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Sleep like a baby – 5 tips

Sleep like a baby – 5 tips

Funny-Baby-Sleep-Pictures-HD-Wallpaper.jpgSpring is here, time changed (in France), weather changed, everything comes to open again.

In between it requires your body a lot of adaptation and sometimes « season changes’ time » can be disturbing for internal functions. At this time of the year or in general you may experience some trouble in your sleep.

Researches shown that most of half of the people in modern cities are deprived from good sleep and don’t sleep enough. Shanghai is not the best city regarding sleep, and we all know how it can be struggling having your 8 hours sleep while lifestyle can be extremely busy, stressful and dense.

Here are 5 easy tips to improve your quality sleep (tested on my self)

All these advices are adaptable for mummies or especially mom to be who can experience big trouble to sleep last few weeks before delivery

1-Time sleep routine:

Very often, sleep is the first thing busy people compromise, so simply making time to sleep will help protect our health and well-being. To achieve this, you can create and commit to a schedule. 

For exemple 11 or 11.30 (the latest) Researches shown that before 10 pm is the best, but it’s not doable every day I admit. But Once per week: try to make a full recovery night: sleep time at 10/ 10.30 pm

2- Use Melatonin.

Some will not agree, but I did back and forth to France in five days, and had no jet lag feeling or sleep issues thanks to melatonin. I Will not recommend to use on a long term period, but for short terms sleep issues and some nights where you know (mind overthinking) you will not sleep well: go for it. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep and is primarily made in the pineal gland in the center of the brain;

It’s 100% natural, and safe under 3mg for pregnant women.

(ask sproutslifestyle to purchase some)

3- Calm the mind

Use breathing (calm baby breathing) and meditation to ease your mind before sleeping; It’s often the time where we start to think, and think, and over think and then leads to insomnia; Instead: use deep breathing method (see deep breathing pattern with Pilates or Yoga). I found out some applications are really useful with guided mediations.

For French speakers: petit bamboo offers some nice range of free meditations, and guided ones. Body scan meditations are the best to easily fall asleep.

English speakers: Calm App is good option too.

4- Avoid upsetting talks at night

One of my wise and very close friend gave me precious advice : Do not start upsetting conversations after 6 pm. It will create stress, it starts messing up with your brain, thoughts and emotions and will ruin your night.

So no ‘financial conversations’ with your siblings over the phone, no deep controversial subjects, no arguing or even possible fights” matters with your husband, boyfriend, etcera. Leave it for the morning.  Hardest to apply, but honestly one of the most effective advice too (so simple right?)

5- Get tired

Finally most obvious one but not so easy: get yourself tired. Do exercises, move, feel tired from good fatigue at night.

Physical exercises are the best way to spend a good night sleep; from walking (for our pregnant ladies) to running, exercises with Pilates or even enjoy good sex with lover indoor bedroom: they all work, they will make your tired!

The secret is exercise will increase pleasure hormone the endorphin and dopamine, it decreases the cortisol: it helps you relax and unwind physically and mentally.

Remember lack of sleep is responsible for poor health: depressive mood, lack of interests, chronic fatigue and affects most of your abilities during day time. So get get this good night sleep you deserve now!

 

ARTICLES · BLOG · TIPS

8 foods To enter Fall with energy

Fall is around the corner, Shanghai has done its back to school and with it it’s craziness of: work, social reunions, parties, birthdays and activities. We love it, but it’s gonna require you to have a good level of energy.

Now you may know from TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) and others holistic sciences that food can heal and prevent a lot of things, especially when it comes to energies and the way you feel.

Today let’s have a look at 8 easy recipes and ingredients to get you all pumped up.

  1. Lemon Water

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Start your day with this beverage, it’s the best way to clean you inside out. Lemons are loaded with healthy benefits, and particularly, they’re a great vitamin C food source which is partly responsible for energy level.

  1. 2. Bananas

    bananas

If you feel tired you might lack of magnesium, and in any case it’s always good to do a cure when fall comes. So let’s you full of this mineral.

Bananas take 1 every two days is enough to get the trick. Bananas are rich in potassium, packed with vitamins, and high in flavor. They are nutritious snack at around 100 calories per serving. They’re best consumed mid-morning 10 am, when you feel the fatigue, or before a workout. With all the fiber, bananas will help you feel full and keep cravings at bay last until the next meal.

  1. 3. Nuts

Grab a hand of those every day.

Chock full of heart-healthy fats and other nutrients, those nuts you like to munch on are a superfood that’s super good for you. Which nuts?

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Two of my favorites are:

  • Walnuts: provide a significant amount of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid, a compound that helps reduce plaque buildup in arteries and fights heart disease. Studies have also linked walnuts with stronger bones.
  • Almonds: Almonds are high in calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, protein and vitamin E. They contain more vitamin E than any other nut—just one ounce of almonds holds half your daily vitamin E needs. To top off their health benefits, almonds are also high in antioxidants. These superfood nuts will fill you up fast.

I love to get those two during my day, just before giving a class. You can grab a hand while leaving home for work that’s also a healthy option.

  1. 4. Ginger

My favorite!

Ginger has so many benefits that’s unbelievable how much you can get from this root.

As we talk of energy today let’s look how It goes for ginger: two things.

  • Circulation: it is increasing the circulatory system, allowing the blood inside you to move more freely throughout the body. The sensation this provides is one where you feel the get up and go that you once did in your younger years. It helps you feel like you can be more active.
  • Sugar: Ginger can help keep blood glucose levels in check. This is important because these levels have a direct impact on weight loss and weight gain, as well as how energetic or lethargic you feel throughout the day. If you’ve noticed that you get a midday crash it’s likely due to your blood sugar levels, and adding ginger to your lunch might help you stay focused and on task. An all-natural alternative to products like 5 Hour “Energy”.

I like to pour it into water (ginger water)  or eat it raw sliced on my meals; I also like the Japanese option pickled ones. Just right after your meals.

  1. 5. Spinach

    26CE0F0C00000578-3000711-Spinach_is_extremely_high_in_iron_potassium_and_magnesium_which_-a-17_1426780670198

Spinach is extremely high in iron, magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium plays a vital role in producing energy, and paired with potassium enables effective digestion in the stomach and the regulation of nerve and muscle function.Add some fresh spinach to your favourite salad, or serve it wilted with some eggs for breakfast.

If you think you have enough spinach, think again Just keep adding it!

  1. 6. Spirulina

Talking about Iron, this superfood is my “chouchou” (little favorite in French). So as a non-meat eater I might need to double dose my Iron to get the good amount per day that I need. As a woman you also need more to get the same amount of energy than men.

The first sign of iron deficiency is fatigue, and spirulina contains high levels of iron. The iron-rich content of spirulina is not just for those with a deficiency. Spirulina can help to increase athletic performance; as adequate iron intake maximizes the use of oxygen throughout the human body.

Get a spoon of spirulina everyday into your yoghurts, meals, soups, or if you can’t stand the taste: get a pill version (only organic). Mix it with some Vitamin C to get the full nutriments of it, and absorb Iron.

  1. 7.CHIASEEDS

    chia-seeds-in-a-bowl

Talking about super food these ones are little but so efficient. Chia seeds help with hydration by absorbing 10 times their weight in water. Plus, they have the right ratio of protein, fats, and fiber to give you an energy boost without a crash. BY boosting digestive system, they will get you go to toilets faster and eliminate better, by it: get rid of low energy due to slow digestion.

  1. 8. Tea

    green-tea-weight-loss

By now, it’s no secret that green tea has a slew of health benefits. You can add putting some pep back in your step to the long list. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine give you energy without the jitters. Bonus: Research suggests that green tea boosts brainpower as well, which may come in handy when you’re down to the wire at work.  Take the time to brew the tea yourself because store-bought varieties often have lots of added sugar.

Tips for summer / Fall: I like to do it cold version. For your homemade cold tea: brew your tea in hot water as usual, let it cool down, then put it into the fridge for one night. The next day you have this delicious version of green iced tea.

For a detox version add lemon and ginger ! It’s delicious! I also like caffeine free version with Rooibos and infusions !

 

 

 

ARTICLES · TIPS

5 ways Pilates can improve your sex life

sex life images

Dear Students I often point out Pilates for rehabilitation or alignment but there are much more fun reasons to add Pilates to your repertoire.

Researches have shown that not only Pilates exercises make sex better, but many of Pilates benefits have more than basic benefits in the bedroom.
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1-Use your pelvic floor

The most obvious reason, Pilates makes you have a better sex, and I always emphasize this point elsewhere, it uses your pelvic floor;

Nowadays everybody talks about pelvic floor, but very few (even among professionals and fitness) know what it is and how to use properly.

Pilates is actually one of the only discipline that really makes pelvic floor muscles grow and tone up, and first develop consciousness about them. We work closely the pelvic floor as part of the core foundation.

But what really are pelvic floor muscles?

Before everything let’s recap what are pelvic floor muscles: Pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis. The pelvic organs are the bladder and bowel in men, and bladder, bowel and uterus in women.

Because yes we talk about both genders when it comes to « pelvic flor », men are often surprised to learn that they even have one!

Researches, and the acclaimed Dr Kegel, recognized the importance of training the pelvic floor and its role to improve sexual function and satisfaction. A healthy, toned up, strong pelvic floor, Is the key to good sex life for women and men!

WHAT TO DO? Work your shoulder bridge on the Mat. Curl up and down between each repetition.

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Then bring that move to the mattress. With consistency, your performance and intensity should help everyone cross the finish line

2- Stress reduction

As being a mind-body focus technique, Pilates will help you reduces stress and calm your mind.

The effects of stress are insidious. It takes a toll on your physical, emotional and relationship health, probably more than you realize. It impacts your overall health and by it your sexual life. Stress raises the production of a hormone called cortisol, and high level of cortisol in your body actually lower your sex hormones.

Lower degree of sex hormones equal lower libido.

Pilates with its regular practice, helps you control and manage stress, and prevent cortisol level from rising too high and too often.

It also, by calming the mind rises testosterone. When it comes to sexual desire, the most influential hormone is testosterone: the hormone responsible for sexual appetite, performances and pleasure.

Pilates class gives you stress reduction comparable to “holidays”, and who never noticed that on holidays your sexual life is way much more active

Playful smiles.jpg

3- Work on your breathing

A correct breathing is actually a pattern that very few master and that is essential in every daily life aspect.

When you have sex: you need all the oxygen-rich blood you can get coursing through your body, refreshing your cells, enhancing your endurance, and waking up all of your senses. Unfortunately, for many people their version of heavy breathing is shallow panting, not optimal for full on sex or exercises.

In Pilates we learn to lengthen and pace our breathing timing the exhales with the point of exertion. Translate this into love-making when you’re up for something more than a quickie and you and your partner can draw out a sex session that takes up a full afternoon or more.

What to do? Practice your hundreds (see picture below) then practice small pumps inhale for five, exhale for five.

hundreds version

4– Concentration

One of the sad facts about exercise is that most people try not to be there for it. They work their bodies but send their minds elsewhere. Pilates is one of this technique that makes you help concentrate and by it: be totally at what you do. Stay present

If you rehearse mentally checking out during physical activity, you may well fall into that pattern during sex. Distraction is an enemy to sexual satisfaction.

So working on your focus is imperative. Joseph Pilates intention was to integrate the body and mind toward an elevation of the spirit and full enjoyment of the pleasures of life.

WHAT TO DO? Begin at the beginning. Work on the first 5 moves of Pilates mat work (The hundreds, leg circles, rolling like a ball, one leg stretch, double leg stretch) with maximum concentration.

Do not let your mind wander outside your body. Note your sensations, challenges and breathing.

The next time you’re feeling frisky, bring your new found focus with you in bed and add this perk to your lover panoply.

This may be the most challenging for some but has the most impact.

 5- Improve variety, better balance

Pilates moves happen on your back, on your stomach, in sitting, kneeling and standing. Many moves challenge your stability and balance. Sex play can be a bit scary for some as we often get into habits routines that involve repeating the same position. As we get older, trying new things is harder mentally and physically.

Improving your balance can help inspire everyone to test drive a new method and simultaneously keep us safe.

WHAT TO DO ? Incorporate some balance Pilates moves into your routine. Most can be done anywhere and anytime. Try teaser.

pilates-abs-08

Pilates is all about balancing your body. A balance of strength, mobility and even your body chemistry.

Be aware whatever exercise you choose that adopting a Pilates sensibility to right-size your workout is the very best strategy for a happy healthy body both inside and outside of the bedroom.

Now: what are you waiting for?

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TIPS

BREATH

 

THE BREATHING 

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It has been A Subject Often Under-estimated, neglected and deserted by students as well as numerous teacher : The Breathing. The importance of breathing and its consequences on the ability to execute a difficult move ment with better ease is not to prove anymore – although a lot of students and professional still don’t know how to properly breathe accordingly to each movement. 

Which breathing ? 

In Pratique : We have two different type of breathing in Pilates. 

  • Lateral Breathing 
  • Diaphragmatic breathing

1. Lateral Breathing Method 

Pilates Pratique requires a speicific breathing : one of them is called : « LATERAL BREATHING »

What is it ? 

Breathing for Pilates : we breathe deeply, all the way down the spine and into the pelvic bowl, but emphasize expanding the breath into the back and sides of the ribcage.

Why Special Breathing ?  

Breathing is one of the 6 Principles of Pilates Foundation Movements. To Help Doing it : In Pilates We often coordinate the movement with inhale and exhale – at the beginning of the class some exercises to memorize and get the body used to the breathing routine- during the difficult exercises : to initiate and support movement.

lateralbreath

Practice At Home 

Take A Flexible Belt – squeeze string – stretch band – and put it around your rib cage (if you don’t have anything just wrap your hands around your rib cage) See picture below lateral-thoracic-breathing1 Hold the band closed in front of your chest.

1. Inhale : Let the breath travel down your spine and expand to your back and sides of your back- so you can feel that the band – string- hands (whatever you’ve put on your rib cage) is stretched and gently move with your breathing.

2. Exhale : Take A big Exhale by the mouse and try to empty from air as much as you can. Feel your chest becomingsmaller and smaller and ribs – back side gently reduce their size. You had your first Breathing Routine – Practice and Get Used to It !

2. Diaphragmatic Breathing Method

For this one : Start to Learn how to engage your diaphragm 

1. Lay down on your back with Knees Bended or Sit properly with all your weight gently relaxing on your sit bones, spine is straight, stretch your back and relax head and throat.

2. INHALE Breathe in slowly through your nose. Let the air flow into your upper chest and down your spine — expanding the sides and lower ribs, filling the diaphragm, back and lower back, and dropping all the way down into the pelvis. Allow the deep inhale to push your belly out a little bit.

3. EXHALE Let Go the Air – and reverse the order of your breath. Drop your lower abs, then your belly. Let your ribs pull in and last, let your chest drop as in the same time you totally expel the air.

4. REPETITION is The Key – The more you do it- The More you gonna get used it and your body will create a memory for this feeling. Repeat- repeat- repeat- at least 10 times each Time You want practice.

More Advices ? 

 Try Not to Up your shoulder while your doing your inhale movement – your shoulders have to remain nice and relaxed down- Same as Your inhale you want it to be balanced all the way around your body – chest does not move with the breathing but remain relaxed and ribs conserve their shape. 

Enjoy your breathing ! 

 

ARTICLES · TIPS

7 WAYS TO GET FLAT ABS FROM HOME

FLAT TUMMY-STRONG ABS

A dream image for most People as well as an issue. As a fact maintaining a flat tummy might be a difficult thing to do. Pregnancies, lifestyle, bad food habits,  big days of work, made life hard on your tummy.  We face now a lot of people unsatisfied with their « flabby belly » . 

Most women coming in My classes complain about their belly’s appearance and  how much they would like to tone it up. images

You will tell me, most of women are unhappy with their looks in general : « my arms are too flask”, “my belly is too soft”, “my legs are too big ».

Ok Girls are NEVER satisfied with what they’ve got in matter of looks. Loving your self, accept who you are, is a big key to feel good, happy  and have a great-healthy life. But it doesn’t mean that you have to do no exercise at all.

Doing some exercise, take care of your self, get a healthy lifestyle, practice sport, will help you getting in shape, feel better ease in your body and  gain in confidence and self-esteem. Change your habit, start working on your self. That is going to help you in many ways :

  • First achieve some workout will get you proudness  : good image of your self.
  • Second it will forces you to take a break from your crazy weekly schedule and will allow you to breathe and distance your problems.
  • The results !  You will see the actual changes on your body and THIS is the best reward you can imagine. It Will bring you motivation to keep going and highlight what you can achieve.

So Today  i’ve been thinking that could be useful and interesting for most people : guys and girls – because Yes – girls are not the only ones unhappy-  I also have a lot men who came to see me and asked for flatter tummy and solutions to get rid of their stomach.  So for New moms, hard-workrs, and those who just somehow neglect them selves :

Here are SEVEN simple and easy to do exercises that you can do from home and will really help you tone this belly up!

7 EXERCISES TO GET ABS FROM HOME

1. TOE DIP 

EASY VERSION 

A. Lie on your back with your legs up and bent at 90 degrees—(like your were sitting) legs straight up and calves parallel to the floor (table position). Rest your hands at your sides. Keep your abs contracted and press your lower back toward the floor, push your belly button into your spine. Keep your abs alert.

B. Inhale and lower your left leg for a count of two, moving only from your hip and dipping your toes toward the floor (only brush the floor and high up your legs immediately). Exhale and raise your leg back to the starting position for a count of two. Repeat with your right leg and continue alternating until you’ve done 30 times with each leg.

shrink_your_belly_1
A- Starting position B-Active position

HARDER VERSION : 

Same exercise but lower your two legs together as you press deeply your belly  into your spine- and lift up your legs together. Do not move your knee position, only your hip is doing the movement. Watch out your lower back- do not let it curve.

2. LEG CIRCLE 

Be Careful ! There is several version of this one – we can separate in two main ones : the easy one, and the difficult one. I’m going to give you both, and regarding your level you will choose to do one or the other, but very important thing is to secure your lower back so do not push and do not let it curve. 

EASY VERSION

A. Lie on your back with your legs extended along the floor. Raise your left leg to the top, with toes pointed and hands on each side of your body. Hold for 10 to 60 seconds. (If this position is uncomfortable, you can bend your  floor leg and put your feet flat on the floor)

B. Make a small circle with your up leg, rotating your leg from your hip. Inhale as you begin the circle and exhale as you finish. Try not to move with the rest of your body—no rocking—this will be achieved by tightening your abs. Do 10 circles inside , then reverse direction for 10 more. Change and repeat with your other leg.

A-STARTING POSITION  B-DOING THE EXERCISE
A-STARTING POSITION
B-DOING THE EXERCISE

HARDER VERSION

Same exercise but lift off the floor- 5to 10 cm up above the ground. This will increase a lot the difficulty and will make your abs work way much harder. Again CAREFUL : if you don’t have enough strength to do it that way, you must choose option 1. This version needs to be properly done and will need for you to press your belly button into your spine in order to get your whole back into the floor- no curve into your lower back.

3. CRISSCROSS

Start same position as in the toe dip (Number

EASY VERSION 

Lay down on your back – whole body into the floor –

A. Inhale take your left knee into your both hands and extend your right leg

B. Exhale extend your right leg above the floor in front of you and as down as you can- press your left leg on your chest while you are stretching your opposite leg. Do at least 10 times each leg.

HARDER VERSION 

A. Start as in the Toe Dip but with your hands behind your head, elbows out to the sides. Curl up to raise your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor.

B. As you inhale, rotate your torso to the right, bringing your right knee and left shoulder toward each other and extending your left leg toward the ceiling in a diagonal line from your hips. As you exhale, rotate to the left, bringing your left knee toward your right shoulder and extending your right leg. Do at least 10 times each leg.

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Harder version

4. THE HUNDRED 

EASY VERSION 

Lie flat with your legs bended 90°C degree : table position (as in picture A previous exercise) arms by your sides. Squeeze your buttocks and your abs. Lift your head and look to your belly button (do not contract your neck). Raise your arms stretched and lean over your thighs and start pumping your arms up and down. Five inhale pump up and down, five exhale pump up and down. You are suppose to do 100 -as the name said – but for my beginners i suggest three times 30 pumps up and down. 

HARDER VERSION 

Lie flat with your legs squeezed together and long, strong arms by your sides.Lift both legs a few inches off the mat squeeze your buttocks, and your abs. Lift your head and look to your belly button. Raise your arms over your thighs and pump your arms up and down with energy. Five inhale pump- five exhale pump.

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HARD VERSION OF THE HUNDRED

5. BOWL AND STRETCH

Hug both knees into your chest with your head lifted forward and your elbows wide. A. Inhale with control as you reach your legs forward and arms backward B.Exhale slowly as you deepen back into your hug position, using the pull of your knees into your belly and chest to expel more and more air from your lungs

EASY VERSION Keep your head and chest lay down into the floor

HARDER VERSION Lift chest and Head Do it 10 times (at least).

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A- Starting position B-Strech legs in front of you

6. TEASER 

Lay down into the Mat- whole back into the mat- arms over your head – legs stretched in front of you.

A.Inhale with control as you bring your arms forward, shoulder-width apart, and begin lifting your legs

B. When your arms are parallel to your thighs, begin rolling up toward your feet, articulating one vertebra at a time and not allowing your pelvis to tip forward. Exhale slowly as you descend, replacing each vertebra 1 inch behind where it was taken off

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A-Starting Position B-Processing exercise C-Final position

7. SWIMMING 

Lie on your stomach with your forehead down, the pubis anchored to the mat, and the inner thighs pressed tightly together. Your arms are stretched forward with the palms down, and your feet are pointed. Lift your arms, legs, chest, and head up Together and hold (can count 10 counts) Lifting higher and reaching longer with each progressive count. Do not let your legs touch down while doing the exercise.

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A-Starting Position B-Alternate right and left leg C-Lifting higher, reaching longer

To conclude – You can Now Relax and Stretch !

Take a deep breath and go for a comfortable baby pose : Go sit on your heels and stretch your arms in front of you. Stay in this pose as long as you need. 

As I leave you with all these exercises Method and examples- I insist to remind you that you should never push harder than your level allows you to. Always watch out your lower back position – do not hesitate to take 5mins break if efforts become too painful – Help your self during the exercise by adopting correct breathing – Finally take your time and be patient : Practice makes perfect- so you just have to keep going ! 

This article interested you ? You have some remarks ? Please do not hesitate and get in touch with me : i’ll be glad to share&exchange !