Weighty Problems

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Read Aadil Palkhivala's reply:

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Dear Carrie,

There are two issues here. One is the method you must use in class to ease the burden of his weight on his diaphragm and sinuses, thus reducing the noise of his breathing The second are his fidgets, which I understand to be a problem during class instruction, not in Savasana.

To help him in class, make sure that he is propped up in Savasana, doing Pranayama posture rather than Savasana itself. Raise the props under his back and head as much as necessary to make him stop snoring and to ease his breathing. Adjust the heights for him individually, checking the results as you go along.

For his fidgets, it seems that he needs to release pent-up frustration. Gentle but flowing classical Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations), without the jumping common to Ashtanga and Iyengar, will help. Please make sure that you place heavy bricks under his hands when he finds it difficult to reach the floor.

If he wants you to help him weight-wise, I would suggest a three-pronged approach. Assuming his weight is not thyroid-related, please suggest: 1) that he walk for 20 minutes three to four times a week, starting slowly and gradually speeding up the walk as his body allows, but never getting out of breath (this exercise will also help with the problem of pent-up frustration); 2) that he practice Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) during his daily practice, placing his shoulders on thick, hard foam blocks or on three or four folded blankets, so that he does not have trouble breathing. He should do this for two minutes daily for a week, then for three minutes daily for the next week, then for four minutes and so on, building by a minute per week until, after 20 weeks, he has built up to 20 minutes daily. He should remain at the 20-minute duration for a year; and 3) that he eliminate all fried foods; all foods with artificial chemicals, such as preservatives, colors, flavors, FD or C numbers; and also all wheat and dairy. I personally would suggest that he start a program of eating very healthy foods (organic fruit, seeds, vegetables, grains, nuts, flax and olive oils, etc.) to strengthen his metabolism.

Most important, be grateful that he shows up in class. Be kind to him. He is trying. Your gratitude for his presence will send loving vibrations to him, and that will help him as much as anything else!

Recognized as one of the world's top yoga teachers, Aadil Palkhivala began studying yoga at the age of seven with B.K.S. Iyengar and was introduced to Sri Aurobindo's yoga three years later. He received the Advanced Yoga Teacher's Certificate at the age of 22 and is the founder-director of internationally-renowned Yoga Centers™ in Bellevue, Washington. Aadil is the director of the College of Purna Yoga, a 1,700 hour Washington-state licensed and certified teacher training program. He is also a federally certified naturopath, a certified <a href="/health/ayurveda">Ayurvedic health science practitioner, a clinical hypnotherapist, a certified shiatsu and Swedish bodywork therapist, a lawyer, and an internationally sponsored public speaker on the mind-body-energy connection.