Natural Solutions - - Food Matters | -

Mil­lions of us strug­gle with our re­la­tion

ships to food and our bod­ies. These strug­gles may in­clude food pho­bias (“If I eat that, I will bal­loon into x-num­ber of pounds”), ideas about good and bad foods (“If I eat that ‘bad’ food, then I’m bad”), rigid food rules (“If I eat only this

many calo­ries, I will be safe”), bingepurge strate­gies (large amounts of food eaten in a frenzy over a rel­a­tively short pe­riod of time, end­ing in re­gret or dis­gust and prompt­ing a purge strat­egy, such as vom­it­ing, lax­a­tives, com­pul­sive ex­er­cise, or in­creased food rigid­ity), and/or yo-yo

di­et­ing (se­rial di­et­ing to re­lieve body­cen­tered feel­ings of not-good-enough, or the prom­ise of fi­nally los­ing those last 10

pounds for­ever). Ev­ery day, I’m asked, “What can I do to stop this?” My first aim is to al­le­vi­ate suf­fer­ing: A pri­mary cause of suf­fer­ing is the in­ter­nal­ized voices of shame that both un­der­lie and keep in mo­tion dis­or­dered eating and self-harm cy­cles. Help­ing peo­ple dis­cover their in­nate vi­tal­ity and wis­dom lessens their suf­fer­ing. These at­tributes may be hid­den un­der painful be­hav­iors and thoughts, yet they still ex­ist.

Yoga teaches that life longs to live it­self through each of us vi­brantly, uniquely, and beau­ti­fully. This ex­pres­sion is more likely to flour­ish when we aren’t un­der siege from our shame voices, and when we aren’t in­ter­rupt­ing, sup­press­ing, or try­ing to co­erce our vi­tal­ity. Herein lies one of the great gems of yoga as a ther­a­peu­tic tool. Through­out my 16+ years of work­ing with clients as a yoga ther­a­pist, I’ve found that most share a painful be­lief that there is some­thing in­trin­si­cally and ir­re­deemably wrong with them. Shame con­vinces us that we’re bro­ken, flawed, worth pun­ish­ing, de­serv­ing of pain, and in need of fix­ing. Yoga il­lu­mi­nates a more abid­ing truth about each of us: We were born as love, in­no­cence, and ra­di­ance. Yoga pro­vides a body-cen­tered recog­ni­tion of this as breath and move­ment dis­si­pate the phys­i­calysi­cal and men­tal residues of

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