Cheryl Thomas
Yog a Instructor
Diets Are Out

The pendulum has swung.  Dieting is out.  Healthy eating and being fit and strong is in.  Just like all pendulums, eating regimens tend to rest in equilibrium before another diet fad or scientific study comes along and starts it in motion again.  We've seen this dozens of times with eggs, coffee, red wine and chocolate.  It's in, it's out. It seems like the middle path is illusive.   

Folks have become very rigid with their diets, which is a good idea, if that means limiting processed foods and sugar. But, taken further, some dieters refuse cooked food, animal protein, including milk and eggs, nightshades (tomatoes and eggplant), sugar, gluten, legumes, oil and grains. This would be considered "clean eating" and a certain NY City blogger with 70,000 followers found she was suffering from a serious eating disorder. Her periods stopped, her hair started falling out and her skin turned orange (from all the sweet potatoes and carrots). She was eventually treated by a psychiatrist for an serious eating disorder.  

Not only are diets out, but fat is in. Both kinds--body fat and consumed fat.  Fat acceptance is everywhere aiming to alter the cultural biases and stigmas against the obese, like Roxane Gay's NYT's best seller, Hunger.  Fat consumption is making a resurgence with Atkins and Atkins-like diets which promote shifting the body into ketosis. Ketosis happens when you starve your body of carbohydrates, it's preferred source of energy, and force it to use stored fat, resulting in weight loss.  High fat diet allow ample eating of eggs, cheese, avocados, oils, butter, fatty meats, nuts. Recommended is even butter or coconut oil in your coffee or tea.

So, if one is to avoid "dieting" and strive for a healthy eating with a dose of exercise, what's a person to do? While in the bookstore at Tassajara, the book The Buddha's Diet, caught my eye.  I don't think the Buddha was worried about squeezing into his 34 waist designer jeans, but he did try dieting. After leaving his posh life as a young man, he took on the life of an ascetic, basically starving himself. After realizing starvation was not helpful for enlightenment, he began teaching the notion of the "middle path" which is the cornerstone and Buddhism and can be the basis for healthy eating.  It's said we should do everything in moderation, including moderation.

I like everything about The Buddha's Diet book and if you're on the weight-loss train, then you might also. This book is not about what to each but when. There is no counting calories or points. No green juice that gets delivered to your door or expensive tonics or shakes.  Meals do not become exercises in deprivation.  There's no fasting like the monks.  You can eat anything you want but not when you want.  

Have you noticed now often we eat?  We're told a hearty breakfast is important (debunked) and not to skip meals.  We eat a snack between breakfast and lunch and then another between lunch and dinner and then more while watching West Wing or reruns of The Simpsons. Then there's the boredom snacking while doing homework or chatting on the phone.  There's even the fourth meal, introduced by Taco Bell (thanks a lot....).  No wonder we are consuming so many calories.  We were not engineered to eat all day and night long.

In the olden days eating a meal took effort and time-- lots of time.  The makings had to be gathered or shot, cleaned, prepared and eaten.  Then there was the clean-up.  This was all done in the daylight hours which, depending on where you lived, was as short as 5 hours. There wasn't time or refrigeration to eat whenever you wanted.

The Buddha Diet suggests a return to a more natural eating timetable. Next week I'll explain more and share about my eating habits. In the meantime, if you want some homework, keep track of when, not what, you eat. I think you may be surprised.  See you next week.

Want to read some of my past articles?.  They're archived right  here  or the blog section of my website:    Enjoy .
Right Speech Practice Right Speech 
There is never a better time than the present to start practicing kind and mindful speech. Here's a wonderful article in  Tricycle entitled:  "How to Practice Right Speech Anywhere, Anytime, and With Anyone".  I especially like this article because it's not only about thoughtful words, but good listening as well.  From the article: 

"Speaking well depends on listening well, and learning how to listen may be one of the hardest things for a human being to accomplish. Impatience, arrogance, desire, and fear can make us poor listeners. We are impatient, eager to say our own thing because we have some other task to check off. We can be arrogant, assuming we are qualified to judge others or that we already "know" both what the other person will say and what it is worth."
Stop Treating 70 and 90 Year Olds the Same
This article in the NYT Well section points out that treatment should be altered for the older and very old.  Their bodies differ biologically. From the article:  

"The sad fact is that we frequently don't know how to best care for the old. Treatments rarely target older adults' particular physiology, and the old are typically excluded from clinical studies. Sometimes they are kept out based on age alone, but more often it's because they have one of the diseases that typically accompany old age. And yet we still end up basing older people's treatment on this research, because too often it is all we have.  Equally troublesome is the failure of studies to measure outcomes that reflect older people's priorities. Most would rather live comfortably and independently for a shorter time than live for a slightly longer time confined to a bed or nursing home." 
Making Hip Openers Safe
Informative video with Suzi Hately about the hip joint, it's location, the muscle groups involved with hip openers and all the compensation that happens for many students.  It's a reminder that the body will make various movements in order to "make the shape" required by the pose and sometimes bypassing the purpose of the pose.  
Tingling and Numbness
At one time or another many of us have had a tingling or numbness in our limbs during yoga. We put our body into weird shapes and it's not unusual that something gets pinched causing an odd sensation. When is this not okay?

Here is Yoga International's article, "What Happens If I Feel Tingling, Numbness, or Shaking During Yoga Class?"  It's here.  

"[M]ove slowly into any stretch that has caused tingling, so you can be aware of the exact moment when the sensation begins. Once you start feeling the pins and needles, "Do not work through it," Reif advises. "Ease up to find the position where the tingling subsides, and breathe there. Pushing further into the restricted range may cause tissue damage." 

Chronic Back Pain Management
With the opioid crisis in full bloom there is no better time than to find alternative ways to deal with pain, especially back pain.  From Vox:

"Millions of back patients. . . are floundering in a medical system that isn't equipped to help them.   They're pushed toward intrusive, addictive, expensive interventions that often fail or can even harm them, and away from things like yoga or psychotherapy, which actually seem to help. Meanwhile, Americans and their doctors have come to expect cures for everything - and back pain is one of those nearly universal ailments with no cure. Patients and taxpayers wind up paying the price for this failure, both in dollars and in health."
Contact Info:

Cheryl Thomas
In This Issue
Diets are Out
70 and 90 year olds
Safe Hip Openers
Tingling & Numbness
Chronic Back Pain

Yoga In Graton 
Come to Yoga in Graton in the sweet Town of Graton and join us. Corina's 90 minute classes are $15 for drop in and a very reasonable $110 for 8 classes.  Denise Hammond teaches a 60 minute class on Mondays and Erin O'Brien on Thursdays at 8:45 for $11 ($13 drop-in)!! or email me at for more info.

Don't live in Graton?  No problem.  We want you to come anyway.  

Quotes I Like

It is shockingly easy to grab a large group of people by the amygdala.  We need to grab them by the heart instead.
Ethan Nichter tweet

You cannot be lost if you don't care where you are.  
Judith Lasater

 When people ask me what equipment I use, I tell them my eyes.
  Ansel Adams 

"Not to have what we want is stressful; to have what we do not want is stressful."  
"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."  
Dalai Lama
"Everything will be alright in the end. And if it is not alright, it's not yet the end!" The Magnolia Hotel movie