To overcome an eating disorder and become truly happy, I tried everything. Mindfulness worked.
When I chose the word “Sati” (which means mindfulness, or awareness without judgment in Sanskrit language) to describe not only my workout but the core of my teachings, I did so because I believed living mindfully is the foundation of creating a life that reflects your values and goals.
Since I made that choice over 15 years ago, the popularity of mindfulness has significantly risen as corporations, schools, hospitals and therapists have embraced mindful teachings as a way to help others flourish. Based on scientific research, studies show that success doesn’t lead to happiness but that happiness leads to success. That creativity, productivity, self-confidence and health all dramatically improve when people have practices that help them become less reactive and more responsive.
When I started studying mindfulness in the year 2000, it was because I felt that creating lasting positive change was going to require more than just setting goals and hustling harder but that I needed a way to be able to do things differently. I felt like a slave to my habits.
I had been struggling with bulimia for close to 20 years at that point, and when I finally made the decision that I was done and that I wanted to change, I realized one very important thing: that in order to change, I had to find new ways to deal with my emotions, my set-backs and my upsets. I would have to learn to sit with my feelings and not be so impulsive and reactive.
I remember how challenging this time was for me. I had tried many times before to stop, and after months of therapy I finally realized that the only thing between me and my freedom from old behaviors was my ability to find the space between upset and reaction, where I was not unconsciously moving through my life, but willing to be conscious and deal with the feelings that seemed to be driving me to engage in self sabotaging behaviors. I was upset with myself for not being able to make the changes I knew I needed to make if I wanted to be happy and successful.
On the outside my life was great. I was successful, I was sponsored by Nike, I was teaching all over the world to audiences of hundreds, even thousands. I had a TV show, I was on the cover of a magazine, classes were constantly sold out and wait listed, I was the highest paid fitness instructor in NYC and the first one to be offered health benefits. Yet I knew that
I was not the only person struggling to make a change in my life.
I knew so many of the very students I was teaching too also had the false hope that being thin enough or rich enough or successful enough would be the answer to their feelings of dissatisfaction with themselves or their lives. I felt compelled to help myself and them. I knew it wasn’t simply an issue of lack of willpower or self-discipline.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. -Viktor Frankl
Mindfulness is the practice that helps us tune into that space and exercise our power to choose our response.
It helped me be with my sadness, my anger, my upset and instead of my usual reaction which was to suppress, repress or punish myself, it helped me forge new paths, make new choices, be strong enough to be with my own pain. It helped me develop the strength to simply sit with my emotions and see them like a river that is ever changing and flowing and not who I am. Mindfulness practice became the practice that has inspired all of my work for the past two decades because through my mindfulness practices I have been able to access that space between stimulus and response and exercise my power to change myself.
That is why even before companies like Apple, Google, Nike, AOL Time Warner, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Yahoo and Procter & Gamble started promoting on-the-job meditation, I was incorporating it into all of my fitness classes, one on one coaching programs, workshops, retreats and online trainings.
For me my practice of mindfulness has inspired me to create Sati365 so that you too can learn to exercise your power to change yourself by finding the space between stimulus and response so not only can you increase your chances of being more successful and achieving your goals, but you will also be a better leader, boss, parent or student. Simply, someone who likes who they are and the choices they make. Keeping up a daily practice so that you can experience long term effects requires guidance, consistency and enough variation to keep you inspired and interested, and that is my specialty.
If you are ready to break free from self sabotaging behaviors, stress inducing self talk and reshape your body, brain and life, it is time to join Sati365.