12 Dec

Links for a Sunday Morning

The BEST Yoga Mat – Reviews.com

With over 50 hours of research on dozens of yoga mats, I focused on the properties and composition of the mat and how this applies to the various styles of yoga. I surveyed the masses, consulted with over 10 yoga professionals with years experience on mats, and personally put many mats through hours of testing.

Photographer overwhelmed by response to Lake Erie pictures – CBC

Sandford spent two or three days a week, sometimes putting in six-hour days, photographing the awesome natural power of Lake Erie during a four-week span in November. The end result is a breathtaking gallery of the lake’s power and might.

Yoga and Bone Density – another myth? – Foot Love Yoga

For postures connecting upper & lower body to the ground (think plank) force through the arms is greater for men than women because men’s center of mass is concentrated on the upper-body; conversely, force through the feet is greater for women than for men, because women’s center of mass is in the pelvis.

Toronto’s Best New Restaurants of 2015 – Globe and Mail

Picks for the year’s most original, most extraordinary restaurants. What they all have in common is that the people who run them took inspired risks and defied the usual ways of the restaurant business.

The tyranny of Fitbit goals can create artificial happiness – CBC (podcast)

Part of the allure of FitBits and other wearable devices is the way they can inspire and motivate you to go the extra mile. But when the extra mile becomes the twentieth or twenty-fifth mile, it may be time to sit and think about your fitness choices. 

Finland To Bring In A Universal Basic Income – Forbes

From the right it gets rid of the thing we worry most about welfare . . . And from the left it actually increases workers’ bargaining power without, of course, needing those potentially self-interested unions standing in the middle.

Stop saying ’sorry’ if you want to say thank you – Bright Side

We often apologise assuming that people will appreciate our politeness and good manners. But in most cases, the other party is much more pleased to hear words of gratitude from you rather than an apology.

08 Dec

Yoga for Athletes: Tip 2 – Get in the Zone

Be a Better Athlete With Yoga - Zone

 

Part 2 of the Yoga for Athletes series focuses on focus.

Get in ‘The Zone’

“Get you head in the game!”

“Focus!”

“Keep your eyes open! Pay attention!”

. . . hollow words shouted from the sidelines attempting to motivate you to stay focused and perform at your best. Easier said than done.

As an athlete you’ve had those moments when you just can’t focus and your head is out of the game. Your thoughts are drifting to pain in your body or stress in your life and not your performance.

But as an athlete you’ve also had those moments when you are so into the game that you’re one with it. The connection between your mind and body becomes so intertwined that you don’t know where thought ends and action starts. You’re not thinking THEN doing. Your mind is so absorbed, so hyper-aware that your body is doing exactly what you need to do. It’s magic.

This is what it takes to have success in your sport. This is what it takes to have peak performance.

But how do you get to the point where your mind and body to work in synchronicity? How do you get out of the distraction zone and into the performance zone?

Yoga is a great way to help you get there. The goal in yoga is to be completely aware of your body at any given moment of the practice. It’s about focus. It’s a moving meditation.

Everything from stress, to nervousness, to noises and visual distractions can take your head out of the game but yoga teaches you how to avoid them and turn your attention inside yourself. Consistent yoga gives you great practice in programming your mind to let go of distractions so you can stay in ‘The Zone’ in every game.

28 Nov

Links for a Sunday Morning

It may be 2015, but not for political wives – Maclean’s

It’s 2015; women can go by whatever name they want—and change it whenever they want. But it appears some of our most high-profile women don’t have the same range of options, and that says something. . . Is there no value to a political brand in which a female partner is allowed separate billing and her own identity?

What Psychology Says About Materialism and the Holidays – American Psycological Association

Materialism is associated with lower levels of well-being, less pro-social interpersonal behavior, more ecologically destructive behavior, and worse academic outcomes. It also is associated with more spending problems and debt.

5 retail sales tricks to watch for on Black Friday – CBC

Stick to your list and resist the urge to browse.

The Science Behind Mindful Eating: (infographic)  – Summer Tomato

Mindful Eatingclick to see more

Smartphones hurt our face-to-face relationships – CBC Radio (podcast)

It isn’t good for us to flee from any moment of boredom by going to a phone.

Is Fat Stigma Making Us Miserable? – NY Times

Studies showed that the stigma and shame so common in our society do not motivate people to lose weight. . . the opposite is true. Messages that shame, blame and stigmatize people about their weight have a negative impact and interfere with efforts to improve health.

The Myth of Easy Cooking - The Atlantic

The weight of expectation imposed by our cooking culture, which offers unrealistically complex recipes while at the same time dismissing them as simple, can be crushing.  

Why Do the Detroit Lions always Play on Thanksgiving? - Mental Floss

Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, the owner hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. 

Let’s stop calling reproductive rights a “women’s issue” – Quartz

We still haven’t connected the dots that “women’s issues” are “everyone issues”—especially when it comes to linking reproductive rights and economic security. We still demarcate between them, ignoring the data and research that show how the lack of support for reproductive health (or understanding of it as linked to economic security, in other words, having an effect on everyone, and not just women) leaves women at an economic disadvantage.

Who is Really Paying for Adele? – The New Yorker

You don’t want to buy the record because that would be giving in to a heavy-handed attempt to make us purchase the music twice—to pay another ten dollars on top of the monthly subscription for an album that will show up on streaming sooner or later.

 

21 Nov

Links for a Sunday Morning

Hockey’s Puppy Mill – The Walrus

Describing players as “amateur” seems like wishful assertion rather than a reflection of reality. . .The atmosphere mirrors the professional experience in nearly every possible way. There are coaches, general managers, referees, and ushers. Teens sell beer and pizza. The only ones who aren’t paid? The players.

Brawn and Brains – NY Times

Sturdy legs could mean healthy brains, according to a new study of British twins. . . Over all, among both the identical and fraternal twins, fitter legs were strongly linked, 10 years later, to fitter brains.

Teens Who Weigh Themselves Have More Body Issues – Time

Females who weighed themselves more frequently had greater weight concerns. They also reported lower self-esteem and said they felt more depressed and less satisfied with their bodies than those who didn’t weigh themselves as often.

The Women of Hollywood Speak Out – NY Times Magazine

Female executives and filmmakers are ready to run studios
and direct blockbuster pictures. What will it take to dismantle
the pervasive sexism that keeps them from doing it?

Plight of the Funny Female – The Atlantic

A man’s use of humor increased his desirability. The women’s use of humor, meanwhile, didn’t make the men want to date them more—it actually made them slightly less alluring. That’s right: The men found the pretty, unfunny women more desirable than equally pretty ones who also happened to be funny.

How to Get Better at Expressing Emotions – The Atlantic

Really good quality long-term interpersonal relationships are based on shared experience but also the ability to share how we are feeling at that time. But if you are always expected to say you’re doing “great,” you’re never going to have that level of intimacy that you need in a really good relationship.

Conversion from the Westboro Baptist Church via Twitter (long read) – The New Yorker

How a Megan Phelps-Roper, prized daughter of the Westboro Baptist Church, came to question its beliefs.

14 Nov

Links for a Sunday Morning

And I’m BACK!

My web host had been holding my site hostage, which I’m still pissed about, but whatever. Here’s the shit I found interesting this week

Photo Diary:  A nine-country scramble to freedom, through the eyes of a refugee – The Globe and Mail

Soon the boat is bouncing, and water begins accumulating in the centre of the craft. . . Sweeta readily identifies it as the worst moment in their long trip to Europe. “I was so scared that I began yelling, ‘Let’s go back!’ ” she later recalled.

Down with likeability! The problem with our ‘like’ culture – Maclean’s

But the effects of a likeability fixation are more sweeping than we realize. People like, and buy, the familiar. So a world driven by “like” doesn’t stray too far from comfort zones. Confrontation and dissent and iconoclasm don’t belong—nor does the spirit of invention that can accompany them.

Urban-Exploring Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch - Vice

“His entire house was filled with these expensive looking, one-off, semi-artistic things. . . These weird mirrors on this four-foot by four-foot platform. And that would be next to some Roman statue-looking thing. Next to that would be an eight-foot-tall oil painting of Michael Jackson himself. There were all of these paintings inside the house. There’s one where he’s leading a procession of children.”

Project Aims to Resurrect an Ancient Wonder of the World – CN Traveller

The 100-foot-tall bronze statue of the Greek sun god Helios, towering over the Rhodians in the third century, was among the tallest structures in the world when it was built in 280 B.C. Now an ambitious team of young professionals would like to resurrect the Colossus of Rhodes.

How American parenting is killing the American marriage – Quartz

It has become totally unacceptable in our culture to say anything bad about our children, let alone admit that we don’t like them all of the time. We are allowed to say bad things about our spouses, our parents, our aunts and uncles, but try saying, “My kid doesn’t have a lot of friends because she’s not a super likable person,” and see how fast you get dropped from the PTA.

#CoverTheAthlete video targets sexist questions put to female athletes – CBC News

The makers of the video adapted questions asked of female athletes to fit existing news clips of male athletes like Crosby, “in order to show how ridiculous it is that female athletes are asked these questions.”

In search of Detroit’s most beautiful blocks – Model D

“There are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and scenery, views of mountains or oceans, rockbound or with palm trees; and there are cities like Detroit that have to work for a living.” Yet beauty abounds across Detroit’s 139 square miles, albeit in a pocketed, dispersed sort of way.

13 Nov

Yoga for Athletes: Tip 1 – Breathe Efficiently

Be a Better Athlete With Yoga - Breathe

Be a Better Athlete With Yoga - Breathe

Yoga for athletes is critical and if you’re not practicing yoga as part of your training then you’re doing your body a disservice.

There are a number of major benefits that yoga can provide to athletes that their strength and conditioning cannot and I will be introducing them one at a time as a part of my new Yoga for Athletes series.

This first and most important part of a yoga practice is actually not learning handstand (contrary to what you might think if your primary knowledge of yoga comes from Instagram yogalebrities). It’s learning to breathe.

Learning to Breathe

I know how to breathe! You’re thinking to yourself. But, do you? Really?

When I tell athletes to take a big breath in, what often happens is they fill up and puff out their chest and suck in their gut.

It’s interesting. And by interesting, I mean unfortunate. Because that might make you look good (big chest, small waist) it’s totally inefficient. . .

. . . and it means you’re not using their diaphragm properly.

The diaphragm is that muscle between the gut organs and the chest organs. When used properly, the diaphragm drops on the inhale making space for the lungs so the belly– not the chest– will get bigger.

If the diaphragm is not being used then, in order to make space for the breath, other muscles in the upper body will have to compensate like the shoulders, upper back, and chest. Ya know, the muscles that you need for your sport.

So, that is to say, you’re wasting your muscle power on breathing when you could be using it to block, attack, shoot, and score.

Easy Exercise to Improve your Breathing

1. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4 and focus on your breath coming down into the belly and allow the belly get bigger.

2. Exhale through the nose for a count of 8. Start the exhale from the bottom of you belly and focus on squeezing the breath out from bottom to top like you’re squeezing a tube of toothpaste.

3. Repeat.

You can do this for as long as you want. You can do this whenever you want. You can stop and forget about it and then start again.

Benefits of this exercise:

By breathing into your belly, you are activating your diaphragm and preventing your superficial muscles from compensating to make space for your breath.

By making your exhales longer than your inhales you are activating your parasympathetic nervous system, ie. your nervous system is making your body relaxed.

13 Sep

Links for a Sunday Morning

Rule your mind

Rule your mind

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Choose Work Over Your Workout – Huffington Post

Deciding not to skip your workout can improve your cognitive function and change your perspective. Taking a walk around the building, running the stairs or joining a group fitness class might be just what you need to spark your creativity, come up with a new solution or find the energy complete those projects.

Rupert Murdoch just bought National Geographic. Here’s the problem everybody should be talking about. – Salon

A bastion of popular science is now controlled by a very prominent climate change denier who, despite his company’s assurances of editorial integrity, has spent decades interfering with the independence of his properties. A tabloid king could now apply the values of the New York Post to one of the world’s oldest magazines.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize Presents Its 2015 Longlist

The twelve titles were chosen from a field of 168 books – a record number of books in the prize’s twenty-two year history – submitted by 63 publishers, from every region of the country.

The Impact Bias: How to Be Happy When Everything Goes Wrong – James Clear

What researchers find is that when people actually suffer a traumatic event like living through an earthquake or becoming a paraplegic their happiness levels are nearly identical six months after the event as they were the day before the event.
How can this be?

10,000 Yogis Wear White For Heavily-Sponsored Yoga Event In Central Park – Yoga Dork

On September 2nd, 10,000 yogis dressed in their uniform white, marched to Central Park’s Great Lawn, took their designated spots on their regimented yellow mats, sipped their sponsored Fiji water, and saluted the sun for the cameras.

FACT CHECK: WILL STRENGTHENING YOUR TIGHT HAMSTRINGS MAKE THEM TIGHTER? – Jenni Rawlings

One important note is that while strengthening doesn’t stiffen our muscles, it will stiffen up our connective tissue (which is distinct from, although interwoven with, our muscle tissue) – but this is actually a desirable outcome. . . we want our connective tissue to be stiff so that it can be strong, resilient, and less vulnerable to injury.

Windsor man with cancer having party to say goodbye while he still can – The Windsor Star

“The idea is to live now. Now is the only thing we own. Now is the only thing we have control over.”

05 Sep

Links for a Sunday Morning

Shake the World

Shake the World

Is Chipotle evil? This ad campaign says absolutely – Washington Post

“There’s nothing false at all about our advertising or marketing, but there are legitimate ways to challenge these sorts of things. Launching a smear campaign isn’t one of them. It’s actually just pretty infantile.”

The Travel Jacket That Raised More Than $9 Million on Kickstarter. – CN Traveller

Clothing brand BauBax launched a Kickstarter campaign on July 7 for what can only be described as the Swiss Army knife of jackets, with 15 built-in features for travelers, and people have been quick to show their support.

Charm and Make Friends Fast with These Questions – Wall Street Journal

A protocol called “Fast Friends” helps strangers establish “interpersonal closeness” in 45 minutes. The key? Both subjects need to gradually disclose personal information.

Why Every Church Needs a Drag Queen – The Atlantic

It’s an unusual mix: a stated commitment to socially progressive values, and a stated commitment to tradition. But perhaps this misconception—that progressive values and traditional worship can’t mix—is one reason why some Americans have felt like they don’t have a place at church.

Taylor Swift Is Dreaming Of A Very White Africa – NPR

Colonialism was neither romantic nor beautiful. It was exploitative and brutal. The legacy of colonialism still lives quite loudly to this day. Scholars have argued that poor economic performance, weak property rights and tribal tensions across the continent can be traced to colonial strategies. So can other woes. In a place full of devastation and lawlessness, diseases spread like wildfire, conflict breaks out and dictators grab power.

10 Reasons I Take Off My Shirt In Yoga Class – MindBodyGreen

Whenever I take my shirt off, I notice that a lot of the women who might normally declare, “I’d never take my shirt off in yoga,” begin to feel more comfortable in their own body.

Why Rush-Hour Traffic Isn’t the Best Way to Rank Urban Mobility – CityLab

By reducing urban mobility to rush-hour commuting, you’re missing the 20-some hour window of the day where metro areas have an underused (if not ghostly) roadway system as well as an underfunded city transit system—whose poor performance ironically leads more people to rely on cars.

The Racial Dot Map shows the world just how segregated metro Detroit is – Metro Times

Roving from big city to big city, you begin to see how some cities are more integrated than others. Some have distinct parts of town where racial groups tend to live, while other areas are blurs of multicolored dots.

And then there’s Detroit.

Why is everyone becoming a yoga teacher now? – Wall Street Journal

Studio owners say teacher training has become a kind of advanced course for people seeking a deeper yoga education after years of taking regular classes.

22 Aug

Links for a Sunday Morning

Be Real

Be Real

Tinder and the Dawn of the “Dating Apocalypse” – Vanity Fair

When there is a surplus of women, or a perceived surplus of women, the whole mating system tends to shift towards short-term dating. Marriages become unstable. Divorces increase. Men don’t have to commit, so they pursue a short-term mating strategy. Men are making that shift, and women are forced to go along with it in order to mate at all.

Versailles May Finally Get Its Own Hotel - CN Traveller

The majority of visitors who come to Versailles often do so as a daytrip from Paris due to a lack of hotels in the area. No longer: the palace’s management is seeking an outside partner who will transform three buildings on the property into accommodations.

Why You Should Treat Your Career Like a Bad Boyfriend – Chelsea Krost Blog

Your career is that fixer-upper boyfriend who never seems to get fixed, the one that lets you give and give without ever giving anything back in return. You’ll never get out of it what you put into it. Your career will never make the effort worth your while.

Why Do Some Runs Feel So Freaking Hard? – Greatist

Research shows it occurs when your body is depleted of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, resulting in an abrupt feeling of fatigue and a loss of energy. The two biggest physical culprits? Overtraining and low blood sugar

Carbs are fine – The Atlantic

Researchers brought 19 obese volunteers into a lab and kept them there for two weeks. They fed half of them a low-carb diet and another half a low-fat one. Both groups cut their calories by 30 percent. The results, published in Cell Metabolism, showed that the two diets worked equally well: Everyone lost about a pound of body fat.

Why gratitude could be good for your health – Maclean’s

Humans are hardwired to see the negative in life. But growing research shows that feeling grateful can boost health, school grades, and even brain function.

The Beginner’s Guide to Every Type of Yoga Out There – Daily Beast

Yoga isn’t necessarily a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice, either. Different types of yoga might be best for different people. A 20-year-old and a 70-year-old probably don’t need the same things. Someone who is hyper-mobile and flexible doesn’t need the same thing as someone who’s muscular and stiff.

19 Aug

Strong, Sexy Arms with Chaturanga (video)

Tips for a safe chaturanga: Get strong and sexy arms while keeping your shoulders safe.

In Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga practices one thing we do over and over again is the chaturanga dandasana pose, or low pushup.

This pose in an amazing strengthener for the shoulders, triceps, chest and core, but poor form can cause be damaging to the shoulders (hello, rotator cuff injuries!)

The three steps you want to use in your chaturanga pose are

1. Pull the heads of the shoulder back.
2. Hug the elbows in to engage the triceps.
3. Press the floor away with the palms spread the shoulder blades.

Check out the video below for to details as to why these steps are important to getting strong safely.