EPISODE 6
Losing & Gaining Weight, The Flamenco Pose and Non-Organic Food

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Thomas asks:

I find that when I do The Flamenco pose 1, I can only put my legs about 30-40 degrees to the floor (yes I use a strap) without bending my legs. When doing this pose wouldn’t gravity be working against me as I am not past the 70-90 degree mark?

Also is there any other stretches to help me getting both my legs to the 70 degree mark?

This is a common challenge in The Flamenco pose, you are right, the gravity is not working with you but it’s still very beneficial pose and to get gravity to work with you is to when you hold on to a strap that’s wrap around your foot, make sure your arm is all the way straight and just lean back and the pressure of your straight arm pulling on that strap, that’s gravity helping it. It will go just fine, just stick with it.

Lark asks:

The gravity stretches are really painful for me, making it pretty impossible for me to relax and breathe through them. Do you think I am doing something wrong, or is this a common problem when someone is just starting?

The stretches are intestinally intense and your job is to relax, if you find hard to relax and hard to breath even when it feels really bad in a short turn, in a long turn it means you will get some really amazing benefits and you going to get them very quickly. The key thing is just to do what you can so if you can only relax and breath during those first 30 seconds then do that and build from there, the more challenging it is when you start, the bigger benefits you will see right away.

Chris asks:

I’ve recently switched over to a plant-based diet and I feel great, but I can’t afford to buy everything organic. How much of a difference will that make, eating some fruits and vegetables non-organic?

And also, because of the mineral depletion in our soils described in the movie “Food Matters”, shouldn’t I use a good quality multivitamin daily to avoid mineral deficiency?

This is very complicated question. To eat organic or non-organic and there is no one answer, depends where you live, different countries have different organic regulations, even different states or provinces. Where ever you live it is impossible to eat 100% organic – not everything is available, not everything will be available so you just have to do the best that you can. Couple things to keep in mind: some things are more important than others to eat organic, work with a local grower like if you go to the farmers market. Also wash you fruits and vegetables really well so if you can’t afford getting everything organic just wash your stuff well! Nobody’s does it, nobody even washes the organic stuff. How to wash them well: fill your sink with water, slightly warm water and then add white vinegar, if you don’t have that you can just use salt, good table salt put into sink, you should let them soak like for 15 minutes, to make it kind of a ritual. It’s really effective! The other thing you can do is to peel the non-organic vegetables. Try to buy with local, try to work with the local organic box service.

Sundararajan asks:

I have done yoga and left 4 years back and I put on weight around 89kg, I want to reduce weight around 75 kg.

What should be my diet so that I can reduce and my stomach also.

Weight lost and yoga go hand in hand. When you start this mind-body connection and this mind-body awareness and your brain starts listening to your stomach a lot better. If you practice yoga with an intensity, it can be very helpful. If you want to lose that quantity of weight there area also some other things going on in your life, financial worries, family problems etc. Often something else is going on. Some simple food tricks that sometimes work (they can make a big difference). Don’t drink any calories when you want to lose weight, I mean no juices, milk, coffees with sugar. You can drink water, water with little lemon in it, you can drink herbal teas with nothing else in them, non caffeinated teas. Don’t eat any bread and if you want to take step further, don’t eat any rice, any grains at all. If you eat those regularly and if you get rid of them, you could lose like 5 – 10 kilos just by that. That’s a good way how to start, we will talk about losing weight more in the future. GI Cleanse

Esther asks:

I’m a yoga teacher but because I’ve been a runner in the past (serious runner) I have super tight hips still.
Should I do the hip stretches every day? Is there a chance of injury if I do?

Also, how do I know that my restriction isn’t bone on bone compression? Is there a way of finding out if that is the issue instead of just tight connective muscle?

Runners have often very tight hips so yes, you should do the stretches every day, if you have a problem area, work on it every day. The way how you know you do too much is if the next day when you try to stretch it just feels too intense, too much pain.

Yes, with yoga as with anything, there is a chance of injury so just listen to your body, take it slow, make sure you are breathing, don’t try to push too hard.

Emily asks:

I don’t need to lose weight. In fact, I need to gain. I’m 5’4″ and 100 pounds. I want that little extra ability to stretch completely and move into classes to help me learn more poses. What kinds of foods do you recommend for weight gain with the raw diet?

If you are eating a raw food it’s very difficult to gain weight. It just depends on your body. If you try to gain weight one of the simplest way how to do it is to add liquid calories, just to make sure you add healthful liquid calories, I like to use the yoga protein-brown rice protein, easy protein shake, if you drink that before meal it won’t affect your hunger at all so it’s really easy way how to add some calories without your body noticing. Another way how to add calories is to eat 1 – 2 table spoons of raw processed coconut butter or coconut oil in the morning. Just make sure you get lots of fat.

Rauf asks:

Please could you help me with part 2 of the hamstring stretch (The Flamenco)? Following lying down holding your leg straight in your eBook states “next, using your right hand only open the leg to the right…” and has a diagram I am slightly confused as to whether I am bringing my leg down (from straight up in the air) to the right- or if I am bringing the leg from it laying on the floor in front of me.

When you start to do the crosses, when you first open your leg up to the right and the other part when you cross the leg to the side, you going to find that your leg is up in the air so your leg wont probably go all the way down on the floor. The key thing here is just hang with it, let your leg dangle in the air if it needs to but keep your arms straight and your legs straight. Everybody wants to bend their arms, their legs, don’t do it. Figure out how to keep your arms and legs straight and there is when you get the maximum benefits.

Aggie asks:

I have been practicing yoga for 5 years. Up until 1 year ago – my flexibility was quite good. In the last year I have been noticing that my flexibility is not easily reached. I find that my hamstrings are very tight and even bending in a simple forward fold is hard to do unless I am really warmed up. I practice yoga 6 times per week.

Do you know if it is normal to have set backs like this? PS my diet has not changed over the last year.

This is really weird so something is going on. If you are still practicing the same thing and getting stiffer, something is going on with your nutrition or you are doing something else meaning you start to do some kind of a resisting training or playing tennis, jogging or something like that. Take a look on what you are doing, something has changed dramatically in your body, the other option, maybe you are taking some new medications but you should never reverse flexibility unless you are doing something what had it happen.

Barbara asks:

I am fairly active – yoga, jazzercise and once a week tennis lesson.
Recently, I have started to have a lot of trouble with tennis elbow. It hurts the most during tennis and in some positions in yoga and when lifting weights.

I do not want to stop my activities. Do you have any advice?

All your joints, your knees, your lower back, your elbows, your neck you got to be really careful. If you push little bit too far with your muscles, they get sore, your joints, they can go really bad. I don’t have any great recommendations for tennis elbow. Yoga of course helps, what I would suggest doing is try to really cut back on the tennis and increase yoga. If yoga is not helping cut back that as well but you should work with someone locally and if you get in pain I would definitely take it seriously, believe in it because it can get really bad.

Joey asks:

I am having trouble with the first stretch on the back day. I don’t feel it in my back. Can you help?

First stretch in the back day is The Lightning Bolt. If you don’t feel it in your back, that’s ok, you are not suppose to feel it in your back. When increasing the flexibility of the spine we increase the flexibility of all the muscles that support the spine. If you don’t feel it in your back, don’t despair, you are doing the right thing, take it slow, keep practicing – that’s one of the most powerful poses. Quit Coffee