Contact us 530 746 8456

Satsang- Hanging Out with 'Like-Minded' People

Kaliji, TriYoga founder explains, "As the ageless teachings state, when two or more are gathered together for the benefit of upliftment, the light becomes brighter.  Satsang, or companionship with like-minded people gives support for a discipline, like meditation or an asana practice and brings more energy to the practice. One may be influenced by being in certain surroundings- a class or gathering- in the inspiring company of others to do something out of the ordinary, feel satisfaction and have fun.
A walk to the beach with yoga friend.
Through regular practice, inner strength develops, enabling one to choose the high road and to be "in the flow". But until such strength is developed, one can be protected and benefit from the support of positive group energy."

Practicing yoga offers many opportunities to be with those of like-mind. Yoga classes, conferences, retreats, and asramas offer a schedule of programs and forum for study for various size groups. The stimulation from practicing yoga together allows healthy friendships to emerge, giving inspiration for conscious growth.


 Personal Practice  The inner wealth that springs forth from having a personal  practice  creates a calmer mind through positive samskaras. This is reflected in better  relationships and a more positive lifestyle in general. Living the teachings of yoga is  the greatest gift one may share with loved ones and all friends known and unknown.


As one’s practice of yoga continues to deepen, the community begins to feel like an extended family.  Then with open arms this feeling expands to the planet, including respect for the environment, animals, and all life. At the heart of yoga is the lifestyle of ahimsa. Ahimsa means non-violence toward oneself or others. It is one of five yamas or restraints listed by Sage Patanjali in Chapter 2, Verse 30: nonharming, truthfulness, nonstealing, sense control, and greedlessness. Community awareness is impossible without abiding by this basic universal law. Ahimsa is to be honored in mind, speech, and body.

Mental ahimsa is reflecting positive thoughts upon manas, the mental field, the mind. This balances emotions and enhances mental clarity.

Check our schedule for a TriYoga Davis community event or Satsang this fall. If you have an idea of what this Satsang could be, let us know. Music, kirtan chanting, drumming, dancing, dinner! 

Spend Time with Family and Friends to Stay Happy and Healthy

Health Benefits from family and friends

The findings underscore just how important friendships are to our health.
Hanging out with friends increases longevity.
Studies are showing that blood pressure, inflammation, body mass index and waist circumference can be reduced due to good time spent regularly with family and friends. So call up your favorite friends and family members and get together right now! Skyping and talking on the phone is just about as healthy as being in person.

Family time can help us be healthy, happy and wise.

The results show people with strong social relationships increased their odds of survival over a certain time period by 50 percent, the researchers say. That's on par with ceasing smoking, and nearly twice as beneficial as physical activity in terms of decreasing your odds of dying early.
Reduce inflammation by having fun with friends and family.
The findings suggest that it is specifically social connections, or the lack of them, that drive certain health effects, and not the other way around, the researchers said. "We have reason to believe that the relationship is strongly likely to be causal — from social [factors] to illness as opposed to the other way around," Yang told Live Science.
Researchers suggested that people should try to evaluate the state of their social connections on a regular basis and work to make them better if needed, or just get together more often to feel better and be healthier!

Five Principles of TriYogaFlow

Something to consider- Use it as a point of concentration during your daily YogaFlow practice!

“Through applying the principles of yogaflow, one begins to feel the life-flow:

Kaliji and Kamala

Extension in all directions expands awareness. 

Relaxation-in-action allows one to maintain balance. 

Rhythm of body and breath tunes one to the inner dance. 

Economy of movement cultivates having only thoughts that are needed. 

Wavelike movements remind us to remain at peace within the pair of opposites.”    

Yogini Kaliji

To assist your Daily Practice - Use this handout during our August time off!

Daily Five Earth and Water - A wonderful one-page handout!

Some days getting on your mat is a breeze. This handout is for when it's not.

Download this Page with Two Sets of Five TriYoga Asana Flows to do everyday.

This is Kaliji's gift and suggestion for us all! 

TriYoga Teacher Nandi Beecher shares her ideas on TriYoga practice.

Yoga is a perfect trinity of Asana, Pranayama and Mudra. It brings health and vitality.
Often in the West, yoga has come to be understood as postures or exercise. However, the perspective that sees yoga only as exercise misses its essence. The word yoga means “union” reminding us that through the path of yoga, the individual self achieves divine union with the universal Self, a state of supreme understanding and perfect peace.

TriYoga embodies the ancient teachings. TriYoga is a complete system of universal and ageless yoga teachings and it is a very practical path to transformation to health and peace.  TriYoga Flows are a unique fusion of flowing                                                       and sustained postures united with breath and mudra.

Although yoga is far more than just exercise, if viewed as an exercise workout, the TriYoga Flows are ideal. At first, the flows warm-up the body gradually, then deepen into more intense strengthening and stretching poses, followed by a cooling-down period of gentler postures and deep relaxation. Several different levels and series of TriYoga Flows from Basics to subsequent levels allow students of all ages and backgrounds to systematically progress to greater states of fitness, health and relaxation in a safe and therapeutic way.

For the Strong and Flexible: Full Camel Yoga Asana

Child is a relaxing pose for many
Start out easy

Nandi Continues her thoughts...

TriYoga Flows Enhance Quality of Life  The TriYoga Flows will develop and strengthen the mind and body in the following ways, cultivating benefits that greatly enhance the quality of life:

  • Toned muscles in all parts of the body: arms, legs, neck, back, hips, abdomen and chest.
    A strong, flexible and healthy spine: Due to the spinal wavelike movements inherent in the flows, oxygen and nutrients are provided to the mostly avascular intervertebral disc. Posture improves through increased strength, flexibility and attention to alignment.
  • Increased lung capacity: focus on the deep, complete breath improves lung capacity, promotes relaxation and reduces stress. Also improves health and energy through increased blood circulation and lymphatic flow. Relaxation and a sense of well being come through the consistent focus on alignment, flow and breath.
    Breathing practices calm the mind and improve lung capacity
  • Strengthened heart: a strong, steady, deep and slow heartbeat helps build endurance, allowing one to do intense aerobic exercise such as hiking or dancing at a moment’s notice.
  • Flexibility in movements: improves the full range of possible motion in the joints of the body (the entire spine, shoulder, hips, and other joints).
  • Coordination and balance: focus on the flow and balancing postures develops grace, inner calm and serenity. Strength and flexibility increase in both sides of the body equally so that the body can function efficiently and in a balanced way.
  • Rehabilitation and recovery to peak performance: TriYoga Flows excel as post-injury exercise progressing from basic to advanced levels. Yoga is weight-bearing exercise, so it helps prevent osteoporosis. It also benefits those with stress-related conditions and health challenges such as scoliosis, arthritis, and asthma. There is ultimate progress to peak levels of fitness.
  • Energized mind and body: enhances awareness, clarity of thought, ability to make decisions and overall quality of life.

Yoga is the Path to Peace and Tranquility   The ideal exercise program can be achieved through the TriYoga Flows. And just think, with proper focus, concentration and practice, this fitness program can also be the path to perfect peace!

Kim (Nandi) is a doctor of chiropractic and former college anatomy teacher. A long-time student of Yogini Kaliji, she is Assistant Director of TriYoga teacher training and a senior-level instructor. Nandi teaches at the TriYoga Center in Santa Cruz, California and internationally.

Kaliji Shares some Tips for Gaining the Best Benefits from a Yoga Practice.

Q What tips can you provide to students?
Practice, practice, practice. A door of opportunity has opened for you. Keep it open and widen the entrance with regular practice. Yoga should be practiced systematically. Merely saying it is systematic doesn’t make it so. A master yogi understands the necessary steps, the order of the steps, as he/she has traveled that journey ahead of you. The main thing is to begin a short, simple yoga series. Be regular with the practice. Have the mind focused so the practice is internalized. Learn from a teacher who lives yoga as a lifestyle. When the student is ready, the guru will appear.

Q Do you have anything else to share with us?
Know your aim for practicing yoga. Systematically progress the ladder of yoga. Develop a regular practice. When you practice, be present. Make the most of it. Perfect concentration. The yoga tradition is based on transcendental awareness. To realize the atman joined with the paramatman ~ the inner Self as sat-cit-ananda. This is the essence of yoga sadhana. To prepare for this spiritual realization, the body/mind must be disciplined. In the process, health and peace reign in the body/mind for longer intervals. Be well rounded in your yoga practice with yogasana, pranayama, meditation, yoga philosophy, sangita (yoga music). Yoga is more than a class. It is a lifestyle. It is the very essence of Divinity…

Science looks at the Science of the Mind (Yoga Asana, Pranayama and Mudra)- A Short Film

This short film discusses the scientific studies that have been released over the last decade or so.

Science- especially over the last decade- has corroborated what yogis have known for centuries. A regular yoga practice heals us, makes us be our best selves and allows great happiness and a knowing of why we are on this planet.

I just finished watching this marvelous short film highlighting the last decade's progress by the scientific community about the healing benefits of a regular yoga practice. I think you'll really enjoy watching it. It is truly inspirational and I hope you will share it with your friends who haven't yet 'found' the practice of yoga! Especially those who may not have embraced it as a 'legitimate' practice. And watching it may also help inspire your own regular practice. I think it has done so with mine!

Sore Joints? Anti Inflammation Diet is a Mediterranean Diet

Sore joints? A good start to fixing that is an Anti-Inflammation Diet, or The Mediterranean Diet - with some tweaks. Use a wide variety of the freshest foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables, mushrooms and whole grains. Good selections are berries, spinach, bok choy, vegetables from the cabbage family, ginger and legumes/beans, onions and other high-fiber foods.

Healthy fats like olive oil and olives, avocado, nuts and nut butters are important parts of this eating plan. These can provide omega-three fatty acids.

Choose foods across the color spectrum: red, orange, purple, green and blue and yellow. That way you’ll automatically eat the wide variety that can provide all the vitamins, nutrients, phyto-nutrients, fiber and protein.

Fill dinner plates with colorful foods and make half the plate vegetables. The ratio of complex carbohydrate to healthy fat to protein approaches 50%: 30%: 20%.

Drink teas that provide antioxidants and reduce coffee intake.

Eat lots of colorful berries for their water content and anti-oxidant benefits.

If one likes to enjoy alcohol, choose red wine as it’s pigments provide health benefits.          

Eat dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% coco content (not milk chocolate).

Reducing or eliminating processed, refined and manufactured foods and especially reducing the use of flour and sugar puts us well on the way to a healthy diet that can reduce the discomfort of inflammation.

Reduce foods having a high glycemic value, like root vegetables and bananas. Use less salt and more spices.

Experiment for two weeks with eliminating foods from the nightshade family (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers). If inflammation is reduced, these foods can be considered inflammatory. This isn’t true for everyone.

Also try reducing/eliminating daily products for a couple of weeks, as for some individuals, these can also cause inflammation.

If you eat pasta, do so in moderation and eat it al dente or chewy. The longer it takes to convert the carbohydrates to sugar the lower the glycemic index and the longer it takes for the sugars to be absorbed into the blood. This is a good thing.

Reduce the amount of animal products eaten; use vegetable protein like lentils, beans, quinoa.

Give this eating plan a try and see if you feel better in body, mind and spirit! I did!

Summer is Here

Summer's Here.
July Special  ---8 remaining classes in the next two weeks!

In July, attend three TriYoga Davis classes per week! Read what our students have said about their experience attending multiple classes per week.

"I attend yoga classes 1-2 times a week and do some flows at home other days as my schedule allows. I find that doing yoga more than once a week has many benefits.  My body seems to be stronger, more flexible and I have less “old age” pain.  The flows and breathing improve much more with multiple classes and I more easily am able to transition to a state of well-being.  After nights when sleep has evaded me, a session of yoga is rejuvenating and provides energy for the rest of the day." -from a student in our Tuesday class.

Read what National Institute of Health reports about doing yoga several times per week.

Register here. $108 for the remaining 8 Classes in July. Come to Kamala's, Kendra's and Rose's classes. You'll feel relaxed, strong and flexible all month long. Your mind and spirit will soar.

Notice the relaxation in action, expansion of body and breath and increased vitality with 8 classes in the next two weeks.

For just one class per week, you may pay $43.50 or use the drop-in rate of $18.

Animals' Health Benefits- Laughter, Calm and More.

In my childhood home we had many animals. Mostly the usual kinds: my brother’s Guinea pigs, a pet rabbit, random fish, birds, and the ever present dogs, and cats. There were also the periodic bummer lambs or calves that failed to nurse, requiring bottle feeding:  farm creatures that passed through our household when my father the veterinarian helped out some farmer who was stretched to the limits and couldn’t manage the neediest of her creatures.
Of all the animals, I felt particular affinity for the cats.
TriYoga teacher Kendra and her purring cat.

There was something about curling up with a purring cat kneading my arm at the end of the day, or waking to the gentle rumble and a paw on the nose reminding me of breakfast time that touched me in ways that the other critters didn’t. No matter the worries of the day I’d find my breath calming as my hand stroked the cat, her purr vibrating into my being.

Today, my husband and I still share our home and garden with several cats, and other random pets that come into our lives in their own ways. Although we have several critters, I’m still most fond of the cats. We don’t have any that like to sit on laps, but they will sit beside us and purr, the gentle rumble vibrating into our beings.

Studies show that having pets and interacting with these creatures that love us unconditionally is good for people. No wonder Goat Yoga classes sell out quickly, and Cat and Dog Yoga is in high demand in areas where it’s offered. People long to be in contact with other creatures, and how can we possibly stay stressed if there’s a goat jumping on our back when in child’s pose, or a dog stretching out beside us on the mat.  

In TriYoga, even without the added creatures in class, I have found similar calm in watching my breath slow, using the complete breath in the kriya, lengthening the exhale in the asana. When I focus on the breath, the calm spreads through my being. Come to one of Kendra's TriYoga classes soon.

TriYoga Instructor Kendra West Williams

Check out these benefits of living with pets:

Or these about animals and yoga:

My joints are inflammed. My knees hurt. Suggestions Please!

Spices can help reduce inflammation. 

Season your food with anti-inflammatory spices.

This article comes fro the Arthritis Foundation Website
Eating foods know to be anti-inflammatory can help joints and muscles feel much better and reduce swelling. Spices are an important part of that type of diet.

Often when prepping a meal, food is the primary focus and spices are, at best, an afterthought. But when following an anti-inflammatory diet to help reduce the pain and joint inflammation, researchers say don’t forget about the potential benefits of the spices you use to season your meals.
“The more anti-inflammatory foods and spices you eat, the more you are tamping down chronic inflammation,” explains board certified sports dietitian Kim Larson, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “I think people are often surprised at what a great anti-inflammatory source spices can be.”
Your joints and sometimes other parts of your body become inflamed, and many spices inhibit certain inflammatory pathways in the body. And although a dash of cinnamon on your oatmeal is somewhat infinitesimal, spices can pack a significant punch when you consume a number of them throughout the day.
“If you do a sprinkle of cinnamon in oatmeal or a smoothie, then have some ginger tea
mid-morning and something with pepper and garlic for lunch and dinner it can certainly have an additive effect,” explains Beth McDonald, a nutritionist at The Center for Health and Healing in the Department of Integrative Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City. “So with spices – experiment with new recipes and try to incorporate a spice with an anti -inflammatory benefit with every meal.”
With that in mind…here are some spices to consider the next time you are in the kitchen.


Garlic is a tasty addition to just about any savory dish. Like onions and leeks, it contains diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound that limits the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Garlic, therefore can help fight the pain, inflammation and cartilage damage of arthritis.
Opt for fresh garlic from the produce section of your market because preservatives may be added to bottled garlic and processing may decrease some of its strength.


Curcumin is the active chemical in turmeric root; it blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes in two inflammatory pathways. Several human trials have shown an anti-inflammatory benefit, which can translate to reduced joint pain and swelling. The yellow spice is popular in curries and other Indian dishes. It is most effective in combination with black pepper, which helps the body absorb it better – so eat the two together when possible.


Gingerol and shogaol are the chemicals in ginger that block inflammation pathways in the body. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties, some studies have shown ginger can also reduce osteoarthritis symptoms, although other studies did not find such benefit.
Ginger is a versatile spice and can go in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s best to use it in its fresh form. A great way to add ginger to your diet is to boil it into a tea: Put a one- to two-inch piece of fresh ginger root in boiling water for 30 to 60 minutes.


Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, both of which have antioxidant properties that help inhibit cell damage caused by free radicals. Studies say more research is needed to make formal recommendations about its use, however.
Cinnamon is delicious mixed with oatmeal or added to smoothies, but it’s not strong enough on its own to offer a therapeutic effect. Used in combination with other foods and spices, it may offer a cumulative anti-inflammatory effect over the course of the day.


Chili peppers contain natural compounds called capsaicinoids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Cayenne and other dried chilies spice up sauces, marinades and rubs. Chilies can be hot, so start with just a dash or two.

Final Tips

When trying a new spice, start small and add more after you’ve taste-tested your dish. Anywhere from a half teaspoon to a full teaspoon is generally a good place to start for most spices, except cayenne (start with a ¼ tsp or less of cayenne).
A good rule of thumb with spices is “fresh is best.” But experts say bottled spices can pack a punch too. “Spices are already dehydrated so the antioxidants are concentrated in a small, powerful amount,” Larson explains.
And remember the wide variety of foods you can spice up. They are wonderful in rubs, marinades and sauces; on steamed or roasted vegetables; mixed into pasta, potatoes, rice, couscous and quinoa; and in soups and stews.

Summer Travel!

It's Summer! Pack healthy, nutritious foods that travel well.
Road Trip

Or Air Travel
You may be heading out of town this Summer - off on a road trip or a flight to places known and unknown. Check out Kelli's Vegan Kitchen for lots of ideas for yummy and easily prepared healthy snacks to pack. Here's one that holds up really well when traveling. Kelli Roberts is a TriYoga instructor in southern California who is also a fabulous certified cook! She offered a plant-based diet workshop in Davis. Photos below and on our TriYoga Davis Facebook page.

Quinoa Tabbouli
By Kelli Roberts

I’ve been traveling a lot over the past few years, and the people around me travel A LOT, so I’m always on the lookout for great food that travels well, either on a flight or in the car.
Now this search certainly hasn’t been without its comic relief, trying to work around security regulations. You know what I’m talking about ~ when you try for a healthy light salad, and you’re pouring on the dressing at the last minute in the security line so it doesn’t count as one of your 3 oz. liquids, and it ends up all over you and your carry-on. And I won’t even tell you what I said to the poor TSA guy who had the nerve to take my pint of guacamole. Let’s just say that I told him to keep it… but not nearly that nicely. 😁
Over the years, I’ve come up with a few go-to recipes, that I make pretty much every time that someone around me (or I) travels. I’ll write a post with a list of my favorites soon, but here is one of my favorites in the meantime ~ quinoa tabbouli. The quinoa and hemp seeds make it a protein-packed dish that is incredibly light and fresh, and can also be made as spicy as you want it. And it holds up to traveling really well, so it’s a great one to take along. And it’s easy. Did I mention that?

Quinoa Tabbouli

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 regular or 2 small Persian or Japanese cucumbers (peel if you’re using a regular cuke)
  • minced red onion to taste (I usually use about 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon (or more if you like it lemony)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • a couple dashes of cayenne pepper, to taste
My personal preferences in this recipe are Roma tomatoes (since they are less seedy and watery than regular ones), but heirloom tomatoes would also be great, and flat parsley (somehow I just like it better than the curly stuff).
Mix everything from the quinoa through the hemp seeds together in a medium-sized bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Taste and adjust any of the seasonings – lemon, oil, salt, or cayenne. This is a very forgiving recipe that holds up well, so it’s easy to adjust to your particular taste.
Makes 2-4 servings, depending on your serving size!

Photos of Kelli's Plant-Based Cooking Workshop in Davis. 
It was great fun and delicious, too. Let us know if you'd like to do another one!



The Yoga Sutras

Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutra”

From this text and it's commentaries we can learn 'Purna Yoga Abhyasa'--the complete yoga practice.

This book, in 4 chapters written 2500 years ago by Patanjali, a sage and Samskrit grammarian is the probably the most significant text on Yoga. He compiled the yoga knowledge of his time (which may be more than 4000 years old) and organized it into a condensed wisdom, simply written in ‘threads’ or aphorisms in a ‘sutra’ writing style. The profound philosophical ideas in this form could be chanted, therefore memorized since most students of yoga didn’t have access to books or writings or may not have been literate. In this way the information was passed from teacher to student through the ages. The short pithy sutras are the ‘bare-bones’ of concepts and ideas. The style makes them difficult to completely understand so ancient teachers and enlightened sages (including Patanjali himself) added commentaries for their students. There are many ancient and modern texts of commentaries from which to find interpretations of Patanjali’s brief and powerful comments.

The sutras hold practical, down-to-earth suggestions about how we can best understand ourselves and how to live in harmony with others. These writings are not tenants of a religion, but describe a philosophy of life, and are amazingly just as relevant today as when they were written. Within the sutras are suggestions about how to gain "the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption- so we can live a focused and productive life"(Desikachar).

 When we think of yoga, we first imagine postures and perhaps breathing practices and meditation.  Patanjali has described the complete yoga practices that go beyond the yoga asanas on the mat, yogic breathing and meditation. Yoga as presented in this text is a whole lifestyle, a system of thought- a way to understand how to make good decisions and take responsible actions and to be happy in life. Taking action to be healthy, learn all about ourselves and improve the quality of our actions, will help us make fewer mistakes and be contented and peaceful. Patanjali’s describes the yogic idea that change is certain, but something deep within us is not subject to change. He helps us find that place within us that is peace and bliss. From there we can come back into the world behaving as our best selves, making the world a more peaceful and loving place
Kaliji’s commentaries are available on the TriYoga Kriya website. Some other modern commentaries are by T.K.S. Desikachar, Bramananda Svarasvati, Edwin Bryant, Frans Moors, Chip Hartranft, Georg Feuerstein, and many others. Ancient ones are by Vyasa, Vacaspati Mishra, Vinjnana Bhiksu. 

P.S. There is a fabulous Yoga Sutra class taught at the Davis Art Center by Ann Rogers. Check out their schedule.

Meet TriYoga Davis Students

Every so often we introduce one of our students. We want you to get to know them so you'll feel comfortable coming to class for the first time. OR if you've already been coming, we want you to learn more about who may be on the mat next to yours.

This time I'm happy to introduce Rick Palkovic.

A recent retiree, Rick wonders how he ever had time for work. He plays guitar and mandolin in various local performance ensembles, and turns his hand to songwriting and composition. You can spot him around Davis riding his bright green recumbent tricycle.  

Rick describes TriYoga as "a calm pool in the rushing stream of life." He enjoys the community of a class setting, too. "Sure, I could work out at home by myself, but there's a camaraderie when you're working with others. And, it's different from a workout at the gym. You're not wrestling with weights and machines, but only with the dynamics of your own body. I guess that's part of the inward-looking, spiritual dimension of yoga.”

See one of Rick’s performance ensembles, Tree-O. Or, better yet, listen to one of Tree-O's songs!

More about Rick from the Tree-O website: Rick has kept his musical muse going over the years by playing a little bit of everything. Yep, there he was in the polyester disco outfit playing guitar on Chicago covers in the early ‘80s (who knew? not me!). And there he was picking up Dobro and mandolin when the bluegrass band needed another instrumentalist in the '90s, all the while keeping up his interest in jazz guitar.

Multi-talented, huh? You can join his mailing list at "Contacts" to learn when he is playing around town with his wife, Jamie Knapp, another TriYoga Davis student, and musician George Haver.

The Dangers of Sitting Too Much

A have a meeting while walking
What? My hour-long workout is not enough?  Why do we need to do a lot of moving-all day long-not just during our workout hour?  To find out read the article below that I found at 

After you read the article, do some chair yoga at your desk-several times during the day. I found this fabulous little video by Adrien on you-tube. 
Then before or after work, join a TriYoga Davis yoga class. Check out our schedule

What You Can Do to Overcome the Health Hazards of Sitting
  • The news about sitting too much is not good, but it’s worth knowing: Our modern lifestyle, with long spells of sitting down, is hazardous to our health. You thought you knew that, right? That’s why you fit in an aerobic workout three to five times a week, like you were told. The emerging news is: That may not be enough.

    A new field called “inactivity studies” has been looking at what happens when we sit down a lot. And the surprising news is that sitting for too many hours can harm your health, whether or not you exercise the rest of the time. Couch potatoes and marathon runners share the danger, in slightly differing degrees. Dang, that’s depressing.

    “This is (hazards of sitting) an important field of study,” says San Francisco Internist Toni Brayer
    , medical advisor to MyLifeStages. “This doesn’t mean your exercise plan should be scrapped; it means you should find ways to reduce long periods of sitting, in addition to getting regular aerobic exercise.”

    What inactivity studies found about sitting

    A key study in the field of “inactivity” was attempting to figure out why some people gain weight while others don’t. The study subjects were fed the same amount of extra calories and forbidden to exercise during the study. Surprisingly, not all subjects gained weight. So what was happening?

    The researchers then wired up the subjects’ bodies to see how much they moved. Although no one was doing traditional “exercise,” they discovered that the leaner subjects moved a lot during the day – standing , walking, even just fidgeting. Th
    ese subtle movements burned calories and changed the subjects’ overall metabolism, in a healthy way.
  • Facts about sitting still, according to inactivity researchers:
    • When we sit, the electrical activity in the legs and gluteal muscles (buttocks) slows way down.
    • Calorie burning slows to 1 calorie per minute.
    • Enzymes in the blood that burn fat drop precipitously.
    • After two hours, good cholesterol levels can drop 20%.
Scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks. The results of this inactivity study were published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Another study found that those who sat the most had the highest mortality, not just from heart-related disease, but from cancer deaths as well, said the study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Those who sat a lot but did some exercise fared better than those who just sat, but sitting more than six hours a day impacted the mortality of all subjects, no matter what else they did.

How to move more and sit less

Many of us are tied to jobs that involve sitting at a desk, or to long commutes in the car. In addition, we may relax in the evening with more sitting, in front of the TV, video game or computer. So what can we do, short of opting for a job that involves manual labor?
"Do any kind of movement" -Dr. Brayer
    • Take breaks from your desk. These can be as simple as standing up for a phone call, or walking down the hall to the copier. Try to space this activity throughout the day, so you don’t sit for more than an hour without a break. (If you’re at home, you can try some moves from our easy home fitness circuit.)

    • Consider a standing desk arrangement, or a sitting ball. Yes, it’s different and might look weird at first– but the act of standing or balancing on a ball can burn many more calories and keep your muscles engaged and alive. You can also take a couple of minutes to try these desk exercises at work. Check with your organization to understand whether or not your organization policies permit these adjustments and under what circumstances.
    • Take a walk! Consider a walking meeting with co-workers, or just head out the door yourself, circle the building, and come back refreshed.
    • Move before climbing into the car for your commute. Is there a quick activity you can do before you leave in the morning - sweep the floor or hang up some clothes? Or, stop for a cup of tea on the way home to break up a long ride. Just getting out of the car and doing something active helps.
    • While watching TV – stand up. Do some squats and other moves to strengthen your legs. Dance around or do yoga poses. Ride your exercise bike. Or, if you aren’t ready for the sitting ball at work, bring one home and use it in front of the TV.
    • Play with the kids (or grandkids). Kids know how to move – you can hardly stop them. So play ball with them, or crawl around on the floor. Be more kid like and you will move more.

“We need to keep our bodies moving,” says Dr. Brayer. “Humans were built to stand, walk, bend, run and move. Our modern lifestyle forces us to sit still, and we weren’t built for that.”

Contact us!