The following 5 Secrets to Living a Wellness Lifestyle, is a guest post by Alana Roach, a True Nature Yoga and Wellness retreat leader and contributing writer. See more about Alana below.
“We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme Self who is eternally at peace.” – Eat, Pray, Love.
Seven years ago, unknowingly to me, I started to design a wellness lifestyle that has continued to evolve as I do. Wellness translates into well-being, mind, body, and Spirit. Wellness draws from the crystalline pool of decadence that is offered to us through all of our senses if we can only listen. Through mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation, my mind shifted into an all aware state, and I began to be able to listen to my body and what it needed to be healthy, happy, and whole.
“You can set yourself up to be sick, or you can choose to stay well.” – Wayne Dyer
I haven’t done it perfectly, and I am grateful for that. I am grateful because through the moments where I falter, my wellness is strengthened. I know what it feels like to go against my mind, body, and spirit integration. I’ve experienced the bloat, the cloudy mind, the mood swings, the colds, the irritated digestion, the sluggishness, and the disharmony from NOT listening to what my being needed. How can we know what is good for us if we don’t first identify what does not serve our most embodied vision of who we were meant to be?
This is a journey of empowerment. It is not meant to encourage any mental reeling of shame, guilt, or remorse. It is necessary to witness our thoughts and actions from a space of non-judgment and compassion. Looking lovingly on both the moments when we choose to listen and the moments when we choose the latter. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Expectations of our instantaneous perfection in wellness leads to disappointment and ultimately to a space of resentment against ourselves.
- Forgiveness: Does forgiving seem cliché? That’s because it works! I could not move forward on my wellness journey until I forgave myself on a deep level. Instead of looking in the mirror and saying, “Alana, I can’t believe you let yourself get to this weight again,” I would say, “Wow, Alana, you look beautiful right here, and right now, and all choices we make from this moment on are taken from the perspective of causing non-harm to this already beautiful, perfect, God-given vessel.” That changed everything for me. I went from a self-defeated, deflated version of me to an empowered Goddess overnight. All of a sudden I was going to the gym multiple times a week, making better food choices, and nurturing my spiritual side with yoga and meditation.
- Relax a little: Relaxing might seem counterproductive, but it’s not! I didn’t say be lazy. What I mean is indulge in your yin practices just as much as you do in the yang. Through all of the yang (The active, masculine, hot, solar, fluid energy), you will be introducing into your already full life, the balance of the yin (The cool, passive, intuitive, lunar, still energy.) Unwind with self-care through a salt bath, massage, or perhaps turn off your electronics for an hour. Take time to just meditate.
- Meditate: I get a lot of bristling when I mention the term “meditate” in classes. Why is that? Well, meditation can seem scary, maybe even daunting, to sit still when we are so used to moving all of the time. I felt so relieved the first time I heard that it was OK to be still, and not only OK, but it that it is our birthright to be still. Just as it is our birthright to dance, sing, and connect with one another. This comes back to balance.
Meditation is “Inner-listening.” In essence, we are tuning our instrument for our beautiful contribution to the symphony of life for that day. The good news is you don’t need to find a cave in the Himalayas to do meditation. Nor do you need to be a monk or holy man/woman. You have everything you need right here, right now.
There are many forms of meditation. Perhaps the easiest one to begin with is seated or lying down. Closing yours eyes, focusing on the breath drawing in through the nostrils and out through the nostrils. Notice the sensation, the coolness of the breath as it draws in and out. Notice the lungs and the abdomen expanding and contracting. Be with the sensations and the awareness of breathing for 10-20 rounds. Allow your meditation to grow over time. I have been doing this daily for years, and I can promise you, it is well worth the discipline. I am more peaceful, healthful, and present during my days because of it.
- Nutrition: Nutrition is a key wellness lifestyle tip that is essential in creating a happier, healthier you. Don’t think of it as a diet. The word diet has gotten notoriety for being something that one chooses to do in order to lose weight when in fact, a diet is simply what we eat. Know that your body is a jeweled temple and that you have thousands of cells that rely on your decisions over their well-being every day. They work to ensure that you can thrive in every moment of every day, but they work best when they are being fueled by the highest quality of nutrients.
We as human beings are capable of brilliance. We all have the capacity to hone in on our unique body awareness to live fully expressed and embodied lives. So choose greatness! Would you feed an athlete’s body fried food and pizza all day, then expecting him to win his next triathlon? No! Why would you? Then why are we, as a whole, not reading food labels and choosing less processed foods? When in doubt, choose fruits, vegetables, high quality grains, and lean high quality proteins or vegan proteins. You will notice a difference immediately. Remember, the slip ups are your greatest asset. Through eating healthy, you will notably feel on the top of your game.
- Exercise: Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. Find something that excites you. Explore a little. I have found that yoga, functional movement with free-weights, surfing, paddle boarding, and climbing are fun and I enjoy doing them. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring and arduous. Yes, there will be those days when you really need to harness your Jedi powers to get yourself moving, but ultimately once you start moving, you should enjoy what you are doing. It feels good to get the blood circulating, heart pumping, joints loosened, and it’s proven to boost serotonin receptors. Who doesn’t love a happy boost?
These wellness lifestyle tips are just the beginning to a healthier, happier, more energized, balanced version of you. This isn’t meant to make you over, but rather to bring out the already whole, radiant you that sometimes gets forgotten through negative self-talk, which results in poor health choices. Be your own number one fan.
Through these five foundational principles of wellness, you will cultivate the awareness to know when you are falling into old thought patterns. Chose thoughts that vibrationally match where you want to be. Begin your day by saying, “I am beautiful. I am deserving. I am whole. This is going to be the best day ever. I am grateful for myself. I am grateful for this day.”
By doing this, you are setting yourself up for success. In those moments where you feel stressed, take a deep breath in of love and a big sigh out releasing any fear, stress, or worry. Trust in yourself, in the universe, and know that your path is unfolding in the most harmonious, abundant, and mystical way. You are in every way taken care of mind, body, and soul.
Alana Roach is a True Nature Yoga and Wellness retreat leader and contributing writer. Alana is an International Yogi currently based out of Annapolis, MD. Formerly adorned by the city lights and the busy streets of America, she was then whisked away by the illustrious path of yoga and took to traveling the world to share it with others. A few years back she started to write about the transformation she undertook by practicing conscious meditation. She practices and teaches varied styles of yoga at Ruah Yoga Studio, leads international retreats, loves surfing and being in nature, and enjoys a good belly laugh. She is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. She can also be reached by email at [email protected]
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