Going against the grain

On January 4th I started a strict elimination diet; cutting out foods such as wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugars, eggs, alcohol, caffeine (and much more). The idea of the diet is that you cleanse your body and allow it to recover by eating only nutrient dense and anti-inflammatory foods for around 30 days and then slowly start reintroducing excluded items to test if they make you feel bad; however certain foods which will always be off-limits. I'm doing this diet because I believe that eating the wrong or too much of the same food has helped cause my body to create autoimmune reactions. It's not just food, it's lifestyle too; so yoga, meditation, sleep and being out in nature are high on my agenda. Science says it is also caused by genetics, but that is something I cannot change.

The food issue is interesting though; I'm now 7 days in and I am really starting to feel the difference. My stomach is behaving different, going to the bathroom is getting less painful -unless I eat raw vegetables- and I seem to have more energy (no need for coffee). The healthier eating also encourages me to do more yoga and meditation though the double edged sword is that it is all very time-consuming; buying, preparing, planning the food I eat and I seem to forever be washing up kitchen appliances. In turn I seem to watch less television and in the little time I have left I want to read the many books I've purchased and understand the science behind it all.

Like with yoga teaching and Thai yoga massage, I sense that I have taken another decision I was meant to make. Another learning curve which will lead me to changes in my life where I heal myself and perhaps can help others who are ill; by teaching yoga, meditation, mindfulness and what I know of diet. I'm not professing to have found the solution which will help everyone, but I am convinced that by creating more awareness and compassion for yourself and your body, it will help you find alternative solutions. For too long I have been trying to find this one medicine, one solution which was going to cure me, but I realise that is a combination of many things in your life; you have to find the things that will make you calm, mindful, exercise and eat well for your body (and that differs from person to person). For me (surprise) yoga is massive contribution to the calm, mindful, meditation and exercise part and it has made me assess my diet. Now it feels like I am addressing many of the factors which can alter my path of health and wellbeing; as the body is amazing as it produces millions of new cells every day and discards the old ones, maybe it will be able to heal itself by me adopting a healthier lifestyle?

I am positive and hopeful for the future, but will need to keep the discipline to stick with it. It is one of Niyamas (one of the limbs of the 8th-limbed path of yoga) which are shaucha (self-purification), santosha (contentment), tapas (self-discipline), svadhyaya (self-study) and isvhara pranidhana (self-surrender) - much more on this on Yoga International.

I learnt all the Niyamas and Yamas (how to treat yourself and others) during my training and they all made sense, but I couldn't fully relate to all of them. It is slowly becoming more real; I am studying myself, trying to clean my mind from negative thoughts, feed my body with good nutrients, train my body with both Yin and Yang, restorative and dynamic yoga asanas. Which all takes discipline; but I feel incredible content and grateful for my life as it is right now. The self-surrender was one of the parts I couldn't relate to very much, but I have always believed that there are many things I do not understand. Now it is starting to change as I am letting go of always having to find facts, knowledge, being in my head; I am starting to use my heart to guide me more, using it with compassion. If it feels right in my heart and soul, the mind can let go of that need to always fully understand, sometimes it is fine not to understand. I'm surrendering to my truth that there is something much bigger, that my brain can just not compute. I am content with that.