Scientists exploring depths of matter or even vastness of space, are discovering how everything is seemingly related to ENERGY. Would it be surprising then to think that your excess weight might also be a result of misplaced energy?
Being happy, excited, anxious, sad, stressed or depressed, indicates presence of Restless Energy. Researchers relate these feelings to be a play of hormones (Ref1). But what are hormones really? They are simply chemical signals to the cells of the body. And are signals, not a form of energy?
Restless Energy and its Effect on our Senses
Restless energy makes us a slave to our senses. It keeps us busy in the world outside. We want to keep our minds busy by constantly feeding it information, hands busy in scrolling mobile screens or tapping on our laptops, our eyes and ears also need a constant source of entertainment. Filled with this restless energy, our senses that guide our food intake, i.e. our nose and tongue, also crave rich flavours and indulgent foods.
This energy generated from a restless state of mind, affects appetite and also gives rise to cravings.
Every time you go on a diet, your will power has to fight these sense cravings. Your senses revolt the denial to indulgent food and those hormones kick in, making you constantly feel under fed and deprived (Ref2). And we all know how most diets end. With weak will power you lose this war against your senses.
How Yoga and Meditation Help
This is where Yoga and Meditation come in. Yoga is the practice of bringing your body in balance by calming your restless energy. In meditation you further cultivate this calmness, strengthening your will-power to take back control of your mind.
Research shows that yoga increases adherence to physical exercise (Ref3), aids behavioural and emotional regulation (Ref4). It is also recommended as a complimentary treatment for smoking cessation (Ref5) and helpful in treatment of stress, anxiety and depression (Ref6). The benefits are immense and all are related to a state of mental calmness that stimulates self regulation.
The effect of Meditation is even more over-arching as it enters the realm of neural activity and also pain management (Ref7,8).
In essence, they both work to free you from being a prisoner of your senses. You should use them as tools to increase your mindfulness and the next time maybe that chocolate dipped cake will not seem so tempting.
PS: The reference to ‘Yoga’ and Meditation here is as originally defined in Patanjali’s Raja Yoga (Ref9), the ‘eight limbed’ yoga with techniques to promote well-being and balance mind-body-brain functions.
This article is inspired by Guru Paramahansa Yogananda Ji’s lessons in Self – Realisation
Ref1: Dfarhud D, et al. Happiness & Health: The Biological Factors – Systemic Review. Iran J Public Health 2014. 43(11): 1468-77
Ref2: Nora D Volkow, et al. Reware, dopamine and the control of food intake: Implications for obesity. Trends Cogn Sci. 2011 Jan; 15(1): 37–46
Ref3: Bryan S, et al. The effects of yoga on psychological variables and exercise adherence. Altern Ther Health Med. 2012 Sep-Oct;18(5):50-9
Ref4: Tim Gard, et al. Potential self-regulatory mechanisms of yoga for psychological health. Front Hum Neurosci. 2014; 8: 770
Ref5: Beth C Bock, et al. Yoga as a complimentary treatment for smoking cessation in women. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2012 Feb; 21(2): 240–248
Ref6: Michael D Manincor, et al. Establishing key components of yoga interventions for reducing depression and anxiety and improving general well being. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015; 15: 85.
Ref7: Fadel Zeidan, et al. Neural correlates of mindfulness meditation – related anxiety relief. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2014 Jun; 9(6): 751–759.
Ref8: F. Zeidan, et al. Brain mechanisms supporting modulation of pain by mindfulness meditation. J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 6; 31(14): 5540–5548.