Using Yoga for EmBODIED Awareness:
Yoga for Conscious Eating, Active Living and Habit Change
Can the tools of yoga help us change our habits? Yoga is a powerful practice for transformation and change. The tools of yoga can be applied in specific ways to help us strengthen will and change habits around food, exercise and body image.
The process of using yoga to change habits begins with recognizing a pattern of being that no longer serves us. We have to develop self-awareness as a first step toward developing stronger will. We have a multitude of choices that can either support or sabotage us and it’s important to understand those choices.
We have to consciously mobilize resources to make changes. Those resources may come in the form of specific yoga tools including:
- Asana and postures to build strength and flexibility, to increase awareness of hunger, satiety and digestion, and to help you begin to work with your breath.
- Breath practice to help manage stress, develop awareness of your physiology (fatigue, energy, digestion, nervous system) and cultivate emotional equanimity.
- Meditation practice to cultivate self-understanding and observe thoughts, feelings, and mental static that sabotage our best intentions.
Changing habits also requires understanding what we are moving toward and continuing to cultivate a daily awareness of that intention. A daily ritual that reminds us of your journey of change can be helpful. It might be a simple few moments of remembrance in our yoga practice, a symbol placed on our desk or in our yoga practice space, or daily journaling that keeps us aware of the intention and our progress in that journey. Symbols and rituals are powerful tools to help us begin again every day.
Mary Hilliker, RDN, E-RYT 500, is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist and Certified Viniyoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. She teaches classes, workshops, retreats and yoga teacher training in Wausau, WI. She can be contacted at email@example.com.