Archive of ‘2010’ category
What stresses us? The unknown. When we are vague in our plans for self betterment, often we wind up unsuccessful. When our atmosphere becomes cluttered with unclear intentions and judgement, our mind becomes preoccupied with no consistent resolution. This is a stressful cycle.
We wind up here often because we have a misperception of freedom. We all want to be free but we get confused about what freedom looks like. At first glance one would think that having no specific plans creates freedom. These general intentions might look like, “I’m going to work out every day” or “I’m not going to eat too much”. These seem like reasonable goals/intentions yet the reality is that this generally constrains us. These thoughts to better our lives, although well-intentioned, are in-specific and keep us bound. When are you going to go to the gym? And on what days? What other aspects of your life must change for you to accomplish this goal sustainably? Do you intend to get there while maintaining a yoga and meditation practice, working your full time job, and walking the dog twice a day? Are there other factors that might be in the way of you reaching your goal? This week or this month? The holidays might be an example of another consideration.
We are free when we are experiencing contentment. Our mind becomes more still and we feel like we have room to breathe. Contentment comes more easily when our mind is functioning out of what is known with minimal vagueness. For generations, Yoginis have lived regulated lives for this purpose.
So what do we need to do? Make a plan! Keep it simple by building in a little space for your intention. From this place, you can experience the freedom born of contentment! Make a plan for the next 30 days. Build in the ways you plan to move and eat. Account for the holidays. Are you really going to do your practice or go to the gym on new years day? Or are you more likely to take a walk? Are you likely to stick to a really austere food plan through the holidays? Or are you better off having a plan to avoid one or two foods that cause you to binge?
Most importantly, once you make a specific plan, enjoy the freedom it creates. Allow yourself the space to not make any more decisions on these matters for a month. Your stress will be reduced by not adding more unknowns. You will find more contentment and happiness moving in the way that you’ve previously decided, without the extra judgement. You will find it easier to “stick” with your simple plan knowing that you will have the freedom to reassess in a month.
May we all have a taste of freedom into the new year.
And as always, please email with any questions.
Om Shanthi, Om Peace.
Here we are again. Thanksgiving. Time to put our practice to the test.
1) Eat only whole foods.
2) Stay away from all sweets.
3) Eat moderately and go to bed feeling satiated but not full.
4) Be content in the knowledge that you have conquered your mind’s desires.
1) Eat whatever you want.
2) Gorge on appetizers, stuffing and pie.
3) Get it all in ‘cause this day won’t come around again for another year.
4) Notice it later.
This mindset is how we work. We set ourselves up in these endless either/or scenarios. Year after year we try so hard to either fight against or give into our desire-minds. Rarely does this way of being work. And by work I mean, leave us feeling peaceful and present.
So this year focus on one thing—Staying Present. Ask yourself “What do I really want?” When you get the answer, feed your desire by staying present and truly enjoy every mouthful or moment. The more you feed that desire the more satiated you will be. Avoid mindless eating. Eating unconsciously leaves us feeling unfulfilled. This becomes an issue because the desire never gets fed so it is never quelled.
Lastly, remember that sometimes the desire is not for pie or stuffing. It’s about memories of the past, or craving for our situation to be different. As we let ourselves acknowledge these states, it becomes easier to take a breath and make our way to the present moment again. Once we arrive, the pumpkin pie tastes delicious.
May we all experience the bliss of the present.
The conscious mind is so damn persuasive. It can convince us of anything. Recently, a friend told me that she forgot to eat breakfast because she was stacking wood. And even though she was starving, she worked right through lunch. It wasn’t until hours later when she couldn’t continue that she went inside to eat.
This is often our experience—the physical signals are there but we ignore them. Is there something wrong with us? Have we all gone mad?
Of course not. The mind is just doing what it does—getting through the task at hand and trying not to let silly things like hunger bother it. Then, of course our hunger becomes an emergency and we eat in a way that isn’t ideal for us.
What yoga offers is a way to train our mind so that it doesn’t lose perspective. Ancient yogis saw that without keeping the mind focused on the bigger picture, it tended to get caught up in little things. We then make decisions that aren’t ideal based on these distractions.
So how can we train our mind? One simple method is to feed it inspiration on a regular basis. Read spiritual teachings, texts, and poetry, listen to or play music, sit or walk in nature. These are some of the ways to remind the mind that we are part of a greater whole and that our current preoccupation is probably not an emergency.
My suggestion this month is that you find a way to inspire yourself on a daily basis. Keep a book on your breakfast table as part of your morning ritual. Play music while you are sitting around in the house. Find a moment to look up at the sky and take it in. It sounds ridiculously simple, because it is. Without this reorientation the mind is more likely to lose it’s way and forget the bigger picture.
May we all be reminded of beauty today.
With respect and love,
Weight loss can come fast or slow depending on the person. In this work, I have seen people drop 20 pounds in the first 2 months and I have also seen clients not lose one pound for an entire year before they start losing weight. In the end, we are all the same. With weight loss, we are either headed in a positive direction or not. The best way to think about it is to ask yourself – Am I getting healthier? Do I have more energy? Is the direction I’m heading in my life beneficial? If you answer yes, then you are on a path to permanent change which includes your weight. The only pounds that matter are the ones that you keep off. The Peaceful Weight Loss process is designed with this in mind. Find your practice – breathe and eat foods that help you feel calm and more energized. If you do this, your weight loss goals will be in reach. More importantly, you will be in a position to live a balanced life where food and body are not constant issues.
So take your time. Be the turtle and win the race. smile
Many of us experience negative thoughts and emotions on a regular basis. The mind has the ability to conjure up negative things to say pretty easily. This often causes us to act in ways we wish we didn’t. We don’t stand up for ourselves, we act out of insecure mental spaces, and then of course, we eat. We give our negative mind space more fuel for self diminishing thinking and the cycle goes on and on.
Yoga begins with the belief that there is another way. Yoga is the union of all the parts of your mind. Not only the negative thinking mind but the other parts that access the larger view. At any given time your mind can see all your faults as well as all your strengths. It also has the ability to see the connection between itself and all other things. It can be said that Yoga is a set of practices designed to integrate your mind completely so that you are always working with its full potential.
This is why we practice. We move and breathe. We pause every day (or several times) to allow our mind to reintegrate. When we do this, an amazing thing begins to happen: We are able to see the big picture more clearly. The negative thoughts and emotions don’t end, but with practice, they are accompanied by positive thoughts and emotions. In fact, we begin to expand our mental landscape so much that we are inclined to ignore the negative thoughts all together. Then we can function from a place of clarity. No longer inclined to alter our mental state with food, we simply do what we need to do. That peace is the promise of yoga.
May we all find our practice today.
With great respect,
I’m noticing that the powers that be have decided that summer is approaching and that you should care very deeply about bathing suit season. They have decided that the best thing for you to do is to get anxious and do something drastic to change the state of your body. And, of course, we all initially respond to these messages with total agreement. If we get anxious enough about our current state of affairs, then we’ll motivate to DO something about it. And fast. We should use our anxiety as an agent to promote change, right? Wrong.
Stress is not your friend. Stress and anxiety have not helped you to lose weight and keep it off in the past. Stress causes most of us to eat in an irregular manner and to make poor short-term decisions (like trying to lose 30 lbs in 30 days). Most important, being stressed is extremely unpleasant.
As you counter stress responses in your body and mind, your weight loss efforts will be easier and more pleasant. You are an individual and you are on a path towards wellness. Staying on your individual path will not only help you achieve your weight goals, but it will keep you sane and able to steer clear of the non-useful (and stress producing) media/cultural enviroment around you.
Find your yoga practice on a regular basis. Move towards a way of nourishing yourself that leaves you feeling calm and energized. Stay on your individual path and let no one sway you. You are already doing something to transform by being in the Peaceful Weight Loss process. No more is required of you! Allow yourself the experience of inner peace by knowing you are already doing enough.
Honoring your path, Namaste!
It is hard not to jump ahead of ourselves. We all do it. The nature of the mind is to project into the future. In the weight loss process, it usual appears something like “I need to lose 50 pounds” which becomes “oh no I’ve only lost 5 pounds—I have so far to go” which then becomes “I need to do more so I’m going to eat less, go to seven yoga classes a week, and hop on the treadmill every morning” which of course leads us to “I can’t do this, I’ve failed.” Ahh, the mind—a constant run-on sentence.
The truth is, although not all progress comes in small shifts, the parts we have control over do. I have seen clients in my private practice that make huge leaps in the way they take care of themselves in what seems to be short periods of time. Those leaps, however, are ALWAYS preceded by a series of several small and gradual changes. Going to bed a half hour earlier. Finding some time to breathe in the middle of the workday. Practicing yoga two days a week before work. Cleaning the kitchen so it’s accessible. There is always a series of these seemingly small life-enhancing improvements that lead up to the big “AHA!” life changing moments.
It is important to stay aware and celebrate your gradual changes. Find a few moments to reflect on what little things have shifted for you. Be comforted that this movement is leading to a large AHA! in your future. Look for small places in your life that you can sync with your overall goal of nourishing yourself. Use your capable mind to work with what is right in front of you. By doing this and staying present in your process, you will find the openness and peace necessary to experience great change.
May we all be reminded of our greatness today.
Cravings happen to all of us. Recently, a seminar participant pointed out that she had intense cravings for tuna melts. How is this possible? Does our body “need” a tuna melt?
Well, yes and no. The craving itself is real. There is no denying that when a strong craving appears, it feels like a real need. My experience has shown that most of us that have strong cravings must satisfy them in some way. Gritting our teeth and denying ourselves the resolution of the craving doesn’t usually work. What we can do is break the craving apart and try to be more aware of what we truly need.
A tuna melt, for instance, is salty. It is also cheesy and bready and fishy. It is also a warm food. It might come with chips and a pickle, as well. The question here is: What do I really want? If it is a lunchtime sandwich, it might be just the thing. If you’re between meals, try a piece of cheese. If that’s not it, perhaps a piece of toast or a little cheese toasted on a cracker will do. Or maybe sardines give you the salty fish thing you’re looking for. Or possibly all you really want is the pickle or the crunch of the chips!
So this month when a craving arises – pause and return to your breath. Ask yourself what aspect of the craving needs to be addressed. Break it down and try something new. As you become more skilled at recognizing what you really need, the cravings will begin to shift from the original food (the tuna melt) to the new food (a pickle). You will be feeding your true desire in a way that is more beneficial to you.
May you find nourishment and peace.