5 Ways to be more Yogic (Without Doing a Single Pose)
by Kristen Schultz Dollard coauthor of The Yoga Body Diet
I’ve met a lot of people who have perfect crow poses but who are not immune to road rage (this writer might even be one of them). After decades of teaching yoga, I have come to realize it’s not the pretty poses that protect you from losing your mind when life becomes maddening not to mention lower your risk for heart disease and age-related illness but increase your propensity for happiness and relationship success.
What yoga does do and scientists report to be true—whether your triangle pose ends in collapse or a fancy contortion—is help you be a better person off the mat. It’s the little efforts like taking a deep breath, remembering to eat mindfully, or supporting locally grown produce that make your world a better place.
If we make small changes in the yoga studio or in everyday life, big changes result. Here are five ways you can “do yoga” and improve your physical and mental health (and the world) even if you can’t unroll that sticky mat this month.
#1. Sip warm water all day
Most people love the detox yoga offers. Yoga class works to clear the lymph system—a hideout for fat and toxins. But if you can’t get your asana on, sip hot water all day long. Water hydrating so you won’t feel hungry when dehydration presents itself as hunger. H2O also clears the digestive track which for hurried eaters is like a badly backed up bath drain! Enough said.
#2. Seek out a CSA and buy from farmer’s markets
Green isn’t in vogue, it’s just plain healthier. Locally grown foods improve the environment as they do not have to be transported very far to make their way to your fridge. Organic foods grown without chemicals infused into our soil means you personally helped cut down on the pollution in our waters that harms marine wildlife and endangers our fresh-water supply.
#3. Buy berries that are in season
In-season foods are just plain more nutritious. The longer food sits on shelves the more the vitamins are diminished. If we cannot have a pear tree in the yard, we can at least buy from folks who do!
#4. Swap mint tea for coffee
Not only are numbers two and three true for your coffee habit but also coffee, a stimulant, causes the adrenal glands to excrete more cortisol, adrenaline, and epinephrine—the same hormones you release when stressed. Although these chemicals keep you awake and alert, these effects are short lived. When caffeine levels plummet, you find yourself more exhausted and you create a cycle of needing the artificial upper. Use your hot water and healthy foods to keep your energy calm and stable. Mint is energizing and has detoxifying abilities too. Plus its aromas are pleasing to everyone!
#5. Allot 20 minutes per meal
According to yoga’s sister science Ayurveda, you are not what you eat but how you eat. If you eat in haste while under stress, you will undermine the digestive process, which depends on being calm and relaxed to effectively digest. Ayurveda says 80% of disease starts with digestion, which is challenged by distracted eating. Allot at least 20-minutes per meal, don’t multitask (no cell calls or email checks), and listen to music if you have a terrible time settling down.