Yoke Hatha Yoga With the Raw Foods For Superb Health by Tonya Zavasta
Since writing my two books, Beautiful On Raw: UnCooked Creations and Your Right to Be Beautiful: How to Halt the Train of Aging and Meet the Most Beautiful You, about my exploration and acceptance of the raw food lifestyle, I have added another important dimension to my health regimen. Hatha Yoga. I firmly believe that Hatha yoga practice has to be an integrated part of the raw food lifestyle.
I discovered and converted to the raw lifestyle in an effort to gain the peak of health, endurance and healing that I needed to ensure that I would be able to maximize the results of my upcoming surgical ordeal.
I was born in Russia with congenital hip problems that could not be corrected. For 45 years, I lived with one leg shorter than the other. After immigrating to the United States, I prepared for the surgery that would ultimately replace my hips and allow me to walk without a limp.
I was thrilled with the results of the surgery and felt that much of my ability to heal from such massive trauma was from being on the raw food diet. I saw yoga classes at the gym and decided to try it. But group classes were too hard for me. I finally had to take private lessons that worked with my limitations.
As I described in my books the raw food lifestyle dramatically improved my appearance, but it was helpless in restoring my symmetry. When I began practicing yoga, my legs would not meet. My pelvis was askew so that my left hip stuck out. I have lived like the Leaning Tower of Pisa for so long that when I was straightened, I still felt as though I would topple. After numerous surgeries and being asymmetrical for so many years I was fused like a badly sewn dress.
Improvement has been slow however. After years of pain I guarded my hips as though they were gold nuggets. During my yoga poses whenever my legs, especially the right one, were expected to respond independently, my whole body rushed to assist my legs. Our yoga session was not about rehabilitation to restore something that was once there, but we had to create a symmetry that had been shifted at birth. It took nearly 100 private one-hour sessions to achieve the breakthrough. As everything that was crooked gradually straightened; everything that was weak strengthened; everything that was tight, relaxed I felt as if a wave of new emotions surfaced.
Yoga instructor’s hands pushed me beyond my core being through the darker places and into a comforting light, expanding and healing my emotional self as well. It seemed that the tight, inflexible muscles were limiting not only my motion but my emotions as well. My body was a bunker holding me rigid while it held my shattered dreams and unfulfilled expectations captive.
As I expanded my mobility, I released my fears, the bitterness trapped inside me and all of my deep seated insecurities. Suddenly, new possibilities exploded around me. Due to Hatha yoga I have improved tremendously and would not give it up anymore than I would go back to eating cooked food.
I owe all of my health-my transformation from distortion to harmony-to a combination of the raw food diet and yoga. I can now practice 90 minutes of serious stretching everyday. My ability to recover and heal is the result of my raw food diet. I am stretching the scar tissue and since it is stronger and more resistant than regular tissue, I would never be able to practice yoga daily without the miraculous benefits of raw foods.
Yoga and the raw food diet offer many similarities in the ways they benefit the body. Yoga books describe the same euphoric experiences I have found in the raw food diet. Both purify and heal the body. Both offer powerful therapeutic effects in dealing with physical and psychological problems. Both promote radiant health.
Yoga is a systematic program whose sole purpose is spiritual. However the unhealthy condition of the average human body is a major obstacle to spiritual practices such as meditation, prayer and self-realization.
Running, swimming and weight lifting are great for muscle building but do little for connective tissue. It is the flexibility of the joints and of the connective tissues that gives us the feeling of ease and lightness in the body.
Think about that thin film running under the skin when you peel back chicken skin. It is called fascia. Humans have it, too. It runs under the skin throughout the body and even envelopes each individual cell. All major systems of the body—the circulatory and nervous systems, the muscular-skeletal system, and the various organs are cocooned in connective tissue. Tensions carried through the connective tissues are responsible for all the movements of the body.
Now imagine a young plant. It is pliable and limber when it’s young, but becomes hard, dry, and brittle with age. So with the human body, which tends to stiffen and tighten as we age. The body becomes choked in a net of shrunken and rigid connective tissues like constrictive body armor that is not only solidifying but shrinking by the minute. Every system of the body, every organ, every cell is being subjected to internal strangulation.
Connective tissues are tough and fibrous. Your connective tissue doesn’t respond to brief, repetitious stretches the way muscles do. They stretch best when pulled with steady tension like rubber band. Holding postures for a few minutes with moderate stress will cause the body to develop longer and thicker tissues.
Yoga postures and the raw food diet make you more alive. Each practice complements the other, bringing many of the same physical and mental benefits. Asanas and the raw food diet are alike liberating, energizing, and exhilarating. As I practice the raw food lifestyle with regular Hatha yoga, my sense of feeling clean, good, and pure gradually becomes so prevailing that it permeates every part of my life. My emotions undergo a deep cleansing and healing paralleling similar changes in my body.
Asanas increase your strength, stamina, and flexibility. Combined with raw food nourishment, yoga postures release tension and relieves pain even more effectively. You’ll find startling the resulting enhancement in your looks, improvement in your posture, and your better skin and muscle tone. You’ll feel your vitality brought by Asanas to a new lofty height.
Yoga postures gently stretch the connective tissues that encase our joints, renewing our physical elasticity. Asanas lubricates the body, increasing circulation and flexibility. Stretching, twisting, bending forwards and backwards, vigorously massages various organs. Holding poses combined with proper breathing move stagnated blood that improve the flow of fresh nutrients and drains away impurities. It relaxes tense, pained areas of your body and strengthens weak areas.
Both practices—asanas and the raw food lifestyle—have their limits. For example, if the ligaments or other fibrous connective tissues are shortened as a result of injury or inactivity, raw food will definitely make stretching easier. But your food won’t do your stretching for you. On the other hand, there are many people who practice asanas regularly yet still struggle to achieve their optimal weight. Adopting the raw food diet will make a world of difference in that situation. Great as are the benefits of each, they’re finite benefits. For the best possible results, use them in tandem.
Raw food will make your constriction less rigid, but it is Hatha yoga that will stretch your tissue. Raw food furnishes the body with the best material for optimal health. Hatha yoga helps the body to make the most of it.