“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~ Buddha
As a new year starts many of us make plans and think of ways to be better in the coming year. Almost everyone I know say’s they want to get healthier in the New Year. Often though, the changes don’t get started or don’t continue past a few weeks. I encourage you to start simple.
There is no substitute for what eating well, moving your body,
self-love and mindfulness can do for your wellbeing. The Key is Self-Love.
The way to counter-act stress is to relax, get good enough at relaxing and you eliminate stress! If you approach your “down time” with self-love, it is likely to be a quieter, simple time where you breath deeper and truly relax, mind and body in silence. Watching TV, internet and/or drinking alcohol, though common ways to “relax”, are actually counter-productive for true relaxation. Try this- Sit or lie down so you are comfortable and not likely to fidget, then give yourself 10 minutes and do nothing but focus on deeper and deeper breathing. Settle the mind, relax the body. If you do this daily, just this…in time you will make progress towards all you other health goals! So why not make one simple goal; to relax more? I actually think this is the best place to start. The whole purpose of yoga poses (asana) was begun to get the body aligned and relaxed enough to be still in meditation. The simple 10 minute exercise above was a meditation, at least a start.
If you approach eating from a state of being relaxed and with self-love, you eat healthier foods and savor the experience of eating. Start as you are shopping; enjoy the colors and smells of the foods. Find pleasure when preparing the foods. Maybe just being grateful for all that had to happen for the food to reach you! Enjoy the textures aroma, the creativity. Start simple do it for one meal a week- enjoy all parts to that one meal- maybe share with a friend. Personally I enjoy good food with good company the most.
If you incorporate movement into your day with self-love, it will be movement you enjoy. A habit or practice for the mind and body, not laborious work-outs that you drag yourself to, but joyfully inhabiting your body as it is now and also challenging yourself to be stronger and more flexible and coordinated as you continue. Dance, Yoga, Tia Chi, walking, running, biking…It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you can find pleasure in doing it, and do it with enough passion and energy to sweat. I say it doesn’t matter what you choose, yet it does, because if it is not a mindful practice, including inward focus, you are not going to reap the full benefits for health of mind body and spirit. Developing the breath control (and capacity) in harmony with your movement-then it is possible to get in the “ZONE” that place all athletes, dancers, martial artists, etc.. get to when it becomes a blissful moving meditation and there is harmony of body mind and spirit(consciousness). This is a natural heightened state of being. aka BLISS!