How to digest the body image issues? 3 tips for a healthy body weight

My body never looked right!

Not to my eyes at least. 

When I was a teenager, I was happy with my skinny, athletic body but getting annoyed by my rib cage sticking out! Then came the many years of +/- 5 kilos weight change on a seasonal level. 

This may not be a big figure compared to friends who are struggling with serious issues around weight management but enough to make the deduction about a life-time of body-image issues. It is all in my mind!

Well yes, I do look bigger sometimes and more fit at others but the obsession around it is pretty much in the mind and this is not necessarily making things easier. 

Having worked with many women during the Feminine Way retreats or personal consultations I got to witness that the way we look and our own body image are not always positively correlated!

Good to be aware of the aspects that are influencing our physical shape; such as lifestyle changes, hormonal shifts and such; however, in my experience my body follows my mind. The more alive, creative, curious my mind the more light, active and fit my body. 

The concept of agni, digestive fire in Ayurveda, brings it all together. When we have low agni in our mind we may have difficulty in digesting life experiences. When we have low agni in our body then we have difficulty in digestion on a mechanical level; such as gas, bloating, constipation, slow metabolism. They are somehow interlinked. 

When I think of a yoga program for weight-loss, constipation, IBS which will also help restoring the gut flora, I immediately work on increasing agni; our inner fire in a harmonious way. 

In my personal experience my body is most balanced, healthy and well-shaped when I do these 3 things:

Regular practice which is not forceful

Intensive work out that one cannot sustain and integrate into daily life may produce short term results of toning but the moment you let go of that intensity all the muscle accumulated may turn into extra load. It is proven by science (and my humble personal experience) that regular practice of a nice mix of movement, strength building and relaxation that I keep as an integral part of life works like a charm. I would like to share a wonderful mini yoga program on healthy digestion with you on my Yoga Therapy Pill Platform to give you some idea and inspiration. 

Attitude of not postponing

If your house needs cleaning, do it now. If your friend is calling, make the effort and meet up now. If you always wanted to paint, start sketching now. This attitude of presence and openness to life helps with staying active in a healthy way in body and mind. Otherwise we just create more load for our mind in the flavour of frustration due to procrastination or feeling overwhelmed. Even resting is not always just lying down but mostly doing things that you enjoy at your own pace. 

Take time in nature

It is the best way to collect and process prana; our life force which is crucial for our well-being. When prana is stagnated, it affects all other systems in our being; our agni included. A simple walk in nature helps balance agni and therefore your metabolism and hormonal system.

En Vogue got it right at many levels. Free your mind…😉

While we were quarantining a very dear friend of mine went through 6 cycles of chemo-therapy. In the last 3 months he has been one of the few people whom I communicated with regularly and I am in awe of the way he is handling this process. 

After his first round he had a sleepless night due to the drugs, which happened to be Mahashivaratri; a very auspicious night in Hindu calendar when the divine is celebrated staying up all night for meditation and chanting. Instead of driving himself mad with destructive thoughts, my friend decided to do this practice on his sleepless night.

Now that his last treatment is completed with great success, his body is in extreme pain during recovery. He is comprehending the suffering of people dealing with chronic pain for the first time watching how his mind works under these conditions. Yes; he can watch his mind work. Even under extreme conditions like that. When highly destructive thoughts rise up, he can just look at them and let them go. 

I can see how he is reaping the fruits of many years of consistent meditation practice in this healing process. 

I witnessed however how difficult it is for most yoga aspirants to build up a consistent meditation practice. Asana, even pranayama somehow can be introduced; it is similar to all the sports we have been encouraged to do all our life. But meditation is quite an unfamiliar territory for many. 

I want to help you overcome that barrier. 

Synchronized live meditation during our Online 200hr Meditation and Yoga Teacher Training Course has been the highlight of our experience. The support of the group works like magic. So, it works!

I am offering a 7-DAY MEDITATION CHALLENGE; starting on Monday 15th of June; every morning at 8:00 am (CET) on my Yoga Therapy Pill Platform. Each meditation slot will last 30 min. On the last day of our challenge; the 21st of June; the summer solstice we will have a little live sharing and Q&A following our practice. 

You can join in just for a simple Mindfulness meditation on any day or use a special mantra. For the ones who want to use a Ganesha mantra to remove obstacles in their life and start up new, please click HERE, fill in the form and write MANTRA in the subject line. I will get back to you with further instructions. 

Please share this FREE opportunity with your loved ones who could benefit from the power of now. 😊

I got super triggered by a post I read recently about how masculine many yogic teachings are being passed on by men for men and some schools/teachings dismissive to feminine believing that women have less access to spiritual liberation. 

I met many women on the path who blamed their lack of dedication to and perseverance in their practice on patriarchy. Also, many hedonists (men or women) who just wanted to do whatever they desired believing that it is their inner calling. True or not, it is their business. What I don't find OK is the senseless self-justifying blabber and projection on austere practices.

I guess in general I react to personal or collective perspectives and reality being argued as the truth. All these points and arguments usually make sense in their context. One can claim that women have a more difficult time in spiritual liberation due to their strong power of creation connecting us to the earth rather than beyond. However, this power also works as a natural potential propeller of absorption and flow. So, it is all a matter of perspective. 

Rather than arguing for or against; I rather share my personal experience. 

I was naturally drawn to practices and teachings which helped me to observe the polarity of nature and what happens when the dance of masculine and feminine is aligned. 

My masculine allows me to discriminate what is really a good school of thought for me; it gives me the discipline to persevere and actually reap the fruits of my efforts, to show the spine to say no if something does not quite feel right. My feminine allows me to receive whatever is offered, listen to the little messages of my body and mind as the moon and the earth, and life swirls around me and through me. 

I practiced a feminine flow of full surrender into every single sensation in my body while staying open to everything around me for hours and hours during very long retreats. That total surrender brought the stillness of the masculine. A very austere, forceful, masculine practice with similar intensity led me to the unfolding of love representing the feminine. 

I see no separation; but a dance.

We have our personal tendencies moving us to one form of practice or the other. I see the tendency in me to use the masculine shield to protect the vulnerable feminine; I need to create safe space for my feminine to come out and be. It is interesting to explore that. You can choose to follow the tendency full on or explore a challenge with the opposite tendency. If there is such a thing as the opposite. This polarity is a construct of our mind ultimately.

Here a FREE Online Yoga Program on Emotional Balance, which can help to connect to the feminine aspect of our being, let go of a bad mood and even help with depression or depressive tendencies; bringing some calm and sweetness into our emotional world. A gentle practice with some balancing, calming and at times slightly exciting postures which you can build up on by performing the techniques longer if you like. 

On my Yoga Therapy Pill platform, you will also find an adapted version with more props for friends with physical limitations. 

A new -and LIVE- free online offering is on its way. I have been fascinated by the power of synchronised meditations we offer during our 200hr Online Meditation and Yoga TTC at Samyama. I would like to offer this magic to everyone who needs some extra boost to integrate meditation into their lives. Stay tuned for more information!

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