Finding a Mindful Way To Lose Weight With Yoga

Photo: fitsugar.com

Photo: fitsugar.com

Source: Business Wire

Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest numbers 67 percent of the adult population in the US is either overweight or obese. And the numbers keep climbing every year. There certainly is not a lack of weight loss pills, gadgets, programs or protocols claiming to help with this epidemic. Part of the problem according to Susi Hately, yoga teacher and founder of Functional Synergy, is that “many have lost their ‘gut feel’ and isn’t listening to the feedback their bodies are giving them.”

Susi explains that by engaging in yoga and meditation, someone can regain the feedback channels their body is giving them, and instead of making the decision of what to eat based on “what’s right,” they make the decision based on what their body is telling them at a deep level. By utilizing yoga and meditation practices you can heighten your awareness. “The difficult part of this is people will say…’my body wants sugar, it wants wine.’ These are the cravings. Go a little deeper, beneath the cravings, and really see what the body is wanting,” says Susi.

Practice: Awareness through the day. Notice your emotions and feelings that exist around food. Notice how you feel before, during and after you eat. Was there a prevalent feeling that was present that “drove” you to eat?”

Losing weight requires 3 things to occur:
1. Eat less
2. Exercise more
3. Repeat

The formula relies on a calorie in and calorie out ratio; eat less than you burn and your weight will drop. Repeat it on an ongoing basis and you will reduce your weight. It is a straightforward and simple formula. Yet, Susi explains that it misses two important concepts which are the bane of many people wanting to lose weight. First, it misses the bridge between “I know what I need to do” to “actually following through with it.” And second, it bypasses the fact that much of our eating is emotional – negative and positive. We eat out of boredom, or to soothe our souls after a breakup or a bad day. We eat for celebration, raising a glass for a job well done, a promotion, a party or an annual holiday. All in all, when we are eating, we are enjoying the food and how it makes us feel, but we aren’t necessarily looking at what is the driving force behind that second piece of cake entering our mouths. Or at least, not until we stand on the scale the next day and think “oh, why did I do that?”

While yoga might not offer the calorie burn of running, Spinning or biking, it offers awareness and contemplation. It focuses the mind and enables us to pay attention to ourselves and, in a sense, wakes us up. Things we weren’t so conscious about, all of sudden become clear. It is with that clarity we can make a change.

By tracking what your emotions and feelings are before, during and after eating you will get an insight to an awareness process of what you eat during your day. Not so much from the perspective of calories in vs. calories out; but rather from the perspective of calories in vs. calories out; but rather from the perspective of feelings and emotions. By following this over a few days you’ll begin to see what is “driving” you during the times you eat, and whether it is out of hunger or whether some other emotion. With this information, you’ll be able to gain greater clarity over what you are eating and why, and make more sustainable choices for your weight loss goals.

While yoga is not the most optimum for calorie burning, it does get us stretching, strengthening and reducing stress. The combination of asanas and breathing exercises can improve digestion, circulation, increase energy, and reduce levels of fatigue. It can also help us to recuperate from traditional cardiovascular activity, getting us ready for our next calorie burning session.

Susi Hately is a renowned yoga teacher and author of several international best-selling yoga books and DVDs. Her yoga skills are enhanced by her B.Sc. in kinesiology, post-graduate training in mind-body medicine and ergonomics and, practical field experience assisting companies with disability management and workplace safety issues. Susi’s main focus and expertise is in helping people overcome pain and injuries with her customized yoga therapy programs. Since 2004, Susi teaches a comprehensive therapeutic certification program for aspiring instructors to learn the importance of well-being as it affects various conditions. Find more info at http://www.functionalsynergy.com.

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