One of the more entertaining aspects of having a blog for me is that I can see what phrases people Google to find Lila in the first place. Somedays I get some super random and funny ones. For example, a few of my recent favorites “ashtanga kicks my ass sometimes and sometimes not”, and, “hope for lila blog”, and “support patanjali dream through facebook.”
One phrase, or version of it, that often appears is “how does ashtanga yoga change my body.”
When we talk about how yoga changes our physical bodies we often talk about how it makes us more flexible or stronger and that is all good and true. I love that my Ashtanga practice has given my arms definition and made my big ol’ bootay round. But, one of the most awesome results of my consistent yoga practice is not something you can see by looking at me.
My whole adolescence and early 20s I struggled with hypoglycemia. It was most likely triggered by my bout with anorexia as a 12/13/14 year old, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I had had problems with my blood sugar levels even before that. I should check with my mother – hey Mum? Can you confirm/deny that? Anyways, I’ve never had the most robust constitution. My dear husband often jokingly calls me a “fragile little flower.” Sigh…
I remember when I was in high school and college, if I didn’t consume something with calories within the first 45 minutes of being awake, I would get really woozy, nauseous and shaky. I fainted and blacked out frequently too. If I was denied food for too long, I would become a weepy, spacey mess. I remember in my senior year of college when I was doing my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training we would get up at 4:30 for sadhana. I would be fine for the first few chants, but pretty soon, I would feel so ill and tired because we wouldn’t get to eat until 8:30 am at the earliest. It was not fun.
But, in the past few years, that has all changed. Now my morning goes like this: I wake up, drink a little water, practice for a few hours, come home, shower, tidy up, make breakfast, and then wait for Thad to finish offering it to our house deities before I eat. This means I am typically active for almost 4 hours before I break my fast. And that is rarely ever a problem for me these days.
I credit this new stabilization of my blood sugar levels to my Ashtanga yoga practice because I’ve experienced the change in my body so drastically. I remember those first 6 months of Mysore practice. I would get woozy and uncomfortable very often during practice. I would drag my tired body home after practice, in need of rest and 2 breakfasts! But, over time, I felt light-headed less and less and I would leave Mysore feeling very energized, light and open in my body and read for my day.
If you read through Pattabhi Jois’ “Yoga Mala” you can see all the different beneficial effects on the internal organs the poses of Primary Series have. I imagine, and of course I am not a doctor nor a scientist, that the toning nature on the pancreas and kidneys that many of the asanas have is what has made such positive changes on my blood sugar levels.
Whatever it is, I know the yoga is working, on so many levels. And for this simple physical change, unnoticeable by anyone but myself, I am most grateful.
How has yoga benefited your health and changed your body?
Love and Blessings,