Friday, April 21, 2017

Finding Well-being Through a Holistic Mindset

Many people may not realize how much the body is influenced by the mind and stress. Even if you don't think you may be stressed, there may be things going on within the mind that you cannot directly see. Finding balance is the key to your well-being and understanding how and why can help you to go forward with your goals.

The mind-body connection

The mind and body are connected. What one does impacts the other. You can test this within yourself right now by thinking about something really scary. Observe your body and notice the changes. Your heart rate may have increased, your hands may have gotten sweaty, a nervous feeling may have overtaken you. Now think about something really wonderful that brings you joy. Feel the difference? Your heart rate decreases, you feel at peace, the environment around you also changes as well and becomes more enjoyable. 

So often we may skip over the mind-body connection in pursuit of our physical goals. Yet true well being is the recognition of all parts of our self; mind, body, soul. A truly holistic practice is the balance of all three. An imbalance in one area can create disease within any of the 3 main areas of oneself. Disease as I am explaining here, is not just physical, or only a physical thing; disease can exist within both mind and soul also. 

Finding balance

Once we get to the place where we have assessed our needs not only physical, but mental and spiritual, we can start the journey towards balance where true well-being is found. If you don't believe in any kind of spiritual plane, you can simply connect with your heart place. Think about goals and needs you have which relate to this area of the body; like your personal needs for inner fulfillment and connection with oneself and others. 

Find a quiet place if possible where you can really think about your needs and what you would like to change, improve, or focus on. Don't be too hard on yourself, yet don't be too easy either. For each aspect you'd like to change remind yourself of your strengths in other areas. To help this process you can draw the following chart and write down what you would like to focus on in each area. Allow yourself to be open, creative and not too set on perfecting everything right now. Here is a chart I made with a few examples. You may follow this or create one in your own way:

Simply setting your intention and reassessing when needed is a great way to get going. You'll be surprised at how some aspects will naturally make a shift by setting your focus on it. That's the power of the mind at work!

Exercises for connection & balance

These exercises I've included can help you to balance yourself. Try these 5 basic exercises everyday for 10 minutes to feel a difference. 

1 Breath: Sit in a comfortable position. Gently close the eyes or lower the gaze. Find the breath. Stay with the breath. With the inhale draw the belly out, with the exhale draw the belly in towards the spine. Repeat at least 5-10 times while focusing on your intention. If you've made an intention of healing or connection, focus on your heart center. 

2 Lower back & hip stretch: This stretch can help you release tension existing in the lower back, hamstrings and hips. Inhale roll the shoulders back and down in a seated position. With the exhale walk your fingers out to the left knee. Repeat on the other side. If comfortable you may bring your forehead to the knee. Repeat for 1 minute each side. 

These next exercises don't necessarily require a ball, you can also use a stool, chair or blanket/pillows. 

3 Upper back stretch: sit with your hips on your heels keeping your back straight. Bring your hands to the ball (or stool/chair) with the exhale bring the head through the arms while stretching the arms as far as you feel comfortable. Hold 10 seconds repeat 3 times. 

4 Bridge: Place the ball under your feet, or you can perform without the ball if you feel unbalanced. Use your core (lower abs) to lift your hips while also engaging your thighs and glutes. Hands are next to your sides pressing down into the mat. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.

5 Crunch with heart and neck opener: Bring your hands to the heart center while laying with your back on the ball, knees are bent, feet straight. Engage your abs while bringing your chin towards the chest (part 1). Drop your head all the way back opening up the neck area (part 2). Perform this second part with caution, always stop if you feel uncomfortable. You will hold the neck opener for about 5 seconds then engage the abs again by bringing chin in towards chest.

Please remember to perform all exercises with safety and caution consult your doctor if you're unsure if you should participate. 

Keep going

These exercises help you to not only connect the mind-body but also will set a foundation for healing if that is your intention. These exercises also help to tone and strengthen the muscles and bones creating a stronger foundation. Exercise as well as proper nutrition, life purpose and stress relief, will help you to restore a holistic balance in your life.

You may contact me at my website: if you have any questions, or would like to get started with a  holistic fitness program which fits your needs. Thank you for reading and be well!

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