Transformational Benefits of Food, Yoga & Mindfulness
Written by: Melina Meza.
From your own experience with food and yoga, you are probably well aware of the tremendous impact that eating and asana practice have on your body. Both nutrition and yoga create alchemical changes in the body, and have the power to nourish and transform your unique being.
Food has the magical power to transform the body. It can build or reduce your physical weight and shape, depending on the amount of calories you consume. Different foods can stimulate or calm down your adrenal glands, speed up the heart rate and mind with heavy doses of caffeine, or cleanse the colon and GI tract with high fiber diets.
Like food, yoga is also transformative to the body and mind. The physical body will change depending on whether you are practicing "power yoga" or "yin yoga" and the mind can either be relaxed through deep breathing or stimulated with breath retentions or right nostril breathing. Cleansing of the body occurs with deep twisting and practicing Uddiyana or Nauli. Practicing Mayurasana can help reduce inflammation or stagnation in the organs or digestive track.
Yoga and nutrition compliment each other to produce and maintain physical, mental and spiritual transformation, together they teach you to become your own guru, nutritionist or ally and determine the right amount of nourishment that you need each day to thrive. How much is that, you might ask? One way to think about your nutrition and yoga choices is in terms of sustainability, which means eat and practice just the right amount to fuel your life's purpose!
For each of us, it is important to find out what nutrition or nourishment means. We all are unique beings with different genes, conditioning, expectations, hopes, fears and agendas around our health. No singular food, diet, or pill will make you healthy. It is up to us as individuals to take responsibility and treat our own body's needs.
A holistic view of the human body recognizes that its function is affected by a variety of factors, both internal and external, such as food, drink, exercise, emotions, stress and other factors. This holistic viewpoint is not a new one. In fact, it has been around since the dawn of history.
Throughout most of history, human beings have eaten what the earth and their immediate environment provided. Meals were prepared simply, according to traditional methods: roasted over a fire, eaten fresh, smoked, dried, or fermented. On the whole, one was grateful for what one had. All this has changed in our current times. We live in sophisticated places and can enjoy modern transportation to bring us bounty from anywhere in the country. We can eat watermelon in December and oranges in June, regardless of where we live.
Perhaps the solution to cultivating a healthy body and mind is to slow down and return to simpler times, choosing seasonally appropriate asanas, eating local whole foods, and listening to the cues our bodies are telling us about our food choices and lifestyle.
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