Archive of ‘All Newsletters’ category
So many of us have the same idea. It may be upfront in our minds or floating in the periphery.
When we get to a certain weight, something magical will happen. Maybe our self doubt and judgement will end. Maybe we will finally be attractive enough for [fill in the blank]. Maybe we will be able to quit our job. Or start/end that relationship.
But when is the point this magic happens? First it’s when we lose twenty pounds – then another 20 – then another? Then just 5 more for good measure. Then… Each landmark comes and these things do or don’t change. There is always more that we want to shift and we’ve attached it to our eating patterns. Not Good.
Losing weight is a choice. Perhaps it’s a good idea health wise. Or maybe taking off some weight will help with our self esteem issues – or maybe we just want to succumb to our vanity and look hotter. All of these reasons are valid.
There is transformation through weight loss. Especially on the Peaceful Weight Loss path. By working through our difficult eating patterns and mental un-clarity we definitely change for the better. But how about we go for real transformation and not get stuck in our addictive eating disordered minds. For when would our weight loss end if we get caught up in this repetition? Don’t we want to experience peace?
Celebrate when you set goals and accomplish them. Find the innate bliss in taking care of yourself – but don’t let your mind steal the joy of the experience by demanding that all of your external circumstances change. Enjoy the process of transformation for what it is.
Om Shanti Om Peace,
I recently read a study that looked at the brain’s reaction to food. Long story short, it turns out that parts of our brain can’t tell the difference between food and love. Some of the chemical responses that we have with love and food are the same. It makes so much sense that it goes that deep! We are born – we cry – someone feeds us. It’s kind of hard to argue that that’s not love.
The problem is that food love is so temporary – so fleeting – it lasts only minutes. But like all things we need, we get addicted. So there are a few steps to get ourselves out of this endless cycle.
1) Realizing that wanting love in any form is natural and normal. Our desire for food love exists because we are human.
2) Accepting (having faith) that there are other ways to achieve love besides food. And that these ways can be normal and natural, as well.
3) Doing practices that help us experience other forms of love.
There are many practices that do this, but in yogaland we look towards movement, breath, and meditation to help us experience the love that is inherent and requires no outside catalyst (like food). We all deserve love.
I write this in the spirit of inspiring you to practice. If you need any help figuring out what practices would be most appropriate please find us and we’ll point you in the right direction.
May we all find the love that exists inside today.
With respect and love,
When I propose that in order to become more at peace around food and body image that a simple practice of movement and breath slowly followed by getting organized to eat in a way that leaves you feeling well as the main focus, the general reaction is, “It can’t be that simple!”
I was reading a book by a meditation master recently and it said that we should let the mind do it’s thing without interfering with it much – and I thought to myself “It can’t be that simple!”
Well, it is that simple. In a way. The actions that we need to take to find ourselves in a better place are simple. We tend to make them more complicated because doing this supports the story that we have designed and told ourselves for years. This supports our idea that the way are doing things is the (only) way things can work.
It is when we allow ourselves to see our obvious current way of thinking or acting that we can see what isn’t really working. From here, we can allow simple change to happen.
So let us all take a step back and say to ourselves, “Some of my old ways of doing things are not working out. I think I’ll try a new way today. I’ll move and breathe. I’ll walk through my day calmly with a schedule in hand, and I’ll eat in a way that seems useful.” It’s that simple.
And as we observe the fruit of this practice we may be inspired to do it again tomorrow.
May we all live in simple truth.
Fact: It’s winter.
Fact: It’s darker and colder.
Fact: You feel hungrier.
Fact: You are normal.
For the past few weeks my clients have been telling me about their current “lack of motivation”. Upon deeper reflection it turns out that this is really a simple desire for more food and if possible, more comfort food.
You know, things like mashed potatoes, cookies, scones, mac & cheese. This makes sense and it happens to me every year. Come wintertime, I’m ready to start eating a lot more comforting carbs. And the thing is, this is normal. As it gets darker and colder, we go through physiological changes that I call the “winter hungries”.
So what should we do about these hungries? Eat donuts all day until spring? Probably not. Once we acknowledge that these desires and cravings are real, we are halfway there. Our body will be happy with all sorts of warm comforting foods, so we actually have a choice of what to give it. How about french onion soup with a some cheesy toast? Or a warm lightly sweetened dark chocolate cocoa? What about more warm sweet potatoes with our meals?
A great exercise to arrive here is be to sit still for 2 minutes. Take a few full breaths and then make a personal list of comforting foods that you would put on your healthy comfort food list. With a little space and pre-planning, your deeper desire for nourishing winter food can be satisfied in a way that’s both beneficial for your body and your mind.
May we all be held in comfort today,
It’s dark! I’m writing this in New England and it feels like the middle of the night. It’s 9pm.
The shortest day has come and gone and now we can look forward to more light. Each day we get a few more minutes and just when we think we can’t take the cold and the dark anymore, it will be Spring. Of course we know this – it happens every year – but it still feels like winter is a permanent state. And every year during this time, I can’t really remember what summer is like.
Our weight loss process is a bit like this. Every day we move around – plan meals – try to eat more whole foods – meditate – step on the scale – quit – re-up our commitment – go to yoga class – weigh ourselves again – wonder why we did that – eat a healthy breakfast. And in any given small time frame – a day, a week, a month even – it can seem pointless. We aren’t where we want to be. It’s cold and dark and frustrating.
Then, of course, we have the option of taking the larger view. In the shorter days of winter I try to take a walk even if its brief while the sun is up. I get up earlier and go to bed earlier. I enjoy the day and in exchange my body and mind are happier and healthier. I accept the present and things feel better.
As we plan and enjoy our meals, do our yoga practice and find the present, we notice that eating well and breathing are really fantastic experiences that feel great. And if we keep our awareness here we find it easier to sustain. Then we wake up and it’s spring again. There is so much less effort to do what is good for us because it’s coming naturally.
Yoga is the noticing of our natural bliss.
May you find your bliss this holiday season.
With deep love and respect for you and yours,
Every year I recommend a charity. This year I’ve picked The Northampton Survival Center, an emergency food pantry and referral service for Hampshire County that strives to improve the quality of life for low-income individuals and families by providing food and other resources with dignity and respect.
It’s often really challenging to take care of ourselves. It can seem like the world is set up to keep our attention on everything but self care. Our daily struggles with work, family, money, relationships, commuting, responsibilities, and schedule just don’t seem to help us be on the path towards health and well-being.
There’s a piece of yogic philosophy that has helped me take care of me. It basically says that we create the world around us. This of course does not mean that you personally put Obama back in office, or that it’s your fault that your boss is an @$$%*#&. What it does mean is that every moment we have an opportunity to return to the present; take a breath and see things for what they are. When we do this, something really interesting happens – we see more possibilities. The commute becomes free time to listen to music – the boss becomes almost comical in their insistence on powerpoint – the family can wait 10 minutes while we practice in the morning, and amazingly they all survive.
To find well-being and health we need to practice. And this practice starts with a basic belief that there is always the possibility of being in the present. We can take care of ourselves while life continues to happen. Our stresses and constraints that the world has for us can exist at the same time as we find a moment, breathe, practice, and nurture ourselves.
Once we can do this for ourselves, maybe the congress will too. smile
May we all find time for ourselves.
With respect and gratitude,
How many times have we eaten too much and regretted it later? When I think about it, I realize that it happens all the time. I ate too much at the barbeque, I should not have eaten that ice cream at night, why do I keep reaching for those nuts? Etc…
We all have these thoughts. What’s interesting is that often when we take a breath and really analyze how much we’ve eaten for the day, the things that we beat ourselves up over are not always our largest food intake. The judge living in our mind seems to be slightly (or not so slightly) arbitrary and possibly not based in reality. Herein lies the problem: We draw negative attention and feelings to eating behaviors that are not so bad and miss the opportunity to make different choices around the more difficult behaviors.
One exercise that I recommend is this – If you are feeling badly about your food choices write down what you’ve eaten. Then sit quietly and find a few minutes of calm, deepened breathing. Once your mind is settled, take a look at what you wrote down. Is it as bad as you thought? Were those food choices so awful that they caused irreparable damage? Can you imagine making a small adjustment that would make the outcome easier to take? Either realize that the situation isn’t as bad as you thought, or gently walk yourself through the easiest way it could be different. Then find several more deep breaths and allow the regret and judgement to release. Let go of the fear and self loathing and allow yourself to expand and learn.
We are never as bad as our minds believe we are. Reality is our ally. The breath will always lead us towards the here and now.
May we all find our breath today,
People often talk about eating less in the summer. “It’s so easy. I’m just not as hungry when it’s warm out.” I hear this at the table next to me while eating lunch. My experience is actually the opposite. I’m really into eating in the summer. Ice cream, barbeques, longer days and night eating, fried food at the beach – all are appealing right now. Summer = Fun and Fun = Food!! It can be really easy to get caught in the never ending array of not-so-beneficial eating options and end up several pounds heavier at the end end of the summer.
Is this normal? Sure it is. As we know, much of the time we aren’t eating because we are hungry. We eat for many reasons and hunger is only one of them. We also eat for enjoyment, to stay awake, to repress emotions, or out of habit. When our outer circumstances change (like the weather) we sometimes lose our way and revert into old (or “bad”) habits.
If we pay close attention, we might see our cravings and desires for what they are and make better choices – a small soft serve at the beach, not skipping meals because the kids are out of school or our schedule has changed, going to bed because we are exhausted even though it’s still light out.
So, how do we keep our focus? You guessed it – staying with our yoga practice! The practice of finding our center on a daily basis remains central even when the seasons change. Then we can make choices to eat in ways that are compatible with our well-being and happiness. And what I see time and time again is that you don’t have to give up your soft serve to be happy and healthy. Maybe just your second or third one. grin
As always please send your comments and questions.
Enjoy your summer,
At some point in our weight loss journey it will be become clear that certain foods are probably not the best idea. It will become obvious because they leave us feeling tired, or we can’t stop eating them, or the reality of the nutritional benefits of our snickers bar become too much to take.
At the same time we won’t want to let them go. When we ask ourselves why we often hear, “Because I like it!!!”. But what does that really mean? What are our reasons and thoughts?
Do we like the taste – the way it makes us feel? – The temporary release from suffering it represents? Maybe we like the stop at the store itself to get it? Or maybe we just don’t like the idea of giving things up?
The reality is that it is probably a mix of things that we mean when we say that we like something. And they are all true in some way but we don’t have to attach ourselves to all of these reasons/thoughts. If the time is right to let something go we will be able to hone in on the thought that is most useful to us and see the others for what they are. We will find spaciousness around the tangled web of “I like it” and become aware of all of the little pieces that make up that statement. With this clarity we are are able to choose to give something up – or decide that it’s not the time. Our practice supports this awareness – part of our practice is the knowledge that we change when it is possible to change and when it isn’t possible, we keep finding our practice until it is.
Enjoy your practice,
As we bring ourselves into the present over and over again through practice we begin to shift. Our mind becomes more used to present centered thinking. Everytime we feel our feet on the ground or consciously take a breath – our thoughts don’t change, but instead become more obvious.
For example, we might have the habit of eating a lot at parties and other social situations. Maybe we normally have 1 or 2 pieces of corn but at a barbeque we find ourselves eating 5 or 6. After practicing being present for a time, we find ourselves in these situations having the thought, “ I need more corn” and then we eat it.
After more time practicing we may have the same thought, notice it and think, “I don’t actually need that corn.” This last thought was likely there all along but we were not present enough to see it. We used to proceed and eat the corn. After more practice and experience with present centered thinking, (like “I’m breathing in, I’m breathing out” or “My feet are on the floor and I’m wiggling my toes”) we hear the mind’s voices more clearly and choose to not eat the corn because we’re not hungry.
This is the way in which we change – becoming more present – hearing all of our thoughts – and then finally making simple choices. Our thoughts never disappear, these eating patterns may have started when we were 2 years old. But our relationship changes to them. Eventually we are in the present just enough to make aware choices more of the time. Don’t expect to silence out “demons” but instead, to hear them completely along with all of your other thoughts.
In this way, we can make informed decisions more of the time. As we do this, we move towards one of the great gifts of yoga – using our minds full potential.
Om Shanti, Om Peace.