Hitchin’ a Ride on the Yoga Bandwagon

4

August 27, 2013 by Julia

I promised myself this would be short(er). Whew. That series on my journey to and through parenthood certainly was a humdinger to write – and I assume to read. For me, it was like a good workout, and also kind of like scooping out my insides and sifting through for anything of value, and also like setting loose many of the random observations that have been knocking around in my brain. Yeah, like that. So I’ll try to keep it light and fluffy this time!

You may be wondering how in the world I know what “a good workout” feels like.

I started yoga, people. Not to get skinny, or anything – don’t worry. No, I’m doing it as an act of self-care, self-love, what-have-you. I realized I feel like crap a lot of the time: achy, flabby, weak, stressed and tense. I just want to feel better. I want to be strong and flexible and…more at peace in my mind and body. And it’s great for those things. In fact, I think I love yoga.

I’ve only been doing it at home for two weeks or so, while Jack naps and Fiona “helps” me or otherwise occupies herself. (I tried it once while Jack was up, and the experience was laughable. Downward Dog position was a tunnel for him to crawl through, or a horsey for him to ride. The whining and screaming didn’t help with the inner peace part, either. Actually, I did laugh.)

I enjoy it so much that I keep coming back, though, even if my window of possible yoga time is short. It’s challenging, but not in a discouraging, utterly exhausting way. More of a “whoa, I actually pushed myself a bit and now all this tension has been released” way. I DO feel more relaxed and well…well. I want to strengthen my core! I want to run with the kids and not get tired! I want to rid myself of back pain!

And if I get all toned and turn into one of those mom bitches who walk around in yoga pants and with their hair artfully mussed into a topknot, pretending she has no idea how hot she looks while carrying her toddler under her arm, I suppose I can live with that.

Just kidding, my genetic makeup pretty much ensures I’ll never look like that, and I’ll probably never be a bitch. Those women are most likely not bitches, either; I am just green with envy, which just goes to show that a healthy body IS something I want, whether I will admit to the vanity part or not. I think people must get addicted to yoga for better reasons than excess vanity, anyway.

The other upside, other than feeling better, and the 3% chance of me turning into a hot yoga mom/bitch, is that I actually want to eat better, too. I’m on a regular health kick over here.

I watched this documentary (similar to the words “I had this dream last night…” in their snooze-inducing qualities) about the obesity epidemic and basically how we’re all tricked into finding these processed, chemical-ridden, sugar-laden foods desirable with certain dyes and ingredients that have been proven to possess addictive properties because the big companies are just trying to make a buck. Depressing so far, right? Stay with me.

The film is called Hungry for Change. It was released last year and is available on streaming Netflix, which is where I found it. Here’s a link to the official website, which has a preview on it:

http://www.hungryforchange.tv/

It has its cheesy moments, but the general idea was quite inspiring to me.

You remember how I swore I’d never diet again? And then I wrote about still feeling uncomfortable with my current body, but not knowing what to do about it, exactly. I wanted to approach eating from an intuitive, confident mindset, but this year have fallen back into eating habits that have nothing to do with actual hunger in the physical sense. For example, my go-to place in the afternoon as exhaustion hits has been the kitchen table, where I can eat countless bowls of cereal while reading. I feel happy in those twenty minutes, but then it’s 5:00 and I’m stuffed and I have to find the motivation make a family dinner. Not ideal.

Well, this film agrees that diets don’t work, and forbidding certain foods doesn’t work. What does work, though, is to change your mentality from taking away the foods we enjoy to adding healthy foods – and eventually, the healthy food will crowd out the junk food. We’ll actually begin to prefer fresh food to the processed, sugary stuff, because we will be feeding our bodies nutrients, not just empty calories. Part of the reason we overeat is because we’re not getting the foods we need. Also, fresh food tastes good, remember? Why is that so hard to remember? Oh yeah, we’ve been brainwashed.

Another main point of the film that stuck with me was the explanation for why we feel compelled to comfort ourselves with food when we’re feeling upset or insecure. If we are not feeling lovable, we believe deep down that our community won’t accept us, and for thousands of years, if humans were shunned by their tribe or village, they would starve to death. So our bodies react to self-rejection with a need to stock up on fat and whatever food is currently available, in order to survive being cast out into the wilderness. I found that to be a fascinating insight into the mind-body connection, and it’s been quite helpful in realizing why self-love is important for physical health.

I tend to gravitate toward ideas that feel natural and intuitive and positive (of course that’s just me), anyway, rather than anything that relies too much on willpower or deprivation fueled by some disguised form of self-loathing. I am thirty-four years old, and I say No Good Can Come From That Stuff. The way to go usually involves constant inner transformation, inspired by love. The rest might then fall into place.

Anyway, I am eating fresh greens and fruits and making an effort to add the nutrients I need into my own meals, instead of just doing it for the kids’ lunches. That, with the yoga, is already making me feel healthier, mentally and physically. It’s good for me to take care of myself. Plus, it models what I want to teach my kids about honoring their own bodies.

There have been a million milestones happening round these parts; it’s milestone mania! Jack recently turned two years old, and this week Fiona is gradually entering Kindergarten. That is on my mind more than anything, in this moment. My mom friends and I are freaking out/crying/giddy/getting nostalgic all at once. Kindergarten is full-time here, and many of my mom friends have stayed home with their kids. This daily time apart – almost eight hours, if they take the bus – may be the biggest mom and child adjustment we’ve encountered yet.

More on those subjects later. Fluffy and light and (mostly) child-free, for now!

And just wanted to thank you again for reading, guys.

Namaste.

(How does anyone say that with a straight face?)

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4 thoughts on “Hitchin’ a Ride on the Yoga Bandwagon

  1. Amber Perea says:

    Oh my god, welcome to my world! I started a few months ago for the same reasons and I feel a-maze-ing now! I do Vinyasa Flow…what are you doing?!

    Oh, and the health kick? Totally there. But never in a “diet” way..just in a nourish the body way. I never look at calories…only nutritional values and tons of fresh everything (and an ungodly obsession with Organic hummus and Revive Vitamin Water)!

    PS- and I live in my yoga gear and rock a pretty awesome topknot. I don’t know about hot yoga mom yet…but in two months almost all of the post pregnancy “cottage cheese” is gone from my thighs so I feel like the hottest mom on the block and that is all that matters, right?!

    • Julia says:

      I love it! I think your yoga post a few weeks ago may have contributed to my motivation to try it, too. I’m not really an aerobics or competitive sports girl, so it’s been perfect for me. Right now I’m just recording lots of PBS shows like Power Yoga and Classical Stretch and figuring out what I like best. It’s amazing how quickly you get better at it after such a short time. It’s also nice to be able to do it at home so that when you fall on your face it’s not so embarrassing 🙂

  2. Oh this is so necessary! I just made a pact with myself to get back on the Yoga bandwagon starting next week (one final week of summer gluttony/laziness) + restart my healthy eating, too. SO checking out that film! Thanks so much for sharing – and for the baby posts….just caught up after being away, loved them all 🙂

    • Julia says:

      Thank you, Liz! Good luck with the yoga, and I look forward to many awkward posts on the subject! Or maybe I should do a guest post…I fell down a lot this week…:)

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