A Close Look at the Immune System

  The immune system is a complex network of armoury that work together to protect our body by identifying, attacking and destroying foreign bacteria, fungus, moulds, microbes, parasites toxins and viruses. If you went to bed tonight and your immune system shut down you’d wake up mouldy and decaying, clearly the immune system is doing something to keep those creatures, moulds and viruses out or crush them if they find a way to get in. The first line of defence protects you

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The Benefits of a Deeper Breath

  We all know we need to breathe. We all know what happens if we don’t. The respiratory system consists of our airways (the nose, mouth, voice box, windpipe and bronchial tubes) and the lungs, muscles and blood vessels connected to them. All the components of this system work together to enable our bodies to breathe. Breathing is a smooth gliding two part motion. Firstly oxygen rich air is inhaled, so that fresh oxygen can be supplied to all parts of the body, and then secondly,

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Gardening with Stu – Nasturtium 

  This month I’m writing about a wonderful multipurpose herb that pretty much has something for everybody. Originating in Peru and finding favour in many a suburban flower garden, you may remember biting off and sucking the little drop of nectar from the flower spur that grew in your grandmothers’ garden when you were a kid. Tropaeolum majus or the Garden Nasturtium is a rampant weed in parts of my garden. It comes up when the weather is cooler and usually claims more space than

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The Pancreas

The pancreas is about 18-25 cm long and is located behind the stomach sitting close to the small intestine. Said to be about the size and shape of a flattened banana it is connected to the small intestine via a tube called the pancreatic duct. The pancreas has a dual role. Ninety percent of it is devoted to its function as a digestive aid and the other ten percent maintains blood sugar and salt levels in the body. As

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A Spiritual Overview for Martial Arts

  “Shaolin Kung Fu” is quite a common term in today’s martial arts circles. Unfortunately however, it is nearly always taken to be solely a fighting system and little importance is placed on the spiritual aspect. This may be because so little knowledge has been available on the subject. Many movies have been made and books written on the Shaolin School yet very little, if any, mention is made of the spiritual values inherent in the system. Why is this? Because so few

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Mother Earth

  The Greek word Gaia and the Sanskrit word Gau both refer to the earth and to the cow. This pairing of cow and earth in linguistics or folk culture is found in other places too, including Persia, Scandinavia and Japan. These are not such trivial conjunctions. Consider the qualities of a cow, and those of the earth: Both are like mothers, giving sustenance. We milk the earth as we milk the cow. The farmer

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Keeping Life Simple

  Opportunities to help us grow in life are everywhere and the yogic precept of svadhyaya or self enquiry helps us find them. Through our practice of yoga and meditation, we can develop an affinity for reflection and contemplation. To use a current example, while the worldwide financial crisis has been difficult for most of us, how many of us recognise the opportunity we have to simplify our lives? If your life is overrun with mortgages, repayments, X boxes, playstations and more fancy

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The Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland is a shaped like a bean and lies at the base of the skull behind the nose. This small gland relays messages from the hypothalamus to all the endocrine glands of the body therefore it is often called by medical science the master gland of the body. Messages from the hypothalamus coordinate the nervous system with the glandular system, thus it may be said that the pituitary hormones

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Core Support

Core support is a term much used these days especially in the world of Pilates and Yoga. Basically it is the activation of certain muscles that stabilize our joints and hold our bodies upright and prevent injury. These stabilizer muscles lie close to the skeleton and their only job is to stabilize as opposed to other muscles which are associated with movement. There are stabilizer muscles around every

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Yoga and the Skeletal System

Our skeletal system is a series of long and short bones connected to each other by joints. Our body depends on this skeletal framework for shape and movement, without it we would be like a jelly fish – soft and shapeless. The 206 bones which make up the human skeleton also have many other functions. They protect the softer parts of the body like the heart, brain and lungs. Blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and the bones store many minerals like calcium and phosphorous. Although

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Yoga and Muscles

There are more than 640 muscles in our body and these make up more than half of our total weight. We can categorise our muscles as either voluntary or involuntary. As the name suggests we have very little power over the involuntary muscles, therefore it is the voluntary muscles which a yoga practice mostly addresses. The voluntary muscles are called skeletal muscles because without them the skeleton would neither be able to move or stand upright. These muscles effect movement and posture. Postural

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Yoga and Women’s Health – Menstrual Cramps

Cramps come in so many shapes and sizes and for some fortunate women, not at all. They can be sharp or dull, they can be experienced in the lower back or the lower abdomen. Some women may get migraines, nausea, extreme tiredness or bloating. Generally the symptoms last only a day or two and are experienced at the beginning of the period. For some women the symptoms are so severe that they can hardly function

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Yoga and Women’s Health – PMS (Pre Menstrual Syndrome)

What undeniable evidence of how our body influences our moods PMS is! During this time of the month if someone so much as looks at us the wrong way or says something not quite right we may feel hurt, angry or depressed whereas at any other time we wouldn’t even bat an eyelid at it. PMS may also bring about feelings of bloatedness, sugar cravings, moodiness and even acne outbreaks. Most physicians agree that PMS is the result of an imbalance of hormones along with a sluggish

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Yoga and the Immune System

Your immune system protects you in three different ways: as a first line of defence it creates a barrier that prevents bacteria and viruses from entering your body. However if a bacteria or virus does get into the body, the immune system tries to detect and eliminate it before it can make itself at home and reproduce. If the virus or bacteria is able to reproduce and start causing problems,

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Yoga and the Respiratory System

Respiration is a two way process. It is the system of supplying oxygen to every cell in the body and then transporting carbon dioxide, the waste product of respiration out of the body. The lungs have the all important function of drawing in the oxygen, moving it into the blood stream, extracting the carbon dioxide from the blood stream and removing it from the body. Interesting facts:Healthy lungs take in about ½ litre of air about 12-15 times each minute. All

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Posture

How often do those around you complain of a sore back? Look at the way they stand or sit. The pain is more than likely the result of poor posture. Good posture is when all the joints in the body line up, stacked appropriately one on top of the other and there is equal distribution of muscle strength. In this ideal condition the joints all join forces to bear the weight of the body evenly so there is the least amount of wear and tear as we carry out our daily lives. Common

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Yoga Cellular Cleansing

It’s amazing how refreshed you feel after you’ve been regularly practicing yoga asanas and deep breathing for some time. This is because of the squeezing and stretching, twisting and flushing processes which rejuvenate deep down into all the cells. I always liken it to the wringing out of a dirty dish sponge followed by saturating it with clean fresh water. Through the different yoga asanas the cells

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Yoga and the Circulatory System

Yoga is such a wonderful form of exercise. Not only does it feel good but it can also produce amazing health benefits for all of the bodily systems. The circulatory system is comprised of the heart (the pumping station) and blood vessels (the conduits). As the heart contracts it sends blood to the lungs where oxygen is picked up. This oxygen enriched blood then travels back to the heart

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