Oh, my aching back!

It might be your Quadratus Lumborum, or QL, for short, causing the problem.


The QL, attaching the lowest rib, the lumbar portion of the spine, and the top of the pelvic bowl, helps maintain vertical alignment.

Sitting too long in one position affects the stabilizer muscles of the vertebrae, or the spine, effectively turning them off. When these muscles no longer work properly to support the spine and lower back, then the QL takes up the slack. Which is a job it’s not meant to do.

Over time, overuse of the QL results in their fatigue, tightness, decreased blood flow, and scarring. This can be compounded by poor posture in the upper back (which often accompanies our sitting habit) that causes the QL and its surrounding muscles to work even harder in a seated and standing position.

If you are someone who has tight hips and glutes because they are not being worked to their full potential, then you most likely have tight QLs; the QL will compensate by becoming the prime mover of the hip joint. This results in a gait that hikes the hip upward with each step.

Hiking the hip upward in this fashion leads to compression of the lumbar region due to excessive side bending. The resulting tightness in the QL can be a source of pain in the lower back.

How Can Nia Help?

In every Nia class, we stretch, move, activate, contract and release all our muscles. Moving to varied music with varied speeds and intensities, we allow all our muscle groups to be used so we don’t remain stuck in one position or motion. Following the body’s design and structure, we create opportunity to re-align ourselves physically, which often translates to emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well!

Each class ends with stretching either upright or on the floor, so we pay attention to legs, arms and the torso with releasing stretches.

Find a Nia class near you!

Water, anyone?

People who like to work up a sweat should definitely have proper hydration practices on their mind. A review in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found strong evidence that athletes who lose more than 2% of their body weight in fluids—all too common in prolonged bouts of sweaty exercise—suffer noticeable declines in mental performance. The review (a meta-analysis of previously published research) noted declines in attention, motor coordination, and the executive functioning your brain needs to focus, organize and remember details.

Dehydration can be particularly detrimental to people in sports like tennis and mountain biking, as these activities need a certain level of brain power and coordination. But also think about group fitness participants who sweat buckets in an indoor cycling class and don’t drink enough before or afterward. Following class, they may have to tackle tasks like driving and work projects that require mental ability. This is a good reminder of why education about sound hydration practices should be part of any exercise program.

From ideafit.com

I am touched....

I had to share the post I found here…. Touch and connection are so important to our physical and mental health…. Let me know how you feel after reading this from Cindy Lamothe.

Let's touch: why physical connection between human beings matters

Cindy Lamothe

Touch can be used as a tool for communicating empathy, even resulting in an analgesic, painkilling effect. To combat loneliness, let’s set up coffee dates instead of screen time

We humans aren’t meant to live in isolation – loneliness has been proven to cause serious repercussions, leading to illness and a 50% increased risk of early death.

In her New York Times Modern Love essay, writer Michelle Fiordaliso makes the case for unexpected moments of intimacy between strangers. “Touch solidifies something – an introduction, a salutation, a feeling, empathy,” she writes.

It turns out that these moments of connection, while fleeting, have a lasting impact on our wellbeing. One study published earlier this year showed that touch can be used as a tool for communicating empathy, resulting in an analgesic, painkilling effect. This ability to synchronize with others is crucial for social development – a fact that has garnered the attention of psychologists and scientists in recent years.

As a writer who regularly uses social media as a way of communicating with friends and family, I’ve noticed that the times I’m most prone to bouts of anxiety and illness coincide with the times I’m not meaningfully connecting in person. Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that many of the mental health challenges we face today stem from this experience of disconnect. Last year, neuroscience researcher John Cacioppo told the Guardian that, “loneliness is like an iceberg, it goes deeper than we can see.”

Indeed, I am far from alone in my experience. It turns out that the number of people who report feeling lonely has more than doubled since 1980. And while contemporary society will have us believe that by staying fit and avoiding tobacco, we can offset the risk of disease, the truth is, we need to recognize that feeling socially connected is as fundamental to our longevity as eating the right foods. 

Close ties not only help foster positive emotions, they also protect against the harmful effects of stress. For example, a hug from a close friend isn’t only comforting, it also produces feelgood hormones in the brain like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin – all of which help boost the immune system and ward off illness. But it does more than just make you feel good, it can also accurately communicate emotions like gratitude, love and sympathy. 

It was Mother Teresa who said that there is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread – and she’s not wrong. Whether or not we feel loved profoundly influences how we feel on a day to day basis. A growing body of research confirms the wisdom of her words – holding a partner’s hand, cuddling, visiting with friends or family – all of these activities are just as important to our wellbeing as remembering to drink more water and get enough exercise. 

Close relationships lead to a longer life – yet, despite mounting evidenceshowing their large-scale impact on health, they aren’t adequately acknowledged as a determinant comparable to other public health priorities.

After researching the myriad benefits of in person contact, I’ve vowed to prioritize making more coffee dates with friends and scheduling in periods of bonding time with those I’m closest to. In this way, I am not only fostering quality time with the people I love, I’m also bolstering my physical and emotional wellbeing.

Forging meaningful connections shapes who we are biologically, and this is as true for now as it was centuries ago. The notion that we should strive to be self-reliant at all costs is misguided and actively hurts those who believe it. Authors such as Brené Brown have shared stories about our fundamental need for belonging: “As members of a social species, we derive strength not from our rugged individualism, but from our collective ability to plan, communicate, and work together.” 

And if we are to combat this loneliness epidemic, we need to view connection as more than some poetic expression. By making this distinction, we can see the ways it can be used as a force for positive social change.

Cindy Lamothe is a writer based in Antigua, Guatemala. Her work has appeared in Quartz, Guernica, and The Rumpus.

Circulating Information: Blood Facts

In literature, it has been known to curdle, boil and run cold. Yes, we’re talking about blood. A closer look at its function and composition reveals an interesting story about the human body. Blood travels through the circulatory system to deliver vital nutrients, oxygen and hormones to the body’s tissues, and it’s made up of four components: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma (MSKCC 2017).

Beyond providing transportation, blood balances water content by transferring water to and from tissues and helps to regulate pH levels by interacting with acids and bases (VMC 2018). Following are some more tidbits about blood:

  • Muscle demand for oxygen increases during exercise, prompting red blood cells to transport more oxygen from the lungs to tissues throughout the body via the protein hemoglobin. Red blood cells—which compose about 44% of blood—also release chemicals that dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow, crucial for exercise performance (Mairbäurl 2013; MSKCC 2017).

  • The blood in arteries is brighter in color than the dark blood in veins, owing to a higher level of arterial oxygen (VMC 2018). The blue color in veins visible through skin is merely an optical illusion caused by the skin’s absorption and reflection of light (Kienle et al. 1996).

  • Like red blood cells, white blood cells are created in bone marrow cells, but white cells are stored in the blood and in lymphatic tissues. White blood cells have a lifespan of 1–3 days, and though they make up only 1% of our blood, they play an important role in battling viruses and bacteria in the bloodstream (Berry & Levy 2018a, 2018b).

  • Platelets are the colorless fragments of blood cells that control bleeding. They comprise less than 1% of blood. The lifespan of platelets is about 9–12 days (MSKCC 2017).

  • Plasma is the pale-yellow liquid portion of blood that holds and transports all blood cells, making up about 55% of our blood (MSKCC 2017).

  • Consistent with the popular idiom, blood really is thicker than water—about 4.5–5.5 times more viscous. Blood viscosity is critical for proper function. Too little or too much resistance to flow can strain the heart and cause cardiovascular problems (VMC 2018).

  • Each year, roughly 6.8 million people donate blood in the United States. Type O negative is frequently highest in demand since only 7% of the U.S. population has this blood type and it’s the universal type needed for emergency blood transfusions (American Red Cross 2018).

Sarah Kolvas, ideafit.com

Hand Positions that Help Your Body

If we consider the world we live in and the pace of life we go through each day is no wonder we constantly suffer from aches and pains in both our body and mind.

Aside the traditional medicine, pills, painkillers or similar medications, people very often rely on yoga, meditation or acupuncture. These are all fine and useful methods put there’s another more simple method that many Westerners haven’t even heard of.

We’re talking about Mudra Hand Gestures, a method which originates from India. The method stimulates various parts of the body and mind while relieving different kinds of pain and ache.

The method consists of eight basic hand gestures. Perhaps you’re a skeptic now, but once you see how powerful the gestures are you’ll use them regularly.

Try them and let us know what you think.



Thumb to Index fingertip.

If you’re feeling down lately, try this hand gesture. Gyan is thought to increase the air element and raise your enthusiasm, increase creative thinking and remove laziness.



Thumb to Index Finger.

Anxiety is the 21st century’s worst illness I’d say, so we should try and get rid of it in every possible way. Hold Vaayu, which is believed to decrease the air element and reduce anxiety.



Thumb to Middle Fingertip.

This hand gesture is intended to increase the space element. Do this and you’ll get rid of the fear, sadness, rage and congestive problems.



Thumb to Middle Finger.

This hand gesture reduces the space element and is effective in relieving ear pain.



Thumb to Ring Fingertip.

If you’re feeling tired and you’ve got sore muscles, this hand gesture is the solution for your problems. It is believed to increase the earth element and reduce the fire element.



Thumb to Ring Finger.

This hand gesture does the opposite from the previous one. It decreases the earth element but increases the fire element. It’s perfect for those with thyroid gland malfunction.



Thumb to Pinkie Fingertip.

Do this hand gesture and get rid of cramps, ache in the joints and arthritis. The gesture is intended to increase the water element.


Jal Shaamak

Thumb to Pinkie.

This hand gesture is considered to reduce the water element. It is helpful to those who suffer from watery eyes, runny nose or have problems with excessive sweating.

Isn’t this great and super easy by the way? You can do these hand gestures anywhere you want. Do them at your home, in the office or in the park. Give it a shot! After all there’s nothing to lose but plenty to gain.

Share these useful tips with your friends and family and go through your days happier, more confident and pain free.

To learn more: https://curiousmindmagazine.com/hand-position-something-incredible/?fbclid=IwAR0qUnYgsnehcmJA8PxNyEVJYgaFc9HuHT75SC4KcY0-SuJ9eVS1IQakIh8