Nisha Srivastava – Pilates & Yoga teacher at The Yoga Lounge – shares her six principles for health & vitality.

You can take as many fancy supplements or spend as much money as you want on highly qualified specialists, but if you don’t get the ‘Foundational Principles’ at least close to being right, then you won’t feel as well as you would probably like. Ask yourself, do you want:

~ Better posture?
~ Better sleep?
~ Flatter abs?
~ Reduced lower back pain?
~ Improved height?
~ Reduced stress /anxiety?

Also ask yourself…

~ Do you suffer from neck ache and headaches?
~ Are you round shouldered?
~ Do you wake up groggy, tired and wishing you didn’t have to go to work?
~ Do you crave to lie in bed until 11 or 12pm?
~ During your working day, do you sit for seven to eight hours, staring at the computer screen or into space needing glugs of caffeine to stay awake, especially during mid morning or around 3.30pm?
~ Are you anxious or stressed?
~ and… When you’re too tired to go to the gym, do you come home, heat up a ready meal and watch TV, before going to bed at midnight?

If you answer ‘YES’ to some (or any of these questions), then improving your posture and alignment by balancing your body and mind will help. Here are a few things to consider:

The first thing that’s ‘turned on’ when you wake up is your thoughts. We have 80,000 thoughts a day: 80% of which are negative so how does this affect the body? We are emotional, mental spiritual beings so our thoughts become words, or words become deeds and our deeds become actions. POSITIVE OUTCOME GOALS: “A man is but a product of his thoughts” said Gandhi.

It has been estimated that 70% to 75% of visits to the doctor are caused by improper breathing patterns. Breathing affects the PH of the body and is the primary function of the diaphragm. In fact, we only need to stop for about three minutes before our brain starts to die! Look at yourself in a mirror to work out how you breathe. Do you breathe shallow into your chest or deeply into your abdomen? How many breaths per minute? Is your nose blocked? If you’re a chest breather, who has shallow breaths, then you’re stressed and breathing inefficiently. If your nose is blocked then you probably have a chronic infection or an allergy to foods or chemicals. The less efficient your breathing, the less healthy you will be.

The human body is 70% water and we have 70 billion water related actions per minute. Do you drink a couple of glasses of pure water (not tap-water) when you wake up or do you put the kettle on for a caffeine fix? Maybe, if you need coffee to wake up properly, your adrenal glands are worn out and aren’t producing enough hormones. Water helps to stimulate detoxification and digestion. Being dehydrated can lead to poor concentration, food cravings, fatigue, constipation and bad skin. So, slowly drink a couple of glasses when you wake up.

The next thing to think about is food. It’s simple: if it wasn’t here 10,000 years ago then don’t eat it; and if it has a shelf-life, also don’t eat it! Your body is designed to eat fresh food, which is full of enzymes to power your metabolism. It’s best to eat as much organic food as you can, and don’t skip breakfast. If you do, you’ll find that you’ll develop blood sugar problems and have energy slumps in the afternoon. Also, make sure you have a good source of protein with every meal and don’t eat past 8pm because your body is not meant to digest food at that time.

We often hear that good posture is essential for good health; well, it is. Poor posture is formed as a result of bad habits carried out over years and is evident in many adults. However, only very few people have a real grasp on the importance and necessity of good posture. If we are exercising (or sitting at our desk) with bad posture then this will perpetuate those bad habits and can lead to injury and pain.

Good posture helps us stand, walk, sit, and lie in positions that place the least strain on our supporting muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing activities. It also helps keep our bones and joints in the correct alignment so that our muscles are used correctly. This, in turn, decreases the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain. Other benefits include reducing the stress on the ligaments holding the spinal joints together; allowing muscles to work more efficiently thus enabling the body to use less energy and, therefore, preventing muscle fatigue; finally, it helps prevent muscle strain, overuse disorders, and even back and muscular pain.

About Nisha

Nisha Srivastava is a CHEK Corrective exercise plus Pilates and Yoga teacher based in Manchester city centre. She specialises in one to one and small group programming. She assesses every client individually rather than guessing. Nisha has taught everyone from pop singer Sting to professional footballers.

For a free consultation, please email:
Twitter: @pilatesmanc