Ask what brings most people to Yoga and many will cite the transformative power of the practices. Students find that Yoga practice brings numerous benefits, including relaxation, improved focus, increased strength and flexibility, and more. Anna Neiman Passalacqua, co-creator of At Home with Peaceful Weight Loss and one of the leading presenters and teachers of Peaceful Weight Loss, knows this to be true. After years of struggling with weight and body image issues, Anna discovered Yoga and the power of a daily practice. Anna shares her journey and experience with the healing power of Yoga for body, mind, and spirit.
When Weight-Loss Feels Heavy
For many of us, our self-esteem is tied up in our weight, and the image of our body is determined by our self-esteem. Weight is just one part of this trifecta. It is a lot to consider when trying to lose weight and be a happier human being.
It’s chaos. First there are the numbers: the numbers on the scale, the numbers in our head of what those numbers should be, the numbers that size our clothes. It’s a lot of input. Then there are the mental states, and, of course, there are also the feeling states. What is strange is that how we feel in our body is often clouded by all of these other pieces. It’s a lot of weight to bear.
When I was carrying a lot more weight, I “dieted” often. I limited what I ate and when I ate. I stopped looking at the scale, and I numbed myself with food, alcohol, and relationships. I didn’t eat for long stretches, and then, of course, the inevitable would happen. I binged. I binged nightly. I told myself that tomorrow I would be different. Yet, there were no nights that this didn’t happen. It was a ritual, a habit, and a comfort. I was also in a state of constant anxiety. This cycle left me feeling worse instead of better day after day. The thought of changing was heavy, and my weight and body goals were getting further and further away. I hated what I looked like and what I felt like.
Yoga for a Lighter Life
Then I started practicing Yoga. I would breathe and move and open. It was safe, and I always felt better afterwards. Yoga was something to which I could addict myself that wasn’t inflicting pain. I was present and felt a sense of relief. I didn’t know then that I was changing my system’s entire make-up. I just knew that everything in my life was shifting, including my body. I binged less. I connected to food and my eating more. I began to eat regularly and to eat different things. My mind was calmer. My thoughts were less destructive. My body felt better. I liked myself more. I valued the art that I was making more. My relationships changed.
I write about this life as if it were another person, and it kind of is. I’m different because of Yoga. Losing weight and being at peace with my body came in a way that I never could have suspected. There was no diet plan. I had to get into my body, the thing I was both avoiding and constantly struggling with, to get out of my deep suffering.
What I have seen over the years through the Peaceful Weight Loss work and for those on this path is that Yoga is the key to unlock the weight battle. The idea of losing weight doesn’t have to be so heavy. Yoga practices are the course of action that will lead to a happier, healthier, and lighter self. Keep the goal in mind: a daily practice that leaves you feeling calmer, more energized, and with more space between your thoughts. These system shifts are available to you. If weight loss and healthy self-esteem are what you desire, Yoga practice is a good place to put your effort for now. The other pieces that are weighing you down will change, too. You deserve to feel lighter. Let your practice guide you towards a more energized and peaceful state. It’s your birthright to be happy.
This article was originally published as a Peaceful Weight Loss newsletter. Click here to read more.