Reshaping the Mind, Yoga and Weight Loss

by Tracey Rich

(Fit Yoga magazine recently inquired of Tracey: Is it possible to retrain your mind using Yoga for weight loss? The following article is her response.)

Retraining your mind can be a triumph when you follow your interest, whether losing weight to feel better, look better or for the necessity of health issues. Follow your interest in your well being, as well keeping your attention on the actions that reinforce destructive or over indulgent habits. Both your attention and your interest will be keys to understanding your mind and will lead you to the same successful end. This process is actually a meditation. You will find that just like a meditation where you are trying to still your mind, there are many internal conversations that seem to impede you from making the best choices for your health. Once you understand that the mind that is chattering and the mind that is trying to be silent are the same mind, the struggling can stop. There is much battling and negotiation taking place when trying to lose weight. Stay in touch with your initial inspiration and how you feel (physically, mentally and emotionally) with each action. Also, keep your attention on each success, not on the pounds…it is a lifestyle change that you are trying to incorporate. Each act will strengthen your will which is empowering and satisfying and actually feels good…just like food satisfies and tastes good.

Another key is to focus on long term instead of short term feedback. For example, the “feel good” you get for the five minutes you are indulging in a brownie or bag of chips is long overshadowed by the guilt, the self-destructive downer and the dread of what it will take to turn your self around again. However, focusing on the longer range and passing up the indulgence or substituting something better for you, whether it be healthy food or a yoga practice, will actually give you an energy boost, not a just a carb high.

Sitting and breathing meditations can be wonderful substitutes for impulsive eating. A simple yoga practice will not only provide a positive focus for unconscious or self destructive energy but will also bring about toning and weight loss. A yoga practice will help strengthen self control and provide a deeper connection and better understanding of your self, alleviating hunger as an unexpected bonus. A yoga practice also gives you the tools to live more comfortably in your body. Remember, nothing is too little… even a short practice gives results. Doing something is better than not doing anything.

Yoga, as a lifestyle choice addresses the arenas of body, mind and spirit which is exactly your aim when you commit to taking care of your health and well being. I find nothing more supportive or superior.