Nurture and care for your mind, body and spirit for ultimate happiness and to live your best life.
As I write these words, I feel overwhelmed by the load of work on my plate. I can’t even see my desk, my inbox is overflowing and the yard looks like an abandoned Italian villa.
The school year has begun, summer is behind us and the holidays are looming. What’s a yogi to do?
Well, there’s only one thing to do: We must keep on. But we don’t have to keep on with our head down and our hearts heavy. The way to live your life by design is to design your perfect life.
Sometimes, we don’t feel like we have the leeway to do that, or the ability to choose. But don’t be fooled by the false assertions of our society. You DO have a choice! And what you choose affects you, on every level.
I struggled for years to understand what choices would be best for me in all different areas of my life. What I discovered was that life is a mosaic—there are many moving parts, and the trick to keeping myself healthy and thriving was keeping myself in balance.
I love the theme of this month’s column, “life by design,” because it also happens to be the theme of my new book. “The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription” is literally the prescription for your best life. That is, it’s a template to design every aspect of what you do in order to serve your highest good.
To be healthy, you have to take into account your body, mind and spirit.
What do you eat, when do you eat, how do you eat? The food you eat literally becomes who you are, and cutting-edge scientific research into the field of epigenetics tells us that we can turn our genes off or on by what we do. So what you eat is extremely important.
Making healthy choices is also not a drag. I hate the word “diet” because it implies limitations. Diet really just means what you eat. What I eat happens to include tons of raw fats! So I’m never hungry, and never feel denied or deprived of food. My body is nourished and I’m energized. Try adding some raw fat (avocado, raw nuts and seeds, etc.) to your diet to help you feel full, nourished and happy.
The body also includes movement. One of the primary things energy (the building block of everything!) needs is space and room to move. So if you move your body, you’re giving your underlying energy exactly what it needs. My main teaching focus is on Energy Medicine Yoga, and yoga is great for opening up space in the body. But if that’s not your thing, there are a million ways to move your body! Dance, hike, ski, paddle, walk…you don’t need any special skills or equipment. Just move, and you’ll start to feel better as your energy does what IT wants to do.
What we think affects us so much more than we ever could have imagined. Your belief system literally creates your health! You know how good you feel when you’re happy, and how you feel physically unwell, tired and sluggish when you’re unhappy, angry or afraid. But it isn’t always easy to be happy. And the New Age admonishment to “think yourself well” can feel like a punishment at times. So what should you do?
One of the simplest and most powerful techniques out there for changing the challenging patterns of your mind is called EFT tapping. It stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, and it is one of the simplest, most powerful tools for helping you overcome the mental anguish that so many of us suffer from. There are lots of resources out there to learn this simple tool. Here’s my favorite:
Tap on the pinky side edge of your hand with the fingers of your other hand. Repeat this phrase: “Even though I’m afraid of my life…” or “Even though I’m pissed off at X…” or “Even though I’m so overwhelmed, or I hate my job, or I’m sick…”, “…I completely love and accept myself.”
I know that seems simple, but the truth is, the mind often works like a computer with inputs and outputs. If you input this phrase, while tapping on this point, it serves to override other thoughts and inputs, and makes your output more beneficial. Try it next time some drama or trauma comes into your life and you just might be amazed at the power of this simple technique.
This can seem like one of those “woo woo” concepts. What is my spirit? How can I keep it healthy? How does it affect the rest of my life anyway?
Your spirit—in the simplest terms—is your inspiration for this life! Do you feel inspired? Joyful? Is your work meaningful? Do you feel connected to the people in your life, your community, your environment? Do you feel a connection to a higher power? The majesty of this earth, the divinity all around you? Do you ever feel exalted, at total peace and whole?
These are the hallmarks of a healthy spiritual life. And it contributes to your best life, because, that is, in fact, what life is ultimately all about: our connections!
One of the tools I like best for helping me to feel better when I’m lost or down is to literally count my blessings. When I’m sitting in meditation (another way of connecting to spirit), I’ll write down three things I’m grateful for. Cultivating gratitude has been proven to make us happier. We’re happy because we’re grateful! Not the other way around! Sometimes you might have to dig deep. But there is always something to feel grateful for. The breath in your body is the simplest, and often, the most profound.
There are so many ways to live a life, and there are bountiful opportunities to feel joyful, healthy and at peace.
If any of these spoke to you, please pick up a copy of my newest book, “The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription.” I’ll help you discover, with very simple tools, how to become your healthiest, happiest you!
Photo credit: Mark Kuroda, kurodastudios.com