My very first blog post spoke of my reasons for being on this journey. This journey is clearly much more than about just losing weight. Sure, that’s one of the benefits of it all, but it never has never been my sole intention. There is so much at stake and life is far too short to stay on the surface.  Many of you know that I am an Elementary School Principal. One of my passions, besides getting healthy, has always been reading and learning. I spend a lot of time reading and some of the books that I love are about personal growth. In order to win at life, you need to address your whole being, spending equal time developing yourself physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Many times when we embark on these health journeys, we put a heavy emphasis on the physical component of it. We exercise constantly and see some results. We continue to exercise, but often begin to lose our motivation. We blame lack of weight loss, sore muscles, lack of time or just plain boredom with the routines. The reality is, aside from making exercise a daily habit, until you change your mindset you are likely going to give up. When I first walked into a yoga studio many years ago, I was immediately in love with the fact that it addressed my emotions. There were workshops, readings and just about anything you needed to grow spiritually and emotionally. Coupled with the physicality of the yoga practice, it was truly a life changing experience for me. Yoga really helped me to realize why I had failed so many times before.  It helped me to drill down and reexamine the way I was approaching this path I am on.

One of the first books recommended to me by my yoga teacher is still one of my favorites. It has lessons that reach far beyond the walls of the studio.   Feeding my mind with activities like reading this book, listening to educational podcasts, or taking time to run in the early light of morning have helped me in so many ways.  This book in particular has been one that I think of often in my day to day life.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)

Inside the pages of this book are four life lessons that we all can draw upon in our daily lives.  Now especially, with our world in constant turmoil, with tensions running so high, I find myself relying on it heavily.  The four agreements are –

  1. Speak with Integrity – Your word is everything!  Say only what you mean and avoid negative self talk and gossip.  Use your words to speak the truth and of love.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally -Remember always that nothing others say or do is because of you, it is really a projection of their own reality.  Be immune to the opinions and actions of others and you will avoid much suffering.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions – Do your research before you make an assumption about someone or something.  When in doubt save your energy and don’t worry about it.  Ask and be direct rather than fretting and worrying about things. Be sure.
  4. Always Do Your Best – Under any and all circumstances do your best each and every day.  Yes, your best will vary depending on the situation, but do the best you can at all times and you will never be full of self regret.

You can surely see how these four agreements are about way more than yoga.  I use them in my daily life and often at work.  They really are about making a mindset shift and approaching life from a position of self love and positivity.

The second book I read, more recently, was one that I am still processing.  I liked it because the author brought in spirituality and I believe that is another important piece of the package.  Surprisingly, he is talking about Christian principles in the book and there were several quotes from the Bible.

40 Days to Personal Revolution

This book was used in a course I took with the same title at a yoga studio.  We worked on looking at how our past events shaped the person we are today.  We made peace with any unresolved issues and learned principles to help us become stronger emotionally.  Baron Baptiste—one of the world’s most beloved master yoga teachers—inspired us to transform more than body and mind: He gave us the tools we need to set ourselves free to live the healthful life we’ve always imagined.  Each week included:

-A yoga practice to do every morning
-Principles to cleanse your diet along with eating plan
-Instructions to begin and deepen a meditation practice
-Excavation questions to root out limiting beliefs and patterns

This one was a bit deeper than the Four Agreements, and as I said I’m still processing it all. It’s one you’ll want to read and reread as you grow and learn.  It will challenge the way you think about yourself for sure.  I have not been able to develop a meditation practice as of yet.  I just don’t have the ability to sit quietly.  Perhaps someday that will come.

I hope you’ll think about your own personal growth.  Don’t make exercise and diet all about weight loss.  Make it a journey of self discovery.  You will truly be amazed at what you are capable of when you address your entire being.  I’d love to hear about the books you’ve found life changing.  Please feel free to share in the comments.

 

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