Are you making one of these baby safety mistakes?

Surprised baby girl with parents handsWhen it comes to baby safety, there are quite a few rules you probably know well: Put baby to sleep on his back, no bumpers or loose bedding in the crib, store poisonous items out of reach, never leave baby unattended on an elevated surface. The list goes on and on. Even though you do all of those things (and more), you may still be making mistakes that put your baby at risk. Right these wrongs to keep your baby safe.

Your baby sleeps in his car seat or swing

The last thing any parent wants to do when a baby falls asleep in the car seat or swing is to wake him up by moving him. However, a 2015 study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that letting infants and children up to 2 years of age sleep in so-called “sitting devices” can lead to injury or death. When a baby sleeps in a car seat or swing, his head can fall forward, which can cause him to not get enough air or to be strangled by the straps, says Katie McPeak, M.D., medical director of primary care at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. If your baby falls asleep in the seat while you’re driving, it’s not a big risk, as long as the car seat is secured in the car properly, and he’s buckled in correctly. Once you make it home, though, take him out of the seat and put him in his crib. The same thing applies if he falls asleep in the bouncer, swing, sling, or stroller. Relocate him to the safety of the crib.

You go down the slide together

You may go down the slide with your baby or toddler because it’s fun, she needs a little coaxing, or you want to make sure she reaches the other end safely. But going down in tandem could be risky. One study looked at pediatric shin bone fractures over an 11-month period and found nearly 14 percent happened when the child was going down the slide on an adult’s lap. “The child’s shoe or foot can catch on the slide, and then because the parent’s weight is coming down behind the child, it can cause the leg to twist or break,” says Tracy Mehan, manager of translational research in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio. The better option: Let your child go solo. “Lift her up to the halfway point and have her slide from there,” Mehan says. If your kiddo is afraid to go without you, choose a different activity until she’s ready.

The brake on your stroller doesn’t get enough use

We all know we’re supposed to apply the brakes on the stroller every time we take our hands off of it, but many parents don’t, Mehan says. All it takes is turning your head for one second, and then somebody bumps the stroller, an older sibling pushes it or depending on how big the baby is, her wiggling can make it move, she says. That can be especially dangerous if you’re on an elevated surface, or if the stroller rolls into traffic, parked cars, or it flips over. It’s also crucial to use the brake when you are putting your child in or taking him out of the stroller, or if you need to access the storage basket under the stroller. Make it a habit to apply the brakes every time you remove your hands, even if it’s only for a second. To help, remember this quick phrase: “Hands off, brake on.”

You use a head support with the car seat

If it didn’t come with the car seat, don’t use it. After-market car seat products like head and body supports and strap covers are a safety hazard. If an item wasn’t designed specifically for that particular car seat, it wasn’t safety-tested for that seat and could alter the performance of the car seat in the event of an injury, Dr. McPeak says. The same is true for fluffy winter coats and blankets. “They can make the distance between the baby and the straps wide enough that the baby could be ejected from the car seat in a crash,” Dr. McPeak warns.

To keep your baby warm, she recommends putting the blanket or coat on top of the straps, not on the baby. If you want to use head or body supports, check with the car seat manufacturer to see if there are any add-ons made (and safety-tested) specifically for your seat.

Your child eats (and drinks) on the go

We get it: Giving your toddler a snack or sippy cup decreases crying during car rides. But if your baby chokes, you won’t be able to see her in a rear-facing car seat, and you may not hear her since choking typically has no sound, says Melanie Potock, co-author of Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater. Even if you notice choking, it’s dangerous to try to quickly maneuver through traffic to be able to help her. In addition, “Hard-spouted sippy cups or hard plastic straws can cause facial lacerations should you need to hit the brakes quickly,” Potok says. Your best bet: Use a straw cup with a soft, silicone straw. Plan trips so that your child is able to have a sit-down meal before or after the ride. If you have to feed her on the road, pull over to a safe spot and get in the backseat with her. If she must have something and you can’t pull over, an o-shaped, non-sugary, meltable cereal is best.

Your toddler loves to “greet” dogs

We all know little kids, babies included, love animals. So when your toddler sees a cute, fuzzy doggie, her first instinct is to run up and give him a rub, which isn’t a good idea. Animals (all, not only dogs) are unpredictable. When you pair that with a small kid, who might do things or move in ways the animal perceives as a threat, things could get dicey fast. Even at this early age, you should begin teaching your child how to interact with animals. “Let your child know, ‘Every time you want to approach an animal, you need to be with an adult and ask first,” Mehan says. Then, she says, calmly walk towards the owner, ask for permission, and ask how the dog likes to be approached. Some dogs want to see your hands in front of their face; others prefer you stand by their side so they don’t feel threatened. Show your child how to pet the dog—the ASPCA advises taking care to avoid petting the dog on the top of the head—and talk to her about always being gentle. Once she’s done, teach her to thank the owner and say goodbye to the doggy.

You cover the stroller to protect your baby from the sun

If you have to go out on a scorching day, you probably cover your baby’s stroller with a blanket to reduce his sun exposure. But according to researchers in Sweden, this simple act—with even the thinnest blanket—can be quite serious because it reduces air circulation and the temperature in the stroller can get dangerously high, putting your baby at risk for heat stroke, suffocation, and even SIDS. “Babies can overheat in a much shorter time than adults, so it’s never a good idea to cover a baby’s stroller,” Dr. McPeak says. To protect your baby from the sun and heat, stay in when the temperatures are high (if possible), use a stroller that has a canopy, or use a parasol (an umbrella that clips on the stroller). Also, check on your baby frequently for signs of discomfort or heat exhaustion.

Source: Parents.com

How to make an impact on #GivingTuesday

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November29 is #GivingTuesday, and we want to know how you are going to give back to your community! Studies have found that the following health benefits have been associated with giving (Source: Cleveland Clinic):

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Less depression
  • Lower stress levels
  • Longer life
  • Greater happiness

We have listed some ideas to help you give back to our community.

  1. Donate to the Cameron Hospital Foundation to support your local hospital.
  2. Research volunteer opportunities with organization that meet your interest and goals. Steuben County United WayProject Help of Steuben County, CASA, RISE and Steuben County Council on Aging are just a few of the MANY organizations in Steuben County that offer volunteer opportunities.
  3. Help your friends and family with a project without expecting anything in return.
  4. Donate some of your unused and unneeded household items and toys to a local charity

Yoga with Jessica- Supported Reclining Bound Angle

ex-1November greetings yogi followers. Did I really say that?  November? Thanksgiving is this week, next month is Christmas and before you know it 2016 will be over!  Wow!  I don’t know about you, but I think time is flying by.

We will be doing double duty this month on the blog. I want to introduce you to a new pose and talk about gratitude.

It seems as if everyone turns to gratitude in the month of November. While that is wonderful, why wait until November to show gratitude? Gratitude is an appreciation for what one has. We should have gratitude for the little things, the monumental things, even the trials of life. Each and every day brings something to be thankful for.

Gratitude is a skill that requires practice.  I encourage you to take a few minutes each and every day to 1) recognize what you are thankful for, 2) acknowledge it, and 3) appreciate it!

Gratitude can make you happier, improve your health and reduce stress!  Wait, what?  Can gratitude do that? Yoga also has the ability to make you happier, improve your health and reduce stress. Who knew the two went hand in hand?

The pose I want to share with you this month is called supported reclining bound angle, which is a restorative pose.  It is a super comfortable resting pose that is used to restore or relax you. It opens your chest and reduces fatigue. It helps to draw your senses inward, and it is the perfect pose to sink into, to open yourself up and ponder gratitude.

While this pose may look intimidating, maybe even a little awkward, it really is not. The amount of props you use is dependent upon your openness, flexibility and comfort. There is no limit to the number of props used to assist you. When you try the supported reclining bound angle, get comfortable and relax your overworked body and mind. Don’t be surprised if gratitude overwhelms you. Sometimes all it takes is a few quiet, relaxing moments to draw your senses inward to realize how much you have.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Picture source: Health and Fitness Travel

Stress, Lack of Sleep Can Increase Your Risk of Developing Diabetes

Stress, Lack of Sleep Can Increase Your Risk of Developing DiabetesDeveloping type 2 diabetes as an adult is not only about eating habits. Several lifestyle factors — including stress — can put you at a greater risk of developing the disease.

In type 2 diabetes, you have too much sugar, also called glucose, in your blood. People with diabetes have problems converting food to energy.

After a meal, food is broken down into glucose, which is carried by your blood to cells throughout your body. Cells absorb glucose from your blood with the help of the hormone insulin and use it for energy.

Type 2 diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition linked to excess weight in which your body’s cells do not use insulin properly. As a result, your body needs more insulin to help glucose enter cells.

The impact of stress

Stress is one of the more overlooked factors that can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, says endocrinologist Mary Vouyiouklis Kellis, MD.

“Stress puts your body into a flight or fight mode. As a result, your levels of hormone such as adrenaline and cortisol rise. This can impact your blood glucose levels,” Dr. Kellis says.

“If you have pre-diabetes, these increases in blood glucose levels can’t be effectively lowered because you’re insulin-resistant,” she says. “As a result, over time, stress can increase a person’s risk to develop type 2 diabetes.”    

Another problem with stress is that the increase in cortisol can make you want to eat more than you should, Dr. Kellis says.

People who stress-eat are more likely to gain weight. Carrying too much weight is one of the biggest risk factors for type 2 diabetes, she says.

Sleep matters, too

Another often-overlooked risk factor is sleep deprivation, Dr. Kellis says.

In addition to making you crave carbohydrates and sugar-loaded foods, Dr. Kellis said a lack of sleep can make you less likely to want to exercise, which eventually will  lead to putting on more pounds.

Healthy lifestyle choices

Dr. Kellis reminds her patients that keeping an eye on lifestyle habits and being aware of your personal risk factors can help lessen the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

“Eating healthy is very important,” Dr. Kellis says. “That means eating protein, reducing fine sugars, sugary sweets and beverages, and making sure you add protein, whole grains, fiber and vegetables to your diet.”

Exercise also has an important role in avoiding diabetes, she says.

Even for those who don’t do vigorous exercise, it’s important to at least try to get up and walk, especially after meals, Dr. Kellis says. She also recommends working to reduce stress by practicing yoga and meditation.

More than 400 million adults have diabetes worldwide and diabetes is responsible for about 5 million deaths each year.

Source: Cleveland Clinic Blog

How to help mom or dad find a good nursing home

 

How to Help Mom or Dad Find a Good Nursing HomeYour parent planned to age in-place at home, but the plan is no longer working. Maybe mom has had a series of falls. Maybe dad often forgets to take his medicine. Moving a parent to an assisted living facility or a nursing home is often the next step when you’re concerned about the safety of living alone.

Moving to a community where meals, medication management and other personal and medical services are readily available may sound like a good solution. Some parents will pitch in to help plan the move, but many older adults are not so keen on doing this.

It is sometimes a heart-wrenching decision for the whole family, but there are ways to smooth out the process.

Understand your parent’s anxiety 

Older adults often have fears about moving to an assisted living or skilled nursing center, says geriatrician William Zafirau, MD.

For instance, your mother may cherish her solitude and privacy. Your father may worry that community living is filled with social activities and meddlers. Others fear losing control over medical decisions and lifestyle preferences, s

uch as what time to eat a meal.

 

“You have to make an effort to look at it from your parents’ perspective and find out what’s important to them,” Dr. Zafirau says.

Sometimes a family physician can help. The doctor can explain the benefits of such a move to your parent, including the peace of mind it will bring to family members to know that others will help see to the parent’s safety and comfort.

How to choose a skilled nursing or assisted living facility

Many nursing facilities have a long waiting list, so you should begin researching centers as soon as you see a move coming.

A good place to start is the federal government’s Nursing Home Compare, maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The listing of Medicare and Medicaid-certified facilities includes inspections, staff ratios and other quality measures.

Dr. Zafirau suggests visiting a handful of nursing homes alone or with siblings, then narrowing down the list to two or so to visit with your parent.

During each visit:

  • Watch how staff members interact with residents.
  • Pay attention to your nose and eyes. (Does the place look clean? Do you notice unpleasant odors or does the place smell clean?)
  • Ask specific questions, such as how quickly staff members can respond if your parent needs help in the bathroom.

“They should have answers for your questions and they shouldn’t be defensive,” Dr. Zafirau says.

Also, when choosing the best fit for your parent, pay attention to how close the facility is to where you and other family members live and work.

The federal government does not regulate assisted living communities, so their quality and services may vary widely. Visit several times at different times of day, including during a meal.

Ask these questions:

  • Does the facility offer 24-hour assistance?
  • Will the staff help with bathing and other personal needs?
  • How do meals work at the facility (and what about special diets)?
  • What floor-plan options are available?
  • Does the facility offer rides to doctor’s offices or for shopping?
  • Does the community have a skilled nursing center?

Help reduce the stress of moving 

Whether your parent makes the move to an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing home, it’s a big undertaking — both mentally and physically — for the whole family.

Doing the following can help with the move:

Involve your parent. Include your parents in decisions about the move as much as possible, Dr. Zafirau says. Ask how you can best help them and try not to hover, he says.

Plan for furniture. As downsizing gets underway, design a floor plan to help your parent decide what furniture will fit in the new space. Help sort out what to do with things that won’t fit. Find out if the facility offers any transitional or relocation services.

Visit often. After the move, visit often to see how your parent is adjusting to the new environment. Find out how meals are going and make sure your parent is getting enough sleep. If things are not going well, you might talk to your parent’s doctor about temporary medication to reduce anxiety, Dr. Zafirau says.

Help with the transition. During your visits, you can help your parent meet new neighbors and get involved in relationships and activities at the new place. After a transition period many older adults find that they enjoy having things to do and more people around instead of living alone.

Source: Cleveland Clinic

Low-Carb Weight Loss Plans

Now more than ever, cutting carbs is the first thing many people do when embarking on a weight-loss plan. But does this strategy work? And, does it matter what kind of carbs you take in?

3 Claims for Why Low-Carb Works (And, Are They True?)
There is no common consensus as to why a low-carb eating plan can help with weight loss. Here is a quick-and-dirty summary for why some claim that low-carb eating can help you shed pounds:

1. Carbohydrates trigger insulin to enhance your body’s fat-storing ability.
During digestion, carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream as glucose (aka blood sugar). In response, your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that opens the door to your body’s cells, allowing glucose to get inside. This is important because your body tissues and organs (especially your brain!) use glucose for fuel. Insulin is stimulated by the food we eat in varying degrees, and carbohydrates stimulate insulin more than any other macronutrient. Protein stimulates insulin to a lesser extent, but fat doesn’t stimulate insulin at all.

What does this mean for weight loss? The release of insulin after a high-carb meal signals a shutdown of fat burning while the body uses the glucose from the carbohydrates for energy. This mechanism is what fuels the low-carb debate. Except there’s one problem. The notion that stimulating less insulin so you can burn fat doesn’t pan out in the research. The problem with this claim is that you’re always burning fat at rest, and, depending on your intensity, during exercise, too. Insulin’s effect on fat burning only occurs after a meal. A number of factors more directly affect your body-fat composition than insulin. This includes energy balance (how many calories you eat versus how much exercise you get), strength training, hormonal factors and genetics.

2. Low-carbohydrate foods help control cravings.
This claim definitely has some meat to it. It’s something I say to my clients all the time: The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you want. Cutting back on sugary sweets and refined carbohydrates can help decrease your cravings for them over time. But, an even more effective (and easier!) strategy is to eat more protein. Studies show that protein helps you feel full for longer periods of time, which can reduce food intake overall and even reduce cravings. In fact, one study showed that eating a high-protein breakfast (40% protein) caused a decrease in food cravings and late-night snacking. This appetite-controlling effect is seen without purposely limiting calories, allowing you to feel full on less food.

3. It takes more energy (aka calories) to digest protein.
This claim is also true. Similar to its satiating effects, protein also increases your energy expenditure. It does this by something called the thermic effect of food. All foods require energy to digest, and protein uses up the most. It takes about 20–35% of the calories in protein-rich foods just to digest it. Depending on your protein intake, this can amount to a significant calorie savings each day. The potential danger of eating too much protein is that it can be taxing on your kidneys.

So what’s really behind the weight loss seen on a low-carb diet? It’s likely a combination of factors, including the ones mentioned above. Additionally, when someone undergoes a lower-carb eating plan they may choose more quality carbohydrates (e.g., fruit, veggies, whole-grains) in lieu of refined carbohydrates (e.g., white bread, sweets, pasta).

Recommendations for Eating Low-Carb
If your weight struggle centers around cravings for too many sugary snacks and other refined carbohydrates, a low-carb, high-protein diet may be effective for you. Increasing protein while limiting refined carbohydrates and sweets can help increase satiety and thwart cravings. If you do choose to follow a lower-carb eating plan for weight loss, here are three things to consider:

1. Focus on food quality.
Before getting started, take a good look at your overall diet quality and find areas where you can make an upgrade. Switch to nutritious protein sources like lean cuts of meats and poultry; fish and seafood; low-fat dairy and eggs. Seek out rich sources of omega-3 fats like salmon, sardines, flaxseed and walnuts. Enjoy plant-based fats like avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil. Limit your intake of fried and highly processed foods. Increase your vegetable intake, and make sure to get some leafy greens every day. And don’t forget about fermented foods! One or two servings per day of low-sugar yogurt, tempeh, sauerkraut or kimchi can help balance your gut bacteria.

2. Watch your portion sizes.
For improved portion control, try practicing the plate method. Strive to make half your plate leafy greens and vegetables. Then balance the remaining half with lean protein, healthy fats and high-fiber carbohydrates like beans, quinoa or berries.

3. Choose higher-quality carbohydrates.
It’s not necessary to completely avoid carbohydrates while on a lower-carb diet. Start by reducing or eliminating highly refined carbohydrates (e.g., white flour, white bread, snack foods) and sugar (e.g., soda, candy, sugary cereals). Then, begin increasing high-fiber foods like leafy greens, vegetables, low-sugar fruits, whole grains and beans. Getting enough fiber is super-important for weight loss while on a low-carb diet. It’s not only essential for optimal digestive tract health (yup, it keeps you “regular”), but it also helps slow the release of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. This effect helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep your appetite (and those sugar cravings!) under control.

Source: MyFitnessPal

Cameron names Mayor’s Beautification winner

 

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(L to R): Mayor Richard Hickman, John Williamson and Cameron’s CEO Connie McCahill

With the fall air officially here, Mayor Richard Hickman along with Cameron Hospital awarded John Williamson with the Mayor’s Beautification Award. Mr. Williamson was awarded this honor for his outstanding work on his property at 904 Bluffview Drive.

 

Mr. Williamson built the house on Bluffview Drive in the late 1980s, and lived there for five years until he moved to a home on Clear Lake. “I sold the house in the early 1990s and two families have lived in the home since that time,” said Williamson. “The landscaping really grew out of control.” Four years ago, Williamson bought the house back and decided to restore the house to its former glory.

Over the course of two years, Williamson removed several shrubs and trees that had grown past the doors and windows; the house was completely obstructed. “There were thistles about two feet tall in the backyard that I had to dig out just so I could see the yard,” said Williamson. Not only has he worked to update the outside of the house, he is working hard on the inside as well.

The purpose of the Mayor’s Beautification Award is to promote and recognize the efforts of city residents who beautify their residential landscapes and the exterior of their residential properties.  The award is being sponsored by Cameron Memorial Community Hospital as part of its commitment to promote wellness and a high quality of community life.

The public is invited to nominate themselves or another residence that is deserving of some positive recognition.  Nominations must be located within the Angola city limits and the area nominated must be visible from the public right of way.  Nomination forms are available on the City of Angola’s website at www.angolain.org or on Cameron Memorial Community Hospital’s website at www.cameronmch.com.    Nominees should meet the following criteria:

  • Neatness and maintenance of property and other structures
  • Maintenance of planting areas, landscape and all visible yard
  • Absence of debris
  • Eligible residential properties include:  single, duplex or multi-family; the residence need not be owner-occupied

Similar awards are also offered to residents of Fremont.  For more information on the award, contact Angola City Planner, Vivian Likes at (260) 665-7465.

Can whole grain help regulate your blood pressure?

How a Whole-Grain Diet Can Help Regulate Your Blood PressureA diet rich in whole grains may significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in overweight and obese adults who are younger than age 50, new research from Cleveland Clinic shows.

A team of Cleveland Clinic researchers led by John Kirwan, PhD, in collaboration with Nestlé Research Center, conducted one of the largest controlled studies of its kind on whole grains.

The findings, published today in the Journal of Nutrition, suggest that whole grains can be a key regulator of blood pressure, and could provide an effective nutritional strategy to reduce cardiovascular-related deaths and disorders.

“Heart disease and strokes are a leading cause of death in the United States,” Dr. Kirwan says. “This research shows that eating whole grains reduces the risk factors for heart disease.”

Dr. Kirwan is director of the Metabolic Translational Research Center, which is part of Cleveland Clinic’s Endocrinology & Metabolism Institute.

Whole grains vs. refined grains

In the study, a group of 33 overweight and obese adults followed either a whole-grain diet or a refined grain diet for two eight-week periods.

The diets were exactly the same, except for whether they consisted of whole grains or refined grains.

At the beginning and end of each diet period, the participants underwent three days of metabolic testing in a clinical research setting.

Those on the whole-grain diet saw a three-fold greater improvement in their diastolic blood pressure compared to when they ate the refined-grain diet.

What the study means

Blood pressure typically is recorded as two numbers. The systolic is the top number, which measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic is the bottom number, which measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle is resting between heartbeats.

Before age 50, an elevated diastolic blood pressure is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk.

Based on large populations studies, the improvement seen after the whole grain diet equates to reducing the risk of death from heart disease by almost a third, and the risk of death from a stroke by two-fifths, Dr. Kirwan says.

“The result that was most intriguing was the greater improvement in diastolic blood pressure after the whole-grain diet; diastolic blood pressure is the pressure associated with the relaxation of the heart and blood vessels,” Dr. Kirwan says. The number was reduced by a substantial amount.”

Hypertension – or high blood pressure – is a common obesity-related condition that affects about 30 percent of U.S. adults and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

As people with elevated diastolic blood pressure get older, they are at a higher-than-average risk of developing elevated systolic blood pressure.

Other benefits

All participants saw substantial reductions in body weight, fat loss, systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL-cholesterol during both diet periods. However, the researchers say, these differences were due to the participants changing their usual eating habits to the carefully controlled diets.

“Both were healthy diets, and both diets had a similar amount of calories and were from healthy foods. The only difference was the whole grain,” Dr. Kirwan says.

More research is needed to figure out what it is about whole grains that caused the drop in diastolic blood pressure, Dr. Kirwan says.

In the meantime, the study shows that it’s a smart move to add whole grains to your diet and drop the refined grains, he says.

The recommendations from the United States Department of Agriculture is for Americans to eat 50 grams of whole grain a day, he says. Currently, U.S. adults are eating about 16 grams a day on average.

“So we have a lot of room for improvement — and that improvement could improve your cardiovascular profile, and reduce your risk for disease,” Dr. Kirwan says.

Source: Cleveland Clinic Blog

Yoga with Jessica-Namaste

Namaste.jpgHave you ever attended or watched a yoga class where the teacher said “Namaste” before or after the class? What does it mean and why do yogis say it? This month we won’t be reviewing a specific pose. Instead, we are going to take a deeper look into the roots of “Namaste” and what exactly the phrase is used to show.

If you remember from earlier posts, yoga was developed in India over 5,000 years ago by Hindu sages. Sanskrit is an ancient, sacred language of India, and Namaste is rooted in the Sanskrit language. Namaste is simply the Indian way of greeting each other. Throughout the years and the evolution of yoga, Namaste has taken on many different meanings.

I had a yoga teacher tell me once that “Namaste” meant” the light in me honors the light in you.” Depending on your beliefs and what yoga means to you, Namaste can have a great depth of meaning. As I was becoming a registered yoga teacher, I questioned whether I would use Namaste in my classes. I had to research, soul search, talk it over with others and pray about it. I didn’t want to snub the tradition of Namaste, but I also didn’t want to veer away from my personal beliefs.

Through quiet moments, both on my mat and with God, I have come to realize that Namaste is a form of respect as well as gratitude. I am grateful to those Hindu sages for creating a beautiful practice. It has truly evolved over the years, and you can make your yoga practice anything you want. It is your body and your practice.

To practice Namaste, we bring our hands together at heart center (prayer hands), bow our heads slightly and say Namaste. Students have the option of saying it back, though it is not required. In most yoga classes, Namaste is said at the very end of the practice.

I am neither Indian nor Hindu, but I do incorporate this saying in my yoga classes. It is out of respect and gratitude to the Hindu sages, as well as to all of my students. I end my classes with, “Namaste and God Bless.”  For me, Namaste does translate to “the light in me honors the light in you.”  So why not embrace that light together and let it shine brightly on the world.

Namaste