I came across an article
in the L.A. Times
this week, which claimed that yogis are often on the slim side because we are so in tune with our bodies, that we naturally just practice mindful eating. Kinda neat, huh? Karen Kaplan writes, “Mindful eating helps people to stop eating once they are full, even if delicious food remains on their plates. They try not to let tempting advertisements lure them to food; they avoid eating while they are distracted by a TV show or other diversion; and they don’t eat to distract themselves from emotions like stress or sadness.”
But this made me wonder, what good does this do someone who isn’t trying to “stay slim?” My mother’s cancer (pancreatic) affected her digestive system; so she was only able eat liquids or purees. She shed weight quickly, and we were always looking for new ways to bulk her up (milkshakes made with whole milk).
The article points out that yogis are, “more in tune with their bodies,” which clearly extends well beyond just diet. Through the practice of asana and the constant coming into our breath, yoga calms the waters of the mind so that we may peer into ourselves. Like a lake that has suddenly stilled enough to see the rocks, sand and plants that rest at the bottom, yoga helps us have a direct view inside.
Mindfulness is key in cultivating not just a healthy diet, but healing in our bodies and spirits. During her illness, my mother used acupuncture to calm and connect with her body and mind. Next time you want to become a bit more present and aware, try this: lay in Savasana
(corpse pose) and breath into every part of your body, beginning from the toes, moving up to the legs, torso, arms, shoulders, and head. Feel the energy – prana – coursing through each cell. Experience whatever sensations or emotions come up as you absorb the benefits of this pose, which restores the natural systems of the body.