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Lifestyles to Die For

April 25th, 2014 | 3 comments


I was recently telling someone about my background getting a degree in Environmental Science and they commented, “Wow, now you’re doing something completely different.” But, I don’t see it that way. The deeper I go down my path as a wellness provider through yoga, bodywork and lifestyle coaching the more I relate to my environmentalist background; rather than working to clean up external ecosystems I’m working to clean up internal ecosystems. And it’s just as socially, culturally and globally revolutionary as other environmentalist work.

According to a landmark global study by The Lancet Group, lifestyle diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer are now the leading cause of death and disability globally. The study shows that since the 1970’s men and women worldwide are living longer but they also spend more years living with injury and illness caused by bad lifestyle choices like drinking, smoking, poor nutrition and too much stress.

In both Australia and America lifestyle disease is the leading cause of death – with heart disease begin the most prevalent, followed by cancer.

So why are we choosing lifestyles that kill us?!? And what motivates us to choose a lifestyle of heath?

I don’t have the answer but I’m on a mission to try and find it. So far on this mission I’m realizing that everything starts from within and from our deepest beliefs about ourselves and the world. My meditation teacher gave a great analogy about the process of calming the mind: you can train a dog to sit next to you, but it will still be full of energy wanting to run around, or you can give the dog a bone and it will happily sit next to you and chew the bone.

Forced external rules on how to live tend to make us feel like a dog trapped on a leash, and while we might be abstaining from unhealthy habits, there’s always a part of us that wants to break the leash and run after those things we’re abstaining from. I don’t consider this healthy, and I’ll go as far as saying it can even create stress…which is one of the leading causes of heart disease and other physical and psychological diseases.

So what’s the bone we can give ourselves to keep us sitting happily next to health? 

I think the bone of satisfaction and motivation is a strong positive self identity. In yoga we do this with the practice of Sankalpas. Yoga teaches us to recognize that we already have and are everything we could need or want, we must simple clear what’s covering up that light within.

A Sankalpa is a positive affirmation like, “I am healthy.” The practice is to repeat this daily. The more you chew on this identity, the more you not only believe it, but also act based on it. You start to live up to that identity effortlessly simply because it feel right.

According to habit change research people stick to identity-based goals far more than to performance-based goals. Habit change expert James Clear says, “The key to building lasting habits is focusing on creating a new identity first. Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity. What you do now is a mirror image of the type of person you believe that you are (either consciously or subconsciously).”

This Sunday I’ll be leading a 5 week journey with a group of people ready to uncover the light within, reinforce and deeply ingrain a positive self identity of healthy living. I can’t wait! There are still a few spots left so if you’re craving lasting transformation join the yoga r-evolution. Check out the 30 Day Yoga Evolution program at Qi Health and Yoga.

What is your positive self identity statement, your sankalpa? 

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3 people have commented
  1. I have already made one transformational change in my life because of two things you said to me. When I was visiting in Australia, you said, “I can’t understand how you can not start your day with yoga and moving your body.” After nine years of being a serious yogi, I don’t know why I didn’t start my days that way either. And then a couple months later, back in Colorado, you said to me, “Just make one change that you think would feel good.” The change was that I start each day with about 30 minutes of yoga. And I feel so amazingly good! Being true to my commitment to myself and doing this one simple thing makes me feel so, so good every day. At the age of 64 I have no aches or pains, no stress or depression. Just the simple joy of moving my body each morning sets the tone of joy and appreciation for each day. Thank you sweet daughter. So glad you are a light in this world.

  2. I have to amend my first post regarding 30 minutes of yoga the very first thing in the morning. That is what I do, but my commitment to myself started out saying I would do 5 – 10 minutes of asanas and 5 minutes deep breathing (pranayama) and 5 minutes meditation. But once you do a couple downward dogs, there’s just so much more to do that it always turns in to 30 minutes. Start small and see where you go. It’s interesting.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing your process Mom! Yes, start with the commitment of 5-10 minutes an soon enough it turns into 30 without even trying. The important part is just to get started, and making a small commitment to begin it the way to do it. Even 5-10 minutes at the beginning of the day has a huge impact on how we feel through the day and it totally worth it. Love it! Love you! xo

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