Six years ago, I bought my first yoga mat during my junior year of high school. Trying to find a balance in the midst of it all and maintain a healthy lifestyle was what made junior year so stressful. That is, until I started yoga.
Through my practice, I began to notice balance in my mindset and the ways that I incorporated that balance into a healthy lifestyle. This mindfulness made me become more in tune with my diet, like when I ate something that didn’t agree with my stomach or when I didn’t drink enough water. However, there was a point where I was eating too healthy to obtain this balance, and it was affecting my happiness (one can only eat so many kale salads).
And so, I had to get back to that equilibrium. Allowing myself to find a balance between healthy foods and foods that I desperately needed to stay alive (like cupcakes) was the best thing the yoga mindset taught me. Looking back and seeing the journey I went through with yoga makes me so thankful for it, and inspires me to share my story. Yoga itself may not be for everyone, but the mindset it taught me can be adopted by anyone.
So, you might be thinking I’m crazy, but I promise that if you hear me out you’ll be able to adopt these same three principles and find the road to happiness and a healthy lifestyle.
1. Love your body
Practicing yoga teaches you to love your body. You are doing poses that nurture it through stretches, strengthening poses, and breathing techniques. You begin to appreciate your body because you experience it changing as you become stronger and more flexible. It can do some pretty awesome stuff if you stop and think about it.
By understanding how unbelievable your body is, you can start to love it more and focus on giving it the nutrients it needs. Your body needs carbs. It needs protein. It needs a balance. So don’t skimp on those veggies or cut down on calories.
2. Accept what you cannot control
I think this is the most important principle I learned from yoga. Perfecting your yoga practice and learning different poses is hard and can take weeks (or months) to master. So yogis, learn to accept what you cannot control.
All bodies are made differently and show imperfections in different areas. You also cannot control your cravings, and if you try to push them out it usually affects your mood negatively. For instance, I crave cupcakes, and if I try to avoid it my mom usually gets the brunt of the unhappy mood swings.
So basically, accept what you cannot control and incorporate balance into your diet. Eat your favorites as well as your veggies and protein.
3. Stay in tune with your senses
In yoga, you practice certain breathing techniques, and some poses even encourage meditation. Don’t get me wrong, I was never really good at meditating or 100% enjoyed it. However, it implies the idea of taking a minute to just relax and think about nothing in the midst of this fast-paced life.
This principle really influenced my balance mentally. Having a second to take a break from reality allowed me to be more mindful of my emotional state. I became more in tune with my body by realizing more quickly what it needed, like how I felt if I was too dehydrated or if I was craving veggies, pasta, or sweets.
By being more in touch with your body, you are more able to sustain a balanced and healthy diet, but at the same time you’re positively influencing your mood. So you may not be a yogi or might want to just stick to your own principles for a balanced diet, but I believe that any one of those principles can help guide you to a healthy and happy life. Namaste.