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Oct 30th
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Mind & Body

Blogs - Mind & Body

A Love/Hate Relationship

A Love/Hate Relationship

Locals learn to love running in an unconventional program

According to Maggie Ellis, “If you think you hate running, [or] if you couldn’t run a half mile to save your life,” the Hate to Love Running Program is right up your alley.

Ellis is a certified health counselor and the director of The Hate to Love running program, which is now in its third year. Ellis was inspired to start the program by her own relationship with running: through a gentle progression of exercises, running transformed from a chore she hated doing into a true passion. Her program is geared toward beginning runners, and aims to help train them in a manageable way with the goal of completing a 5K run by the program’s end.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

Yoga for Depression

Yoga for Depression

 NAVIGATING YOGA > Balancing the mind, body and emotions with yoga

We now know that yoga can be handy as a sleeping aid, especially when that insomnia is due to stress. But did you know that yoga can also help cope with depression? It’s true—while yoga may not be your cure your blues, it should certainly be taken seriously as a mood booster.

As you probably know, exercise sends natural signals up to your brain that can trigger happiness. The technical term for this is called endorphins. Endorphins are your happy hormones, which are increased with any amount of physical activity. Whether that activity is a jog through the woods or dip in your local pool, being active makes the world seem a little brighter. Knowing this, it’s safe to say that yoga by its very nature as a physical activity can combat depression. Some postures are especially good for opening the heart, relieving insomnia and anxiety, and alleviating external distractions. Here are six postures that I think are particularly beneficial.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

Self Defense Tips

Self Defense Tips

Local jui jitsu instructor gives his top self defense tips

Seated behind the desk of his East Cliff Drive dojo, jui jitsu instructor Claudio Franca explains that it is not always possible to protect oneself or prevent an attack.

“Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t have a choice,” he says in a thick Brazilian accent. “Twelve o’clock, Downtown Santa Cruz … sometimes you can’t [prevent an attack],” he adds, referencing the May 7 fatal stabbing of downtown business owner Shannon Collins that still has the community reeling.

In some circumstances, however, Franca assures that self-defense training can be helpful. “The idea is avoiding the confrontation,” he says. “Move away, call another person.”

Franca, who originates from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been teaching the martial art for 25 years. He also teaches two women’s self defense classes a week at the Santa Cruz location and one a week at his Watsonville studio.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

Karma Yoga

Karma Yoga

NAVIGATING YOGA > NOURISH offers free yoga for firefighters

It is safe to say that NOURISH is a popular yoga studio around here. From their reasonable monthly membership of unlimited yoga, to their ongoing massage and informational nutrition consultations, it’s easy to see why the good karma has come back around in form of local newspaper readers voting them the best yoga studio for the past several years. Starting on May 15, NOURISH plans to give back, targeting their effort at firefighters.

From May 15 to June 15, “firefighters from anywhere get a free month of yoga to celebrate and thank them for putting themselves on the line for us all,” according to the NOURISH website.

Needless to say, firefighters are involved in high-risk situations that can create a lot of stress.  Yoga, says NOURISH co-owner Jocelyn Dubin, is a great way to help relieve that stress.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

Yoga for a Better Night’s Sleep

Yoga for a Better Night’s Sleep

NAVIGATING YOGA > As anyone who practices yoga can tell you, it is a powerful way to relax. As such, it also can mean better, deeper sleep. But what exactly about yoga aids healthy sleep? Is it the long, luxurious stretching? Is it the meditation aspect, or the deep breathing? Or it is because “savasana” basically feels like a nap? In short, the answer is yes to all of the above. Yoga is one of the best ways to promote relaxation—so how can we take advantage of its positive affects on sleep?

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Blogs - Mind & Body

Like Running in Space

 Like Running in Space

NASA technology is making its way into luxury gyms across the country in the form of an anti-gravity treadmill known as the AlterG. The treadmill allows users to walk or run with as little as 20 percent of their body weight. The technology was originally developed by Dr. Robert Whalen for NASA as a way for astronauts to exercise effectively, both in space and when they return home.This space-age machinery is ideal for people who are recovering from injuries or recent surgeries, or for those whose excessive weight makes traditional treadmills near impossible.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

What a Drag

What a Drag

Youth smoking rates have not declined since 2004

Classy, cool, badass, sophisticated—nobody thinks of smoking in these terms anymore. Or so we thought. The recent release of the Surgeon General’s first report on youth smoking since 1994 unearthed some surprising realities, such as that, although the percentage of youth smokers under 18 years old had been steadily declining since 1997, progress rates stalled in 2004 and have not decreased since then.

The trend of stalled progress rings true here in Santa Cruz County, where youth smoking has also not declined since 2004. According to the Santa Cruz County Tobacco Education Coalition, 40 percent of middle school and high school students report having tried cigarettes. “Smoking sort of goes with the town’s chill, beachy vibe,” local student Stephanie, who gave only her first name, opines.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

A Lighter Touch

A Lighter Touch

Lymphatic treatment with local massage therapist Miriam Janove

The mind/body connection that inspired this blog series becomes all too real to me when a stressful workweek results in a persistent headache or unbearable neck and shoulder tension. There are many ways I cope with this strain—exercise, baths, yoga, wine (the latter of which might not be doctor approved…)—but the ultimate solution is a session with Miriam Janove, the certified massage therapist behind Santa Cruz Bodywork and a guaranteed muscle melter.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

Workplace Workouts

Workplace Workouts

Another day, another dollar. In this economy, it’s easy to make work a fulltime priority at the expense of seemingly dispensable endeavors like a fitness routine. But not only does all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, it also puts him at risk for headaches, back aches, listlessness, and lowered productivity. (Not to mention this could pack a few pounds on him.) If you have the kind of workplace flexibility that affords you lingering lunch breaks at the gym—great. Pack a salad, grab your towel, and take advantage of it.

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Blogs - Mind & Body

The Down Low on Dozing

The Down Low on Dozing

It's National Sleep Awareness Week—ready to improve your sleep habits? 

Do you have difficulty catching some shuteye? If so, you’re not alone. According to the National Institutes of Health, 60 million Americans suffer from sleep disturbances every year. In light of National Sleep Awareness Week, which kicked off on Monday, March 5, we’ve taken the opportunity to look into the most common sleep disorders and unearth some tips for improving bedtime habits.

“There are simple ways to get a restful night’s sleep,” says Nora Distefano, physician and patient services representative at Central Coast Sleep Disorders Center. “Avoid any stimulant, like caffeine, before bedtime. Take a hot bath or shower to promote relaxation. If you’re having trouble sleeping in your bed, get out of bed and into another room.”

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