healthy eating

Lesson From India - Create Routine to increase serenity

When I registered for the 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program at The Krishnamacharya Yoga School (KYM) in Chennai in 2017, I didn't realize just how much I'd learn. Since I had already completed 200 hours of training in the US and had been teaching for 9 years at that point, I thought I had a good understanding of yoga. Turns out I had a good understanding of āsana, but a very limited understanding of everything else yoga has to offer.

One thing I learned that has been key to cultivating Serenity in my busy life as a wife, mom, business owner, and yoga teacher, is the importance of developing a routine. I know that "routine" may sound impractical to many people, but I invite you to be open-minded and hear me out.

Yoga and Ayurveda (the Indian system of health and healing) teach about the importance of eating and sleeping at fixed times each day. Can you imagine my confusion when I was filling out the New Student paperwork at KYM and it asked if my meals, sleep, and bowel functions were "regular". What they meant was, are they on a regular schedule. Hmm, why would this be such a priority that they'd put it on their intake form?

Well, it turns out that our bodies function best with routine. If we can manage to develop a consistent sleep schedule, our quality of sleep improves, our health improves, and even our appearance improves. If we eat on a consistent schedule, our digestive system regulates and knows when to expect food and when to rest. We avoid getting hangry. We begin to understand our body better and we get a better feel for how much food it needs.

The same goes for all of our daily responsibilities. If we have a fixed time for all our regular tasks, we greatly reduce our stress and experience more Serenity.

I encourage you to sit down with your calendar and spend half an hour brainstorming and organizing your weekly schedule. You can start with baby steps - make a sleep routine and start putting it into practice. When you feel ready for the  next step, make a meals routine and start putting that into practice. Once you get the hang of those, you can start organizing more of your daily and weekly responsibilities into your routine.

As your daily habits become more routine, your body and mind are less stressed, and you'll begin to experience more Serenity.

I'd love to hear what you think about this idea, and how this exercise goes for you! If you have a minute, please shoot me a note and let me know how it goes.

All the best,

Signature with photo.png

P.S. This weekend is the start of my 4-week series, Yoga for Fibromyalgia. I'll be teaching gentle yoga postures and breathing techniques designed to calm the nervous system and reduce pain and the symptoms of Fibro. Please share this with a friend or loved one who may be interested.

The Mysterious Eating Habits of Thin Fit People

I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of fit business colleagues for lunch over the past couple of weeks, and I have to tell you I was pretty shocked by their eating habits. Not that they had bad table manners or anything like that. What was shocking to me was what and how they ate.

You know I'm not the most fit person on earth. I could stand to lose 15 or 20 pounds, but I do take pride in knowing a thing or two about nutrition. I follow a mostly vegetarian diet, but I do eat more refined carbs than I should and I love ice cream. I think I eat more healthfully than a lot of people.

That's why eating lunch with my fit women colleagues was such a shock. On two different occasions, these two women ordered what I perceived to be snacks as their meals. They ordered SOUP and SALAD!

Whenever I eat at a restaurant, I usually order a salad or split an appetizer and then enjoy an entree. And I normally eat EVERYTHING on my plate. So this bird-like eating was a big surprise for me and it got to thinking more about portion sizes and my food choices.

To get a professional opinion about healthy eating habits, I talked to my friend and yoga student Linda Bittel, who is a health coach and who recently completed an intensive training in nutrition. Her thoughts and guidance were really interesting to me.

Here are Linda's 5 Easy Tips for Healthy Eating:

  1. Practice awareness. Just like we practice awareness in yoga, we should practice being aware of the signals our bodies send when we eat different kinds of foods. For example, sugars and refined carbs may give you a quick energy boost, but after they are digested you suffer an energy slump. And it may please your taste buds to finish every bite on your plate, but that heavy feeling you carry around after the meal is a good indicator you made a bad eating choice.
  2. Eat for your well-being! Eat for sustained energy, well-rounded nutrition, and to nourish your body and mind.
  3. Plan ahead so you can eat at home. Designate a couple of hours a week for menu planning, grocery shopping, and food prep. Chopping vegetables and pre-cooking meat can be time-savers when you need to get a quick dinner on the table for your hungry family.
  4. Don't let yourself get too hungry. Keep healthy snacks on hand for emergency situations when you're forced to go too long between meals. Extreme hunger leads to extreme eating, so it's best to plan ahead and not risk it.
  5. If you have to eat in a restaurant, be mindful and go back to Linda's first tip: Eat for your well-being! Restaurant food is often loaded with fat and salt that make it taste delicious. Consider sharing an entree with a friend or ordering soup and salad to stay on track with healthy eating.

After witnessing the mysterious eating habits of my fit friends and hearing Linda's 5 Easy Tips, I really feel motivated to start making some changes in my eating habits. How about you?

Do these tips motivate you to revamp your eating habits? What #1 easy change do you plan to make right away? And what are your own personal favorite tips for sustained healthy eating?

Please share your thoughts in the Comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Lots of love, Zelinda

P.S. If you enjoyed this post and you'd like weekly nuggets of wellness inspiration delivered to your inbox, click here to receive our weekly newsletter. And if you think a friend might enjoy this post, copy and paste the link to this page in an email and send it to them.