The Seattle Seahawks Had an Edge - Yoga and Meditation

Football yogaSeahawks head coach Pete Carroll is a huge proponent of having his players work out their minds as well as their muscles and he encourages his players to meditate daily to improve their focus and attitude during games, according to abcnews.com. Carroll also makes yoga a regular component of the team's strength-training workouts, which also scores mind-body benefits, ABC News reported.

Did meditation give the Seahawks the edge? Research released this month in JAMA Internal Medicine reviewed previous studies and found that regular meditation offers relief from anxiety and help coping with pain. Other studies have shown that meditation jacks resilience and brings your brain to the present, rather than ruminating in the past.

Meditation has many benefits. According to Women's Heath Magazine, meditation helps with all of the following:

Brain
Research shows that meditation can increase alpha and theta brainwave activity, which is linked to relaxation. What's more, practicing meditation every day for two months can physically beef up some parts of your gray matter!

Mood
Slipping into a meditative state can light up the area of your noggin that controls complex thoughts and positive emotions. Some kinds of meditation can also build mental muscle in the brain's other hubs for compassion, empathy, and fear, allowing you greater mastery over your emotions and helping you feel closer to others.

Lungs and Heart
Meditation increases activity in your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your rest-and-digest functions (the flip side of your fight-or-flight response). Reflexively, your lungs begin to draw deeper breaths. And your heart begins to beat more slowly, causing your blood vessels to relax. In fact, regular meditation can drop your blood pressure by up to four points, lowering your risk for heart disease.

Relaxation
Meanwhile, your adrenal glands dial back production of the stress hormone cortisol. And meditation increases blood flow to your brain, which may help lower anxiety. (The enhanced blood flow may also improve your memory.)

Willpower
It sounds too good to be true, but practicing daily meditation can lower your blood sugar levels (high ones can lead to diabetes) and may cut cravings for salty foods.

Immune System
One theory: Meditation helps nix the mental negativity that may dampen immune response. Another thought: Meditation can prompt your body to step up its antibody production. Whatever the biology, research shows meditators may be more able to fight off infections. They may also have better pain control when injured.

Don't know where to start? Check out these items to get all the benefits of meditation


Dara Grace Torres - Astrological Profile of an Olympic Athlete

Dara Dara Grace Torres is an American swimmer who is the first American to compete in five Olympics. No small feat! But for those of us who check her astrological birthchart, it is not surprising. Dara was born on April 15, 1967 in Jupiter, Florida.

She has Sun in brilliant, strong and unstoppable Aries. The Sun is our basic personality which makes her robust, courageous and out to win. Her moon (how she expresses her emotions) is in sociable Gemini. She seeks comradeship and feels connected to the team. She is encouraging and a good friend and teammate. She can be very focused, as we see in her Mercury (how we think and communicate) just in Aries. And she can stir up team spirit with her Venus (how we express love) in flirtatious Gemini.

But she needs to be careful to maintain balance as her Mars (how we take action and how we fight) is in Libra (balance, harmony and diplomacy) but it is retrograde. When a planet is retrograde we could have too much of a good thing and either over exert or go awry. She must understand her innate tendency to do this and will find ways to make this part of her horoscope work for her in the competition.

And she works very hard - her Saturn (hard work, where we feel less confident and where we might have problems) is in rambuncious Aries that can sometimes set off  her Sun sign. (a "conjunct" aspect in her birth chart). I see this to mean that all through her life, she has been able to find ways to harness her energy and direct it to success. Aries is the sign of success and we wish her all the best in the Beijing Olympics!