So I just found out that my name means food. Does anyone find this as funny as me?
For someone who has struggled with food and weight, to learn that in Hindi my name means food (or ‘rice’), seems a little ironic. So I decided to write a brief newsletter reminding us of the love side of food, rather than the difficult part of our food relationship. Or more specifically, what to do into the new year to avoid a big food explosion ending in the “this year will be different” resolution.
The holidays are upon us. The average american gains 10 pounds over these months every year. And if you’re reading this, we can assume that that is the opposite of what you want to happen. So try this over the next couple of weeks.
Bare down. Not with food, but with your practice. Do it daily. Decide beforehand and plan what you will do. Yoga nidra every night? Breathing and moving for 20 every morning with your favorite class in the mix? 10 minutes of pranayama in the bathroom stall at work before lunch? Watching a video on YouTube or for 5 bucks here with me each day? Forget about the struggle that is food for a minute and shift your focus towards yoga. Do your practice consistently and allow it to uncover whatever is. Perhaps it will provide necessary breath around all the emotions that come up rather than pushing them down. Maybe it will give you a needed break from family and work. Even more, it might even remind you that peace is your birthright. It can only help, right?
So enjoy the specialty foods that surround you, rather than being at war with them. Let your practice support you in taking delight in this time of year and the foods and feelings that accompany it.
When Brandt and I first met, we had a conversation about prana (life force, chi) and how it related to our individual weight loss success stories. I had been into expanding my prana via pranayama, asana, bij chanting, and chakra visualization. We discussed the importance of building prana as a first step towards sustainable weight loss. We had collectively lost over 150 pounds.
Yogis for thousands of years have been studying how to build their prana body. Or not lose prana/energy. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, an ancient yogic text, talks about prana. It offers us the idea that when our pranic body is balanced, our breath is natural and relaxes. Pranic balance enables us to “see” or feel the deeper aspects of ourselves and allows us to focus on them. So why is this important and how does it relate to weight loss? Furthermore, how do we practice to get these results?
In Peaceful Weight Loss terms, our “prana building” practice should leave us
- focusing on something other than food and body frustrations (more of the time)
- feeling relaxed and peaceful (more of the time)
- remembering that there is something bigger than our body battle (more of the time)
Most of the time a daily, 20 minute (or more) practice that leaves us feeling calm and energized does the trick. Note, the calm and energized. We don’t have to push, in fact, we don’t want to deplete ourselves at all. This is not an exercise program. We are not forcing our bodies to work hard. We are putting our effort towards breathing and moving most days. (For guidance, check our online practices or join our 9 month course, Transformation)
As a result, the rest digest and heal part of the nervous system is being toned and activated every time we take a deep breath. This builds our energy, prana. There is now the possibility of feeling better (more of the time). It is from this place that we can make food and lifestyle changes that allow us to lose weight. (Note the paradigm shift away from “burning calories” aka losing energy…)
Brandt had this experience. I’ve had this experience. And we’ve seen so many people change and take pounds off through practicing pranayama and calm and energizing asana. As we gather our energy we breath more deeply and compulsions to overeat shrink. Some say that they feel more satisfied and content. Others speak to the clarity they gain and the side effects of this. Time and time again, energy goes up and the number on the scale goes down. It takes time, but sustainability is what we’re looking for, right?
So find a calm and energizing practice to build your prana and reap the rewards of a life with less stress and less weight.
Om Namah Shivaya,