Readiness and Commitment

As part of my yoga teacher training, I’ve been studying the yoga sutras from the book The Path of The Yoga Sutras by Nicolai Bachman and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by B.K.S. Iyengar.

 

The first chapter of Bachman’s book, is on Atha, Readiness and Commitment, which is translated as an indication of auspicious beginning. Beginnings are often exciting and scary. It takes readiness and commitment to get through the various feelings of beginning a new journey. Bachman discusses how it is important to have an open heart-mind to allow the information to flow in without learned barriers getting in our way. He also discusses how commitment provides stability and structure allowing us to return and maintain a consistent yoga practice.

 

This chapter reminded me of the readiness and commitment one must take when embarking on a journey to improve their health. Instead of seeking instant gratification, we must take the time to truly understand what it is we are seeking then learn what works for our bodies and lifestyle. I believe this is where most people give up and lose steam.

 

 
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Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle, start a yoga practice, improve your current performance or whatever your goals are, the following steps will get you there as long as you have patience.

 

1      Self-refection 

During self-reflection, ask yourself questions until you get to the heart of what you desire. What is it you truly want? I’ll use the example of want to lose 10 pounds. Why? What will life be like without those 10 pounds? It might not be the loss of 10 pounds that will make you happy, but feeling comfortable in your body will. Write down all of the reasons why want to accomplish your goal.

 

2      Self-experiment

This one might take time, but remember this isn’t a sprint. What will fit your lifestyle? Perhaps you don’t have time to workout for an hour, five days a week, but you have time to fit in 30 minutes. What can you get done in 30 minutes that will give you the biggest bang for your time? Write down a few actions that will fit your lifestyle and help you reach your goal. Then take action. If they work great. If not, try something else.

 

3      Commitment 

Now that you’ve taken the time to figure out what fits your lifestyle and is enjoyable, it’s time to commit. Commitment requires you to be consistent, which over time will result in progress. This is where you find the time to do what must be done to reach your goals.

 

Learning, integrating, and repeating positive habits to improve your health over time requires readiness, commitment, and patience. In time you will reach your goal. Then you can set new goals as you continue on your journey.

How to Cope with Seasonal Sadness

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is no joke. I never really noticed I get the blahs until I moved to Pennsylvania. I’ve always lived in warm sunny states. During the fall, winter, and spring months, I feel blah and uninterested in most activities.

Our first year living in PA, I distinctly remember shoveling snow in late April, telling my husband it is not supposed to snow in the spring. I remember asking him why anyone would choose to live in a state where you had to shovel in April. I’m pretty sure I was ranting because we obviously chose to live in a state where I had to shovel in April. I remember being frustrated that I had to wear my winter coat at the end of May.

May!!! It’s ludicrous!

Now that I’ve lived here for four years, I know what to expect and those things don’t bother me as much. Unfortunately, I still get the symptoms every year.

 

 
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So, what is SAD?

SAD is a type of depression that occurs when the season changes. It usually affects people in either the fall/winter months or spring/summer months.

 

Symptoms 

Typical symptoms include: 

  • Feeling depressed

  • Loss of interest

  • Low energy

  • Sleep loss (spring/summer)

  • Sleeping too much (fall/winter)

  • High appetite (fall/winter)

  • Low appetite (spring/summer)

  • Weight gain (fall/winter)

  • Weight loss (spring/summer)

  • Feeling blah (fall/winter)

  • Feeling anxiety (spring/summer)

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Negative feelings such as guilt or hopelessness

  • Thoughts of death and suicide

 

When to get help

It can be confusing to understand the difference between feeling blah and straight up depression. It’s best to seek help when you feel you need help and if any of your symptoms have been lasting for long periods of time and/or interrupt your normal activities and routines. Also, seek help if you are using drugs or alcohol to cope or you have thoughts of death or suicide.

 

Ways to treat SAD

There are many ways to treat minor symptoms of SAD.

  • Continue normal routine and activities

  • Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, lean protein and fats

  • Up your vitamin D intake

  • If you’re unable to find fresh produce, eat frozen produce

  • For fall/winter SAD, plan a vacation somewhere warm and sunny

  • Exercise

  • Spend time with pets

  • Declutter your home

  • Spend time outdoors

  • Spend time in the sun and open all blinds and curtains

  • Light therapy

  • Meditate

  • Engage in activities you enjoy

  • Socialize

  • Consistent sleep schedule

  • Speak to a profession or attend therapy

 

Do you have any tips on how to deal with SAD?

Yoga Teacher Training Weekend #3 Recap

Guys, I’m halfway through my yoga teacher training! I can hardly believe it. After this weekend, I’ll have three months left. It crazy how fast it is going by.

  

 
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Friday

Friday’s YTT began like it does every Friday, we started with an hour long vinyasa class followed by feedback. In the beginning of our YTT when we started giving feedback, I wondered if the instructors would take our feedback serious and they actually do. I gave the teacher feedback three weeks ago and she actually implemented it. For this teacher, I told her when she walked around it felt like she was pacing which was distracting. This time she was more purposeful in her movements.

The second part of our training was a workshop on chakras and reiki. The teachers that taught this workshop had a calming presence that I really liked.

During one of the activities, we paired up with a partner and without touching and our eyes closed sent positive and bright vibes to the other person. My friend and I didn’t feel anything other than the heat from yoga class and bright lights from the overhead. Next, we were told to shut ourselves off from each other and to not send any vibes out. We felt coolness and darkness rush over us. We were shocked. We realized that the heat and brightness we felt minutes earlier was the energy we were sending out.

 

Saturday

Saturday started with a vinyasa class and feedback. We covered the iliopsoas in our anatomy discussion, pose breakdown, and assist. For our philosophy and self-study, we discussed the yamas and niyamas and what resonated most with us.

I can honestly say I resonated with several of the yamas and niyamas, but the one that really hit home was tapas. Tapas is focused on self-discipline and asks us to continually grow and improve ourselves. This includes anything that will prompt us into a positive change. When we engage in tapas we feel heat from the burning of impurities. You become heated when engaging in exercising, when breaking old habits, when changing direction in life, or any other positive change.

After our self-study discussion, we broke into small groups and taught an opening sequence, sun A, and sun B then discussed how to cue a creative sequence. We ended our day with a short meditation.

 

Sunday

Sunday started with a short meditation discussion then we broke off into small groups and created a guided meditation that will be shared with the class. We participated in a vinyasa class, either by taking the class or observation, and provided feedback.

After lunch, we learned the different poses for each chakra, demonstrated the poses, provided modifications, and how to assist. I really enjoyed that class. We ended with a meditation in the legs up the wall pose.

 

Homework

For homework, we were required to practice 5 sessions of yoga, 3 at the studio, each week and 5 sessions of 10-minute meditations. We read parts 1 and 2 of the yoga sutras and wrote a page on the sutra that we resonated most with, and how we can apply it to life. We were also asked to refine our practice teach sequence.

 

This weekend

This weekend we will discuss part 1 and 2 of the yoga sutras and how it resonated with us. We’ll cover pose breakdowns and self-study. We have a chakra flow and breakdown workshop. This will be our second weekend covering chakras and I’m really starting to get into them.

We also have a lotus flow workshop that sounds interesting. I’m loving the workshops. It’s fun to learn the different aspects of the yoga world.

8 Strategies to Maintain Weight Loss

Maintaining weight loss is difficult for many people. There have been times I have lost weight only to gain some of it back within a year.

It’s important to know that you must continue the positive habits that helped you lose weight and not revert back to your old habits.

The good news is that there are several strategies to help you.

 
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8 strategies to maintaining weight loss.

  • Maintain a physically active lifestyle

  • Continue with a consistent meal pattern and breakfast consumption

  • Consume less energy-dense foods

  • Consume nutrient-dense/lower calorie foods

  • Flexible eating, no restrictions of food

  • Self-monitoring, by tracking food intake and weighing yourself

  • Engage in non-food coping strategies

  • Support system with likeminded people

 

What has been your number one strategy to maintaining weight loss?

How to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau

Plateaus are a pain in the behind and inevitable. If you are in a calorie deficit, your body will plateau at some point. A true plateau is when weight has stabilized for at least one month.

Plateaus occur when your body adapts in order to reach homeostasis. Your body is always working to maintain an equilibrium in every aspect. This is why our body’s temperature is maintained at about 98.6 degrees fahrenheit and why we have a sodium/potassium pump. This is a good thing. It means your body is doing its job.

Now that we know we will most likely plateau at some point during our weight loss journey, let’s use this opportunity to not freak out and ditch the deficit all together, but to make a plan of action.

 
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 There are two ways to consider a plateau:

1.     An opportunity to take a diet break and maintain weight loss. Consider this option if you’ve been dieting for a while.

2.     Keep going and push through. Consider this if you haven’t been dieting for long.

If you decided to go with a diet break, increase your calories to maintenance. This is when you do not gain or lose weight. Continue the habits that helped you lose the initial weight. That might mean you continue to eat less energy-dense foods, maintain a physically active lifestyle, self-monitoring, etc. The mere act of maintaining weight loss is a huge challenge.

If you decided to push through, you will want to either lower your calories and/or increase exercise.

Do this:

-       Lower calories by 100

Or

-       Increase cardio by adding 5-15 minutes/session

Or

-       Combination: lower calories by 50 and increase cardio by adding 10 minutes/session

Do this for a week and note any changes. If nothing changes, pick one of the above and try again.

What strategies do you have for busting through plateaus?