Emotional eating is a normal part of this human experience. We may find ourselves eating junk food, over-eating, under-eating, or obsessed with healthy eating as an attempt to comfort ourselves and/or control parts of ourselves that feel out of control. In this workshop, you will
- learn how to recognize when you are emotionally eating
- uncover some of the deeper reasons why you emotionally eat
- begin the process of balancing yourself from the inside out
- learn tools and strategies to support and comfort yourself
- learn how to develop a healthier relationship with yourself and your food
Would you be willing to consider that emotional eating is a symptom of a different issue? Do you chastise yourself when you emotionally eat? In this workshop, you will be supported and invited to dive into your inner world and explore what unresolved wounds may be resurfacing through emotional eating. I invite you to join me in breaking the cycle of physical, mental, and emotional punishment to experience a greater sense of inner freedom and a more profound and supportive relationship between yourself and your food.
When: Sunday, November 23rd 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: 33A Harvard St., Suite 302, Brookline, MA
Cost: $90, $75 if you pre-register by Nov. 18th. Space is limited.
Register here, or contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 978-766-8722.
Are you strong? Do you train your body? Train your mind? Explore your inner world? Let me ask again – are you strong? What does it mean to be strong?
Are you one of those people whom everyone looks up to and says “wow, you are so strong! I don’t know how you do what you do.” Are you a caregiver? A mom? A dad? Do you find yourself doing everything on your own and depending primarily on yourself? Do you find it challenging to ask for help? When you cry, if you allow yourself to cry, is it only behind closed doors where no one will see or hear you displaying such a show of emotion? Do you hide your true emotions and feelings behind your smile so that others may continue to see how strong you are in the face of various challenges?
Parts of me have fallen into those very categories for years. I am known as “the strong one” because I held back my emotions, am raising two boys on my own, and opened a studio (what?!). I made sure I would do everything on my own and not become co-dependent on anyone ever again. Parts of me find it challenging to ask for help. And, there are days when I cover up my tears, my anger, my fear, or my frustration with a smile. More often than not, my tears.
Would you be willing to consider that parts of us were led to believe that strong people don’t show emotions, they’re fully self-reliant, they don’t ask for help, they always appear happy and grounded? And, that if you displayed emotions, were co-dependent (as a child), interdependent, or asked for help that there was something wrong with you?
Would you be willing to consider that it takes much more effort to maintain the facade of being “the strong one” than it does to allow yourself to be yourself, to show emotion, to ask for help, to create space for healthy interdependence? It certainly doesn’t feel like it at first. It may even feel like you are breaking down and falling to your knees…becoming “weak.”
What if, in fact, you are allowing yourself to experience a new level of strength? What if by allowing yourself to see and accept those parts of yourself which you were led to believe were weak, needy, or shameful, you are becoming stronger?
Have you experienced the grace and the strength required to admit to ourselves and to others the following:
- I experience strong emotions and I have days that I cry off and on all day.
- Although I’m doing, xyz, parts of me are experiencing fear.
- I need help with…can you help me?
Would you consider that it takes a tremendous amount of strength and surrender to see, acknowledge, and accept those parts of ourselves? And, even more strength and surrender to openly share it with others? May I share with you a secret?
“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness that comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and attend them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.” ~ Rumi
In my opinion, you are not alone. You do not have to do everything alone. We need other people. I do not believe that you have to be “the strong one” in the way you think others want or need you to be strong. Would you be willing to allow yourself to experience the deep surrender and incredible relief that comes from being authentic with yourself and vulnerable with others? Would you be willing to allow yourself to experience the tremendous growing pains from the heart that comes from opening yourself up, much as a flower experiences as it bursts forth from its shell?
Would you consider allowing yourself to experience the experience of being vulnerable, and share the experience that connects us all – that of being human?
Thanks for joining us again. If you missed Part 1, you can view it here.
Without further delay, here are tips 6-10:
6. Go outside and connect with nature.
Have you ever laid upon the earth and noticed how incredible it feels to do so? When was the last time you watched the stars come out at night? The sun rise in the morning? We spend so much time, in general, surrounded by technology in our man made concrete jungle, that we have largely become disconnected from who and what we are. We are human beings, not human doings. Unplug. Go visit the forest, the beach, or the mountains. Kick your shoes off, close your eyes, and allow yourself to connect with the earth. You may notice you breathe more fully. Your stress may decrease significantly. Your mood may brighten, and you may feel more grounded. If you feel so bold and daring as to be called a tree-hugger by your friends, please do hug a tree. If you “listen” carefully, you can “hear” the flow of movement within the tree, “hear” it “speak.” Yes, I hug trees. Part of me feels ashamed to share that with you. Interesting.
Some would argue that this should be first on the list. Without breath, we would not be alive. So, breathing is just a little important.
When was the last time you allowed yourself to receive a deep breath? Can you receive a deep breath? Can you fully exhale? When you inhale, where do you breathe from? What is your belly doing? Are you a chest breather? A mouth breather? A noisy breather? Are you really breathing or do you just think you are breathing? Dysfunctional breathing patterns are a sign that your system, your body, is under stress.
I invite you to lie on your back, place a small sandbag, bag of rice, or herbal hot pack on your abdomen. Which direction does it move when you inhale? It should move up towards the ceiling. Draw your attention to your ribs. Are they expanding laterally? Posteriorly? Can you breath in 360°? I would like to invite you to take a few moments and breathe. Focus on slow, steady, quiet breathing, inhaling through the nose for a count of three, exhaling through the nose for a count of 5-6. You may find yourself experiencing emotions as you relax and let go. Allow yourself to feel them, to experience them, and let them go. Experience what it is like to feel, to receive and to give breath, and to relax.
Perhaps it would be worth exploring tips 6-8 together? Have you ever noticed how noisy our minds can be?! I don’t know about yours, but mind used to wander like crazy (and still does at times)! I would sit in meditation and find my mind wondering about what I had to do, what was going on in my life that was stressing me out, what to cook for dinner…inhale for three, exhale for six. Why can’t I relax? Breathe in, breathe out. Is this over yet? Has it been five minutes? My bum hurts and my feet are falling asleep. There goes my mind again. Monkey brain, monkey brain. Focus on the breath. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Sound familiar? It does get easier.
Meditation has many benefits, including, but not limited to the following:
- reduces stress
- lowers high blood pressure
- decreases tension within the body
- increases serotonin
- increases the immune system’s ability to fight infection
- increases energy
- increases mental clarity
- increases emotional steadiness
There are numerous meditation apps out there. I invite you to try one and incorporate 5-10 minutes of daily meditation into your life. Who knows, it may just carry over into the amazing art of what I consider moving meditation, like what my friend Rusty is doing here:
9. Play and allow your inner child to express his/her unique, creative self.
Now we’re getting serious. When was the last time you played? Really played and had fun and allowed yourself to be wild and carefree? What were some of your favorite things to do as a child? I loved climbing on things, swinging, sitting under this huge blue spruce tree in the backyard and making mud pies, blowing bubbles and running around to pop them…
What would you do right here, right now if no one was watching that would invite your inner child to giggle with sheer delight? What’s stopping you from doing that? I’ll admit, this is a topic that likely has many layers to it and may very well warrant a post of its own.
One of the things my inner child likes to do is write. She also likes to swing, though I get nauseous if I swing for too long. She loved the experience of contradancing, and would probably enjoy contact improve…and, I’m a horrible dancer and haven’t done it in a long time. She likes to climb on things, slide down slides, and be upside down on her hands. She loves to laugh and laugh with you.
What are some things you could do right here, right now that would allow your unique inner child to express him/herself through you? I’d love to hear about it from you. You won’t be judged, even if it means catching frogs or, holding a pumpkin and acting like it’s a microphone. Go for it and have fun!
10. Ask yourself what makes you happy and go do it.
What invites you to feel happy? Only you can answer this. What can you do for yourself to welcome more happiness into your life? Do you feel happy? Do you really feel happy or are you in denial that you are unhappy? I’m curious, what does true happiness mean to you?
This isn’t a fake it until you make it post. I’m inviting you to consider one thing, just one that invites you to feel happy. One thing that invites me to feel happy is taking care of myself and moving my body every day. Another is spending time connecting with people I love and care for. I would like to invite you to spend some time every day doing one thing that invites you to experience happiness.
11. Be curious about yourself.
Have you noticed how certain patterns may reappear in your life? Have you noticed that sometimes you are triggered for no reason whatsoever or that seemingly trivial situations leave you worked up and in a tizzy? Have you wondered about your dreams and what they may be telling you?
Would you consider being curious about yourself? What does that mean? Rather than rationalizing and accepting things at face value, would you consider asking yourself “why”? Would you consider asking yourself “what”? Would you consider asking yourself “is this true,” or “is this for my highest good at this moment in time”? I’ll admit that asking questions often leads to more questions and few answers. However, the answers are sometimes in the questions themselves. By remaining curious about ourselves, we may open ourselves up to a realm of possibility that may not be realized otherwise.
How do you nourish yourself? I would enjoy hearing from you below. Please feel free to share some of the ways you nourish yourself. If you find that you’re not nourishing yourself or don’t know where to start, please shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help guide you.
I’d show up to each and every class with this desire to connect. I wanted to experience what the teachers were talking about – that physical asana is a means to connect to ones higher Self. But, I never felt it. I’d push and push and push to feel this connection, or I’d fervently pray, but all I felt inside was an empty shell of nothingness. That’s right. NOTHING.
You want to talk about a void? Well, there it was and I was trying to fill it with these false notions of connecting to something greater than myself through yoga. I was trying to fill the void with the deep, dark shadow emotions I was feeling. And, I was trying to fill it with a community that largely doesn’t see you, doesn’t reach out to you unless you are there in class. You see, I realized that a part of me would feel like I would not exist if I didn’t do yoga. So, I filled that void by making sure I would exist by showing up all the time.
I injured myself. Granted, yes, it was a physical injury, but that has been nothing compared to the immense inner wounding that I did to myself during the “healthy” practice of yoga. I kept practicing for a while anyway. I kept showing up. I still tried to fill the broken vase of my inner world with pain or with the intention that “all you need to do is send that part of yourself love and compassion.”
Bull crap. Sometimes, oftentimes, we need to allow ourselves to feel the pain inside of us, and
express it. Sometimes we need to experience hating parts of our self so that we may in turn learn to accept our self, or accept the parts of our self which we cannot accept, so we may learn how to love ourselves. Sometimes, we need to step away from the picture and take a look at just how much of our practice is unconsciously filled with sugar coated shit and namaste’s that have become so overused that it now has the equivalent weight of “hello.”
There were so many times after this injury where I would try to continue practicing, but the pain I felt become too intense. Yes, there was a physical pain, but the emotional pain could no longer be held by the broken container within which I stuffed it, so it began to overflow. I stopped practicing yoga a few years ago and began my journey to healing myself. At first, all I wanted to do was yoga. If I wasn’t doing yoga, I wasn’t happy. If I was doing yoga, I wasn’t happy…isn’t that interesting. The last spontaneous class I took, a year ago, to test myself, revealed much.
I learned that the yoga asana I have experienced doesn’t support me, doesn’t support my body, doesn’t support who I AM. I learned that I could no longer listen to themes of a physical practice connecting us to Source. I stopped drinking the Kool-Aid, the alcohol of yoga, the cocaine of yoga. Parts of me experienced anger when asked when I would return to class. I don’t have an answer to that question. At this point in time, returning to a yoga asana practice or class would be akin to a recovering alcoholic having a drink, a recovering cocaine addict a hit.
Why share this with all of you? Perhaps my story will inspire you to look closely at your practice. Perhaps my story will plant the seed of awakening to the parts of yourself who may be in denial about the possibility of addiction through yoga. And, part of me is allowing myself to heal, to more fully accept myself, to more fully love myself, by sharing my story with you.
May I share something else with you? Each and every one of us is already infinitely connected. You don’t need to go out and buy fancy Lululemon pants. You don’t need to drop “namaste” like it’s the hottest thing since sliced bread. You don’t need to stop eating meat because you believe not eating it will increase your vibration and make you more enlightened. I invite you to be. Just be and allow yourself to experience your Self as you are. Here and now.
If none of this has a ring of truth to you, I would invite you to consider watching and experience this funny, not-so-funny, funny video “How to be Ultra-Spiritual” by friend and mentor JP Sears.
If you’re just joining us now, please take a moment and read Confessions from a Recovering Asana Junkie – Part 1.
I was one of “those” people. Yes, I wore Lululemon pants. Not because I felt they’d make me a better yogi or grant me enlightenment, but because they fit. And, they lasted several years before wearing out. Maybe I’m in denial about some expensive pair of pants making me feel more spiritual.
Anyway, I was one of those people whom you would see in yoga class at least three times per week. I’d practice at home anywhere from 1-3 hrs. per day. I’d take every single workshop that I could. Part of me would hang on and hope to be included in the “Insider’s Club” so I could be one of the “cool kids” who got to hang out with the crew and chat about…yoga. I wanted to fit in and an unconscious part of me would do anything that I had to in order to feel connected and like I belonged.
Very rarely did I leave class with one of those post yoga glows. If I did, it was usually a physiological response resulting from my having moved my body through space and time. Yoga became my means of brutalizing myself. It became my means of beating parts of myself up. It became my means of reaffirming over and over and over again the toxic shame that I would never be enough as I am.
If I couldn’t do a pose, I unconsciously believed there was something wrong with me. If my alignment wasn’t perfect, I unconsciously believed there was something wrong with me. If I didn’t leave with this blissed out look and happy as a clam, feeling so connected to Source that I was flying on the inside, then there was absolutely, positively something wrong with me. I believed I’d never measure up and that’s exactly what my ego wanted. (Little did I know that that’s what it wanted.).
But, yogis are supposed to be calm, and zen-like. They’re not supposed to feel these tornadic waves of emotion. Nope, not allowed. At least, I didn’t believe so. That fit in perfectly with the part of myself that had become very safe and comfortable not feeling and not expressing emotions. Feeling and showing emotions? Geesh. That’s scary business!
If you’re teacher says it’s ok to cry on your mat, is it really ok? Let’s face it, the reality of someone hysterically sobbing next to you, while you’re trying to rest in savasana, isn’t always the most welcome activity. So, what did I do? I stuffed those emotions down inside of me. I knew how I felt – that maybe I would explode. Heck, there were times when you could physically see it! My face, neck, and upper chest would be red as a beet, with a distinct line across my chest showing the energy blockage. I felt on fire.
To make matters worse, I fell into the dangerous trap of intellectualizing my emotions. “I feel like I can’t move forward in my life. I must be experiencing Ganesh energy. I need to find a way around the elephant standing in my path.” Or, “I feel like I’m being broken down and torn apart…Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya…”. Or, “Why can’t I feel boundless love within my heart? Hanuman, help me please.” What?! You want to talk messed up – that was me. I rationalized my emotions. What did that do?
It gave me an out so I could continue to numb myself from experiencing the experience of feeling the intense emotions that I had consciously and unconsciously spent the majority of my life burying. Yoga become a tool, a means, my drug, my drink, to numb myself from the reality of my life. Woah.
You walk into a room, most likely with hardwood floors, soft bright lighting, perhaps some buddhist or zen-like paintings on the wall. Maybe Nag Champa or some other incense is burning. Krishna Das, Wah, or Snatam Kaur may be on in the background. You take note of the myriad of mats laid out across the floor with people vying for “their spot.” You notice the class is largely filled with Lululemon-clad women and a few men. Perhaps they’re stretching themselves out in downward facing dog or chatting with each other about some mystical experience they had and how it relates to a theme from yesterday’s class, or a Hindu god/dess…
Class begins, perhaps with a meditation and centering, maybe with a chant, and almost definitely with three Oms. You are led through a sequence of poses that may or may not build up to a pinnacle pose, depending on which style of yoga you are practicing, or maybe you’re moving your body in a 100°F room to “detox” and become more limber. At the end, class is wrapped up with savasana, followed by the ever popular “namaste.” Maybe, just maybe you’re one of those folks who leaves class all blissed out with this incredible post-yoga glow on your face. After class, you and your yoga family head out to the nearest healthy eatery and continue sharing conversation that inevitably resolves around something having to do with yoga. After all, that’s all there is to life, isn’t there?
I have a confession to share with you. My name is Amanda and I am a recovering asana junkie. Yes, I was a yoga addict. What is an addiction? The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines addiction as the following:
“a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social, and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
Addiction is characterized by the inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic disease, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission…”.
How does that invite you to feel? What are you experiencing in this moment? Are you uncomfortable? Perhaps you are thinking – how can something that is healthy be an addiction? Sure, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, like eating that extra piece of raw cacao and maybe not feeling so hot afterwards, but addicted to yoga? How is that possible?
May I ask you a question? If you’re a “yogi,” are you addicted to yoga, not addicted to yoga, or are you in denial about your addiction to yoga? Hmm…