Pranayama for Overeating

This is at best a painful subject, at worst a dangerous one. Compulsive overeating.  You can’t stop it, you can’t help yourself, you just keep eating and eating.  You ignore the pain in your stomach, the screech in your mind that says “What are you doing?!?!” and listen to the darker part of you that pushes you on.  Maybe you only eat a little bit too much.  You’re intending to diet and instead of stopping when you’re not hungry, you eat until you’re full.  Maybe you are fully consumed with an eating disorder, and you are haunted by thoughts of eating, anything and everything, and stuff yourself even more when you think sadly about what you’re doing to yourself.  Feelings of anger, hate, jealousy abound…you don’t want to feel anything, so you replace it with feeling full.  Maybe you’re emotionally distraught from a fight with your loved ones.  Maybe you’ve come home from school where the kids bully you and food is a comfort.  Comfort, stress, emotions, sadness, self-hate…there are many reasons we overeat.

When your eating becomes uncontrollable and an instrument of violence against your own body, its time to take action.  You deserve to be happy.  You deserve to live a life of peace and joy. You deserve a healthy relationship to food and to your own body.  And there is a pranayama, or breathing exercise, that can help you.

Yogi Bhajan, master of Kundalini Yoga, said that compulsive overeating had to do with an imbalance in the “self-depriving factors” in the brain’s eastern hemisphere.  He felt that it could be corrected by activating the left hemisphere of the brain to combat that impulse to overeat that is originating from the right hemisphere.

Pranayama for Overeating

At the time that you feel the urge to overeat, sit in Easy Pose.  Block the right nostril with the right thumb.  Inhale deeply through your left nostril and hold the breath in as much as you can.  Then exhale through the left nostril smoothly and hold the breath out for the same amount of time you held it in.  Continue for 31 minutes.

Yogi Bhajan said that 90 consecutive days of this pranayama for 31 minutes a day would be enough for most chronic cases.  He also cautioned not to overemphasize the breathing.  A nice, slow yogic deep breath is enough.  You should not be putting pressure on the diaphragm.

Give yourself this gift.  Fill yourself with prana, the energy of life that is in the breath, instead of food.  The hardest part will be starting.  You’ll want to continue with your old patterns.  But you can do this, you deserve to do it.  You can fill yourself with light and love instead of food.  It is possible.

(Editor’s Note: If you feel uncomfortable meditating silently for so long, play some music that inspires you.  It can help you time your meditations as well, especially if you pick a 31 minute Kundalini meditation track.  Here are some musical suggestion to support you in your journey towards healing.  Find something that really speaks to your heart.  Just click on the image to get more information.)

On Mirabai Ceiba’s Night in Ram Das Puri, try “Guru Guru Wahe Guru Guru Ram Das Guru” to bring healing.

You could also try Snatam Kaur’s Ram Ram Hari Ram to connect with your authentic Self.

Both tracks on Snatam Kaur’s Release and Overcome would be helpful.  Aadays Tisay Aadays helps the mind let go of its split personalities.  Re Man brings out perfect health to the body.

Singh Kaur’s version of Rakhe Rakanhar will bring the light of the angels to your side.

The healing tones of Ashana’s crystal bowls might resonate deep within you.

You also might find some additional helpful information in this Kundalini Yoga book for addictions:

The pranayama for overeating, as well as many other pranayama and meditations can be found in the book Praana, Praanee, Praanayam.

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