Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

I Want To Be Happy: When Weight Loss Feels Heavy

For many of us our self esteem is tied up in our weight, and the image of our body is determined by our self esteem. Weight is just one part of this trifecta. It’s a lot to consider when trying to lose weight and be a happier human being.

It’s chaos. First there are the numbers. The numbers on the scale. The numbers in our head of what those numbers should be. The numbers that size our clothes. Well, maybe letters, too. It’s a lot of input. Then there’s the mental states. And of course there’s also the feeling states. What’s strange is how we feel in our body is often clouded by all of these other pieces. It’s a lot of weight to bare.

When I was carrying a lot more weight, I “dieted” often. I limited what I ate and when I ate. I stopped looking at the scale, and I numbed myself with food, alcohol, relationships. I didn’t eat for long stretches on the off chance that I might eat again!?  And then of course, the inevitable would happen. I binged. I binged nightly. I told myself that tomorrow I would be different. Yet, there were no nights that this didn’t happen. It was a ritual. A habit. Comfort. I was also in a state of constant anxiety. This cycle left me feeling worse instead of better day after day. The thought of changing was heavy and my weight and body goals were getting further and further away. I hated what I looked like and what I felt like.

Then I started practicing yoga. I would breath and move and open. It was safe and I always felt better afterwards. Yoga was something that I could addict myself to that wasn’t inflicting pain. I was present, a relief. I didn’t know then that I was changing my system’s entire make up. I just knew that everything in my life was shifting including my body. I binged less. I connected to food and my eating more. I began to eat regularly and different things. My mind was calmer. My thoughts were less destructive. My body felt better. I liked myself more. I valued the art I was making more. My relationships changed…

I write about this life as if it is another person. And it kind of is. I’m different because of yoga. Losing weight and being at peace with my body came in a way never could have suspected. There was no diet plan. I had to get into my body, the thing I was both avoiding and in a constant battle with, to get out of my deep suffering.

What I have seen over the years through the Peaceful Weight Loss work and for those on this path, is that yoga is the key to unlock the weight battle. The idea of losing weight doesn’t have to be so heavy. Yoga practices are the course of action that will lead to a happier, healthier, lighter self. With one goal in mind: a daily practice that leaves you feeling calmer, more energized, and with more space between your thoughts. These system shifts are available to you. If weight loss and healthy self esteem is what you desire, practice is a good place to put your effort for now. The other pieces that are weighing you down will change too. (To find more clarity and guidance, join us Transformation, our 9 month Peaceful Weight Loss course.) You deserve to feel lighter. Let your practice guide you towards a more energized and peaceful state. It’s your birthright to be happy.

Thanks for reading,


Happy New Year!

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 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

Weight Loss and The Frustration Mind: What’s The Point?

It’s not working!!!!

How often do we hear ourselves saying this. We get on that scale, or put on that old pair of pants and things are not better. We get frustrated, angry, sad, despondent or all of the above. Maybe we quit? Give up? What’s the point?

This last question is the only one that matters. What is the point? Are we trying to lose 30 pounds this week? Are we trying to eat as little as possible? What are we really trying to do here?

It’s important to regroup when we get frustrated. Numbers on the scale don’t always mean that we’re doing something wrong. Peaceful Weight Loss is the ongoing process of eating and LIVING in a way that brings us more mental contentment; shifting our body in beneficial ways.

We get frustrated when we are not losing weight even when we are not actually at a point where we are making changes that would facilitate weight loss. It’s important to recognize this and shift into a mental space where we are calm, centered, and most importantly clear.

This clarity often comes from practice. Asana with breath, yoga nidra, breathing, meditation. These practices are designed to shift us into a state that is more balanced. We can then ask ourselves “what is the point today?” What do we need to do this day that will bring us more peace and put us on a path to being less heavy?

If you are in our 9 month course then the answer will be to work on this month’s coursework. If you are dieting then find useful, pleasant ways to be on that diet. Let’s not let our frustration mind derail us from the contentment and joy that is available right now as we read this. Take a breath and find your practice.

May we all be happy,

Is My Practice Working? A Peaceful Weight Loss Perspective.

That’s a really good question—glad you asked. It’s probably the most important question we can ask ourselves in the Peaceful Weight Loss process. In the past, most of us have moved forward with “a program” whatever it was: a diet or an exercise system. At some point we hadn’t achieved our goals so we stopped. The real failure in this approach is the failure to ask ourselves the question is this working? The reason this might be a hard question to pose to ourselves is that we don’t have the metrics to assess if it’s true. What’s working? How would I know? How do I assess today, or this week, or this month if what I’m doing is a good idea?

In our approach we have some goals for our practice that aren’t directly tied to weight loss. Feeling more centered, calm, energized, clear, aware. These are some of the reasons we practice. We know our yoga practice is useful if it helps us experience these states more frequently. If we aren’t experiencing some shifts from our practice, we modify so that we do. A different yoga practice or switching/adding meditation, maybe a few days walking outside. We change our practice if it’s not working and then when it does we regularly check in to make sure it keeps working.

When our practice is going well in these ways, “working”, we can then make food choices that will move us toward the weight we need to be. In this, we are engaged in our own evolution. Always moving toward our goal of an ideal weight and a peaceful mind.

May we all find our practice today,

Lessons From The Ashram

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,


Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

I recently read a study that looked at the brain’s reaction to food. Long story short, it turns out that parts of our brain can’t tell the difference between food and love. Some of the chemical responses that we have with love and food are the same. It makes so much sense that it goes that deep! We are born – we cry – someone feeds us. It’s kind of hard to argue that that’s not love.

The problem is that food love is so temporary – so fleeting – it lasts only minutes. But like all things we need, we get addicted. So there are a few steps to get ourselves out of this endless cycle.

1) Realizing that wanting love in any form is natural and normal. Our desire for food love exists because we are human.

2) Accepting (having faith) that there are other ways to achieve love besides food. And that these ways can be normal and natural, as well.

3) Doing practices that help us experience other forms of love.

There are many practices that do this, but in yogaland we look towards movement, breath, and meditation to help us experience the love that is inherent and requires no outside catalyst (like food). We all deserve love.

I write this in the spirit of inspiring you to practice. If you need any help figuring out what practices would be most appropriate please find us and we’ll point you in the right direction.

May we all find the love that exists inside today.

With respect and love,


How Can It Be So Simple?

When I propose that in order to become more at peace around food and body image that a simple practice of movement and breath slowly followed by getting organized to eat in a way that leaves you feeling well as the main focus, the general reaction is, “It can’t be that simple!”

I was reading a book by a meditation master recently and it said that we should let the mind do it’s thing without interfering with it much – and I thought to myself “It can’t be that simple!”

Well, it is that simple. In a way. The actions that we need to take to find ourselves in a better place are simple. We tend to make them more complicated because doing this supports the story that we have designed and told ourselves for years. This supports our idea that the way are doing things is the (only) way things can work.

It is when we allow ourselves to see our obvious current way of thinking or acting that we can see what isn’t really working. From here, we can allow simple change to happen.

So let us all take a step back and say to ourselves, “Some of my old ways of doing things are not working out. I think I’ll try a new way today. I’ll move and breathe. I’ll walk through my day calmly with a schedule in hand, and I’ll eat in a way that seems useful.” It’s that simple.

And as we observe the fruit of this practice we may be inspired to do it again tomorrow.

May we all live in simple truth.


Bring On The Light!

I live in the northeast and I’m happy to report that the days are finally getting a little bit longer. That said, even this mild winter is a long one. Every night I find myself wanting to curl up on the couch and eat warm, bready things. It turns out that this is normal because of our wiring – probably to keep us alive all winter long back when we were living outside. So don’t blame yourself or your “lack of willpower” for wanting to eat and sleep more. We do however have to look at our rhythms if we are trying not to overeat every day.

Here are some suggestions for where to put your effort:

Get up with the sun! Having more sunlight in your life will improve mood and set your natural rhythms to work correctly.

Practice in the morning. Asana, breath connection, prayer, meditation, music listening. Whatever starts your day in a centered, positive way will help clear your mind of the extra stress that the winter doldrums can create.

Go outside. Even if it’s an extra 3 minutes outside in front of your home or office.

Go to bed earlier. Give into being more tired and stop trying to keep yourself awake with food.

Drink more water. Especially if you spend all day inside dry, heated environments.

Practice smiling (even if you feel unhappy). It turns out that the act of smiling dumps happy chemicals into the brain.

Try some or all of these suggestions. Anything that you can do to promote a sense of well being will likely translate into less intense food cravings. Using your energy to add simple positive acts to your daily rhythm is your best bet for managing the more difficult eating behaviors.

May we all find light this month,


The Reset Button

I often think that in the process of dealing with my food issues, I installed a reset button in my mind. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter what behaviors we’ve done in the past. The question is whether we can “press” the reset button and start again. The more skilled we become at remembering to reset, the better off we are.

Through my own process I’ve come to realize that this is the most important part of maintaining my weight. If I go on vacation and eat too much food that I rarely eat in my regular life, I make sure to find my button after a day or two. If I’m at a social event and eat what feels like the whole cheese tray – I hit the reset button. By returning to myself with a reset, these over-eating behaviors and tendencies don’t snowball and cause me to gain weight. It turns out that limited amounts or shorter moments of non-ideal food behaviors aren’t a big deal.

The main thing that allows this reset to happen is practice. A few minutes of breath and motion or meditation reminds us of our natural state. From this place we are living in choice and the reset button is easily accessible.

So add this to your practice. Worry less about what you did yesterday and more about what you have to do to find yourself today. Resetting is always possible.



As I work on my own practice, I’m always amazed by how important connection is. It’s so easy to stay in our head and try to work out our issues.

What yoga teaches us is that getting out of this solitary unconnected mindset is conducive to freedom. It’s not that we don’t need to use our intellect to make choices, (like what time you’ll be practicing tomorrow), but connection with others peels away much of the mental fuzziness and confusion associated with too much lonely self-centered thinking. Classes, teachers, meditation groups, and community of all sorts are remedies for these counterproductive thoughts.

This is an essential part of our overall strategy to stay present with ourselves and live in a way that brings us peace and energy. There will be times when it gets really tough to maintain your practice. Lethargy and self-doubt are a part of our experience of being human. With community and connection already in place, we can lean on it in times of need. When the going gets tough, the tough ask for help. So, this month, ask yourself if you have the support you need to support your practice. As we do this, we are often reminded that our practice helps others around us.

And the beauty of being human is revealed.

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