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Build Courage with These 3 Warrior Poses

Bernd Kohler

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warrior poses yoga

Warrior Poses

The warrior poses are among the most well recognized postures in the Hatha yoga tradition. Standing poses that are accessible to almost everyone—Virabhadrasana I, II, and III—engage the entire physical body, while providing an opportunity to bring a powerful focus and attitude into the moment you are in. Just putting your body into these shapes brings about a certain attitude—one of strength, focus, and determination. Each pose has its own unique alignment and purpose; however, when grouped together, these poses can take your body and spirit through a full journey of the heart.

What’s in a Name?

It is interesting that these warrior poses are named in sequential order, when they neither naturally transition into one another, nor do they seem to exist in order of difficulty. One explanation is that the number refers to the number of long lines that are created from the center of the pose (both arms up in Warrior I make one line, two arms out in Warrior II make two lines, and the arms, front, and back leg in Warrior III make three lines). However, a look into Hindu mythology provides deeper explanation.

Virabhadra (after whom the pose is named) was a powerful form of the lord Shiva; according to some traditions, each pose represents a stage in his journey.

  • Warrior I represents the warrior’s arrival on the battleground.
  • Warrior II represents the warrior taking aim at his enemy.
  • Warrior III represents the warrior going into battle.

When approached in this way, the poses take on more meaning, since everyone is on a battlefield of one form or another.

Here’s A 20-Minute Yoga That You Should Try

Warrior Pose I

Physical Alignment: From Tadasana (Mountain Pose), step your left leg back a comfortable distance—usually 3 to 4 feet, depending on the length of your legs. You should be able to have your back foot flat to the earth, so externally rotate your back leg as much as necessary to get the heel down.

warrior poses yoga

warrior poses

Beginning with your hands on your hips can help you to align your foundation, before moving into the full depth and breadth of the pose. Widening your feet from right to left and shortening your stride are suggested solutions to any instability in the legs.

Once you feel stable, extend the arms upward. Keep the tailbone anchored down toward your front heel, while hugging your front ribs in.

Attitude: Symbolically, these warrior poses is about moving forward into the depths of life with a confident and open attitude. Imagine your back leg firmly rooted in the present, and the bend in the front leg as your willingness to move deeply into what is ahead. Look courageously at your goals, and lean into them.

Your legs represent your groundedness and stability on the path, while your arms uplifted represent your connection to higher vibrations and elevated thoughts. Keep pointing your heart forward, as if you were shining a flashlight toward where you want to go. Soften your face to embrace the journey with grace.

Warrior Pose II

Physical Alignment: The legs are wider in Warrior II—about as wide as your hand when you stretch your arms out horizontally. Turn your right leg out, and your left leg slightly in to set your foundation. Check to ensure that your front heel lines up with the arch of your back foot, and that you can evenly press down through all four corners of each foot.

warrior poses yoga

Bend your front leg as close to 90 degrees as possible, without letting the knee move beyond the heel. Keep the back leg straight, while encouraging the top of the back thighbone to move toward the back plane of the body. With the arms outstretched, gaze over the fingertips of your front hand, while remaining vertical in your torso.

Attitude: Your heart represents the present moment. Can you remain there, even though your attention may be pulled in different directions? Your front arm points toward your future (and many people end up leaning too far forward in this pose), while the back arm (out of your line of sight) represents your past.

As you lunge into your front leg with strength and determination, stay steadfast in your awareness in the moment. If you notice your jaw clenching or brow furrowing, you may be taking life too seriously. This pose requires the strength of a warrior, but void of violence. So keep your attitude light, even when faced with a challenge.

Warrior Pose III

Physical Alignment: Part of the journey of Warrior III is a smooth entry into the pose. Begin in Warrior I, and spin your back heel up. Push off your back leg and shift your weight into your front leg.

warrior poses yoga

As soon as your back leg lifts off the ground, energize and engage it. Keep the toes pointed down, but keep the leg straight and strong. Root down through the base of the big toe on your standing leg as you straighten it, and reach forward with both arms. Keep your chest slightly lifted, and look forward.

Remain strong in the backline of the body, as the weight of the arms and legs can create an additional challenge for the spine. If you feel like you are collapsing, lift your chest a bit more, and consider bringing the hands to prayer position at your chest.

Attitude: Fly, fly, fly! If Warrior I is about having your eye on the prize, Warrior III is about actively going for it. Because this is a physically challenging pose that requires considerable effort and strength, it is vital to keep an attitude light enough to help you take flight.

Fly beyond limiting thoughts and beliefs that would keep you tied down. Surprise yourself with your ability to soar beyond distractions, obstacles, and uncertainty.

What Does a Warrior Mean to You?

The Oxford American Dictionary defines warrior poses as “a brave or experienced soldier or fighter.” What areas of your life are calling for you to bring more courage? In what areas can you use your experience to move beyond what seems to be dragging you down?

Practice the warrior poses to zone in on your strengths and use them to your advantage. Get clear in your intention, and let the poses work into your subtle body. Your warrior heart will serve you well.

Find 43 Inspiring Yoga Facebook pages for you to check out

article source: chopra.com

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Mind

Covid-19, astrology and psychic

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Covid-19, astrology and psychic

Covid-19, astrology and psychic

The booming pandemic corona virus has created hype of curiosity around the globe. People are seeking answers in the lockdown as when it will stop? What will happen next, and will it eliminate?. Astrology predicted the surprising statement that corona virus will end soon. After the corona virus, astrology and psychic Business is rising because people are feeling the urge to get back to their healthy lives, as government and medical specialists are clueless. Also, continuous lockdown increases depression and anxiety among people. There are many astrologers and psychics online offering their services to help you out with its effects. Here you can find the best astrologers and psychiatrist’s views on this issue https://nypost.com/2020/04/25/business-booming-for-psychics-and-astrologers-amid-coronavirus/. Here you can find opinions and findings of experts that will help you in composing yourself in the tedious and exhausting situation of lockdown. You can read information and best reviews around the world from the experts about the novel COVID- 19.Covid-19, astrology and psychic

Astrology

With the increasing number of infected corona patients, Everyone is hoping for the COVID-19 vaccine, which will stop this contagious virus. Corona has infected almost 90 countries in the world. It has ruined the economy and increased unemployment around the globe. Though the death ratio is comparatively lower than the number of infected patients. If we see the numbers of infected people, there are over three million infected people in the world. Every country is in the struggle to make the corona vaccine. Many astrologers predicted the end of the virus soon in the coming months. Though there is no exact date when it will. Some astrological calculations show that the novel corona virus will start reducing after mid-May when Jupiter will rise the disease will end. Another prophecy says that the illness will end when the planet changes its position. So the astrological predictions and the prophecies have some similarities about the end of the disease. The majority of astrologers are in favor of the speculation that the corona virus will end after 15th May, or in September. This is the period when Saturn will enter Capricorn, and mars will join Jupiter. Although Jupiter stays in gathering more than one year in normal circumstances, and Jupiter’s stay is going to complete in the coming five months. The planetary positions play a vital role in the state of affairs on earth.

Moreover, according to one Indian astrologer, if Jupiter stays in three gatherings in one year, it is considered to be the sign of a severe crisis. But there also chances that relief is coming as Mars is changing its position and entering in Aquarius. So the planetary ranks indicate that the effect of the corona virus will wear off soon from the world. Some researchers will introduce the vaccine for the virus, and this will be a great relief for the world. The adverse effects of Jupiter will end when it enters Sagittarius, and this will call positive changes in the world. Along with the changes, Jupiter will remain in its motion, which will improve in September. Due to this reason, astrologers believe that disease will end in September, and its effects start reducing from mid-may.

How will it end?

As fast it spread around the world, it will culminate before vanishing overnight. Astrology is a way that has helped a lot in life, As one young astrologer predicted about COVID-19 outbreak in 2019. Later he becomes a sensation on social media due to his prediction. His new video on youtube revealed the reality of the virus and its fate that it will vanish in 2020 or maybe in early 2021. One of the teen astrologers videos claims the exact end date of coronavirus. Therefore later, he revised his words that media has misinterpreted his statement though he believes that in 2020 or 2021, it will end. According to astrology predictions, corona cases will start dropping gradually, but do not mean it will go away within a day. On social media and mainstream media have an article about this pandemic. The question is answerless as the rigid virus and the condition of the world is unpredictable. Everyone is trying hard to find a way out. Human life and also the development is under threat. People are getting frustrated as they have no job and earning to feed their families. Little by little, this virus is eating the prosperity in the world. Even the most influential nations are weak in front of this pandemic. Every country is disturbed and trying hard to find a way out. 

Covid-19, astrology and psychic

Science and astrology

the contradiction among the statements is confusing as some astrologers claim that it will end soon, and some say that it will start reducing in may. Therefore, the overall condition reveals some other factors. The planetary positions are also predicting that the pandemic will end with the change of the planets. Alsop scientist admits that the positions of the stars are changing, and this will affect the atmosphere of the world eventually. Other astrologists believe even after conquering the stubborn pandemic; the human will face more dangerous virus outbreaks in the future. We may get success in creating a vaccine for the virus, but superbugs will attack and put humans in danger again. Astrologers are predicting as per planetary positions. Furthermore, they are performing many rituals and practices to gain knowledge; for example, Astrologers can thank as well by secretly be grateful to their starts. Many cultures acknowledge astrology prophecies, like Indians and us public spending most of their time cooking and reading astrology reading to see what their future is containing for them, especially regarding corona. The grounded in nature lockdown is causing people the same amount of irritation and fear of the future. Many have watched movies about out of the blue disasters that have created more fear in majorities’ heart. Corona is presenting the same film as a situation all over the world.

Covid-19, astrology and psychic

Psychic 

On the journey to get better physical health, also emotional wellness, spirituality, finances, social life, and relationships, every field requires attention. Sometimes it becomes difficult to focus on every part, and that is the moment when you need a healer and game-changers to bring harmony in your life. Experts can provide you tips to get a better experience in unpredictable circumstances.

Psychic Sylvia also once shared about the pandemic, that severe illness will disturb the world in the current year. Coronavirus is sweeping the globe with its perilous effects. 

Browne’s book “End of the days” is reflecting in the current situation caused by the deadly virus. There are many prophecies about the end of the world that can make us believe in them as seeing the uncontrolled infection. That has failed all technologies and the human mind. Old historians predicted 2012 the last day of earth, yet we are surviving in threatening natural disasters.

Many predictions notion about the stubborn virus, like pneumonia-like disease, will turn into a pandemic and will cause lungs and severe respiratory infections. Browne also mentioned that the illness would suddenly vanish as fast as it spread around the globe. Hence it will attack ten years later and will disappear completely.

Therefore, he also claimed his psychic abilities. Many psychics have shared such indications about the virus earlier. Psychics are actively online to offer you their service, so for psychic chat services, you can contact them. 

Conclusion

In such an unpredictable situation nothing is sure yet everyone is trying their best to get rid of this problem.  Life-threatening illness has changed the whole life, and every individual is seeking answers for their questions. Astrology and psychic both can predict and provide some hope in the darkness where everyone is frustrated and vulnerable.  Also, contact with astrologers and psychics would be a great idea as they have expertise in their field and can save you from exhaustion and pessimism. No one knows what will come next as the way this virus has disturbed everything is frightening. Therefore, astrologers and psychics are confident in their statements about the corona. So it is better to see the light at the end of the tunnel rather than grounding ourselves in the darkness of despondency. You can contact experts online and can get an appointment as they are offering their services online. This is a great way to have a chat with some experts and get answers . as watching the news and counting numbers of infected people is defiantly not good.   

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Inspiration

How Would You Like To Be Remembered?

Polly Stevens

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How Would You Like To Be Remembered

Would you rather be remembered as the person who tried and failed at something or not is remembered at all? About a hundred years ago, a man looked at the morning newspaper and to his surprise and horror, read his name in the obituary column.

The newspapers had reported the death of the wrong person by mistake. His first response was a shock. Am I here or there? When he regained his composure. His second thought was to find out what people had said about him. The obituary read, “Dynamite King Dies” And also “He was the merchant of death”. This man was the inventor of dynamite and when he read the words “merchant of death”, he asked himself a question, “Is this how I am going to be remembered?”

How Would You Like To Be Remembered (1)

He got in touch with his feelings and decided that this was not the way he wanted to be remembered. From that day on, he started working toward peace. His name was Alfred Nobel and he is remembered today by the great Nobel Prize.Just as Alfred Nobel got in touch with his feelings and redefined his values, we should step back and do the same.

How Would You Like To Be Remembered

  • Will you be remembered with love and respect?
  • What is your legacy?
  • Will you be spoken well of?
  • How would you like to be remembered?
  • Will you be missed?

To be remembered by many not just about my achievements but instead for the bravery and courage to follow my dreams, while leaving a great inspiration for others.

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Quotes

Top Gun Quotes – The Need For Speed

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Top Gun Quotes

The 1986 movie Top Gun directed by Tony Scott made over $356 million dollars worldwide, and included a legendary cast that includes Tom CruiseAnthony EdwardsVal KilmerMeg RyanTim RobbinsMichael Ironside, and Kelly McGillis.

In Tom Cruise’s long and impressive career, few movies stand out as much as Top Gun. The film had Cruise playing Maverick, a skilled and arrogant fighter pilot who competes against the world’s best in the Top Gun flight school. The movie was a fun, energetic 80s movie that helped make Cruise the blockbuster superstar he is today.

In between the air combat sequences and love scenes between Maverick and Charlie (Kelly McGillis), they managed to fit in some nice one-liners and dialogue, though.

Here are the best Top Gun quotes from Maverick, Goose, Viper, Stinger, Jester, Iceman and the rest of the Top Gun cast.

top gun quotes

“If I can’t shoot this son of a bitch, let’s at least have some fun with him.”

Maverick

top gun ice man quotes

 “I don’t like you because you’re dangerous.”

Iceman

maverick top gun quotes

That’s right! Ice… man. I am dangerous.”

Maverick

top gun quotes

It’s classified. I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

Maverick

 

Quotes from Top Gun

I flew with your old man. VF-51, the Oriskany. You’re a lot like he was. Only better… and worse. He was a natural heroic son of a bitch that one.”

Viper

quotes from top gun

“Now I’m not gonna sit here and blow sunshine up your ass”

Viper

famous top gun quotes

“A good pilot is compelled to evaluate what’s happened, so he can apply what he’s learned.”

Viper

maverick top gun quotes

That son of a bitch cut me off!”

Maverick

top gun quotes

“Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

Stinger

 

“Just want to serve my country, be the best pilot in the Navy, sir.”

Maverick

best top gun quotes

“You two characters are going to Top Gun.”

Stinger

Best Top Gun Quotes

” If you had to go into battle, would you want him with you?”

Viper

“Hey, Goose, you big stud! Take me to bed or lose me forever.”

Carole

top gun goose quotes

“The list is long, but distinguished.”

Goose

The defense department regrets to inform you that your sons are dead because they were stupid.”

Goose

best top gun quotes

 “I feel the need…”

Maverick

I feel the need, the need for speed

I feel the need…the need for speed!”

Maverick, Goose

top gun quotes

You don’t have time to think up there. If you think, you’re dead.”

Maverick

top gun ice man quotes

You can be my wingman any time.”

Iceman

famous top gun quotes

They gave you your choice of duty, son. Anything, anywhere.”

Stinger

top gun goose quotes

No. No, Mav, this is not a good idea.”

Goose

Top Gun Goose Quotes

 

 “Sorry, Goose, but it’s time to buzz a tower.”

Maverick

“Top Gun rules of engagement are written for your safety and for that of your team. They are not flexible, nor am I. Either obey them or you are history. Is that clear?”

Viper

quotes from top gun

Any of you boys seen an aircraft-carrier around here?”

Maverick

famous top gun quotes

“Crashed and burned! Huh, Mav?”

Slider

 

 “When I fly, I’ll have you know that my crew and my plane come first.”

Maverick

 

“God, he loved flying with you Maverick. But he would’ve done it anyway… without you. He’d have hated it, but he would’ve done it.”

Carole

Goose is dead.”

Viper

Famous Top Gun Quotes

 

“You fly jets long enough, something like this happens.”

Viper

 

“I can see it’s dangerous for you, but if the government trusts me, maybe you could.”

Maverick

quotes from top gun

“It takes a lot more than just fancy flying.”

Charlie

“How’s it feel to be on the front page of every newspaper in the English-speaking world, even though the other side denies the incident? Congratulations.”

Stinger

“Great balls of fire!”

Goose

“Damn, this kid is good!”

Viper

“That was some of the best flying I’ve seen to date – right up to the part where you got killed.”

Jester

“This could be complicated.”

Maverick

“I don’t know, but uh, it’s looking good so far.”

Maverick

She’s lost that loving feeling.”

Maverick

Aw sh… I hate it when she does that.”

Goose

“Two of your snot-nose jockeys did a fly-by on my tower at over 400 KNOTS! I want somebody’s butt, I want it now, I’ve HAD IT!”

Air Boss Johnson

“DAMN! That’s TWICE! I WANT SOME BUTTS!”

AirBoss Johnson

Maverick Top Gun Quotes

 

“I’ll fly with you”

Viper

“Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby.”

Maverick

“Maverick, you just did an incredibly brave thing.”

Stinger

“Don’t screw around with me Maverick. You’re a hell of an instinctive pilot. Maybe too good.”

Stinger

 

“Great, then I won’t have to worry about you making your living as a singer.”

Charlie

 “I’m going to need a beer to put these flames out.”

Maverick

I’ll have what he’s having. Hemlock, is it?”

Charlie

 

“And if you screw up just this much, you’ll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong!”

Stinger

 

 “I see some real genius in your flying, Maverick, but I can’t say that in there.”

Charlie

“I was afraid that everyone in the TACTS trailer would see right through me, and I just don’t want anyone to know that I’ve fallen for you.”

Charlie

 

I thought of being an instructor, sir.”

Maverick

Top Gun? God help us.”

Stinger

Goddamn that guy.”

Air Boss Johnson

“First one dies, you die too. But there will be others. You can count it. You gotta let him go.”

Viper

“This is it, Maverick!”

Merlin

 

“I’m gonna hit the brakes, he’ll fly right by.”

Maverick

 

“You two really are cowboys.”

Iceman

 

 

 

“I will fire when I am goddamn good and ready! You got that?”

Maverick

 

 “It’s the bottom of the 9th, the score is tied. It’s time for the big one.”

Goose

 

In case some of you are wondering who the best is, they are up here on this plaque.”

Viper

 

That’s pretty arrogant, considering the company you’re in.”

Viper

 

I like that in a pilot.”

Viper

 

 “Gentlemen… You had a hell of a first day.”

Viper

 

“Well, I guess when I see something I go right after it!”

Maverick

 

“Good morning, gentlemen, the temperature is 110 degrees.”

Viper

 

“That spin was hell it would’ve shook me up.”

Viper

 

This is what I call a target rich environment.”

Maverick

 

This is Ghost Rider 117, this bogey is all over me. He’s got missile lock on me. Do I have permission to fire?”

Cougar

maverick top gun quotes

“Just wondering who’s the best.”

Maverick

 

 “Just remember, when it’s over out there, we’re all on the same team.”

Viper

best top gun quotes

So you’re the one.”

Charlie

best top gun quotes

“Remember, boys, no points for second place.”

Slider

“You’re a lot brighter than you look—”

Goose

 

Great, he’s probably saying, “Holy shit, it’s Maverick and Goose.” ”

Maverick

 

“Gutsiest move I ever saw, Mav.”

Hollywood

 

Your Favorite Top Gun Quotes

What are some of your favorite Top Gun quotes? Who is your favorite member of the Top Gun cast?

 

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Inspiration

Random Act Of Kindness

Tara Christie

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Random Act Of Kindness

This is a great true story about a person who gave a random act of kindness and make a difference in someone’s life.

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry.

Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and weep.

Random Act Of Kindness (1)

But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick four-plex in a quiet part of town.

I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, and then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way would want my mother treated”.

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Random Act Of Kindness (2)

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said, “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

A simple act of kindness can make a tremendous impact on person’s life. Make a little act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that maybe someday, someone might do the same with you.

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Wellness

15-minutes of exercise creates optimal brain state for mastering new motor skills

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15-minutes of exercise creates optimal brain state for mastering new motor skills

If you want to learn to walk a tightrope, it’s a good idea to go for a short run after each practice session. That’s because a recent study in NeuroImage demonstrates that exercise performed immediately after practicing a new motor skill improves its long-term retention. More specifically, the research shows, for the first time, that as little as a single fifteen-minute bout of cardiovascular exercise increases brain connectivity and efficiency. It’s a discovery that could, in principle, accelerate recovery of motor skills in patients who have suffered a stroke or who face mobility problems following an injury.

 

In his earlier work, Marc Roig, the senior author on the study, had already demonstrated that exercise helps consolidate muscle or motor memory. What he and the McGill-based research team sought to discover this time was why exactly this was the case. What was going on in the brain, as the mind and the muscles interacted? What was it that helped the body retain motor skills?

A muscular video game

15-minutes of exercise creates optimal brain state for mastering new motor skills (1)

To find out, the research team asked study participants to perform two different tasks. The first, known as a “pinch task” is a bit like a muscular video game. It consists of gripping an object akin to a gamers’ joystick (and known as a dynamometer) and using varying degrees of force to move a cursor up and down to connect red rectangles on a computer screen as quickly as possible. The task was chosen because it involved participants in motor learning as they sought to modulate the force with which they gripped the dynamometer to move the cursor around the screen. This was then followed by fifteen minutes of exercise or rest.

Participants were then asked to repeat an abridged version of this task, known as a handgrip task, at intervals of 30, 60, 90 minutes, after exercise or rest, while the researchers assessed their level of brain activity. This task involved participants in simply repeatedly gripping the dynamometer, for a few seconds, with a similar degree of force to that which was used to reach some of the target rectangles in the “pinch task”. The final step in the study involved participants in both groups repeating the “pinch task” eight and then twenty-four hours after initially performing it, allowing the researchers to capture and compare brain activity and connectivity as the motor memories were consolidated.

More efficient brain activity

15-minutes of exercise creates optimal brain state for mastering new motor skills (1)

The researchers discovered that those who had exercised were consistently able to repeat the “pinch task” connecting different areas of the brain more efficiently and with less brain activity than those who hadn’t exercised. More importantly, the reduction of brain activity in the exercise group was correlated with a better retention of the motor skill twenty-four hours after motor practice. This suggests that even a short bout of intense exercise can create an optimal brain state during the consolidation of motor memory which improves the retention of motor skills.

When they looked more specifically at what was going on, the researchers discovered that, after exercise, there was less brain activity, most likely because the neural connections both between and within the brain hemispheres had become more efficient.

“Because the neural activation in the brains of those who had exercised was much lower,” explains Fabien Dal Maso, the first author on the paper, “the neural resources could then be put to other tasks. Exercise may help free up part of your brain to do other things.”

The importance of sleep

15-minutes of exercise creates optimal brain state for mastering new motor skills (2)

What the researchers found especially intriguing was that when they tested participants at the 8 hour mark, there was little difference between groups in skill retention. In fact both groups were less able to retain the skills they had newly acquired, than they were at the twenty-four mark when the difference between the two groups was once more apparent.

“What this suggests to us, and this is where we are going next with our research, is that sleep can interact with exercise to optimize the consolidation of motor memories,” says Marc Roig, the senior author on the paper. “It is very exciting to be working in this area right now because there is still so much to be learnt and the research opens doors to health interventions that can potentially make a big difference to people’s lives.”

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Inspiration

7 Ways You Can Change the World

Polly Stevens

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7 Ways You Can Change the World

I woke up at 4 a.m., and all I could think was “What am I doing with my life?” I was in my early 30s and living in the corporate world, working long hours with high levels of stress. I felt burned out and depleted. What happened? Growing up, I always dreamed I would change the world and make it a better place.

At that moment, I definitely didn’t feel like I was changing anything. I was just earning a paycheck. Just surviving. I didn’t have time to think about changing the world. I had deadlines to meet and never enough time for anything extra.

Does that sound familiar? Many people I know are in the same situation. How can you take on the problems of the world when there’s so much to do already? It can be overwhelming, no matter how good your intentions might be.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can change the world, just like you always thought you would. You can make a positive change. You can do meaningful deeds and make a positive impact on other people.

What’s more, when you do something meaningful, you do more than just change the world. You increase your own happiness. In 2009, psychology researcher Michael Steger found that meaningful work makes people happier and more effective in their daily lives. It turns out, people who work to change the world, also receive a great benefit from their efforts. So what can you do?

Here Are 7 Ways You Can Help Change the World

1. Start Small

Change the World

You don’t have to take on everything at once, in fact, it’s better if you don’t. Start small and just take the first step. This was the secret of Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, the founder of microfinance and microlending. Before he retired, Yunus helped thousands of people in poverty obtain business loans without collateral. He started with just $27.

Yunus surveyed people in his community about their needs and was shocked to learn that he could assist 42 people by lending just $27 of his own money. His first project was a success and he continued to build on it, finally creating Grameen Bank. By 1997, Grameen Bank had issued US$6.38 billion to 7.4 million borrowers, empowering others to build businesses and improve their own situations. Yunus went on to successfully lead several other initiatives to help the poor, starting small each time.

What small action can you take today? Take it. Small actions can build on each other but you need to take that first step.

2. Be a Good Neighbor

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You don’t have to travel the world or live in Washington, DC to make an impact. You actually have the greatest knowledge and influence in your own backyard. This was the lesson learned by John Paul Flintoff, and he discussed it in his 2012 Ted Talk entitled “How to Change the World.”

Flintoff works to help protect the environment and prevent global warming. He realized he could make an immediate difference by reaching out to his neighbors. However, he did it not by overloading them with facts and research, but by giving them tomato plants. Every year, he offers his extra tomato seedlings to his neighbors. This simple and kind act started his neighbors growing some of their own food, thereby slightly reducing their environmental impact.

What’s something you can do in your own backyard?

“Choose your corner, pick away at it carefully, intensely and to the best of your ability and that way you might change the world.” -Charles Eames

3. Highlight an Issue

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Do you feel strongly about an issue that doesn’t get enough attention, or where change is slow? Become educated on the issue and what’s being done to address it. Then you can highlight the issue, advocate for change, share information with your friends and family. You can do it through modern social media, and even by writing good old-fashioned letters to your government representatives. Working on an issue like this, you can create a huge impact. Especially now with social media, your message can go viral on the internet, spreading the word even faster.

What issues are important to you? How can you help bring attention to those issues?

4. Pay it Forward and Practice Random Acts of Kindness

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A small act of kindness creates a ripple effect that can carry from person to person, brightening many lives. From giving someone a smile to holding a door open for someone, doing chores for other people, donating to charity, or buying lunch for a friend, it doesn’t take a lot to make someone’s day a little bit better.

Research has also found that performing these simple acts of kindness increases feelings of happiness and positivity. One study even found that “acts of kindness create an emotional warmth, which releases a hormone known as oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of a chemical called nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This reduces blood pressure and, therefore, oxytocin is known as a ‘cardioprotective’ hormone. It protects the heart by lowering blood pressure.”

I had a friend who passed away a few years ago who used to buy coffee for the people in the car behind him at the drive-through. He received immense joy from knowing he just gave someone a nice surprise and had no expectation of anything in return.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” -Mother Teresa

5. Let Your Values Guide Your Spending and Know Who You’re Doing Business With

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Support companies that have fair trade practices and that have a triple bottom line — people, planet, and profit (not just profit). Take the time to learn about the companies where you do business. Does your bank use ethical business practices? What types of projects do they fund? What goes into making your favorite products?

Let your money make a statement. While it may not seem like a lot, if enough people redirect their spending based on unethical or unsustainable practices, businesses will change and evolve to meet the demand. If you spend according to your own personal values, you’ll make a statement and also find more harmony with your money.

Make a list of the products and services you buy most? Do their business practices align with your values? Are there other options?

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” -Gandhi

6. Pray or Meditate

Change the World

While this seems like an internal change, prayer and meditation have also been shown to have a positive effect on your surrounding area. The Maharishi Effect indicates that there is a correlation between meditation and societal harmony. For example, several studies have documented a reduction in crime rates in communities where at least one percent of the population practices transcendental meditation. Meditation is a powerful tool to bring internal peace us as individuals, but it may also benefit those around us.

Do you have a daily prayer or meditation practice? If not, try it for 10 days and feel the difference it makes in your own life, and possibly in the lives of others.

7. Be Authentic in Everything You Do

Change the World

You have a unique value and perspective on life and that makes you inherently beautiful and amazing. No one else in the universe is like you. You are one of a kind. Bring your true, authentic self to every situation, and you may find it’s just what was needed. Authenticity creates higher levels of empowerment, creativity, and overall well-being — a great place to be when helping others.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman

Identify ways you can begin to align your thoughts with your actions, increasing your authenticity. Make a list and work to create greater harmony between the two.

Where Do You Start? Two Questions to Ask Yourself Now

So how do you know where to start? John Paul Flintoff posed two questions to the audience in his 2012 Ted Talk about where to begin:

1. What would you do if you knew you could do anything and wouldn’t fail? This question helps you think big without the negative doubts or self-talk. I recently posted this question to my community and some of the answers I got back included curing AIDS, eradicating malaria, working with DNA to prevent illness, and writing a best-selling novel. What beautiful goals. Dream big — what would you do?

2. What is one thing you can start doing toward that goal within the next 24 hours? Big goals can be daunting, but focusing only the next action allows you to make progress without feeling overwhelmed. Don’t wait – begin with just one small step and keep it up. Before you know it, you’ll have moved mountains.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” -Anne Frank

Now it’s your turn. What things are you doing to make the world a better place? Share your thoughts below.

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