Tree Pose Made Me a Mindful Eater
I’m not exactly sure when it became more comfortable to stand like a flamingo, but if you ever walk past me and I am preoccupied, odds are that I will be standing on one leg, the other foot balanced high up on my thigh, engrossed in whatever activity my mind and hands are working on.
No, I’m not bragging. I only brag about Shibas. #shibasrule
Balance poses are excellent for shutting down the “monkey mind” and bringing your attention to the body shape at hand. If you have ever tried to move through a yoga class while balancing your checkbook you know that it’s impossible to focus on body shape and alignment necessary to hold poses while actively thinking about anything else. Building balancing shapes requires careful attention to stacking joints, engaging muscles, relaxing other muscles, and finding a way to breathe through it all. In short- you have to tune in to your body completely!
This kind of attention to the body is the same attention that helps with mindful eating. After a few yoga classes you get used to turning your attention to your body. You may even start to notice things that you didn’t ever notice before. Maybe you suddenly realize that around 10:00am every day you really crave a snack, you might begin to notice that you aren’t even hungry at lunch time, you just eat because that is when your break is.
Habits are funny little things. The more you try to force them, the less success you will have. But the moment you stop trying so hard they fall into place! You may not even notice for a few days or weeks. It’s like that with the habit of body awareness. It might take a few classes but eventually you will intuitively start to notice things. Noticing things leads to more awareness. More awareness leads to changes.
Give it a try! The next time you are in a hurry and about to binge a box of cheese-its while making dinner strike a pose instead. Take a deep breath. Slide your foot up your leg until it is off the floor and just breathe. Three breaths should be enough. Now work your foot higher up the leg. Breathe three more breaths. Then let it all go. Reset accomplished! If not- try the other side.
It’s called yoga “practice” because it takes work and consistency. Think of yoga as cross-training for mindful eating. You practice drills on the mat and then the table is the performance.