No one like me does yoga or meditates!
We are in the midst of an unprecedented mental and physical health crisis The pace of life in the digital age and the pace of social and economic change are simply too great for an increasing number to cope without the use of stimulants, and other health destroying substances.
The statistics are truly alarming! More were lost to opioid overdoses in 2017 alone than the combined wars of Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq combined. The Center for Disease Control says that 4 out of 10 Americans now have a BMI (body mass index) that puts them in the obese category. Teen suicide attempts are on the rise.
In a country of 320 million, approximately 40 million practice yoga, mostly white females who have the disposable income to pay for instruction. Men, who may feel yoga is only for women, and fear being embarrassed because they can’t do the poses the women can do; seniors who may feel they’re too old and inflexible; African-Americans, Hispanics, and stressed-out kids, teens and college students all of whom have their own stereotypes about who does yoga.
In my new book, Yoga on the Yellow Brick Road, Exiting the A.S.A.P. Lane! Calm Your Mind, I describe the nature and scope of the problem, and the good news that there is an exit ramp from this anxious, stressed, addicted and pressured life.
We are blessed at birth with a “pharmacy in the brain”. The four “feel good chemicals”, endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin are available to all of us and can be accessed on a continuing basis through a consistent practice of mindful movement (yoga and meditation).
The Vagus nerve, the most important nerve in the body is stimulated and distributes the calming effect of these natural brain chemicals throughout every organ in the body. Conversely, when we are constantly stressed and anxious, our entire body is being carpet-bombed with cortisol, which has been called public health enemy number one. Some physicians are saying that up to 95% of physical illness is caused by undigested stress. These emotional knots and toxins, just like physical knots, are not only uncomfortable they are health destroying. Most alarming are the statistics showing an increasingly large number feeling that they can’t cope without more pills, alcohol, food, shopping and the like.
The good news message is that yoga and meditation are available to all. The biggest barrier is the stereotype that yoga is only for super-fit females who can do all the pretzel type contortions that others can’t do. Nothing is further from the truth.
Here’s the yoga gospel:
-If you can breathe, you can do yoga!
It’s the breath, not doing the pose correctly that counts
-Do only what you can do, go to your limit, never past it.
Pay no attention to what others in the class are doing
-Mindful breathing is the Yellow Brick Road
Your own path to a calm mind.
-The time is always just NOW!
Not ruminations about yesterday or tomorrow
-MAKE time for health now, or FIND time for illness later
Your body and organs can’t take a lifetime of constant stress
-Your own natural brain chemicals are your wizards
Pills, alcohol, food, shopping are false wizards, just as the Wizard of Oz turned out to be
-Fitness is mind, body and spirit, not just physical
-Commit to consistent practice, the “monkey brain” never takes a break
We’re all born with a ruminating brain