Can Kundalini yoga help you lose weight?
The short answer, if that’s what you’re looking for, is sure! Kundalini yoga can help you lose weight, if that is what you are using it for. There are plenty of aerobic kriyas and metabolism boosting meditations. There’s even a Kundalini Yoga DVD for weight loss, titled “Weight Loss with Kundalini Yoga”, and you can buy it here –> Click!
But that’s the short answer, really. Now here’s the long one and the one that’s more real to me.
Two weeks ago, I was on Tommy Rosen’s Addiction Recovery radio program with Mastin Kipp, and one of the listeners asked, “Can Kundalini yoga could help me lose weight?” I paused. It was after all an addiction show. There were people listening who had surely struggled with eating disorders and food addictions, so my words had to be careful. And honestly, I’ve struggled with eating disorders and food addictions, too, so I needed what I said to be honest and authentic. So I answered, “I’d rather you focus on losing the grief in your heart before you focus on losing the weight on your body.” And I meant it for her because I also meant it for me. In fact, I mean it for everyone.
Then a few days ago I read on the Huff Post, referencing Lisa Bloom’s book “Think”, about how 23% of American woman would rather lose their ability to read than their figures, and I couldn’t believe it. They’d rather lose the ability TO READ. You know…that amazing privilege that allows you to learn, to communicate, to earn a living, to connect with other people and their thoughts, to history? I was horrified. At first, I was upset that women would devalue themselves to that point. Then I got nervous that my sisters out there were devaluing ME; that suddenly the strength of my word carries less weight because my rear end now carries more. Cue insecurity. But then, and this was key… my heart dropped. I remembered that the other person is me, that good old sutra from Yogi Bhajan. And it WAS me. When I was in my early 20s, before I ever took up the turban and the tunic, I measured my success by my jean size, and my size 4 self was quite smug. Even though I had a Master’s Degree and a strong head on my shoulders, I felt that my value had more to do with my ability to turn heads based on my looks rather than my radiance. While I never would have bartered my ability to read, I do remember when gaining a single pound would ruin my week.
I bought into the pop culture belief that to be worth something I had to be beautiful, but “beautiful” was never enough. The carrot kept moving. My desire to be more beautiful and thinner fueled such a hunger that nothing could quench it. Self-punishment, self-restriction and self-loathing followed. It was a painful period of my life. Upon finding Kundalini yoga, my relationship to my body relaxed, and so too did my waist-band. I’ve allowed myself the time and space to get to know the beautiful person I am on the inside. I spend regular time now with my spirit. I can look at my reflection lovingly and treat my body kindly, even though the reflection is bigger than its ever been. That may seem like no big deal to you or even a giant step back, but to me, its huge movement forward. Now from this place of self-acceptance, if I were to use Kundalini yoga for weight loss, it wouldn’t be because I’m punishing myself for being “too fat”. It would be because I’m allowing myself the opportunity to shed a little weight to lighten my load.
The point is this…no matter what your weight, no matter how “pretty” or “unpretty” society thinks you are….there is a spirit within you that is worth getting to know. There is a soul inside of you that has value. Kundalini yoga is the science of getting to know your own spirit. It’s a tool that helps deliver you to a personal experience of your soul. It can help you shed your grief, your anger, your shame, your blame and all the many dramas in your life. It can also help you get healthier in mind, body and spirit. Kundalini yoga makes you happy. It makes me happy. And I happen to think that’s a heck of a lot more important than just losing weight.