Why is Spiritual Wellness one of the Green Balance 5 Pillars of Health?
My practice revolves around helping my clients balance their mind, body and spirit to achieve a healthy lifestyle and sense of well-being. This is achieved through my unique approach to the 5 Pillars of Health: Nutrition, Fitness, Rest, Spiritual Growth, and Hydration.
When we think of wellness, we generally think in terms of our body only. But we need to think further than the surface level if we are to achieve true wellness. “Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Spiritual wellbeing and having connections with our spirit is key in staying close to the one thing that will never let us down: Our breath. It is a key pillar in Green Balance because spirit is derived from the latin word ‘spiritus’ which means to breathe.
This spiritual wellbeing practice is defined as the ability to experience and integrate meaning and purpose in life through a person’s connectedness with self, others, art, music, literature, nature or a power greater than oneself.
We can take notice how practices such as yoga help us to move through stressful thoughts and perceptions by simply using the one most consistent thing in our life, by choosing to breathe through them.
How does this fit into being healthy?
With the continually increasing amount of stressful situations we may face on a day to day or weekly basis, it would be ideal for us to all cultivate strong awareness to our breath in order to ‘tame’ our stress. Being connected with our breath allows us to stay calm and in a peaceful state of mind while connected with our self.
According to FORBES magazine, controlling our breath in this way triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to become available tocounteract the sympathetic nervous systems fight or flight response to these daily stresses. While science is now linking the connection between this breath awareness in facilitating a relaxation response, it is also creates brain pathways to be able to let go of negative thinking patterns, anxieties and make rooms for clarity of thought and more mindfulness through intentional movement and decision making.
How does moving with breath contribute to this spiritual well-being?
Choosing practices like yoga allows us to build connection of mind, body, and spirit. Similarly when we exercise, practices that link our breath and bodies allow us to release stress stored in our bodies and therefore let go of stressful thought patterns and triggers.
In October, I set a personal challenge of 31 yoga practices for the 31 days of the month. You know the saying, “if it doesn’t challenge you then it doesn’t change you.”
From this experience, I have cultivated a regular yoga practice in my life which helps with my stress management and focus for my career while in being more intentional in my daily life. While this journey came with some major mental roadblocks, I was able to pull through with the help of my expert coaches, teachers and mentors. These people reminded me of the significance of reaching out when setting a goal to be able to overcome hurdles when our minds may not be yet equipped to access some new thinking pathways, but the team we choose will have the potential to show us new ways of processing sensory input, thus allowing us to be open to successfully reach our goals. I am so grateful for my team.
By calming our minds through meditation and other intentional breath work movements (while running for example) we are able to make mental room not only for the releasing of stored stresses in our bodies but also creating awareness between body and breath while also making physical room to allow for healing in our body on a physiological level. These healthy practices have links with our reduced disease risk profiles especially in relation to high stress factors by lowering our blood pressure and heart rates, which have large contributing factors to our and therefore allows more mindful behaviours.
How does mindfulness connect with our nutrition?
Some of us may carry stressful behavioural cycles into our eating habits and when we can bring awareness to the triggers of stress, we can choose to outreach to coaches to teach us some tools in overcoming these mindless moments of giving into negative unhealthy cravings or self-sabotaging cycles.
The relaxation response (breathing, yoga, meditation) keeps us in check and helps develop a stronger mind-set which allows us to make better nutrition choices.
While this process will be challenging in the beginning as will be the process of mastering any new skill. It is known to take 21 days to make a habit and about 66 days for the new habit to become a natural thinking pattern in our lives and 10 000 hours to become an expert in any skill, we must remember that to start is the best choice and to simply keep practicing every day giving our best. This is why most of my programs start at 3 or 4 week durations.
How can you bring Spiritual Wellness into your Lifestyle?
Here are some ideas:
- Join a yoga class
- Start meditating e.g. Headspace
- Research online (youtube) for yoga and meditation ideas
- Just start being more aware of your breathing
- Join one of my programs!
I look forward to hearing about how you bring mindfulness into your healthy lifestyle and of course to having you join one of my Green Balance programs.
Nutritionist (BSc) & Qualified Personal Trainer
CEO & Founder Green Balance TT
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