By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD
Mindfulness is the new moderation. Whether you’ve ever taken a yoga class or not, it can be intimidating – and it’s not necessarily meant to be a super intense exercise class; they said a class “only burns 166 calories”. Which, compared to an hour of running (~>600 calories burned) is not a lot. But it can do way more for your body and health than just burn calories. Personally, it was when I stopped focusing on yoga as my “workout” that it started changing my eating habits and body.
So what is yoga? Meditation, “om-ing” and flexibility? Maybe for some people. I’ve dabbled in yoga for a long time and have done enough super heated bikram classes and chakra cleanses to know there’s some stuff out there that is not for me. The yoga that works for me is the simple movement and breathing and un-stressing of your body. As one of our yoga guides Mike Taylor described it, it’s “getting into every inch of you”, starting with where you are today. If you can’t touch your toes let’s not try to force you to. Okay: what’s all this got to do with food? This approach to yoga reminds me of how we work with clients at Foodtrainers – if you’re more into diet soda than spinach and strawberries that’s okay; we’ll start very slowly and ease you in. There’s no forcing away habits, they only ever return with a vengeance.
At night time I would get snacky. It’s what I refer to as “snackaterianism”. So after dinner I started going to a yoga class or watching a video on youtube. I swear, I started inhaling breath and not things from my fridge. This is where that mindfulness factor comes in. You actually can enjoy your food rather than obsessing over calories and eating to fill other voids. Research shows that yoga actually changes the chemical cocktail in your brain – which includes hunger and sleep hormones. And I’ve always said it’s physically impossible to be unhappy when you’re upside down – touching your toes need not apply just yet!
PS – Tara Stiles does tons of awesome videos from yoga for beginners to Hangover Yoga to taking a mid-day yoga break. Check em out.
Have you played around with yoga at all? Have you noticed it’s done anything for your eating habits?