Posts Tagged ‘Peaceful Weight Loss’
Dieting is restriction – Yoga is opening.
Our practice brings us into contact with the openness which is our nature. Unconscious eating is unhealthy eating. Unhealthy eating is eating in a way that restricts us. It slows us down, decreases our natural tendency toward positive contact with others. When we eat in a way that is healthy for us, we feel more in harmony with nature and those around us. Neurotic and destructive tendencies lessen. Our ability to be productive without exhaustion increases.
So it may be necessary to change the way you are currently eating to feel these results. Is this a diet? No, because once these effects are experienced, the connection between food and this openness is established. Then there is no need to restrict. Your desires will be in line with what is “good” for you.
Begin this practice today. Ask yourself: what do I really want to eat? Allow yourself to receive the answer without judgement. If it’s tomatoes – just eat tomatoes. If it’s cake – have cake. As you become more used to this practice you will be very surprised at the results.
Things take care of themselves… …when we participate.
Healing, peace and happiness are available to all of us. We naturally gravitate toward them when we partipiate in our own unique lives. Occasionally (or often!) we get distracted and drift away from our NORMAL state of peace.
Our body is a tool to help us stay with our life—to participate in it as much as possible. The simple act of watching your breath move in and out of your body will bring you back to the present—to this place of healing and happiness.
We engage in yoga practice to participate more fully in our life. To start our day with easeful, life-affirming movement is in keeping with our natural state of balance. The more we experience this, the more we do what is natural to our body and mind. Movements become more graceful and natural—food choices become more simple and healthful. We experience a state of “just being” and things (like excess weight or insomnia) begin to drift away and take care of themselves.
So NOT doing your yoga is not being yourself. To do your yoga is to allow yourself to be you. Food for thought…
“Yoga asana is a steady comfortable position
reducing the tendency for restless breathing
and promoting one’s identification with infinite breath of life.”
-Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as translated by Mukunda Stiles
I love this sutra. It always reminds us of how to practice.
On the mat, we tend to want to “feel” something. Our head is so filled with mental static that we tend to seek an uncomfortable position we can’t ignore in order to remind ourselves that we have a body. Our breathing becomes more difficult, or too purposeful.
Even while working, your practice should promote an easy breath. That easy breath will allow your thoughts to slow and the awareness beneath your thoughts to arise.
We often perform this same behavior in the way we eat—eating until our stomachs are bulging is one way to feel something. Or eating so quickly we miss the flavor altogether. Our breath is shallow, and our awareness of internal sensation is low.
As we move in a more comfortable manner and can feel our breath moving, we allow thoughts and emotions to surface and dissipate. Our mind is able to “settle” into a peaceful, less turbulent state.
Consider the position in which you eat as an asana. Find a comfortable, long spine. Take a moment and observe your breathing. Allow it to find a natural, easy flow. As you eat, maintain this comfortable pose and notice the difference in your ability to stay present with your food. Many find that this promotes a greater awareness of taste and smell, as well as naturally slowing their eating down.
Maintaining this comfortable posture and breath throughout your day—during work and play—is a thread of ease and peace that reminds us of the connectedness of all things.
I’ve been writing a lot about food lately, so I thought I’d get back to the foundations of the Peaceful Weight Loss practice.
Every day we return to the mat and again begin the process of finding ourselves. It begins by releasing tension from the body. Feeling our breath move easily into the abdomen. With each exhale we let go of a bit of anxiety and our peaceful nature begins to surface.
Our practice continues with various poses designed to strengthen and stretch our muscles – allowing us to feel comfortable in our body, so it doesn’t distract us from our naturally occurring peaceful nature. We end in savasana – relaxation, further unraveling our tension and watching our mind and body slow down.
Our practice supports our natural state. It reminds us that we are at our core stress-free. We see this by watching our thoughts and emotions pass in front of us as we move, breathe, and sit still. We become aware that these thoughts and feelings are not the entirety of who we are – there is something underneath these swirling thoughts and emotions that is calm, peaceful and present.
That core of our being is not fat or thin, strong or weak, happy or depressed. That core is beyond these states and is always available to us. That self is the experience of peace. It can come at any time: while you are in triangle, eating the perfect piece of mango, or walking down the street.
Our practice opens us up to experiencing this self. The more we taste it, the more aware we become of it. Non-beneficial behaviors begin to drop away. We are able to see clearly – to easily gravitate to useful, positive choices in our life. Food becomes nourishment for body, mind and spirit. Self-loathing and disappointment drop away as we see how beautiful our true self is. We become gentler towards others as we see that our core is similar, and possibly the same as theirs. We find love and acceptance in the present, and worry less about the future. Unneeded weight disappears as we let it go, by nourishing that self instead of obscuring it.
So enjoy your practice today – let that enjoyment radiate through your day and infuse your life.
May we all be peaceful and happy.
Loka Samasta sukhino bhavantu.
Peaceful Weight Loss Through Yoga
I have learned to really take care of me and do things to better myself. I am no longer doing it for anyone else; I am now doing it for me. I don’t feel so stuck anymore, which is a totally euphoric feeling. Thank you for opening my eyes and helping me to see the person that I really am, thank you for showing me a healthier lifestyle for my mind, body and soul.
— P.C., client
… on facebook
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Peaceful Weight Loss in February
Timing is everything. So when is the best time to shift our lifestyle? And should external factors influence our decision? Of course they should. Schedule, weather, work, family … all these things and more come in to play when making big changes in your life. To fight against the current, so to speak, only makes us more stressed.
I’m writing this newsletter in New York during a blizzard. It is cold—my wife feels like baking—I’m going to be inside all day. Is this the best time to start a raw foods diet? Is it a good time to start a cleanse? Of course not.
If the weather is cold where you are, and you are just starting to investigate new ways to find a good weight for yourself, I would do the following:
* Work on food practice that coincides with the season. Winter is a time to eat a bit more, and to eat heavier food. Clearly identifying foods that satiate you keep you warm without bogging you down is a great idea.
* Focus on buying, cooking and eating foods of the season. Sweet potatoes and winter squashes are delicious and perfect for the weather.
* Unstick yourself from food patterns that don’t serve you during the season. You may love yogurt and fruit for breakfast, but at leasty entertain the possibility that a hot ceral might be better for you these months.
* Asana practice, being an indoor activity (usually), is particularly useful during this time for keeping your mood up and getting enough exercise. Most of us walk less in wintertime.
* Winter is a natural time to get more sleep—slow down; be more ambitious as the weather gets warmer.
Why? Surrendering to nature at this time will lessen our stress levels and allow us to function more smoothly. Weight loss, like the seasons, is about change. Change comes not from force, but from allowing things to happen.
Allow yourself to be appropriate for this season and you will be rewarded with a body that is willing to change appropriately also.
Okay – the holidays are over and we’re back to our regular routine, with New Year’s resolutions in place. Were they the same as last year’s? What have you changed? Have some been “broken” already?
May I suggest keeping this year’s resolutions positive, and adding the following:
I will nourish my body
I will nourish my mind
I will nourish my spirit
By focusing on these resolutions, other things you want to change may fall into place naturally and easily. Nourishing one aspect of ourselves feeds the others – so it is simpler and easier than you might think.
I will nourish my body
Simple food that makes us feel well. Eating to the point we are satified physically but not too full. Getting enough sunlight, light and fresh air so that we are energized. And exercising in a way that promotes health and the release of tension in our bodies. (might I suggest yoga asana smile
I will nourish my mind
Engage in study of a positive interesting subject. This can be anything from the yoga sutras to Spanish as long as it feels like your mind is becoming sharper, clearer. Interesting conversations with others also are good if they are done with the spirit of promoting greater understanding, peace and community.
I will nourish my spirit
A regular devotional practice is great. If that doesn’t suit you, activities that make you feel calm and positive can fit the bill. A daily walk in nature, sailing, helping others in need are all ways we can find our spiritual selves.
Weight loss can seem complicated, but I have found that focusing on nourishing these aspects of myself have great “side effects” The calm, happy, positive state it produces provides the perfect setup for your body to naturally let go of all that is unwanted.
Have a peaceful, joyful year.
I love to practice on Christmas morning. It helps me experience the day fully – and prepares me to fully enjoy my family and food.
It’s nice to keep your practice consistent through the holidays. It will keep you grounded and steady. The eighth not-so-great-made-by-your-office-mate cookie might get put down. The third glass of wine at dinner might not happen. Or it may become clear to you that another glass of wine IS just the thing. Who knows – we may even not worry about this whole food thing at all.
Practice is staying in the present. Clearing seeing what is real – what is now – what is in front of us. Ask yourself: am I really tempted? What is it that I want? Be prepared for any answer – it might be that cookie. It might be nothing at all. It’s all happening in the present. It’s all a moment by moment choice. Nothing to do with what you ate at last week’s holiday party.
The holidays are also a time to remember to have fun. With all the shopping, family, running around, we can sometimes forget. You’re not in your daily routine – take advantage of that. Try some asanas you haven’t done before – or go snowshoeing! Doing your practice in a new and fun way will help bring you back into the present.
Remember to stay in the present and truly enjoy your food, too. Eat a few sweets – taste the eggnog – breathe deeply and realize the awfulness of the annual green bean casserole. Have fun – move a little slower than you did last year, and you’ll eat a bit more consciously too.
May you have a peaceful, joyous holiday season.