by Tracey Rich
Wholeness, health, well being--that state of balance that brings good feeling:
It is a blessing, perhaps a genetic code, and in some cases a well earned state, while in others a hard fought equilibrium sometimes influenced by socio-economic factors. Health is a gift if you have it, and precious if you can keep it.
Dr. Andrew Weil once stated: "Health is a dynamic state of balance that breaks down occasionally, resetting itself at a new level". It is a good adage to hold in this current state of flux.
Yoga gives a great deal of attention to the sacredness of our lungs and yogis have long been paying attention to their breath. Pranayama is one of the foundational pillars holding up the Ha and Tha of Yoga. We are wise to focus on practices that strengthen, tone and cleanse the repository system, expand lung capacity and teach us to refine our connection to our life force. Developing this awareness is one of the great gifts and contributions of Yoga. Caring for our health and well being is imperative, especially at these challenging times.
Remember that deep breathing is one of the best things you can do to keep your immune system strong. The diaphragm, during deep breathing, moves lymph, and the lymphatic system supports your immune system.
Well being doesn't stop with pranayama; it exists at all levels--body, mind and spirit. Giving attention to each of these areas in the way that speaks most to you is key. Whether you prefer walks in nature--my personal favorite which for me is holistic, or practicing pranayama, asana, and meditation, or cooking and eating as healthily as possible. Finding your way to maintaining balance is essential to being well.
Here are some suggestions for inspiring you to be well in these current times.
- There's No Place Like Home: develop a personal asana and pranayama practice. Even a few moments a day of personal practice can be enlightening and definitely restoring.
- Take a Walk: walking can be the best medicine. It can be meditative, invigorating, and calming.
- Don't Overtax Your System: whether with too much sugar, stimulants, news, tech or talk. Keep your intake and output to more balanced levels.
- Eat Like Your Life Depended on It: a diet that includes diversity and abundance of fruits and veggies, grains, beans and legumes and is low to no on animal products is generally recommended. Adding fermented foods to your diet for good gut health is also optimal.
- Pay Attention: to what your attention is on. As we say at White Lotus, "Your entire life is your meditation".
- Keep Your Head On: use facts, read, study, gain knowledge, keep yourself informed.
- Be Kind: to yourself and others.