beach

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!

In your yoga journey, there will probably come a time when you wonder just how some Sanskrit term applies to daily life or how the physical practice of asana relates to yoga’s transformative powers. Or, you could be thinking of a gift for your yoga-loving friends who already have all the mats, blocks, and pants they need. Fortunately, people have been writing books about yoga for thousands of years – and no matter what your question, someone has probably addressed it in writing somewhere.

Arriving at a coherent understanding of this rich and varied tradition takes time and contemplation. Books can become great friends and guides along the path. Many ancient texts are deserving of serious, scholarly study, of course, but there are also plenty of great reads worthy of curling up with on a winter’s eve. Here, we’ve summarized small library of titles reviewed by Yoga Journal that will provide a broader understanding of the practice and a deeper awareness of how yoga can transform your life.

These titles were all published within the past 10 years, which will hopefully make them more relevant to your life right now:

 

 

Stephen Cope takes up the task of interpreting the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, widely recognized as yoga’s primary sourcebook, in The Wisdom of Yoga, chronicling the experiences of several students who spend a year actively applying the practice of yoga to their personal challenges.

  1. The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras by Nischala Joy Devi

Radically unlike a traditional commentary on the Yoga Sutra, Nischala Joy Devi’s The Secret Power of Yoga interprets the terse, intellectual sutras as a meditation on living with ease. Her explication of the sutras is much different than traditionalists would expect.

  1. Bhagavad Gita: A New Translation by Stephen Mitchell

“The Gita is the sixth book of the Indian epic Mahabharata, which tells the tale of Arjuna, a warrior prince who loses his will to fight on the battlefield; his mind can’t make peace with the idea of fighting his cousins and friends. Fortunately, his charioteer is Lord Krishna, who delivers a treatise on dharma: You must act according to your duty but surrender the outcome of your actions.”

  1. Yoga: The Greater Tradition by David Frawley

This “mini-encyclopedia” is a simple, straightforward overview that shows what yoga is, where it came from, and where it can take you. “My aim is to provide students with a new vision of the universe of yoga in all its vastness,” Frawley writes.

  1. Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace, and Ultimate Freedom by B.K.S. Iyengar

With Light on Life, Iyengar delivers a why-to book. It is a collection of the musings of a master yogi nearing the end of his life. “I am old, and death inevitably approaches,” he writes. “But both birth and death are beyond the will of a human being. They are not my domain. I do not think about it. Yoga has taught me to think only of working to live a useful life.”

jumping beach sunset surfboards

What’s better than a book about yoga? A beautiful place to read it!

You and your yoga-loving friends can join us on the breath-taking beaches of Nicaragua in our Bucket List of Bliss retreat with Cher Aslor, starting in March of 2017.
Read the full original article from Yoga Journal. Feature image from Hampton Artistic Yarns.

Did you know that two of the most common bucket list items are to learn how to surf and go horseback riding? Maybe you did, but did you know you can do both of those things on a retreat with Zen Yoga Nicaragua? Read on to learn more about our Bucket List of Bliss Retreats in beautiful Nicaragua:

Join us in paradise for one of the most magical experiences of your life! Each of our Bucket List of Bliss Yoga Retreats boast locations with magnificent views, all-inclusive accommodations, organic, healthy meals, and adventurous excursions to inspire and ignite your passion for life.

surfers

In March, we will be hosting our Bucket List of Bliss Retreat at our Beach Getaway Resort Partner, led by Cher Aslor – or come visit us in May at our Tree Top Hideaway Resort Partner with Sally Rubin.

Both Bucket List of Bliss Yoga Retreats are within minutes of downtown San Juan Del Sur and will include daily yoga and eco-adventures. Zipline through the jungle with the monkeys and toucans, enjoy a private yacht cruise up the Pacific Coast, and find your Zen with unlimited chill time by the pool each afternoon. Surf and horseback ride too – there is something for everyone to bliss out on during this dynamic retreat.

horsebackridingbg

Choose Bucket List of Bliss Date and Location and sign up today!

March 19-25, 2017 at Beach Getaway (with Cher Aslor)

May 21-27, 2017 at Tree Top Hideaway (with Sally Rubin)

If you want to be happy and healthy and have great relationships, there are many different things you can improve in your daily habits to achieve that. There are obvious ways to take care of ourselves like exercise and diet, but there’s one simple exercise that boosts all of these things simultaneously and that most of us simply don’t know. What’s that? Being thankful. We are grateful for all of the amazing people that have participated in our yoga retreats and training. Gratitude is a gift that we share every day and the following 12 tips are a great way approach your daily life and practice on and off the mat:

Benefits of Gratitude

HAPPINESS

surf yoga - gratitude
Toronto Photographer

1 – Increases your happiness. Counting your blessings leads to heightened well-being, especially positive mood.

2 – Brings you happiness that Lasts. In fact, an attitude of gratitude can not only help you increase positive emotion, but also sustain it long term.

3 – Protects you from stress and negativity. Gratitude is associated with decreased anxiety and depression and increased social support.

4 – Reduces your materialism. One reason gratitude boosts our well-being is that it reduces materialism which is a good thing because materialism is linked to less happiness.

RELATIONSHIPS

friends yoga - gratitude

5 – Makes you more socially intelligent.

6 – Leads to better relationships. Gratitude strengthens your relationships and helps you create and maintain good relationships and feel more connected.

HEALTH

green smoothie yoga - gratitude

7 – It even improves sleep quality and duration – in part because you have more grateful/happy thoughts before you go to sleep. Count blessings, not sheep!

8 – Strengthens your willpower to make better decisions. Gratitude makes you stronger and helps you achieve your goals and make smarter long term decisions.

9 – Benefits you at all ages from adolescence to adulthood.

IMPACT

legs up yoga - gratitude

10 – Makes you a better person. It makes us better, more altruistic, moral, and ethical people. We become more helpful and kind to others.

11 – Makes others better people too: those we thank are more likely to become more ethical people too.

12 – Makes the world a better place. When you express your gratitude to someone, that person will go on to be kinder to others.

Don’t feel grateful? Don’t worry. Gratitude is accessible to anyone. Whether we’re sick or well, old or young, employed or unemployed – if our heart is beating, air is flowing in our lungs, and we have had a meal today, we have something for which we can be grateful. “Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude” (A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh).

Practicing Gratitude

It’s good practice to take the time to be grateful every single day, but what better holiday than Thanksgiving to jump-start your efforts to be more grateful? Here are some simple ways to strengthen your thanking muscle throughout the rest of November and beyond:

1 – A powerful way scientists have found can increase your well-being is by simply making daily gratitude lists. Write down five things you feel grateful for every day. This simple act can significantly increase your happiness.

2 – Another way you can boost your gratitude is by spending a few minutes out of your day devoted to gratitude.

3 – Gratitude meditation: Another way you can boost your gratitude is by spending a few minutes out of your day devoted to gratitude. Here’s a gratitude meditation put together by Emma M. Seppälä Ph.D, the original author of this article, that you can download and try for yourself today.

Original article is from Psychology Today.

Cross a Visit to Nicaragua off Your Bucket List – join us for the Bucket List of Bliss Retreat with Cher Aslor on March 19th.

And don’t forget to share this blog with someone you are grateful to have in your life!