In everything that we do in life, it is well known that our attitude and mindset are the most important drivers of success.
People underestimate or often disregard the true composition of a human being. We are not machines that can be programmed. Otherwise, we would all be the same—and most probably fit, healthy, and beautiful. People are much more complex. Through the lens of yoga, we can develop a better understanding of ourselves.
Here’s why doing yoga in the UAE is a magical way to reduce weight, introduce healthy habits in our life, improve our mood, energy level, and overall well-being.
The three key elements are closely interconnected. And this is why a sweaty workout sometimes fails to make us lose weight. If one of the three elements is dis-balanced, the functioning of the others will also be affected. It is impossible to have a healthy body if our mind is stressed. Luckily, there is always a way out.
Yoga has a way of uniting the three elements—the body, mind and soul. It creates a special harmony, or a mind-body-set that helps us float seamlessly towards our fitness goals.
Just like elsewhere in the world in the UAE Stress is the main factor of any disbalance. We just tend to call it different names – bad luck, traffic, kids missing the school bus, a low salary, mom’s health issues, bad weather, not fitting in our jeans, and so on. Seeing new wrinkles in the mirror is stress for our mind, a fight with our spouse is stress for our soul, extra kilos on the weighing machine is stress for our body. Of course, we cannot avoid stress in life. However, it is our attitude that differentiates people who battle stress successfully from those who get upset, depressed, and even sick.
The American Psychological Association surveyed 1,328 licensed psychologists on how they dealt with patients’ weight and weight-loss challenges in their practice. They repeatedly identified emotional factors as not only an important factor in clients’ weight problems but also the major barrier to overcoming them.
Emotional eating is the biggest enemy. With time it can lead to another issue, which I call a ‘fat thought’. It is when a person thinks that he or she gains weight even from one bite, or a cup of tea. In the worst form we call it ‘anorexia’. However, many people disregard initial symptoms, like looking in the mirror right after lunch, thinking ‘oh, I just ate a huge meal, I can see it on my belly already. I shouldn’t have eaten at all, tomorrow i will not have my breakfast’.
This ends up in a vicious emotional circle of ‘tomorrow, I will start a new life, while today I can have my LAST scoop of ice cream, or maybe two?’. What happens the next day? Guilt. Stress. And emotional eating again.
Practicing Yoga in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah is a lifestyle. I don’t know any person who started to practice yoga and hasn’t changed. Gradually yoga asanas start to influence the way you move, the way you think, the way you feel. During the practice you become aware of the present moment, your breathing, your body moves, your strong and weak points. Yoga unites your three elements – the body, mind and soul.
It is recommended that you start Yoga with a fully qualified yoga teacher or yoga personal trainer in the UAE. However, many people people start practicing yoga as just another sports activity. They never actually do any research beforehand to learn about it. For those – yoga starts to shape the body first. Changes in the body lead to changes in the mind. You don’t want to have a cigarette after a yoga class anymore, your lungs just don’t feel like it. Strange, no? You feel less anxious, more self-aware, even contemplative. People at the traffic light, who are hurried and start beeping the moment the light turns green just make you… smile.
Then yoga, slowly, flows deeper into your soul, which changes your mental attitude, and, eventually, lifestyle. It replaces your negative emotions with concentration of your breathing, beauty of your body, and the power of your mind. Somehow things that used to spoil your mood don’t matter anymore. With practice and time, a day feels wrong without your yoga time. Your craving for food is now replaced by craving for a yoga flow.
Yoga flow is comprised of numerous asanas, which can be combined in countless sequences, and never gets boring. Each asana presents particular health benefits, involving all our muscles, joints and even internal organs. Even if we don’t workout a sweat, our body is naturally toned. Opening up our body along with constant concentrated breathing is such a great way of detoxification. Yoga purifies our body and mind by making our blood flow, our heart beat more rhythmically, our muscles stretch and build up, our internal organs work in unity with our breathing. It removes any negative energy and junk from our body, which directly affects weight loss.
People take up yoga for different reasons. However, all of them find what they are looking for. It is due to a great number of asanas and your yoga trainer’s knowledge that you can find the best way to achieving your own goals – be it burning calories, improving flexibility, strengthening muscles, calming the mind, or finding your inner peace.
In case you want to lose weight, a well-designed Vinyasa flow can make you sweat within a couple of sequences. There are flows that provide a beautiful combination of fitness training, cardio, stretching and balancing. Around 400 – 600 calories can be burnt in an hour of a Vinyasa flow.
We are all philosophers inside, sometimes very deep inside, but we are. You can’t help but start thinking about the philosophy of life, once you begin on a yoga journey. It is hard to explain, but it feels like you wake up from a long sleep. Everything feels different. The colors are brighter, people are better, and so are we.
As you connect with yourself through the practice, you start looking for answers on why your life is changing and wonder why you didn’t start it before. Gradually, you start disregarding your ego and personal material benefits. Your thoughts ‘expand’ from being concentrated on what is inside you, to what is around. Our problems don’t disappear, but we look at them differently as our perspective changes and they don’t seem like problems anymore—just another situation in life we know we will overcome.
Your disappointments with your eating habits, fears, insecurities, bad decision-making, life issues gradually become tamed. You are more self-aware and conscious to analyze your patterns of behaviour, your emotional response to life situations, and then to deal with them accordingly. Once you are not on a ‘wave’ of sadness and depression, you float on a different ‘wave’ of positive attitude and optimism. With time, you notice that this ‘wave’ brings you more joy and happiness in life. And it makes your mood even better. And waking up in a good mood the next morning sets up your day for success. And that is just the beginning, with more achievements ahead! This is your new mindset.
A positive mindset leads to conscious and right decision-making. We clearly see the connection between stressful situations and our unhealthy food choices. And so our mind will not be ruled by our food cravings. We come to know and understand our body and listen to it. We start to cherish it and decide against things that would be destructive to it. Our eating will no longer be an addiction, or a way to release stress, but rather to keep our body nourished and healthy. This will definitely lead to weight-loss, and improve our overall well-being.
This is another step, and the most beautiful one. It is difficult to explain why, but with yoga practice you start feeling that there is something higher or more important than you. There is some secret of spiritual nature that you come to feel and you want to get to know it. It is beautiful to see that we are no longer the center of our own tiny universe. Now we actually start to see the universe itself.
There is a much deeper meaning in our life, and we start to understand it with the time. Counting calories are far away in your past at this stage. Now we are a completely different person, with new habits, way of thinking, sleeping, walking … maybe even inspired to make other life changes like taking a new job or moving to another country?
You rejoice in new experiences, and new situations in life. Before a sweet candy would make you feel happy, now it is a smile of your friend. You come to a detachment from your ego, your own self, finding pleasure in the surrounding people and events. With time and practice, helping others, making this world beautiful actually hold more meaning than buying a new car or chasing after material things.
Now that we are aware of our soul and what actually brings pleasure to it, there is no way we consider a hamburger as the best reward for something good we have done. We know how to observe, analyze and decide what is better for us – our body, mind and soul.
My Manager asked me to write a short paragraph about practicing yoga for weight-loss in Sharjah. But I was more inspired to share this with our clients to raise awareness and get closer to the truth of what yoga actually is.
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