Yoga and Belly Fat


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WEEK 1 / PRACTICE 3
Yoga and Belly Fat                                       
written by Michelle Marchildon


I recently clicked on a video that promised it would get rid of my belly fat.

After all, I am in favor of anything that will get rid of my ample midsection, especially if all I have to do is click.

Up until now, I’ve tried dieting, exercising and even prayer, but nothing seems to work. And now everywhere I go, I see offers to get rid of my baby bulge.

I am not alone. According to someone at Harvard University, the United States has a lot of belly fat. In fact, video on how to get rid of “unsightly belly fat” is at two million views.

First of all, this is a misnomer. Belly fat is not “unsightly.” In fact, it is front and center with absolutely everything I wear. However, I have fixed this: Please see the strategically placed typewriter on my publicity photo.

It used to be that our fascination with weight was seasonal: You can count on weight loss ads in January for resolutions, and in June for bikini season. But again, this is a misnomer as anyone with “unsightly belly fat” usually does not wear a bikini unless they also bring their typewriter along.

Now our national obsession over belly fat has overcome our concerns with revising the gun laws, the economy and environmental issues. In fact, I searched for environmental issues on YouTube, and of the 32,000 videos made by anxious parents of middle schoolers, the most popular had 29,000 views. One had three, two if you don’t count me.

So, just for fun, I put “belly fat” into YouTube, and 613,000 videos came up! You know I can’t make this stuff up. One had three million views (2,999,999 if you don’t count me). Then I put “belly fat” into Twitter and this very handsome man appeared:

Clearly, he does not need my typewriter.

Which brings me to my point: We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t cure belly fat? Or as my girlfriend reminded me last week, we also can’t seem to get consistent cell phone service anywhere outside of Starbucks.

So I went to Livestrong.com, where Lance Armstrong may have a lot of trouble right now but he definitely does not have a spare tire (yuk yuk). And lo and behold, there is an article on belly fat!

According to Livestrong.com, “belly fat is the most dangerous type of fat of all because it could increase risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.”

But this is the best part; you know what they recommend to cure belly fat? Yoga! Yes, here it is:

“The sun-salutation sequence from yoga, for instance, is a particularly effective exercise to lose belly fat.”

Yes try yoga. Everyone says it works. Or try a typewriter. I cannot promise that yoga actually cures anything, but I can guarantee at least that my typewriter will fix belly fat. Click here for your money-saving offer if you want to buy one now.

The six days a week


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WEEK 1 / PRACTICE 2


Tuesday, the last day in September 2014... the summer time continues. So far it is warm and very pleasant in Toronto. Today is cloudy and it looks like rain is coming. I got up at 6 AM it was dark. Sun came around 6:40 AM while I was drinking morning coffee on the balcony. I did yoga practice starting 7:15 AM. During practice I felt that my strength is increasing. I was flexible and strong and I sweat a lot. I finished the practice at 8:15 AM.

Last night I did not go for beer-night. I just don't have patience any more to hear the same stories over again. I decided to read book and went to bed around 10 PM. 

In the Ashtanga Yoga practice it is recommended that we practice six days a week. That is “Mysore Style” practice. Physically, a six day a week practice is very, very challenging. It is a mind game. Practice six days a week makes us physically sore and we will feel pain (aka purification) and we discover our mental blocks needed to be cleared in this uncomfortable healing phase.

But my friends, so far I wasn't a six-day-a-weeker. I practice on Saturdays although I take some Saturdays off, as well as Mondays and often Wednesdays too. I was a bad yogi and I want to change that. I'll use this blog to write about my practice. It is an experiment. I will try to do it for a year. Regular ashtanga yoga practice!!!

Of course, I will not practice Ashtanga yoga on a new or full moon. It is tradition. :-)  

I wonder why


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The best lies about me are the ones I told.

― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

I am a master of self-deception. I fool myself into believing things that are false - and - I refuse to believe things that are true. In fact, I lie to myself about everything...

My dear readers, everything what I wrote in my previous post proved to be untruth. I did everything quite opposite. I posted the last post in 6:15 Am planning to have no plans for the weekend but I received an invitation to go for a concert on Friday night and I accepted it. 

It was gypsy brass orchestra concert from my country. The concert was here in downtown Toronto. I went there around 9:30 PM met with my friends and I had wonderful time. We stayed until 1:30 Am and I went to bed around 3 AM. 

On Saturday I woke up at 8 AM and left to help friend to move. I came home around 3 PM. I was just so tired to do anything. I went straight to bed. The Angel woke me up around 7 PM and we went for a dinner in Italian restaurant on Royal York and Bloor. We laughed and we had a lot of fun. Came home and we danced, listen to music and we went to bed around 2 AM again. 

There were no yoga practices done on Saturday and today I will not go to the yoga studio. I am exhausted but happy. Why am i writing this blog? Maybe it’s time for me to take my blog off the net and go on vacation. Haha. Really.

Why in the world am I writing this blog? 

I thought the answer was that I am writing for me. Well if that is so, why am I posting my blog to the world? I could write privately and never share this.  I never need to post it on Facebook or Twitter.  But I am.  Doesn’t that mean that I am no longer writing for me?  That must mean I am writing for others.

Others?  What others?  In case you hadn’t noticed, except Tony nobody is commenting here. I put my feelings out here and tell my life from the bottom of my heart – I say things that I would be embarrassed to tell most people.  I confess the truth and project my emotions in black and white on the screen for all to see.

I wonder why...

A wild weekend ahead


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A wild and crazy weekend involves sitting on the front porch, smoking a cigar, reading a book. - Robert M. Gates

Time is always NOW... and now is Friday morning... around 6:15 AM. I got up at 6 AM and now I am drinking coffee, preparing myself for the second yoga practice in this cycle. I will do the practice with the lead of Max Czenszak a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher, a long time Sharat's assistant. I downloaded his Ahstanga yoga class from |Youtube. His breath counts are longer then counts on Sharat's DVD. 

I have no plans for this weekend at all. I love it! Having a free schedule is actually very cool thing right now. I’m not excited for tonight. What are you doing this weekend? Are you going out tonight? Going out on Friday and Saturday are invariably followed by the Sunday's hangover and Monday's "I’m tired" morning. 

It wasn’t too long ago that having nothing to do on a weekend indicated a status of a social outcast. But there’s been a shift in what is considered a ‘cool’ way to spend Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. Going for the groceries, cleaning the house or watching DVDs are considered cool things to do on weekend. Yep, suddenly ‘just chilling’ is the latest trend being 'practiced' everywhere. And guess what? This weekend, I fit right there.

For me, sending panicked texts around 9 PM on  Friday night and going out to the club is a thing of my past. I’ve strategically planned to do nothing this weekends for some time now and the reason is simple: I’m so tired from weekday life, I’ve had to learn to say no. For example, do I want to go out until 2 am on Friday and Saturday? It is about money too. Every weekend I spend the equivalent of two pair of shoes. I’ve been spending on drinks and dinners, and feel like an imbecile the next day? No, but thanks for asking... can we do coffee instead?


Don’t get me wrong, I still have what to do on weekend. But Friday night will not be drinking night. I will go for a walk in High Park, have a coffee at near by Starbucks, enjoy reading Murakami's book and be in bed by 10 PM. On Saturday I will go to help my friend to move. I will help him from 8 AM to 11:30 AM and after that I will go for a yoga half primary class at the studio. After yoga class I'm planing to go for the groceries, clean apartment etc... The Angel will come late on Saturday nigh and she will spend night with me. On Sunday we will go for another yoga class at the studio. And that is all planned for this weekend.

Going out on Friday and Saturday once made me feel popular, I felt like my life was full. But, now, I’ve made a new commitment to give myself a break. And my life is ‘fuller’ because I now have more energy to enjoy it. When Monday rolls around and, being creature of habit that I am, I’ll eat my fruit breakfast again, do another yoga practice and go to work refreshed and relaxed. 

New daily schedule


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Started today I've changed my daily schedule. I will wake up at 6:00 AM every working day and I will do yoga from 7:30 AM to 8:45 AM. Then comes breakfast and shower and I will go to work at 9:10 AM. I'm working from 9:30 AM so all is good.

Half Primary Ashtanga yoga class is designed to be the next step on the path to enlightenment! OK, I can’t make any promises, but class picks up when we can't do all the poses of Full Primary series. Nothing to worry about, this class will gradually increase your endurance and strength.

Ashtanga is a physical form of yoga which synchronizes breath and movement through a precise sequence of postures called the primary series. The intention of the practice is to cleanse, stretch and strengthen the body, as well as focus and calm the mind.



Half Primary Ashtanga yoga consists of five sun salutations A and five B. Then comes all standing postures. Followed by sitting postures until navasana. After navasana starts closing sequence. The practice is about 75 minutes long.



Yesterday was the moon day and I did not do any yoga. Today I've started a new cycle of 6 practices and I am so glad. On Saturday my friend will be moving and I have to help him so there will be no yoga class at the studio. I need to do the practice early in the morning. 

I am not planning to go out this weekend. I want to practice yoga, go to the gym, eat healthy food and go to walk in High Park. I need this time for myself.



I continue to drink 2-3 l water every day and I am taking vitamin C (500mg) as a supplement, eating nuts and drinking almond milk. I did not notice any improvements on my belly fat. It continues to be what was before. :-) But I will persist.

Does yoga burn belly fat?


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Does yoga burn belly fat?
written by by Amanda MacMillan


If you look at celebrities who practice yoga (ahem, Jennifer Aniston), you may think that Downward Dog is a quick way to get a toned and tight body. Unfortunately, if you're looking for a quick fix that promises flat abs fast, yoga is not your best bet - but then again, not much is. 

But a regular yoga practice can play a role in helping you achieve your long-awaited six-pack; it can help you lose weight and tone from head to toe, including your abdominal area. Yoga just boosts weight loss in a more holistic way than you might think.

To better understand this question, it's important to understand how the body burns fat, in general. Although we can target certain body parts for toning and strengthening (like our arms, legs, abs, or glutes, for example), there is no research-proven way to blast more fat cells in one specific area than in any other. And while extra pounds around the belly are often the easiest weight to put on, they can also be some of the hardest to shed.

That being said, a diet and exercise plan that allows you to lose weight all over will almost certainly benefit that belly bulge. (To shed pounds consistently, remember that the key is to burn more calories than you take in every day.) And that's good news, because excess fat around the abdominal area has been shown to raise the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. 

Yoga can be an important part of your belly-shrinking plan, regardless of whether you've ever practiced before. Not only does it burn calories and help tone your trouble spots, but research also shows that it has the power to alter your eating patterns, your sleep habits, and your mood - all things that will affect how much weight you pack onto your waistline, and how quickly you can burn it off.

Yoga, like all forms of exercise, burns calories - some forms more than others. A fast-paced, vigorous style of yoga, like Vinyasa or Ashtanga, will burn more fat and calories, for example, than a slow, restorative class.


"Yoga certainly does have a cardiovascular element," says Annelise Hagan, a yoga instructor in New York City. "A vigorous athletic form of yoga can raise your heart rate for a good 20 minutes." And moves that focus on the core - such as plank, chaturanga, and boat pose - can help tone the abdominal muscles underneath, she adds.

That may not be the most important thing to consider when choosing a yoga class, however. "What's really going to give you more weight loss is the mindfulness aspect of yoga," says Colleen Saidman Yee, creator of Gaiam's Yoga for Weight Loss DVD. "You may build strength and burn calories from a faster paced class, but you'll really develop the tools you need to listen to your body in a slower, more meditative practice."

A 2009 study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute found that people who practiced yoga regularly were likely to maintain or lose weight during the study period, while those who did no yoga were likely to pack on extra pounds. The researchers credit the yogis' weight control to their mindful eating habits - they paid attention to what they ate and stopped when they felt full. 



In addition, yoga has been shown to help improve sleep problems and symptoms of depression.  And if you're already trying to lose weight by dieting, research shows that not getting enough sleep can sabotage your body's efforts to burn fat. 


When Saidman Yee set out to make a weight-loss DVD, she incorporated all of these ideas: "The first section focuses on a lot of standing poses and arm movements to get the heart rate up, and the second section is all about the midsection," she says. "But the last section is all restorative poses and breathing exercises, to help you wind down get a good night's sleep."

Mentally drained when socializing


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Introvert 

Opposite of extrovert. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone. 

Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to "recharge" afterwards. The word "Introvert" has negative connotations that need to be destroyed. Introverts are simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts. 

I am an introvert person. I quickly get mentally drained when I'm socializing. I can handle a party conversation for an hour or so, but after that I feel depleted of energy and I want to leave. I became too tired to properly listen to everyone and craft their responses. Sometimes I don't even last that long. I need to give myself lots of alone time to recover from my social interactions. 

I am thinking about this and I am trying to figure out where the problem lies. I am not anti-social at all but it is true I want to leave a party after two hours, and I very easily zone out during noisy family meals, and I can't listen to constant chatting of my co-workers. I just want everyone off my back, I am tired listening one and the same stories all over again.

When I say 'tired' or 'drained' that means to specific feeling of mentally depleted, a feeling of being bored or done for the day and wanting to leave. Yesterday was a beer night and I did not stay to the end. I had two beers and left home around 11 PM. 

I realized that it's okay to get drained by socializing. Even more sociable people have a limit on how much time they can be around others. They like their alone time too. I like my time alone too. I use to think that there's something wrong with me because I want to go home and listen to music or read the book, or just hang on Facebook or browsing Youtube for a bit after having some time with my friends. I spoke with my friends and everyone is like this to some degree. 

If I don't hang around people a lot I can get very accustomed to being alone, and when I do have company it can feel a bit too new and different. Company that is too dull and low energy is draining, because it's boring. Hanging around people who speak too much, for me, is also tiring, because it taxes my brain to try and keep up with them. It's possible I often feel drained while socializing because I'm usually around people who don't really do anything for me. They are all about themselves. If I am with friends who were a better match for me I may find I suddenly have a lot more energy.

That's my thought for today.

The last day of summer 2014


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Finding a daily routine to do my yoga practice isn't always easy, especially on weekends and excuses can sometimes prevent me from creating a regular yoga routine. I did not go to Saturday's 12:15 yoga class at the studio. Of course I couldn't get up. Friday night was so good and we stayed at the club until 2:15 AM. We danced all the time. I had five beers and I felt great. We came home around 3 AM and didn't sleep well in the morning hours. 

Saturday was a lazy day. We got up around noon, had coffee and left for breakfast at Good Fork on Bloor street. After breakfast we visited my friend. The Angel wanted to see my friend's apartment after renovation so we spend some time there.

Then we left for grocery shopping, I filled up my fridge with fruits, dairy products and nuts. I should remind you my dear reader but I am at the war against my belly fat. I noticed that during weekend I don't drink water at all. So my focus is to drink more water during weekend. At my work I have 600 ml bottle on my desk and I know that I need to drink two bottles a day. I need something similar in my home as a reminder that I need to drink water.

The Angel went home around 7 PM and I went to bed at 8 PM. I slept 12 hours and I got up at 8 AM. I did yoga practice and it was so humid I sweat a lot. Outside was rainy and dark but it did not influence my practice. 

After yoga practice I eat fruits for breakfast and Almond milk, took the shower and start preparing for the Sunday's wedding party. The Angel's friend's daughter got married and we were invited for the party. These pictures are from the last night's party. 



We went to the party around 5 PM and stayed until 10:30 PM. It was so nice, dinner was exceptional. I liked steak and fish, We were drinking very good red home wine. We danced and we had wonderful time. I drove the Angel to her home. I came home around 11 PM and went straight to bed.

This morning I got up at usual time but I did not do the yoga practice. Tomorrow is another day so there will be a new practice. I continue to battle with my stomach fat and I am taking now vitamin C (500 mg) as daily supplement. 2 l of water daily, a lot of fruits and nuts... 

My last day of summer 2014 was good, how was yours?

500th Post


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Don't cry for Louie, Louie wouldn't cry for you.
Vaya con dios

My dear reader,

this is 500th post on Exploring Dreamstate blog. I started writing the blog on December 6, 2012. The blog started with the evaluation of spiritual practices and teachings. It was mostly the critique of those practices. Later I wrote about my divorce. This summer I wrote a lot about dating. And recently I am writing about how to lose belly fat. 

Instead to give you the links of the most popular posts in this period, for this 500th post celebration, I chose to write about LIFE. A deep understanding of LIFE will immediately provide a great insight about our purpose on this planet. I can tell you that now so you don't need to read this lengthy post. Our main purpose here on planet Earth is to ENJOY LIFE. We have no other meaning, no other task to perform. Take it as granted or read entire post. It is up to you.

To write about LIFE, we should first ask ourselves who are "we". Well, we feel that we are entities separate from each other and separate from the world, we have identified with the body, which has a name, job, personality, history, assets and achievements, we have our ideas and beliefs and the various roles we assume in life. And of course this is our temporary self. But as long as we identify with anything that is temporary, we limit ourselves and we live a limited life.

Feeling as a temporary being, we try to run our lives and control it as much as possible.

The problem is that most of the things our unconscious is creating is full of things that we consciously do not want to. In any case we try so hard to control life, the events, situations.

It's hard to be happy and relaxed when we have this kind of reaction in life, because life simply can not be controlled. We can not control other people and situations. But if we are not in control, there is fear, tension and dissatisfaction.

Some of us have so called the victim mentality. Simply we are not taking responsibility for our life and their condition but mostly blaming others, feeling that life is unfair, a feeling of deprivation, self-pity, "poor me" or "no luck", passivity, focusing on negative side of life and what we do not and can not be instead of what we have and we can.

Much of us put so much of "must" and "should" into the life. 

Through this we lose ourselves and our purpose in life because they always lead to external influences and social norms. We believe that life is hard, all we have to try, to torture, to fight to survive, or the most important thing, "succeed" where success is usually measured by external standards (classic examples are to have a successful career, money and family). It takes constant race, a constant struggle for survival, constant tension.

It's hard to be happy when we live like this because we do not have time to live, we must work constantly, always fighting. Our life is not happening. Life is in the present moment, but we do not notice it because we are always running for something. Life can not be felt when we are tense, but only when you are deeply relaxed.

These are just some of the patterns of behavior and attitudes that govern our lives. They come from our conscious and more from subconscious mind, where we store our beliefs that we have in the course of life "picked up" and adopted as our own, and what we ourselves have learned and understood. Our beliefs become our reality. We attract exactly those situations and people who will confirm our beliefs, because we resonate with it.

We resist to what is in the present moment. 

We want to control something because we marked it as an unfair or bad and we want to fix it - we lost the experience of the moment but life is in the present moment only. When we are dissatisfied with the present moment, we are dissatisfied with life itself. 

The moment we stop resisting, stop the search for something and become fully satisfied with what we have at the moment, there is a sense of fulfillment, peace and love. Suddenly life start to indicate new opportunities, new ideas are born, and our experience of the world is changed. A miracle of the present moment, the transformation of consciousness. Life begins to live through us, when our individual resistance disappears.

Our resistance comes from fear. It comes from our identification with "things" that are transient, vulnerable, impermanent and will one day disappear (our body, our mind, various roles, etc..). Hence the fear, because we do not want to die. We want to keep more or less control over things. We are afraid of the unknown, afraid of the future.

Fear is a big part of the lives for most of us, even though we may not at all aware of it. 

We work the job that we do not like, the real reason of our work is not love, but fear, fear of family, fear of hunger, poverty and failure. We are afraid to leave one job in order to get a job that we love and in which we enjoy, we are afraid and do not believe that we can get or create something new.

When we are really motivated there is a sense of security, freedom, expansion, embrace, acceptance, research, going into the unknown. Fear is the opposite of love - there is a feeling that we are caught, imprisoned, clenched, forced, strained, compressed, it only wants known.

Fear creates a constant tension we are sometimes aware of and sometimes we are not aware of. This tension causes stress and all kind of illness. We work harder become poorer and life become more difficult. How to have confidence in life, let go of control? First we need to understand and feel that we do not live our life. Life should be lived without control and resistance. 

The paradox is that the more we leave the control and resistance to present moment, the more we become conscious creators of our lives.

We live lives through our body, our mind and emotions, and so manifest themselves through this three-dimensional reality. This is a concept that is difficult to understand intellectually. It can be known only through personal experience.

Letting life flow without control and resistance does not mean that there is nothing we do, we're just waiting for things to happen by themselves or we say "I do not care for anything." Letting is full confidence which leads us, step by step, moment by moment, on the road for the richest, noblest and most useful path. It is a journey into the unknown and therefore can seem daunting. 

Indeed, sometimes the "lessons" can be really difficult and challenging. However, the rewards are even greater. The award is the fulfillment of our greatest talents and achieving the most creative and the most sublime version of ourselves! The reward is a sense of fulfillment, love, security and freedom! 

Our activities arising from such being are performed easily and focused, without doubt, uncertainty and efforts and from the highest motives. Letting the control does not mean that we do not have plans and goals for the future, we have, and they appear by themselves at the right time. No need to speculate about them. 

The most important component of these plans is that we are not tied to their achievement (not to worry about the future), we are completely relaxed because we know that everything will be okay, because we are infinite immortal beings who never die.

Ney, nah neh nah


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my daughter

It is Friday evening and I am preparing myself to go out. I like getting ready to go out more than I actually like to go out. I enjoy the ritual. It’s almost relaxing, like the calm before the storm. I am going with my friend to the night club and there we will meet with the Angel and her friend. We will drink and dance. What else to do there? 

After night like this I always wake up feeling foolish the next day. Why did I go out last night? Why did I even go to that club? But by the time the sun goes down, I’ll stop asking myself these questions and be ready to do it all over again. 

It was already half past three
But the night was young and so were we dancing
Ney, nah neh nah