Friday, October 04, 2013

Yoga for a Happy Life or I'm So Sick of Dieting

I read an article today that gave me chills: It was about how a woman used yoga to stop the endless dieting downward spiral and get happy with herself.  In my household “diet” is a bad word and my kids and husband have made up some fun alternatives to describe my way of eating:  “Mom’s carefully organized eating regiment” is my favorite, but it got me thinking today, too.

If I have learned that “dieting” is a dangerous habit to get into, then why am I still forcing myself to follow strict eating guidelines?  In essence, why am I still dieting?  Because I am. No matter what you call it, when there is a pie chart of nutrients and a daily calorie goal, it is a diet.  If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck…you know what I’m saying.

Now, I am not saying you don’t have to be conscious of what you’re eating in order to maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass.  You absolutely must.  Eating cake for breakfast is going to have negative consequences, no matter how much you enjoy it.  What I’m talking about is learning to TRUST yourself.  Take a deep breath.  Its going to be okay.

You can trust yourself.  Look at me.  While I obviously have a lot to figure out, I have spent over a decade and a half learning about nutrition, exercise, yoga, personal training, and the psychology of a healthy lifestyle.  What does it all come down to?  Listening to and connecting with your body, loving yourself, and TRUSTING yourself.  I kid you not.  So how the hell do we do this stuff?

Doesn't it just piss you off when you read one more self-help book that says “Learn to love yourself” and all your dreams will come true and then they tell you to look in the mirror and pull a Stewart Smally?  “I’m a good person. I’m a kind person, and dang it, people like me.”  *barf*  How does that help?  (Actually, learning to say even silently to yourself “I love you” is a good way to start) 

But seriously, you want action that makes sense. Okay, here it is:  do yoga.  Not the pretzel kind, either.  Yoga has taught me to let go, listen to my body, and be at ease in the present moment--all things you need to know how to do to take real care of yourself.  So, what kind of yoga do we need to do?  Here's exactly what you need to do:

Lay in bed, pull your knees up to your chest and rock side to side.  That’s called “Knees to chest pose”  or Apanasana in Sanskrit, the language of yoga.  While you’re doing that, focus on your low back and ask yourself “How does my back feel?”  Don’t try to describe what you’re feeling. Just feel it.  Then let your knees fall gently to the side and relax.  How’s your back feel now?  How about your hip?  Bring your knees back to center and rest.  How’s your back feel now?  Let your knees fall to the other side.  Relax.  How’s that back now?

Gently return the knees to center, close your eyes and take a few quiet breaths.  Promise yourself you will do this again tomorrow.  That’s it.  That’s the beginning. Congratulations!  You just did yoga.  Now go conquer the world!  Or at least get dressed and feed your kids.

This is the beginning of connecting your mind to your body. It really is this simple.  What’s hard is turning it into a daily practice, because only with regular practice will you really get to know your body and it’s language.  And only when you understand what your body is trying to tell you will you start to make better choices for the two of you.  The mind tends to think it’s the smart one.  Um, well, actually, no.  Your mind plays endless games to keep you both in the dark.  Your body, on the other hand, never lies.  Kind of weird, but it’s the truth. 

So, you need to give yourself this time every day to stop letting the mind rule and let your body take charge.  "How the hell am I supposed to make time for one more damn thing when I already have too much to do?" you ask?  Simple: I advocate doing it in bed before you even get up.  Go ahead, push that snooze button (you were going to already, I know), but instead of going back to sleep, do a little yoga. When the alarm goes off, get up and move on.  It will add up over time and you will start to see changes in yourself.  I can almost guarantee it.

Now, this is step one:  take the first step.  There is more, but I don’t want you to worry your beautiful self about it.  That’s where we get into the deepest trouble: trying to think too far ahead.  Let it be.  Do your yoga.  If you're thinking its not enough, I tell you it is.  Okay, geez, if you MUST have something else, then do this:  do it again when you go to bed at night.  There.  Happy?  I promise I will give you more next week.

And when I say I love you, I mean it from the bottom of my soul to the other end of the universe.  Come back next week and I’ll teach you some more. 

Namaste.

Need something to read until next week? Check out my Pinterest Boards.  I have tons of yoga, chakra, healthy living, happy living, and just fun stuff to peruse.

Have you been on the dieting roller coaster and are sick of it? Tell me about it, please!  Leave a comment below and I will pick one lucky commentator to give a free 30 minute consultation to each month.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for a great post. Since April these have been my own thoughts and dilemmas. I am sick of dieting. I want to do right by my body and mind. I don't want to fit a certain size pants or a stereotype for society but I want to be the healthiest body I can be. I will start today with you suggestion-- and again tonight before I sleep. Look forward to next week's assignment! ;)

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  2. Great post, lovely. All of it. I so agree and couldn't have said it better. Thank you for putting this out there. <3 <3 I love you back!

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  3. Danyel and Michelle,

    Thank you for your comments! Dieting was a fad and now has become the new addiction; its crazy! And yet we all have done it at some time or another. Here's to getting happy and staying healthy. Namaste

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