Our resident Canadian Geese are back and are expecting!

 

It’s  “Baby Watch” 2016 at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction!!!

 

 Meet Edith and Archie. These beautiful geese reside outside of our Mt. Pleasant office.  Edith began resting on her nest just a few weeks ago with her mate Archie right by her side protecting her and their eggs from harm.  Believe me, Archie will let you know when you get too close for comfort.  This picture was taken while he was warning me!    

We’ll keep an eye out on them over the next few months and share their progress aloing with lots of photos once the babies arrive.    

Keep watching & Happy Spring!!  

 

Gail

Our residents Edith and Archie                         archie goose

Healthy Lifestyle: Why Deep Breathing Is Essential

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You’ve heard the phrase, “Just take a deep breath.”

But what does deep breathing really do for your health?

According to the American Institute of Stress, abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes each day will reduce anxiety and stress.

Additional benefits include added energy, better digestion, overall relaxation, and an increased ability to focus.

And guess what else?

Deep breathing is FREE (bet you were expecting the secret to great health would involve a pricey gym membership or therapy session!).

Here are 4 more benefits of why deep breathing is incredibly beneficial for our bodies:

Oxygen provides energy

By drawing in a deep breath, your blood flow increases. When your blood flow increases, the oxygen level in your blood provides added stamina and energy. This is why runners are encouraged to breathe deeply into their abdominal region (or abdomen) when they run in order to provide their bodies that extra needed energy.

Less stress

Increasing the flow of oxygen to your brain helps stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system. This helps give you the overall feeling of calm and relaxation. In addition, deep breathing helps you connect your mind and body by bringing awareness to the flow of your breath and taking your mind off worries and negative thoughts. This is why yoga is such a great exercise for those who wish to lessen their stress level, because the exercise focuses on breathing while holding poses. 

Better digestion

When you increase your intake of oxygen, your organs are able to perform at their best. In addition, you’re able to calm down and activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body to digest food more efficiently.

Focus

Being mentally present in the moment gives your brain added focus. When you breathe and bring yourself back to your center, your productivity and decision-making skills are greatly improved. When you’re having trouble getting through a task at work, take a moment to close your eyes and take 20 seconds to breathe deeply and slowly, and then try the task again.

Interested in discovering more calming techniques? Read this article.

Things to do – Independence Day 2015 in South Carolina

(Thanks to AppleOne Employment Services for sending this fantastic Weekend Recs e-blast for us to share!) 

Charleston

Fourth of July Fireworks on Folly Beachindependence day

 A holiday tradition on the Edge of America, the annual 4th of July fireworks display is set to take place on Folly Beach next Saturday. The fireworks will be set off at the Folly Beach County Park, at the west end of the island. Locals and visitors are invited to enjoy the Independence Day display, which will begin at 9:30pm. For more information about the 4th of July fireworks display on Folly Beach, please go to www.visitfolly.com or download the free ‘Visit Folly’ smart phone app.

When: 7/4/15 starting at 9:30pm

Where: Folly Beach-Folly Beach County Park- West end of Island

 

July Fourth on the Pride

Enjoy this Fourth of July with a sunset sail while watching the fireworks from the best seat in the house! Beer and wine will be available for purchase. Bring a snack or picnic aboard if you choose. Buy tickets by calling the number provided (843-722-1112) or visiting the website: http://www.schoonerpride.com/

When: 7/4/15 from 7pm to 9pm

Where: The Schooner Pride-Aquarium Wharf

Admission: $55 per person-book now as space is limited

 

North Charleston 4th of July Festival

The City of North Charleston is once again hosting the July 4th celebration at the Riverfront Park on July 4, 2015 from 3:30 PM – 9:45 PM. This year’s event features exciting musical guests, children activities, food trucks, craft vendors, and the Lowcountry’s largest 4th of July fireworks show. The Festival is presented free of charge to the public with all general admission for attendees. Guests attending the Festival are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets, as there is no seating provided. Food trucks, beer and wine stations, and ATMs will be widely available. Children activities are available free of charge, including inflatable jump castles, games, the play area, the giant sandbox, and the water fountain. Beer and wine stations will be set up throughout the park, as well as ATMs for participants. For more information, please visit the website: http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Special-Events/4th-of-July-Festival.aspx

Festival performance schedule:
3:30 – Gates open
3:30 – Soul Fish (rock quartet)
5:00 – Blacklion (reggae)
6:30 – Dangermuffin (Americana)
8:00 – Funk Factory 5 (Mo-town/Top 40)
9:10 – Spectacular Fireworks show by Zambelli’s

When: 7/4/15 from 3:30pm to 9:45pm

Where: Riverfront Park-1001 Everglades Avenue, North Charleston

 

Patriots Point 4th of July Blast

 For those who want to enjoy the fireworks on the Yorktown, all Flight deck tickets are now SOLD OUT, but visitors are still allowed to watch the event landside and enjoy the celebration there! Parking is $10/vehicle.

When: 7/4/15 starting about 9pm

Where: Patriots Point40 Patriots Point Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

 

Columbia

Lake Murray Fireworks Celebration

Beginning at dusk (approximately 9:15 pm) South Carolina’s largest fireworks display on beautiful Lake Murray. Fireworks will be set off from two great locations: Spence Island and Dreher Island State Park. The show is choreographed to a patriotic concert that will air simultaneously on B106.7. The best places to view the fireworks are Dreher Island State Park and both parks at the Lake Murray dam. Bring a chair or blanket, picnics are welcomed- NO Alcohol Permitted at any of the locations.

Admission (based on park):

Dreher Island State Park– $2 for adults, $1.25 SC Seniors, FREE for children 15 years and younger (Gates close at 8pm).

Lake Murray Dam park sites– open until they reach capacity- $3 per car.

The walking path on the dam will also be open. (Fireworks DO NOT launch from the park sites at the dam).

 

When: July 04, 2015 from 9pm to 10:30pm
Admission: Admission Based on Park

 

Lake Murray Patriotic Boat Parade

 Get ready for the 26th Annual 4th of July Celebration on Lake Murray on Saturday, July 4th!! CCLMC is trying to break our all-time record this year with over 150 boats and inclusion within the Guinness Book of World Records! We hope that you and your family will join us and participate to make this a special year! For more information, please visit the website: http://www.lakemurraycountry.com/things-to-do/events/lake-murray-boat-parade

 When: July 04, 2015 from 12pm to 3pm
Where: Bomb Island, Lake Murray, SC 29072
Admission: Free, but if watching from Lake Murray Dam park sites admissions is $2/car

 

Slide the City and Capital City Beach Party!

 Columbia is Famously Hot, so we’re bringing you a Surprisingly Cool way to have fun this Independence Day while supporting 2 great causes!  Slide the City is a 1000 foot water slide that will go from Blanding & Gadsden to Hampton & Gadsden Streets.  The chosen charities SC Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Celebrate Freedom Foundation will benefit each time you purchase a registration using the promo code FREEDOM, and you will receive $5 off! After you slide, go check out the Capital City Beach Party beginning in Finlay Park at 2PM. Water and Food vendors will be available for purchase at noon. Want to slide for free while helping out the charities? Sign up as a volunteer here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/slide-the-city-columbia-sc-volnteer-tickets-17332899168

When: July 04, 2015 starting at 11am
Where: Finlay Park-930 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201

Greenville

Wells Fargo Red, White and Blue Festival

A barrage of colors illuminates the sky every 4th of July in downtown Greenville for the annual Wells Fargo Red, White and Blue, presented by AT&T. As one of the largest fireworks displays in South Carolina, the celebration features live music, food and a variety of family activities. A long-standing tradition, Wells Fargo Red, White & Blue represents a remarkable opportunity to support a free patriotic event that is enjoyed by the Greenville community. Sponsors have long recognized this event as a unique way to showcase their brand while enjoying hospitality and a celebration that only happens once a year. Wells Fargo Red, White and Blue presented by AT&T is Greenville’s premier 4th of July celebration, showcasing one of the state’s largest fireworks displays, sponsored by Bon Secours St. Francis Health System. The free event, scheduled for Saturday, July 4, 2015, from 5 to 10 p.m., features live music on two stages, fun-filled activities in the Zaxby’s Kidz Zone and a variety of popular food and beverage vendors. The event takes place in downtown Greenville from Court to Camperdown Streets and will encompass Broad Street, from Laurens to Falls Streets, and Falls Park.

When: 7/4/2015 from 5pm to 10:30pm

Where: City of Greenville-Downtown Greenville

 

Red, White and Bluegrass

Red, White and Bluegrass is a FREE 4th of July Celebration in downtown Fountain Inn. This event will begin at 7:00 p.m. with two bands performing: Justice Family Bluegrass Band and the Upstate Senior Band. Fireworks will begin at dark. There will be food, Italian ice and craft beer for purchase. We will have a special time to honor all veterans at this event. For more information, please visit the website: http://www.fountaininn.org/scs

When: 7/4/2015 starting at 7pm

Where: City of Fountain Inn-Commerce Park-110 Depot Street, Fountain Inn, SC 29644

Admission: Free!

 

A Night with Darryl Worley

 Honoring our heroes. Gates open at 5pm. Music starts at 6 pm.

Admission is free for military & first responders (military personnel, retired military personnel, police, firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians). Regular admission is $20 per car (maximum 6 people per car). **Going on now!** Soldier care package campaign to collect items for local soldiers serving overseas. For more information and to get involved, see website. Collection total will be announced at the Darryl Worley concert to honor heroes on July 4th! Concert tickets on sale NOW! For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: http://charterspectrumamphitheatre.com/event/a-night-with-darryl-worley/

When: 7/4/2015- Gates open at 5pm, Music at 6pm

Where: Charter Spectrum Amphitheatre-861 Southeast Main Street, Simpsonville, SC 29681

Admission: $20/car

How do you plan to celebrate? We’d love for you to share suggestions with our readers!

Recovery daze…..

By:  Richard M. Kline Jr., M.D

 

pain scaleI woke up and wasn’t sure where I was. I thought about it a while, and finally asked. A nurse said “the recovery room.” I asked how long I had been there, and she said “30 minutes.” I asked how long the surgery took, and they said “about two hours”. I knew this was longer than was planned, but I didn’t worry about it, as I felt pretty intact. They asked what my pain was on a scale of (0-10), and I said “3.5.” She asked if I wanted some Dilaudid, or if I wanted to go back to the room without it. I said I wanted it, so they gave me 1 mg i.v. While the pain hadn’t been terrible, it was significant, and the Dilaudid did a great job of reducing it. It didn’t get rid of it completely, but it did produce a kind of “warmth” that made me not care too much about the residual pain.

I then went back to the same room I’d been in before surgery, and stayed only briefly before deciding I was ready to go home. When I got up to get dressed, I immediately got nauseous. The bubbly i.v. specialist nurse was there again, and she came over and held an alcohol wipe to my nose until the nausea went away. Then home I went, happy that it was over, and not feeling too badly.

For the first few days it hurt to get out of bed. I would lie there thinking about getting up for several minutes, planning the best way to do it, and only then proceeding. Once I was up, though, moving around wasn’t bad.

About two weeks postop, I noticed that coughing or sneezing didn’t make my incision hurt any more. I started walking on the treadmill at the gym. It hurt a little, but not bad. After that, I started to forget about the surgery.

The final installment of this 4 part series will post April 30.

Places to Stay Fit and Healthy in Charleston

Every city has its “go-to” places to stay fit and healthy, and Charleston is no different. In fact, because of Charleston’s charm, the places shared below go above and beyond your average gym or healthy eatery.

Health and fitness have always been an important part of our world. From the use of natural herbs to thwart illnesses, to the ancient Eastern tradition of yoga, humans have a vast history that includes thousands of ways people lived and practiced healthy living.

However, in the recent decade, health has been front and center of our culture. Some would say the growth of the Internet led to the spread of important information about staying fit and healthy. And as a result of America’s deep interest in fitness and health, dozens of new health-focused businesses — as well as already established businesses — have successfully grown here in Charleston.

We’d like to highlight those below.

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OrangeTheory Fitness

OrangeTheory Fitness applies a unique approach to working out.

According to their website, Orange Theory is:

Backed by the science of post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), our heart-rate monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. The result is the Orange Effect – more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours after your workout!

Their healthy living claim is they can “produce 12 to 20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate.” And we know a lot of Charleston locals and guests would be interested in getting better results in less time.

To try this unique approach to working out, check out OrangeTheory Fitness: http://www.orangetheoryfitness.com/

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EcoFitness

EcoFitness is a locally owned and operated health club that offers:

  •  Indoor cycling
  •  Core Barre
  •  Group exercising
  •  Blue turtle yoga
  •  Personal training

When we looked at their website, we discovered they have a ton of different activities and dozens of instructors to choose from. If you’re looking for flexibility in your workouts, and want to make sure you have a trainer available to fit your schedule, EcoFitness is worth checking out.

View more about EcoFitness on their contact page: http://www.ecofitness.com/about/contact/

Alluette’s Cafe (Holistic Soul Food)<alt="Alluette’s Cafe"/>

Did you know there’s a southern food eatery in Charleston that’s both mouth-watering delicious AND healthy?

Alluette’s takes southern favorites and transforms them into healthier specialties by using natural ingredients. They also avoid frying their foods, yet they still find a way to make it just as good as the “real thing.”

Just about everything is homemade, including the ketchup and cole slaw (with no mayo). You can even finish off your meal with freshly baked vegan cookies — what a treat!

Hmm… farm fresh, vegan friendly, and tasty food. This one’s definitely staying on our list!

Find more info about Alluette’s here: http://www.alluettescafe.com/contact

Charleston Farmers Market

Last, but not least, on our list is the amazing Charleston Farmers Market. There was absolutely no way we could leave this one out.

At the Charleston Farmers Market, you’ll always find what’s in season. You can be sure to find the latest produce as well as live entertainment each Saturday at Marion Square. Come check it out!

Details and times included in the following link:

http://www.charlestonfarmersmarket.com/

Famous Landmarks in Charleston: Can’t-Miss Sights

<alt+"Bridge"/>Charleston is a city with a lot of history, so there are undoubtedly many inspirational landmarks to visit. The problem is you might not even know what to explore in your own backyard—it’s easy to overlook something when you’re used to seeing it all the time. You may drive by one of the sights below each day without even realizing it!   Get your notepad or Internet bookmarking tool ready, because we’re going to share some of Charleston’s can’t-miss and must-see sights.

Edmonston Alston House

You can tour this stately mansion built in 1825 seven days a week. Inside the home, you can discover historical family furnishings, silverware, books, and paintings that add Southern Charm and culture to this unique space. In addition to feeling like you’ve traveled back in time, you’ll also enjoy beautiful views of the harbor when you visit.   View more here about this landmark here.

Rainbow Row

This one is hard to miss, but you may not know the history behind one of Charleston’s most photographed locations. These 13 brightly colored houses were once the commercial hub in the city!   View more about Rainbow Row here.

H.L. Hunley Confederate Submarine

The history of this submarine dates back 150 years! In fact, this submarine was the first to sink another sea vessel. After years of research, scientists have finally figured out the technology behind this historic 8-person sub from the Civil War.   You can find more info about this amazing relic of history here.

South Carolina Aquarium

With over 60 different habitats and a 385,000-gallon tank, the South Carolina Aquarium lets you explore the ocean without getting your feet wet. It’s conveniently located on the Charleston Harbor, so you can enjoy the view as you’re checking out the river otters, loggerhead sea turtles, alligators, great blue herons, jellyfish, horseshoe crabs, pythons, sharks, and many more creatures.   View more info about the South Caroline Aquarium here.

Charleston Water Taxi

Enjoy this ferry service, go dolphin watching, or take in the harbor sites with the Charleston Water Taxi. Once you’re moving, you can get a new perspective of the USS Yorktown, historic downtown Charleston, and Patriots Point. The taxi runs every hour, so you can work a trip into your schedule whenever you want.   Get onboard with the Charleston Water Taxi here.

USS Yorktown

Get close to the 10th aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy. This 30,000-ton structure is parked conveniently in Patriots Point, located in the beautiful Charleston harbor. Once onboard, you can walk around, take a tour, and even enjoy a meal at The Fighting Lady cafe!   Get more info about the USS Yorktown and Patriots Point here.

There’s so much to do in Charleston!

Do you have a favorite place to visit in Charleston? Let us know in the comments. We’d love your help in locating more sights in this great city for locals and guests alike. Thanks in advance!   Photo Credit: Sky Noir

Mammograms 101: What You Need to Know

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According to The United States Preventive Services Task Force, women aged 50 to 74 should get a mammogram every 2 years. As for women younger than age 50, they should talk to a doctor about when to start and how often to have a mammogram.

If you haven’t talked to your doctor about getting a mammogram, you should. When you get a mammogram, you’ll receive a low-dose x-ray that looks for irregularities in your breasts. Unlike a breast exam, an x-ray will uncover changes in breast tissue that cannot be felt or seen. All women have breast changes as they age. But without a mammogram, you don’t know if the differences in size, shape, and feeling is a natural occurrence or a result of something more serious.

 

How to Detect Breast Cancer ASAP

The best way to detect breast cancer is to get a mammogram and breast exam from a doctor. The earlier you take preventative measures, the better your chances of catching possible cancer and treating it. The faster your cancer is detected, the better your chances are of eliminating it.

 

What’s It Like to Have a Mammogram?

Mammograms are not an arduous process. Your doctor will place your breasts in a special x-ray machine. The machine will flatten your breast to get a clearer look at the tissue. The pressure may cause some discomfort, but any pinching that happens will only take place momentarily. Considering the alternative, a few seconds of minor soreness is worth it.

 

What Your Doctor Looks For

<alt="Mammogram Film Images"/>
Picture courtesy of the National Cancer Institute

If your mammogram is clear, then your doctor will let you know and you can breathe a sigh of relief. If you’re wondering what your doctor is looking for, here are some things she’ll look for:

  • Lumping of tissue. If you see a “building up” of tissue, this could be a sign that something’s irregular. If the lump has a clear edge, chances are it’s benign (at a very early stage). If the lump can’t be distinguished clearly, then it could be cancer.
  • White spots. There are two types of white spots you may see on your x-ray — one is normal and the other may be a sign of cancer.

 

How to Prepare for a Mammogram

Here are few things you can do to make your mammogram go smoothly:

  • Avoid unnatural products before your mammogram. The chemicals in deodorants and other hygienic products may disrupt the x-ray process. It’s best to not use any sort of make up, lotions, etc. when you proceed with your mammogram.
  • Schedule accordingly. The best time to make an appointment for a mammogram is one week after your menstrual cycle because this is when your breasts are the least tender.
  • Male or female. It’s okay to ask for a male or female doctor to conduct your exam if that’s what makes you most comfortable.
  • Dont drink coffee. Also, skip the energy drinks or any other type of stimulant. Why? Because the caffeine my increase breast tenderness, which will make the x-ray process more painful.

 

Where to Get More Information

Contact the following organizations for more information about breast cancer and mammograms.

American Cancer Society

Phone: 800-227-2345 (TDD: 866-228-4327)

Breast Health Access for Women With Disabilities

Phone: 510-204-4866 (TDD: 510-204-4574)

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, HHS

Phone: 800-633-4227 (TDD: 877-486-2048)

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

Phone: 800-232-4636 (TDD: 888-232-6348)

National Cancer Institute, NIH, HHS

Phone: 800-422-6237

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Phone: 877-465-6636

 

Photo Credit: kristiewells

Back to School: How to Keep Your Kids Focused

<alt="School Desks"/>In an age of instant gratification, it’s never been more difficult to get people to focus. Many adults have a hard time staying on track without distraction from phone notifications, email alerts, and people competing for our attention. Imagine how difficult it is for children and young adults in school to stay focused.

Youths today love their gadgets because these small devices give them an escape from their environment and access to a bigger world. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this concept. If you were growing up in the 21st century, you’d love your smartphone and Internet just as much, too.

As adults, we can provide guidance and teach our youth lessons about self-control. We can also pass along what we know about responsibility, so our children can stay focused in and out of the classroom.

Here are a few ways you can make a difference in someone’s life and help them focus, achieve, and learn.

 

Nurture Their Interests

 

Even the most timid child opens up when you find out what they’re interested in. Everyone has a natural gravitation toward a certain subject, topic, or hobby. Once you find out what that is, you can “unlock” a young person’s motivation.

Finding out what someone is interested in is simply a matter of paying attention. People naturally crave attention. Think about all the status updates you see on social media about the most mundane things. It seems silly, but that’s a perfect example of how we all want people to listen to us.

When you nurture the interest of a child, you can watch them develop the thing they like doing most. As I’m sure you know, it’s much easier to stay focused when you’re doing something you enjoy.

 

Regularly Schedule Family Time

 

There’s nothing more important than having a safe place to talk, share, and be yourself. Your home and your family is the best support you can provide for your child. Scheduling regular family time each evening keeps a consistent environment in place that nurtures you and your family, both physically and mentally.

For example, you could make 6-8 p.m. strictly family time. This means turning off the smartphones, TV, and any other distracting devices. Make it a time for a non-rushed dinner, conversation, and a family activity.

 

Keep Them Active

 

Kids get in trouble when they don’t have anything to do. A way to free a child from boredom is to keep them active in groups, sports, or activities. Not only will this keep them from getting in trouble, but they’ll also live healthier lives, develop social skills, and learn the importance of teamwork.

In a nation where obesity rates get worse each year, it’s important to keep your child physically engaged with at least one thing each day. Aim for 30-60 minutes of physical activity every day. It’s much easier to stay fit and healthy as you age if you learn the fundamentals of exercising as a child. Plus, when your child stays active, they can focus better on their schoolwork.

These are just a few ways you can promote focus and attention for your child. Do you have any of your own you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit: Night Owl City

Last-Minute Weekend Activities Before The Summer Ends

<alt="sail boat"/>Are you the type of person who likes to eat every last crumb on the plate, drink the last drop of milk, or watch a movie until the credits finish?

If so, then you like to get the most value out of any given situation. While most people do a decent to good job at saving time and maximizing money, people like you do it better.

With this short guide below, you can make the most of your time and money and squeeze every last drop out of the Charleston summer!

Here are several ways to enjoy last-minute weekend trips in the area before the summer ends.

Ride the Waves

Surfing, like skydiving, is one of those “bucket list” activities everyone wants to try, but few take the time to do. The benefits of surfing include getting exercise, having fun, and immersing yourself in the beach culture. Don’t waste another minute procrastinating by thinking about surfing — get yourself a board, head out to Folly Beach, and hit the water while you can.

With one-on-one lessons as low as $45, you can consider yourself a surfer by the end of the day. You’ll learn ocean awareness and safety, surfing etiquette (which includes more than calling people “dude”), and enjoy one full hour of guided wave riding fun.

Surf on over to this website for more info about Charleston Surf Lessons.

Become a Prisoner!

And no, we don’t mean you commit a crime and literally get yourself in trouble. That would not be fun and it would totally ruin your summer …and winter, spring, and fall. We’d like to suggest something that’s almost as scary, yet much safer.

If exploring Charleston dungeons appeal to you, then you’ll love the Charleston Ghost and Dungeon Walking Tour. During this guided walkthrough of historical cemeteries, alleyways, and churches, you’ll learn about the criminals, pirates, and patriots who once spent time behind bars—and if you listen closely, you may realize they’re still there…

This tour is available until November; the ghosts in these dungeons are like bears, so during winter, they like to hibernate.

Scare yourself with a Charleston Ghost and Dungeon Walking Tour.

Go On an Adventure

Before summer ends, you still have time to pack your bags, tent, and camping supplies and head out to the great outdoors. Summer is the perfect time to experience the wilderness because the weather’s just right. No matter if you take your entire family or you go with friends, South Carolina has 47 state parks for you to choose from.

With this handy website, you can search and choose a camping ground that meets your exact needs.

Live It Up

Take a moment and think about one thing you can do for yourself and your family this summer. It doesn’t have to be one of these recommendations — you may have your own activites planned for transitioning from the warm summer days to the cool autumn nights. Maybe you’ll rotate what you’re growing in your garden. Maybe you’ll take a trip. Maybe you’ll redecorate your home, or even try a new sport. Whatever you do, live it up this summer. It’ll be an entire year before she returns.

Photo Credit: globetraveler2

Why Yoga is Best for Mind, Body, and Spirit

<alt="yoga"/>Yoga is now a major part of Western culture. It started off as a trend, but now it’s now deeply integrated into our mainstream culture. Most cities in America have several yoga studios and it’s become a major part of millions of people’s lives.

Is yoga here to stay? We think so. People love how yoga benefits the mind, body, and spirit. If you practice yoga, you will relate to this article. For those curious about yoga, perhaps this article will persuade you to try it out.

Yoga Improves Your Mind

Because yoga involves a series of poses while in a flow-like state, you strengthen your mind as you work out your body.

Yoga benefits your mind because it teaches you how to breathe deeply and slowly. Unlike short and nervous breathing, long and controlled breaths train your brain to focus on consistent thinking. If you feel like you’re constantly distracted, a yoga session will bring attention back to your inner thoughts.

If you’ve ever been in an anxious state, you know what it’s like to feel your heart rate climb and you lose your ability to think clearly. Because yoga puts you in a state of calm and control, you become more familiar with your body’s way of coping with stress.

Yoga Benefits Your Body

Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of activity to increase your heart rate every day. A typical yoga session lasts for one hour—twice the minimum requirement for living a healthy life.

Because yoga is a flexible workout, you can receive the health benefits at your own pace. Unlike intense workouts like Crossfit or a high-impact sport, you can go about your yoga poses at your own pace.

Plus, it’s a challenge to see how much better you do each session. You may struggle with certain poses, but as you practice over time, you will eventually amaze yourself at what you can do with your body. Practicing yoga allows you to become more fit and flexible.

Yoga Benefits Your Spirit

Yoga is more than a physical and mental workout—it’s a lesson in spirituality, too. Yoga has no affiliation with religion, so you can do yoga regardless of your religious background or lifestyle. The spiritual benefits of yoga are simply universal ways you can use a yoga session to connect yourself to the world.

For example, many people remain in a state of calmness after yoga. Even if you’re not a spiritual person, you cannot help but feel closer to the Earth when you practice yoga. Yoga opens up your senses, so you can experience more of what life has to offer you.

How to Get Started With Yoga

Here are several things to keep in mind if you want to start practicing yoga:

–    DVD or face-to-face? You don’t need to visit a class to do yoga. With a DVD or online program, you can practice yoga in the comfort of your own home. It’s entirely up to you. You may want to begin on your own first so you’re familiar with the poses before a class. It’s a personal decision. There’s zero judgment in yoga, so even if you know nothing about yoga, you can still take a class and not feel unwelcome.

–    Learn the basic poses. A quick YouTube search for “basic yoga poses” will give you all you need to practice a downward facing dog, cat-cow, and warrior’s pose. This BuzzFeed list may also help.

–    Buy a mat. While yoga studios normally offer mats, you probably want to use your own. You will sweat quite a bit during your yoga sessions.

–    Dress appropriately. Wear light clothing that won’t get in the way during poses. Most retail stores carry yoga clothing now, so it’s not hard to put together an outfit that’s suitable for yoga.

–    Find a class you like. If you go a class and dislike it, don’t let it discourage you. You may just need to find an instructor who teaches in a style you prefer.

Getting started with yoga is easy. You simply show up, do your best, and feel good when you’re done. Namaste!

Photo Credit: BrittneyBush