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Chocolate Yoga: A System of Yoga Techniques for Stress and Weight Management that will Nurture Your Body, Mind and Sprit Paperback – June 10, 2011
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About the Author
Margaret Chester, MPH, RYT, had always wanted to be a yoga teacher, but thought she couldn’t teach until she was skinny and could get her foot behind her head! After years of struggling with her stress and weight issues, she has found a way to survive and thrive by practicing Chocolate Yoga. She is currently teaching workshops and working on her second book, The Ashtanga Yoga Diaeta.
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* Coronary heart disease
* Type 2 diabetes
* Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
* Hypertension (high blood pressure)
* Dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides)
* Liver and Gallbladder disease
* Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
* Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
* Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
The nation pays a direct and heavy price for this obesity, estimated at $190 billion, or $607.77 per person annually. That accounts for something like 17% of total national health care costs in America.
But the total costs of obesity at these levels is likely much higher. Public transportation costs, replacing seats to accommodate larger passengers (New Jersey transit seats went up by over 12%, widened by more than 2 inches in 2012) in both width and minimum seat theseholds in pounds, higher gasoline costs to drive or fly overweight passengers, 180 to 240% differential in sick days taken by obese versus coworkers, and corporate wellness programs are just some of the hidden costs of stress-related obesity.
Chocolate Yoga, Margaret Chester's marvelous book, a tour de force on many levels, opens a new front in the battle of the bulge. It delivers a flexible roadmap for self-guided individuals to find and cultivate their own best practices for achieving daily stress and weight management through practicing Chocolate Yoga. Chocolate Yoga is Ms. Chester's metaphor for those moments in time which nourish our souls, blessed moments from throughout our day, moments just for ourselves.
Chocolate Yoga -- like all good instruction manuals - synthesizes a broad and deep technical knowledge, practical teaching experience, questions developed from years of professional practice, a self-paced diagnostic assessment, questions readers should ask themselves, `chocolate' pearls of wisdom and advice ranging from the ancients to the internet.
A highly experienced and educated Register Yoga Instructor (The Yoga Alliance ([...]) and with a Masters in Public Health, Ms. Chester doesn't just throw the Chocolate Yoga techniques and postures against the proverbial wall to see what sticks. After an engaging Foreword in which she advances her basic premises of her stress/weight management approach under the headings;
* So Where's The Chocolate?
* Stress and Weight Are Flip Sides of the Same Coin
* Manage Your Stress = Manage Your Weight
* Chocolate Yoga is the Solution! READ RIGHT NOW!
using the reader-friendly, student-supportive, learning-enhancing device of questions posed and answered from her decades long practice as a yoga instructor, Chocolate Yoga delivers a concise, well-constructed `How to Use This Book' section that includes sections titled;
* Living Chocolate Yoga: Putting it All Together
* Quick Guide for Exercises
* Ground Rules and Guidelines for All The Exercises
* Accessing Healthcare Professionals
The How To Use This Book section also includes a helpful, practical list of items (note taking materials, yoga mat, loose clothing, etc.,) to facilitate the practice of Chocolate Yoga.
All of this valuable instructional material is organized and delivered in five chapters that emphasize the integrated nature practicing of yoga.
Chapter 1 The Breath: Connecting Yoga Body & Mind Breathing Techniques
Chapter 2 Energy Locks: Creating Core Energy And Increasing Core Heat
Chapter 3 The Gazing Points: Looking In & Looking Out Techniques
Chapter 4 The Postures: Meditation-in-Motion Body Postures
Chapter 5 Rest & Relaxation: Rest, Relaxation And Recharging Techniques
Each of these chapters presented in three sections that make it very easy find what you're looking for in the book, the right organization for something you will want to reference frequently while learning the techniques.
* Questions People Ask Me
* Yoga Techniques: Stress, Weight and Health Management
* Questions To Ask Yourself
Like all good natural and/or developed teachers, Ms. Chester's love of her subject and empathy for her students is evident throughout her book. She encourages, exhorts, reminds and inspires her readers with down to earth -- but no less profound for their accessibility -- directions, expressions and proverbs designed to help readers find any part of her Chocolate Yoga program that resonates for them personally. Just begin with that interest or capability and continue.
Indeed, the Ms. Chester's excerpts from Chocolate Yoga's Foreword set the context for the remainder of the book;
* Stress is here to stay. Deal with it.
* Diets don't work unless you address your stress issues.
* Yoga postures are only the tip of the iceberg. Yoga is much deeper.
* Practicing yoga will help you manage your stress and weight issues for the rest of your life.
* Health, wealth and happiness are created and nurtured from within.
* There are many paths up the mountain. Find what works for you.
* When you get to the top of the mountain: keep climbing.
And Ms. Chester's two foundational instructions;
* Begin wherever you are.
* Breathe, smile and sing.
Chocolate Yoga is filled with inspiring passages and techniques, trail-blazing an entirely different approach to stress and weight management. It describes a way of life, brought to us in a reader-friendly, body-friendly guide to the basics of yoga. Not just mechanical poses or asanas, but a more mindful, well-rounded approach to health and life.
Ms. Chester brings us fresh insights to the matters of stress and weight management, offering succinct, common-sense solutions, gentle but constant reminders to breathe and easily memorized affirmations. She takes yoga beyond the mat as she shares how she practices Chocolate Yoga, making use of small moments throughout the day to reduce and manage stress.
Whatever your personal energy or fitness level, whatever your particular time constraints, however complicated you've assumed yoga to be, Chocolate Yoga is a sweet path to reduced levels of stress, weight management and a healthier, more centered life style. Just begin where ever you are. Chocolate Yoga? How sweet it is!
So I began to read "Chocolate Yoga" expecting the `same ol' same old.' How to Lose Weight without Dieting or Exercising--just breathe! Yea, right and eat lots of chocolate while you are at it.
However, I found that this book actually does take an entirely different approach to health improvement. One that I, yes, even I, might incorporate into my unhealthy lifestyle. Margaret's words soothed and nurtured me as I read them. I found myself picking up the volume and rereading passages. "Chocolate Yoga" became like a supportive friend who is always there for you reminding you that you will be okay. Not only will you survive, you will thrive. Just remember to breathe.
"Chocolate Yoga" does not deny or belittle the stresses of our daily lives--especially with today's hectic lifestyle. My work requires me to be at a computer keyboard for eight-to-twelve hours a day. Deadlines are the mainstay of my business. I had gained weight at unprecedented rate this past year. I haven't exercised in months. Oh, and did I mention the menopause thing? You get the picture....
This slim tome is filled with inspiring passages and techniques of how we can withhold snippets of our own days--just for ourselves. Margaret names these blessed moments 'chocolate.' She uses chocolate as a metaphor for those moments in time that nourish the soul. A few moments here, a few moments there when we are mindful of our breathing will make a difference. Exhale. Inhale. Breathe. These few moments a day of me nurturing me was making a difference.
As I remembered to 'breathe' (with Margaret's gentle and nurturing nudging) using "Chocolate Yoga's" techniques, I found myself making time--taking the time--even it was just a few more moments for exploring another stress reducing yoga technique or a meditation that "Chocolate Yoga" shares with us. No special equipment or clothes are needed. Just you. Just breathe.
"There are many paths up the mountain. Find what works for you," is a sample of the encouragement from Margaret Chester that you will find in "Chocolate Yoga" that will embolden you to begin your journey for better health for your body, mind and spirit--one step at a time.
Margaret Chester, author of Chocolate Yoga, is a MPH, RYT, certified yoga instructor. Her advice on how to get started on your journey to better health is: "Begin wherever you are."
[Reviewer's note: And, yes, I am losing weight the "Chocolate Yoga" way.]