Improving Your Flexibility & Balance

Life is all about flexibility and balance, both literally and physically. Without balance you will notice that your life can quickly become uncomfortable, frustrating and can even be deemed undesirable. And without mastering the skill of flexibility you can kiss progression goodbye, these days you have to be comfortable with “stretching” yourself, that is if success if a goal of yours. Just as you need flexibility and balance in your life to keep things going smoothly the same goes for your body.  Balance and flexibility, in my opinion, are very underrated principles of everyday life. We often overlook how without balance we wouldn’t be able to walk upright or prevent injury (falling, breaking or spraining bones, etc). Flexibility is also an overlooked but very important factor in everyday mobility. Improving your flexibility not only helps to relieve stress and tension but it also prevents injuries. Continuous neglect of stretching out your muscle will cause them to tighten, making it harder for your body to function normally. When’s the last time you stretched? When’s the last time you focused on your coordination? If you have to really think about those then chances are you could use some guidance in improving both of those. Don’t wait until you rip a muscle or randomly find yourself off balance and falling over. Stay ahead of the game, taking proper care of your body is about prevention, not treatment or solution. Allow me to give you a few tips on how to your flexibility and balance (attempt daily for better results).

Improving your balance:

  1. Walking head to toe- Simply stand straight up facing north with your shoulders up, breathe in, breathe out, place the right leg in front of the left, and repeat for 20-30 steps.
  2. Standing on one leg- Periodically throughout your day (2-4 times a day) stand straight, stretch and elongate your back, straighten and tighten your legs, lift left or right leg and hold pose for at least 15-30 seconds, lower leg repeat with opposite leg.
  3. Hip marching- Sit in a chair with your back touching the back of the chair, place your hands on your legs then slowly lift your left leg straight up (leave your knee bent), then hold for 5 seconds, then place your foot to the floor and repeat with the other leg.

Improving your flexibility:

  1. Standing hamstring stretch- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, slightly bend your knees, arms by your sides, bend hips forward, lower your head toward the floor, relax head, neck and shoulders, then wrap your arms around backs of your legs and hold for 45-60 seconds (stretches neck, back, butt, hamstrings & calves)
  2. Frog stretch- Start on all fours, slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart, shift your hips back toward your heels, move from your hands to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, hold for 60 seconds and repeat. (stretches hips/groin & lower back)
  3. Butterfly stretch- Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together,  bend knees out to sides, hold onto your ankles, lightly squeeze abs, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor, then simply press your knees down, hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. (stretches thighs, hips, entire back, & butt)

Why You Should Be Eating More Colorful Foods

Every day we should be “tasting the rainbow” and no not from a bag of skittles. The color of each fruit and vegetable has a direct connection to the many benefits and nutrients packed inside of them. The most colorful foods are known to strengthen your immune system, stabilize PH balances, reduce digestive problems and for being the most detoxifying. Our bodies benefit from variety and utilize everything consumed so be good to your body and eat all of your colors. Be sure that you’re eating foods based on them being in seasons (when they are the brightest and ripest) to guarantee that you’re getting the maximum nutritional value and of course the best flavor! Below I’ve listed my favorite fruits and vegetables of each color group along with a few benefits. Brighten your plate and your health will brighten as well 🙂

Blues/Purples: Blackberries, blueberries, plums, grapes, red cabbage, eggplant, beets, etc.

The fruit and vegetables of the darker tint are known to be filled with the most antioxidants (super-foods). They’re good for reducing inflammation, strengthening cells, and promoting the brain and heart functions.

Oranges/Yellows: Papaya, oranges, mango, apricot, carrots, squash, pumpkin, yams, etc.

These fruit and vegetables are essential to the health of your retina and other parts of the eyes (linked to improving vision). They also help improve joint and bone health (arthritis, carpal tunnel, cracking knees, etc) and supports the immune system (packed with vitamin C).

Whites: bananas, pear & apple flesh, cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, onions, mushroom, etc.

Although these fruit and vegetables don’t necessarily have a color they are just as important. They are known for reducing cholesterol and inflammation throughout the body, and most importantly for containing natural cancer-fighting agents (specifically garlic and onion).

Greens: Kiwi, honeydew, lime, broccoli, leafy greens (spinach/kale/lettuce), zucchini, etc.

The fruits and vegetables of the greenish tint are full of chlorophyll, which helps to create more blood cells and detox your blood, eliminate funguses and bad odors, energize your body,  and so much more. Green is the color of life and should be a major part of your diet, being that it’s the MOST beneficial of the color groups.

Reds: Strawberries, watermelon, cherries, raspberries, tomatoes, red peppers, etc.

Red fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamin A and C. They’re full of folic acid which is a good intake for reducing birth defects and complications. Reds are a good source of fiber and potassium, helping with the digestive system and creating more electrolytes improving mood and energy levels.

Introducing: Atlanta’s Very Own Urban Sprout Farms

And on his farm he had a…..plentiful vegetation, a market, free yoga sessions, bonfires, movie nights, workshops, community events, & etc! Urban Sprout Farms and its’ founders (Nuri Icogren and his beautiful wife Safia) are nothing less than phenomenal. Urban Sprout Farms was founded in 2012 when Nuri really took nothing and made it something. Prior to this amazing farm that we witness today, the location was actually an abandoned motel and parking lot. He had a vision, put in the work and turned it into reality. I can honestly say that Urban Sprout Farms is a gem and it’s greatly appreciated by the community of Atlanta and its’ surrounding cities. Urban Sprout is a 5 acre certified organic farm, nursery, and market that also serves as an event space. It’s located in the neighbor of Polar Rock (Lakewood Heights) near downtown Atlanta, just a few miles south.  The farm/market sells flowers, seeds, soil, and plants (edible and non-edible), on top of growing about 8,600 pounds of produce a year! Wow, it’s just so amazing thinking about the progress the farm has made since I first came across it. I’ve known about Urban Sprout for about 3 years now and my first encounter blew my mind, no exaggeration. I took a tour of the farm, (it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of the plants and the random artwork and posters), made a few purchases and had an educating conversation with Nuri before leaving. The farm was still in its’ beginning stages but still pretty impressive. And to top it off Nuri is super down to earth, kind, and knowledgable. Since then I’ve been back countless times and even have introduced several of my friends to this extraordinary place. Urban Sprout Farms is always hosting events (the yoga classes and bonfires are my personal favorites)  and looking for volunteers to help keep up the farm & nursery. So if you’re interested in shopping/visiting, volunteering, hosting an event or donating feel free to check them out using the information below.

 

Urban Sprout Farms

Address: 2200 Reynolds Dr. SW, Atlanta GA 30315

Hours: Saturday 9AM-1PM (shopping)

Website: https://www.urbansproutfarms.com

Facebook, IG & Twitter: @urbansproutfarms

 

 

The Benefits of Facial Steaming

Let’s face it (pun intended LOL)! No one likes acne, dry skin, redness, or facial scarring. And I believe I can speak for most when I say that acne tends to show up at the absolute worse times or shows up more once you make more effort to improve it. Skin-care is a tricky thing and as I stated before different things work for different people. So first things first step away from the toxic chemical filled products and tap into mother nature. Natural is the best route to take when it comes to getting results and minimizing acne. Dirt and build-up is the number one cause of acne so make it your mission to clean your skin at least twice a day without over drying it in the process. Dry skin and dead skin are also top reasons for acne breakouts. What better way to find out what works for you than by starting off with a simple 100% natural method, such as facial steaming. Facial steaming is a relaxing yet very beneficial method that helps to reduce acne, increase circulation, and dilate blood vessels. Facial steaming opens your pores, making it easy to remove the build-up of dirt, softens blackhead, making them easy to remove, and it’s very hydrating and soothing to your skin. But although it has many benefits facial steaming isn’t something that should be done too often, I’d say once per week max. If it’s done too often it may dry out your skin which will then defeat the purpose. (Don’t wash your face in the shower, especially if you shower with hot water, it’s the worst thing you could do to your skin.) To ensure clean, clear skin without drying calls for a weekly routine. Every Sunday end your night by washing your face, steaming for 10-15 mins, toning face afterward, rubbing face with an ice cube for 2 minutes, and ending with a gentle facial massage with a small amount of moisturizer (shea butter, an oil, Cetaphil, etc). Facial steaming is a natural and fast acting method of reducing acne. I personally saw results within the first couple of steams. Try it for yourself and see!

Facial Steam Directions:

  1. Boil a pot of water ( 1-2 cups)
  2. While the water is boiling, wash your face with a mild/gentle soap, and pat face dry (Only steam with a fresh clean face, remove all makeup, oils, sweat, dirt, etc.)
  3. Pour boiling water into a glass or ceramic bowl (plastic bowls will leave molecules from the plastic)
  4. Put a herbal tea bag or a few drops of essential oil into the water (optional but if you decide to mint and chai are my go to’s)
  5. Grab a towel and a chair
  6. Place face over the bowl, close your eyes and place towel over your head
  7. Enjoy the steam for 10-15 minutes
  8. After 10-15 gently pat face dry
  9. Tone face (cotton ball and toner of your choice)
  10. Rub face an ice cube all over face for 2 minutes (closes pores back up)
  11. Gently pat face dry
  12. Gently massage face with a moisturizer of choice