Say Yes to Yoga

I do yoga almost every day.

I’m convinced that these 50 minutes of Zen prevent panic attacks, muscle stiffness, irritability and other symptoms I generally associate with family reunions. Something about communicating with my body and pushing myself without pain makes me feel like life may not actually be so hard.

Thanks to the lovely folks at Forbes, I now have the science to understand why. Yoga has virtually infinite impact on a practitioner’s physiology. It impacts the body’s regulation of cortisol, endorphins and serotonin—all those nifty chemicals in your brain that can either make you happy or screw you over completely.

I’m for the first option. Practicing yoga regularly changes the body’s sympathetic nervous system  (this is the system in charge of our stress response). Because of whacked out modern schedules that often tamper with our bodies’ natural rhythms, the stress response can stay in the “on” position for hours at a time. Yoga helps your body realizes that there is still peace to be found. It can also keep the parasympathetic nervous system in tip-top shape, which means that your body will absorb nutrients better, eliminate more toxins and improve circulation.

And thus Western science proves what Eastern medicine has known for thousands of years. Do yourself a favor. Do some yoga.

If you are so inspired, consider running a free yoga clinic for battered women and children in your area. I did this several years ago and the results were life-changing for me as well as the participants. For people who have experienced far too much stress and pain to even comprehend, yoga can provide a physical, mental and emotional healing unsurpassed even by medicine and counseling. Give peace by putting the restorative power of yoga in someone’s own hands.

EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2011/06/16/penetrating-postures-the-science-of-yoga/

Electric Skin?

The Chemical and Engineering Journal recently published an expose about a subject straight out of science fiction novels: electronic skin.

A team at the University of Illinois has produced what they call “epidermal electronics,” postage stamp-sized temporary tattoos riddled with silicon and gallium arsenide nanomembranes. This makes no sense to me either, but the coolness of the project is undeniable.

John A. Rogers, the professor in charge of the research, describes it in simpler terms. The new skin is essentially a “spider web mesh of electronics” with limitless potential to revolutionize life as we know it. The patch can monitor any activity within the wearer’s body, transmit voice commands electronically to a remote receptor, and potentially even control the wearer. Repeat: a remote could control the wearer.

This brings up the frightening, if far-off, possibility of a select few people or autonomous machines rising to violent dominion over all of mankind (see the Matrix 1, 2 and 3). Yes, the science is amazing…but so is the human capacity for evil. Electronic skin technology opens up whole new avenues for dastardly deeds like mind control and manipulation. I am forcibly reminded of J.K. Rowling’s Imperius Curse.

Of course, the potential for these half-electric-half-biological tats to heal diseases and save lives also knows no bounds. It’s my guess that one day electronic skin will be available at every hospital…and maybe even that skanky tattoo parlor down the street.

EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT:

http://cen.acs.org/articles/89/i34/Electronic-Skin.html

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