time). Sean Flynn, Senior Web Producer

(Okay, we don’t need to make a resolution for this one. All of our yoga retreats and trainings feature health, local, natural meals!)

Go Solo

solo mindfulness nicaragua

“One of my resolutions for 2016 is to plan a solo trip. Obviously it’s fun to travel with friends and family, but it can be hard to juggle people’s schedules and priorities. Lately, I’ve been fantasizing about laying on a beach alone, with nothing to distract me and time to reflect, recharge, and make my own schedule. Plus, when traveling alone, you never know what interesting people you’ll meet.”Laura Itzkowitz, Contributing Digital Editor

Use Every Last Vacation Day

“Plan out my vacations for the year in January so that I not only have something to look forward to all year long, but can make sure I use the vacation time I have to recharge rather than letting it go unused.” Pam Russo, VP and General Manager

Do Good

“Participate in or help organize a volunteer trip abroad. Every day on the Greek island of Lesbos, some 2,000 Syrian refugees are displaced and in need of help. There are so many real-world issues happening both at home and overseas, but the opportunity to help during this crisis is something that is extremely important to me. After all, there’s nothing better than traveling than traveling for a good cause.” Michelle Gross, Producer and Contributor

Stay Fit on the Road

ella luckett jai yoga

“This will be the year I pack workout clothes—and use them. I must figure out how to maintain the exercise routine, even when I’m away. Especially when I’m away. Seeking all tips and suggestions from anyone who has figured it out, but I know that keeping up with workouts when traveling makes a huge difference for your health.” —Corina Quinn, Digital Travel Editor

Attend a 200 hour yoga teacher training and you’ll not only get a Yoga Alliance certification, you’ll leave your vacation more toned than ever!

Read the full original article from Travel & Leisure.