Yoga has many role models from fat happy Buddha’s to skinny contortionists, although one of my pet peeves is that everyone in the yoga magazines leans towards the later. As someone who thought about weight a lot, especially as a teen, I found this info on Obesity from the Vitality and Stress course very interesting.
A person’s weight can affect their stress and their stress affects their body weight. We know childhood obesity is a big concern for parents. What I learned last week is our view of the cause of weight problems is distorted and can increase stress and makes matters worse.
The Survey Results
In surveys most people believe willpower is the biggest factor in weight problems (60%), followed by lifestyle (25%), and genes (15%). However the facts show weight problem factors are the opposite: 5% willpower, 50% lifestyle, and 45% genetic. If we believe people are overweight because they lack willpower or are lazy – we add to their stress and at the same time we don’t address the actual problem.
Our best results for weight loss come through lifestyle modifications. Here are some to encourage:
- a good night’s sleep is proven to help balance your weight,
- use smaller plates (6″ plates are best) helps reduce food intake,
- stay hydrated by drinking water, sometimes we’re thirsty when we think we’re hungry,
- add exercise to our lifestyle like a sun salutation or some favorite yoga poses, start with small amounts then increase times,
- bring awareness to our eating: look at how we deal with our feelings, notice what we eat, how we eat, and when we eat.
It’s been proven over and over that diets and short-term exercise plans just don’t work in the long term. As teachers, do we push for these? Do we make kids feel like they lack will power?
My Meditation Mentor meditates on an Ancient mantra that includes these words:
When kids are unhappy because of their body, they don’t understand who they really are. If our happiness is related to our body, then we are destined to diminishing happiness. As far as I know there has never been a body that has not eventually become food for the worms.
Willpower relies on the mind and we all know the tricks the mind can play.
When we rely on Consciousness, I Am, as our true support, we find happiness in all conditions regardless of circumstances like how we look. This is the way to become the masters of our happiness. Then only can we see that our body is ours, we can be free to choose the lifestyle we want to live.
Then we are truly living the yogic lifestyle.
Has weight been a concern for others out there? Leave a comment on how weight has affected your life or your teaching and how you can bring more compassion to yourself and others to combat the misinformation about it.
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