Increase your focus and help improve brain power

Yoga poses to help stimulate your mind

There are so many distractions nowadays that it's so hard just to take your mind off everything and focus on one thing. I want you to try this. Really try to take a few minutes out of your day to try these four poses. Even if it is just the first one, tadasana or Prayer pose (it is harder than you think) but try it. You will be thankful to get a minute of peace, to rest your mind and focus. Considering I am still in a pretty rookie position with yoga, I brought in yoga expert Nathalie Kosman for help! For your viewing, she is doing each position pretty solid in the bottom right hand corner, as you can see I am wobblier than a poorly assembled IKEA coffee table.

1) Prayer pose or Tadasana

Tadasana is the foundational pose for all standing yoga postures and full inversions, such as headstands, handstands, etc. The purpose of the pose is to get grounded. You want to feel the ground below you, close eyes, and take a deep breath. Even though this is a beginner pose, this is a restorative and balance pose. So open your palms, rib cage, and mind. Prayer pose is considered a base pose, since prayer pose variations can be derived from this pose. Prayer pose is considered a warm up yoga pose to prepare the body for more intense yoga poses/ yoga flow.

2) Eagle Pose

You will want to watch Nathalie below in the right-hand corner for this one, as I struggled here. This posture resembles the shape of an eagle taking flight. This pose strengthens the lower body, opens the shoulders, and improves balance and concentration. Start off by setting your gaze and remember to breath and focus. Stay for 30 seconds, then unwind the legs and arms and repeat on the other side (legs and arms reversed).

3) Warrior III

Warrior III improves balance, memory and concentration, and tones and invigorates the whole body. From Mountain pose, step the right foot a foot length forward and shift all of your weight onto this leg. Inhale the arms over your head and interlace the fingers, pointing the index finger up. As you exhale, lift the left leg up and out, hinging at the hips to lower the arms and torso down towards the floor. Look down at the floor and stare at a point for balance. Reach out through the left toes and the crown and fingers making one straight line. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths. To release: inhale the arms up to lower the leg back to the floor and step both feet together back into Mountain pose. Hold on each side for 30 seconds to challenge your balance, and then repeat on other side

4) Supported Headstand

Finish your practice with Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) to calm your brain. For beginners, I would suggest using a wall behind, so you can practice with your feet on the wall. Come on to all fours with your heels at the wall, make sure you keep your shoulders directly over your wrists and lift up in to a shortened dog pose. Then bring one leg up at a time so your foot is in line with your hips keeping your knees bent. When you feel comfortable in position straighten both legs (think strong warrior 3 legs) to bring yourself in to the pose. Press through your feet, lengthen through your sides, engage your abdominals and lift your shoulders up away from your ears.

Check out Nathalie at The Preserve, Fit Athletic Club, and Equinox for individual or groups classes.

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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