By Maija Kivelä
Holistic living, as its name implies, regards everything as a whole. It promotes a lifestyle that focuses on the mind-body-spirit connection, the wellness of all our interconnected parts, and works towards the health of the entire self and not just one part of it.
‘Sickness’ transcends the physical. Holistic healing isn’t simply about restoring a balance of energy to the body after, say, a bad bout of the flu; but a constant effort to maintain health and harmony between mind and body. The body needs regular exercise, a balanced diet of proper nutritious food and enough rest to be able to function at its best through the everyday hustle and bustle. But a peaceful mind also needs good mental reinforcement, including tenacious positivity.
At school, we learned all about what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’; but few of us learned how to live in a way that respects and nourishes the whole self, preparing us to maintain satisfying and fulfilling lives in spite of busy business environments and the cacophonous rat race that is city life.If you can train your mind and engage certain key muscles daily, you can transform your entire sense of wellbeing for the better. You will also find that all your relationships will benefit from your becoming more patient and understanding.
Embarking on a holistic lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to buy into any kind of spirituality or a particular school of thought, although there are some elements of spirituality to engage in should you feel so inclined. It’s more about harnessing a deep understanding of how your actions affect your body, mind and the people around you. Remember: living holistically takes time, consistency and awareness.
In honour of a new year and what for many certainly means starting on a fresh footing, here are just a few small steps to adopt as a springboard to your holistic journey.
Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Rather than choosing processed foods, opt for a more nutritious platter of organic whole grains, fruits and protein.
When you become able to keep your mind quiet and ‘in the now’ amidst distractions, you will find yourself a few steps ahead of the crowd! Focus your awareness on the here and now: where you are, what you are doing and what surrounds you at that particular moment. Forget the past and don’t worry too much about the future. Give yourself permission to have the fullest experience of the moment.
To help you with this mental exercise, practice taking very deep, slow breaths in and count to three in your head as you breath out. This will greatly regulate your stress levels.
Respect the Power of Your Body
Maybe you feel that you are not the most athletic person or that you can’t pull off all the yoga moves that you see others doing; but, really, it’s not about that! The body is a Pandora’s box of unknown possibilities and strengths just waiting to be directed and explored. Your body can do amazing things — it’s usually your mind that limits its potential. Aim towards removing mental limitations by shifting your perspective and give your body due credit. You’ll soon find that anything becomes possible.
‘Mere philosophy will not satisfy us. We cannot reach the goal by mere words alone. Without practice, nothing can be achieved. (3)’ — Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras
Keep a water bottle available at all times to remind you to drink enough pure water. Hydrating your body by taking regular sips will assist your body in flushing out toxins, increasing energy, improving skin complexion and boosting immunity.
Education is reformation. Keep yourself open to the new and unknown. As long as you can learn, you can improve.
‘Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.’ — Henry Ford