Friday, August 30, 2013

Congested Days- Yoga and Weight Loss

Wow...as I was writing about yoga...and the peace it provides, my entire 2 page blog post was deleted by blogger. deep breaths... Talk about a life lesson. I can't remember all of what I typed, but here goes what I can kinda remember. :)
This past week has found me congested…unable to sleep…unable to breathe.  Isn’t it interesting when we are sick or unable to do self-care practices it is all we can think about? Well, let me just speak for myself. It’s all I can think about. I’ve had dreams about getting onto my yoga mat again.

As much as I love my kettlebells, love my jumprope, and have tried to learn to love running again, NOTHING sustains me like yoga.. on and off the mat. Now I must warn you, today I am feeling really touchy feely so this post may take on a sentimental tone.

If you are a repeat reader here you know that my daughter is going through some pretty difficult times right now. A new diagnosis of a rare neurological condition that is compromising her spine and overall life and health has emerged and in the wake of this new diagnosis, I had gone through several stages of grief. During the denial phase I picked up running again and felt that I could both literally and metaphorically run from my problems. I wallowed for sure…sat with ice cream and vegan bars while watching late nite bad tv.

In the midst of all of this there was a nagging at my spirit. A nagging at my soul. Reminders of my once daily yoga practice started popping up everywhere. OR I started to notice them everywhere. And as I resumed my MORNING PAGES I was able to reflect deeply on a previous time of struggle in my life and all the daily practices that got me through that time.

Now in all fairness, I have been consciously practicing several of the 8 LIMBS OF the Ashtanga practice for years and years now. I have gone through periods of daily or once monthly asana (the physical postures) practice. Saying that to say I found my way to the mat often if only for my post workout stretching. But, within the past few weeks I have determined that this urging in my soul to return to daily asana practice is a call that won’t go unanswered.
(pic source: yogapedregal)
 
When I found my way onto my mat a few weeks ago I knew that the progression in my physical practice was compromised. Where I was once flexible I knew that I would find stiffness. I approached my practice with a beginner’s mind and didn’t think I KNEW anything. I lit my candles, lit my incense and went straight into Surya Namaskara A and B. Knowing that my body…my soul knows these postures so well. I told myself to let go of my ego that kept shouting, “But you should do more. Try more!” and I finished up with the closing sequence. At that moment, Kennedy came behind me and rubbed my shoulders. I started crying. Yep. Yoga makes me cry.
(pic source: Indianetzone)

With tears spilling over onto the mat (even BEFORE I could take shavasana), Kennedy said to me “Yoga is good for crying. You twist and bend it all up…then cry it all out. Good job mom.” And the sobs started…The next day I was slightly sore and recommitted to my daily practice.

I know that I have readers who come here and love to see my strength training workouts posted. I can’t say for sure that I won’t be doing those, but I can say that right now my attention and focus is 100% on my yoga practice. This leads me to a great question I have gotten asked very often…Is it possible for yoga to be your ONLY exercise? Can you lose weight and get fit with JUST yoga?

Short answer… Y-E-S. Absolutely.  100% (random weight loss stories). Not a doubt in my mind. (Okay you get the point). Long answer: As you know I promote doing, eating, wearing, living in whatever way makes sense for YOUR life. I like to use my life and my body as my teacher. I have seen and felt what yoga can do. When my daily practice was in full swing, I was fit and trim and because my practice took 1.5-2 hours per day it was my only means of exercise. Yep. A mat, sometimes a DVD, a bottle of water and a towel. Let me tell you something…I was a sweaty mess when I was done. It was amazing. All the teeny tiny muscles get pulled, stretched, detoxified.

Unlike any other exercise yoga makes you SO super aware of the foods you eat. You won’t be scarfing down late nite burgers if you have an early morning yoga practice. With the first twist you will be in agony like no other! So the daily practice and focus on eating foods that make me feel good left me with the most amazing body and sense of self.

So, today as this congestion clears up I made my way onto my mat. Dedicated my practice to God and Kennedy (as always) and got into it. Although I was (and am) stuffy, I found my peace in Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Down Dog) and after a sweaty 25 minutes of practicing, I closed my practice with shavasana and a prayer. I feel the slight soreness in my upper body and have had my second bowel movement of the day at only 12:30pm. I’m yet again remembering all the reasons I love, love, love my at home Ashtanga yoga practice.

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