Archive of ‘Yoga Practice’ category
Happy New Year friends! I’m going to make a suggestion this year. Let’s all make a collective new year’s resolution. Not to lose 20 pounds or to do yoga every day. Well not exactly anyway.
We already know all about these types of resolutions. We’ve made them before. What we really need to do is remember them! To clear space in our heads to allow ourselves to act in our true best interest. What does this mean? It will require us to slow down and set our intention each and every day. As we find focus and clarity, it is so much easier to take action that benefits us.
So here’s our new year’s resolution. Every morning let’s wake up, take a few breaths, and say to ourselves, “Today I intend to be peaceful, present, and useful.” This seemingly small practice is the gateway to all other practices. A simple intention to right ourselves at the start of the day to realize our goals.
And who knows? Maybe we will like it so much we’ll do it again during the day!
May we be peaceful, present, and useful today and send our heart’s intention into each moment as we move ahead on our path.
What do I do? An important question for this holiday-influenced, schedule-shifting, darkest-time-of-the-year month. Let’s ask ourselves what is possible. Not in our unrealistic-fantasy-driven mind. Not in our self-loathing-body-hating mind. Not in our uninspired-spirit-beaten-down mind. Not these – but instead in our open, positive, reality-centered parts of our self.
There are so many obstacles but if we find our breath – let go of our expectations – and ask ourselves this question, the answer is available. What can we do this holiday season to take care of ourselves? What will leave us most centered? What will allow us to feel calm and energized as we navigate the next few weeks? Ask yourself and receive the answer. It could be anything. Keeping your practice through the holidays. Taking a few moments for yourself while visiting with family. Allowing yourself to eat your holiday meals with gratitude and pleasure.
If we take a moment to ask – our answer will come
So this season do what you can do. Whether the answer is big or small – one thing or a handful of things – if you listen you will wake up on new years day with more clarity, energy, and a momentum that has already begun.
May we all listen to and move with our best selves.
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.
Click survival center to make a donation.
OK. Here is the deal when you eat too much in one day.
It doesn’t really matter!
The event that causes the most pain among my clients is eating too much. There is so much guilt and recrimination. It’s horrible. But the truth is – in terms of body composition – it doesn’t matter that much. Of course if we overeat day after day we are not going to love the results. But in the short term, it is pretty insignificant.
Realizing this, in a nutshell, is how I personally found much of my peace. After years of overeating and then hating myself for it, I was free! This simple truth is really what I needed to get deep into my system. One binge – one overstep – even one “bad” vacation didn’t really matter. It’s what I did the next day, week, and month that mattered. I proved this to myself. I’m still proving it by occasionally eating in ways that aren’t a great idea and then finding my balance again.
I believe this is what we all desire. The ability to discriminate between a slip and a major fall down the stairs, so to speak. For many of us these two things can feel the same. But they don’t have to. If we continually practice so that our mind is calm and discriminating we can see reality and can accept our perceived faults more easily. We can change larger patterns that don’t serve us AND accept our normal human deviations.
I know this to be true because I have experienced it. I have also seen hundreds of others experience it as well.
So today – Practice and find yourself closer to this place of personal peace.
May we all realize our true potential,
Om Shanti ~ Om Peace
“Every morning you are born again – all that matters is what you do today.”
Each day we have the opportunity to be present and treat ourselves with the respect and love we deserve. The ways in which we feel we have failed ourselves in the past are not the issue. All we need to do is find ourselves in the present today. It is from here that healing begins.
Even though it seems overwhelming – our task today is simple: Find ourselves in the present. Feel our feet on the ground. Feel our breathe enter and leave our body. When we do this our choices are simpler and more obvious. What to eat becomes easier because it is in service of being more present. Additionally, it is rare that overeating or eating highly processed foods help us stay present.
Of course sometimes we want to leave the present and escape the here and now. But with a little practice we do this as a choice not a reaction. There is a huge difference between “checking out” for a couple of hours to watch a movie and standing in front of the open cabinet eating a box of cookies. As we practice finding our breath and body right now – our choices become more and more beneficial. I have experienced and seen this time and time again.
So let’s do an experiment. Ground yourself into the present 10 times today. Notice how it affects your ability to choose.
May we all find our breath today.
Getting to the Bottom of your emotions. Did the title get your attention? I thought it might. And the answer is: We can’t. Well, not when it comes to eating anyway
Sure, we all know that we tend to eat more poorly when we are experiencing strong emotional states. And it’s only logical to figure that if we can just understand these states then we will be able to do something about them. What follows is that we will be less volatile and voila!! No more binging or emotional eating.
The thing is – it doesn’t usually work that way. Food behaviors are deep. I mean really deeeeeeeeeeeeeep. Possibly starting in early childhood or even in utero. That’s why hundreds of clients have shared with me that they understand themselves but their behaviors aren’t changing.
Now I’m not saying that self awareness isn’t important as a piece of our healing puzzle. But it is only a piece. Usually we have to engage ourselves on many levels in order to change behaviors that are wired in this way. This is why yoga is so useful. There are different aspects of the mind and body that have to be engaged to rewire ourselves. When we simply try to use psychology to solve our problem(s) we are only working with a piece of the puzzle.
Most importantly – there is no “bottom” of our emotional states like there is a bottom of a pint of ice cream or popcorn bucket. We can generate endless amounts of emotional content. Once we realize this, we can be free to look at our total experience to balance ourselves.
So let go of the self loathing thoughts around why you can’t stop eating when you’re stressed. Instead, become aware at what is going on and use your energy to balance your entire system. This will always lead you to a better place. Peace is our birthright.
As always, please find me if you need any help starting or continuing this process.
May we all find peace today.
With great love and respect,
In herbalism it is often said that a poisonous plant and its antidote always grow near each other. Nature has a way of taking care of us in this way. If we let our awareness expand we can find the cure for what ails us.
It’s really the same for us on this weight loss path. The very thing that has contributed to all this weight gain is also the cure. We need to eat our way out. We need to eat regularly. We need to eat all of the time!
We may need to look around a bit and change what we are eating. Or maybe alter the way our food is prepared. But we shouldn’t stop eating. We need to believe that food is our salvation – our friend.
This may be asking a lot of ourselves. Changing our perspective is tricky for those of us who have an abysmal relationship with food. The very thought of eating can cause anxiety because we are so caught up in it being a problem. And it’s hard for us to let go of the fantasy that if we don’t eat we will arrive at our goal really fast. We are all generally impatient.
This is why we practice being present and focusing on the task at hand. Making sure we have food easily available all the time. And making sure that food is reasonably appealing and nourishing – whatever that means to us at this time.
Once we truly take in that eating is the way out we can move towards our real goal: To find the weight we need to be in a sustainable way. Which includes our body and mind finding more and more peace.
May you find all the nourishment you need today!
Om Shanti ~ Brandt
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,