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Yoga Offers Peaceful Weight Loss - One Person's Story
At 30, I found myself with an autoimmune disease, overweight, and confused.
At my peak I was 100 pounds heavier than I am now. I had gained the weight slowly over ten years or so. I've always loved food, but I was disconnected from how it made me feel. And, looking back, I had many obsessive food behaviors. I ate when happy, when depressed, when bored...
I'd eat cheese as a snack before going to bed and wondered why I burped so much.
I drank a lot of coffee and twitched in my sleep.
I ate a lot. Some good food, some bad.
I tried to lose weight through exercise -- I ran 4 times a week or so while smoking 3-4 packs a day.
My weight bobbed up and down.
My knees hurt.
My sickness landed me in the hospital for a couple of weeks, followed by a few months of recovery. My near death experience highlighted my need for a spiritual life -- at the time, I had none. My legs were weak and I was completely out of shape. I needed to do something. I was grateful for being alive and wanted to continue that condition.
My girlfriend (now my wife) suggested I go to a yoga class with her -- so I went. I had no real desire -- no expectations for myself. The only thing I had on my mind was that a lot of women did yoga, so I probably would be out of place. I didn't know it at the time, but I was completely unattached to the result. I just did it.
It was fantastic.
I started doing yoga regularly and really felt it was changing me. I started to eat differently. Gained the willpower I had been lacking. As I physically opened myself, the weight fell into place.
My stress level lowered. How stressed had I been, anyway? I think I was in a constant state of stress.
I was not doing a strenuous practice. But I did it every single day. I have to admit -- I thought that's what everyone did. Like music lessons: I would go to class, learn some things, then try them at home. I didn't realize this wasn't always the case. Also, I wasn't a "natural." I couldn't sit comfortably. No range of motion. Things others did effortlessly, I considered impossible. But I did it anyway.
I put myself on a new eating regimen which progressed all the time. Got addicted to various foods, and unaddicted again. This time there was a difference. I was aware of it. By practicing yoga every day the awareness came. The desire for awareness came, too. I wanted to know more and more about food. How much and what did I really need to eat?
The pounds came off. My diet evolved into this beautiful thing. I got rid of most of my addictive behavior. I enjoyed my practice. I got into my spiritual self through reading and meditation. Just bowing at the end of my practice and thanking the universe for letting me be alive changed me.
I wrote my book, Peaceful Weight Loss Through Yoga, after my own path to a peaceful relationship between me and my body had been cemented. I wanted to share my experience and new perspective with others who were in need of inspiration. Awareness of more subtle aspects of my health and nature continue to reveal themselves to me. A taste of peace can effect your entire self. Developing regular practice gave me that. That is how I lost the weight.
Now I continue on my path, sharing the little I discovered with others and trying to continue uncovering myself. I still have my food weaknesses. I still eat too much sometimes. I still stress sometimes -- but it feels different than before.
Brandt Bhanu Passalacqua, certified IYI teacher and Structural Yoga therapist, teaches Peaceful Weight Loss yoga in Manhattan and Northampton, Massachusetts. His book, Peaceful Weight Loss Through Yoga, grew out of his own experience with the healing effects of yoga and addresses concerns such as weight loss and food/body awareness. Passalacqua leads regular Peaceful Weight Loss retreats and has recently begun to offer Peaceful Weight Loss teacher training to those interested in become certified instructors. Visit his website for more information.