There was a time when diet coke was my very favorite drink in the whole world. I would stop at the Safeway for a 44 oz diet coke on the way to the office, and then refill it at lunch, and even more at dinnertime. Every morning, I looked forward to that familiar first sip, the bite of the carbonation, the sharp refreshing taste, the complete lack of calories.
It was like we were meant for each other. A mutually beneficial relationship.
Like any good American woman, I understood at a visceral level that calories were my enemy, and to the extent sugar-free stuff helped me avoid them, without actually giving up things I liked to eat, I blessed whomever it was who came up with the stuff.
So when I started yoga teacher training, I was still drinking prodigious amounts of the elixir and enjoying it tremendously. Not at the yoga teacher training sessions, mind you. Caffeine is often cited as one of the cardinal no-no’s of yoga, but my mind wasn’t convinced that I needed to quit drinking my diet coke.
I had thought that a greater mind-body connection meant that my mind dictated to my body what to do and how to feel. But the more I trained, the more I realized that I had been wrong.
I had thought that a greater mind-body connection meant that my mind dictated to my body what to do and how to feel.
As my body started the process of taking over what I could eat, I was still reluctant to listen and thus give up my dear diet coke. In fact, had I been asked if I’d choose an extra 50 pounds of body weight or an increased chance of cancer, I would have chosen the cancer without a second thought. Now, it is a little easier for me to hear my body retaliate: “HELLO! Fat vs. cancer, and you choose WHAT? Are you out of your MIND?”
Actually, I suspect the problem was just the opposite.
I had been completely in my mind, and my body wasn’t getting any say at all. Once I started listening to it, it was getting pretty mouthy (for instance, by starting to give me headaches any time I tried to re-acquire my taste for food-free-food).
I had been completely in my mind, and my body wasn’t getting any say at all.
Now I keep getting these impulses to do crazy things like cook my own food instead of relying on Ronald or the King for dinner. My sugar-free yogurt and low-calorie puddings, even my sugar-free gum all taste, frankly, gross.
Some mornings my body even wakes me up before my alarm goes off, and gets me out of bed to do some yoga before I go to work.
I can tell the difference all day, even if my scale doesn’t seem to have noticed quite yet.
I’m pretty sure that my body isn’t done with me, either. And I’m okay with that. It’s going to continue telling me more things that it needs to feel and work better. I look forward to continuing my relationship with my body and giving it a much more attentive ear to talk to.
Join Lisa on Tuesdays at 9:30 – 10:45am for Vinyasa/Hatha or 11:00am – 12:15pm for Yin.
Full yoga schedule available here.