Energy

Auto Added by WPeMatico

The 7 Chakras – Types & Benefits

“Chakras” – if you’ve attended a yoga class, there’s a good chance you’ve heard it there. You might have even heard it in some movies or shows when they speak about the blockage or aligning of the chakras. Perhaps, someone has given you advice about working on a particular chakra. Regardless of how you were first introduced to chakras, hearing about it is a long way from knowing and understanding. Of course, you’re not the only one who may be new to this. In that case, let’s delve into the subject of chakras further.

The History Of Chakras

With the increasing popularity and awareness among the masses on yoga and philosophy, Chakras are now a familiar subject.

7 chakras mean

With its roots in the land of saints and yogis – India, chakras are a complex system of the ancient energy form. Initially, they found their mention in the Vedas (ancient holy manuscripts) several years ago.

The word ‘chakra’ denotes wheel. In Sanskrit, it is known as ‘cakra’ and it relates to the various points of energy within the body. They can be considered as the spinning disks that are the source of energy. The chakras are supposed to remain open and in alignment since they are the elements corresponding to the major organs in the body, bundles of nerves and those zones of the body that influence the physical and emotional health.

How Many Chakras Are There?

While there are some who talk about 114 chakras in number, running along your spine are 7 main ones and these chakras are the ones mostly referred to when they are mentioned.
Each of the seven chakras include a corresponding color, name, number, a particular zone of spine and focus on health.

Chakras (7 Main Energy Centres) – A Comprehensive Overview

Chakras can be called the energy centers found in the body. They are present alongside the spine within the astral body. They start from the bottom of the spine and go upwards, towards the crown part of the head.

As each chakra corresponds to the physical, emotional,spiritual, and psychological facets of the life form, it is so explained that any malfunction or blockage in these chakras may result in disorders that may be physical, emotional or psychological by nature. On the other hand, when there is a conscious awareness and these chakras are balanced, it is said to result in sound health and well-being of the individual. And so, asana practices aim towards the stimulation and balancing of these energies in the body.

The Seven Chakras – How To Balance And Stimulate Them

7 chakras meaning

Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra)

Muladhara Chakra or root chakra is found at the bottom of the area of the spine. It is located at the base of the spine amid anus and genitals. The color radiated by this chakra is red and the element it characterizes is the earth. The emotions of self-sufficiency, ambition, stability and survival characterize it.

When there is an imbalance of this chakra, feelings of instability, lack of any ambition or purpose, insecurity and fear and frustration emerge. On the contrary, when this particular chakra is balanced, the individual feels balanced, stable, energetic, confident, strong and independent!

The postures that work to balance this chakra are: Mountain pose or Tadasana and Tree Pose or Vrkshasana.

Swadhishthana Chakra (Sacral Chakra)

Situated along the lower abdomen, the Swadishthana Chakra represents the second chakra. Orange is the color that it radiates, characterizing the element of water. This chakra features the fundamental needs of self-worth, creativity, desires and sexuality. An imbalance in this chakra results in lack of energy, dearth of creativity, emotionally explosive feelings and obsession with thoughts that are sexual.

However, a balanced Swadhishthana Chakra may yield positive feelings coupled with intuition, compassion and satisfaction. This chakra can be worked on by the practice of the balancing asanas such as Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) and Crow Pose (Kakasana)

Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra)

Seated above the area of navel, Manipura Chakra or Solar Plexus Chakra characterizes the element of fire and therefore, the color radiated by this chakra is yellow. The energy and emotions of aggression, anger and ego are the features in this chakra. When there is an imbalance in this chakra, the consequences reflect physically via liver problems, digestive issues or diabetes.

It can also have the emotional reflections in the form of depression, low or no self-esteem, perfectionism and anger. Balancing of this chakra brings about energy, focus and confidence in the individual who is seen to be more productive. One can work on this chakra through asanas such as Bow Pose (Dhanurasana), Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana), and Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana).

Anahata Chakra (Heart Chakra)

Anahata Chakra, or Heart Chakra, as so implied by the name itself, is situated in the region of the heart. It is represented by the color green and characterizes the element of air. This Chakra features the emotions such as compassion, love, passion, attachment and trust.

When there is an imbalance in this chakra, emotion-related problems such as anxiety, lack of trust, fear and jealousy, anger and so on emerge in the individual. A harmonizing of this chakra leads to feeling more optimistic, motivated,friendly, compassionate, caring and understanding. Some of the poses that help in balancing the Heart Chakra are Fish Pose (Matsyasana) and Half Bridge Pose (Ardha Setubandhasana)

Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Chakra)

This fifth Chakra is found on the base part of the throat. It is represented by the color bright blue and characterizes the element of space. The throat chakra features the ability to communicate, faith, expression and inspiration.

An imbalance in this chakra may lead to lack of expression of thoughts, weak feeling, quietness and timidity. The balance of this chakra results in positive expression of self, satisfaction and creativity. Poses such as Plough Pose (Halasana) and Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana) stimulate the throat chakra.

Ajna Chakra (Third Eye Chakra)

Ajna Chakra (pronounciation – ‘Agya Chakra’) is situated amid the eyebrows. Represented by the color indigo blue, the chakra is element free. This chakra is applied often as a point of concentration or focus while practicing asanas. This is to enable greater awareness and concentration.

It has been mentioned that when one meditates on the Ajna Chakra, it lets one get rid of his past life karma while liberating him from it and provides intuitional know- how. Its characteristics include self-knowledge, understanding, intuition, insight and intelligence . An imbalance in this chakra may lead to problems of physical nature such as eye strain, blurry vision and headaches.

One might get feelings of ego or, in contrast, being non-assertive or apprehensive about success. The balancing of this chakra leads to freedom from the attachment to the materialistic aspects of the world and a fearless attitude towards death. The asana Headstand (Shirshasana) stimulates the third eye chakra.

Sahasrara Chakra (Crown Chakra)

Situated in the crown region of the head, the Sahasrara Chakra is the seventh chakra. This particular chakra also does not characterize any element and is represented by the color white and/ or violet. This chakra is considered the core of energy, dynamic thought, enlightenment and spirituality. It paves way for the cosmic consciousness and internal surge of wisdom. When not in balance, feelings of frustration, lack of joy and destructive thoughts might manifest. This chakra can be balanced through the practice of Headstand (Shirshasana).

Yoga and the Chakras

As per spiritual science and traditional Indian medicine, the physical body is not only composed of organs, muscles and bones. Rather, there are energy layers surrounding this physical body, which are interlinked metaphysical levels that generate the electromagnetic field of the body – the aura . It has been referred to as the “spiritual body,” “etheric body”, “light body,” or also called the “subtle body”.

Yoga For The Chakras

Each of the chakras utilize yoga as a basic means to balance themselves out as the alignment is created within the physical body through this art form. The subtle body can be rebalanced by practicing the asanas or postures which help to balance the physical body and stabilize it. The chakras are, thus, realigned and the behaviour can be regulated to cope with the outdated patterns, habits and beliefs.

A Fine Balance

The regular practice of yoga is an enjoyable journey that can lead you to the path that will align your chakras. It is yoga and meditation which can help in the balancing of the physical, mental and spiritual being within. Your energy centers will get purified, thereby fostering a sound health, well-being and happy life.

On a serious note, to learn more about chakras, how to perfect them and gain their invaluable insight, you can join a yoga school in India – the birthplace of yoga. There are conducting yoga teacher training programs that will enlighten you on this subject along with other essential aspects of yoga, while also letting you gain a rewarding career in the field of teaching yoga. So, create a life changing experience through a comprehensive yoga course and look forward to a life with positivity and enthusiasm.

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung

The post The 7 Chakras – Types & Benefits appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

EV fleet management gets another venture-backed contender as Electriphi raises $3.5 million

Electriphi, a provider of charging management and fleet monitoring software for electric vehicles, has joined the scrum of startups looking to provide services to the growing number of electric vehicle fleets in the U.S.

The San Francisco-based company has just raised $3.5 million in seed funding from investors including Wireframe Ventures, the Urban Innovation Fund, and Blackhorn Ventures. Lemnos Labs and Acario Innovation also participated in the round.

Electriphi’s pitch has resonated with school districts. It counts the Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento, Calif. as one of its benchmark customers.

“Twin Rivers Unified School District has the largest fleet of electric school buses in North America, and our ambition is to transition to a fully electric fleet in the coming years,” said Tim Shannon, transportation services director, Twin Rivers Unified School District, in a statement. “This is a significant undertaking, and we needed a trusted partner that could provide us state-of-the-art charging management and help us with data collection and monitoring.”

There are several companies pursuing this market — all with either a bit of a head start, significant corporate backers, or more capital. Existing offerings from EVConnect, GreenLots,  GreenFlux, AmplyPower all compete with Electriphi.

The company is betting that the experience of co-founder, Muffi Ghadiali, a former senior director at ChargePoint who led hardware and software development for fast charging infrastructure, can sway customers. Joining Ghadiali is Sanjay Dayal, who previously worked at Agralogics, Tibco, Xamplify, Versata and Sybase

There’s also the sheer scale of the opportunity, which is likely to see multiple companies emerge as winners.

“There are millions of public and commercial fleet vehicles in the U.S. alone that we rely on daily for transportation, delivery and services, ” said Paul Straub, managing partner, Wireframe Ventures. “Many of these are beginning to consider electrification and the opportunity is tremendous.”

7 Best Low Impact Cardio Workouts

Regular training provides an opportunity to strengthen the cardiovascular system, increase endurance, and keep the body in good shape. Any workout that makes the heart work in a fast mode is related to cardio loading.

Here are the best low impact workouts for your cardiovascular health:

Treadmill

low impact cardio workouts treadmill

If you like running but do not want to train outdoors in bad weather, you can head for a treadmill. It allows you to exercise in a more comfortable environment, particularly during the winter season.

Choosing a bowflex treadclimber, you will burn more calories than you would on an exercise bike, stepper, and rowing machine. If you compare the track with an elliptical trainer, there is no consensus on which one burns more calories. The figures are approximately equal.

See Also: Get To The Grind: Hop on, Hop off Treadmill Sprinting

Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer will appeal to those who do not like running but want to burn as many calories as possible. This trainer simulates climbing stairs or skiing.

With an elliptical trainer, you can move large handrails, reducing the load on the legs and increasing the tension of the body and arms.

Some elliptical trainers can work in stepper mode.Their movements resemble stair climbing.

Exercise Bike

Compared to running on a track, the load on the joints is minimal when exercising on a stationary bike. This is one of the reasons why it’s considered a gentle and safe form of cardio even for people recovering from injuries.

However, only the lower body works on the exercise bike. The arms, shoulders, and body are devoid of even the insignificant load that falls on them while running or using simulators like the elliptical and rowing ones.

Running

Although it looks like it provides the simplest and most natural load for the body, running is not suitable for everyone. Any person can start running, but whether he will benefit from it depends on many factors.

If you are overweight, have problems with your legs joints or have poor physical fitness, you need to be very careful when choosing a load. If you prefer running, you need to gradually increase the intensity of your training. Although running will not help you build up muscles, it can be enough to keep them in good shape.

Running at the slowest pace requires more effort than quiet cycling. This makes cycling a great start for people with poor physical fitness. Unlike running, there is no shock load on the legs while cycling. This is another pro for people who are not accustomed to serious workloads. Moreover, cycling at speeds up to 15 kilometers per hour is helpful for people with varicose veins.

See Also: How Runners Can Easily Improve Their Foot Strength

Swimming

low impact cardio workouts swimming

Swimming is a perfect workout for overweight people and those who have problems with joints. The probability of getting injured while swimming is low since the load on the joints is minimal.

Swimming can help strengthen the legs, arms, shoulders, and back. It can strengthen your abdominal muscles, too.

Any cardio load has a positive effect on the respiratory system, but swimming definitely outperforms other sports. While swimming, exhalation is not carried out into the air, but into the water.

It’s a denser environment, which requires more effort. The swimmer needs to hold his breath for a certain time after inhalation. Due to this training, the lungs’ capacity increases and breathing becomes fuller and deeper.

Stepper

This trainer simulates climbing stairs.

There are several types of steppers:

  • The classic compact simulator — it comes either without handrails or with two types of handrails and a display.
  • Balancing stepper with expanders — this enables you to turn from side to side while allowing both legs and arms to be involved in the movement.
  • Rotary stepper with a rotating handle — it allows you to completely rotate the body from side to side while walking.

Depending on the simulator, different muscle groups are trained.

The classic stepper mainly loads the legs muscles, calves, hips, and buttocks. The simulator with expanders, meanwhile, provides pressure on the arms and abs. It also improves your sense of balance. In addition to the legs, the rotary stepper also trains the muscles on your back, chest, and shoulders.

Aerobics

This is a great option for someone bored with doing cardio exercises alone.

Aerobics includes active walking, jumping, exercises for stretching, and working out different muscles on the floor. Dance aerobics can include elements of a variety of dance styles. Examples include Latin dance, mamba, hip-hop, zumba (this is just a mix of aerobics and dance) and many others, at the discretion of the coach.

Step aerobics is a popular choice as well. The exercises are performed on elevations and include active walking on the steps with tilts of the body and hand movements.

Why Cardio Training Is Important

Cardio training develops the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It also improves the endurance and aerobic capabilities of a person.

Moreover, they are needed for:

  • Weight loss
  • Increasing stamina
  • Increasing the intensity of the cardiovascular system

Cardio exercises are necessary for everyone. The right choice of cardio load and the right intensity can increase aerobic performance without compromising muscle.

The post 7 Best Low Impact Cardio Workouts appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Kickstarter darling EcoFlow Delta battery generator is not what it seems

The Delta EcoFlow is a new battery generator available on Kickstarter with incredible claimed features. Most are true, some are not.

Device like the Delta offer incredible battery storage capacity. Designed for more than just recharging phones and tablets, these can run refrigerators, pumps, power tools and medical equipment. They’re great for emergencies, camping and general use where power is not available. Similar devices have been on the market for some years so I was eager to verify EcoFlow’s claims.

The EcoFlow Delta can recharge from a wall outlet to 80% in an hour. It’s amazing. The GoalZero Yeti battery of a similar size takes 25 hours. This capability means the Delta can be used and then reused more than competitors.

The device is currently on Kickstarter where it quickly acquired over $2 million from over 2,000 backers. The device’s features listed on the Kickstarter page are clear, but after testing a pre-production unit, I found several of these advertised capabilities and features misleading or false.

The Delta is the latest product from EcoFlow. The company’s founder, Eli Harris, says it’s “The world’s strongest battery generator.” I found the Delta to be a competent battery generator with similar capabilities to competitors but it’s hampered by loud fans.

In short, if you need a battery generator that can recharge much faster than others, the Delta is a great option. Otherwise, the GoalZero Yeti makes more sense for most people.

Battery generators are a safe and more portable option than their gas counterparts. There are no harmful fumes or fuel allowing them to be used indoors, nearer the appliances or tools. Most often (though not with the Delta) they’re silent, too, making them perfect for a camping or hunting companion.

In real-world operation, this quick recharge time could come in handy. Say, on a construction site or in an emergency incident where power is still available, but out of reach of an extension cord — situations where loud gas generators are generally used. While the Delta is louder than other battery generators, it is not as loud as a gas generator.

The Delta battery comes packaged with a warning that the battery must be fully charged before use. I generally ignore warnings, but I followed this one and immediately plugged it in. Instantly, fans whirled to life and the screen popped on displaying the current charge levels and how long it would take to get to 100%. The Delta was at 30% and would take 45 minutes to fully recharge. It worked as advertised and 45 minutes later the battery was at 100%.

Recharging the Delta battery was a noisy affair. The fans are loud and continue to run after the battery is fully charged. Compared to a GoalZero Yeti, this was a shock. The Yeti is silent where the Delta is not. I keep a Yeti 1400 in my basement, plugged in and ready to use. But with the Delta, even when the battery is fully charged, loud fans still run presumably to keep the unit cool. EcoFlow says the shelf life on the Delta is over a year where the GoalZero Yeti is six months. To me, I would rather have the battery constantly plugged into power so I know it’s ready to go when needed.

The Delta recharges without an AC power inverter (a power brick); it uses the same sort of cable as a desktop PC. The company says by passing through the inverter directly, the Delta can increase charging speed to more than 10 times the traditional AC to DC adapter cable. This also means it’s easier to replace a lost charging cable.

The Delta is much lighter than competing products and its design makes it easier to move. EcoFlow says it’s rugged, and it feels the part. Even my pre-production sample feels tough and ready to go to work. Large rubber pads keep the battery in place and the tough plastic feels more durable than competing products.

There are a handful of plugs and outlets around the device, including USB, USB-C and six AC outlets. It’s a lot and similar in capacity to large gas generators. Most battery generators have much fewer AC outlets, though I’ve often supplemented the capability with small power strips.

IMG 0544
Kickstarter Beware

The Delta is currently on Kickstarter for pre-order and exceeded its goal. I fear a good amount of backers will be upset to learn several notable advertised features are false or misleading.

The Delta is not silent. Under operation, either recharging a cell phone or running a power tool, loud fans run on both sides of the battery. These fans run when recharging the battery, too — even when the battery is fully charged. The Kickstarter page and video lists throughout that the Delta produces no noise.

ecoflow delta

These fans detract from the appeal of the Delta battery. They’re loud. You have to raise your voice to speak over them. Because of these fans, I wouldn’t take the Delta camping or use it in the backyard for a quiet get-together. During power outage situations, I wouldn’t want to sleep near it. But I would use it for power tools — like EcoFlow does in one of its demo videos.

Only one of the four videos on the Kickstarter page allows potential owners to hear the Delta battery. The third video on the page shows the battery powering a hammer drill. Six seconds into the video, the drill stops running, and the battery’s fans are audible.

There are a handful of competing batteries that operate without noisy fans. I’ve taken GoalZero’s Yeti batteries camping and they’re great despite their heft. They’re truly silent and can still recharge from solar panels and car batteries. I’ve used battery generators from Jackery, too, and those are also silent.

I spoke with Ecoflow CEO and Founder Eli Harris during the run-up of this review. He was clear that Ecoflow’s main competitor is not other large batteries, but rather small gas generators available from Honda and others. And that makes a lot of sense. Those are the best selling generators available and widely used for emergency and convenience. These small generators are loud, and the Ecoflow Delta is quieter than those options while still offering most of the power capabilities.

When asked why the Kickstarter page is misleading, he said “that fallacy has never been called out” and he would check with his team about the use of “superlatives and blanket statements.” Three days later, the Kickstarter page still lists the false claims.

EcoFlow claims the Delta battery can run a variety of power tools, including drills, circular saws, power washers and welders. I found this capability hit or miss. Despite some tools being under the claimed amperage and wattage of the Delta battery, the battery wouldn’t power my small or large circular saw or power washer. EcoFlow also claims the battery can recharge a Tesla; it doesn’t recharge my Chevy Volt.

Many tools require extra power when starting up, and I found most of these surge requirements to exceed the capabilities of the Delta battery. This is the same with other batteries like the GoalZero Yeti. In fact, I couldn’t find one tool in my workshop that the Delta powered and the Yeti did not; they worked the same for me, and I have a lot of tools.

Don’t mistake what I’m saying. The EcoFlow Delta has impressive capabilities mainly around its recharge capabilities. This makes it an attractive option for the right use. It’s compact and solid. It has a lot of outlets and is easy to move. This could be a lifesaver in emergency situations where a person still has access to power.

The Delta has some downsides just like other battery generators. It doesn’t offer a dramatic increase in electrical output over competitors so don’t expect this battery to power larger devices. Don’t expect a silent operation, either. This massive battery is loud though, I admit, that’s a relative term. It’s louder than other battery generators but less loud than a gas generator.

I would rather have a silent battery generator that recharges slowly versus a noisy, fast-recharging battery. I use my battery generators camping and around the house when the power goes out. The Delta makes sense on a construction site or when providing power is priority. I just can’t get over the loud fans.

9 Great Reasons to Drink Water And How to Form the Water Habit

We all know that water is good for us, but the reasons are sometimes a little fuzzy. Even if we know why we should drink water, it’s not a habit that we can easily form.

The truth, however, is that we don’t focus enough on this habit. This is why we end up drinking lots of coffee, soda, alcohol, fruit juices, teas, milk, and a bunch of other beverages. And despite all those fluids, we still end up dehydrated which isn’t good for our health.

I’ve made drinking water a daily habit, although I will admit that a couple of years ago I was more likely to drink anything but water. Now, I don’t drink anything but water, except for a cup of coffee in the morning and beer with dinner once in a while.

Here are 9 powerful reasons to drink water (with tips on how to form the water habit afterwards):

Weight loss

Water is one of the best tools for weight loss. it doesn’t have calories, unlike high-calorie drinks, like sodas, juices, and alcohol. It’s also a great appetite suppressant.

Often, when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just thirsty. Drinking plenty can help your weight-loss regimen. 

Heart health

Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risks of heart attack.

study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drink more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack. That’s in comparison to people who drank less than two glasses.

Energy

Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired, even mild dehydration of as little as 1 or 2 percent of your body weight. It can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and other symptoms.

Headache cure

Another symptom of dehydration is headache. In fact, when we have headaches, it’s often caused by not drinking enough water. There are lots of other causes of headaches of course, but dehydration is a common one.

See Also: Water And Brain Function: How Staying Hydrated Makes You Smarter

Healthy skin

Drinking water can clear up your skin, but it won’t happen overnight, of course. Drink a healthy amount of water for a week and you’ll notice its good effects on your skin.

Digestive problems

Our digestive system needs a good amount of water to digest food properly. Water can help cure stomach acid problems. It can help treat constipation, too.

Cleansing

Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.

Cancer risk

Drinking a healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45%. It can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50% and potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Better exercise

Being dehydrated can severely hamper your athletic activities. It can slow you down and make it harder to lift weights. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during,and after exercise.

How to form the water habit

So you’re convinced that water is healthier, but you’d like to know more about how to make drinking water a daily habit.

Here are some tips that have helped me:

Know how much water you need

This is a debatable question. What’s clear is that the old recommendation of “eight 8-ounce glasses a day” isn’t right, for several reasons.

That amount includes all dietary water intake, including food and non-water beverages. It also ignores a person’s body weight which is an important factor in figuring the right amount. It also varies if you are sick or exercise.

Plus, it’s also not good to just drink when you’re thirsty because you’re already dehydrated by then.

Best is to form a routine. Drink a glass when you wake up, a glass with each meal, and a glass in between meals. Be sure to drink before, during and after exercise, too. Try to generally keep yourself from getting thirsty.

Carry a bottle

water bottles

A lot of people find it useful to get a big plastic drinking bottle, fill it with water, and carry it around with them all day. I like to keep a glass of water at my desk and I drink from it all day long. When it’s empty, I fill it up again and keep drinking.

Set a reminder

Set your watch to beep at the top of each hour or set a periodic computer reminder. that way, you won’t forget to drink water.

Substitute water

If you would normally get a soda or an alcoholic beverage, get a glass of water instead. Try sparkling water instead of alcohol at social functions.

Filter

Instead of spending a fortune on bottled water, invest in a filter for your home faucet. It’ll make tap water taste like bottled water at a fraction of the price.

Exercise

Exercising can help make you want to drink water more. It’s not necessary to drink sports drinks like Gatorade when you exercise, unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Just drink water. If you’re going to exercise, be sure to drink water a couple hours ahead of time. That way, it will get through your system in time.

Track it

It often helps, when forming a new habit, to keep track of it.

Tracking increases awareness and helps ensure that you’re staying on track. Keep a little log on an index card or a notebook and create a mark for each glass of water you drink.

The post 9 Great Reasons to Drink Water And How to Form the Water Habit appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

8 Helpful and Effective Strength Exercises For Cyclists

For cyclists, the primary target of doing strength exercises is to train in the same motion as in cycling together with one’s upper and lower body, while improving overall muscular endurance and core strength.

Strength training generates a stronger support system for a cyclist’s prime movers while riding a bike. If you have aerobically stronger core and muscles, you will gain more potential in increasing power and consequently experience less fatigue while cycling.

Now that you understand why strength training is helpful before cycling, you might wonder what those strength exercises are.

Below are the 8 strength exercises for cyclists you can try.

Front Plank

strength exercise for cyclists
Via indianexpress.com

Steps:

  • Lie on your stomach and place both elbows under your shoulders with hands and forearms on the floor.
  • Raise your hips off the floor, straighten your back, tighten your abs, and rest on your toes.
  • Keep this position for 40-60 seconds and do two-three sets.
  • Front plank focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis or TVA muscle, and upper and lower back. In cycling, the front plank can help you to build both strength and muscle endurance that you need in order to ride in aero position or in the drops powerfully.

Half Squat

half squat with barbell
half squat with barbell via t-nation.com

What you need:

  • Barbell

barbell

Steps:

  • Stand tall while carrying a barbell over your shoulders.
  • Bend your hips and knees until your thighs can form a 45-degree angle.
  • Repeat the sequence and complete 3-4 sets of 10 repetitions.

Here’s one thing to note:

Expect that the last few repetitions during the last 3 or 4 sets will be hard to complete but still ensure that you will make it through the last rep. Half squats work on your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It would build strength for sprinting and climbing.

Single Leg Hip Bridge

single leg hip bridge exercise
Via tfdgym.co.uk

Steps:

  • Lie on the ground (placing a yoga mat would make you more comfortable) with your one leg bent while lifting the other one off the ground.
  • Raise your hips up in the air while contracting your glute muscles like you’re pushing through your heels.
  • Hold the position for a second or two before going down.
  • Do two to three sets of 10-12 repetitions on each side of your legs.

Single Leg Hip Bridge can be done at any time, but it is the best pre-workout to do to wake up your glutes before a strength workout, especially if you have been sitting and inactive for a while. Aside from that, it also improves speed, endurance, and strength used while cycling.

Lunges with Bicep Curl

lunges with bicep curl and resistance band
lunges with bicep curl and resistance band via pinterest

What you need:

  • Resistance band or dumbbell

dumbbell

Steps:

  • Stand in an upright position with either a resistance band or a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Execute a lunge position: straighten your back, step one leg forward and bend the knee to a 90-degree position, while your leg in the back should be straight.
  • While on it, do a biceps curl with both arms.
  • Repeat the same with the opposite leg forward.
  • Start with 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions in every leg.

Lunging with bicep curl is an excellent workout when you want to develop strength in your biceps, quadriceps, glutes, and deltoids. These four muscles are utilized when there is a need to stand and accelerate cycling.

Boat Pose

strength exercises for cyclist
Via yogajournal.com

Steps:

  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor and with your knees bent forward.
  • Execute a V-position: Raise and extend your legs out forward, and lean your upper body backward.
  • Stretch your arms away from you so you can tighten your lower abdominal muscles.
  • Make sure to relax your shoulders and keep your back straight.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds and do it for 5-10 repetitions.

Boat pose mainly focuses on strengthening your transverse abdominis and lower back. As a result, you will feel less fatigue through strengthening the muscles that can improve your lower back. Also, this workout will allow you to encounter less pain and feel more comfortable while on aggressive cycling positions.

Single Leg Reach

single leg reach with cones
single leg reach with cones via sidelinesoccer.com

What you need:

  • Three water bottles or cones

water bottles

Steps:

  • Place three water bottles or cones in a triangular form.
  • While on a single leg stance, slightly bend your knees to do a squat and slowly reach down towards the left cone and return to a standing position. Do the same with the remaining bottles or cones.
  • Repeat the same sequence with the other leg.
  • Complete a set of 10 repetitions.

Single leg reach workouts focus on your hips and core and improve your balance on the bike, which is essential to develop bike handling and endurance. This strength exercise also works with your proprioception, also called as ‘sense of self,’ or the body’s awareness of movement and position in space.

Single-Arm Row

single arm row with cradle column machine
single arm row with cradle column machine via livestrong.com

What you need:

  • Cable column machine
cable column machine
Via amazon

Steps:

  • Stand across a cable column machine. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, and knees are slightly bent.
  • Take the handle and do a standing row, while keeping your body still as much as possible. Do not lean forward nor backward to lift more weight.
  • Finish 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions.

Single-arm row enhances the muscles of your shoulder, back, and hips. It also strengthens the scapular region, which is a common area of fatigue caused by hunching too much on the bike. As a result, cyclists can avoid injuries and ride longer without discomfort.

Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl

hamstring curl with handle cradles
hamstring curl with handle cradles via pinterest

What you need:

  • Handle Cradles

Steps:

  • Lie on the ground (with yoga mat is recommended) and place your handles in the handle cradles.
  • Raise your hips and curl your heels (almost like pointing your toes) towards your hips
  • Do not drop your hips as you are bending your heels.
  • Finish two sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Exercise ball hamstring curl is one of the TRX routines (Total Resistance exercises) that strengthens your lower back and hamstrings. Strengthening hamstring and quadriceps is significant to enhance upstroke while in a pedaling motion and avoid lower extremity injuries.

Overall, these strength exercises for cyclists can help you prepare your body.

See Also: Can Cycling Actually Change Your Health And Life?

The post 8 Helpful and Effective Strength Exercises For Cyclists appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Energy Vault raises $110 million from SoftBank Vision Fund as energy storage grabs headlines

Imagine a moving tower made of huge cement bricks weighing 35 metric tons. The movement of these massive blocks is powered by wind or solar power plants and is a way to store the energy those plants generate. Software controls the movement of the blocks automatically, responding to changes in power availability across an electric grid to charge and discharge the power that’s being generated.

The development of this technology is the culmination of years of work at Idealab, the Pasadena, Calif.-based startup incubator, and Energy Vault, the company it spun out to commercialize the technology, has just raised $110 million from SoftBank Vision Fund to take its next steps in the world.

Energy storage remains one of the largest obstacles to the large-scale rollout of renewable energy technologies on utility grids, but utilities, development agencies and private companies are investing billions to bring new energy storage capabilities to market as the technology to store energy improves.

The investment in Energy Vault is just one indicator of the massive market that investors see coming as power companies spend billions on renewables and storage. As The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend, ScottishPower, the U.K.-based utility, is committing to spending $7.2 billion on renewable energy, grid upgrades and storage technologies between 2018 and 2022.

Meanwhile, out in the wilds of Utah, the American subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems is working on a joint venture that would create the world’s largest clean energy storage facility. That 1 gigawatt storage would go a long way toward providing renewable power to the Western U.S. power grid and is going to be based on compressed air energy storage, large flow batteries, solid oxide fuel cells and renewable hydrogen storage.

“For 20 years, we’ve been reducing carbon emissions of the U.S. power grid using natural gas in combination with renewable power to replace retiring coal-fired power generation. In California and other states in the western United States, which will soon have retired all of their coal-fired power generation, we need the next step in decarbonization. Mixing natural gas and storage, and eventually using 100% renewable storage, is that next step,” said Paul Browning, president and CEO of MHPS Americas.

Energy Vault’s technology could also be used in these kinds of remote locations, according to chief executive Robert Piconi.

Energy Vault’s storage technology certainly isn’t going to be ubiquitous in highly populated areas, but the company’s towers of blocks can work well in remote locations and have a lower cost than chemical storage options, Piconi said.

“What you’re seeing there on some of the battery side is the need in the market for a mobile solution that isn’t tied to topography,” Piconi said. “We obviously aren’t putting these systems in urban areas or the middle of cities.”

For areas that need larger-scale storage that’s a bit more flexible there are storage solutions like Tesla’s new Megapack.

The Megapack comes fully assembled — including battery modules, bi-directional inverters, a thermal management system, an AC breaker and controls — and can store up to 3 megawatt-hours of energy with a 1.5 megawatt inverter capacity.

The Energy Vault storage system is made for much, much larger storage capacity. Each tower can store between 20 and 80 megawatt hours at a cost of 6 cents per kilowatt hour (on a levelized cost basis), according to Piconi.

The first facility that Energy Vault is developing is a 35 megawatt-hour system in Northern Italy, and there are other undisclosed contracts with an undisclosed number of customers on four continents, according to the company.

One place where Piconi sees particular applicability for Energy Vault’s technology is around desalination plants in places like sub-Saharan Africa or desert areas.

Backing Energy Vault’s new storage technology are a clutch of investors, including Neotribe Ventures, Cemex Ventures, Idealab and SoftBank.

GBatteries let you charge your car as quickly as visiting the pump

A YC startup called GBatteries has come out of stealth with a bold claim: they can recharge an electric car as quickly as it takes to full up a tank of gas.

Created by aerospace engineer Kostya Khomutov, electrical engineers Alex Tkachenko and Nick Sherstyuk, and CCO Tim Sherstyuk, the company is funded by the likes of Airbus Ventures, Initialized Capital, Plug and Play, and SV Angel.

The system uses AI to optimize the charging systems in electric cars.

“Most companies are focused on developing new chemistries or materials (ex. Enevate, Storedot) to improve charging speed of batteries. Developing new materials is difficult, and scaling up production to the needs of automotive companies requires billions of $,” said Khomutov. “Our technology is a combination of software algorithms (AI) and electronics, that works with off-the-shelf Li-ion batteries that have already been validated, tested, and produced by battery manufacturers. Nothing else needs to change.”

The team makes some bold claims. The product allows users to charge a 60kWh EV battery pack with 119 miles of range in 15 minutes as compared to 15 miles in 15 minutes today. “The technology works with off-the-shelf lithium ion batteries and existing fast charge infrastructure by integrating via a patented self-contained adapter on a car charge port,” writes the team. They demonstrated their product at CES this year.

Most charging systems depend on fairly primitive systems for topping up batteries. Various factors – including temperature – can slow down or stop a charge. GBatteries manages this by setting a very specific charging model that “slows down” and “speeds up” the charge as necessary. This allows the charge to go much faster under the right conditions.

The company bloomed out of frustration.

“We’ve always tinkered with stuff together since before I was even a teenager, and over time had created a burgeoning hardware lab in our basement,” said Sherstyuk. “While I was studying Chemistry at Carleton University in Ottawa, we’d often debate and discuss why batteries in our phones got so bad so rapidly – you’d buy a phone, and a year later it would almost be unusable because the battery degraded so badly.”

“This sparked us to see if we can solve the problem by somehow extending the cycle life of batteries and achieve better performance, so that we’d have something that lasts. We spent a few weeks in our basement lab wiring together a simple control system along with an algorithm to charge a few battery cells, and after 6 months of testing and iterations we started seeing a noticeable difference between batteries charged conventionally, and ones using our algorithm. A year and a half later of constant iterations and development, we applied and were accepted in 2014 into YC.”

While it’s not clear when this technology will hit commercial vehicles, it could be the breakthrough we all need to start replacing our gas cars with something a little more environmentally-friendly.

Feng Shui and Wellness: What You Need to Know

The ancient Chinese thought a lot about the relationship between the body and the environment. This helped them create a holistic system that nurtured wellness. They called it feng shui.

Early feng shui practitioners studied medicine, astrology, meteorology, and aesthetics. They supplemented it with lots of practical observations of the world around them to come up with their guiding principles, many of which hold up remarkably well in contemporary times.

good feng shui

So, what are those principles? How do they affect the use of feng shui for harmony in the home?

One of the main ones is about flow or what the Chinese call chi (also spelled qi). Chi is all about movement, breath, and energy force. It is integral to the study of Chinese medicine and martial arts.

The role of chi in spatial design

For one, there should be just enough space for the energy force to flow easily and freely. A good floor plan ensures a circuitous and even flow between and within rooms. Stagnant energy (i.e., in a basement apartment or a room teeming with clutter) or overpowering direct energy (i.e., at the head of a T-junction) can have detrimental effects on your health, relationships, and/or finances.

On the other hand, imagine the feeling you get when you enter a well-designed spa. With every object chosen and placed intentionally, it captures the flow of gentle chi and immediately invites guests into a state of serenity.

About Yin and Yang

Another guiding principle is the harmony between yang (active) and yin (passive) elements.

Certain rooms should emphasize the yang (office, living room) whereas others should foreground the yin (bedroom). All rooms, however, should incorporate both the yang and yin in harmony. This could be reflected in the color scheme, proportion of different objects, and in the lighting of the room.

An example of this is a bedroom that features restful colors, such as greens and blues for the walls but incorporates enough warm colors. You can use a pop of orange or bronze in the accessories to offset too much coolness in the overall design. Most good designers can naturally harmonize the different elements to create a general sense of balance and elegance.

Finally, good feng shui practitioners showcase elements of nature throughout their designs. Feng shui recognizes and harnesses the power inherent in natural objects: the living dynamism of plants, the solidity of rocks, the brilliance of metal, the mobility of water, and the warmth of fire.

Even indoors, these elements can emit their special properties and influence the energy of a space. For example, plants and fish tanks could energize your living room and enrich your social life but might not bring about the most restful sleep in your bedroom. Metal elements, symbolizing wealth, should be sprinkled liberally near the entryway or in an office to usher in prosperity.

feng shui house

Conclusion

So, when you’re considering lifestyle changes to promote improved well-being for you and your family, consider the interior design and feng shui as much as you think about your diet and exercise. Seek inspiration in the photos of the beautiful spaces that populate Instagram or in your favorite e-magazine.

Ask yourself what feelings these photos invoke and try to emulate the designs in those projects. Think about how well your space flows, how well the various design elements work together, and how the space functions and feels.

Place natural elements throughout your house, tapping into their energy. Just like our body, our homes need consistent loving attention in order to be the soft landing place that nurtures us for our life journey. That’s the basic idea in using feng shui for harmony in the home.

The post Feng Shui and Wellness: What You Need to Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Why some people can't handle coffee

TwitterFacebook

While java love is widespread, some people can’t handle the jittery effects of coffee. Why is it that some people can chug coffee like water while others can’t have a single sip without feeling like their hearts are going to pop out of their chest? Dr. Marilyn Cornelis from Northwestern University explains the genetic reason behind this phenomena. Read more…

More about Science, Mashable Video, Energy, Coffee, and Caffeine

Powered by WPeMatico

Solar Panels For Home: Do They Make A Great Investment?

The days when solar panels used to be a rare and exotic source of energy are gone. Their popularity is growing and a lot of people are now choosing it as their main source of electricity.

Before installing this system that is supposed to lower energy bills, people are usually curious about the average efficiency of solar panels and the price. If you are one of these people, you’re probably wondering if they are really profitable and how much you can save.

Here are some of the most important facts you should know about solar panels for home.

What is the price of solar panels?

solar panels for your home

The price of solar panels might be different depending on the state you live in as well as your desired size. The more panels you need, the higher the price tags become.

The average price for solar panels is about $4 per watt. A whole system can be as big as 5 kilowatts, which means it can cost you almost $19,000. That may seem too pricey, but it is worth it in the long run.

If you fear that this price won’t fit in your budget, there are ways for you to spend less on solar panels. Government incentives, for example, can reduce the cost of solar panels.

How to Spend Less on Solar Panels?

Federal investment tax credit is a way to make the price of solar panels lower. It can also save you some money on installation. Except for a national rebate, there are also regional discounts. If you add both, the price can be reduced significantly.

For example, if you have a house in Austin, Texas and want to install a large 7-kilowatt solar panel system, it would cost about $26,000. The city’s rebate will reduce $800 per kilowatt and you will save about $6,000. Thanks to the federal tax credit, you might be able to save an additional $6,000.

All in all, you’ll probably save more than $10,000 in total. So, before installation, consider checking the government incentives you can get in your city.

How Much Money Can You Save With Solar Panels?

The main reason to install solar panels is that it allows paying less for the electricity. How much exactly can you save?

Depending on the size of your system, you can save from $150 to $200 per month. The solar system pays for itself in a period of about 7 to 15 years. It is a good result considering the fact that it can serve you for 20 to 30 years.

The competition on the market of solar panels is growing, making them more affordable. If you also use the incentives and rebates, it becomes possible to install solar panels for less than $10,000.

Is It Worth Getting Solar Panels?

home solar panels

While making a decision about solar panel installment, it is important to think not only about the cost of the system, but also about the amount of sun in your area. Both direct and scattered sunlight is good for solar panels, but there still should be enough sunny days to feel the benefits.

Before installing a solar panel system, it might be a good idea to check a specialist’s opinion and find out if your state is suitable for solar energy usage. Another crucial factor is the location of the house and the roof.

Make sure it is possible to provide panels with good exposure. Check where the roof faces, the number of trees and presence of constructions that are situated around. In case the location is not satisfying, solar panels can also be installed on a garage roof or you can use a ground-mounted system.

Solar panels installment requires a lot of time but if you pay attention to all the details it might become a great investment.

The post Solar Panels For Home: Do They Make A Great Investment? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Powered by WPeMatico

KarmSolar introduces solar energy to sunny old Egypt

 With over a population over 90 million strong, a prime location, topography and climate, one would assume a country like Egypt would be perfect for solar energy. The nation’s average level of solar radiation is between 2,000 to 3,200kWh per square meter a year, but this country on the verge of the African Sahara still imports enough gas to operate electricity generating plants all over… Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

Five Ways of Overcoming the Problem of Getting Sleep

Sleep. An important and inevitable physiological body function. An effortless activity in past years but an increasingly difficult one in the present day.

Many people in our contemporary society are struggling with sleep — correctly termed insomnia — in their daily lives. The lack of it has been shown by scientist to have a ripple effect on the overall productivity and health outcomes of individuals.

Sleep has increasingly become elusive partly due to tremendous changes in sleep-wake patterns and technology that has infiltrated in every human living space including bedrooms. A change in work operations has taken a more white-collar approach with the same technology making work easier through mechanization of work. The result is often people who sit behind computers and devices the whole day with minimum physical activities.

Worse still, the mobile technological gadgets evolution has hooked people onto their laptops, mobile phones, and tablets while they are traveling, dining, and even when they retire to bed. The lack of physical exhaustion and the addiction to mobile devices at bedtime has led to the steadily increasing problem of inadequate sleep.

This article will present rather unempirical solutions that will sure help in getting over the trouble of going to sleep.

Make yourself tired

get physically tired

Lack of adequate physical activity may in the long run affect your sleep pattern. Increasing your physical activity ensures your body is literally tired and leaves it craving for rest.

Ways of increasing your physical activity may include taking a jog, walking to work (for considerable distances), standing in the office (if that is allowed) and hitting the gym. Indeed, the gym is the most effective way of ensuring you crawl right home and to bed after gym. The intense exercises ensure you are exhausted, and you will find yourself falling asleep even on the couch too sleepy even to walk to bed. But hey, we want to sleep, don’t we? A shower after a physically exhausting day will ensure you sleep even before you know it.

Think about sleep

The second solution has something to do with the mind. Whenever you retire to bed and have trouble falling asleep, think about sleep. Yes, tuck warm, pull on your blankets and think about nothing else than sleep. Allow yourself to drift and fall into that pitless abyss of darkness that is sleep. Think of nothing but the darkness, the good feeling of finally relaxing and letting go of all worries. Drift in the wave of calmness and think how amazing it is to sleep. You will be in deep sleep before you know it.

See Also: 4 Benefits of Mind Dumping to Help You Sleep 

Do not sleep hungry

Hunger is no friend of sleep. From the rumbling of one’s stomach to the body’s physiological response of craving for food, a person will be preoccupied with nothing but thoughts on how they should wake up and grab something to eat.

Thus, ensure you eat your fill two hours before bed time. It also helps to have hot meals and a hot non-caffeine drink. Being full has something to do with blood pulling to the stomach to meet the demanding needs of digestion that will often leave you drowsy. This explains why many people will be sleepy in the afternoon after having a hot meal over lunch. The same is applicable during supper and may greatly help in getting sleep.

Sleep-wake pattern

Any changes in the sleep-wake pattern have also been shown to impact a person’s sleep. An unhealthy sleep pattern, such as sleeping too late into the night, may lead to the problem of insomnia.

Revisit your recent sleeping and waking hours and pinpoint any deviations. In case there are any changes, work on normalizing them by ascribing to your usual hours. This may not be instantaneous, but it works over time.

Avoid staying up late and ensure you get at least the recommended 7 hours of sleep well within the night. Put your phone in silent mode, disconnect from the Internet, and disable notification alerts that may ultimately interrupt your sleep.

See Also: Sleep Adjustment: Why the Early Bird Gets the Worm 

Let yourself get bored in bed

get bored in bed

Lastly, wild as it may sound, allow yourself to get bored in bed. By this, I mean do not use your phone at the first sign of insomnia. Once you take your phone and start chatting or simply surfing the internet, sleep becomes even more elusive. This also means staying away from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Instead, allow yourself to drift into your thoughts, fantasize about things, and also allow yourself to drift in your imaginings. Reminiscing and trying to recall childhood memories in surreal states also helps. This is one of the most effortless yet very effective ways of finding sleep when insomnia strikes.

In conclusion, the methods presented in this paper may not be scientific or empirical, but they sure do work great. Having ascribed to them personally, I can assure you that you will be asleep sooner than you expect.

Ensure you get physically exhausted by doing simple things like taking a walk in the evening or going to the gym. Once you get to bed, think about sleep and allow yourself to drift into space. Avoid going to bed hungry and lastly, do not be afraid of getting bored in bed. This will mean ditching your gadgets including mobile phones and laptops and embracing the serenity of the night calm.

Using these methods will ensure that insomnia becomes a thing of the past and staying up at night will become your new challenge. That is what we want, don’t we? Go ahead and fall asleep.

 

The post Five Ways of Overcoming the Problem of Getting Sleep appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Powered by WPeMatico