This past week I have been on the second instalment of workshops for my yoga teacher training certification at the Collins and Barth School of Yoga. It’s been so much fun, so much so that it didn’t really feel like a training course at all!
My main driver to become certified as a yoga teacher is so that I can use yoga to further help my nutritional therapy clients. There are many facets to yoga which can help support nutritional therapy which I outline in brief below.
The most well known limb of Yoga is the Asanas (postures or poses) that form the mainstream idea of yoga. As well as providing the benefits that come with increased movement, there are a series of Asanas that were developed with the specific purpose of improving digestion and stimulating the associated organs of digestion. Modern day living and its associated conveniences has removed most of these movements from our daily lives. Some examples include;
- hunting & gathering vs modern day shopping
- driving vs walking
- toilets vs squatting
- chairs / mattresses vs sitting/sleeping on the floor
We can eat the perfect diet but if we do not move well (not quantity but quality!) then we may not notice our health and well being improve.
Pranayama is the limb of Yoga relating to the control of our breath (our life force) and can deliver powerful mind and body benefits. As well feeling calmer, practising breath work can help with weight loss, improve our exercise stamina and reduce stress related inflammation. The ability to slow and deepen the breath allows us to calm the mind and move from a state of stress (high heart rate, muscle tension and higher blood pressure) to a para-sympathetic state that is required for optimum digestion and relaxation.
Yoga Nidra (Yogic meditative sleep) is a meditation practice that guides us to a conscious sleep state. Reaching this state (and the relaxing journey we go through to get there) can help calm the mind and thus improve digestion and reduce stress. This may help to reduce associated food cravings as well as aid digestion. The practice can also be used to help us set our intentions (food related or other) and give us a bit of extra help to stay on our path to improved health and happiness!
Finally, the Yoga Yamas (universal morality) and Niyamas (personal attitude) give us guidance on how we can interact with the world in a more thoughtful manner. Ahimsa asks us to show compassion for all living things which may make us consider the impact our food choices have on the animals and the environment (click here for related post on this topic). The Tapas (adopting a disciplined use of our energy) asks us to consider our eating habits, movement practices, body posture and breathing patterns. It also asks us to handle inner urges without outer show – which ay help when handling food cravings.
These are just some of the ways Yoga can help achieve a healthier, happier version of ourselves and I am excited to be able to include this wonderful practice as part of my nutritional therapy service but also as a standalone service as a Yoga teacher. For more information please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.