Health is something we are all striving for, in one way or another. Many of us look to physical fitness, food or sleep as the ways to improve our health.
What if I told you these were NOT the most important parts of health?
This is what Dr. Lissa Rankin said to me that opened my eyes and heart to the concept of whole health. I attended a retreat back in June with this amazing woman, who through her own life experiences, has created a model that has resonated very loud with me. Lissa’s work rang so true for me, that I couldn’t keep it to myself, I had to share it with others.
A few weeks ago, my colleague and I, Karen Sue-A-Quan, did just that. We created a similar workshop for our community, with the hope that our participants would get a similar experience like the one we had in Mill Valley, California back in June with Lissa and her crew.
Karen and I have very different backgrounds, yet our paths have lead us here, at a place where Whole Health is so meaningful and making a huge impact in our lives. We are both passionate about sharing this work with our community, and those closest to us in our lives, with the hope of creating a more connected, more relaxed world around us. Life is on high speed these days. If we don’t slow down to “smell the roses”, we will miss it. Do you have dreams and aspirations yet everyday life itself is standing in your way? Do you ever feel like you are on a spinning tilt-a-whirl and you just want to get off so you can LIVE?
Karen and I brought a group together a few weeks ago to share our experiences with the purpose of helping others reduce their stress and dig deep inside to start noticing what is important to them. I mean really important. We have all the surface things that are important, and the usual, like family, kids, finances etc. But what is truly right for YOU, what is going on inside YOU that is dying to come out? How do you want to shine in this world? Do you know?
Karen is a pharmacist, yet she loves the aspects of creative health. I am a biostatistician by trade yet now a personal trainer and physical health really drives me. We brought both our passions forward to our workshop to help others consider their own whole health model.
We did a muscle testing exercise to show others the connection between the mind and the body. This was incredible, leaving everyone perplexed with the connection between the mind and body. Credit goes to Martha Beck (Life Coach and Best-selling Author), to show how strong the mind body connection really is. We also did a creative exercise, one that involved intuitive drawing and working in a group. This was really incredible as well, and one that only those who experienced it can tell you about. Both of these exercises showed different areas of what the power of a group and whole health really means.
So what is Whole Health you ask?
If you think of your physical self, you know that for you to get to the gym and eat well, other aspects of your life have to be aligned. When other parts are out of alignment, you stop going to the gym and the junk comes out of the cupboards. Sure you can say it’s all stress; that stress keeps us from working towards our physical goals. But stress is a very broad term…and there is a way to break it down so you can actually see what part of your life needs a little push forward.
Dr. Rankin’s model, one discussed in depth in the book “Mind Over Medicine”, shows us that our physical health depends on so many other aspects. Those include our mental/emotional health, our financial health, our environment, our work/life balance, our relationships and especially our inner pilot light. Consider in your day or in your week, whether you look at these pieces of your life. Ask yourself what needs some attention, what are you resisting and not dealing with, what conversation are you not having….and make one small movement, one small effort towards change. The funny thing is we know what is out of alignment. But we sweep it under the rug as that seems easier in the moment. We often feel “oh I can’t deal with that right now”, or “he will never understand me”, or “the clutter doesn’t bother me”, or “I don’t have time to go to yoga”.
This is where the Inner Pilot Light comes in. It is the foundation of our health. It’s the most important aspect as if the flame of our inner pilot light is not lit, well, all the other health aspects cannot get moving.
The inner pilot light is that place deep inside you, the fire within you. That inner spark! You can call it your soul or your inner spirit, your gut feeling, or whatever word rings true for you. It’s the place inside that knows what is true for you. The voice inside that tells you only positive, love thoughts. It’s the voice that tells you how amazing you are, and guides you…if only you listen. This is where the “meditation” comes in. So many people tell me they try to meditate but they just can’t do it, that they can’t get the thoughts out of their head. Meditation is something you make your own. I have discovered over the years that we all do it different and for so long I was meditating and not even knowing it.
So the bottom line of meditation is sitting still and getting quiet. I know what you are thinking – “I don’t have time to sit still and get quiet”. What if I told you that getting quiet was the magical way to tap in to your true self, the way to reduce stress and get in touch with what really matters to you. If you are running around your day feeling overwhelmed and with high adrenaline and always two steps behind, then consider stopping!
STOP. SIT. JUST BREATHE.
Even a 2 minute STOP episode will do you good. This stopping technique has done wonders for me over the years. Friends often wonder how I can fit my workout in, or how I get time to cook homemade meals. I believe the time I have spent getting quiet has given me the gift of tapping into my inner pilot light. I now have this strong sense inside me, that guides me and pushes me to live my life based on what is truly meaningful for me. This takes practice, but is so rewarding. It’s allowed me to move forward, not just physically changing my body. My insides feel cleaner, my mood is enhanced, my head is more clear and I feel excitement for life. This is me working towards my own WHOLE HEALTH.
At our whole health event a few weeks ago, I conducted a few breathing breaks to show the group how it feels to just do that, breathe, sit still and pay attention to that inner pilot light. It’s pretty powerful….a must try. So if this is new for you, or if you have tried and felt unsuccessful, I invite you to try again, as with anything, practice makes perfect.
Put your feet on the floor.
Hands in your lap.
Eyes open or closed.
Now just notice your breath.
Take a few breaths.
Now start making the inhale and exhale a bit longer.
Count 4 counts in, and 7 counts out.
Repeat 10 times.
Continue on with your day.
With December hitting us loud and strong, I challenge you to 14 days straight of my stop meditation. Remember you can do this anywhere, at home, at your child’s basketball game, waiting for your hair appointment, even in the car. Just keep your eyes open if you are in the car!!! The breathing technique is the same.
Be Mindful. Be Healthy. Be Your True Self.
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Binu runs a 12 week whole health and fitness program that starts up again in January. It includes an in person meeting once a week, a 45 minute group workout, a 15 minute stretch and breathing meditation and a 30 minute chat session. The chat session includes topics such as nutrition habits, self-love and relationships. To find out more about Binu’s program, go to www.binu.ca or email her at [email protected]