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Breathe

Jun/03/2023 / by Team Seema
Breathe

Energy-Boosting Yoga

Give your shoulders more strength and improve your mood with Dolphin pose

Whether you’re looking to relieve a little stress, or boost your mood or energy, dolphin pose Catur Svanasana makes for a beginner-friendly practice that has both mind and body benefits. 

The posture is very similar to downward-facing dog, but the forearms extend to the ground. This requires flexibility, strength and patience to open up the upper body and hold the pose — but the body benefits from more energy and strength that can help advance to harder poses, while the mind can focus on proper alignment and preparation. 

How to Do It:

Dolphin is similar to a downward-facing dog pose, except the forearms bear the bulk of your weight instead of the hands. Beginners might find it challenging as you’re semi-inverted and have to gradually build upper body strength and stronger leg muscles to hold this asana.

As you hold the position, your head is hanging down freely. Hold for about 10-15 breaths for a good spinal and shoulder stretch. Ground your feet to the floor and keep your hips and spine up. Push your knees back slightly to maintain the length of your spine.

Benefits:

Dolphin yoga is a semi-inverted asana, so it can be used to build strength in the shoulders, upper back, triceps, biceps, pelvis and hips. It can also serve as a warm-up for those that want to proceed to more advanced level poses like Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance). 

It’s also beneficial for those who want to increase their range of motion and learn how to balance their weight on their upper body. Experienced yogis and yoginis may use dolphin yoga pose before raising their legs above their heads and doing a headstand or handstand. 

Warnings:

Skip this pose if you’ve had a stroke, suffer from high blood pressure, or have a shoulder injury or glaucoma.

Keep Your Brain Sharp

Three tips for flexing your mental muscle this Brain Awareness Month

More than 55 million people live with Alzheimer’s or another dementia worldwide—but too few people still understand its impact or its major risk factors. But this June marks Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, which aims to help educate people about the effects of aging on the brain, and inspire more research toward a cure. 

While many risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s or another dementia are unavoidable, including age and genetic predisposition, studies have found that keeping your brain active could lower the risk of cognitive decline. Here are a few tips for keeping your brain sharp and healthy as you age.

Stay Active

Good vascular health is associated with better cognitive health. Physical activity helps maintain blood flow to the brain and lowers your risk of high blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke–two factors that are thought to contribute to the development of certain types of dementia.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Your diet can play a big role in your brain health. Consuming alcohol and foods with high levels of saturated fat can negatively impact memory and other brain functions. To keep your mind sharp, choose foods containing nutrients such as vitamin E, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids–all of which have been linked to better cognitive function.

Stimulate Your Brain

Our bodies need exercise to stay healthy, and that includes our brains. You can help strengthen your mind “muscles” through activities that engage and stimulate your brain. This could include learning a new skill, socializing more, reading books, playing games or doing puzzles, or adopting new technologies. Keeping mentally active as you age could lower the risk of cognitive decline. 

South Asian Folktales Find a Retelling

The new YA collection Magic Has No Borders brings 14 stories sourced from authors across the diaspora

Author Sona Charaipotra was an avid reader growing up in central New Jersey in the 1990s, but as much as she read, she rarely found herself or anyone who looked like her in the pages of her favorite books. 

“Brown kids like me—the ones who wore sneakers with their salwar kameez and felt just as awkward at the eighth-grade dance as they did at the gurdwara on Sundays — were nowhere to be found on the page or the screen,” she writes in the introduction to the new short story collection Magic Has No Borders. 

As a new parent twenty years later, she found herself troubled that little had changed, and realized that as a writer she needed to do something about it for future young readers. She and co-editor Samira Ahmed dreamed up an anthology for teen readers that would include a diversity of South Asian voices. 

“Sona and I brought together a diverse group of desi authors who represent different regions and cultures and experiences to breathe new life into stories handed down through generations, to add a unique spin to characters both familiar and new,” writes co-editor Samira Ahmed in her introduction. The tales include stories from folklore, legends, and epics featuring peris, jinn, and goddesses. 

“As individuals whose ancestors share a common geography, if not always a language or tradition, we get to define ourselves,” writes Ahmed. “That’s the spirit behind this anthology. We are a people, unified, without borders, but filled with the songs and tales that hum in our bones. We are a global family that lives not merely in harmony but in melody.”

Featuring Stories by: 

  • Sabaa Tahir
  • Sayantani DasGupta
  • Preeti Chhibber
  • Sona Charaipotra
  • Tanaz Bhathena
  • Sangu Mandanna
  • Olivia Chadha
  • Nafiza Azad
  • Tracey Baptiste
  • Naz Kutub
  • Nikita Gill
  • Swati Teerdhala
  • Shreya Ila Anasuya
  • Tahir Abrar