One of the main differences between traditional medicine and traditional fitness and an alternative, integrated and holistic approach is the way we view the individual.
Although medical doctors and grunt-room trainers acknowledge the reality of emotions and sometimes of the soul, they have few systems to assess or integrate healing methods for anything other than the physical body.
One of the reasons why we at Total Fitness are so successful is that we realize that every client and every student has five levels of being. All are equally real. All are equally important. Failure to address disturbance in any one area may lead to failure to succeed in changing the physical body, whether the goal is to become healthier or more physically fit. These parts of you include:
The Physical Body: In yoga, we call this the manomayakosha, or body of food. Just understanding the meaning of this Sanskrit name can help you understand why we place such importance on nutrition. You are literally what you eat.
The Energy Body: The pranamayakosha includes three important systems: the breath, the acupuncture system and the seven major energy centers where the acupuncture meridians intersect at nerve plexus centers called chakras. I have helped numerous clients lower their blood pressure—permanently—just by changing the way they breathe.
The Emotional Body: The anamayakosha is the largest part of you. Has anyone ever successfully lost weight, given up smoking, overcome a serious illness or gotten closer to God without addressing their feelings? Scientists including Candace Pert have well-documented that you hold your feelings in your tissues. Change your pain by unburdening your mind.
The Intellectual Body: Our culture tends to overvalue the vijnanamayakosha at the expense of the spirit and often of the body. The best example I see of this is clients who work at jobs that satisfy their ego at the expense of their health and happiness. On the other hand, I have also seen numerous very smart individuals learn how to balance all aspects of their personality and perform even better—on the job and in their personal life.
The Spirit: In yoga, we call this the anandamayakosha, or body of bliss. There is part of you always at peace! All you have to do is learn how to access it. Your First Work Sheet: Healing the 5 Levels to Lose Weight
If you have any doubt that the five levels of your being are real, answer the following questions to achieve your New Year’s weight loss resolutions:
Physical: What do I have to change in my physical body in order to lose weight? (This may include adding an exercise program, changing the way you eat, controlling your portions, learning your ideal metabolic type or many other options.) A few sample answers: Hire a trainer, take up walking, choose the healthiest foods possible.
Energetic: What do I have to change about my energy system in order to lose weight? (It is so common for me to see new clients who are literally too exhausted to lose weight. If you have any doubt about your energy level, ask me how you can have the health of your adrenal glands tested.) A few sample answers: Go to bed earlier, sleep more, meditate. Learn how to breathe so that exercise is invigorating, not exhausting.
Emotional: Is there anything I need to change about the way I handle my feelings in order to lose weight? (Many clients exercise and eat right most of the time, only to sabotage their efforts by bingeing when they are angry or sad. Stuffing your feelings makes you look stuffed and does not resolve the underlying issues. Learn to cry. Get a coach and express your anger appropriately. Find healthy ways of nurturing yourself.) A few suggested answers: Make time to address the fears that have kept you overweight. Join a support group—Total Fitness has a Weight Loss class beginning Jan. 15. Learn to be comfortable with your body—even love it.
Intellectual: Do you need to change your mind in order to lose weight? (Many clients rationalize their unhealthy behaviors. The mind can be the biggest saboteur—until you direct it. I know a new client will succeed when they decide they are willing to do whatever it takes to be healthy and fit, no matter how long it takes. Be 100 percent committed to yourself and you too can be a winner.
Spirit. How can I nurture my spirit in order to lose weight? (This is one of the most commonly neglected areas I see in my practice. As Wordsworth, the poet, said a long time ago, we are far too concerned with getting and spending. One client last year, a single woman I know, worked 14 hours a day—no time for any part of her life but work! Is this you?) A few sample answers: Learn to stop abusing yourself with overwork, overeating and not getting enough rest. Find a way to connect with all that is meaningful—for example, lose weight so you can live a long life to enjoy your family!
Total Fitness Weight Loss Class
Join us for four consecutive Wednesdays, beginning Jan. 15. Cost: $225, or $200 with early registration. Learn the best way to eat for you to maximize your metabolism, uncover hidden blocks to your weight loss, join a supportive group!
This class will be held at the Total Fitness office at 1951 Northside Drive, Atlanta, Ga. For directions and a map, please visit our website, www.totalfitness.net. Time: 7-8:30 p.m.