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Yoga Makes Your Day

Meditation for Pregnancy

Pregnancy and giving birth is a miracle and a process that takes a mother through a series of emotions and experiences. Chances are, mothers in the labor will gasp in pain and contractions. The science of meditation tells us that a mother can achieve ‘Mindful Pregnancy and Child Birth’ by practicing mediation throughout the pregnancy term and during childbirth.

Mediation helps to reduce cortisol levels, or what is commonly known as stress hormones. Similarly, adrenaline is also reduced to eliminate the probability of anxiety. With reduced levels of anxiety hormones, the immune system improves; and in return, provides calmness to the mother. On the other hand, blood pressure and heart rate remain in control with reduced stress levels. 

Aside from this, meditation also increases the production of endorphins, the natural pain relievers in our bodies. With such, the chances of pregnancy complications are decreased.
Mediation also helps anxious mothers to eliminate any negative thoughts and deliver happy and joyful babies. 

There are various meditation techniques that a pregnant mother can practice right from the first month of pregnancy.

( Always remember to wear comfortable leggings that are not too tight. Find similar yoga leggings to the one above here.)

Prenatal / Pregnancy Mediation Techniques:

1. Deep Belly Meditation

Practice this for 5 -10 minutes every day. Do this by gently placing both of your hands on your belly, covering the upper and lower portions. Then, gently move your hands in a circular motion as if you are cradling the baby whilst feeling the warmth and the baby’s movements too. Try to focus on your baby with deep inhales and exhales. If done correctly, there’s a chance of hearing your baby’s heartbeat.

2. Mantra Meditation

Words have power and can easily be translated into actions or situations. For example, words of anger or jealousy can easily result in a situation of failure, and words of happiness and love can result in prosperity. In stressful situations of pregnancy, practice this technique of repeating a mantra slowly and steadily by focusing on your breath. Mantras such as ‘Om,’ ‘Be Strong Mama,’ ‘Breath for Baby’ can help you stay strong and distract you from your discomforts.

3. Relax Your Third Eye

Focus on the space between your eyebrows. This space is called your third eye and is known to have a presence of a tremendous light that produces hormones which control your energy levels. Opt to apply slight pressure with your thumb and index finger on that empty space. as there be. Doing so will make you feel relaxed and comfortable.

Labor Mediation Techniques:

1. Deep Breathing

Deep and slow breathing will help instill positive energy. It helps to create a sense of calmness and allows the mother to remain strong and bear the pain. It helps the mother control her senses and get ready to deliver the baby. This technique is generally practiced during the first stage of labor when the contractions have just begun. It helps the mother to get prepared for the final labor. 

2. Fast & Short Breathing

This breathing technique is ideally done towards the final stage of labor where the objective is that with every contraction the cervix opens more. Use rapid inhales and exhales for this technique. Because you would be so tired during the last stage of labor, try to use both your nose and mouth for this technique. You may take a break of a few seconds and resume normal breathing. 

3. Imagination

This is a very powerful technique where the mother focuses on pleasurable imaginations instead of labor pain. She may also try to imagine how her baby looks like and the feeling of finally holding him or her. However, many believe that imagining the lotus flower ‘lotus’ is most effective as it symbolizes peace and positivity.

Pregnancy and childbirth is a beautiful and life-changing experience. It is amazing to know that mediation can help relieve the stress and anxiety during this experience and make it more beautiful, and peaceful. For receiving the best results, a pregnant mother should practice mediation right before conceiving up to the final stage of labor.

Tips to Start your day like a yogi

Many people think that Yoga is only about Asanas. However, the truth is that the physical exercises are a part of the spiritual routine that yogis follow. The routine comprises cleansing exercises and rituals that can help you in transforming and cleansing your body inside out. You can also imbibe some of these tips in your daily routine to start the day like a yogi! Following these routines will cleanse your system and improve your overall health!

Drink warm water

The ability to digest is called Agni in Ayurveda. It is an important measure that helps in determining the health of a person. When our digestion system isn’t performing as it should, our body becomes slow and sluggish. We can also begin to lose concentration and experience insomnia. To aid digestion, drinking warm water right after you wake up helps to flush out toxins. Ayurvedic scriptures say that this simple ritual helps in healing many other conditions including eye disease, earaches, headaches, hemorrhoids, and sore throats. Therefore, start drinking a glass of warm water after you wake and you will soon notice a difference in your digestive system.

Tongue Scraping 

Tongue scraping involves the ayurvedic ritual of cleansing your tongue. Use a scraper to cleanse off bacteria from the surface of your tongue. These scrapers can be found in most pharmacies. However, you can also use a spoon for serving the same purpose. It is said that your tongue has a build-up of bacteria, which needs to be cleaned as it is believed that it can contribute to the feeling of hunger, weight gain and bloating. Removing this build-up every morning can reduce the number of toxins from entering your body.

Eye Wash

Take some water in your hands by cupping them and them bring your eyes down and blink into it. Repeat the procedure a few times. By doing this, you will provide your eyes with the required moisture that is necessary for the eyes. It also helps remove toxins from the eyes and cleanses them to improve vision. This practice helps in sharpening the vision and works on ajna chakra thereby leaving you refreshed every morning.

Sesame Oil Massage

Massaging with sesame oil is another ritual followed by yogis. This involves rubbing a little sesame oil behind the ears and jaw. You can also apply it to your neck, your armpits, your shoulders and behind your knees. You should experience a warm sensation in your body when you are rubbing the oil. After a few minutes, remove the oil by taking a hot shower. By doing this, you can improve concentration, help improve joint pain and even calm your body and mind. Overall, this ritual is a great way to kickstart your day.

After all these rituals, start your day by doing chain exercises like pranayama, Surya namaskar and other poses, such as Trikonasana (triangular pose), Balasana (child pose) and Ustasana (camel pose). A combination of Yogasanas, along with the above-mentioned rituals, will help you extensively in maintaining a healthy body and mind.

Neck and shoulder yoga

I don’t know about you, but I always feel tense after a busy and stressful day at the office. This is mostly because of my body getting tired and sitting in a wrong position that creates tension in my upper body, especially my neck and shoulder area. I’m guessing I am not the only one experiencing that discomfort. Luckily, there are certain yoga poses that help relieve that accumulated tension.

The Best Yoga Poses for Neck and Shoulder Tension 

1. Puppy Pose

The Puppy pose gives you an amazing backbend and connects your heart and spirit with the earth while grounding your emotions. It stretches both your upper and middle spine. Kneel on a mat and lower your chest closer to the mat. Stretch your arms forward and press your palms against the floor. Keep your neck straight and aligned with your spine. It helps if you look down instead of gazing up. Also, remember to maintain your hips above the knees. Hold this pose for at least five breaths, and then release. You can repeat this asana a couple of times if you want to achieve better results. 

2. Bow Pose

The Bow pose is great when it comes to opening your chest and boosting flexibility in your neck, shoulders, arms, and legs. Basically, it engages the entire body that leads to a complete relaxation. Lie down on your stomach and lift your legs while grabbing your ankles with your hands.
Inhale and open your chest even more by pushing your legs backward a little bit. This way, you will put pressure on your arms and upper body to make the stretch more intense. Hold this pose for a couple of seconds, and then release it slowly. 

3. Ear to Shoulder Asana

This is a simple pose that you can perform almost anywhere. It engages your neck’s muscles, which consequently improves their strength and flexibility. Also, it relaxes the trapezius muscle as well as your shoulders. Start by either sitting down or standing up in a comfortable position.
Keep gazing straight ahead and place your hands out to the sides, pressing your palms into the mat, with your fingers widely spread. Inhale deeply and, once you begin exhaling, incline your head and bend your neck, bringing your ear closer to your shoulder. Start on your right side. Keep your head straight, and avoid bringing it backward or forward. Your neck and head must be aligned with your shoulders.
For a more intense stretch, you can place your right hand on your head and apply some pressure when you incline your head to the right. This cycle must be done for up to ten times. 

4. Hand to Elbow Pose

You can do this pose from either a sitting or a standing position. Both options are good as long as you keep your spine as straight as possible without pushing your belly in front. Lift your right arm and bend your elbow to drop your palm back, reaching your shoulder blades.
Place the other hand, in this the case the left one, on your right hand’s elbow and put a little pressure on it. This will intensify the stretch. The Hand to Elbow asana stretches your triceps, your shoulders’ front part, and your neck’s back part. Maintain this asana for up to ten breaths and then switch sides. 

Bottom Line
We all experience pain and tension in our neck and shoulder areas. Not all of us can afford the money and time to go to a massage every other day. Fortunately, there are specific yoga poses that you can do in the privacy of your own home. These will relieve tension from your muscles and will change your mood for the better.

Is Yoga Enough to Keep You Fit?

Yoga is a wonderful exercise that offers some great benefits to those who follow along with its practice and lifestyle. Its benefits range from, but are not limited to: lowered stress levels, increased flexibility, anxiety relief, and improved sense of balance, but many ask the question, is yoga alone enough to keep you fit?

Often people fall on one side of the fence or another; either you need to combine it with something else, such as running or weight-training, or yoga, at its core, is all that you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Different forms of exercise are often viewed for providing a specific result to the practitioner. Running is great for cardiovascular health, weight-training allows for increasing muscle tone and as a result those who work out will often chose to follow the exercise that gives them the results they are seeking. To further understand what yoga can provide for those who practice it, we can look at whether or not it also gives similar results to that of the other popular forms of exercise.

Key Factors

Some key factors to consider are, does yoga allow for us to get the aerobic exercise, muscle tone, and flexibility we require to give us a complete body workout? We all know that flexibility is a large part of what yogis practice, many moves require the individuals to stretch themselves further each time they attempt a pose. Muscular fitness is also involved in this since a yogi will use his or her own body weight when holding certain poses, thus strengthening his or her muscles. But if you’ve ever doubted that a yoga flow can provide you with the necessary cardiovascular results that you require, try flowing from one pose straight into another for an hour and see where your heart rate falls, it is guaranteed to be at a higher level than it would be at the end of your session in Savasana.

As with all forms of exercise, it is the post-release of endorphins that often keeps many exercisers coming back for more. But unlike running, or weight-lifting, which focus on one factor, the variety of yoga styles and its combination of benefits over singular benefit exercises, make it a solid whole body and mind experience.

In some cases, a person is often suffering from an injury or weakness, such as weak joints or a bad heart, that prevents him or her from doing vigorous exercise. After some rest or recovery, the person is ready to try again, but is apprehensive about reinjuring him or herself. With yoga, the moves are challenging and yet gentle enough to allow for even an injured person to continue with his or her practice in some form or another. This is appealing and reassuring to many practitioners.

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One added benefit specific to yoga is its unique breathing techniques that when combined with the poses, help increase flexibility, strength, and balance, but can also improve aerobic capacity and the way the lungs function. With yoga, a program is always ended with the pose of Savasana, where the yogi takes the time to focus on breath and being still, this in turn allows for a calming of the mind, something unique to its practice.

What is wonderfully different about yoga is that there are no expectations on the mat but to try; yoga is not about being good at something, but rather being good to yourself. There is something different that happens with yoga that doesn’t always come from other exercise; that is an appreciation for what your body is, regardless of everything else, and that to many, is enough to focus solely on yoga.

5 Golden Nutrition Rules

Not many people know how to keep up with a healthy and nutritious diet in daily life. Sometimes even those who find it exciting to preach to other people how to develop a sense of motivation and inspiration for eating healthy food, often lose their own nutritional motivation. So here are some small secrets which will let you know how to carry out vital nutrition and build self-control which will help you to lead a satisfying and healthy life.

If you are obsessed with food, and can’t control your desire for eating that foodstuff (without even considering that it is either healthy or dangerous to you), don’t worry because you are not alone.

Eventually, every one of us develops some kind of urge for food, to be more particular – unhealthy food, and also falls prey to them most of the times. The habits which you develop matter a lot.

Thus, here is a brief list of 5 golden rules which you must follow to live a healthy life and develop the habits which can leave an enhancing effect on your diet. These rules are quite convenient so that anyone can adopt them easily. Let’s take a quick overview of the golden secrets of a healthy life.

1. The-half-plate-to-eat rule

The contents which can be found on your plate while eating matter a lot when it comes to your nutritional habits. Make it a habit of filling half of your plate with vegetables and fruits while the remaining half is further divided into two parts. The quarter part of plate should consist of healthy carbs and the remaining quarter portion should be comprised of lean protein (meat, pulses, etc.)

2. Use five ingredients or less

Always check the nutritional labels given on the packaging of any product to know the ingredients which it contains. If their number is 5 or less, the food is good for you to consume.

3. Calories-to-fat deficiency

While looking at the nutritional labels on the packages, make sure to notice not only the calories but also the calories which come from fat. Check the difference between these two amounts. If you are consuming food with the difference of 100 or less, then your diet is healthy.

4. A 6-inches plate

Many people among us are taught to clean their plate before ending the meal. And if you have a plate with the size of 10 inches, you have to eat every bit of the food item which it contains. However, the optimum sized plate is 6 inches, which can be cleaned easily while consuming half the calories.

5. The forks-down rule

Put your fork or spoon down for a moment after finishing every bit of food. Give yourself some time so that you can chew the food completely and then swallow it down. The slower you eat, the better your nervous system will function. Those who eat quickly, their nervous system starts processing slowly.

Yoga Poses That Will Keep Athletes Free From Injury

In case you have a passion for sports, you know that you can acquire injuries through the imbalance of your biometric and repetitive motions. But in case you are practicing yoga, you have a powerful tool that can prevent injuries. Yoga teaches us to have a higher awareness of our body. With this awareness, we will be able to properly determine the part of our body that is more likely to acquire injury and address it immediately. Your sports training method will lead to muscle tension, restricted motion and limited power that can lead to injury. Furthermore, yoga is a mixture of passive and active stretching that will keep you free from injury.

Common Injuries that Athletes Experience

In this article, we will tackle the common injuries that are experienced by the athletes, their symptoms and the yoga poses that can help in preventing them.

Plantar Fasciitis

Probably, one of the most common foot injuries that athletes are experiencing today is plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammation on our plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is basically the group of tissue that is attached to our toe and heel bone and extends to our sole. Tightness on our calf muscle, ankle and Achilles tendon and constant striking using our feet can lead to stress. This will result to inflammation and micro tear. Plantar fasciitis should be treated, or it can lead to bone spurs which can cause pain on our back, hip and knee. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include an excessive pain on our heels that is usually worst during the morning.

The yoga pose that you can use to prevent plantar fasciitis include sole stretch, Supta Padangusthana, and Sucirandhrasana. It will help in stretching and extending the tissues found in our sole and the rear portion of our legs. This will help immensely in reducing the tension in our plantar fascia.

Ilioitibial Band Syndrome

The pain in the knee that most athletes feel can be an irritation in our IT (Iliotibial) band. This band is a fibrous element, and the source of the problem would be the surrounding muscles. In most cases, the muscles found in our hip that is connected with the IT band will experience muscle tension. This can affect the gliding ability of the IT band and limit the mobility of our hip. The pain that one feels is located on the outer part of our knee that will extend to our thigh, hip and calf muscles. Uttanasana, Anjaneyasana, and Supta Gomukhasana are some of the yoga poses that can prevent this injury that can affect your mobility. This will keep the IT band and the enclosed tissue to remain flexible and more resistant to injury and friction.

Relaxing with the help of Yoga is definitely the best way to prevent injuries. In yoga, we will be able to relax the parts of our body and loosen the muscle tension. This guide will not just be useful for the athletes but also for people who spend their entire day sitting in front of the computer.