My philosophy, values, and beliefs on holistic health integration into everyday life are what brought me to taking this course. I’m very passionate about taking responsibility for my health and want to learn more each day on ways to live a happier and healthier life. I enjoy having a place to come two nights a week where women gather to empower each other on holistic health studies at St. Catherine University. I only hope to build a community around me that lives from these ideals long after completion of the program. I will discuss as to why I came to be where I am or when the paradigm shift happened. I will discuss my underlying motives to finding holistic health studies. I will go over a few specific holistic health modalities I utilize each day. Also, to discuss the role of the client and healer, and my role as a client and healer. This paper is to go over my philosophy and beliefs on wellness, health, and illness.
There are many influential factors as to why my philosophy is so strong into holistic health. Firstly, I was born at home with no vaccinations or hospital visits. I was raised to avoid hospitals and to take responsibility of my health. If I were depressed in class I would call, and she would pick me and we’d play ‘hooky’ for a day and picnic with each other at the park; for nature is the ultimate therapy. I had a good upbringing because I turned out all right. The military is a place where I endured physical, spiritual, and mental hardships. Understanding, education, and spiritual growth are my takeaways from military service. Upon leaving the military, it took many years to transition from military to civilian life. To recover from the military conditioning and psychological stress I had once endured, I thank yoga practice, mindfulness meditation, and other forms of healing to allow me to take my life back. Yoga was my saving grace; it taught me the skills I needed to overcome obstacles. I believe now that we create our own suffering, developing emotional intelligence is necessary to detach the self from suffering.
Suffering is a human condition, part of life, but it does not have to interfere with inner peace, wellbeing, and happiness. Yoga is what put me on the path of non suffering. The first thing I noticed when I began yoga was how relaxing it was while strengthening and toning my body. Its possible to keep very fit without over working the body, Holistic health can be maintained through a regular yoga practice or routine.
Over exercising can have negative implications on health, such as releasing a surplus of free radicals which may speed up the aging process. Iyengar has noted,
“Yoga asana (postures) are stimulative exercises, while other endurance exercises are irritative. For instance, medical experts claim that jogging stimulates the heart. In fact, though the heartbeat of the jogger increased, the heart is not stimulated in the yogic sense of being energized and invigorated. For example, in yoga, back bends are more physically demanding than jogging, but the heart beats at a steady, rhythmic pace. Many exercises improve energy levels by boosting nerve function, but ultimately, this exhausts the cellular reserves and endocrine glands. Cellular toxins increase, and though circulation is enhanced, it is at the cost of irritating the other body systems and increasing the pulse rate and blood pressure. Ultimately, the heart is overworked. Unlike other exercises, yoga results in the concentration of immunity cells in areas affected by disease, and therefore improve immunity. That is why the ancient sages called yoga a therapeutic as well as a preventative science.” ( Iyengar, 2014.)
We need to do things in moderation, with self love, and breath awareness. Yoga taught me so much about myself and opened my mind to so many new beliefs and ways of life. I began the practice during the military where I was limited as to how much of it I could do. After returning home from service, yoga became a full-time hobby. I became much more involved with eating organic foods, drinking purified water, taking sauna and steam baths to detox, meditation, and reading books on Eastern philosophy. Through the St. Kate’s program mindfulness practices, Yoga teacher training, and local meditation centers, I found stress relief through mindfulness meditation. I ventured east to India for completion of 300 hours yoga training in Rishikesh. Practicing yoga in the yoga capitol of the world was a life changing time for me.
I bring my philosophy of health to life through yoga teaching, this is my way of being a social activist. We can become healer as a social activist by promoting qualities of healing with good health and wellbeing. I like to live by example, and sharing my knowledge of wellbeing with most everyone I come by. I especially like to share many values and beliefs through guiding others into relaxation. Yoga has a focus of the attention on the breath, meditation, and moving meditation through yoga postures. Yoga is moving meditation, allowing the physical repetitiveness with deep breathing to bring rythym, harmony, and equanimity into the body, mind, and soul (Seaward, 2012).
Yoga is also a form of subconscious re programming, to focus on positive thought patters to attract the things you want in your life, and by letting go of that which does not serve you, like anxiety, anger, and judgments. If there is a yoga pose I’m eager to master, I visualize myself doing the pose, and after some time of practice physically and mentally, I am able to do the pose with ease. Finally, Im grateful for the power of mind to help me accomplish these goals in my yoga practice, or for anything in life. Yoga is a way of life, a practice, and harmonious union with mind, body, and spirit. I love to share my yoga practice with others, for community is probley the most important means to have a healthy life.
Moral support and unconditional love is a powerful tool for healing. Yoga creates a sense of community with friends who are supportive of your healthy lifestyle choices. Yoga provides a community for healing. I practice teaching yoga for healing while using an array of holistic modalities with each class. Yoga class is accentuated with the use of hands on adjustments and assists, aromatherapy, sound therapy, energy healing, breath guidance, and mantra. Yogic philosophy breeds many open minded, open hearted, and self-healing practitioners. If everyone did yoga, it’s probable that hospitals and psychotherapists would go out of business.
Healing is a lifelong process and journey. Every healer needs to continue healing practices for ultimate or optimal health and wellbeing. No better way to heal than with yoga practice.
Yoga allows you to take care of yourself first and then be well enough to show up with a more loving presence for others. Healers are needed in many areas of life, mainly to help others who are going through tough times or maintaining a positive attitude about life. I continue to seek healing, for every healer and every person needs some form of healing. We need each other’s support. To take down the walls of ego or separation; to know we are one, and we are all in this together. To understand how damaging our society can be if we support the wrong things. To follow our intuition and do what’s best for the body, mind, soul, and planet Earth. I give all of myself through selfless service to the greater good for all; this is what Jesus would do. I pour my heart out into my work, and this job has been very fulfilling. Giving is receiving, giving healing is true self-healing. Healing so beneficial for a number of reasons, soul loss may be one of them.
Now, that I study on soul loss, I realize I may benefit from this practice. Soul loss happens through beautiful experiences like India, and not so beautiful experiences like family separation, eating disorder, military, cultural grief, societal or environmental dilemmas, and other losses (Elena, Avila, 2000.) There are childhood events that may have happened that lead to soul loss and soul loss can happen all throughout the life. I think we would all benefit from some form of soul healing like soul retrieval, especially if you are already doing yoga, meditation, and practicing good health. We have medicine inside of us and ability to cure ourselves while each of our illnesses is unique because no two people are alike. The soul needs a strong willed body to come home to for the soul retrieval to work and be long lasting.
Practicing holistic health modalities such as massage, arts, and yoga are all important for the energy body to grow strong, so the soul has a place to come home to when you call it in through ceremony. Once we become aware of the habits and cultural issues we have that contribute to poor health and illness, we can begin to heal. I like to incorporate Ayurveda into my everyday healthy living. Now, I want to try something new, with the help of a curandera or shaman to heal. Healing with a curandera does not separate the soul and spirit from the body, it is medicine and spirituality practiced simultaneously (Avila, 2000.) Curaderismo is convenient and uses what is useful and available in an intuitive and creative way, using herbs, counseling, massage, light work, faith, soul retrieval, ritual, psychotherapy, spiritual cleanses, and much more (Avila, 2000.) It must be so refreshing to satisfy the life force energy and replenish the soul. To strive to be perfect, whole, and complete health is healing at its best, maybe we are perfect we just don’t realize it.
I believe an illness happens when not living in harmony with all the aspects of self and nature and when your life becomes out of balance. When there are too many distractions; illness and stress can creep up on us without us aware of it. I believe the best thing we can do for our health is turn off technology, enjoy nature, and heal thy self. Time is valuable. Time is of the essence. To not spend it rushing around trying to get as much done in what short time we have on Earth, but to slow down and enjoy the present moment; than life will be much more enjoyable. Time can easily be wasted monkeying around on TV, internet, playing video games, etc. To harmonize with our surroundings and selves, it’s important to shut down distractions, stay focused, and become consciously aware of the body, the mind, the spirit, and life happening around you. There is so much beauty to be seen in the world. Distractions are like putting on blinders, so we become unaware of the beauty, mystery, awe, and wonder in our lives. This is where mindfulness meditation comes to the rescue.
Mindfulness meditation or Vipassana, a practice from ancient India, means “to observe reality in a special way” (S.N. Goenka, 2008.) I learned from Merra Young (personal communication, 2013.) mindfulness meditation class, when anger arises, you simply observe it, observe it objectively, without identifying you with that particular negativity. We will keep reacting to situations until we find the truth in ourselves that we have the power over emotions.
By observing the thought, a feeling, and the reaction we may detach from the outcome. To become the observer that thought will pass (Goenka, 2008.) The important aspect is facing the issues as they arise, not to suppress the issues, for then they do not pass away, they will keep coming up.
Change starts within the self, and we must be responsible for our actions, behaviors, and ultimately our health. Misery is when we do not face our problems, and they continue causing destruction in our lives. If you learn not to react but simply to observe, you will come out of the suffering. There is much to observe during this time of complete chaos, materialism, consumerism, and social upheaval in this modern age. This is a fast paced western society, filled with external stimuli, and it has conditioned us to push our minds and bodies to the point of exhaustion, to the detriment of our own wellbeing (Marc Micozzi, 2011.) Distractions are our only obstacle to finding inner peace, to allow ourselves to sit and contemplate; we can find the peace that we so desire.
To be still, to experience the peace and contentment that lies within we must free ourselves from this external materiality (Micozzi, 2011.) This is made possible through contemplative styles of meditation like transcendental meditation and mindfulness meditation, yoga practices, and other styles of moving meditation. Meditation brings balance into your life; balance is crucial for well-being, to find peace within the chaos. Meditation is an effective cure for many ailments, and I learned while in India illness is psychosomatic and begins with the lack of breathing, which causes unnecessary stress on the body, mind, and spirit. Breath is a great focus for any meditation or yoga practice. Meditation is medicine in its own right, working to bring homeostasis and balance into its user. It’s an important reminder to remember that health is a dynamic energy flow that changes over a lifetime, with health and illness coexisting (Micozzi, 2011.) Healing is available within each and every one of us. We must learn the skills and tools to practice healing for ourselves. Illness can be prevented through finding the true self, the nature of our being through meditation, listen to the body, and know what’s right for the self.
The new role of the client is to realize that healing starts at home. Healing happens with lifestyle choices and mindfulness. It is in our everyday actions that will help or hinder our health. We are our best teachers and know what’s best for us if we quiet down and listen to intuition. The client must want to change, to seek change, and look in all the right places. There are many doctors and healers practicing alternative therapies nowadays; it is up to us to find the doctors that specialize in holistic health care; they are out there. The human body is not just a machine full of different organs that would need occasional fixing if anything goes wrong, but is a noble entity that works on the delicately intricate network of emotions, thoughts, reflexes, needs, aspirations, and sensations (Dr. Parva Sanjay, 2014.) The mind is responsible for most disease that may happen to each person, is an important lesson I learned during my travels to India.
The new role of the healer is to allow the client to realize that healing starts at home, with deep soul searching. That there is only so much, the healer can do.
The client needs to be open minded and receptive for the healing to work, for the healer to make sure the client is ready. Many changes must be made for healing to be effective and for further prevention of illness to return. The healer can take extra time getting to know the client, to bring up anything that they notice which may interfere with the healing. A healer becomes a partner rather than in a doctor patient relationship, which is very hierarchical. The healer is more equal to the person, as in building a team. The healer to be an active participant in the patient’s wellbeing through leadership and motivation. Some people just need a little guidance or motivation in the right direction for healing to take place.
Wellness is when we practice holistic health and incorporate mind, body, and spirit into our daily lives and healing one day at a time. Once we realize we are perfect, whole, and complete healing starts within. Life’s challenges, stressors, and distractions often time make us ill or unhealthy. We can begin to take control of our lives by becoming responsible of the health of our soul, spirit, bodies, and minds. To give up the struggle and simply enjoy the breath, this life, and all the amazing things the Universe has to offer. Health is to put the focus on the things that heal. There are many tools to carry with us, such as meditation, arts, nutrition, gratitude, yoga, counseling, faith, massage, etc. There are many people willing to help, it’s time to have faith in our abilities to heal, and many people are genuinely good and to trust their expertise. Only when we allow ourselves to surrender to the healing that needs to be done will we be healthy, happy, and whole.
The cultural issues we face today can only harm us if we let them. There’s always something that may cause us suffering. Often times we create our own suffering by attaching ourselves to certain beliefs, expectations, judgments. Such as, we are alone in this world and this culture is individualistic. In reality, we are never alone; we have Divine spirit guiding us, and we are connected through spirit. By becoming the observer and witnessing life rather than identifying ourselves by it, we find emotional freedom and become free of suffering.
The paradigm shift happens when we become tired of the suffering. By taking time to seek change or to be the change we want to see in the world. To understand that health is somatic, or controlled from within, is a paradigm shift of consciousness from being asleep to awakening to infinite potential as a human being. “The mind is central to your health” (Sanjay, Parva, 2014.) When we realize we are able to transcend and transform our lives with our very own thoughts, this is the power of healing. To choose positive thoughts over negative, for we attract that which we think. We become highly selective of which thoughts enter the subconscious, for negative thoughts will only bring ill health to the body, mind, and soul.
When the paradigm shifts we see the world as a positive and loving environment, a place for us to experience love, life, and healing. To take on an active role in our own health, rather than be passive and put our lives into the hands of the medical system, which can be dangerous and unsettling. The paradigm shift we are experiencing is one from medicine-as-intervention to that of self-healing. I’ve learned from yoga that the improvement of my body awareness and voluntary control of the body makes all the difference. Mindfulness, such as breath awareness, is an intrinsic defense mechanism against stress and disease. Rather than depend on external materials such as psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy; to begin by looking within and what is the root of the problem. The breath can be the catalyst we need for good health.
Well-being is a given when we do the things the body enjoys, such as dancing, breathing deeply, being active, taking long walks, eating healthy foods, sleeping plenty, and drinking natural spring water. Health is also finding the parts of the soul that may have gone missing, letting go of past traumas and allowing the present moment to be exactly the way it is. To accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference (Serenity Prayer.) Allowing death to be a natural part of life, and without death there is no life.
Savasana is the death of the yoga practice, by practicing savasana, I am consciously preparing myself for the real moment of death. When I do the yoga, everything else falls into place, I remain in a constant peaceful state of mind. I seek guidance from my inner intuition rather than depend on a dis-compassionate medical system. Its important to know when its time to die, allow yourself to go without holding on. To find contentment in our hearts, and allow others to pass when their time comes, and none knows when that time is because tomorrow is not promised. Each day is a gift, that is why it is called the ‘present’. I see death as closure to a life well lived. To welcome death and not to hold onto life when the spirit is ready to pass on.
Happy and free is the way to be. Health happens naturally when we are healthy physically through nutrition and exercise. Mentally through meditative practices, and spiritually through prayer and community involvement. Healing starts from within. Humans have so much potential to be great, it’s time to allow this greatness and light within to shine bright and heal one another and our home, Earth.
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