- by Dr Chaitra Hegde
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- Jun 01 2017
The key to knocking bad habits for good
When was the last time you actually anticipated about what you were doing when you reached for coffee in the morning, your smartphone to check your email or the candy jar at work? Chances are it’s really been a while. We all run through thousands of persistent behaviors like these a day. Some carry out to make us more methodical, allowing us to gust through small tasks as if by second nature, but others have the possibility to become life damaging or even life threatening. You may get a small blaze from spending money, eating sugary foods, checking your phone, getting intimate with a toxic ex or throwing back another drink, but possibilities are you’re just diverting yourself from pain and stress that you don’t want to consider, taking away yourself from the present moment—and compromising your long-term health and well-being in the proceeding.
Confronting your devils is crucial for breaking bad habits, but many self-help techniques and treatment methods emphasize on describing symptoms, rather than helping you find why you’re reaching for distractions. The key, ideally, may be to reach inward, and that’s where meditation and yoga can help. Experts know that mind-body practices like these can enrich the self-control, self-realization and self-awareness, essential to go through an extensive detoxification. And a 2013 analysis on the competence of mindfulness as a supportive therapy for addiction at Duke Integrative Medicine, a holistic health-research center at Duke University, helps to justify it. Investigators there finalize that mindfulness-based involvements, including yoga, may intensify addiction treatment, recovery and prevention.
For those of us that are confined by unhealthy options on a everyday basis (from junk food to desk-bound evenings in front of the television), it can take great willpower to make more healthful options. The good news for yogis is that your profession can help.
"Yoga’s blend of slow, attentive breathing, average physical effort and heart rate, and balanced independent nervous system, shifting the body and brain into this 'willpower' state,'" explains Kelly McGonigal, PhD, yoga teacher, author of the new book and a psychologist.
"Yoga teaches you how to personify willpower, so we are less likely to respond to every trial with a stress response."
How does it work? Stress puts your mind and body into "fight-or-flight" process, which causes you to respond to challenges spontaneously and aim immediate satisfaction (think online spending sprees, alcohol, food ) Yoga, on the other hand, helps you handle stress, which lets you plan and reflect before you make a decision.
Over time, yoga practices—especially mediation—actually trains the brain for better focus and self-control. Studies show that regular practice makes the "willpower" systems of the brain bigger, better connected, and more efficient, McGonigal says.
So individuals who practice yoga frequently over time find it easier to make more strategic conclusions that can help them in all areas of their lives, including making healthier choices.
Yoga poses to help beat addictions:
Paryankasana or the couch pose:
Paschimottanasana or the seated forward bend pose:
Matsyasana or the fish pose:
Garudasana or the eagle pose:
Sarvangasana or the ‘all member’ pose:
Halasana or the plough pose:
Yogendra Pranayama 3
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