Often times when people think of health they think of diet and/or exercise. I truly believe that both a healthy diet and active lifestyle are key components to a healthy happy life. However, I feel that there is a bit more to it than just that. I often meet clients that are eating super clean and exercising a lot but still are not meeting there health goals and are not truly happy. At the end of the day, we are all alike in that we want to just be happy and feel good in our body.
I have compromised a list of what I believe to be the 5 tiers to a healthy happy life based off of my education and life experiences. I feel it is important to treat and care for the whole person rather than just aspects of the Self.
1. Right Thinking: Positive mind
"Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow". - Dvedhavitakka Sutta
Right thinking and a positive mind are the first tier of the Flowing Elements lifestyle. Positive thinking is much more than being happy or displaying a positive attitude. Positive thoughts can actually increase value to one's life and create a lasting effect on one's health. Emotions like joy, contentment, and love, allow an individual to see more possibilities in their life. Positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options.
Meditation is the key to reprogramming the brain to display more positive thoughts and emotions. This isn't to say that one should repress negativity but through a daily meditation practice a person can train the brain to experience thoughts and feelings and let them go more easily. Thus allowing positivity to return more quickly.
2. Food Therapy
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates circa 431 B.C.
Traditional Chinese Medicine lists food first on it's tier as a therapeutic tool. Why? Because humans are very pre-occupied with food. Most of us, assuming we are in balance, will eat multiple times per day EVERY DAY. (unless food is not available). Flowing Elements Lifestyle tier lists it second in importance because the mental state we eat in and the attitude of gratitude we carry (or lack of) greatly influences how food affects us. But we still believe food therapy is of the upmost importance.
Since we eat so often and so much in the course of our lives, its important to consider what we are eating due to the fact food has a major influence on the health of our bodies. If we drink sodas, alcohol, eat desserts, cheese, candy, red meat, bread, processed foods, etc. then guess what happens to the body? The body becomes stagnant and gains weight and we get sick. If we eat vegetables, fruit, water, fish, then what happens? We allow fluidity in our bodies, we regain internal balance and we can get well.
Flowing Elements educational trainings on lifestyle and diet teach an individual how to effectively use food therapy in real life. Food therapy is the knowledge of what food works best with a particular constitution, the current season, or for a major health complaint. Ever heard of, “You are what you eat”? What that means, is that certain foods will definitely determine the cell quality in the tissues of your body. Food, ideally, provides substance to make energy from, benefitting the cells so they can do their job. The more energy, the more capacity your cells have to do their jobs.. Foods that balance your ailing constitution, are essential to re-establishing your health. Food is a subtle remedy, its gradual nourishing effect, has the power to restore, unnoticed, only because it takes more time. Thus, when we get sick, it is difficult, associate poor eating habits with health issues. Flowing Elements aims to educate individuals how to better care and nourish their bodies through proper food choices.
”The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” B.K.S. Iyengar
A great teacher once said "You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” We couldn't agree more. Yoga is something we do constantly throughout the day, the union of body and mind. However, the posturing of the body through asanas does create an influential effect on the entire being. Flowing Elements Yoga is different from traditional yoga because postures and sequences are chosen based on the meridian pathways, influential season, and constitution of the individual. When we posture the body habitually in a certain way it has an effect both on body and mind. Consciously choosing poses based on the desired energetic effect and repeating them on a regular basis, helps to rewire the brain and create muscle memory. When you attend one of my workshops or work with me privately, I often prescribe different sequences based on the energetics of the posture.
Outside of yoga I strongly feel that the right amount of cardio is important. It could be walking, cycling, running...it all depends on the individual, their constitution, and what is currently happening in their body.
4. Self Care
"Every man is the builder of a Temple called his body, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead". Henry David Thoreau
The fourth tier of a healthy lifestyle is self care. This includes all the previous tiers but also acknowledges that we can't do everything alone. Self care includes getting acupuncture treatments, massage, chiropractic, western medical checkups, and anything that makes you feel cared for and more balanced. Sometimes it is difficult to see ourselves clearly and having the perspective and help from a trained practitioner enables us to gain a better understanding of ourselves or our condition.
5. Environmentally Sustainable Living
"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect". -Chief Seattle, 1854
Flowing Elements promotes a life that is environmentally sustainable. This goes beyond driving a hybrid and taking your reusable bags to the supermarket. These things are beneficial but we believe that that part of being a healthy conscious being on this planet is taking responsibility for the choices you make and the impact they make on the world around you. These choices include buying local, recycling, reusing, living simply, cycling, walking, taking public transport, avoiding plastic, reducing your trash production, cooking, and cultivating community to just name a few. There are many ways in which we can acknowledge our interconnectedness and respect our planet. This is an important aspect to living in harmony with the five elements.
Spending time outside in NATURE is also crucial. We are primal beings and it is very important that we spend time outside every day connecting and interacting with nature. Nature cues us how to eat, when to sleep, and should influence most of our lifestyle choices.