Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…

Sometimes students have written to or asked Swami Veda Bharati, Swami Ritavan Bharati, and other senior teachers in our tradition questions about practice.  This is one such “Question and Answer,” or Q&A.


I suffer from obesity and even though I know that controlling what I eat is solely in my hands, I still can't eat less. I have struggled with my weight and self-image problem since childhood. I got into yoga because of this, to lose weight, but somehow it never left me.


Four have answered this question: Pandit Dabral, Peter Fabian, Stephen Parker (Stoma), and Lalita Arya (Ammaji).

From Pandit Dabral:

Namaste... Dear, it sounds like you need an environment and setting where you are with others who will help you. My suggestion is that you come to our ashram at Swami Rama Sadhaka Grama (SRSG). Plan to stay for a month or two and we will help you in achieving what you want.

Most of the time we ALL are unable to follow a discipline by our own... That is why you need an institution like our ashram. Please come and you will see how easy it is.

From Peter Fabian:

Such a reaching out for help--we can all understand as we all deal with our own challenges too.

There is not a simple answer as you have been dealing with these issues for a long time and they have a life time of habits and mindsets that make changes something that comes over a long time of practice.

Since you are asking in an environment with a spiritual tradition and you express that you are suffering--the path has been outlined on how to remedy and ameliorate this suffering--our philosophy outlines the core principles but the day to day practice is a real key.

Too much to ask here from you in order to begin to properly address your concerns and practices.

With such a chronic issue you really need to be involved with like minded people in your current surroundings to help you develop "your way" of effectively coming into a practice that supports who you really want to become.

Your answers are not here at all I think. Become involved with others who are "actively" seeking change.

Develop the next question that leads you to the next practice which allows you to then assess your next question and practice.

You need to do a lot of work and then while working hard and finding out some things that are working and others that are not--then from there further ask a question.

Re-connect in this tradition in a deeper and meaningful way. You will make discoveries and then you will uncover your true blockages.

Wishing you the best of the tradition with all the love that has been passed from our teachers through to all of us working to reveal our true strengths and live our full lives.

From Stephen Parker (Stoma):

There is a popular misconception that yoga will help people lose weight by raising their basal metabolic rate. This does not happen no matter how vigorous one's asana program may be. What it can do is to gradually help a person to change their relationship with their body starting from accepting oneself wherever you may be. Without this no amount of dieting or exercise will work. Yoga can also gradually help a person understand the emotional habits behind any overeating that may be happening.

It's also important to understand that research is demonstrating that weight and metabolism are heavily determined by genetics. In view of this, permanent changes need to be slow and gradual over a long time.

From Lalita Arya (Ammaji):

I would also like to add that in such situations there might be medical challenges of which we might be unaware. Sometimes some medications cause weight gain or there might be psychological and other problems like Stoma said genetical.

We do not always get a full picture of what might be the causes, but as far as yoga and meditation helping, that is what we can suggest - if there are no other problems, yoga can certainly change habit patterns that might be a cause.

Editor’s Note:

If you have a question about spiritual practice, you can use this link to ask it:  http://ahymsin.org/main/adhyatma-samiti-spiritual-committee.html

To read “Dear Yoga Mentor, My Question Is…” columns, please use this link: http://ahymsin.org/main/practice/dear-yoga-mentor-my-question-is.html



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