When Brandt and I first met, we had a conversation about prana (life force, chi) and how it related to our individual weight loss success stories. I had been into expanding my prana via pranayama, asana, bij chanting, and chakra visualization. We discussed the importance of building prana as a first step towards sustainable weight loss. We had collectively lost over 150 pounds.
Yogis for thousands of years have been studying how to build their prana body. Or not lose prana/energy. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, an ancient yogic text, talks about prana. It offers us the idea that when our pranic body is balanced, our breath is natural and relaxes. Pranic balance enables us to “see” or feel the deeper aspects of ourselves and allows us to focus on them. So why is this important and how does it relate to weight loss? Furthermore, how do we practice to get these results?
In Peaceful Weight Loss terms, our “prana building” practice should leave us
- focusing on something other than food and body frustrations (more of the time)
- feeling relaxed and peaceful (more of the time)
- remembering that there is something bigger than our body battle (more of the time)
Most of the time a daily, 20 minute (or more) practice that leaves us feeling calm and energized does the trick. Note, the calm and energized. We don’t have to push, in fact, we don’t want to deplete ourselves at all. This is not an exercise program. We are not forcing our bodies to work hard. We are putting our effort towards breathing and moving most days. (For guidance, check our online practices or join our 9 month course, Transformation)
As a result, the rest digest and heal part of the nervous system is being toned and activated every time we take a deep breath. This builds our energy, prana. There is now the possibility of feeling better (more of the time). It is from this place that we can make food and lifestyle changes that allow us to lose weight. (Note the paradigm shift away from “burning calories” aka losing energy…)
Brandt had this experience. I’ve had this experience. And we’ve seen so many people change and take pounds off through practicing pranayama and calm and energizing asana. As we gather our energy we breath more deeply and compulsions to overeat shrink. Some say that they feel more satisfied and content. Others speak to the clarity they gain and the side effects of this. Time and time again, energy goes up and the number on the scale goes down. It takes time, but sustainability is what we’re looking for, right?
So find a calm and energizing practice to build your prana and reap the rewards of a life with less stress and less weight.
Om Namah Shivaya,
Some call it a roller coaster. Others refer to it as a yo-yo. On the wagon, off the wagon. Whatever the metaphor, weight loss can be an up and down, in and out, and all around experience.
Here’s the catch. It doesn’t have to be so hard. Even if the struggle is decades old, there is another way, a different path, a new and sustainable outcome. Imagine being more peaceful and losing weight at the same time. What would this look like? What would the metaphor become? I’m going with peaceful ocean waves moving in and out of the shore.
I believe that we can make our experience less extreme if we truly want this to be so. When we apply our effort in the right direction, magic happens. So, let’s begin with food. This is usually the first thing we go after when we’re trying to take weight off. It’s also where we think we have the most control. But really, this is where the extreme states happen because we aren’t approaching food in a relaxed way. It’s intense. It’s baggage. It’s manic, frustrating, habitual, and confusing.
So, imagine focusing your effort and attention away from food and set a new “weight loss goal” of practicing daily, or as much as possible. We are now putting our energy towards yoga. But not just any yoga. Your “weight loss” practice should leave you feeling calmer and more energized. Got that? This might be a 15 or 30 minute breathing and moving practice on the mat or a 20 minute yoga nidra in bed…I’ve seen all sorts of practices tone the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest, digest, and heal part) which is what we want. This will lessen anxiety and tell our fight-or-flight part of the nervous system to chill out. We arrive in this state more of the time. Our clothes might not fit differently at first and the number on the scale (if you even decide you want to use one!) may not shift, but we feel better already.
It’s from this place that we can look at our food choices. And incrementally we approach the “food part of weight loss” (because it’s only a piece) with more clarity, compassion, and awareness. But really without the letting go on a daily basis part, we are agreeing to the up and downs that keep the body battle going. (via deprivation, via stress, via life)
If this resonates with you, try it. Forget about food for a minute. Practice daily and ask yourself if you are calmer and more energized afterwards. If the answer is no, tweak your practice, or find us to help you refine. And if this eludes you completely, join our 9 month course to help and prioritize how to stabilize rather than continue with extremes. If the answer is yes, ask yourself what one food thing you want to do today until you practice again tomorrow, and the next, and the next. Like (calm) ocean waves.
May we all be happy,
Well it’s officially winter. If you have the privilege of living in a place where the weather changes in extremes according to the season, you are also blessed with the body’s desires changing, as well. Here in New England it is cold. The lightness of summer’s raw veggie and juicy melons are long forgotten. I am eating more available foods like root veggies, meat, beans, and greens that are cooked down and warm. Warm food makes us feel better, more nourished in this raw weather. So how do we stay on track with our weight goals when what we want to eat is heavier? What does it mean to eat with the seasons while still remaining true to our weight goals? Even so, what does it mean to be on a cycle of eating even when it’s not affected by the weather but is more internal…say, from hormones?
In Peaceful Weight Loss we often focus on how we can bolster ourselves or lifestyle in order to make choices that leave us feeling our best. The ways in which we do this are with self care, yoga practice, sleep, good company, etc. When we have these other pieces of our lives wired, we are able to ride the waves of temperature change, hormonal change, life changing all around us.
We have constancy in other ways so even when we change what we eat here and there it does not mean that we are off track. It may be just the thing to keep us where we want to be. And, when we are nourished in ways other than food (a good movie, a pedicure, yoga class, a walk outside) our food changes don’t seem so wild or ground shaking. We are able to breathe and remember, even with some shifting around, what we need to do. So after the ground thaws, we won’t wake up, we will already be awake.
May we nourish ourselves, so we may nourish the world.
We are so grateful for YOU! Being able to offer Peaceful Weight Loss is a dream for us. This work is helping so many and we are truly blessed that you are a part of it. If you have participated in Transformation, our online 9 month course, a BIG thank you! This community is growing stronger by the day and we are honored that you have all chosen this path to find a little more clarity and peace in your life. If you read our newsletters, have participated in our seminars, or simply observe our work from afar, we look forward to implementing new ways for us to stay connected so that we may all experience our fullest potential.
This year we will also be expanding the ways we can connect and serve our community. The first new offering is our free online event “Ending The Battle Within” January 12th. We look forward to offering more in the upcoming year including small group live sessions several times a month with Transformation and webinars for all. Let’s keep the conversation going about how we make peace with our bodies and food.no matter what that looks like for each of us.
Below is a 10 minute meditation for the new year. Enjoy a few moments of contemplation on how to best serve yourself in the months ahead…
May we all find clarity and intention this new year,
Brandt and Anna
My pants feel tight and uncomfortable. Are my pants tight? Or is my mind tight?
It happens all the time. We look for something to wear because, well, we need to dress ourselves. And then, poof! A fine mood turns into a bad/sad/angry/disappointed/frustrated/annoyed/wistful/collapsed mental state. It’s a cycle that so many of us struggle with. Our mood being determined by a pair of pants seems like a lot of control to give to an inanimate object, don’t you think?
So how do we combat this unrelenting roller coaster ride of feeling bad about ourselves based on something as simple as what pair of pants or top we wear?
Practice. We practice. I practice. When we get on the mat and breathe and move, even if only for a short time, we are more likely to hold onto our power – our center. We shift our physical and mental state with movement so that even if our body is exactly the same, and our pants are exactly the same size, our “feeling” of “fatness” or “wrongness” is lessened when clothes enter the picture. Because so much of how we feel about our body is a head game. One we can win.
I’m not saying that we can imagine ourselves dropping weight and it will happen, but we definitely feel better when we do a little breath and movement. Consider yoga practice part of the formula for more peace and well-being from this perspective. Mental weight loss is a much better place to live then the helpless “clothes crisis” of a mental state. Not to mention that it’s also a much easier place to begin making small changes if that’s what you want to happen.
I certainly couldn’t have lost weight or attempt to lose weight in pants that make me feel bad about myself. Isn’t that what spandex is for? Start with your breath, and the rest will follow. Including your pants.
May we all feel cozy and comfy on and in our bodies.