At the age of 59 I was confronted with two choices:
- Path #1 continue as per usual, over-stressed, over-weight, over-it.
- Path #2 reinvent myself.
Fortunately, I selected option two, celebrating my 60th birthday 32 kilos lighter, fully committed to daily yoga asana, and mojo reinstated. For 12 months I managed to eat clean, eliminating white flour, wine and coffee, sugar, fat and salt. But after my weight loss, I needed guidance to maintain these lifestyle commitments. Extending my understanding of the Yogic life was and remains my strategy for disabling compulsive behaviours.
The reality is, everywhere I go, I take myself with me and still find myself being food hijacked, eating a blueberry muffin or salty chips without thinking until after swallowing. I ask myself, at what point did I decide to ditch my diet? Why am I in the cookie isle at Coles?
The theme of self-investigation, stopping in the moment to unravel a particular knot in our existence is central to the holistic masterpiece that is Yoga. Patanjali, that wonderful sage, said to look carefully at the chain of events that lead to craving, attraction and aversion. By stopping myself to look at the chain of events, before the muffin goes in my mouth I can investigate highly patterned responses (perhaps lifetimes) to continual sensory impute (smell, sight, taste, sound, touch) and previous experiences that triggers unconscious responses, which leads to suffering.
Raga Yoga teaches that every aspect of living is an opportunity to practise mindfulness, exposing the knots that bind us to unconscious living. Mindfulness is not simple or easy, yet is a remarkably simple strategy for breaking the chains of wrong decisions made unconsciously, time after time, like driving in deep ruts. The good news is, the study and practice of yoga principles can support us in the process of being present in our lives, leading to profound changes, even conquering the power of the muffin.
by Vicki Salisbury
Vicki Salisbury Yoga