EPISODE 78
BurstFIT – Deep Sleep – Goals & Support – Dr. Axe

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Dr. Axe’s calling to natural health and medicine came when he was a child and saw his mother battle an illness. He has since founded the Exodus Health Center one of America’s largest wellness clinics as well as being the co-founder of BurstFit. Lucas also answer listener questions about yoga and flexibility. This week’s nutritional tip is all about MSG.

In this Show, You’ll learn:

  • Value of interval training
  • Essential supplements
  • Goal setting and community
  • Yoga videos as education

Links & References from the Show

Got questions?

Lucas:

Yoga students, if you love to learn about yoga, health and wellness, plant-based nutrition, flexibility and mind/body biohacking, you have come to the right place, my friend. Welcome to the Yoga Talk Show with Lucas Rockwood, where my goal is to make your yoga practice just that much easier. Find us online at YogaBodyNaturals.com. We’re also on Facebook and YouTube. Check us out. Now let’s get on with the show.

So hello and welcome, everyone, Lucas Rockwood here, the Yoga Talk Show, thanks for tuning in. I’m here today with a very special guest, Dr. Josh Axe. Please mean Josh Axe. He’s a doctor of chiropractic. He’s also a clinical nutritionist. In 2008, Dr. Axe founded the Exodus Health Center, which quickly grew into one of the world’s largest wellness clinics in the U.S. He’s worked with professional athletes, celebrities and people all over the world, through his website and his online work, to help people transform their health.

You might know Josh through his top-rated radio show, which is where I first heard about him. He’s also been on television a number of times, and he has a very popular website which is DrAxe.com.

So thanks so much for joining us, Josh.

Josh:

Hey, no problem, Lucas. Thanks for having me.

Lucas:

So I’ve got a list of sort of burning questions here in front of me, but before we jump into those maybe you can just take a moment to tell people a little bit about who you are and your work, to kind of set the stage.

Josh:

Sure. Well, I teach principles of natural medicine and nutrition, and really a big part of my health journey started when my mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was a young kid. And I remember her going through chemo, getting very sick and just thinking I never want to see anyone have to go through what she went through again. And then years later she was diagnosed with cancer a second time, and the second time we actually did a holistic treatment. We had her start juicing vegetables, we had her start doing probiotic-rich foods and her body was completely healed and restored after following these natural treatment methods, and some of those things are what led me into becoming a doctor and also becoming a nutritionist and learning a lot of these holistic principles that I’ve taught my patients today.

So for me, my biggest goal is just to transform as many peoples’ — really just help as many people as I can change their diet, get healthy and find natural cures to their health conditions. And so I’ve authored a book called The Real Food Diet, I also teach fitness programs that are revolved around interval training called Burst Fit, and run my online health site DrAxe.com where we put out sort of the latest information about health, nutrition and diet. And that’s what I do now, and I love it.

Lucas:

Perfect. I find that so many people have a similar story, where they get into health and wellness and healing because of some kind of incident, a health crisis. Whether it was their own health crisis or someone else’s, and I think the real benefit for people listen is if and whenever possible, to try to be preventative and proactive rather than reactive, and I know my story is certainly reactive as well. But I think that’s really the great benefit that we have these days with freedom and ease of information, is that we have all the knowledge and all the tools to be proactive with our health as opposed to reactive.

So you know, one of the things that you mentioned is one of my first questions I wanted to jump right into. A lot of our listeners have a traditional fitness background. A lot of people grew up in the 80s with cardio and gym workouts and jazzercise and these kinds of things. And I know you’re the co-founder of Burst Fit and I know you’re a fan of interval training, high-intensity workouts. For a lot of people listening, this flies in the face of everything they ever learned about exercise. They think that exercise has to be my heart beats above 120 beats per minute for more than 20 minutes or nothing’s happening. I’m not in this magic fat-burning zone. (04:04) So tell us about your work in and around fitness, tell us about interval training, tell us why this is a big revolution in the way people are approaching fitness.

Josh:

Sure. Well, I grew up into fitness. In fact, when I mentioned my mom earlier, she was my gym teacher when I was in elementary school, she was a swim instructor, my dad was a semi-professional water skier, I played a lot of sports. So we were always into being fit as a family, and then I went into University of Kentucky in undergrad and I became a personal trainer and worked as a manager at a gym there, joined the triathlon team for the university and just really continued to develop my passion for health and fitness.

And then eventually got more into nutrition and becoming a physician, but for me exercise has always been so important to me and I’m always looking at the latest research and studies, trying to find out how can I get my patients the best results possible and help them reach their health goals. (05:02) And one of the things that we’ve really seen over the past 5 to 10 years is more and more studies coming out showing that interval training, like Burst Training or Tabata or high-intensity interval training, it’s the fastest way to burn fat and lose weight.

And so traditionally I know when I first started training, we did some basic weight training and then we’d get on the elliptical or treadmill or spin bike and you’d do about 40, 45 minutes of cardio and that was thought to be the fastest way to burn fat. But now we’re finding that actually doing the long-distance exercise, and I’m not talking about just here and there but if you’re consistently doing training for marathons or triathlons it can actually be very, very hard on your health. It can cause you to age faster. Again, this isn’t me from saying this from what I’ve seen. This is what the medical journals are showing, that those sorts of long-distance exercise are not the fastest way to burn fat, and there’s a clinical study that was published and the Journal of Strength and Condition also was done at the University of Whales and they found when people did interval training on a spin bike, 8 seconds on, 12 seconds off for 15 weeks, for 20 minutes, so 20 minutes of interval training versus 40 minutes of just straight spinning class, the people over a 15-week period lost 3 times more body fat who did interval training and they exercised in half the time.

So there is no doubt about it, from the scientific evidence, that interval training, so exercising like a sprinter rather than a marathon runner is much more effective when it comes to fat loss. And in terms of creating a toned, lean body, as so many people would want today, you’re going to get much, much better results doing interval burst-like training, rather than doing traditional cardio.

Now, I do want to mention this as well, Lucas. I’m a big fan of what I call adaptive exercise, like Pilates, yoga, things like barre classes. In fact, one of my very good friends Suzanne Bowen she’s the founder of a method called BarreAmped. So my wife and I actually do a lot of barre classes. We do a lot of isometrics, and barre really incorporates dance, some yoga and Pilates. And so I’m a huge fan of that as well, especially when it comes to toning, increasing balance, flexibility. So again, huge fan of that.

So when I lay out a training program for clients, typically it incorporates some weight training, some interval cardio called Burst Training, as well as doing some adaptive isometric or those pulsing movements that are so common today in exercises like barre classes.

And so those are really the methods I teach as part of what’s called my Burst Fit training program, and Burst Fit follows more of the Tabata method of 40 seconds on, 20 seconds of rest in between sets and really trying to get your heart rate up and going as hard as you can, while you’re doing those exercises.

Lucas:

Yeah, for people listening who maybe have never tried interval training and they’re maybe stuck in this paradigm that all of us really got indoctrinated in at some point. You can feel this resistance coming up and you can say, oh but running makes me feel so good and these long workouts make me feel so good, and I would never, ever want to discourage somebody from doing something they love, but at the same time if what you’re doing is not helping you achieve your goals then you need to reevaluate.

Josh:

Well you know, Lucas, I’ll mention this as well, myself being a tri-athlete over the years. I’m one of those people, I actually love doing cardio. Some people hate cardio, where I’ll go out and ride my bike for an hour or two and love it, or go for a 5, 10-mile run and absolutely just love doing that. But because the research I’ve seen, I vary my workouts. And I haven’t stopped running, but now I’ll run a minute, walk 30 seconds or I’ll go to my local track and I’ll do repeat 200s or 300s or when I get in the pool I do intervals that way. So again, there are ways that people, I still think can do some of the cardio they like but just mix it up and doing intervals of something like 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off or 40 on, 20 off and get a lot of the same results and still enjoy doing that type of exercise.

Lucas:

Yeah, we see that at the yoga studio. People will come in and they’ll want to do four classes in a day, and it’s this kind of thing where they say well I’m going to burn 500 to 800 calories in one class so multiply that by 4 and I’m going to burn a pound of fat. It’s like this sort of kindergarten math applied to fat loss. It just never works out like that. And when people are going for very specific goals, I think when you start asking really, really smart questions like who is looking to do what I’m doing and who’s doing it well, and a lot of times people are taking the wrong approach and the stuff that comes to mind first is often not the most effective.

I want to jump into a very controversial topic. I know that you’re a fan of supplementation. I’m a big supplement geek. For 15 years I’ve tried every kind of crazy supplement you can imagine, and now I manufacture them. And so I’m super biased, but this is a hot topic and everyone has a different opinion on this. But you have a lot more credentials than me, a lot more experience than me. (10:20) So I’m curious, as a nutritionist, as a holistic practitioner, you advocate supplementation, so if you were going to pick three supplements or a handful of supplements or maybe just one supplement that you’ve seen people just have massive results, where even the biggest skeptic in the world might see a shift and start realizing perhaps our planet is not as it was 100 years ago, perhaps our foods are a little bit more deficient, for you what really stands out?

Josh:

Well you know, I could take this in a lot of different directions. I just want to make sure I’m going to answer this correctly. Do you want me to get into my dietary philosophy and the top foods I recommend or what to stay away from? How do you want me to get into this?

Lucas:

I feel like if you went down the food path we could probably be here until 2015. But I’m just curious about in terms of supplementation in general. And so somebody comes in and is it krill oil, is it protein powder? What are the things you’re seeing just massive shifts? Because everyone I talk to just has such radically different opinions on this. People are using stuff I’ve never even heard of. I’m always just curious, with your experience and your clinical work, what kinds of things are you seeing people having results with?

Josh:

Yeah, that’s a great question. So for myself, and by the way it’s always changing, thanks to Dr. Oz and some of these other people out there it’s like hey if we talk about raspberry keytones this week or green coffee next week or Garcinia Cambogia, there’s always a new hot supplement on the market today. When it comes to fat loss, when it comes to overall health, there are certain things that I think have many, many clinical studies and that I personally think are the best. And I also want to mention this about supplements. Supplements are for supplementing and already healthy diet. (12:18) So if you have extra funds, I typically first focus on your food, next go ahead and focus on food-based supplements.

One of the things I always look for when I’m buying supplements is, is my body going to recognize this similar to how it would be a food? I want to tell you why. There are a lot of women out there today, Lucas, taking calcium supplements. Those supplements have actually been shown to cause calcification of the arteries, increasing a woman’s risk of heart attack and stroke, and that surprises a lot of them but that’s because 90% of the calcium supplements today are created from mineral salts and ground limestone. So you can actually get minerals from rocks today, as a lot of these big manufacturers do, and that type of calcium, calcium carbonate, is damaging to your arteries.

So when I’m looking for a calcium supplement, and I’ll answer your question here in a minute, I just want to talk about why the quality of supplements you’re buying is such a big deal. But when I’m buying a calcium supplement I’m out there, I’m not looking for just to say calcium on the label. I want to see some whole foods on the label. I want to see broccoli, spinach and some other foods that I know are high in calcium, on the label. I also want to see the co-factors that help your body in utilizing calcium, like vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin K. So I want to mention that. The first thing I look for when I’m buying a supplement is, is this a whole food-based supplement.

After that, let me jump into the supplements that I use most often. (13:46) Number one is a green super food powder, and this typically has super foods like chlorella in it, so different types of algae, may have some wheatgrass juice, but this is really increasing, in a way, my vegetable and herbal consumption. Herbs are the most nutrient-dense compounds on the planet, with really the most overall health benefits. And so I really try and get some of these foods that I typically wouldn’t be able to get into my diet in there. So again, a green super food is at the top of the list.

After that, a good quality fish oil. I actually take a fish oil supplement that has vitamin D in it and an antioxidant called Astaxanthin, and the reason that I like this is it’s the closest thing I could purchase to consuming wild-caught salmon. We’ve seen over and over again the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. So I don’t only just buy a distilled cheap fish oil. I buy a fish oil that has actually antioxidants in it called carotenoids, which are very similar to what you find in krill oil but what my company distributes now is a sort of salmon oil, and it also has vitamin D in it. So I do that supplement, the fish oil with Astaxanthin.

A few others that I think are beneficial, it really depends on what somebody is struggling with. If somebody would need to reduce stress, I’m a big fan of adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and rhodiola. Those are very, very popular. They support fat loss, they support reducing cortisol levels, so slow the aging process. So rhodiola, ashwagandha are two other supplements I’m a huge, huge fan of.

Those are probably, in terms of what I personally supplement with on a daily basis, super food powder, fish oil and then probiotics are probably the other thing that I supplement with, but I also try and get some of these other things in food form. So I still try and eat probiotic-rich foods, I still try and get omega-3s through grass-fed beef and chia seeds and consuming wild-caught salmon during the week. But probably super food, fish oil and probiotics are the ones that I personal consume most.

But if somebody has a specific condition, Lucas, let’s say for instance somebody is struggling with severe pain in their body. Well, then I may recommend something like bromelain, which comes from the core of a pineapple. It’s a proteolytic enzyme. If somebody’s struggling with, let’s say some sort of inflammation like arthritis, I’d probably have them take turmeric, which I think is amazing herb.

So I think it can vary based on the person, but I would say those are the most common I recommend people to talk.

Lucas:

It’s an interesting thing. A lot of people, I mean the most common nutritional supplement in the world, I think, is Centrum multi-vitamins, and it’s this one a day idea. Having one vitamin capsule a day is sort of like the idea of having one meal a day. Perhaps it’s possible, but it’s pretty challenging to make that work nutritionally, and I think the big takeaway for me from what you just said is making sure you understand what you’re taking is quality. Because like you said, I don’t know what percentage it is but it’s probably 80% of the calcium on the market is calcium carbonate, the cheapest form of calcium available. And on paper it looks just fine, but when we’re talking about how it’s metabolized and how it actually affects your body, it’s not something you want to be using.

And so for people taking the Duane Reade’s, CVS multi-vitamins, these kinds of things, these low-cost vitamins in general when you start cutting costs, again, they’re going to be taking that calcium instead of from food or from animal sources, they’re going to be taking it from, like you said, from rocks, which is going to be a completely different affect on your body.

Josh:

Oh yeah.

Lucas:

I wanted to kind of take a right turn here and talk about something I think a lot of people take for granted. Whether it’s a yoga student trying to get in shape or whether it’s somebody who’s coming to you with whatever problem, whether it’s digestion or back problems or whatever it is, I want to talk a little bit about goals and community support, in terms of accomplishing your goals. I know you talk and write a lot about this. (17:54) I’m curious on what your thoughts are in terms of the importance of setting goals and of having community support, emotional support for what you’re trying to do. I’ve read studies about weight loss, for example, that show that the deciding factor is less about diet, more about the people around you and I’ve certainly seen that to be true in some cases. I still think diet’s really important, but I’m curious what your experience has been in terms of setting goals, people around you, emotional support and how that factors into long-term success.

Josh:

Sure, Lucas. (18:26) One of my biggest life lessons is you become who you surround yourself with, and I’ve actually heard other life coaches and pastors and people say things like the five people you’re around most are who you’re going to be like the most. And so I think the people you surround yourself with is a big, big deal. Now, I don’t think hanging around certain people will make up in terms of body weight directly, but I think indirectly because it can influence your choices. You’re more prone to do what they do or think like they think. I think in that way it could definitely affect your overall health.

So one of the things I’ve taught my patients to do for years is when they come in and we sit down and we do a nutrition consult or I know for a health exam, we do lay out goals. We lay out specific timelines, we lay out a strategy to get there. So we are very strategic, very goal-oriented. And there’s actually a good study out of Harvard University Business School, and they looked at different determining factors for what it took for somebody to be successful and they asked them all these questions. And one of the questions they asked them was do you set goals, and if you do, do you write them down. And they tracked these Harvard Business students, this was done in 1981, tracked them for 10 years and they found that after 10 years later the 3% of Harvard students who had written goals were making 10 times more than the other 97% combined.

(19:54) So what we see in terms of goal setting, especially writing your goals down and monitoring yourself, it is a huge deal. It’s more important than knowing what to do, most of the time. You’ve got to figure out what your goals are, what your purpose is in those things, number one, and then again, I think support’s — I think this is why exercise programs like — I know in my area CrossFit is huge, as are barre classes, I mentioned barre earlier, and I think these are very, very popular because they have a big community component to them. So I think again, yoga, Pilates, barre, these are very, very popular because the community. I think the interval community, things like CrossFit is growing rapidly because of that very same reason.

So I would speak to those and say if you’re going to see results, you absolutely have to set goals and you really need to look at the people that are in your life, and if people are negative — and I’m not saying hey if you’ve got a friend that’s over weight you don’t want to stop hanging out with them because of that, but again, you look at people in your life and if you’re trying to grow in a specific area you may look at some friends that have better eating habits or that are more emotionally supportive to you and that are more uplifting and encouraging and get yourself around those people. So Lucas, I actually think that’s very, very important when somebody’s striving to be healthy.

Lucas:

It’s such a challenging thing, when your friends and your social circle are not supportive. We see this in our yoga studio. We tend to teach really athletic, strong styles of yoga, which are logically pretty effective for getting people in shape. But some of our biggest success stories are people who come once a week to restorative classes, and they can’t figure out what they’ve done differently. And a lot of it is just that social support and being in an environment where people are healthy and they’re talking about health and health is valued and these kind of things.

The other thing that comes to mind for me immediately is about half my team is in Manila in the Philippines, and Manila is now the biggest outsourcing country in the world. It surpassed India. And I went to visit my team about a year ago, and one of my graphic designers, he’d just put on a ton of weight and I said what’s going on, what’s happening? And he just said I started working the night shift and I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve just eaten, eaten and the poor guy is 23, 24 years old and he just is looking like hell. And I started reading research in Manila. All the local newspapers are covering this. People are having all kinds of crazy hormonal problems. These BPOs, thousands and thousands of staff who are working from basically midnight until eight in the morning.

So it was really a wakeup call to me to realize I have this health and wellness company and here I am making my staff stay up all night. So first thing we did was shift everybody’s hours, so everybody works normal daylight hours, and immediately their productivity went up, their health improved and I think a lot of people are doing this. Whether they have a graveyard shift or not, they might be in a workplace that is really unhealthy. Maybe they work at a pub or maybe they work at a bar, maybe they work in industries that are notoriously unhealthy, like entertainment or whatever it is, and sometimes your health goals just don’t align with your social circle and you’ve got to make a break in order to have a breakthrough.

So this leads to me right into my next question, which I know is another big topic for you which is sleep. And it’s a big problem for me, I’m a terrible sleeper, I always have been. I’m always doing all kinds of things. Part of the reason I’m into yoga and meditation is to try to combat this, and hundreds of millions of people suffer from sleep problems. As I get older, I realize how important it is for stress management, hormonal balance and things like this and it just becomes this kind of issue that amplifies. I just can’t get away with not sleeping anymore. (23:46) So I’m curious, with people that you work with is sleep a big issue, what are your tips for improving quality of sleep and what are things that people should be thinking about?

Josh:

Sure. Well yeah, I think sleep is very, very important. In fact, I’m one of those people if I’m not getting eight hours I personally just don’t function well. And for myself, I would rather go and get my eight hours of sleep and only get let’s say seven hours of work in a day versus get six and-a-half hours or so and go and get nine or ten hours of work in, in a day because I know if I have seven completely focused and rested hours I’m so much more productive. A lot of people are so tired during the day that they almost get nothing done.

And I put this in the same category of exercise. When I go in and exercise, I’m not in there here and there kind of going light at the weights, kind of doing everything halfway. When I’m exercising, I’m in there, I’m focused and whether I’m doing a barre or Pilates class or I’m doing burst interval training or whatever it is, I am focused. I put my full intensity and energy into it, in form and everything I’m doing, and I believe I get better results because I have higher energy, I’m more focused during my workouts.

(25:02) And so again, I think people just need to make a shift. A lot of times people think, well it’s the amount of time I spend working or spend with my family or spend exercising. I’m here to say it’s more about quality. So that goes back to the sleep thing. I think most people don’t get enough sleep because they don’t put it at high enough priority. And so I think that’s a major issue.

(25:30) Tips to sleep better, number one, do not consume a lot of carbs before bed. Fruit, desserts, breads, pastas, I would eliminate all carbs before bed, aside from vegetables. So I would do a good piece of organic meat, double to triple vegetables on your plate for dinner and not consume food right before you go to bed. Again, consuming carbs at night is one of the biggest things that will keep people up. Also, coffee later in the day. You can do a cup of coffee in the morning and get away with it, but when you start having it after noon it can keep you awake at night. And then I try and sleep in a cold, dark room. Get your room cold, get your room dark, make sure you’ve got a good, comfortable bed and pillow. And then one other thing I do before bed is I’m not sitting there typically watching TV. I’m reading a book, typically the bible or some sort of personal growth book. Just something that’s relaxing, like a novel.

So in order to kind of wind my mind down, another thing, if you’re a person that’s always thinking about what’s going on the next day, going and looking at your calendar or finishing up a few things, even journaling before you go to bed, that’s another thing that can really be beneficial. So those are some of the top ways I would say you can improve your sleep.

And by the way Lucas, the studies really prove this. (26:49) If you get less than seven hours of sleep a night, your chance of getting sick triples, and you age faster. So if somebody wants to age faster and wants to dramatically increase their risk of gaining weight and getting sick, then get less sleep at night. But if not, definitely aim for those eight quality hours a night.

Lucas:

Yeah, it’s hard. We have these type A personalities, like myself, and we just want to work, work, work. And what really did it for me was I needed some metrics. I needed proof that not sleeping was killing me. I started testing my blood sugar, and I have great blood sugar all the time, really, really constant. The only thing that will throw it out of whack, my fasting blood sugar, is a poor night sleep or lack of sleep. And just seeing those numbers and just seeing whoa, this is having a dramatic, dramatic impact on my body’s hormonal response. That was enough for me. And so I think a lot of people need to kind of see or experience that pain point, if they haven’t yet, because now I can even feel it. I’ve started to get in tune with my body. When I haven’t done proper sleep I can feel the impact. I can feel my immune system down, and these are really, really great practical tips.

I think most people are doing kind of the opposite of what you said there. They’re eating crisps in bed and they’re watching The Walking Dead horror films and they’ve got every gizmo imaginable next to them, including their cell phone and iPad and they wrap all that up with two glasses of wine and they think they’re doing themselves a favor. So yeah, it’s an interesting paradigm shift, and I think it’s the simplest thing and everybody talks about it but a lot of times the fundamentals are really where the macro changes happen, when people clean up their diet, get some good sleep and start doing intelligent exercise. It doesn’t have to be huge exercise. People start seeing some pretty massive results pretty quickly.

Josh:

Yeah, absolutely.

Lucas:

Well great. Well, this has been really, really informative, really practical stuff which I love, really down to earth. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and your insight with us, Josh. If you can tell people, if they want to read your book, if they want to go to your site, if they want to learn more about Burst Fit, what’s the best way for them to connect with you? Tell us your website. Tell us how to get in touch.

Josh:

Sure. (29:07) Well, my website’s DrAxe.com. I actually have a free book online. If you want to learn what I teach in terms of the top 20 fat-burning foods, I’ve got a program on there called Super Food Super You. It’s a $25 value, it’s absolutely free if anybody wants to check it out right now. So you just go to the homepage of DrAxe.com and you can take a look. Also, I do a program called Burst Fit. You can check out BurstFit.com. We’ve got some of those interval training programs that really focus on fat burning. And that’s it. If you guys have questions as well, I’ve got a Facebook page. Feel free to jump on there and participate in the community, ask me a question and I’m really good about answering those. Personally, I answer most of the questions on there. Lucas, I really appreciate you having me. This has been fun.

Lucas:

Awesome. Well thanks again, and I hope to connect with you again very soon.

Josh:

Awesome. Thanks a lot. Bye.

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers. Welcome to the FAQ round. If you’ve got something that you want to ask, send your questions to podcast@YogaBodyNaturals.com. And now, let’s hear what’s going on with our listeners.

Dal asks:

(30:28) Is it possible to learn yoga just watching videos? I’m skinny but not flexible at all and I suffer anxiety. What kind of yoga will fix my problems?

The first thing is, Dal, you certainly can learn yoga just from videos. One of the very first yoga workshops I went to was with a guy named David Swenson, who’s a really, really great, down to earth Asthanga yoga teacher. And this woman showed up to the workshop and she had never been to a public class in her life. She’d been practicing with David Swenson’s DVDs, which are great by the way. And she was really quite accomplished. And she did a lot of things that were — I would say she was about 80% there and the 20% that she missed she was able to learn very, very quickly.

Now, if she had just been able to go to class once in a while I think it would have made a huge difference. I’m a huge fan of self-practice. I’ve been doing self-practice since the day I began doing yoga, but there is a huge advantage of going to a class. I would say for sure you can learn at home, but even if you can go to a class just once a month that can be a really big help.

In terms of being skinny and stiff, that’s a very common trait for people with a vata body type, ayurvedic body type, where you tend to be thin, have trouble putting on weight and you tend to be really stiff in your joints. It’s very, very common. In terms of what yoga is the best for you, it really just depends. The best one is the one you like the most. A lot of vata people are really connected to more meditative practices, slower practices, calming practices, but whether that’s right for you or not I’m not sure. I would give a try at a bunch of different classes and see what helps. You say you suffer from anxiety. It kind of fits with the same thing. I’d take a look at slower practices, more meditative and breathing-focused practices. Hatha yoga might be a name that a studio might use, Sivananda or an integral yoga-style class might be interesting for you to check out.

Jagdeep asks:

(32:22) I’ve been learning yoga from last month and find it very relaxing. I have a question for you. Do we need to take any break on a weekly basis, or can we keep doing yoga without a break?

This is a great question. When I first started practicing yoga my teacher told me to only practice six days a week, so I would practice six days a week and then on Saturday’s when I wasn’t supposed to practice I would go to another studio because I wanted to keep practicing. I never told anybody about this, but I was really into it. The truth is, you can. The time you know when you’re practicing too much is when you get hurt or you get so sore that the soreness doesn’t go away. Sometimes everybody needs a break.

But yoga’s one of the very few activities that you can do just about every day. It depends on your age for sure. As you get older, you might need more of a rest in between practices, but you can always do a slower or lighter practice as well. So if you’re inclined to practice every day, I would for sure encourage it. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health.

Anonymous:

(33:23) My question for you is would it be better to do yoga before a workout session or after a workout session?

Great question. Here’s the deal. Yoga works on a few different levels, but the nervous system levels is one of the most potent things about yoga, and it has a very stimulating affect for your parasympathetic nervous system. That’s your calming nervous system, your relaxation, your meditative nervous system. For this reason, it’s not what you want to do before a workout. If you’re a runner, if you’re a lifter, if you’re a CrossFit person, if you’re a tri-athlete, whatever you’re doing you want to do yoga after. All of those activities tend to stimulate your sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic sounds nice, sympathetic, but it’s not. It’s your aggressive, active. Both of them are important in your life, but most of us have over stimulation of our sympathetic nervous system and under-stimulation of our parasympathetic.

And so for this reason, yoga is really great at relaxation, at calming you down. So to do it before a workout is usually counterproductive. If you’re doing deep stretches, like we teach gravity yoga, deep, opening stretches, it’s not the best idea to tell your nervous system to relax and open up your hips before you’re about to do a dead lift, for example. It’s not a good idea.

Skye asks:

(34:36) After watching a complete beginner’s video on YouTube I started doing yoga. Wednesday was my first night, today it’s Saturday. I did it every night before bed using this video. It hurt the first time and my back was sore, and my neck also the next day. Even on the second night I could do things I couldn’t the first time. However, now my back starts hurting badly in the afternoon, once I do the video. Should I stop for a day or two? What’s wrong? Is it normal that my heart rate goes up?

Great question, Skye. It’s great you’re doing yoga. Go ahead and keep practicing. You will get sore when you first start practicing. My shoulders and my back are actually sore today. I was doing handstands in the hallway with my kid over the weekend, and 10 years into this I still get sore all the time. It’s normal. It’s a good sign. The thing you want to be careful of, and I’m always talking about this like a broken record, are your knees and your lower back and your neck. Don’t mess around. And so if you’re feeling lower back pain be gentle. Keep practicing yoga, but be really careful with your lower back. These are delicate areas. These are areas that you just don’t want to mess around with. Muscle pain is one thing, joint pain is another. Be very, very respectful of your joint pain and don’t push it too far.

Anonymous:

(35:47) I find lots of yoga routines and would like some advice. How do I know when I’m ready to move onto another routine, like a more advanced one?

This is a personal question you have to find your own answer for. I’ve been practicing the Ashtanga yoga primary series for over 10 years, and I still like it just as much as when I first started, maybe even more. I practice other series and other styles as well, including the second series of Ashtanga, but the primary series has always been my core practice and I always come back to it. At one point I left it for about 9 months or 12 months and it wasn’t any good. I prefer to come back. So I’m a really consistent person. I like to do the same thing over and over. I find that the progression and the routine really, really works for me.

For other people, routine is a disaster and they want to try new things. Like we talked about before, the best type of yoga for you is the one you keep doing, the one you enjoy, the one you have fun with. So if you love a certain style, if you love to mix it up go for it. It’s not really about becoming a gymnast or doing tricks. It’s about feeling good and about progressing and about committing to your health. So with that in mind, I would do what feels right.

Hope that’s helpful. If you too have questions, please email them to Podcast@YogaBodyNaturals.com.

The food you eat affects your body and mind every day. Welcome to the nutritional tip of the week, where we explore plant-based diets, super food nutrition, edible insects and tropics. The goal here is mind/body biohacking for a better you and a better planet. So hey, let’s talk nutrition.

(37:27) Today’s nutritional tip is about MSG. MSG is a form of sodium which sounds harmless enough. It’s part of the reason it’s been so easy for it to get approved to be used in different food products. MSG is a flavor enhancer. It makes pretty much everything taste good. On its own it doesn’t taste like much, but when you add it to any dish, specifically savory dishes, it enhances the flavor. It’s like turning up the lights. It sounds fantastic, it’s extremely cheap, so why not use it?

(37:59) Well, there’s lots of reasons why not. There’s also lots of reason why. For many years I was an MSG skeptic. Despite all of the reports of headaches and nausea and all these allergic reactions, I wasn’t really buying it. I wasn’t really sure. The research that really pushed me over the edge is the research that I’ve seen with rats. Here’s what I found. In laboratories, in controlled experiments, when scientists need fat rats to do experiments on in terms of weight loss, in terms of hormonal balance, whatever it is, if they need obese rats here’s what they do. They feed the rats MSG in very high doses, and they start overeating at an unprecedented rate. For me, that really sealed the deal. I don’t know if it gives you migraines, I don’t know if it causes nausea and allergic reactions, but what we know for sure is that you can feed MSG to a rat and make that rat fat very, very quickly.

(38:54) It’s very likely that all these processed foods also have MSG in them that are making you fat as well. So here’s the thing. A lot of people think that MSG is only in Asian, imported foods like Ramen Noodles and Cup of Noodles and things like this. That’s not true. What’s happened is, MSG now goes under a multitude of different names. In the show notes here we’ll list some of the names that it goes under. Literally, there are dozens. MSG is found in every supermarket in the world. It’s all over the place, even in so-called health foods. It has different labels where it can go hidden.

(39:29) Again, why do people use it? They use it because it’s a flavor enhancer. It literally just turns on the lights. It’s like butter or sugar or any of these magic foods that if you add it to food it just tastes better. But I think if you’re interested in controlling your weight, if you’re interested in long-term health it’s probably time to say no to MSG.

You’ve been listening to the Yoga Talk Show with Lucas Rockwood. If you like this show, I always appreciate reviews and ratings on the iTunes Store. It helps other listeners find out about what we’re doing, and it keeps me motivated to dig around and find new and diverse topics to share with you. For complete show notes, links to everything discussed in the show, along with a ton of other free yoga videos and online resources, please head over to YOGABODYnaturals.com. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll talk to you very soon.