So I was thinking about something my teacher Dharma said to me during my yoga teacher training years ago. He said that you aren’t really a yoga teacher if you don’t talk to your students about food and their diet. (Dharma by the way, is one of the people who have had a profound influence on my food philosophy). One incident lately made me realize that I haven’t really been doing that. At one of my group classes this week, one of my longtime students who I’ll call Susan, came in with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend got up and left twice during class. I was a bit worried he was tired and was leaving because he was embarrassed to rest during the series, or that he had hurt something. After class I went over to chat with them, and I found out that he had to run to the bathroom a few times because they had eaten so much before class! I was like, “Um, well what did you eat before class?” After all, that class was only at noon. Susan said, “Eggs and stuff. But what really did it was that last pancake we had right before we walked out the door!” Wow. At first I was a bit shocked that they would eat before yoga class— but then I really started to ask myself, “Do they even know that they shouldn’t be eating before class? Have I discussed food with them enough so they have guidelines to know what they should and should not be eating?”
What is funny is that most of my yoga students don’t know that I am a nutritionist, or that I have this blog. :) Sure, they notice I travel every few weeks to LA and that I’m gone a fair amount, but I never felt comfortable pushing anything on them. But now I realize that in holding back other parts of what I’m doing and what I’m all about, I may have been inadvertently not benefiting them as much as I could.
After all, as Dharma said, you must talk to your students about food. Food is energy, just as yoga is energy and promotes the flow of energy throughout the body. They are intrinsically connected, and how we eat is part of our practice. In a larger extent, all parts of our life are completely connected in the same way. If we work out all the time, but don’t give our body the most nutritious food, for instance, there is a disconnect. And if we practice yoga and eat well, but don’t treat other people with love and kindness, there is a disconnect. And if we eat good food, but work in a toxic work environment in a job we find vastly unfulfilling, there is a disconnect as well. When I work with people in my nutritional counseling sessions, I often see that when there is an imbalance with obsessing over food or there is a major issues in some way- there are imbalances in other parts of their life. These could include self esteem issues, work stress, trying to be perfect in everything, deep sadness or loneliness. The point is that the food issue can be the symptom, and the way the issue is expressing itself, but if we don’t balance other parts of our life the food issue(s) will never fully get fixed either.
So tonight at the end of my large group class, I did what I have been taught by Dharma to do to fulfill my duties as a yoga teacher- I talked to them about their diet. I explained that how they eat has a direct affect on how they feel, and their practice. I told them it was really important that they did not eat for at least 2 hours before yoga class, as their food would still be digesting, and they would not feel their best. And the importance of preparing a post workout snack to curb your hunger from eating too big of a meal. I talked about eating fresh produce and living, supporting foods, and even told them about my blog (!).
I must say that I feel good about doing that. I want to give my students all that I can give them, and why was I holding back about the info we have here on our blog community, that might benefit them, or at least some of them? It is sort of like how soon I’ll have a yoga video to offer to you guys that are interested in yoga, that has a beginner and intermediate series, as those that are benefiting from the food tips we talk about here might also like the yoga I practice. :)
So I encourage you to look to see where there are some disconnects in your own life. If we take a deep look, we might find some places that are a bit contradictory, or where we hold one part away from another. The more alignment we have in our lives, the more in harmony we are and the stronger we get towards achieving our goals. And the more we grow and progress, which is really what the journey of life is all about!
I feel like a student every day myself. I am so grateful for all my yoga students, and for all of YOU In our blog community, that continue to support me and help me learn every single day! Thank you so much.
See you back here soon here.
Lots and lots of love,
” Treat every other being exactly the same, with absolutely no discrimination. Treat everyone with love and kindness.”
– Sri Dharma Mittra