I’m interrupting the flow of regularly scheduled travel saga to talk about something that’s been on my heart the past couple days…
Ahimsa: Sanskrit word translated as non-violence, non-injury or non-harming
I definitely had an “everything in moderation and some things not-so-much in moderation” mentality while we traveled which, in combination with over 30 hours in the car, lent itself to some snug jeans by the end of two weeks.
In years past, I would have immediately started a cleanse upon returning home, committing myself to being completely miserable both physically and mentally as penance for indulgences and lack of self control. It would have been a rather violent process, usually starting with a salt water flush (which I don’t recommend) a 24 hour juice cleanse (which I also don’t recommend) and a week of actively denying myself anything over 1200 calories of pure vegan greenstock.
This time around, I approached it with gentleness, kindness and mindfulness — and it was amazing. In just a week, my butt is back in my favorite jeans with a little room to spare, I’m feeling vibrant and healthy and not once did I have to deny myself something I really wanted.
(Disclaimer: ahimsa is often used as the basis for vegetarianism which I have practiced in the past and found that it is, actually, harmful for me given my current lifestyle. All in the interpretation.)
Step 1: Get some groceries
In the past 6 months, food and fuel had become a method of self care, ending the mental cycle of “deserve” or “don’t deserve.” The day we got here, I immediately went to Whole Foods and bought a TON of veggies, bulk quinoa, brown rice and oatmeal, some treats like Kombucha and Raw Crackers and a whole organic “happy chicken.” I cooked the chickie up and dug out my rice cooker ASAP and had the fixings for super awesome, happy meals when the family was eating pizza and chinese food that I seriously didn’t want after a week on the road.
Step 2: Get back to yoga
It was an incredibly stressful move involving a lot of family, a limited time frame and very little sleep preceding. My workout plan was to just get back to yoga and be as wonderful to my body as I could, which paid off amazingly as it just felt natural to pick up a kettlebell and get back on my bike after working the kinks out in a few flow classes.
I also knew that it would be difficult for me to commit to a serious sitting meditation at home, and yoga was the perfect combination of moving meditation and few extra minutes after class to sit. This studio is just 8 minutes from our house and *great* about maintaining a quiet practice space before and after, which I super appreciated.
Step 3: Dig out the Juicer
I made 2 days worth of veggie juice at a time, keeping a pitcher in the fridge and just having 8-12 oz/day with my afternoon snack for an extra veggie kicker. Added bonus: you can hide just about anything behind a pitcher of green juice and be pretty much guaranteed that no one will eat it.
Step 4: Get back to kettlebells
I just started easy. A long 12 kg ladder of presses, swings, snatches and rows to wake up some sleeping muscles and grease the groove. Hit some light endurance swings a few days later, and I was back to 24 kg swings for distance by the time I visited a class the following week!
This probably seems pretty ho-hum. There’s no magic in it. No crazy weight loss recorded or emotional high reached. But here’s the truth: I was kind and loving. I didn’t have any sugar for a week. I worked out every day for a week. I ate only organic whole food for a week. And not ONCE did I go hungry, force myself to workout or tell myself what a bad person I was for eating dessert on the cruise.
For those of you who know me pretty well or have trained with me, you know that I am working on a pretty serious paradigm shift in my life and my training. No longer am I standing on a soap box preaching “eat clean, train dirty” because I believe that small, loving shifts in your life over time just make strength and health your home base anyway.
Ahimsa: be kind in this moment, this asana, this kettlebell swing, this glass of water, this salad. Your body knows what it wants. We just have to slow down and grow loving enough to listen to that.