Over half of Americans live with a chronic illness, primarily due to the overconsumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. In our society, the overabundance of delicacies is hard to resist. However, that momentary pleasure is fleeting. It is unhealthy to overeat, and when that becomes a habit, eventually we become addicted to food and can’t stop eating. However, studies have found that yoga and meditation can help stop the cycle of addiction.
Regrettably, people become addicted to sugar and carbs. In fact, their brain’s circuitry goes haywire when they come into contact with these addictive foods, and their mind assigns supreme value to that food. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain found that addicts’ neural circuitry kicks into high gear when the brain yearns for the product of addiction.
Your body may have fallen prey to the accumulative effects of sugar and wheat that are ingrained in so many of our culture’s food habits. Two hallmarks of addiction include persistent desire and repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop. Being addicted to food is like having an alien inside of you who takes control of your body and eats a bunch of unhealthy food. You can’t stop it. Sugar and wheat hijack your body. Your own willpower is never enough. Understanding that food addiction is not a lack of self-control, but a rewiring of the brain, helps you to be more compassionate with yourself.
But don’t lose hope because you can rewire your brain back to normal again—foods containing sugar and wheat cause the release of an excess amount of dopamine, a feel-good neurohormone. But dopamine also releases when you go for a walk, do yoga, meditate, cuddle your kids, or pet a dog. So when you crave that unhealthy snack, get your dopamine from a positive habit.
In addition, mindfulness exercises such as yoga and meditation help train a person to pay attention to cravings without reacting to them, and therefore, help kick the addiction. The idea is to ride out the wave of intense desire. As a person becomes more mindful she notices why she wants to indulge. Meditation quiets the part of the brain that can lead to a loop of obsession.
I’ve created an assortment of yoga products for you. Yoga for Beginners improves your flexibility, relieves stress, and gives you inner peace. Scripture Yoga includes over twenty biblically theme-based classes to focus on while performing the yoga poses. These books are for beginners, and the yoga poses are easy to perform.
I produced two Christian yoga DVD’s Scripture Yoga: What the Bible Says About Prayer and Christian Yoga: God’s Mighty Angels. Two sets of yoga decks are available How to Receive God’s Peace and The Fruit of the Spirit. Please visit my website at ChristianYoga.com for more information.