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Turner finds that self-acceptance gives students the courage to inquire within about what is at the root of their struggle with weight, and identify the underlying thoughts or emotional stirrings that cause them discomfort and contribute to actions that aren't serving their weight loss goals.

When you feel the urge to overeat, Turner sug-gets asking yourself questions like "What am I really hungry for?" and "What is truly causing me stress, and what do I really need in this moment?" Maybe it's a walk around the block, or a phone call with a friend. The ability to observe your feelings without judgment becomes a tool that helps you figure out what you need from moment to moment, says Turner. Then, instead of automatically reacting to a stressful situation with established patterns like reaching for comfort food, you can learn to recognize the moment of choice. "We can simply notice that we can choose to eat more or not. Either way, there is no judgment," she says.

Wendy Althoff, an actuary in New York City who had been overweight all her life, expected to feel out of place when she took her first yoga class in 2005. "Sure enough, I was the largest person there," she says. "In fact, you probably could have added the two people on the mats next to me together, and I still would have weighed more." After she went to class regularly for several months, Althoff's focus subtly shifted from the other students in the class to her own experience. "I didn't realize this was happening until one day after class a student told me I had a lovely practice," she says. "I was shocked to realize that I couldn't return the compliment. I had absolutely no idea what her practice looked like, because I may as well have been in that room by myself. It had become my own practice."

Althoff, who today teaches yoga at her office and is enrolled in the Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda (ISHTA) teacher training program in New York City, says this shift was a turning point in the way she felt about her weight. "In class, when you stop worrying about continued on page 110; asana continued on next page

From Warrior II on the left side, exhale and straighten your left leg. Bring your hands to your hips and turn both feet out 45 degrees (stepping the feet a little closer to each other if needed). Roll your weight to the outside edges of your feet and engage your core. On an exhalation, lower your hips until your knees are bent as close to a 90-degree angle as possible, and directly over your ankles. Draw your tailbone down toward your heels, and draw your hip points up. Inhale and reach your arms out to the sides. Exhale and bring your left forearm to your left thigh or, if you are able, your left fingertips to the floor. Inhale deeply and come back up to center, using your core. Exhale and bring your right forearm to the right thigh, or your right fingertips to the floor. Repeat 2 to 3 more times on each side, breathing deeply. When you're finished, straighten your legs, turn your feet forward, and bring your hands to your hips. Come to a seated position on your mat.

Dahn Yoga Positions

Flow between Table Pose

2nd Boat ^^^OSe with your legs in front of you, knees bent, feet parallel and hip-width apart.

Place your hands behind you, shoulder-distance apart, with your fingers pointed in toward yourself. (If that creates too much strain in your shoulders, point your hands away from yourself.) Roll your shoulder blades down your back and lift up through your chest. Push through your hands and feet equally and, on an inhalation, lift your hips and come into Table Pose. Look down and see that your inner thighs are parallel. As you inhale, press through all four corners of your feet and lift your hips a little higher, moving your tailbone toward your knees. If it's comfortable for your neck, slowly let your head release back. Feel free to stay for 2 to 3 breaths if you have the strength. On an exhalation, slowly release into sitting position.

Bring your fingertips to the back of your legs. On an inhalation, lift your chest and sternum. On an exhalation, relax your shoulders and lean back onto the top of your sitting bones. On an inhalation, lift your feet off the floor, knees bent, so that the thighs are angled about 45 degrees relative to the floor. Reach your arms forward, and, if you can, straighten your legs. Inhale and lift your chest and thighs a little higher, drawing your navel in toward your spine. Release your feet to the floor as you exhale. Repeat moving from Table Pose to Boat Pose 3 to 4 more times.

Single Leg Raises

Lie down on your back. Extend both legs up at a 90-degree angle (or, for an easier variation, bend the knees), feet hip-width apart. Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing the floor. Press through the balls of your feet, spreading your toes. On an inhalation, draw your navel toward your spine (there will be a natural curve in your lower back). On an exhalation, slowly lower your right foot until it hovers 6 inches above the floor. Inhale and pause, bringing the navel to the spine. Exhale and lift your right leg as your left leg descends. Inhale and pause, flexing your feet and spreading your toes. Repeat 3 to 5 more times. On an exhalation, bring both knees to your chest. Close your eyes, wrap your arms around your knees, and breathe into your lower back.

To finish

Take a simple twist to each side. Start by drawing your knees into your chest. Then drop both knees over to the right, keeping the spine aligned. Keep your left knee directly over your right knee. Place your right hand on the left knee to keep the legs down. Extend your left arm out to the left and look over your left shoulder. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, feeling the breath sweep up and down the spine. Bring your legs back to the midline and twist to the other side.

Come into Savasana (Corpse Pose). Relax for 5 to 15 minutes. Slowly return to a simple cross-legged position. Sit tall with your hands in Anjali Mudra. Close your eyes and bow inward, acknowledging your efforts.

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turn up the torque

Every time you walk across a room, reach into the back seat of your car, or pass a dish at dinner, you rotate your spine. You probably take such movements for granted most of the time, but imagine being unable to do them. Ifyou've ever had back spasms or a crick in your neck, you know how debilitating it is when you can't turn sideways.

Without access to the full range ofmotion in your spine, your life becomes very limited, but when your spine is strong and supple, you radiate well-being. Twisting poses — whether seated, supine, or inverted—can maintain and even enhance your ability to rotate your spine. When you do twists, the muscles on the left and right sides of the torso work together to produce enough torque to turn the spine. This tones the muscles of the torso, restoring mobility and balance on both sides of your spine, which

Rev up your Revolved Triangle

Pose by keepingyour pelvis neutral and turningyour trunk.

1 Simple Reclining Twist

Beginning this sequence on your back will make it easy to isolate and explore the mechanics of spinal rotation. Lie down and drop your knees to the floor at hip level. In this twist, your shoulders stay fixed and your hips and legs rotate around your spine like a corkscrew. Notice the areas along your back and shoulders where you feel tension, and use your breath to help release those areas.

2 Supta Parivrtta Garudasana (Reclining Revolved Eagle Pose)

This pose provides an opportunity to feel the strong muscular resistance that often comes up in spinal twists. Intertwining your legs fixes the pelvis, which will likely help bring the twist into your upper back. Approach the pose with curiosity and internal awareness by breathing consciously, with your mouth closed and with similar length and tone in both inhalation and exhalation. Keeping your top knee on the floor or on your block, deepen the twist by reaching out strongly to the sides.

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