As a sorta, kinda, not really, but what the hell follow-up/appendix to IAYB’s recent post on Kathryn Budig’s discussion of bodily curvatures, I thought I’d drop a link to this amazing piece of Elephant Journal literature, “Three Reasons Why Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight,” which features this all-too-common trope:
When your body is toxic, it means that your detoxification organs (such as your liver and kidneys) may not be working effectively. When these organs aren’t working optimally your body will tend to hold on to excess weight.
This idea that the body is toxic—a common theme that seemingly floats throughout all spiritual/yoga/”health” circles—is one that has always made me feel uncomfortable. Aside from the fact that high levels of potentially dangerous pathogens in a body does not necessarily equate to obesity (consider your extremely unhealthy, chain-smoking, ninety-two-year-old skinny grandmother), the whole idea that the body is “toxic,” and thus needs to be “purged” is a really intense way to think about what’s actually going on inside those sloppy organs of yours. So, while Katrina Love Senn is correct in stating that by introducing an abundance of useless matter that unnecessarily stimulates receptors in the body that might otherwise benefit from not being stimulated (i.e. growth hormones), the idea that this directly relates to weight gain is tenuous at best. At least as far as I understand it.
Anyway, no one wants to hear about that. What people really want to know is whether or not yoga can help you to lose all that evil lazy weight? Right? That’s what’s most important. Getting that summer yoga body the Sadie Nardini way!
So, can a regular yoga practice help you lose weight? Sure! So can walking regularly, swimming regularly, jumping regularly, laughing regularly, and having sex regularly.
Although, will practicing asana actually help you understand why you want to lose weight in the first place? Probably not. It might make a little room in that twisted noodle of yours for you to maybe think about maybe thinking about looking into that quandary, but ultimately a good therapist is gonna be your best non-friend on that journey.
And, that’s ok. Having a great therapist is like having your own personal witch on the hill who tricks you into unpacking your stinky spooky laundry. So, it’s cool. Embrace it.