Posts Tagged ‘practice’
Every year, right after New Year’s, I am caught up in a flurry of activity. People are interested in working on their New Year’s resolution—which is to lose weight and be healthier this year.
Of course, it is best if we are always as healthy as possible. But New Year’s does seem to be a good time to start something. We’ve seen our friends and family over the holidays, so this month we have fewer social obligations. At the office, sweets are not in front of us at every turn. The frantic holiday energy on the street has calmed down, allowing us to focus inward.
So how to start? A cleanse? A radical change in diet? Get up at 4 am for a three-hour workout? These measures are probably a bit extreme, and often lead to a short burst of adherence, followed by a return to old behaviors.
I suggest we all (new to this practice or not) focus on the joy in our practice.
If you are new to yoga, you are in for a treat—find a brief time (20 minutes or so) daily to do a stress-relieving practice. If done in a light, easy, not-too-serious way, you will experience great joy.
If you already practice, re-evaluate what you like about it. Go to classes or do sequences that leave you feeling energized and happy. Remember your beginner’s mind, and swim in the positive and peaceful feelings that your practice brings.
Extend this joyful practice to eating. Relish and enjoy the daily foods in your life. Take a small amount of time to contemplate how food enhances your life. Notice the complex and interesting flavors of your favorite foods. Allow the experience of eating to be fun. I was reminded of this while eating clementines recently. What sweet could be better?
If our resolutions include these joyful practices, the more challenging aspects of our lives will be balanced—and where there is balance, there is peace.
May we all be free and happy this year,
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.
It’s so discouraging. We’ve been trying to maintain or lose weight and one day we step on the scale and BOOM there it is – we are heavier.
For so many of us this is inevitable. We don’t want to hear it, but it’s true. Changes in diet, sleep schedule, stress levels, etc. happen. And with these can come weight gain. In my personal journey I have seen this many times. Of course, each time it happens, I freak out like anyone would who is trying to maintain their weight. Mostly because I don’t want to deal with it; analyse, dig deeper, change things, and most of all except my current circumstances. I want to be frustrated and throw in the towel—even as a weight loss professional.
So what do I do instead? I practice yoga. I bring my energy back to center and I make a plan. What needs to shift? Do I need more sleep? Do I need to practice more or in a different way to get stress out of my body? Do I need to rearrange my schedule a bit? Do I need to change the way I’m feeding myself. And as I do this—as my practice deepens and progresses—I have a little more perspective on why this happened.
Then the fear arises. Maybe I can’t do it? Maybe this is too hard. Maybe I can’t change or eat differently. Maybe I’m a lost cause? But that’s just fear talking. Once it passes, I realize I can do what I need to do. I remember that I feel better when I do these things. My health and energy are improved and most importantly, I’m happier.
So I make a plan. I write down 2 or 3 shifts that I know will help and begin again. I find the reset button. And each time I do this, it works. And as time passes this entire process shortens. The fear last less time and so does the extra weight.
So if you find that scale not to your liking one day, remember that this process is there for you. Change is guaranteed. The way in which you change yourself has everything to do with your willingness to engage with your own body, breath, mind, and heart.
May we all remember deeply who we truly are today,
Be guided through the Peaceful Weight Loss process with Transformation, our 9 month online course.
When most people think of losing weight they think of hitting the gym. Sweating a lot and watching how many calories are burning on their favorite (or least favorite machine). When they think of yoga they imagine slow movement – a glorious warrior 2 pose and inner peace. So why would yoga work well for weight loss? If you look at how many calories burn from yoga, it’s downright unimpressive.
For years we here at Peaceful Weight Loss we have been teaching slow, simple yoga practices to help with the weight loss process. It is an integral part of our overall weight loss plan. In fact, it is so much more important than hitting the gym that we favor it above all other forms of movement. Here’s why.
It Gets Stress Out Of The Body
Yoga practice done properly changes our nervous system response. This leaves us less stressed. Stress hormones are a key problem in weight reduction. Put simply – stress hormones = weight retention. Yoga is a great way to work with this.
Yoga Changes Our Mental State
Much overeating and binge eating can be attributed to anxiety, depression, or even big mental highs. Yoga practice helps us maintain a strong grounded mental state that translates into less emotional eating.
Yoga Is Empowering
Yoga teaches us to practice in a way that expands our body’s possibilities while deeply accepting its’ limitations. Unlike exercise where it’s constantly asking us to do more, yoga is about contentment. This creates a deep peace within us. Peace is true power. Change begins with this acceptance.
This is not to say that their aren’t great reasons to hit the gym, but when considering a long term movement plan to drop or keep weight off—yoga is an excellent choice.
Click here to learn more and register for Transformation. Our 9 month course in Peaceful Weight Loss will guide you through—step by step.
May we all find contentment today,
We are so grateful for YOU! Being able to offer Peaceful Weight Loss is a dream for us. This work is helping so many and we are truly blessed that you are a part of it. If you have participated in Transformation, our online 9 month course, a BIG thank you! This community is growing stronger by the day and we are honored that you have all chosen this path to find a little more clarity and peace in your life. If you read our newsletters, have participated in our seminars, or simply observe our work from afar, we look forward to implementing new ways for us to stay connected so that we may all experience our fullest potential.
This year we will also be expanding the ways we can connect and serve our community. The first new offering is our free online event “Ending The Battle Within” January 12th. We look forward to offering more in the upcoming year including small group live sessions several times a month with Transformation and webinars for all. Let’s keep the conversation going about how we make peace with our bodies and food.no matter what that looks like for each of us.
Below is a 10 minute meditation for the new year. Enjoy a few moments of contemplation on how to best serve yourself in the months ahead…
May we all find clarity and intention this new year,
Brandt and Anna
I thought I’d write a little about genetics this month. It’s been on my mind lately since I recently realized that 1) I’m not getting younger and 2) I might not be from the best genetic stock (in terms of having a flat belly anyway). There’s been a lot of science around this subject, but really it boils down to this: Your genetics influence your weight – but do not dictate your future.
Genetics is not a static concept. Our genes do not exist in a vacuum blindly dictating our pant size. Genes express themselves differently depending on the input they get. So our diet, lifestyle, stress levels, thoughts, etc… all influence our genes and what they chose to do.
That said, some of us are able to store fat more easily. This might be a good thing if we are in a famine. But for most of us it doesn’t work out to our benefit. This is why our friend eats crap all day, never exercises, and never gains weight. They won the genetic lottery for the overabundant food society.
So where does this leave us? Should we just throw in the towel and curse the genetic gods?
We could, but since we’ve already done that we know it wont help our situation. What we can do is practice the most fundamental concept in Yoga – Ishvara Pranidhana – the practice of surrender. Or as I like to think of it – acceptance. Now what does this look like?
First, it means being ok with the genetic deck we’ve been dealt. There is always something that we can point to that is positive to remind us that our genes aren’t all bad. Maybe you can see? Or have great hair, pretty eyes, or really good blood pressure. There are so many ways the body performs well.
Next, we can accept our situation and practice in a way that is good for us and our genetic makeup. Maybe it’s really important to actively relax every day, or to get our heart rate up, or to take long walks, or to meditate in the morning. What is it that puts your entire system at ease?
We can also eat in the way that truly suits our own needs. A diet that promotes health and well-being at all levels. Timing our meals so we feel great and eating an amount that brings us more energy.
Finally, accepting that our body might not be our friend’s body and deeply understanding that health and happiness trump being skinny every time.
May we all find peace, joy, and acceptance within ourselves.
This month I’ve been contemplating what it truly means to change your thinking around losing weight. Most big changes require huge shifts in how we think about a problem. In this case, one might think that we have to think very differently around food. Maybe putting our mental foot down and saying no more to fattening foods. Maybe sticking to our diet no matter what. Maybe we need to exercise a lot more – or stop going out for dinner. Maybe it’s all of these things and more? Pretty overwhelming.
But what if the huge shift is how we think about the problem itself? What if it’s possible to move through the world in a way where this ever looming issue isn’t at the forefront of our mind? What if the huge shift is more of a realization – the realization that we don’t have this massive, insurmountable issue? What if we wake up tomorrow with the knowledge that we, ourselves, or anyone else for that matter, have every resource needed to change our relationship with food and have our bodies be in a healthy state?
We have this possibility. By grounding ourselves in the present, we open ourselves up to this realization. That’s why we practice. We practice to slowly but surely realize that it will be ok. Each day that we practice our minds shift and our possibly lifelong, torturous relationship with food and body shifts with it. Each practice is a step towards a radical mind shift. Can you image that? Can we allow this? Of course we can. We are not a problem.
This is the radical shift: we are the solution.
A little mind food for you this month. May we all experience our freedom today.
With great respect and love,
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.