I am so appreciative for all of our guests! I have watched Kayla blossom into the fantastic young woman she is. I love her style of writing, I think you will too! Without further a do, Miss Kayla Ring. Thank you so much for being our Featured Guest this month!
Yoga and the battle against sugar
“Awareness brings clarity. Clarity brings wisdom. Wisdom brings purity.” – Mohanji.
To share a bit more of myself, I come from a family that struggles with addiction of many forms. After realizing I had greatly suffered from the effects of addiction, I found myself in the rooms of recovery in 2012; Al Anon. I discovered so much love and support from the community surrounding me. Sobriety in any form is no easy feat and I know that I have to work hard everyday if I want to live the life I want to live.
Although I have always been an athlete, after repeated injury, I found myself in a yoga studio in 2014. I fell in love with not only the physical benefits of the practice, but the surprising spiritual and emotional healing it provided as well. Yoga compliments my spiritual quest and emotional healing I seek through Al Anon. After practicing for two years, I went through Teacher Training through CorePower Yoga and now seek to share the benefits of yoga with the world.
On to sugar, shall we?
Sugar has always been a battle for me – who doesn’t want chocolate after lunch and dinner? Like everything else in my life, I take my struggles to my yoga practice. One of the greatest gifts of yoga is the clarity I receive on my mat and a heightened sense of body awareness.
I notice I make poor food choices when I am in something known as H.A.L.T.
It’s when I am in any (or many) of these stages that I become A LOT more susceptible to the temptations of sugar. When I am hungry, angry, lonely or tired, the tendency to react is far greater than the tendency to respond. What does that look like? If I am angry, it is much easier for me to react to my feelings and because I am not in the greatest state of mind all rationale goes out the window. I choose to react – I choose to make myself feel better by consuming things that give me instant gratification; instant comfort. Sugar. Mostly Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I mean, duh.
But that’s just one example. This reaction is applicable to any circumstance when I am in a state of mind when I am disconnected – disconnected from my body, my mind and my spirit.
Which brings me to yoga.
When I first started practicing, it was merely for the physical aspect. As time progressed, and I continued to practice, I became more and more aware of my own body. Take the physical asana (posture) practice. As a new yogi, I had ABSOLUTELY no idea what I was doing, but I was forced to pay attention to each posture if I ever wanted to do them correctly. I had to pay attention to the cues in order to find proper alignment in my physical body. Each time I practiced, I became stronger and moved more and more gracefully, which to me, was the goal on the outside.
Body awareness lesson number one. Check.
When you practice yoga more and more frequently, you begin to realize that your body truly is a temple. This is not just a story wise people tell. Crazy, I know. Body awareness begins to shift from not just being on your mat but you take this lesson with you off the mat as well. You notice how amazing you feel during and after class and realize that you can choose to feel this way all of the time. What does this look like? For me, I now go to sleep early and I wake up early. I make sure to get about 8 hours of sleep every night. I dont drink as much as I used to. And, I think the biggest shift for me was my diet. I noticed how much food truly affects the way in which I feel. My diet is highly plant based. Am I vegetarian or vegan? No. But I began to see how certain foods, especially sugar, affected how I felt physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
If I want to feel well rounded and fantastic all of the time, then I need to pay attention to what I place in my body. Body awareness lesson numero dos. Check.
So where does clarity come in? So glad you asked.
Yoga is a form of moving meditation. Your breath is one of the most (if not the most) foundational and fundamental tools in your yoga practice. The majority of us only use about 1/5 of our lung capacity, which is nuts considering how large BOTH of our lungs are. In yoga, we are encouraged to take expansive inhales and complete exhales. Try it right now.
Take a full breath in.
Take a full breath out
Notice how long each inhale and exhale is. And. Did you know that our brains can only focus on one thing at a time? I know many people pride themselves on being multitaskers, but at the core, you are just switching quickly from one thing to the next.
So, if you are concentrating on full, complete inhales and exhales, it becomes hard to focus on anything else. Like how much I could go for some chocolate right now? Now imagine if you focused on your breath for 30 minutes. Maybe an hour. This type of movement and focus places you on a much higher level of thinking; one in which you are connected to your body, your mind and your spirit. It provides you this sense of clarity that helps you make better decisions for yourself. Maybe I will opt for a green smoothie today instead of that peanut butter cup. And since I have better body awareness, it becomes easier and easier to choose that smoothie over the sugar.
Gosh. Yoga really is magic. Magic, I tell ya.
If you would like to learn more about yoga or follow my yogi adventure, jump on over to my website: www.kaylasueyoga.com. Follow me on the Insta @KaylaSueYoga. Or reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Monday Vibrant Souls!