Simple Yoga

Yoga, the ancient Indian Science has many benefits for mind, body and spirit, including reducing stress, improving sleep and helping to create a more balanced life.
All right. That is something we probably know already. But it has other benefits as well – it helps you to acquire more realistic perceptions of your body and to replace obsessions about external appearance with new respect for your body’s inner structure and functioning.

In other words, Yoga can help you to improve your perception about yourself. Healthcare professionals talk about low self esteem and how in extreme cases it can cause serious psychological issues like BDD.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD):
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is defined as a mental disorder in which people are very preoccupied with what they believe to be a flaw in their physical appearance. Though often hidden, BDD can cause severe emotional and social problems. Body dysmorphic disorder usually begins with the person noticing that they are not as beautiful or attractive as others. Often, people with BDD will want to cover up their perceived flaw by using make-up or by wearing clothing that covers over their body. The thoughts of appearance may cause anxiety and distress leading to a preoccupation with the “flaw.”

Simple Yoga and benefits

Yoga has helped some persons with BDD acquire more realistic perceptions of their bodies and to replace obsessions about external appearance with new respect for their body’s inner structure and functioning.

Now that we have covered what Yoga can do to your health, appearance and perception, we will get to the brass tacks.

What is yoga?

Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that combines physical poses, breathing and meditation. The goal of yoga is to create balance in the body and mind. Yoga can be a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your overall quality of life.

Traditionally Yoga has 4 paths :

  1. Hatha Yoga – The path leading to the control of body and mind through Asanas (Postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) Hatha – denotes the union of Sun and the Moon.
    Raja Yoga – The transformation of the energy of body and mind to Spiritual Energy.
  2. Karma Yoga – Action Yoga – practice of this path of yoga enables one to achieve eventual higher level.
  3. Bhakti Yoga – Prayer and devotional path to achieve oneness with God
  4. Jnana Yoga – Path of Wisdom and Knowledge – to seek God in everything .

Yoga as we know was originally conceived as a set of principles to quieting the mind. The first text about Yogas was written by the sage Patanjali. His Yoga Sutras (threads of Yoga) talks about the 8 limbs:

Eight Limbs of Yoga:

  1. Yama – Moral commandments similar to the 10 Commandments
  2. Niyama – Moral Directives
  3. Asanas – Poses to enhance balance, flexibility and overall health
  4. Pranayama – the techniques of breathing – “When the prana (breath) and the manas (mind) have been absorbed, an indefinable joy ensues.”
  5. Pratyahara – control of the senses
  6. Dharana – Concentration and Focus of the mind
  7. Dhyana – Achieving a blissful state by meditation
  8. Samadhi – Eventual destination of the travel called as Life.

Prana—Basic life energy found in the elements.
Yoga—System of body and breathing exercises.

From now, we will concentrate on the positive benefits of Yoga without any Sanskrit words. After all it is like driving a car. You don’t need to know about the automobile engineering terms in order to drive your car. Some of the Sanskrit intonations (they call that as Slokams) often refer to the God as Shiva.

You don’t need to subscribe to the Hindu pantheon of Gods to practice Yoga. Many adherents of Yoga practices sometimes talk about the supposed superiority of Vegetarian food over other diets. For the hardcore meat eaters, it is not essential that you need to follow the eastern Satvic food. We adopt only what is strictly necessary for our needs and discard any other practices – dietary, religious or social.

How does yoga reduce stress?

Yoga makes increasingly profound forays of control and command into the process of breathing.

There are many ways in which yoga can help to reduce stress. First, by practicing yoga, people learn to focus on their breath and to focus on the present moment. This helps to clear the mind and to quiet the inner chatter that often contributes to stress. Additionally, yoga postures help to stretch and relax the body, releasing tension and stress.

How does yoga improve quality of life?

Yoga has been shown to improve quality of life in a number of ways. First and foremost, it can help reduce stress levels. When we’re stressed, our body is in a state of constant fight-or-flight, which can take a toll on our mental and physical health. Yoga helps to bring us back to a state of balance, leading to improved focus, productivity and creativity. Additionally, yoga can help improve sleep quality, increase energy levels and promote feelings of happiness and well-being.

What are some other benefits of yoga?

Yoga has many benefits that go beyond just reducing stress. In fact, regular yoga practice can help improve your overall physical and emotional health. Here are some other benefits you can expect from a regular yoga practice:

  • improved cardiovascular health
  • stronger, more flexible muscles
  • better breathing and circulation
  • increased energy levels
  • improved sleep quality
  • reduced anxiety and depression symptoms
  • better focus and concentration

Now that we have covered the ‘Why’s we can move on to the ‘How’s:

Let us start with Pranayama – the art of breathing in Yogic way: The deep breathing technique explained here is specifically designed to expand the lungs, promote deep breathing, and reduce stress. Pranayama contains an element of pratyahara, as we draw our attention inward through the breath. Pratyahara is the process of observation or withdrawal from the external world. It is a process of turning inwards and observing one’s internal landscape with greater clarity, by focusing on one’s breath and body sensations.

Yogic Breath: Let us make one thing clear. Ideally you need a Yoga Guru ( an expert with years of practicing Yoga) to teach the different poses (Asanas) which might look like body contortions for the uninitiated. I learnt under a Guruji who had been teaching Yoga for about 6 decades. He told me that he had never been to a hospice in the last 60 years. But if you have the patience and persistence you can learn anything short of launching a ballistic missile.

Now we see how we can do the Yogic breath (explained in a simple way) :
This breathing technique enables you to use all your respiratory muscles and helps to expand the lungs fully thereby accelerating the oxygenation.

Start by placing one hand on the chest and the other hand on your abdomen (this is to help you feel the expansion of your rib cage). Now as you start inhaling, expand the abdomen and then feel the expansion in your chest rib cage. Hold your breath for a count of 5 and slowly exhale. Begin your exhalation by relaxing your abdomen and then your rib cage. Contract your abdomen to actively force your lungs to empty. Repeat the inhalation and exhalation for about two minutes in the initial stages.
Once you get the hang of the inhalation/exhalation process you can remove the hands.

As is usual with TargetWoman, we will give you a short quick way to do. We are working on a Video for a simplified Yoga and Balance.

Upgrading your Laptop

Know your Laptop

Upgrading Your Laptop

A laptop has power optimized CPU and other peripherals designed to work from a battery. It is a compromise between performance and adequate operating time. The CPU is specifically designed to crank up its speed as per its requirement. Laptop batteries have a finite life like your mobile phone batteries. But if you are near the mains supply point, you can continue to use the charger to extract the full performance.

We have modified an old Toshiba Laptop to run Centos Linux and re-purpose that as a NAS/back up server. You can upgrade or re-purpose your laptop too if you follow this long article.

Know your Laptop Battery

As a regular user of a smart phone for a long time, you know that a battery which powers your device has a finite life and over a period of time it slowly loses its capacity. It is entirely a different matter that your battery doesn’t lose its capacity uniformly in a linear fashion always. There are factors such as the operating temperature, the state of charge, the charging current and duration which affect the capacity. These days you get Lithium-ion batteries which have better characteristics than the earlier Ni-cad batteries which had ‘memory effect’.

Hook your laptop to the power supply for any kind of sustained activity. Batteries are for regions where you don’t have access to the mains power supply. Most applications would throttle the CPU if the supply line falls below a threshold value like they do in your iPhone.

Go to the command prompt by pressing Windows key and type cmd on the search bar on the lower left region.
And when it says Command Prompt app, right click on that and select ‘Run as Administrator’ . You will see a black window. Type:

Laptop battery Report

How to invoke powercfg command

It will save a nice formatted HTML file usually in your Windows/System32/ directory. Your browser may not be allowed to open that file. So right click on that file and copy it to save it elsewhere. Now you can open that file to view a full history of your battery along with its current status.

If some app doesn’t run properly or the wifi intermittently stops working you need to delve deep into the power management system. Again this utility comes in handy. Type :

and the utility will churn out an energy report which can identify how your Windows is configured to utilize the available power. In one case, the random Wifi issue was traced to a wrong power configuration in which the system reduced the Wifi radio power after some period of inactivity.

Battery History

Ways to Improve Laptop Performance

A Clean laptop is faster:
Computer manufacturers provide a fan to cool the CPU/Graphics Processor for a valid reason. The CPU will shut down when it exceeds a certain temperature. In some cases, it can result in permanent damage to the CPU. The cooling fan sits inside a shroud which can get clogged due to dust. Our laptops have to be periodically cleaned as they tend to get clogged with dog fur. It is not a rocket science to clean the innards of the laptop. Usually the simplest way is to direct the vacuum cleaner at the vents provided in the laptop. Only thing is just make sure it is not set at the highest speed to damage the vanes.
Here is a page which offers a solution to a random shut down in a desktop due to heating:

laptop cooling fan

More Ram Better Performance:

Upgrade your RAM:
In automobiles, they say – ‘there is no replacement for displacement’ meaning for sheer power in a car engine, there is nothing to beat the displacement in an engine. Same way to some extent, in a computer the more memory you have the better is the performance subject to the law of diminishing returns. In a laptop fitted with a 2 or 4 GB RAM, you will notice noticeable improvement in performance if you upgrade the RAM. Windows 10 in its 32 bit version has a minimum requirement of 2 GB and 4 GB for its 64 bit version. We have seen considerable performance improvement when we upgraded the RAM to 8 GB. We usually upgrade the OS to 64 bit to really use the additional RAM.
The actual need depends on the application you will be running. The minimum system requirement for a Windows 10 may be 2 GB RAM. But if you are going to use memory-hungry applications like Photo/Video editing, you will need 16 GB or even more. Even the mundane browsers need additional 4GB if you keep several tabs open at the same time.

Laptop Memory upgrade

Before you order the new RAM, check your motherboard for the type of RAM and the maximum RAM the motherboard can support. The right place to check is the manufacturer’s website. RAM comes in many versions – DDR2, DDR3 and DDR4. DDR stands for Double data rate. Each successive generation is faster and uses less power.

Supercharge your drive:

Replace your Hard drive with SSD:
Conventional hard drives use spinning discs and the data are written/read by movable heads. Their storage capacity is high but it takes time to locate the sector where the information is stored. As a result, hard drives are slow. In addition as they are mechanical devices, they have a limited life and they are fragile. The Sold State Drives (SSD) on the other hand are electronic drives with no moving parts and hence are not fragile. As they have no moving heads to access data, inherently they are faster. Typically a hard drive returns a figure of 30-150 MB per second in a sequential read/write operation while a SSD returns 500 MB. You will notice shorter boot up time and faster loading time for most applications when you replace your hard drive with a SSD.

Laptop hard drive upgrade

Upgrade your drive: The first step in any computer operation is to create a backup. When you want to swap out your hard drive, the first thing you do is to create a disk image so that the created disk image can be copied on to a new SSD. This way – you don’t need to install the operating system or any of the installed software afresh. There are many free and paid software to create a clone or a disk image. We have tried out many software in all these years. We find Macrium Reflect and AOMEI Backupper software get the job done in Windows with the least melodrama. For Mac computers, we find Carbon copy cloner and Clonezilla to be the software with the least issues.

So from the above page, you can see that it doesn’t need to cost a lot to upgrade your laptop. A few parts and a bit of your time is all that is needed to give a new life to your old laptop.

Creating insightful Images

The learned people at MIT found that a human brain processes a typical image in 13 milli seconds. On the other hand the brain takes about a few minutes to digest the content of a sentence depending upon the rate of reading for the person. Nature by the process of evolution has baked into our brain – the ability to digest a piece of information from our sight at a rapid pace for our survival. At the time when the Christians were fed to the Lions, your life expectancy will be a few minutes if you don’t take evasive action when you spot a hungry lion in the distance.

Come to think about it, in the scale of our existence in this planet, the language skill – especially the ability to read came pretty late. So it is not a big surprise that our reading skill is no match against our skill to grasp what our eyes sees which we share with all living creatures.

Creating insightful Images

The amygdala, a part of the brain helps to process sensory input which finally builds up evoking emotions like fear and pain amongst others. Studies have confirmed the role played by the amygdaloid complex in the processing of perceived objects with appropriate emotional response.

Nature has taught us to quickly process the image we see through our eyes within a short span of time and we capture images just like a camera in a series of pictures. When our brain sees an image, it triggers a flurry of activities inside the brain – association and connection mapped to our past experience both actual and primordial.

Visual cues combined with the main images help the brain to evaluate appropriate response and the emotion. This is how the brain recognizes a friendly face from a sea of other faces. The processing of visual information is highly evolved in almost all creatures. The tiny brain of the Honey bee weighing the same as a sesame seed is capable of processing visual information a lot faster than your desk top computer and it can recognize thousands of patterns so important for the bee to identify and operate in a 4 mile radius.

Images are complicated as are most things in life. Often the most important thing in the image – our sight – is cluttered with peripheral details or drowned in useless detritus. Brains are configured to figure out what matters and what doesn’t in a short span of time – a trait passed on to us from our ancestors.

Some images evoke positive responses while some result in a negative emotion. Sound also evokes similar results in our brains – but that is a topic we reserve for another day. Deep bass rhythmic drum beat like sound has shown to induce a sense of calm and lower stress levels in our body as it mimics the sound produced by the mother’s heartbeat. A mother’s womb is the safest place for a fetus and her heartbeat is the only sound that reassures the fetus of its safety.

Now that we have established the importance of the role of images in our perception, we will identify the elements in an image that will translate to evoking positive responses.

Various media spend billions of dollars to create Insightful images which sell an idea or a concept.

Most visual media professionals agree on one thing – the best image is the one that evokes a positive emotion.  The image must convey a thought, an idea or a story.  To quote Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus when chances upon Helen of Troy –

“Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships,

And burnt the topless towers of Ilium

Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.”

We will quote our own story of creating insightful images.

When we started TargetWoman – this idea of an insightful image was drilled into the minds of the team managing visual creative. Before an article was put through the process of editing, the gist of the page was assigned to the team. The whole exercise was to brainstorm amongst the members of the team to come up with a concept and translate that concept/idea to an appropriate image.

Looking back we can summarize what image worked in terms of popularity and what images sank without a trace out of several thousand images we published.

1. Be Positive:  People react strongly to positive images. If the page is about an ailment –  don’t show the ravaged affected part. Instead show a picture of cure. Your image should offer hope instead of despair. Most of our topic in TargetWoman is about health. So we follow this rule religiously. Here is an example of the topic:

Stop Hair breakage

2. Be creative with your picture – angle, texture, lighting, shadows and props. Your picture is competing for attention amongst a thousand images and it has just about a few hundred milli seconds to create an impression. It just has to be arresting.

Our Example here is

Eskrima Workout

3. Connect with the audience: Research who your target audience are and connect with them. Our target audience are educated women. That is the reason why most of our pages are over 900 words long. The pictures in our pages aim to establish a common theme. Our Example:

Hanging Yoga

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