Yoga and weight loss may seem like a logical answer to your desire to look and feel your best, and while it is a viable answer to getting thin, yogic tools are sometimes misunderstood. If you really want to know how to lose weight, then you need to look at long-term changes in lifestyle.
Usually, we overeat when we are stressed and the food we consume is full of things which harm the body instead of healing the body. Yoga can be used as a type of ‘medicine; to heal the body. Yogis, and Ayurvedic practitioners have known for centuries that pranayama, asana, meditation and mantra could be very effective in changing our core beliefs about who we are, and thus, the behaviors we exhibit in the world.
Changing the Body From Deeper Levels
In western society, we look at our physical vessel as the ultimate expression of who we are. We are locked into a materialistic view of ourselves, and so we go to a doctor or a gym to try to lose weight, not realizing that we are neglecting a deeper sense of who we are. The reason yoga can help us in answering the question how to lose weight is only partially physical. Our deep emotional, spiritual and psychological selves long to be connected to a deeper Self – often called the Atman in yogic parlance, and until this bigger, more expansive, more universal part of who we are is addressed it is kind of like putting a band-aid on a gushing wound.
The Atman is also referred to as the Eternal Self, or the Inner Soul in the Rig Veda, and is the person we exist as in a state of perfection and infinitude. It has no hang ups about drive-in burgers or chocolate donuts. It doesn’t dread honoring the temple of the body because it sees itself as an expression of the Infinite, perfect Universe. Maybe that seems like a long way to go, perspective wise, in order to lose a few pounds, but did you ever wonder why so many people go on ‘diets’ then lose weight only to gain it, and often more back later? They may temporarily change the body, but no lasting change will happen until the deep, core beliefs about ourselves are addressed. We have to tap into the Atman, the Big Self, not the Paramatman, the little self in order to do anything big, from changing careers, having a better relationship with our families and friends or lose weight.
Honoring the Big Self to See a Smaller You
Since we all have an unconscious memory of our True Self, the Atman, we can start by honoring our body as a temporary vessel containing the Infinite. We can:
- Drink more water. This pure element is a perfect example of an expression on the Infinite. Can you even imagine a world without water? It gives life. It cleans cells. It carves rock and defines beaches. Drink more of it to give expression to the vastness of you.
- Eat only clean, sattvic foods. Sattvic is a Sanskrit word meaning pure. If you can’t imagine feeding slop to a Queen, then why would you feed it to your Universal Self? Honor your body with organic fruits and vegetables. Feed it nourishing, life giving foods, not processed, dead foods with no life force.
- Don’t focus on ‘losing weight’ so much as raising your energy. Exercise and a good diet will naturally allow you to participate in the world at a greater, more expanded level. Focus on this as your goal instead of having a smaller waist line, and then just happen to get that side benefit too.
- Help other people to see the Big Self too. By helping others who may also want to be thinner, and feel stronger, you can literally connect with the larger Universal Self through a bond with people desiring the same thing – that innate connection to something bigger is in all of us, and by helping someone else to achieve it, you will too.
Do you suspect that traditional ways of losing weight will always fail?
Do the tools of yoga help you to connect to a different aspect of yourself that is healthier, in more ways than one?
Share your experience with us below and our team will address questions that may rise: