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Exercise Ball Exercises - Pros and Cons

2017-05-25 04:53:40 Homegrown Health

Look around any gym and you’ll see them bouncing around, and it seems like everyone wants a go. See, exercise ball exercises look like fun. Too many routines, too often make the focus” no pain no gain” and bore us to tears in the process, but fun isn’t just a bonus.

Your workout routine is only any good if you actually use it, and you are way more likely to do that if you are enjoying yourself. Mental stimulation and variety can be a huge part of a successful workout program and exercise ball exercises seem to be able to provide this.

But do exercise ball exercises actually deliver or is that bundle of fun just a distraction from the serious business of getting results. Let’s consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of using them.


The exercise ball gives you the ability to add a new twist to old exercises and even to try some brand new ones.

The novelty factor

The ball can turn a humdrum exercise into something new so you get to re-engage your brain while working your body from new angles. The variety can help you stick with a routine instead of giving up.

They are low-cost

There are lots of expensive bits of exercise equipment you could blow a lot of money on. An exercise ball isn’t one of them.

You can focus on stability and core strength

It’s not called the stability ball for nothing. To balance yourself you must constantly adapt and adjust to maintain a balanced platform to perform the exercise from. This stimulates brain and body placing a new challenge on your stabilizer muscles.

The promise is improved coordination and core strength- ie better functionality, better posture and a firmer flatter stomach.

The cons of the exercise ball

The need for supervision

To learn and perform the exercises correctly and safely you will probably need supervision or at the least instruction. That is probably going to cost you money. Is it worth it?


Lose your balance and you could go bump!

Loss of focus

Struggling to keep your balance can detract from the actual exercise you are performing, meaning you get less out of it. One of the principles of body design is knowing where to focus your energy, if all your focus is on not falling over, what about the muscles the exercise should be targeting?


Big bouncy balls are fun, but they do take up more than their fair share of room. At home you have to find a place to keep it, in the gym you may find yourself struggling for a place to workout.

You don’t need a ball to work your core

Seriously the key to a lean flat stomach isn’t hours of constant work. It’s the right eating plan and little bit of the right kind of exercise. Core is a buzzword and it sells a lot of PT sessions, but you can get more out of less work.

So there are the pros and cons of the exercise ball. Should you use it? You decide. The most important thing is to be safe and to find a form of exercise you enjoy that is effective and efficient too. When you do you will be having a ball whether you are using one or not.

Source by Michael Mukoyogo

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Born With The Moon In Scorpio

2017-05-24 19:49:50 Homegrown Health

According to Astrology, the exact location of the moon during the time of your birth determines your emotional reaction to the world around you. While the astrological sun colors your outwardly aggressive actions, the moon dictates your inner, passive or receptive urges. The moon is your “female energy” – she represents the type of nurturing energy you project, and/or the type of mothering you received as a child. Today we will discuss the Moon in Scorpio.

The Scorpio Moon: Joy and Pain

The Moon is literally in its fall, or denouement, in this sign. For this reason, Scorpio Moon folks are known to grapple with themselves on the inside. They typically experience all emotions extremely, deeply and totally – ecstasy, sorrow, elation… and yes, their tempers, when provoked, can be explosive. To complicate matters, Scorpio Moon people regard their own emotions as a source of vulnerability and therefore try to keep their true feelings under wraps. So, it’s not surprising that while many Scorpio Moons are traveling this earth feeling everything very intensely, they’re also wearing this kind of detached look. After all, if they were to be found out, there would be very grave consequences indeed. What those consequences might be is anybody’s guess… but if the Scorpio Moon is the one doing the imagining, it’s sure to be quite catastrophic.

The Scorpio Moon, in a nutshell: intensity. Intense likes, intense dislikes, intense fascination, intense disgust… and yes, in keeping with the general Scorpio reputation, intense love affairs. This is a very black-and-white, all-or-nothing moon with extremely fixed notions about things. If you’re loved by a Scorpio Moon then you are loved fiercely, totally and completely; but if you’re despised by a Scorpio Moon, then you may as well not exist. And it’s quite possible in dealing with this turbulent moon native that both emotions may be directed at you at different points in this lifetime. If a Scorpio Moon perceives that you have slighted them in some way… better make good immediately, or run and hide until the mood passes, because in all likelihood, revenge is being plotted against YOUR head!

The Scorpio Moon: Offsetting the Drama With Private Relaxation

Scorpio Moon people tend to go through life acting on hunches, “reading between the lines” – picking up subtle nonverbal cues, moods, intentions, underlying messages and such. Indeed, someone with this moon placement may get a very different meaning from the same conversation heard by someone with a more literal and pragmatic mind. This is not only quite distracting to the moon native, but when they react to these perceptions it often leads to undesired consequences and drama. Thus, the irony of the Scorpio Moon; being consumed by the very internal composition one despises in himself, and attracting drama-infused situations as a direct result of trying to avoid them.

A troubled Scorpion Moon person should allow herself some distance from time to time… a private sanctuary where she can sort out her emotions, get a healthy perspective and then emerge from the “cocoon” with renewed inner peace and a higher purpose in mind. Indeed, reflection and meditation feels quite natural to this introspective moon native and is encouraged as a way to take the edge off and temper the extreme moods. A deeply sensitive soul, capable of great courage and strength… there is much room for psychological growth and wisdom to be gained with this lunar positioning.

The Scorpio Moon: A Powerful Force for Good OR Evil

As with any sign, there are both positives and negatives to the Scorpio Moon placement. The sign of Scorpio has been assigned two symbols- the Scorpion and the Eagle. The former, a covert creature who stealths along the ground; and the latter, a symbol of power and might, soaring into the high heavens. Lows and highs… the Scorpio Moon is quite familiar with both states of consciousness… more than most, in fact.

Spiritually evolved Scorpio Moon souls can (and should) harness the gift of their emotional intensity and move proverbial mountains with it. If a Scorpio Moon person is intrinsically good, then that goodness of spirit can manifest itself in divine ways… extreme compassion and generosity toward fellow man, great and unshakeable integrity, impeccably honest conduct in business and personal affairs, and a permanent seat on the side of righteousness and justice. An enlightened Scorpio Moon will pledge his whole self to any and every cause he deems important; profess his undying faith to his family, home, country; and even make the ultimate sacrifice in a lifelong promise to serve God. Yes, this moon placement is often found in religious leaders, as the spiritual aspect is heavily emphasized here.

Less evolved Scorpio moons, on the other hand, are not averse to using abject means to get what they want. The concentration of power in this sign placement has led many a wayward Scorpio lunar native down a dark and devious path of corruption. In direct contrast to their enlightened counterparts; illicit affairs, illegal and underhanded dealings, petty and deceitful behavior, psychological turmoil, and loyalty to no one but themselves are trademark signs of the afflicted Scorpio Moon. Again, this is all due to the fact that Scorpio is in the moon’s fall, thus making emotions feel uncomfortable, unnatural and all-encompassing. With the all-or-nothing theme at work, indeed this placement will produce some extreme results.

The Scorpio Moon and Sex

It has been said that sexual impulses drive the Scorpio Moon native moreso than other moon signs, perhaps because they radiate such passion and intensity that they’re forever in need of release. The Scorpio Moon is equated with transcendental lovemaking or “soul sex” in which the participants experience an exalted state of consciousness by way of the physical sex act itself. Clearly, while “sexual nirvana” is hardly a day-to-day occurrence, this moon person has been labeled as having an extra potential for such achievements. At the very least, this moon person admits to having a high sex drive, even allowing sex to affect his or her decisions at certain points in life.

The Scorpio Moon as a Nurturer

The Scorpio Moon Nurturer is fiercely protective and psychologically all-consuming. Scorpio Moon Mothers, or “Smothers” as they are sometimes known, must learn to temper their intensity. If the Scorpio lover is possessive in her affairs, the Scorpio mother is equally possessive of her children. It will be her ongoing challenge to “let go.” These moon natives must get a reign on that fretfulness that leads to strings of sleepless nights, and interfere less in the daily trials and tribulations of their young sons and daughters. Scorpio Moon Mothers must generally permit themselves to chill out, cool down and back off. An earth-sign or earth moon-sign partner can lend a comforting and grounding effect for the Scorpio nurturer who has let the worrying get out of hand yet again.

Other signature themes and preoccupations of the Scorpio Moon: secrets, mysteries, severity, psychology, power, control, passion, revenge, obsession, loyalty, sex, depth of feeling, ethics, spirituality, solitude, death. No, the Scorpio moon is surely not made of green cheese, but rather some of the most powerful facets of human existence. This lunar native must learn to embrace the reality of his or her own emotions as opposed to running or hiding from them. If the Scorpio Moon person can navigate his or her own spirit to a higher and more exalted place, he will recognize the potential for complete and total happines that lies within himself… and the transformation will be powerful for certain.

Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

Source by D. Giolitto

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Benefits of Using a Zafu for Meditation

2017-05-24 10:49:08 Homegrown Health

Zafus – Creating Proper Posture Daily

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years in Eastern cultures as a means of finding truth and enlightenment. Today it has been picked up by many westerners as a means of relieving stress and strain in their daily lives. However, many westerners find the traditional lotus sitting position on the bare ground a bit too strenuous on their bottom and legs; therefore, the use of a zafu is recommended to provide greater comfort. A zafu is the name given to a special cushion you can sit on for meditating. They help you maintain the correct posture as well as provide comfort for your bottom during your session.

Filling Meditation Cushions

Zafus are manufactured out of cotton fabrics with natural fiber kapok filling. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes and designs to suit personal taste and preference. They also come with removable covers, facilitating the laundering when the exterior becomes soiled. The traditional zafu is round; however, other shapes are coming out on the market to offer variation and levels of comfort. These cushions also vary in size and thickness to adjust to a person’s body and weight level for individualized comfort.

Thickness of the Zafu

There are advantages to using a meditation cushion as opposed to any other type cushion for your sessions. These cushions are especially designed for meditation; the kapok filling provides a firm, yet pliable surface to sit on for comfort and back posture, and the natural fibers are both hygienic and hypoallergenic, making them a perfect selection for those who are prone to allergies. In addition, the diversity in thickness and size can complement the size and weight of your body, customizing your cushion to your exact specifications. Each cushion comes with its own cover (or you can purchase separately) that can be easily removed for washing when the need arises.

Different-Shaped Zafus

New zafu styles include the crescent shape cushion designed to provide additional space for your bottom. Thickness of the cushion can be self adjusted by adding or removing kapok to the desired depth, providing extra padding for heavier set people or less for those who are thinner and smaller boned. For those who desire more height, support cushions are available to place under the zafu, raising your body to a higher level.

Meditation Chairs – The Throne of Meditation

As an alternative to these cushions, some people prefer to use a meditation chair during their sessions. You should feel free to use whatever is most comfortable for you and helps you focus on meditating itself so you can fully benefit from the experience. Meditating offers a number of wonderful mental and physical benefits to the body which can help improve your mental and physical health, regardless of the seating arrangement used.

Source by Anna Wehr

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Why a liberal pope is playing host to Donald Trump | Catherine Pepinster

2017-05-24 10:34:46 Homegrown Health

Progressive Catholics want Francis to be an alternative voice, and diplomacy requires dialogue with people you dont agree with

When the president of Ireland, Michael DHiggins, visited the Vatican on Monday, he gave Pope Francis a gold and white bell, a symbol of their mutual concern about global warming. Its usual for heads of state and the pope to exchange gifts during a meeting but its hard to imagine Donald Trump, who is due to visit Pope Francis on Wednesday, would ever consider a gift that might have anything to do with climate change. The US president thinks global warming was invented by the Chinese to harm American manufacturing, while the pope is so convinced of its existence he wrote a papal document dedicated to climate change and its consequences for the worlds poorest.

This is just one of the issues on which the pope and the president do not see eye to eye. They are diametrically opposed on what the world should be doing about refugees, migrants and walls. For while Trump has advocated building a wall to keep out migrants crossing into the US from Mexico, and said that the Mexicans should pay for it, Francis said this year that it was a Christian calling to not raise walls but bridges, to not respond to evil with evil, to overcome evil with good.

And in improvised remarks at a weekly papal audience in February, it was thought that Francis was referring directly to Trumps demand that Mexico pay for the wall when the pope said: A Christian can never say, Ill make you pay for that. Never. That is not a Christian gesture.

Nor is the pope likely to be impressed by the series of arms deals signed by the president with the Saudis this week. Francis has continually denounced the arms industry, calling manufacturers merchants of death, and even told Congress during his visit to the US in 2015 that the arms industry was drenched in blood.

Donald Trump at a Catholic school in Florida. Some in the church have misgivings about the meeting being seen as papal endorsement. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty

But however awkward the differences in moral outlook, this meeting will nevertheless be an important one for Trump, leader of the worlds temporal power, with the leader of its spiritual superpower. The presidents PR advisers will hope that being seen alongside the charismatic and highly popular Francis will give Trump kudos, and that there will be more to it than the curiosity of seeing this odd couple tryingtogetalong.

That PR opportunity has been taken up countless times by world leaders visiting the Vatican. But there are also pragmatic reasons why it is worth world leaders engaging with the Catholic church. It is the biggest global network of providers of education and healthcare, and with America being the worlds largest donor of humanitarian aid, there will be areas of work where Trumps team will want to find commonground.

This is where the relationship between the Trump administration and the Francis papacy might see a meeting of minds and it wont please liberals who usually find this pope more palatable than his predecessors.

The Roman Catholic church maintains its forceful opposition to abortion, while one of Trumps most notable policy reversals from the Obama era has been to sign an executive order banning international NGOs from providing abortion services or offering information about abortion if they receive US funding.

Secularists who decry religion may object to the regular visits of world leaders to the Vatican and dislike its particular status, due in part to it being recognised since 1929 as a sovereign entity and being subject to internationallaw.

But they forget what canny politicians from Ronald Reagan to Tony Blair and Angela Merkel have spotted: the Catholic church can be a useful ally and opinion former with a reach and influence greater than many nations. Its own network of nuncios the churchs ambassadors picking up information throughout Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, China, Japan and elsewhere, keeps the church particularly well-informed.

Gordon Brown once conceded that backdoor diplomacy via the Vatican could help to convey the British point of view on issues such as poverty far better than a direct approach to some developing world nations. A prime example of papal behind-the-scenes influence was the role that Francis played in securing a new rapprochement between the USand Cuba.

The success Francis made of diffusing that situation has made him a beacon of hope on the world stage, not just for Catholics like me but others too, starved of global leadership. From his who am I to judge remark about gay people to his solidarity with refugees, including taking Muslim families from Syria back to Rome with him to start a new life, we have salutedhisendeavours.

Its also been refreshing that the church has a leader who is not from the west, and instead has enabled the world, via the Argentinian pope, to hear a different perspective. So, some of us have felt misgivings about the endorsement that this meeting might be perceived as giving Trump. We want the pope to be an alternativevoice.

But diplomacy is about dialogue, not necessarily with those with whom you already agree. If the pope can find a way of both being firm about where he remains so sharply divided from Trump, yet also find room for collaboration on, say, helping the persecuted Christians of the Middle East, then he will have pulled off one of the most significant high wire acts of his papacy.

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The return of Twin Peaksand the limits of recap culture

2017-05-24 07:54:25 Homegrown Health

Twin Peaks returned to television precisely as the show left it: challenging, confounding, and uniquely divisive. Showtimes revival of the cult phenomenon, which lasted for two seasons on ABC, earned extremely mixed reactions from critics. Reviewers were alternately beguiled and baffled by the two episodes which premiered Sunday night. While the Onion A.V. Club called it uncompromising surrealism and horror, Michael Ausiello, the critic for TVLine, claimed that as a fan of the show, its hard not to feel like Ive been completely, utterly duped.

Your opinion of Twin Peaks third season may depend on how you remember the show: Was it an addictive murder mystery in the vein of Mark Frosts own Hill Street Blueswith that Lynchian quirk thrown in? Or was Twin Peaks a singular auteurist vision, one that broke with many of the conventions of genre television? If you were in the former camp, you were likely to be disappointed by thepremiere of the aptly named The Return, which is closer in style to Lynchs Inland Empire and early arthouse efforts like Eraserhead than the small-town noir fans loved and lost so long ago.

To review something like Twin Peaks, though, is both an unenviable task and an exercise in futility. Like the Lynchian dreamscapes Mulholland Dr. and Lost Highway, The Return resists easy classificationor really any classification. How does one make sense, for instance, of a magic blue box that contains an elderly couple inside or the existence of an omnipresent man with no eyebrows, a mystery figure whose eerie presence feels like an indictment? The Return opens with yet another box. A team of watchers have been hired on a stakeout mission to see if anything appears inside. The blank cube may represent the experience of watching television, implicating the viewer in the narrative, or as so often is the case in Lynchs work, it may mean nothing at all.

In reviewing Mulholland Dr., the late critic Roger Ebert described its famously opaque narrative as the dreamer rising slowly to consciousness, as threads from the dream fight for space with recent memories from real life, and with fragments of other dreamsold ones and those still in development. Its not a film that defies logic as much as it operates under its own set of rules, ones that have more to do with the depths of our subconscious mind than traditional linear storytelling modes.

Theres the faintest hint of a plot. The Return opens 25 years after the murder of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), and Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle Maclachlan) is still trapped in the Black Lodge. But then theres also the murder of a librarian in South Dakota, among many other things. Viewers also encounter a casino where everyone’s a lucky winner, a hapless doppelganger who frequents the worlds most understanding prostitute, and an automobile cigarette lighter that may be the portal to another dimension. Every time the narrative threatens to progress too much, the story reveals another hidden room tucked away inside itlike the endless warehouse theater in Charlie Kaufmans Synecdoche, New York. The experience is alienating and proudly so, like Brecht for the Peak TV era.

Between the two episodes that aired on television and the two available on Hulu (for Showtime subscribers only), Lynchs Americana nightmare begins to come into focus. As much as liking The Return is possible, I enjoyed what Ive seen so far, but the dream is still unfolding. The directorbest known for the neo-noir masterpiece Blue Velvethas 14 more episodes in store. The Twin Peaks revival could meander toward its eventual plot, but well, maybe not. Its hard to say whats a MacGuffin when everything is some sort of illusion.

If the 30 episodes that aired on ABC between 1990 and 1991 redefined television in an era before Tony Soprano and Walter White, the new Twin Peaks forces us to rethink how we consume it. Audiences today live in a media landscape of instant reaction. While tuning into Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder, viewers have the ability to tweet their immediate thoughts to others following along in real time. Internet recap culture likewise functions as its own second screen, and theres a drawback to that: Reviewing individual episodes as discrete entities isdifficult without assessing a narrative in its totality. There are great, insightful recaps on the web, but imagine picking apart each note produced by an orchestra without hearing the full symphony.

The limits of such reviewswereillustrated by HBOs True Detective, a crime anthology where the mysteries simply didnt merit the slavish devotion to solving them. The shows passionate fans poured over every aspect of itsapparent symbolismfrom the obscure literary references behind the Yellow King to a supposed clue hidden within a childs drawing. True Detectives first season concluded, though, not with an explanation that tied together the loose ends of its mythology but a left-field curve that erased the whiteboards of the internets armchair sleuths. The killer wasnt Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), a stoic nihilist whose worldview is defined by pain and suffering; or his gregarious partner, Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson). The antagonist was a background character, not a criminal mastermind but a man riding a lawnmower.

True Detective seemed to add up to less than the sum of its parts, but maybe the circle was always flat. And maybe thats OK. Theres nothing wrong with an exercise in genre for its own sake, even despite the attention-grabbing overtures to the trappings of prestige television (e.g., the nods to H.P. Lovecraft and Friedrich Nietzsche).

Numerous shows have revealed themselves to be less, more, or just different than what their audience perceived them to be. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend took a sexist premise and turned it into a thoughtful meditation on mental illness, one that reveals new insights into human frailty with each repeat viewing. Its a show where characters dont grow on you—they grow with you. Homeland came into its second season as one of the hottest shows on TV before becoming the program it is now: a great concept trapped within a maddening exercise in wheel-spinning. If one were to review the first few episodes of Homelands sophomore outing, you might deem it a master class in narrative tension. But after watching Carrie (Claire Danes) chase down a terrorist with a pipe, youd call it a hot mess.

Given Twin Peaks history, its difficult to say if Lynch is building to a grand payoff, a crescendo that will bring his disparate ideas into harmony. Weve been down this road once before. Although criticism of the shows final season on broadcast TV focused on the too-early reveal of Laura Palmers killer, that was only part of the problem. Twin Peaks was about capturing a twisted Rockwellian mood, but the show was always too in love with its own vibe. Brando wannabe James Hurleys affair with a married femme fatale (think The Postman Rings Twice but if both characters were lobotomized) gets a two-episode arc and is never spoken of again. Meanwhile, the Dick-Andy-Lucy love triangle goes nowhere for the hell of it.

The Return would seem to offer Lynch a chance to rectify the most divisive and off-putting aspects of his oeuvre, but the early episodes dont appear ready to make amends. If anything, the directors vision has only become more confident in its insularity. It wont be the reboot fans expected, and it doesnt seem made for criticsor anyone elseto enjoy. The third season, which features a talking tree that claims to be the evolution of the human arm, is sure to inspire debate and outrage. But like a mystery box waiting to reveal its secrets, Twin Peaks also requires our patience.

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