Shameem Akhtar tells you how to firm up your resolve against bingeing.
Is it possible to control eating and drinking extravagances with yoga? Sure it is! Not just with yoga, but any organized fitness movement too can do the needful. Supposedly, according to research, the appetite tends to ebb immediately after a workout. So it was found that even after a strenuous workout in martial arts or yoga, people who reach out for their daily dose of chocolate, eat less of it than usual, as they suddenly find it excessively sweet. This proves our point that when your workout is sensible, it could help you deal with excesses.
Incidentally, yoga is used to control all addictive behaviour, including overeating or excessive drinking. It has been successively used for several years in several de-addiction centres, including those attached to Alcohol Anonymous (AA) centres that are working with churches in Mumbai.
To ensure that your practice helps you deal with emotional triggers for such excesses; you need to ensure a few things.
— Practice in the mornings. This will ensure a continuous high and a sense of control and purpose. The feeling
of self-worth and self-approval are core emotions to fight off binges that usually arise when one is depressed, anxious or suffers from low self-esteem.
— Be focussed. This means even if you have to do few asanas, do them to the point where they challenge you. This is better than doing more poses. The reason for this is that when a challenge or target has been set, and you are able to meet it, you will feel a rush of self-esteem that will lift you throughout the day.
— Use some meditative practice to ensure that you are not rushing through your practice. Meditative practice helps you step back from yourself, like a kindly friend or observer. This psychological stance is what makes the difference between one who is controlled and moderate, and the other who is uncontrollably self-indulgent.
— Include some breathing exercises. This is because breathing exercises are powerful yogic detoxifiers. They will help clean up excesses from earlier binges. Plus, these are pre-meditative practices, which means your meditation will be powered by your breathing practices.
— Similarly include detoxifying poses such as twists and backbends. There are hundreds of such variations that keep your practice perky and exciting always. Also, they are both stimulating and calming. This will centre your mind, keep you grounded and yet give you a mood spike that will ensure you do not suffer guilty relapses.
— Include poses that challenge the abdomen and stomach a lot: this part of the body, referred to in yoga as the navel center (manipura chakra), is said to be related to willpower and determination.
— While doing breathing and meditation practices, use mudras (hand gestures) that pump up willpower. Clenching your fists firmly creates what is called the mushti mudra. You can do this for each hand and place it on your thighs while seated.
Pose that powers willpower:
Setu Bandhasana (bridgelock pose): Lie down on the back. Fold the legs at the knees. Keep the feet flat, close to the hips. Place the arms under the body. Interlock the fingers. Lift your hips, inhaling deeply. Continue normal breathing, holding the hips up in the air, to a count of 5–15 seconds in this final pose. Then exhale; lower your hips back to the ground. Do this a few times.
Point To be noted: Ensure that when you are up in the final pose, the knees do not flare outwards. This will compromise the challenge and muscular effort in the pose. Also, raise the hips high enough so the chin locks automatically at the spot between collarbones.
Benefits: It is one the safest poses with multiple health benefits. It spikes metabolism, balances it and improves digestion. It prevents stiffness and problems along the entire back. It engages the navel centre — involved with self-effort, determination and esteem.
Foods that help:
— Apples are filling and packed with nutrients. Plus, they are powerful detoxifiers.
— Dark green vegetables are also great for the same reasons. They are chewy, so they fill up the stomach and help prevent bingeing excesses.
— Spices like garlic and turmeric are cleansing and healing, and should be part of your detox arsenal.
— Lemon improves iron absorption. Iron is seen in ayurveda as a ‘willpower’ nutrient.
— Beetroots are packed with iron and vitamin Bs which give you a mood high that will prevent bingeing relapses and emotional yo-yos.
It is one the safest poses with multiple health benefits. It spikes metabolism, balances it and improves digestion.
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