08 Jan How Yoga helps make peace with Binging?
Yoga helps to develop the practice of intuitive eating i.e. the body intrinsically knows the quantity and type of food to eat to maintain both nutritional health and an appropriate weight. Instead of turning to food to numb your feelings, you learn the skill to deal with the overwhelming situation by being in touch with your breath, and in tune with your body. Yoga, done properly with conscious breathing and awareness, reprograms the mind so it can come back to a calm and neutral state free of anxieties and cravings.
Forward bends like Padahasthasana (Hand to Toe pose) and Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose), help in actively surrendering not just the body but also the mind. Lesser resistance in the mind helps it break the boundaries created by stress and help you eventually witness the dissolution of tensions and reactions within your mind.
When you do not have the stamina for a regular yoga practice, try some rest…but through restorative bends like Balasana (Child’s Pose) and Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall).
These are very handy and easy to do especially when you are too tired to balance onto any of the poses. Often when you are unable to cope up with the variety of everyday life, you just want to catch up with your breath and curl into a safety net. These poses where there is nothing to do, help in soothing the ‘unsafe’ signals of stress that prompt cravings. With the blood circulation in the opposite direction towards the upper body, the brain is naturally calmed and energized.
Lie in Savasana (Corpse Pose) – just reverse the whole notion of action by using this all-time mantra to overcome fatigue.
Simple pranayama exercises like Anuloma-Viloma and Nadi Shodhana can act as a direct antidote for reactions caused due to anxiety levels. They help in establishing a better connection between the various internal organs. Shifting from shallow to more deeper diaphragmatic breathing helps you still your mind and locate the emotion or circumstance responsible for causing your craving. Chandra Bhedana (Left-nostril breathing) specifically helps in calming the hyper state of the mind and body.
Although the above are specific asanas as antidotes, the overall body-mind circuitry is well established through regular and full-fledged yoga practice. You will eventually witness how it ultimately enables you to fight off those bad cravings and opt for healthier food and lifestyle choices instead. There is proven research on how a relaxed body and a calm mind can never indulge in Junk food. Besides the proven fact of weighing lower, you will also feel healthy and more positive. Conscious intake of nutritious food and in the right amount and at appropriate timings, keeps us feeling energized throughout the day. Overcoming impulsiveness in any sphere of life leaves you mentally stronger. Hence controlling the internal imbalances and hyperactivity will help you listen to and understand the body’s hunger and fullness cues.
Despite all this, if you still sometimes fail to resist your cravings, don’t worry. Every time you fail to keep your cravings in check, become aware and start noticing every change in your body and become aware of any adverse consequences such as discomfort in the stomach, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, headache, cold, or inability to concentrate etc. Each time, you consciously link such consequences with the old connections, it helps your brain break away from the old patterns and reinforces to replace them with newer and healthier connections.
Next time your cravings make you stand in front of the fridge or a cookie shop or the junk lane in a super mart, stop and take a few minutes to slow down both your body and your mind.
One more reason to invest and experience the innumerable benefits of Yoga!