Awaken Your Spirit
At its heart, yoga is a spiritual practice which can mean different things to different people. To me, it is a path to purify and prepare the soul for union with God, the divine energy of the universe. To others, its can be a way to support their own chosen spiritual path but for all of us, the benefits to us all can be very similar; the journey on our own spiritual path can be enriched by it. By connecting our own body, mind and spirit and to those around us, our own path becomes clearer and the decisions we face on how to live those values become easier to make.
For one person, it can mean becoming more involved in a church or synagogue group, while another could find spiritual health and fulfillment through karma yoga, creative endeavors, or a dedicated lifestyle of generosity.
Whatever allows us to connect the best aspects of ourselves to the divine; be it God, Allah, Shiva, nature, or a universal energy can enrich our spiritual lives. People often find that as their spirits come alive, other aspects of their health begin to improve as well.
Resculpt Your Body
With yoga as the basis for a holistic approach to health and fitness, you can resculpt your body and regain energy levels you haven’t felt in years.
The holistic methods I support embrace the concept of balance, striving for coherence between the physical and the mental by addressing every aspect of a healthy lifestyle. The physical aspects of holistic fitness not only build muscle strength and endurance but can also improve your mood, appetite, energy level and sleep patterns.
Yoga is an ideal basis for a holistic fitness practice since it uses physical movement, controlled breathing and meditation to improve mental and emotional health. While many come to it primarily for physical reasons, those who deepen their practice find new doors opening to the mental and spiritual aspects as well.
But a true approach to holistic fitness requires more than just selecting one type of physical activity but rather embracing a cross-training approach which balances out the strength and flexibility developed through yoga practice. Hiking, biking and jogging and other such activities build cardiovascular health while strengthening muscles to complement your yoga practice.
You Are What You Eat. A major aspect of the physical approach to holistic health is diet and people practicing holistic fitness often alter their diets to improve health as well. To receive the greatest benefits, one should eat whole plant-based foods and seek to incorporate more raw food into your diet. It also means cutting back on unnecessary calories from snacks and avoiding processed foods with little or no nutritional value such as white flour, white sugar and processed wheat. In most cases, those who clean up and moderate their diet can realize more energy, fewer health problems and greater mental clarity.
Revitalize Your Mind
Yoga focuses us on the importance of awareness and being present in the moment, being as conscious as possible about our surroundings, feelings and motives. Awareness of how different people and activities affect our moods or behaviors can be the first step toward constructing a healthy lifestyle. A balanced approach to yoga, meditation, and holistic fitness can bring about the mental clarity that allows us to mindfully respond (rather than viscerally react) to stressful situations and even abusive people.
The kind of people we surround ourselves with can either nourish and support us, or make our journey more difficult. have While we should be striving to be grounded and centered enough not to let overly critical inputs bother us, our own yoga journey can be much easier by being mindful of the company we keep.
One of the most powerful mental and emotional aspects of yoga is meditation. Often defined as effortless concentration, meditation allows the practitioner to get beyond the reflexive, “thinking” mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness.
The term meditation can refer to the process of reaching this state, as well as to the state itself. Meditation is a component of many religions, and has been practiced since antiquity. It is also practiced outside of religious traditions. Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual and non-spiritual goals including achieving a higher state of consciousness or enlightenment, increasing one’s compassion and loving kindness, receiving spiritual inspiration or guidance from the divine, achieving greater focus, creativity or self-awareness, and simply cultivating a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind. It is also closely tied to the spiritual aspects of yoga and holistic fitness.