By Atiba Madyun
“Look at your belly” I told my uncles.
“Laugh now, it could happen to you,” they warned.
I didn’t believe them until a few months ago, when my nephew said “Uncle Tiba I have a six pack.” I touched my stomach remembering their warning.
Years ago, I worked out often and ate all the ice cream and fried chicken I wanted. As my thirties came, then went, my work travel increased. Maybe, you can relate. The pounds didn’t come off as fast. Hotel and fast food became a part of my diet. My doctor cautioned, “you are borderline hypertensive.”
On this journey, six years ago, I attended my first hot yoga class. My second was four months ago. After both, I reflected on the bad things in my body. My stamina sucked, flexibility was horrible, and I didn’t like what I saw in the mirrors.
After some soul searching, I knew it was time to fix my mind, body and soul. I remembered something my great-grandmother used to tell us, “One step at a time and that done well is a very good thing as many can tell.”
Four months ago, at my girlfriend, Amanda’s encouragement, I started going to yoga at the studio she founded, Mind Your Body Oasis (MYBO). I was curious about her studio and wondered, “can yoga get off some weight and improve my optimal health.” Little did I know, she was moving me in the direction of building a healthier mind, body, and soul.
Amanda’s studio offers a holistic approach to achieving goals like mine. She kept saying “I know from personal experience, as well as working with my clients, that nutrition is 80% of losing and maintaining weight, reversing and preventing chronic illness, living optimally, and aging gracefully. The rest is knowing how to prevent the damages of stress hormones, exercise/physical movement and mind/body connection.”
She introduced me to the benefits of eating organic vegetable/foods, wild caught fish, grass fed beef, free range chicken, eliminating almost all wheat and sugar from my diet. Then encouraged me to try a 10 day detox. I did and the results were and still are hard to ignore.
After completing the detox, my energy increased. So did my desire to practice yoga and exercise. And then, yoga and exercise made me want to maintain the nutrition path the detox showed me. Now, I’m closer to having those abs back!
Yoga has made me push myself more and test my limits. In turn, I have found greater balance, stability and inner peace. My poses aren’t perfect. There’s endless practice ahead. It will be an endless journey but as I stretch my boundaries, and my stamina increases, guess what? I feel better even though I am still awkward with my poses. As I look in that mirror, I appreciate the journey, because after each practice, I can do more. And I see myself inwardly making progress.
As a thinker, I appreciate how yoga tests my mind and body and I am achieving greater mental and physical balance. Concentration on breathing during practice has brought greater inner peace outside class. I look inward out instead of outward in. This mindfulness brings greater calm, awareness, compassion and peace in my humanity and greater spiritual awareness. Above all, its brought love and peace to being human.
My friend, who introduced me to yoga said, “If everyone practiced yoga once a week, we wouldn’t have any more wars.” I think it would wonderful if everyone practiced once a week. I believe it would happen bring inner peace to a lot of people that would turn into outward peace for many more.
I can’t convince you to change your diet, or detox and practice yoga. I am simply sharing a window into my journey. Perhaps, one day soon, you will try yoga, detox or both.
What do you have to lose?
Mind Your Body Oasis provides an Oasis to escape the rigors of daily life. MYBO offers Yoga, Hot Yoga, Pilates, health coaching, acupuncture and massages and other services. It is located in the middle of Crystal City and Arlington, Virginia. To learn more about MYBO and its services please visit http://www.mindyourbodyoasis.com.
Atiba Madyun is the President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm based in Washington, D.C. and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR) and Party Politics (PP). Follow on Twitter @atibamadyun or Like Atiba Madyun on Facebook.