Yoga Meditation Tips for Beginners

Yoga offers meditation and controlled breathing techniques that can be used effectively to manage the pain, relax your mind and body, and refocus your thoughts. Meditating for only a few minutes each day can help.


Here are some quick tips for meditation beginners:


— Take the time to stretch out first. Loosening muscles and tendons before beginning allows you to sit or lie down more comfortably.

— Make it a formal practice by setting aside a specific time and place to devote to your meditation.

— Focus on your breathing. Slowing your breathing helps your mind and body to relax and prepare for meditation.

— Meditate in the morning. It is usually quieter in the morning, and your mind has not yet had the chance to get cluttered. It will also help work out any kinks in your body from sleeping. And it’s always great to start your day with focus!

— Find a time and place to meditate where you will not be disturbed.

— Enlist the help of instructional videos or calming music if they help you relax more.

— Light a candle and use it as a focal point, instead of closing your eyes. Focusing on the light causes you to strengthen your attention.

— Be aware of your body and how it feels in both its normal and relaxed states, and embrace the differences.

— Experiment with different types of meditation and different positions. You won’t know which methods work best for you until you try them.

— Have a purpose behind your meditation, such as pain management or feeling more focused on a specific issue you must deal with.

— Push aside any feelings of doubt, frustration, and stress about whether or not you are doing it right. It is counterproductive to your meditation.

— Relax and relish in your mind’s incredible ability to focus and care for your body through meditation.

— Remember your meditation and breathing techniques throughout the day. A few well-placed cleansing breaths will do wonders for your mind and body.

Reprinted with permission from Gentle Yoga for Osteoporosis ISBN: 978-1-57826-397-4, $12.50 (paperback). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.

Serve up this Salmon Bruschetta Recipe!

Salmon Bruschetta



1 1/3 cups fresh basil

2/3 fresh parsley

2 tablespoons minced fresh lemon thyme

1/2 cup walnuts

2 garlic cloves (optional)

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 country bread loaf

24 smoked salmon slices, rolled (about 1 pound, 2 ounces)

Salt and pepper to taste



In a food processor, puree the basil, parsley, lemon thyme, walnuts, garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Gradually add the oil until you have smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper. If too thick, add a little more oil.

Preheat the broiler. With a serrated knife, cut the walnut bread into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Cut each slice in half. Place the slices on a baking sheet. Broil on both sides until golden brown. Cool before using.

Spread some paste over each bread slice. Add one salmon roll, sprinkle each with a little lemon juice, and serve immediately.


Reprinted with permission from Cooking Well: Thyroid Health. ISBN: 978-1-57826-393-6 $15.00 (paperback). From Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.
Swiss Ball Moves for a Strong Core and Killer Abs

Swiss Ball Moves for a Strong Core and Killer Abs by Jo Brielyn

If you have ever used a Swiss ball to perform crunches or other simple moves, you have no doubt noticed the difference in how your muscles are engaged. The Swiss ball is unstable so your core must work harder to maintain the positions. Performing exercises on the Swiss ball takes exercises to next level by challenging your balance, stability and overall coordination while you work the muscles. It also allows you to go deeper into some moves by widening the range of motion backward where you would normally have to stop because of the floor. The ab and core exercises below utilize the Swiss ball to help you use your own body weight as force to get better results from basic moves.The result? Stronger, sexy abs in less time!


Swiss Ball Ankle Taps

Lie on the Swiss ball in a basic crunch position — feet flat on the ground, knees bent, and your back conformed to the ball. Pull your abs in toward your spine and lift up, leaning your body slightly to the right as you bring your right hand to your outer right ankle and tap. Then lean to the left and tap your left hand to your left ankle. If you find that you cannot reach your ankle in this position, slide your legs back slightly toward the ball to create a shorter distance for your arms to reach. Return to the start position with your back against the ball again. That is one repetition. Do 15 reps.

To make this move more challenging: Extend your reach to the inside of each ankle for each tap to deepen the movement.


Swiss Ball V-Pass

Begin on your back with your arms stretched over your head and your legs straight in the air at 90º. With the Swiss ball gripped in your hands, lift your shoulders off the ground and bend forward to place the ball between your legs.Grip the ball between your feet and lower your arms and legs. Let your arms touch the ground again and hold your legs as close to the floor as possible without allowing them to rest on the floor. Pull your abs into your spine as you do this, to avoid straining your back. Hold that for a few seconds before passing the ball back to your hands. Focus on making it a slow, deliberate move using your abdominals and hip flexors instead of relying on momentum. Return your arms to the floor above your head. That is one repetition. Do 15 to 20 reps.


Swiss Ball Bridge

Place the Swiss ball in front of you and kneel with your forearms resting on the ball. Lift off the ground and straighten your legs until only the balls of your feet are touching the ground. Keep your upper arms bent on the top of Swiss ball, your back flat, and your abs and glutes pulled in tight. Your body should form a straight line on top of the ball. Squeeze and hold this position for 30 seconds, gradually building up to 60 seconds. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.


Swiss Ball Reverse Crunch

Lay on your back with your arms at your sides and the Swiss ball held firmly between your feet. Keep your head and upper body on the ground and lift your legs straight up until they form a 90º angle with your body. Hold the movement there for a few seconds, squeezing your abdominal muscles in and pressing your ankles to the ceiling. Slowly lower your legs to the start position. This is is one repetition. Repeat 20 times.


Swiss Ball Jackknife

Start by positioning your hands shoulder-width apart like you are preparing to do a pushup. Stretch out your legs and rest your shins on the stability ball. With your back still flat, slowly roll the ball forward by bending your knees toward your chest. Pause for a few seconds, squeeze your abs and roll your legs back out to return to the start position. That is one repetition. Do 15 to 20 reps.

To make this move more challenging: Add a pushup as your straighten your knees to return to the start position.


To get the full benefit of these gut-busting exercises, remember to contract your abdominal muscles while you perform them. Also, keep in mind that performing the exercises is only a portion of achieving the weight, look, or fitness level you have in mind. What you do in the kitchen is huge, especially when it comes to building abs. Combining these nutrition strategies for optimal fitness results by Stew Smith with your workout will help you reach your goals more effectively.


JO BRIELYN is an author and contributing writer for Get Fit Now and has currently completed 16 nonfiction books about health and wellness. Jo is the founder, writer, and editor of Creative Kids Ideas, a resource website that supplies parents, teachers, and family members with the tips and fun ideas to help build stronger, happier, and more creative kids. She is also the writer behind Jo is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a former youth leader. She resides in Central Florida with her husband and their two daughters. Jo is the co-author of Combat Fat for Kids.


A Fun and Healthy Kid Creation Recipe to Make with Your Child!

The breakfast fruit wrap recipe listed below is from Combat Fat for Kids Kid Creation section. Older kids can make it by themselves or parents can make it with younger ones! Combat Fat for Kids is the ultimate guide to building a healthy lifestyle for the whole family and fighting childhood obesity. Complete with nutritious recipes and kid-themed exercises, the book has everything you need to get your family fit and establish healthy habits that will last a lifetime.


Breakfast Fruit Wrap


1 tortilla, preferably whole wheat

2 teaspoons all-fruit strawberry preserves

2 tablespoons reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted



On a flat surface, spread strawberry preserves on tortilla. Top with ricotta cheese. Carefully top with sliced fruit and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Starting from one end, roll tightly. Wrap in foil for neater eating.

Note: As an alternative, try replacing the strawberry preserves and strawberries with apricot preserves and sliced fresh or canned, well-drained peaches.


Reprinted with permission from Combat Fat for Kids. ISBN: 978-1-57826-458-2, $9.99 (ebook). ISBN: 978-1-57826-396-7, $15.00 (paperback). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.

Magic Weight Loss Pills and Diets: Do They Work?

If diet pills and “special” weight loss supplements worked, there would be fewer overweight people in America. Weight loss pills and diets for that matter are both ineffective and potentially harmful; long-term health-oriented programs should replace them. The weight loss pills contain ingredients that are not regulated by any scientific research or government department like the Food and Drug Administration. Notice on any supplement the statement next to the asterisk:  “*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

The problem with skipping meals and doing low calorie diets, is you lose too much muscle also in the weight loss process. Muscle determines the overall metabolic rate of the body, so if muscle is lost, the metabolic rate will be reduced and you will burn fewer calories than before your diet. When you return to a normal pattern of eating again, the lower metabolic rate will result in rapid weight gain. Have you ever heard of the YO-YO diet? You need to exercise the muscles to best burn calories. Weights, calisthenics, rubber bands, anything to produce resistance on major muscle groups will help keep your metabolism high.

The other problem with having a low level of lean muscle tissue is the feeling of fatigue. Fatigue is a bi-product of people looking for an easy way to lose weight that delivers quick results. No such HEALTHY approach exists, yet the “nutrition / fitness” supplement industry continues to misguide people into believing that fast weight loss can be achieved with minimum effort. It can, but it is unhealthy and will not deliver those results long term unless a lifestyle change occurs.

A lifestyle change includes regular exercise, a sensible approach to healthy eating and the right mental attitude. You don’t have to be a chef to follow a sensible diet, but if you are addicted to sodas and fast food, you will have to break those habits if the program is going to work properly.

The sample meal plans here are examples of good nutrition. Of course, you are totally free to invent your meal plans, and the food table that’s included is a valuable guide. The single most useful piece of wisdom is this: COMMON SENSE.  People know what foods are healthy and unhealthy. Follow the inner voice!

The average male requires 2,000 calories per day and females 1500 calories per day. This should be your target even if you are significantly overweight. The program will help you naturally lose weight, provided you don’t overeat. Remember, if you lower your caloric intake below the minimum recommended levels, your body will eventually adapt to it, and you will cease to lose weight.


Preparation of Food

Do not fry foods if possible. Broil, grill, steam or bake. Microwaving foods is often a good alternative. These methods allow fat to drain while cooking. Frying adds significant amounts of fat (now you understand why fast foods are so bad for you).

Trim fat from meat, and remove skin from poultry. Avoid real mayonnaise and heavy dressing.  Try mustard and light dressing like vinegarettes, Italian etc..

Eat vegetables raw or steamed (I understand that many folks cannot digest raw vegetables). Steaming allows you to control the crispness or “crunchiness” of the vegetables. Over cooking vegetables destroys vitamins.



Lean meats:

·         Chicken breast

·         Fish

·         Turkey breast

·         Lean beef (sirloin, round, flank).

·         Eggs (boiled is preferred method)

Some Non-starchy vegetables:

·         Asparagus

·         Green beans

·         Carrots

·         Cauliflower

·         Celery

·         Cucumbers

·         Lettuce (all varieties), but note: iceberg is not a good source of vitamins/minerals

·         Onions

·         Peppers (green, red, jalapeno, etc.)

·         Spinach

·         String beans

·         Squash (summer varieties only)

Some Fresh fruits (not dried or canned) and easy for on the road snacks:

·         Apples

·         Melons (cantaloupe, honeydew)

·         Cherries

·         Grapes

·         Nectarines

·         Oranges

·         Peaches

·         Plums

·         Raspberries

·         Strawberries

Starchy carbohydrates:

·         Brown rice

·         Potatoes (with skins)

·         Yams and sweet potatoes

·         Oatmeal (rolled oats)

·         Cream of Rice

·         Beans (lima and kidney)


Water and Beverages

Drink plenty of water daily. As a guide, you should be drinking at least 0.66 x body weight, in ounces per day. So, if you’re a 180 lb male, that’s nearly 7.5 lb of water, or 3.4 liters. Lack of water lowers energy level. Severe dehydration is dangerous, so when exercising, or in hot conditions, drink more water than what is recommended above. Often people confuse hunger with dehydration. Next time you think you are hungry in between meals, drink a few glasses of water. It helps!


STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout.

Hydrate Your Skin All Summer with this Rosy Complexion Recipe

Summer is in full bloom. The grass is green, the air is crisp and nature is calling. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and spend some time outdoors and let the sunshine bathing your skin (But please don’t forget to wear your sunscreen!).

Do your skin a favor, and sweat out the toxins in your body while spending time outside in the warmth of the season. Exercising in the fresh air often motivates you to do even more than you typically would do inside at the gym. The sensory experience you get from working out outside plays into that. You hear the birds sing, enjoy the view, fill your lungs with new air, exhale the stale air, and feel your beauty. Nature is quite a motivator. So break a sweat for beauty’s sake!

After a brisk hike in the mountains or an outdoor workout of your choosing, refresh your skin and hydrate with this great, natural beauty recipe.

Rosy Complexion Recipe

Green Tea is an anti-inflammatory with healing properties.  Rose water is derived from the beauty of the rose.  It aids with circulation and digestion, and has value as a toning astringent.

Note: Rose water can be purchased at your local health food store in the body/beauty aisle.


2 Green tea bags

1 cup rose water


Steep green tea and add to rose water in a 1:1 ratio. Place in a mister and use as an astringent on a clean face, before applying moisturizer.


ELIZABETH TENHOUTEN is an accomplished beauty expert and author of Natural Beauty: Homemade Recipes for Radiant Skin & Hair and Cooking Well: Beautiful Skin. She has devoted her career to bringing out the best in women, naturally. Widely known for her all-natural skincare recipes and holistic approach to beauty, TenHouten’s sough-after tips and expert advice regularly appear on television, online, and in national publications such as Health, Natural Health, Working Mother, Natural Solutions, Discovery Channel’s Planet Green, Your Health Connection, Young Hollywood, and US Weekly, to name a few. She has appeared on It’s Your Health TV and the KTLA Morning Show, and has been featured on Beauty Now Radio and Martha Stewart Living Radio, among others. TenHouten is the Editor-in-Chief of Celeb Life Magazine and also serves as Contributing Beauty Expert for and, the health and wellness social media platform created by Dr. Oz in partnership with Harpo Studios and Sony Pictures Television.


WATCH this video to learn how to properly do a dumbbell bent-over row to strengthen and define your back muscles from the authors of The Body Sculpting Bible for Men and The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, Hugo Rivera and James Villepigue.





HUGO RIVERA is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer and international best selling fitness author with over 20 years of bodybuilding experience. He is also the New York Times Guide to Bodybuilding and continues to educate others on how to use bodybuilding in order to achieve their goals. Hugo is the author of Hardgainers’ Bodybuilding Handbook as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women.

JAMES VILLEPIGUE is a bestselling fitness author of 23 books and has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. as a nationally certified personal trainer with National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), with their prestigious Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) credential, The American Council on Exercise and The International Sports Science Association. He has received degrees from Hofstra University, the New York College of Health Professions, and the Institute for Professional Empowerment Coaching. He now lives in East North Port, New York. He is the author of Mind Over Muscle as well as the co-author of the best selling Body Sculpting Bible for Men and Body Sculpting Bible for Women and Combat Fat for Kids.

A Veggie-Packed Pasta Salad Recipe

Primavera Pasta Salad


1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tomatoes, seeded and diced

3/4 cup julienne zucchini

1/2 cup julienne carrots

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3/4 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

6 ounces linguine pasta, cooked

Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper, to taste



Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add broccoli and garlic and stir-fry 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add tomatoes, zucchini, carrot, honey, lemon juice, lemon peel and seasonings. Simmer about 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring gently. Toss with noodles; cool. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve at room temperature or chilled.



Reprinted with permission from Cooking Well: Healthy Vegetarian. ISBN: 978-1-57826-389-9 $12.50 (paperback). From Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.


Stew Smith's Tips for Breathing Technique During Exercise

Learning to breathe during exercise has benefits such as preventing dizziness during activity, improving athletic performance, and increasing fat burning.


What is proper breathing while running?

Many experts will say that to fully oxygenate the muscles and clear the body of carbon dioxide you should breathe a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio; full inhales and full exhales. This means you inhale on the LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes and exhale fully on the RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes. This pattern is not that hard to turn into a habit, but it may require you to slow your pace down for a few runs to master the technique. You will notice a lower heart rate as you are able to get more oxygen in and more importantly push all the carbon dioxide out of your body. You may notice that you naturally drop to a 2:1 ratio when you are really pushing it to the finish. That is OK.  But realize it is difficult to maintain a pace that requires you to breathe at a 2:1 ratio. The carbon dioxide in your body will increase if your breathing patterns are short and hurried. This will increase your heart rate and lactic acid production, and decrease your endurance in any cardiovascular event (running, swimming, biking, etc.)


What about breathing and training/lifting?

Proper breathing during exercises where you exert yourself — such as lifting, pushing, or pulling — is much easier to remember and control than the 3:2 ratio during running long distance. To put it simply: always exhale on exertion. For example, when you are pushing a bench press off your chest, you exhale on the push and inhale as you bring it slowly to your chest. When you are doing a pullup, you exhale on the pulling up motion and inhale on the way down. Breathing during exertion is important in preventing internal injury such as hernia, blood vessel strain, and high blood pressure. Because weight lifting and and other types of training can be potentially harmful when done incorrectly, it is advised to get clearance from a doctor before performing too much – too soon. To decrease that pressure, focus on breathing deep all the time — during workouts and in your daily activities.


How does more oxygen help to burn more fat?

Oxygen + Water = Fat burn


Basically, the body needs water and increased oxygen to burn fat as an energy source. The water intake should be anywhere from a half gallon for women and up to one gallon a day for men. The increased oxygen consumption will assist with the other part of the equation.

As you add more water and oxygen to your system, your body will be able to use the retained water for excretion, prompting almost immediate weight loss of retained water and toxins. This is not the same as sitting in a sauna and sweating which actually dehydrates you. Adding water will re-hydrate you and enable the body to burn more fat (as long as you increase your oxygen intake by doing some form of exercise). Walking, swimming, biking, jogging, calisthenics, and even yard work can help with working your cardiovascular system.

Try the deep breathing rhythm during running or working out and see for yourself how you will perform at a lower heart rate and have more energy for a strong finish.


STEWART SMITH, USN, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former Navy SEAL, and author of several fitness books including The Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness, The Special Ops Workout, Maximum Fitness, and The S.W.A.T. Workout.

Spiced Toasted Almonds


1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/4 teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper, or to taste

2 teaspoons canola oil

2 cups whole, unblanched almonds

Canola oil spray, as needed



Preheat oven to 400°F. IN large, shallow bowl, combine thyme, salt, pepper, and oil. Set aside.

Place nuts in medium bowl. While tossing with fork, lightly spray with canola oil so all surfaces are coated. Lightly coat baking sheet with canola oil spray. Turn nuts onto sheet and spread evenly across surface. Place baking sheet in center of the oven. Toast until nuts are lightly browned and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Occasionally, shake pan to shift nuts and prevent scorching (be careful not to let nuts get too dark or they’ll taste burned). Remove from oven and immediately add hot nuts to spice mixture. Stir for a few minutes to coat the nuts thoroughly. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve warm or at room temperature. Nuts can be sealed and stored for up to two weeks. Reheat in a hot oven.


Reprinted with permission from Combat Fat for Kids. ISBN: 978-1-57826-458-2, $9.99 (ebook). ISBN: 978-1-57826-396-7, $15.00 (paperback). New from Hatherleigh Press. Distributed by Random House.