“When we start to pay attention in an intentional and nonjudgmental way, as we do when we cultivate mindfulness, and thus bring ourselves back into the present moment, we are tapping into very deep natural resources of strength, creativity, balance and yes, wisdom – interior resources that me may never have realized we even possess. Nothing has to change. We don’t have to be different or “better.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn in the Foreward to ‘Mindful Eating’ by Jan Chozen Bays, MD
Are You Ready For A New Relationship to Food, Eating and Exercise?
Are you ready to inhabit your body from the inside out? Are you ready to listen to your internal cues for what nourishes you? Have you had enough of scales, diets and external sources of control? Yoga and the mindfulness tools that are part of this ancient science can re-orient us to our own inner wisdom about what makes us feel well.
How Yoga Helps Conscious Eating
Yoga has a vast set of tools that can be helpful for cultivating conscious eating and emotional well-being around food, eating, exercise and body image. Here are a few ways that yoga and mindfulness can help:
- Breath-centered yoga postures done slowly and mindfully can create a feeling of groundedness and rootedness for inhabiting the body we have
- Yoga posture practice and breathing practices help cultivate stability and strength in body, thoughts and emotions
- Yoga postures, breathing practices and meditation help manage stress, a saboteur of a positive and healthy relationship to food, eating, body image and enjoyable forms of movement
- Breathing, meditation and awareness exercises often improve our internal sense of hunger, fullness, thoughts and emotions that ultimately drive behaviors
- A well-rounded yoga practice helps us continually dig into the well of our own deep wisdom around what helps our energy level, sleep, physical comfort, and emotional well-being
We live in a time where they are so many “shoulds” and “don’t’s” around food, weight and exercise. The tools of yoga and mindfulness offer an intuitive, conscious and inner wisdom-based approach to food, eating, movement and relationship to oneself.
A Mindful Eating Exercise
As we move through this time of celebrations and resolutions, you might ask yourself, “What is it I really hunger for and how am I hungry for it?” Here are 6 questions to guide you in your mindfulness around eating:
- Are my eyes hungry for this because of its beauty?
- Am I hungry for the smell of this food?
- Is my stomach feeling hunger or thirst for this food?
- Do I have a deep craving for this food at a cellular level and how is my body responding to this food that I craved?
- Is my mind running a script about this food, telling me the “shoulds” or “don’ts”?
- Is my heart craving this food because it’s soothing or nourishing to me, and what is the story about this food that attracts me to it?
Access Deep Inner Wisdom Through Holistic Yoga Practice
Slowing down the art of eating with simple mindfulness tools can help re-establish a deep inner connection to food and eating. Moving, breathing, grounding, and reflecting through a holistic approach to yoga practice can help cultivate a sense of inhabiting the body. By accessing deep inner wisdom, we become more fully aware of what helps us feel well at all levels of the Koshas – physical body, physiology, mind, intuition and heart.
Mary Hilliker, RDN, E-RYT 500, CYT is a Certified Viniyoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist and Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with 5 Koshas Yoga and Wellness Center and River Flow Yoga Teacher Training School in Wausau WI. Mary offers individualized Yoga Therapy and nutrition counseling. She teaches therapeutic and wellness yoga classes, mini-retreats, workshops, webinars and yoga teacher training