Got A Craving? Give This Breathing Exercise A Try
Ever feel like your cravings are out of control?
There was a time in my life when it seemed like mine were. No matter how much willpower I mustered, I'd constantly find myself giving in to them—and it wasn't pretty. The overwhelming urge to eat would take over and fuel yet another round of the vicious cycle.
Cravings can sometimes mean that the body is missing nutrients, and sometimes they're out of habit. But they can also be a sign that our bodies are processing something on an emotional or energetic level.
According to the teachings of Kundalini yoga, compulsive and uncontrolled eating—the kind that happens when you give in to cravings—is the result of factors in the brain. Yogi Bhajan taught this practice called "restraining compulsive eating," which helps fight the impulse in the brain that says, "I must go and eat."
It's best to do this breathing exercise when the urge to give in to your cravings affects you. So if you find yourself craving sugar at 3 p.m. while you're at the office, do yourself a favor and find a few minutes of privacy to do this practice, even if it's in a bathroom stall.
Sit cross-legged on the ground and straighten your spine. If you can't sit on the floor, sit up nice and straight in a chair, with both feet planted firmly on the ground.
Bring your right hand up to your face and block the right nostril with the right thumb. Inhale deeply through your left nostril. Hold the breath in for as long as you can. Exhale through the left nostril and then hold the breath out for the same amount of time you held it in.
Keep your diaphragm relaxed at all times.
Make sure your breaths are long, slow, and deep as you inhale and exhale through the left nostril.
Check that you aren't straining the breath as you inhale and exhale. If you're gasping, try shortening how long you're holding the breath in and out until you can breathe smoothly.
If you find that you can hold the breath in longer than you can hold the breath out or vice versa, that will even out with practice.
Start with three minutes at a time. You can work your way up to as much as 31 minutes per day. If you're a chronic compulsive eater, try doing this practice for 90 consecutive days to help break the pattern of giving into your cravings.
For more guidance, check out this video:
Yoga is incredible for keeping your body & mind healthy. Ready to learn about how the power of food can also create a sound body & mind? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.