There’s a beautiful tradition in the lineage of yoga known as the Yoga of Speech.
The Yoga of Speech provides us with a guide to know when to speak, how to speak, and when not to speak.
When the message we have to deliver fails any of the three prongs in the Yoga of Speech, then we don’t deliver the message. We remain silent.
The three-prong test for the Yoga of Speech is:
- Is it true?
- Is it kind?
- Is it necessary?
So, for example, if I’m going to tell you that, I love your yeast rolls, but really they taste too sour to me, and I ask myself the first question:is it true?
The answer is, no, so I hold my tongue.
We only speak when what we are about to say is true, kind and necessary to do so.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a practice that taught us when to eat, how to eat, and what to eat?
Well, there is.
It’s called the Yoga of Eating.
I feel like, at this point, we all know in our heads that diets are a giant #fail and that the never-ending quest to lose weight just makes us crazy.
And, yet – we still monitor what we eat and concern ourselves over our bodies when we carry excess weight, and when we’re under-weight.
Why do we do this?
We do it because we just can’t help ourselves when we don’t have a better alternative.
All that this dieting and cleansing and weight loss focus boils down to is that we’re disconnected. And when we’re disconnected, we use any tool we can find to feel better. The tools we find promise to change how we look (losing weight, changing our bodies) and through this, help us feel better.
Wanting to feel better is a good thing.
When we feel bad it is legitimate.
But using any variety of focusing on the food when we have an issue with food obsession and wrestling with our weight is fighting fire with fire.
It just fans the flames. We need a better alternative.
Which is: the Yoga of Eating.
The Yoga of Eating offers us three questions to guide us to connection to ourselves.
Sure, we’re eating. There is food involved. But we’re not trying to be more mindful or remove our inner rules about eating this food. I’ve not seen mindfulness or removing our inner rules, alone, succeed in healing our relationship with food.
Practicing the Yoga of Eating brings us to sobriety with food. Which looks like: we stop thinking about food. We are free to live our lives.
The Yoga of Eating teaches us food sobriety.
You might be wondering, what’s food sobriety??
Really, what’s sobriety, period?
When I say “sobriety,” I mean “connection.”
Food sobriety is to be totally connected to ourselves, no matter what we’re eating.
Food sobriety is to stay connected to ourselves through the way we eat, instead of disconnecting through eating.
To be food sober means to be free from addictive food behavior. The obsessive food thoughts, the starvation, the overeating. Disordered eating is all about disconnection.
Sobriety is connection.
The Yoga of Eating, like the Yoga of Speech, is three questions that we ask ourselves to connect us again and again and again to ourselves, our feelings, our preferences.
Following the Yoga of Eating brings us home to our bodies, our hearts, and our souls.
You know, the word yoga is not an English word. It’s sanskrit and has several translations such as “yoke” and “union.”
My favorite translation of the word yoga is connection.
And here is where your mind gets blown:
The purpose of our addictive and obsessive behavior with food is to disconnects us from ourselves.
Yeah, we’re sabotaging our personal growth by eating cupcakes and then berating ourselves about eating cupcakes. It’s so annoying. Yet, so effective.
The Yoga of Eating teaches us connection to ourselves through eating. Result: hello, the stuff in my life that I didn’t want to deal with!
The Yoga of Eating is a soul solution to what we thought was a waistline problem.
(It’s not a waistline problem).
Do we end up losing weight?
I have no idea.
Typically, our bodies have weight to lose, then yes. If our bodies are at our natural weight, then no.
Because that’s not the real point. The real purpose is that we gain.
We recover our connection to our deepest, highest selves.
(And in the world of food sobriety, recovering this crucial self-connection is true recovery.)