4 Hatha Yoga Benefits That Will Make You Want to Get Started Now

While pulling off complex Hatha yoga poses flawlessly is sure to impress your friends and family, the benefits of regular Hatha yoga practice go beyond scoring brownie points with the people around you.

Hatha yoga traces its rich history to the 15th century, when Yogi Swatmarama, a Hindu Sage, compiled Sanskrit texts into the classic yoga manual, Hatha Yoga Pradipika. “Hatha” is an amalgamation of the Sanskrit words:

  • Ha – which translates to sun
  • Tha – which translates to moon

Hatha yoga is often associated with slow movements and poses, and as such, is mistakenly thought to be its own kind of yoga practice. In truth, Hatha yoga refers to physical yoga poses, which means that Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Power yoga practices are all technically Hatha yoga.

What’s important to know is that Hatha yoga focuses on developing your strength, flexibility, stamina, and balance, emphasizing the proper execution of asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing). If you’re a beginner, Hatha yoga should be perfect for you, as classes are often slower and less physically demanding, especially when compared to Power yoga.

So, that’s the skinny on Hatha yoga, but what exactly do you get with regular practice?

  1. Improved Physical Fitness

The benefits of Hatha yoga in terms of physical fitness are perhaps the most obvious, playing a huge role behind its global popularity. Regular yoga practice allows you to:

  • Build muscle
  • Improve your posture and flexibility
  • Improve circulation
  • Improve balance

And the best part? You don’t even need any real gym equipment, besides your standard yoga mat.

  1. Enhanced Wellness

Hatha yoga’s focus on proper breathing is hinged on the idea of promoting a sense of calmness. Think of it as a way to escape from the real world and its many stressors.

This approach means that regular Hatha yoga can:

  • Prevent or improve hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Reduce migraines
  • Reduce chronic back and neck pain

Although the asanas in a 1-hour Hatha yoga class won’t burn as many calories as, say, a boxing class or 1-hour run, consistent practice and a balanced diet are guaranteed to help you shed the excess pounds.

  1. Improved Focus and Mindfulness

As mentioned earlier, Hatha yoga isn’t just about breaking a sweat, but also proper breathing. Practitioners use these breathing techniques to reach a meditative state, clearing their mind of the outside world.

Practically all yoga practices promote the achievement of inward focus and mindfulness, or a state of awareness of your body movements, your breathing, and even your mind’s thoughts and responses to difficult poses and quietness.

  1. Therapeutic Relief

If you find yourself suffering from chronic pain in your back or neck, gentler Hatha yoga asanas and sequences can help provide therapeutic relief from pain. You can soothe aching muscles with poses that gently stretch the spine and improve joint mobility. Likewise, yoga breathing techniques can provide relief from sinus problems and asthma.

Of course, it’s important to consult your physician before engaging in any kind of therapy. Talk to your doctor before you practice yoga.

As you can see, a regular Hatha yoga practice offers several different benefits that encompass multiple touchpoints. Whether you approach it from a physical standpoint, or a more spiritual one, rest assured you’re reaping benefits for your health and wellness. We hope these perks will help you start your practice.


Growing Debt in Nordic Countries from Payday Loans

You might have heard about payday loans from seeing advertising on TV or online. These types of loans are becoming a worldwide phenomenon and most recently, it has started to become prolific in Nordic countries.

Since the countries in this region have very low public debt and AAA debt ratings, the cost of borrowing is low in these countries. For example, Norway has a sovereign wealth fund which holds $820 billion, meaning the country has zero net debt.

This low cost of finance has led to an explosion in consumer debt, such as pay day loans.

What are Payday loans?

Payday loans are a type of short term loan, that is secured by the borrowers pay check and charges a very high interest rate. The borrower typically pays back the loan on the next pay date, but the amount can be refinanced for another period by paying a fee.

The appeal of these payday loans is that money can be loaned fast, and the credit check requirements are lax. This has made payday loans popular with individuals who have bad credit or lower income and are unable to access other forms of borrowing, such as credit cards.

The Problem with Payday loans

The lenders associated with payday loans have gained a bad reputation for lending practices which could be considered predatory. Often they are targeted towards individuals who are low income and have bad credit. The terms of the loan aren’t made clear, and the interest rates when annualized can be as high as 900%.  According to a Swedish website that compares payday loans, there are a list of loan companies that offer interest free payday loans, but if not paid back within the given time frame, a very high interest rate will apply instead.

As a result, these loans are never fully paid back and these individuals are stuck in a debt trap of paying monthly fees.

Growing Debt in Nordic Countries

The debt numbers have exploded in Nordic countries over the past few years. In particular, Sweden had the number of payday loan companies more than double within 5 years. According the Swedish FSA, the number of payday loan companies in 2006 was 95. Five years later it was 277!

Also, another alarming statistic is the number of payday loans that are not repaid. From 2011 to 2012 the amount of unpaid payday loans increased by 62 percent.

In fact, the amount of personal debt across Nordic countries is some of the highest in the world. According to OECD statistics from 2013, the amount of personal debt that households in Denmark hold is 320% of their income. In the Netherlands, households have personal debt that is 290% of their household income. Norway have personal debt levels which are 215% of household income.

By comparison, the US have personal debt levels that are 111% of household income.

What Should Be Done About Payday Loans

The lax oversight should be replaced with more stringent regulation. The Swedish FSA has indicated that they will make it harder for these companies to be established, and licenses and be revoked if they do not follow regulations.

As a consumer, you can avoid this type of finance completely. If you are an individual with good credit, there are better ways to obtain financing if you need it.



5 Unusual Types of Dating Culture Around the World

You have probably heard the saying, ‘love is a universal language, understood by all.’

While I agree with this saying, I recently heard about the differences with dating culture around the world. I thought it would be interesting to explore the unusual differences.

When you think of dating, most of us think of a guy approaching a girl, and asking her out on a date. However, there are many different and unusual types of dating customs abroad.

Here are some of the more interesting dating customs:


Valentine’s day in Japan is a little different. Girls are the ones that have to buy chocolate for the guy that they fancy. And guess what? They receive nothing in return!

A month later, however, the guys are supposed to return the favor if their feelings are mutual on a holiday called “White day”. The twist is that the men are expected to spend double the amount the ladies do on Valentine’s day. Not a bad deal, if you are a lady of course!

South Korea

In South Korea, dating doesn’t start until college and since most children live with their parents until they are married, love hotels are common if couples need some privacy.

Something I found interesting, is that when Korean guys are courting girls they effectively become their ‘servants’. They will hold her handbags, carry her shopping bags, and do anything to make his girl happy.

Things reverse when they get married, however. The lady takes on a traditional role and is expected to look after the home and family.

The Netherlands

While other countries have set rules and customs when it comes to dating, the Netherlands is one place where few rules exist!

It doesn’t matter who makes the first move in Amsterdam, whether it is the guy or girl. Also, when it comes to the first date, all the conventional rules can be thrown out the window!

For this reason, some people might view Amsterdam as an attractive place to visit.


In Brazil, men can come across as forward and aggressive if you aren’t accustomed to the culture. Kissing on the first date is common, and seen as a way of getting to know each other.

Dating progresses quickly in Brazil, with guys and girls becoming ‘official’ within days. This is because it is seen as unusual if you aren’t in a relationship. Brazilian women are known for their beauty. There are even complete websites made on how to meet Brazilian women.


When it comes to dating, Italians are very traditional. Men are drawn to physical attractiveness, beauty, and homemakers. Women want men who can provide financial stability. Also, looks are high on the list of importance to both men and women.

If a woman expresses serious interest in a guy, it’s not uncommon for her parents to do a thorough background check on the guy.

The mother-son relationship is strong with Italian guys, so the girl must win over his mother in order to be accepted.

Isn’t it interesting to see the differences in dating cultures around the world? But like my opening line says, “love is a universal language” and despite the differences in dating culture, it can be understood by all.


The 3-Step Guide To Becoming A Great Teacher

Being a great teacher isn’t something that you’re born as.

It’s something that you work at. It’s a skill that’s developed overtime, just like riding a bike or learning to speak a language.

However, it’s important that you have the correct “How-To” information to help you with the process.

It’s not something that happens overnight, but with this 3-step guide, you can become a great teacher that your students will come to love and listen to willingly.

Step 1. Educate yourself on the subjects you’re teaching

Being a great teacher requires that you’re educated enough to teach the subjects that you’re teaching. If you don’t understand the subject that you’re teaching, then how can you expect the students to understand it?

Now you don’t have to know every word in the dictionary to be competent enough to teach English, or every math formula to teach math, but you’re required to be at a level that you can confidently teach the fundamentals of the subject so the students can learn from you.

Step 2. Take ownership of the classroom

Being a great teacher requires an extreme level of ownership. Everything that happens in the classroom is up to you – both the successes and failures.

This can be hard for a lot of teachers to grasp. Common teacher complaints include “What if the students aren’t listening to me?”, or “What if they’re easily distracted and can’t focus on what I’m teaching?”

You don’t have direct control over your students – you can’t make them do or say anything that they don’t want to. However, you DO have control over yourself and your teaching methods. Your job is to find a way to teach and connect with the students so that they WANT to learn. This way, learning stems from their own decision, not yours.

Step 3: Understand both individual and group dynamics

If you want to be a great teacher, you’re going to have to understand the dynamics of each individual student and the class as a collective.

If you can understand each individual student: know about their hobbies, what they like and don’t like, and the way they learn (whether they’re visual, kinesthetic or auditory learners), then you’ll be able to tailor the subject towards the student so they get the most out of each lesson.

Whilst understanding each student individually, you also must be aware of how to control the group dynamics of a classroom. At times, the students can disrupt the class which affects all the students as well as their learning ability. You’re going to need to diffuse the situation – this can be done in multiple ways including using effective body language, changing seating arrangements of particular students, and giving a firm 1-on-1 talk with the main instigator.

The whole purpose of being a teacher is to help the students become the best person that they can be. You’re not only and educator, but you’re also a role model, and a leader that’s preparing them for the real world. Every tactic, strategy and approach to teaching is to accomplish the goal of helping the student to become the best person they can be.


5 Reasons Why I Love Teaching – And You Should Too

Being a teacher can be a tough job. Not only do you have to be educated on the subject that you’re teaching, such as English or Math, but you also have to be able to handle the sometimes rowdy students.

Constant interruptions, messy classrooms, and uncompleted homework assignments are regular occurrences for a teacher.

But being a teacher does have an upside.

The good times far outweigh the bad times when it comes to being a teacher. Here are 5 reasons why I love teaching – and you should too.

1. Helping A Student Become the Best They Can Be

There’s an intrinsic reward that comes with being a teacher. When you see the progression of a student who started out as being unmotivated, a little untamed and not necessarily the brightest kid in the class – to a student who’s eager to learn, focused and the top of a class; this progression gives being a teacher a meaning.

Ultimately, my job is to mold a student to be the best they can be. When this is achieved, the intrinsic rewards begin to show, and all of a sudden being a teacher becomes worth it.

2. I Can Be MYself While I’m Teaching

Teaching gives me a way that I can be myself – a form of self-expression. When you’re teaching, you can be who you are, whether you’re humorous, quirky, or a little old-fashioned, teaching is a creative outlet that allows you to bring your personality to life. Not only does this make it fun for myself, but the students tend to connect with me on a deeper level, which leads to a more constructive learning experience.

3. I Am A Role Model For My Students  

When the students and I connect on a deeper level, it’s not uncommon that they’ll come to me for matters outside of just learning. They’ll want my recognition, attention, and confirmation – which I happily give to them. Since I know that I want the best for my students, this means that I can be a positive role model for them that encourages them to be good students that’re optimistic, confident, and self-reliant.

4. It Keeps Me Educated

You can’t give what you don’t have, and you can’t teach what you know nothing about.

Since my job is to educate students, that means I myself have to be educated first. I love learning, the progression of knowing something that I previously knew nothing of, and the benefits that learning has on the brain’s growth and development is tremendous.

5. It Brings Excitement to My Life

There’s always something interesting going on when you’re a teacher – whether it’s a musical event that your students are participating in, a school play, or parent-teacher interviews. This constant change of events brings constant excitement to my life, and there’s always something new that’s going to happen.

These 5 reasons are why I love being a teacher. Yes, you do have the bad days where the students are rowdy and disruptive – but every job has bad days. Because I know that I can influence my students to grow up and be educated, positive, confident people – this is why I love teaching.

Bringing Learning to Life

Most students go to school because it’s a requirement, not because they actually want to.  Tell-tale signs that students are disinterested in class include showing up late and resting their heads on the desks.  Unfortunately, when students aren’t engaged in the learning process, they don’t get much out of the learning experience and instead just do what they can to “get by.”

Every now and then, however, I get a student who’s a gem – not necessarily because that person is brighter or more intelligent than the other students, but because he (or she) finds joy in the process of learning.

I’ve found that the students who succeed in my classes are the ones who come for the right reasons. The ones who are delighted to be in class, love the process of learning and see it as an opportunity to improve rather than a chore or necessity.

As a teacher, it’s vital to bring a positive, uplifting mood to the classroom. It’s my job to provide the students with an environment that brings learning to life. A classroom that focuses on not only teaching the kids, but doing so in a fun, creative manner.

So then the question arises, how?

How do you form an environment that encourages learning in a creative, enjoyable, positive way – regardless of the subject? How can you help the students to become not only ready, but enthusiastic and eager to learn?

To do so requires effort from both me, as a teacher, and my students. Initially, it’s important to shift the motives of the student. We have to shift their mentality from “I’m coming here because my parents told me to,” to something like “I’m coming here because I enjoy learning.” This will arise the biggest change in the student – a shift in mentality completely changes their view on learning, and ultimately their actions.

I find that positive affirmation is extremely beneficial for a student’s self-esteem. Every opportunity I have, I give my students praise. This isn’t bogus praise – it’s real praise that students deserve. When they successfully solve a problem, or complete an assignment, I compliment the student. Not only does this make them feel good about accomplishing something, but it also encourages them to do the best they can.

Group work is also something I’ve noticed that has brought a lively attitude to the classroom. This can be group work with students, or also with other adults and teachers. Working in a group changes the dynamics of the classroom – 5 or 6 people working towards the same goal has an optimistic, supportive, rallying type of sensation that gives a sense of unity to the student.

Bringing liveliness to learning can only benefit the student – there is no negatives or disadvantages. We cannot force them to learn, however we can create an environment that makes learning the best part of their day. No more students walking late into class because they’ve slept in, and no more “heads-on-desk syndrome.” It’s time for us to support each student’s growth and development by bringing learning to life.