Tuesday, July 19, 2016
To breathe or not to breathe
Surely we must breathe. It is one of the most basic, automatic things we do. And if we don't, we die, right?
Surely we must eat. Again, same words. But what is really true about either statement?
We don't need to breathe all the time. Just take a look at this beautiful and peaceful dance between a freediver and a whale shark. So much time without a breathe. We can train our minds and our bodies. And then we can be somewhat more in charge of who we are and how we are.
And what about eating? Well I'm doing a bit of an experiment lately. Been doing it for a little under a month. It's called intermittent fasting (IF). And basically, it means not eating for the majority of the day. Or alternatively, eating during a relatively short period of time during the day. Perhaps a 6 hour window to eat, and 18 hours not eating.
It's just another form of fasting. Something that has been done for millennia -- both borne of necessity, and of choice, often associated with spirituality.
I'm not drawing any conclusions so far; the experiment will continue for the foreseeable future. Except two things. First, when I don't eat in the morning, I'm no longer hungry either. I'll either drink water and/or black coffee. I really enjoy how it makes me feel. Second, I am as a result, much more mindful about whether I need to eat due to hunger (or other conditioned signals). Much more so than I was before. I think this is perhaps the greatest benefit.
I'm sure I am eating less each day than if I was not IF, so that will contribute to some weight loss, but so far, nothing dramatic. Maybe 5 lbs over 3 weeks. But maybe you have heard the term: Hara Hachi Bu. It's what the Japanese call eating until you are 80% full. Still a little hungry. Not stuffed to the gills ;-)
It is the place I think I want to be. This little article has a quick summary on it:
So anyways. We must breathe, but we can control those conditions for when we breathe, how frequently, and how long in between breaths we want to go. And the same is true for eating as well. Who would have thought you could learn that from a video of a lean freediver and a whaleshark ;-)
Enjoy more by doing less. Namaste.