Get a better night sleep with barely any effort (or money).
It was easily the most bizarre thing I’ve ever done in the name of natural mental health remedies. But I’d do it all over again.
Yoga does a lot more than make you look bikini ready in time for summer; it also comes with a myriad of health benefits. From improved flexibility to perfecting your posture, you can’t look past yoga as an all over health treatment.
Who would have thought that striking a pose could improve your overall health and wellbeing? Well, the verdicts in and the surprising benefits of yoga are pretty fantastic.
Improved flexibility is one of the more obvious benefits of yoga and will make touching your toes that much easier. After a few yoga sessions you will feel a noticeable difference with your muscles and joints loosening and your posture improving.
Builds muscle strength
Strong muscles can protect you against back pain and arthritis and increases your strength without sacrificing flexibility. Whereas, traditional weight training to improve muscle strength often inhibits your flexibility, not to mention the lean muscle gained through yoga will make you look great in a bikini.
Perfects your posture
Poor posture can cause back pain, soreness in your neck and a myriad of other muscle and joint problems. Poor posture, or slumping can cause pain and degenerative arthritis in the spine that will be a real pain in the long-term. Strengthening your body by practicing yoga will promote good posture by developing a strong core and the flexibility you need to support the weight of your neck and head over long periods of time.
Improves your bone health
Strengthening exercises such as yoga have been scientifically proven to decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis and can improve your overall bone health. This is because practicing yoga increases bone density in the vertebrae and lowers the amount of cortisol in the body. Too much cortisol prevents your bones from absorbing the calcium consumed through your diet, practicing yoga alters these damaging effects and ensures your bones are absorbing calcium the way they should.
Finally, one of our favourite reasons yoga is a completely worthwhile form of exercise, is the fact that it helps you relax. Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter is calming and restorative, helping you to breathe slower and decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. This in turn creates what is often referred to as the ‘relaxation effect’ – the result being a calmer, more relaxed, happier you.
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Our noses are closer to our brain than we realize, and aromatherapy is dedicated specifically to affecting our minds and moods through the sense of smell. While some people prefer incense or oils, I enjoy the atmospheric touch of a scented candle. Also a great gift idea, candles can spruce up a room by appealing to both our eyes and noses. Whether used to accompany a relaxing bath or kickstart your morning, a scented candle can heighten or lower your mood.
To help you avoid sniffing a sleepy scent when you’re trying to enjoy a romantic night in with your partner, we’ve compiled a little cheat sheet to help you pick the best scent for your evening.
My personal favorite is vanilla, and not only because it smells like dessert! Vanilla, cinnamon and clove are considered aphrodisiacs, and can really turn up the heat in a romantic situation.
Relaxation and sleep
Aromatherapy most commonly used to induce calm and relieve anxiety and stress. For this reason, lavender is the God of all aromatherapy scents. Other notables include chamomile and patchouli.
Ever wondered why the word “zest” refers to enthusiasm and high energy? For that little, extra kick, the citrus scents will be your best friend. Orange-scented candles are the most fruitful mood-lifters.
If you need a bit of extra help focusing on that assignment, chore or work brief? Peppermint, basil and rosemary scents clear the mind, allowing you to focus your attention on the task at hand.
Aromatherapy can also be used to treat symptoms of cold and flu. Ginger is said to be the go-to scent to ease headaches, but you can’t go past eucalyptus for nasal decongestion.
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We’re living in a world where we are glued to technology and we easily work more than eight hours a day so it’s no wonder that more people are seeking out sanctuaries where they can switch off for a while, relax and invigorate their mind, body and soul. So if you’re in need of some pampering and relaxation, here are five of the best spas in Australia.
Gwinganna Spa Sanctuary – Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Gold Coast Hinterland, Queensland
The Gwinganna Spa Sanctuary is an exclusive 33-room facility at the Gwinganna Lifestyle retreat, nestled in the Gold Coast hinterland. The spa sanctuary is completely surrounded by nature and includes an amethyst crystal steam room, couples rooms and outdoor decks with magnificent views of natural wildlife, flora and fauna. They offer stress management sessions, wellness consultations, spa therapies and the spa sanctuary is also completely self-sufficient in water consumption. It’s no wonder this place received rave reviews from Hugh Jackman.
Gaia Day Spa – Gaia Retreat, Byron Bay, Queensland
The award winning Gaia Day Spa is part of the Gaia Retreat, founded by Olivia Newton-John and set on 25 acres in the Byron Bay Hinterland. With some of the finest healers and therapists in Australia, this day spa is not to be missed. They use freshly blended products from local suppliers and their own organic garden and offer a range of specialised treatments including a package specially designed for men. You don’t have to stay at the retreat to enjoy the spa – day guests are also welcome and have access to the pool, spa and sauna.
Waldheim Alpine Spa – Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain, Tasmania
In the wilderness of Cradle Mountain, Tasmania you’ll find the Waldheim Alpine Spa, part of the Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. Set amongst tall pine trees and fresh mountain streams the spa offers a huge range of treatments that cater for everyone including couples and pregnant women. The Sanctuary is a therapeutic area of the spa that has a steam room, plunge pool, sauna and a hot tub and can be hired out for private use.
Healing Waters Spa – Silky Oaks Lodge, Mossman, Queensland
Healing Waters Spa is part of the Silky Oaks Lodge and is situated in the Daintree Forest – the oldest living rainforest on earth. Surrounded by tranquil gardens and lush greenery this spa uses clay from the earth and plant extracts for therapy treatments as well as the all-natural, chemical free skincare range Sodashi. They offer a wide range of treatments including chakra balancing with crystals, harmonic sound healing and Reiki. Indulge in a romantic spa ritual with your partner and soak in a mud bath as you gaze out to the rainforest.
Hepburn Bathhouse and Day Spa – Daylesford, Victoria
Nestled in the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve and just a short distance to picturesque Daylesford is the Hepburn Bathhouse and Day Spa. As well as having various communal hydrotherapies including a steam room and salt therapy pool, they also have a more intimate experience on offer in the day spa where there are private healing mineral baths and a huge range of relaxing and invigorating treatments to choose from. Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa has just been named Best Luxury Mineral Spring Spa in Australia and Oceania for 2014.
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