Look Good and Feel Good Inside Out Through Yoga

It’s not for women only. It’s not a religion. And it’s not something you should leave out of your fitness program. More than 20 million in the United States now practice yoga and it’s considered one of the top ten commonly used complementary-alternative medicine therapies. Americans spend more than $2.95 billion on yoga classes and related yoga products and with good reason-it leads to a hosts of fitness benefits from increase flexibility to better strength and stamina.

Even more, yoga’s best kept secret is what is does to your physiology and mental well-being. Have you ever wondered why people still struggle with body image after weight loss or why successful bodybuilders still think that they are small? Yoga picks up where traditional fitness programs lack-creating a sense of mindfulness and mental well-being. While lifting weights can create bigger biceps, yoga can give you bigger biceps and help you become mindful of your life outside of the gym: your eating habits, how you respond to stress and what emotional baggage you carry and how to unload it in a positive manner. It’s the best of both worlds!

Getting started in yoga is easy. It requires no fancy equipment and it’s a practice that can be done anywhere and at anytime. Invest in a quality ¼” yoga mat which cushions the joints and body and prevents slipping in poses.

A Complete Yoga Practice:

Sun Salutation: The 12-position series increases circulation, takes the muscles and joints through a full range of motion and tones the entire body. Beginners should start with 2-3 rounds and work up to 10-12 rounds. Stand tall like a mountain with the hands in prayer position at the chest. Take this time to set your intent and become fully focused on your breathing for 2-3 minutes
Inhale. Bring the arms up, palms facing as they reach toward the sky
Exhale. Bend forward at the hips, bending the knees slightly while bringing the hands flat to the ground
Inhale. Flatten the back, bringing the fingertips to the floor or legs
Exhale. Position the hands flat on the ground, stepping the legs into a high push-up position
Inhale. Recreate the mountain pose, balancing on the hands and toes. Modify, if needed, by balancing on the knees instead of the toes
Exhale. Lower the body down into a low push-up position, drawing the elbows back toward the feet
Inhale. Lift the upper torso away from the ground like a snake, pressing the legs into the ground
Exhale. Walk the feet flat and lift the hips to the sky, keeping the hands on the ground and drawing the chest toward the legs. Hold 30 seconds.
Inhale. Bend the knees and walk both feet to the hands, extending the chest away from the legs (picture 9).
Exhale. Bend forward at the hips, bending the knees slightly while bringing the hands flat to the ground
Inhale. Bring the arms out to the side and come to standing with the palms facing as they reach toward the sky.
Exhale. Draw the hands back to the heart, standing tall like a mountain with the hands in prayer position at the chest.

Boat Pose: Firms the abs and back muscles while improving posture. Start in a seated position with the feet resting on the mat. With the knees bent, lift the feet from the earth. Optional extend the lower legs parallel to the earth or fully extend the legs. Hold 30 seconds and repeat.
Chair Pose: Tones the thighs and butt. From standing drops the hips back over the heels bending the knees. Swing the arms forward and up to the sky. Hold 30 seconds and repeat.
Sitting Meditation and Breathing: Increases mental clarity, emotional well-being and compassion. Assume a comfortable sitting position. Become still, focus on your breath and draw your awareness inward. Thoughts may come and go but do not attach to them. Continue to observe the breath for 3-10 minutes.
Corpse Pose: Rebalances the nervous system, reduces stress hormone production and rejuvenates the body. Lie in a relaxed position on the back and elevate the legs for back support optionally with a blanket or pillow. Allow the entire body to become fully relaxed. Hold for 3-10 minutes. Corpse pose is considered by yogis the most important pose of all. That’s right! Doing nothing, as it seems, helps restore the body and reduce stress hormones that cause abdominal fat and immune disorders!

Practice Tips:

Practice 3-5 times per week and try different styles of yoga, meditative and very active to remain balanced and prevent injury
Take your yoga outdoors if possible. People who exercise outdoors are more likely to adhere to exercise programs, get a free dose of Vitamin D and have enhanced mental well-being
Avoid self-imposed barriers like not starting a yoga program until you lose weight or become more flexible

Essentially, in yoga you learn to be more mindful, and the increased awareness translates into better nutrition and lifestyle choices, increased focused in your exercise program and enhanced mental and emotional balance so that you feel good about yourself inside and out.

Perform this routine 3-5 times per week. For optimal results, supplement your yoga program with cardiovascular exercise such as walking for beginners or high intensity interval training for existing exercisers.

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Collaborative Marketing – More Results With Less Work

Strategic Alliances are the key for your Cross-Promotion success. A popular reason for companies to come together is to reciprocally promote one another. Ideas are as simple as a local pharmacy and dry cleaner promoting each other with specials or coupons, to regional promotions, to national promotions. Cross-promotions can be developed with competitors or between organizations from different industries. The key is simply this-do you have similar customers? Almost everywhere you look, you can see one organization cross promoting with another. Recently, a cross-promotion advertisement in a San Francisco newspaper for Pacific Bell also involved Round Table Pizza, Hollywood Video, Nokia and the Special Olympics.

In your effort to make cross-promotion alliances work, develop your process by keeping the below listed steps in mind:

1. Be clear on what you want to create for yourself or your company.

2. Discover the; What’s in it for me (WIIFM) for your partner(s).

3. Develop a list of who does what for physical and financial contributions.

4. Plan for the unexpected.

5. Explain to your partner(s) the value they will receive.

6. Help your partner(s) to have an emotional ownership in the alliance.

7. Do the above step for yourself also.

8. Execute the promotion.

9. Debrief with partner(s) the value received from the investment.

10. Plan the next promotion.

“Got Milk?” The California Milk Processors Board, as reported in The Wall Street Journal in the late 1990s stated that this national promotion has been running since 1993. They also put “Got Milk” on Girl Scout Cookies. They have even gotten their milk advertisements on cereal, cookies and chocolate mix packaging. Jeff Manning, executive director of the California Milk Processors Board, says, “We need those people to promote for us.” “In return, we affectionately call them co-dependent foods.”

Manning doesn’t stop there. He convinced Dole Food Co. in Westlake Village, California to add another sticker on to their clusters of bananas for the retail market. You got it, “Got Milk” stickers. In the late 1990s Dole started putting “Got Milk” stickers on bunches of bananas–millions. Milk is getting more interruptions in the minds of consumers. The more Partnering milk can do with products in other parts of the grocery stores, the more sales potential they enjoy. Dole even got an “ah ha” from the cross-promotion, they have been Partnering with Hollywood to promote new release movies such as Anastasia and Babe in the City.

Researching for a presentation for the National Home Furnishings Association, I discovered an interesting alliance in Northern California. They call themselves the Sonoma County Fine Furniture Association (SCFFA). What did they do? Eight fine furniture retailers, competitors, banded together to survive the recession of the early 1990s through cross-promotion and buying strength.

They bought advertising together on the local radio and in the local newspaper. They even dictated to the newspaper on which pages their advertising would be located. They developed combined events where customers would visit several of the stores to be eligible to win prizes. They promoted each other to their customers within the store, especially if the specific retailer did not have exactly what the customer was seeking. They even printed a combined brochure, including the address and map locations of each member. The front of the brochure said, People you can trust. Wow, what impact!

On a United Airlines flight from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, the cabin attendant handed me my usual bag of peanuts. But, what was unusual was the size of the bag and its weight. After closer examination, I noticed that an America Online (AOL) diskette was included with the peanuts. It made sense, a business route shuttle-what a great way to get the AOL software into the hands of business people. But do not get caught sleeping. Now, things have changed for AOL and they have been forced to offer for free what they once charged.

Forest City, Iowa, recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturer, Winnebago Industries, Inc. and Nebraska-based sportsman’s outfitter, Cabela’s have found synergies through reciprocal promotion activities. Cabala’s has provided an ideal venue in which Winnebago dealers have displayed their RVs in quite a number of outdoor events. Most events were run by Cabela’s promotional arm, Sportsman’s Quest. Winnebago products were also displayed in Cabela’s catalogs. Winnebago, in turn displayed Cabela’s products at their events.

Strategic Alliances for Co-Branding
Bringing together more than one trusted and established brand name develop a marketing synergism that cannot be beat. The advertisement headline read, Bring The Magic of Mattel Home for the Holidays. Just under the headline were several foods producing toys offered. The hook was that it showed Golden Arches type food. Mattel had a relationship with McDonald’s. And, what quality parent would deny their child the opportunity to make their own McDonald’s hamburgers, fries, shakes and cookies at home?

Nestlé/Road Gold Flipz (chocolate covered pretzels), the synergy that can be developed by co-branding is awesome. Co-branded products have, at a minimum; twice the marketing impact and customer pull as traditional branding. Consumers believe that with two trusted names, the product must be exceptional. There was one problem with the Flip though. When they were first introduced, the consumers’ acceptance was so great that the distributors had trouble keeping their stores in stock. What a problem to have…

In recent years the automotive industry has found value in Partnering with highly recognizable prestigious brands of clothing and accessories. Ford Motor Company partners with the successful catalog retailer, Eddie Bauer to offer luxurious editions of their popular sport utility vehicle models, Explorer and Expedition. As customers’ perception of quality and value can be influenced through these offerings, they are also willing to pay more for the perceived value.

Ford Motor Company has enjoyed its relationship with Eddie Bauer for over 20 years. In 1999, the two brands reached a milestone in their collaboration as Ford and Eddie Bauer celebrated production of the one millionth Eddie Bauer edition Ford vehicle at the St. Louis Assembly Plant, home of the Ford Explorer sport utility.

At the time, stated “It’s almost uncanny how well-matched Ford and Eddie Bauer are,” says Ford Division Marketing Communications Manager Jan Klug. “Both companies have reputations built on an uncompromising commitment to quality, durability and customer satisfaction. For our customers, this means the irresistible combination of Ford’s ‘go anywhere’ capability and Eddie Bauer’s rugged style. For both companies, it means enhancing each other’s brand.”

“It’s no secret why Ford is setting industry records for SUV sales in a U.S. market that currently has 41 SUV nameplates,” says Explorer Brand Manager Doug Scott. “We are creating products that really excite the customer. And in partnering with Eddie Bauer, we are expanding the opportunities for the Explorer and Expedition to be a meaningful part of our customer’s active lifestyles.”

Because of Ford’s success in co-brand Partnering with Eddie Bauer, they are trying to duplicate their success with Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in their limited edition Harley-Davidson F-150 pickup truck. The customized version is restyled, all-black, with distinctive Harley-Davidson orange pinstriping and chrome accessories.

“A strategic alliance between the Ford Motor Company and Harley-Davidson makes mutual historical and business sense,” noted Gurminder Bedi, vice president, Ford Truck Vehicle Center in a January 6, 2000 Ford news release. “Our common heritage as American motor vehicle manufacturers and our common centennials of 2003 were just too good to pass up as a natural business opportunity. “The partnership makes good business sense,” Bedi added. “The world recognizes both companies as original American innovators known for exciting, quality products.”

“This alliance brings together two of the most well-known and admired companies in the world,” said Jeff Bleustein in the same release, Harley-Davidson chairman and chief executive officer. “Ford and Harley-Davidson customers alike want a distinctive vehicle that makes a statement about themselves as individuals.”

Even in the recreational vehicle (RV) industry, a manufacturer sees marketing value in co-branding. Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc. in Riverside, California is in alliance with Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. Fleetwood has enjoyed good sales volume in its private-label RV partnership with Missouri-based Tracker Marine LP and its Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World stores. Fleetwood built and branded with the Tracker and Trailstar name are sold in six Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World stores and 56 Tracker marine dealerships. RVs promoted at the Outdoor World stores sell for a single, non-negotiable price (unique to the RV industry) and can be purchased over the Internet. Models range from a Trailstar 8 folding trailer to the 29-foot Class C Trailstar RV.

Cross promotion and co-branding are important strategies for business growth that you will want to consider very soon. Why wait until your competitors gobble up the best partnering relationships?

Ed Rigsbee, CSP, for over two decades has frequently been referred to as the Renaissance Man. He helps business individuals and organizations of all sizes to grow their market through smart alliance relationships. He is the founder and executive director of a non-profit public charity. He frequently publishes articles and blogs on personal relationship development. He administers a Facebook group; Relationship Glue and a Linkedin group; Member ROI for Associations & Societies.

Ed has served as adjunct professor for two California universities and is the author of Developing Strategic Alliances, PartnerShift-How to Profit from the Partnering Trend, and The Art of Partnering. He has over 1,500 hard-copy published articles to his credit and is a regular keynote speaker at corporate and trade association conferences teaching North America how to access their Collaborative Advantage.

He shares his proprietary Member Value Process globally with trade associations and professional societies-the corner stone for grass roots member recruitment and retention campaigns.

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Where to Hike – Choosing the Right Place

General Considerations for Finding a Place to Hike

The first thing to ask yourself is, what exactly are you looking for? Then, consider what places are within your reach, practically speaking. Be sure to find out if the activity you have in mind is permitted in the place you’re going to. Last and perhaps most importantly, consider what you can handle.

With all these things in mind, you can start looking. There’s a list of suggestions and resources at the end of this article.

What are you looking for?

Do you want to add just a little contact with nature to your everyday life? Consider your local city parks or reservation lands. Even private lands, if the owner is amenable, such as the fringes of farms, woodlots, or other such undeveloped areas can offer a peaceful and interesting place to visit with wild things. Check your town’s Web site and your local library for information about parks and outdoor recreation areas, or just ask around among your neighbors. And don’t forget your own back yard. There may be more fascinating birds, insects, and plants there than you imagine. You never know until you get out there and just open your eyes and ears for a while.

Do you want to find a real wilderness area that you can visit once in a while and get to know well? Check your state’s Web site for state and national parks, national forests, and other large outdoor recreation areas within your travel range. Read books and articles about the area before your first visit so you know what to expect. Study the roads and the location of parking areas so you have a good idea of how long it will take to get there.

Are you planning a business trip or vacation in an unfamiliar place and hoping to explore its natural history first-hand? Now you’ve got some research to do! Check the Web for tourism sites in the area you’re planning to visit. Remember to look for printable field guides to the plants and wildlife in the area. Consider several alternatives, in case you discover after you arrive that your first choice isn’t going to work out. (I never got outside of Palermo when I visited Sicily, when my planned trip to Mount Aetna was canceled due to eruption!)

Are you planning a trip where hiking is the main objective? Good for you! You’ll want to consider carefully, and find out as much as you can about the place before you depart. Get some information from books and Web sites. Then get some more. Be sure to filter the information properly: If someone has something to sell you, they might make it sound more attractive and more accessible than it really is. Find out if you need reservations for campsites, canoe rentals and such.

Places you can get to

Read those maps carefully! Sixty miles by road might look like an hour’s drive, but not if it’s an unpaved logging road through rough country. You don’t want to get caught out in wilderness unprepared, and unable to get out before people start worrying about you.

If you are planning to visit the area repeatedly, allow yourself plenty of time to get to know the place. Try a few alternate routes to find the best one. Try a few different access points — parking lots, trail heads, etc. — before you pick which one will be “your place.” You’ll be back many times, so don’t get discouraged if you find that your first choice is not as good as you hoped.

If you are going on a once-in-a-lifetime visit, you might want to hire a guide. Yes, it’s an expense and a bit of an intrusion, but it’s better than getting in trouble. When you contact the guide to plan your hike, make sure they understand your objectives — whether you want to race to that mountain peak, or just take it slow and watch the birds — and give them an honest assessment of your capabilities. If they are taking you as part of a group, make sure the rigid tour schedule will not make your vacation a chore for you.

Is it Allowed?

Take stock of what you intend to do, and whether it might be prohibited or restricted. Many parks do not allow camping. Fishing is forbidden or restricted in many lakes and rivers. (I know a beautiful pond in a state park where only children are allowed to fish.)

Are you planning to bring your dog along for the hike? Not all parks permit dogs, and most require that the dog be on a leash.

There are also restrictions on power boats, snowmobiles, and even off-road bicycles. Make sure the place you plan to go permits what you plan to do.

Can you take it?

Make an honest assessment of your abilities, both physical and mental, and plan for caution. Think you can walk twelve miles in a day? Don’t plan on more than seven miles in unfamiliar country.

Carefully read the trail descriptions and degree of difficulty before you decide what you can handle. If it says “rugged,” that means you should not plan on setting any land speed records there.

Bear in mind that most trail guide literature is written by people with extensive hiking experience and above-average physical condition. If you’re a couch potato hoping to become a great outdoorsman, don’t plan on taking the same hike that the great outdoorsman calls “challenging.”

Pay attention to the contour lines you see on most trail maps. They tell you how steep the trail is, generally. A one-mile trail that climbs 500 feet is a walk in the park. A one-mile trail that climbs 2,000 feet might be impassable to the average sedentary person.

Again, make sure your self-assessment is honest. You might tell a great adventure story at home, but you can’t fool the elements. When you’re out on the trail, no amount of bravado can make up for a lack of physical fitness.

Suggestions

Don’t overlook a place because it’s popular. True, crowds take away from the sense of peace and solitude, and wildlife avoids contact with people. But if you go at the right time of day, you might find something close to wilderness, even in a place that is usually crowded. Most people are most active late in the day, and most animals are most active at dusk and dawn. That spells it out for you: Wherever you go, try to go there at dawn.

If you are fortunate enough to have a state or national park nearby, that’s probably your best choice. Otherwise, for frequent quick visits, don’t overlook your city parks and private property.

Before hiking on private property, introduce yourself to the owner. As long as they know who you are and what you’re up to, most people are happy to allow hikers to use their woods and fields. Of course, some landowners have had bad experiences, and you certainly must respect their rights to protect their property from damage and their livestock from injury and harassment. Remember that many landowners have agreements with hunting clubs, so they might not be able to let you hike on their land during hunting season.

When planning a trip to an unknown area, make sure you do your research ahead of time. Again, state and national parks are probably your best choices. Not only are they the most likely to offer a good hiking experience, they are also the best documented. You certainly won’t be able to find a source on the Web that tells you what to expect on Farmer Jones’ back forty, but there’s a wealth of information about public parklands. On another note, you’ll find plenty of information about commercial recreation areas, but they all have a financial interest in getting you to visit the place. Public parks are more likely to have plain and truthful information available.

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Finland Tourism

Helsinki
The temperature in Helsinki is always quiet low as it hovers around 6°Celcius. Finland the land of chilling beauty is known for their hip and happening sense of fashion, design and alliance with high technology. Helsinki in Finland is a unique destination that will delight the heart of any tourist.

Helsinki is spread across a cluster of promontories and the peninsulas here is 450 years old. The clean, wide avenues of Helsinki are lined with old buildings which tell the stories of the centuries. The place is known for its architectural excellence..

The serene environment and surroundings of the city promises to leave you awestruck. Here you can get the variety of trees, flowers, squirrels, hares, pheasants and also the odd elk. The complete surrounding has unpolluted air and the bright blue Baltic waters attract you without fail.

In Helsinki you can also enjoy various outdoor recreational activities like ice-fishing, skating, skiing, sailing, cycling, soaking in saunas, or, during the short-lived summer, sunbathing etc. There are many street-side bars sipping hot spiced wine named ‘gloggi’. This city is a perfect place for walking, the sights all concentrated in the central area.

Numerous festivals and fairs in Helsinki add to the enjoyment in Helsinki. There are various events conducted in the city like the May Day Carnival, October Herring Festival, annual Samba carnival, the Helsinki City Marathon, and the midsummer festival etc. These events speak aloud about the city’s rich cultural life. There are numerous theatres and dance groups in the city to add to the entertainment.

Getting Around:

The transportation in Helsinki is extremely efficient. It is rated as one of the best in the continent of Europe. The trams, metro, buses and ferry are easily available. The ticket for the same can be purchased from the driver. The special ticket counters are made available for the visitors so that they do not face any inconvenience. You can stroll down especially when the weather is pleasant. The city is so compact and amusing that moving around on foot is just fun. Alternatively, during the summer time you can make use of the hundreds of kilometres of bike trails. You can take a bicycle by paying small amount and enjoy the ride. There are ample of taxis available on order. You can easily go around the city by car and collect some memorable moments from this land of beauty.

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