Tag Archives: mindfulness

5 Barriers to Mindful Eating

melon bowlEat mindfully, is the art of being present with our meals, and eating with deep awareness of our bodies’ cravings, needs, and satiety levels. When we do not eat mindfully, we may find ourselves shoving meals down quickly while watching TV, multi-tasking during mealtime, or eating on-the-go. Barriers or hindrances to mindful eating include: thoughts, feelings, and sensations that hinder our capacity for mindfulness. They cause us to divert our attention, they weaken our wisdom, and distract us from noticing the present moment or noticing the feelings we are trying to avoid. The five classical hindrances or barriers are: 1) sensual desire, 2) aversion, 3) boredom, 4) restlessness, and 5) doubt. All of these can hijack our attention from mindful eating. Here’s a brief run-down of how! Sensual desire is being absorbed in enjoyable sensations without the recognition that they are fleeting. We keep going for more thinking we can maintain the feeling. The joy of fulfilling desire is not getting it, because that is not satiable. Aversion is ill will or punishing ourselves by abusing food. Doubt questions mindful eating and the ability to engage in it. Restlessness and boredom both involve misplacing our energy and directing it towards food to avoid feeling nothing or perhaps the frustration of boredom.


Why are these habits or barriers important to recognize on an ongoing basis? If we remain aware of our hindrances we can prevent or avert hindrance attacks. By understanding our patterns we can learn to understand our behaviors in any given moment, and also teach ourselves to develop empathy for the choices we make. If we don’t take the time to recognize them, we will engage in behaviors unconsciously and be powerless to change them or choose differently. 

To overcome the barrier of sensual desire, look at the objects of desire and determine what are the unrealistic expectations, are we seeing it clearly? How long will the pleasure actually last? Ensuring that we are appreciating and savoring the sensual desire while eating our food rather than mistreating it is key. We can also work to override the feeling of desire by practicing contentment, until we have trained ourselves to easily disengage from the object of desire. To deal with doubt, you could chat with a mindful eating teacher or coach and talk through the doubts you have. Our just journaling your thoughts may be effective enough. Acknowledgment will give the doubts less power. With aversion we can take time to get to the root of what we are punishing ourselves for. If we unearth the shame, guilt, or upset and deal with it head on, we will be less likely to use food as aversion. Mindfulness activities or meditations can help us stay rooted in the present moment when struggling with boredom and restlessness. Rather than go on autopilot and begin eating to cope, we can train ourselves to ask questions before we chose to eat to determine if we are just killing time or avoiding feelings.

It’s important that we do not beat up on ourselves for not achieving the elusive title of “mindful eater.” Part of cheering ourselves on is recognition that it’s all a process that requires positive choices day by day. We have to realize that slip-ups are not wrong, they are just a part of the ebb and flow of life. We can get excited when we start to notice behavioral changes or landmarks that we achieve. Perhaps we stop rushing and eating on the go, or we learn to put away our phones during dinner. Celebrating the small victories can go a long way to helping us stay on the path. –Xo Raw Girl

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Have you checked out my new online classes yet? In my new course, Staying Ageless 30+  you will learn about Diet Basics, Lifestyle Factors, and elements of Longevity that promote an ageless way of life.  Over the course of three modules you learn what to eliminate from your diet to stay ageless, how to ensure your body is receiving adequate nutrition, powerful detox rituals you can incorporate to increase your longevity, beauty remedies that will leave you glowing, and how to exercise effectively and get results.  In addition you will learn health lessons directly from renowned longevity and health experts that will equip you to transform your lifestyle. You can still enroll! Check out the class HERE to preview the curriculum our save your seat! -Xo

4 Mindfulness Techniques That Can Reduce Binge Eating

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  1. Daily Mindfulness Meditation Practice. Finding a meditation practice that works for you and practicing consistently can greatly reduce your need to binge. Why meditation? Studies on binge eaters have shown that meditation and mindfulness exercises as a whole, had a positive effect on bingeing and also may help us get more present with our emotions. A simple 5 minute meditation is enough to start, and you can increase as you feel more comfortable.
  2. Journaling. As a survivor of binge eating disorder, I am very aware that emotions play a HUGE role in bingeing. In fact, the food is usually a way to stop us from experiencing negative emotions like stress or sadness. When you journal around your feelings in social and solitary situations that cause bingeing, you can discover what your triggers are. Once you know your triggers you can work alone or with a practitioner to find interventions to use to stop the cycle of bingeing.
  3. Stopping in Between Bites: One to two times per week try eating a meal and stopping in between bites. I know it sounds a little crazy but the pause in between bites in which you must put your fork down, causes you to savor your food and have a better handle on your satiety or hunger level. Most of us shove food down our throats quickly and discover minutes in that we are overstuffed. Slowing way down can be maddening at first, but for someone who is used to eating large amounts of food very quickly like most do who binge, it will be a great exercise in re-training you to hear your bodies’ cues that you are full. You can also journal about your experiences.
  4. No Eating While Upset. If you are a binge eater it’s important to start allowing yourself to feel the feelings that come up before a binge. The act of bingeing numbs the emotions and replaces with a temporary feel good from the food, and then bad feelings of shame and guilt come after so it becomes a vicious cycle. It may be extremely difficult at first, but if you can work on turning to journaling, calling a friend, or other activities that allow you to express how you arefeeling, a healthier cycle and way of dealing with her emotions will replace the bingeing habit.  -Xo Raw Girl 

 

References:

Niacin. (2017). AHFS Consumer Medication Information, 1.

Prousky, J. E. (2010). Vitamin B3 for Depression: Case Report and Review of the Literature. Journal Of Orthomolecular Medicine25(3), 137-147.

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Have you checked out my new online classes yet? In my new course, Staying Ageless 30+  you will learn about Diet Basics, Lifestyle Factors, and elements of Longevity that promote an ageless way of life.  Over the course of three modules you learn what to eliminate from your diet to stay ageless, how to ensure your body is receiving adequate nutrition, powerful detox rituals you can incorporate to increase your longevity, beauty remedies that will leave you glowing, and how to exercise effectively and get results.  In addition you will learn health lessons directly from renowned longevity and health experts that will equip you to transform your lifestyle. You can still enroll! Check out the class HERE to preview the curriculum our save your seat! -Xo

 

 

 

Santosha: Practicing The Art of Contentment

yogaSantosha (skt. संतोष saṃtoṣa, santōṣḥ) literally means “contentment, satisfaction.” Other meanings include: acceptance of one’s circumstances, being comfortable with what is. Considering the popular tune “I can’t get no satisfaction,” most of us could use a little santosha in our lives. Shout out to my instructor Yoga Sihnuu for teaching me about this ethical concept in Indian philosophy, particularly Yoga, and is included as one of the Niyamas by Patanjali. To possess or achieve santosha means you are in a place where you do not crave or desire. Sounds cray cray right? We all know what it is like to crave or want something so badly, and what happens when we get it? We are temporarily blissed out, (some people for a matter of minutes), and then we go off again craving something else.

In my recent study of mindful eating, we discussed “Craving at the end of Craving,” an audio made by the Center for Mindful Eating. In the audio, the practitioner describes this cycle of craving, and then craving more. The only way to break the cycle, which is natural to us as humans, is to develop the ability to sit with your cravings and not act on them. To realize that if we do not get what we are craving we can still be happy, or content. Why is santosha important for our lives right now? These days we have waytoo much in popular culture that promotes the opposite of santosha; we want what the Kardashians have, and with one scroll through our Facebook or Instagram feed we may be left feeling our life as it is, isn’t as fabulous as we thought it was. In my interviews with amazing people who have achieved extraordinary longevity, I have noticed that all of them seemed to have achieved santosha in some way or another. They practice gratitude, mindfulness, and stress the importance of a positive outlook. Contentment can keep us from depression, stress, and foster a deeper sense of peace.

Assess your life today. How can you practice santosha or contentment? What can you be grateful for today? -Xo Raw Girl

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Make an Epic Comeback! 4 Ways to Boost Your Resilience & Health

kaboompics_Lemons on colorful plate, tropical pillows

When life gives you lemons…Bounce Back!

Have you noticed some people can endure breakups, deaths in the family, unexpected mayhem at work, and somehow come out of the storm looking like Olivia Pope, strutting in a room, glowing and repeating her classic mantra: “It’s handled.” There’s a part of all of us that wants to be Olivia Pope in those crazy crisis situations in our lives, but the reality is that when the veggie hits the fan, it can feel like the world is coming to an end!

Resilience is the key to our epic come-back, and is also in my opinion one of the greatest markers of health. We know bad things happen in life, it’s more a matter of whether or not you can weather the storm and how quickly you recover and get back in the game. The textbook definition of resilience is successful adaptation and swift recovery after experiencing life adversities. In shrink language: secure attachment (especially in childhood), experiencing positive emotions and having a purpose in life are three important psychological building blocks of resilience. Resilience can help protect you from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Resilience can also help offset factors that increase the risk of mental health conditions, such as being bullied or previous trauma. If you have an existing mental health condition, being resilient can improve your ability to cope. Below are a few ways you can boost your resilience and make an epic comeback from life’s challenges that will cause your friends and fam’s jaws to drop. If you are going to go through hell, may as well look like a goddess emerging from the flames! Xo Raw Girl

  1. Heal Your Inner Child. For those of us (raises hand) who may have had crazy childhoods that left deep emotional wounds, part of creating resilience is to deal with our past trauma and rebuild our self-worth and self-esteem. For years I thought my traumas were resolved only to find out there were patterns repeating in my life that were a result of some past wounds that were still affecting me subconsciously. How do you work through this? Journaling is great, seeing a therapist can help to. If you can’t afford a therapist check out the book Self-Therapy by Dr. Jay Earley which can help you work through the same process on your own at a fraction of the cost.
  2. Keep Your Immunity Up! When crisis hits, we immediately become more susceptible to disease or illness. That’s why its imperative we do not wait before the veggie hits the fan to take care of our daily vitamins and immune boosters. Vitamin C is essential, and taking a daily multivitamin can go a long way. Want more on the importance of vitamins? Check out this PAST POST.
  3. Practice a Daily Mindfulness Ritual. Mindfulness has been show to decrease stress, reduce the likelihood of contracting a host of diseases, and can also assist with keeping the mind positive in times of crisis. When things get rough it’s easy to slip into that downward spiral of thinking, and what mindfulness can do is help us to pay less attention to that negative chatter that keeps us in negative Nancy mode. Some practices that can work wonders: daily meditation, yoga, Qi gong, walking meditations in nature.
  1. Connect to a Higher Power. The Practice of organized religion is slowly becoming scarce in our modern world, as people seem to feel they don’t have time. The amazing thing about faith however, is that it can provide some assurance during times of crisis. Church communities or spiritual organizations with like minded believers can provide essential support when weathering life’s storms. In addition to this, many people fid that when they can give their problems over to God, stress reduces, and a deeper sense of peace and positive expectation emerges.

Finding Your Inner Bliss

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As humans our optimal state is one of unconquerable euphoria. The root of being is pure consciousness: blissful, limitless, and abundant. We are able to access it through the thoughts we conjure up in our heads. With our minds we are able to orchestrate our own Earthly existence. With virtuous thoughts we create enjoyable experiences, and with impure thoughts we harvest seeds of doubt thus bringing chaos and blockage into fruition.  How do we rid ourselves of potential darkness and despair? Well I say, “When in doubt, cut it out!”

Operating from a place of fear and anxiety affects the chemical makeup of the brain altering not only the thoughts we have in the present moment but also those of the future. When we tense up in thought we prepare the body for danger. Worry is the minds way of tricking the body into believing that it is in harms way. From constant worry our body becomes accustomed to being in reaction mode. We are unable to make rational decisions and fall victim to irrational behavior.

“Bliss or pure consciousness contains infinite potential; it is open to any outcome. When you experience this quality, you are no longer bound by fixed habits and beliefs. The horizon seems open, the future full of possibilities.  The greater your experience of pure potential, the more creative you become.”~Deepak Chopra.

This week I challenge you to dig deep and get to the root so you can live blissfully.

~Namaste

Sihnuu

To read more about Sihnuu visit here.

Meditation: Take Flight

tumblr_m1vnirTB4q1r4ez6uo1_500For me the phrase “take flight” in the context of yoga, breath, and daily life has to do with being so fully in the moment that you transcend all the mind chatter, the worries, the emotions, and frustrations.  It’s important for our health and vitality that every single day we find a way to “take flight” and release into the flow that life is presenting to us.  Nothing ever has to be the way it has always been. Even if the moment just before was horrible, we always have a choice, here and now to make a new decision and allow ourselves imagine a new reality that exceeds our wildest imaginations.  We also daily have the opportunity to trust that the flow of life is going to take us to our destination without strain, stress, or struggle. Stop yourself today in any area you feel stuck. Take a breath and envision your dream outcome for that situation or relationship. Breathe it in, release it with love, and allow it to manifest effortlessly.  ~ XoXo Raw Girl 

On my mat I inhale and I am present. I exhale and I am empty. Here on my mat I am light. I am open to what comes up for me in flow. I explore spaces within my being that need healing and I send love there. I am not my past. I don’t concern myself with the future. I am here and now. I am synchronicity in breath and movement I surrender and take flight.  ~ Namaste, Sihnuu

You can find Sihnuu on Instagram @YogaSihnuu.

Meditation: “Create More Than You Consume.”

Create More Than You ConsumeWhile out taking some yoga pics in Georgetown saw this quote on the wall and  loved it.  “Create More Than You Consume.” I really feel like that is the inner mantra for my life.  When you spend more time tapping into your inner essence and tuning into plant energy via your diet, it really can enhance your creativity and joie de vivre!  We are all meant to blossom and live out our true passion and purpose. Part of what clean eating does is free our bodies of toxicity so that we have more vitality, and become a clearer channel for brilliant creative ideas. When you are freed up from sickness, disease, and bodily concerns you have the luxury of channeling your energy towards something greater. In addition, practicing meditation and mindfulness helps us weed through and release our programmed emotional reactions, and work towards our purpose with more clarity, peace, and non-attachment.  The more we release our attachments and desperation for something outside of ourselves, the more we come into vibrational alignment with our desires and attract opportunities, people, and things to help us along our journey. Take a moment today and ask yourself: “Do I create more than I consume?” If not, how can you tap deeper into your creativity? What dreams, aspirations, or skills have you neglected lately? It’s a new day, and if you have the honor of being alive there’s still time to create what your heart truly desires.  ~Namaste, Raw Girl 

21 Day Meditation Challenge

OPRAHNeed a boost in your meditation practice? Or perhaps you have never meditated and would like to experiment with how it can improve your quality of life? Today is Day 2 of Deepak Chopra’s online meditation challenge called “Miraculous Relationships.” I have completed the past three 21 day challenges he has done in partnership with Oprah online and can attest to the fact that they are fantastic. Not only do the meditations delivered daily to your inbox keep you grounded, they also keep you accountable to your practice and can help you get back on the meditation bandwagon if you’ve fallen off. Late last year, I did one of Deepak’s first challenges, and ever since then I have managed to keep my resolution for 2013 and be very consistent with my daily meditation. If you missed Day 1 no worries, they archive all of the past posts. All you have to do is sign up online via https://chopracentermeditation.com/ ! Who’s in? -XoXo Raw Girl 

Meditation: Uniting Body, Mind, & Spirit

SihnuuHappy August Veggie Lovers!

As you all know I’m a yoga and meditation junkie…can’t get enough of it. In addition to the regular Raw Girl posts I’ve enlisted a dear friend and talented yoga teacher, Sihnuu,  to contribute some poses and brief meditations on the blog. I may jump right on in and add some of my own thoughts. More to come. Please show your love by clicking the like button. 

When practicing the healing art of yoga, it is through the art of “yoking”, or uniting, that we reach that state of eternal bliss we so desire. When developing a union between the mind, body, and spirit we are able to reap the full benefits of life itself. We learn to become masters of our mind creating a calm and tranquil space so that we are able to successfully utilize the body as a tool in order to explore our inner essence: the source of true self.  ~Namaste, Sihnuu

Exploring this inner essence can then in turn feed us in our daily lives, where we learn to breathe through our emotions and stressful situations. Remember that cultivating your bliss isn’t just for those moments on your mat, you can always reach for your inner essence throughout your day by simply remembering to BREATHE. -XoXo Raw Girl 

You can find Sihnuu on Instagram @YogaSihnuu

 

7 Reasons to Meditate: The Benefits of Mindfulness

7 Reasons to Meditate: The Benefits of MindfulnessMeditation is sometimes seen as a woo-wooey practice reserved for new age hippies, actors who are “spritual”, self-help gurus, and hardcore yogis, but the truth is meditation is for everyone. Just like yoga, which brings the body in alignment with the mind and helps to quite that incessant babbling of thoughts we have going daily that frequently get in the way of our true happiness, meditation cleans house. It’s like setting the reset button for a few minutes daily, that allows you to truly go with the flow, promotes inner peace, feelings of oneness with others, empathy, service, and even boosts creativity. I have experienced firsthand regular daily meditation can be a catalyst for amazing things happening in your life. As you practice and get deeper in the flow of life, synchronicity or seeming miracles became normal every day occurrences.

Going back to daily practice has re-awakened my love and appreciation for meditation as a scientific tool. Every single time you to sit to practice, you are literally rewiring your brain, and tapping further into THE SOURCE of all. As a result of this you may find yourself extremely calm in usually stressful situations, generally happier, optimistic, and attracting people and things that help you achieve your dreams, effortlessly. There are a bunch of meditation naysayers out there who feel like it’s quackery, or object to meditation because they are afraid it contradicts with their religion. This is not the case. Meditation and mindfulness practices have been practiced and incorporated by every major religion. In the Bible it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” My favorite Deepak Chopra quote is: “Prayer is talking to God. Meditation is listening.” Indeed the silence speaks volumes. Creativity can increase and intuition begins to guide daily decisions more strongly. It sounds like a gimmick until you try it. The only way for you to feel the shift in yourself is to sit down and meditate and stick with it consistently. It does not take weeks to start to feel a shift. Each day, you will begin to notice little things. Oh meditation, mediation, how I love thee! Let me count the ways. Below are seven of many reasons (backed by scientific research) why sitting down in silence daily is good for you. Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself. Namaste. -XoXo Raw Girl

  1. Stay in the Stress-Free Zone. The journal of health psychology published research that not only does meditation make you feel less stressed, it actually reduces the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
  2. Rewire Bad Habits. One of the first thing I noticed was that when I kept up with regular meditation it started to shift my emotional responses to situations that were previously aggravating. Going within helps us require bad habits as well as observe our actions and reactions in a way we may have never done before and make conscious adjustments.
  3. Boosts Your Mental Performance. Research conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara found that college students trained in mindfulness performed better on verbal reasoning sections on the GRE and also had improvements in retention of material. The outcome of the study suggested that mindfulness improves overall cognitive function.
  4. Can Keep You From Going Cray-Cray. Mental illness and emotional wellness are two issues that are usually highly medicated when you visit a doctor to address them. Well, according to researchers from the University of Oregon, mediation techniques in the form of integrative body and mind training can result in brain changes which protect against mental illness. Due to meditation practice protective tissue increases as well as signaling connections in the brain.
  5. Sleep Like a Baby. A University of Utah study found that mindfulness training helps people sleep better at night. You know how sometimes you can’t sleep because of the “monkey mind” that can’t stop making to-do lists and generally stressing about whatever happened that day? Well meditation shuts the monkey up long enough for you to get adequate rest and wake up feeling refreshed.
  6. Gives You a Major Dose of Happy. In general meditation helps to balance out emotions and moods, and has been shown in numerous studies to reduce the risk of depression. It’s great for pregnant women struggling with post-pardom, teens, and really anyone of any age.
  7. Boosts Your Immunity. By now you should know that optimal health has to do with emotional, physical, and mental wellness. Just paying attention to your diet alone may still leave you at risk for major terminal diseases if you do not manage your emotions and stress in a healthy way. Meditation and mindfulness practices calm you the heck down, so that you can avoid toxic emotions that may cause disease later on.