Willpower. By definition, it is the skillful control of ourselves and our conduct. While many of us give it credit for our successes and failures, willfulness alone can sacrifice our ability to surrender and let go into life’s flow. In this issue of our Healthy Living e-newsletter, we show you how willpower is just one piece of the puzzle that fuels change in your life and helps you take right actions—for your body, mind, and spirit.
nutrition notes healthful eating—a dance of physiology, emotion, and habits
Often a guest will land in my office for a nutrition consult at Kripalu and say, “When I’m bad I eat
” and rattle off his dietary ’sins’ in great detail. He’ll say, “And when I’m good I eat
” and report a reasoned, even enlightened diet in union with his ideals and body. For decades, willpower was thought of as a key to success for dietary change. But I find that a deeper understanding of our own physiology as it relates to hunger in combination with a mindful Kripalu yoga perspective alleviates more suffering and yields more effective and lasting change. In the end, dietary change at Kripalu is an exercise in self-study. Read more.
medical insights the willpower instinct
What is the neurobiology behind behavior change? Can breath, exercise, and thought patterns actually change the structure and functioning of the brain itself? Lisa B. Nelson, Kripalu Director of Medical Education, explores the book, The Willpower Instinct
Cathy spoke about willpower like it was a fixed entity, like her brown eyes or thick hair. The notion that willpower is a fluid state, a practice or skill that she could freely develop, was completely foreign to her. To help nudge her out of this misperception, I recommended the book The Willpower Instinct, by health psychologist Kelly McGonigal. Read more.
yoga practice the edge
With the current buzz around yoga injuries, it’s a good time to revisit the concept of the edge, a core component of Kripalu Yoga. The edge is that precise place in a posture where the body finds its optimal stretch and the mind is fully present. Pushing too far brings strain to the body and tension to the mind, whereas backing off too much breeds physical dullness and mental boredom. The idea is to move beyond your comfort zone and challenge yourself in a healthy way. Finding that sweet spot—not too tense and not too relaxed—can be elusive yet oh-so gratifying. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for yogis to habitually move beyond their edge (Type A’s I’m talking to you!), putting themselves at risk of injury. Ouch! This is where the concept of willful surrender comes into play. Read more.
life lessons: the right use of will
Sustained, transformational change happens through the alchemy of mindfulness and the right use of will. Like on the yoga mat, you have to be where you are before you can be somewhere else! Clearly this is one of life’s greatest paradoxes, and it snags us every time. Our tendency is to work diligently to attain a goal without mindfully sinking down into the moment. It is in the moment that we receive the energy, grace, and universal support to shift patterns. Read more.
healthy living programs integrative weight loss
Explore the concepts of willpower and intention with Kripalu Healthy Living faculty. In our Integrative Weight Loss program, you learn how to shift into a natural, balanced relationship with your body and discover ways to lose weight and maintain a healthy body naturally. If you have type 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic and are serious about changing your health and living a longer, more vibrant life, consider our Preventing and Reversing Diabetes program.
Find out more about these programs.
healing arts kripalu bodywork
Massage is one of humankind’s oldest known holistic treatments. In the West, Greek and Roman physicians made extensive use of hands-on therapies to relieve pain and promote healing. In the East, comprehensive systems of health care evolved in China, Egypt, India, and Japan that relied heavily on techniques such as acupressure, reflexology, and Ayurvedic herbal treatments. At Kripalu, we infuse our approach to yoga into each of our bodywork sessions, connecting to the wisdom of the body by focusing on the breath and using guided meditation to deepen awareness and relaxation. Explore all that Kripalu Healing Arts has to offer. Find out more.