A small confession: yoga has been an inseparable part of my life for over 30 years. What began in my youth as pure physical exercise, developed roots and branches over the years. Now I see yoga in everything I do, including my work.
Yoga and the work I do – soul, mind and body nutrition – share much in common: the strive for free flow and harmony in the body; the desire to strike balance; the development of increased awareness; the emphasis on self work and self improvement (how empowering); and as a bonus – improved flow, on all levels.
Yoga means ‘Union’ – between mind, body and soul, the inside and outside. It requires coordination between breathing, concentration and introspection, all of which have a subtle yet obvious effect on the mind. The mind takes an active part in any practice even if it remains behind the scenes. This mind-body union applies to healthy eating, too. The sages of all religions knew that spiritual enlightment was more easily attained on an empty stomach, which is why minimal eating or fasting lies at the base of, for example, the Tibetan monks’ way of life, the Ramadan festivities or the many fasts associated with the Jewish religion. The lighter the nutrition, the less demanding the body and the freer the spirit.
I am forever fascinated by the huge effect a change in physical nutrition and mental practices potentially has on people’s life. Feed your body and mind well, and the Union between what we are (the active body) and what we’d like to be (the soul’s deep desires) becomes more easily achievable. This is precisely the opposite of the familiar GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). In this case, it’s Good In, (very) Good Out.
Another one of yoga’s main tenets is increased awareness. Awareness means paying close attention to the way you do things, because every small detail has its importance and effect on the whole picture. When practicing yoga, we pay attention to every detail, and in the broader sense – to every action we take and to the way in which we take it. Healthy breathing, thinking and eating is also based on increased awareness to the effect of our actions. Most of us lack this awareness or have it only partially. Developing this awareness, being able to listen to the messages your soul and body give, understanding them and reacting accordingly is the present you get when you start living more in tune with yourself.
All the alternative approaches to health (whether physical or mental) talk about free flow in body and mind. A being free from blockages – physical or mental – is a healthy being. In yoga we work continuously on expanding, stretching, opening up and releasing blockages in the body. In natural nutrition we aim for nutrition that avoids creating such blockages, allows for good drainage of body cells and provides free flow of nutrients to all parts of the body. In mental work we aim to cultivate thinking patterns that are liberating rather than constricting. And in Soul work we open the doors to our True Essence – to who we are authentically, when the chains are off.
Yoga is our personal work with ourselves. It isn’t extreme or competitive. This is a rule which applies to my work, too. Each one of us has our own life path, our own special needs and abilities, as well as the practices that suit us best. Ideally, we aim to find the balance that’s right for you personally. There is no need (or point) to compare it with what the others are doing or to rave about such and such achievements.
At the end of the day, both yoga and my work put an emphasis on personal experimentation and on self-development. In both cases, no one can do it for you; you, and only you control the rate of experience and learning. Both yoga and the modalities I work with – body, mind and soul nutrition – offer a continuous, challenging and unending learning experiences. These experiences allow us to grow and develop clear and helpful insights regarding our bodies, minds, souls and lives. For those who are willing to pick up the gauntlet, the adventure is bound to lead to an expanded, more joyful and more meaningful life.