Posts Tagged ‘yoga’
Our mind’s obsession on the body. We are programed for it really. We are always evaluating ourselves and each other’s looks. It’s an evolutionary trait but it’s definitely annoying to put on a bathing suit and see every way in which we could look better. Our minds chide us for all of the dieting and working out that we didn’t do this year. Even if we did – it wasn’t enough. We don’t look the way we want to and it is not OK!!!!
So what do we do with this mind who is telling us that we have failed yet again? Do we tell ourselves we are beautiful? We can but secretly we still know we are displeased. Do we ignore our mind altogether and grab a bucket of fries and hit the beach? That probably won’t make us feel better either.
This is a job for some serious gratitude. Gratitude for everything we have that is good. Maybe our body isn’t perfect but what does it do well? Maybe our body isn’t perfect but we have friends or family that we love. Maybe our body isn’t perfect but it’s better than it was before. Maybe our body isn’t perfect but we still get to enjoy being outside in the summer by the waves in this bathing suit. The list goes on.
The practice of gratitude is the antidote to the upset judgmental mind. You can take this on at any time by closing your eyes and saying I am grateful for [fill in the blank].
This might feel odd because most of us spend a great deal of our time not being grateful. Tip the scales a bit and see what happens!
And a little yoga with breath wouldn’t hurt either 🙂
May we all be grateful right now today.
Every year I get the opportunity to teach at the Satchidananda Ashram in Buckingham County, Virginia. As I sit in the airport to return home I’m amazed at how different I feel. It’s like my entire system has been reset to a more peaceful state. I’m particularly struck by how my food cravings have left me. I kinda feel just fine.
Then the question I ask myself is what was different there from my everyday life? I was working so that was still happening – I had places to be at certain times – I had an amazing view, but truth be told, I live in a picturesque New England town on a river. I didn’t have the kids with me – but I felt this way before I had children.
So what’s the difference? It’s the regulation – it’s the schedule – and it’s the massive release of stress that happens when it’s crystal clear that you are in the right place at the right time. I think for most of us even when we are on track and doing what we are supposed to be doing we often have a sneaking suspicion we are missing something. So we check our messages “just in case” we might miss something. This constant state of high alert is exhausting and stressful.
What do we do when we are tired and stressed? You can answer this question for yourself. For most of us we try to get out of it with food. Which of course doesn’t work.
So when I get home I’m going to make sure that I am properly scheduled and then I’m going to enjoy the tiny minute areas of downtime in between all of those plans. I invite you to join me.
May we all find breath and peace today,
Here it is again! The annual tradition of gathering together and overeating. This is a non-religious holiday so it effects more people than any other here in the U.S. In my practice I see no other subject as difficult as the holidays. Thanksgiving in particular.
So let’s just say that our collective goal is not to gain weight over the holidays. Losing weight may be a bit trickier but it would be nice if Thanksgiving comes and goes and we are left in the same place physically. What would need to happen to make this so? For starters we probably need to stay in our bodies, grounded and sane-ish for the whole Thanksgiving weekend. It will probably help if we don’t abandon any useful habits we’ve been working on. So, if we’ve been practicing asana or conscious breathing in the morning, we may want to continue that. It may also help to sit back and realize that it’s just a meal, or a series of meals, and we have the ability to make choices at each one.
I get it – with all of the family and food triggers swirling around us sometimes it seems like we are being attacked!
This is why working on our practice is so essential to losing weight. If we develop the ability to stay present then each meal is simply a series of choices. If we don’t practice, each meal is an overwhelming flood of food triggers.
This Thanksgiving let’s all stay present. Let’s commit to our practice whether it is yoga in the morning, a few deep breaths at every meal, or a solitary walk in the afternoon. Let’s use the clarity and presence that will move us toward an enlightened Thanksgiving that we can fully enjoy.
May we all find clarity, peace, and presence today.
With great respect and love,
Thinking about what to eat all of the time is a constant grind. Ugh! Many of us want out. If we didn’t have to deal with the food thing life would seemingly be easier. Trying to lose weight makes this matter even worse. It often feels like a small misstep or two can derail the entire process and and all of our hard work is lost.
This perception is both true and false all at the same time. On one hand, if this is our experience we must acknowledge it. It’s not good to pretend that the challenges around food don’t exist. On the other hand, we have many stories we tell ourselves about our bodies, food and weight loss. When our thinking is present centered we simply say, “what’s for lunch?” and when we are stuck in our storyline we say, “I have to eat well for lunch”, or “I need to figure out what to eat that’s healthy, even though I want something else”, or “I can never just eat what I want”.
If this sounds familiar, I humbly suggest finding a practice that allows you to stay more present in your thinking. Whether it’s doing yoga in the morning, finding some calming breaths several times a day, walking your dog after work or all of these things. It is important that we find practices that allow us to not get caught up in stories that ruin our experience. By staying present we see what is right before us with our relationship to food and simply act from that place, rather than the big stories of what has been or what is yet to be.
May we all find presence today,
Everyone wants to change – to transform – to have things different than they are. It’s human nature to desire life to be better. For many of us this includes losing weight. We often attach our happiness with health and physical beauty to this one change of weight loss. Of course this is a bit misguided. There are many things that we can shift to become and feel healthier, happier, and better looking. We can reduce our stress levels, get outside more, get a spa treatment or an updated haircut (not that I know much about this one!) to achieve much of what we are looking for.
Weight loss itself requires some focus because it’s a longish process. Longish as in more than a week. It certainly does not provide instant gratification. It is often a good idea to find at least some of the other things you desire first and not think that losing weight will make all these other things magically appear.
That said, I always ask my clients this one question: Is this your time? If it is – do it! If it is your time for weight loss, the thought of shifting your diet won’t be overwhelming. Most likely because you’ve found your groove in other ways and you have created the space to do the weight loss dance. If it’s not your time, that’s fine too. Knowing this will help you do other things that bring you happiness. Practice yoga, go outside, do whatever is right for you, and watch your life feel just a bit better each day, every week.
Is this your time? Food for thought.
May we open to transformation today.
“If I could just stick to my diet everything would work out.”
How many times have we said this to ourselves? Our diet always ends and things don’t work out. We then repeat the cycle of “If I could just” statements.
I teach yoga class a couple times a week. People come to class really regularly. I mean really really regularly. Way more regularly than most of us stick to diets.
Why is this the case? It takes a lot to get to yoga class in the morning twice a week. There are so many things can derail us. The reason is that it feels good. My students are committed to feeling good.
So maybe all of these diets aren’t doing that. Or maybe we simply don’t take a minute to notice how they’re making us feel. Is this diet’s way of eating working for me? Is the diet making me feel good? There really is no benefit to a diet if it isn’t serving you well.
There’s no way you will come to class week after week if you don’t feel better from it. There’s no way you will keep saying no to bread and butter and cappuccino cheesecake if there isn’t some real benefit, right? If you’re not feeling better, why do it?
So when we’re shifting our way of eating, it’s important that we ask ourselves, “Is this making me feel better?” I mean, a lot better. When the answer is a definitive yes, then we will have less problem staying with it.
And this way of eating may even become more and more peaceful.
May we all live in a way that fills us with light.
I thought I would write about beauty this month. Because we are all vein. I’m not judging. I believe it’s part of the human condition to want to look our best. Our weight is often part of this. We are driven to be an ideal weight as part of our desire to be as beautiful as possible. Sure, there are other reasons to lose weight. Most of which revolve around health. But it’s a rare person who doesn’t care what they look like.
Our perception of ourselves is often tied to the scale. The funny thing is, most people aren’t attracted to someone based on their weight alone. So many factors play into attractiveness. Posture, confidence, personality, etc. all matter. But what really seems to make a difference is energy. Or more specifically, the quality of our presence. So many people I’ve worked with have had this realization. They find that after “cleaning up their act” – which involves doing yoga and meditation – cleaning up their diet so it benefits them and no longer suppresses their energy – they feel more attractive. And other people find them more attractive. EVEN IF THEY HAVE LOST LITTLE OR NO WEIGHT!
I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t lose weight. I’m simply pointing out that if you want to be more beautiful, practice will help you. If your goals include being more healthy, losing weight, and being more beautiful they might all require the same actions of practice. Moving and breathing, developing presence, and eating in a way that builds energy. We can actually ditch the scale and allow ourselves to develop our natural beauty instead.
May we all experience our own limitless beauty.
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.
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,
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,