What is the meaning of Holistic Lifestyle? Holistic means the sum of all the parts. The following is as it relates to the human being, the parts being;
MIND, the intellect and our ability to understand, learn, and communicate ideas. I love what Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “ Great minds, discuss ideas, average minds discuss places and events, and small minds discuss people.”
How do we use our minds, our intellect?
One way is to understand how the world around us works. Another way is to understand how our very own mind works. A wonderful way to achieve this is to meditate. To become aware of how we think, how mindful are we of our thoughts because our thoughts can determine our moods and attitudes. They can make us sad, angry, worried, fearful, anxious, etc. When we become mindful of how our mind works, then we can learn how to control our thoughts and not be drawn into their seductive quality. I have found that through the practice of observing my own mind by meditating, I am more aware of what I think, from moment to moment. This enables me to be more in control of my own mind. I can actually make better choices and decisions and even sleep better. Most of us think we do not have the time to devote to this, but we need to MAKE the time. I believe it is worth doing, if only for short amounts of time because no doubt it creates a more peaceful mind.
EMOTIONS, being in touch with our feelings, and becoming aware of HOW we respond to them, in a sense, is how we can then be in control of them. When we are more in control of our own emotions we can be more mindful of how we treat others, our relationships with our partners, family members, friends and business relationships. Basically, what I am getting at is that when our emotions are in balance, we experience less tension, anxiety and internal conflict. This allows us to communicate more lovingly, with compassion, patience and understanding. Also we become better listeners because our minds are not so full of our own thoughts.
PHYSICAL BODY, How do we use our body? Do we care for it inside and out, nutritionally, eating properly, getting rid of bad habits and creating good ones. Mindful exercise, and treating ourselves lovingly is key. Getting enough rest and sleep is very important. Also, not doing anything for too long, especially as we age, for example, not sitting too long, not standing too long at one time and being aware of our posture. This affects our health more than you can imagine. It takes conscious effort to make the time to practice certain techniques to help us have better health and wellness. Balance is the answer. Exercising with mindful-movement is part of good body awareness. Learning how to breathe properly contributes to our health in so many ways. Our entire nervous system is affected by how we breathe.
Another part of our physicality is how we surround ourselves. As an example, in our home and in our workplace there also must be mindful-awareness. Removing clutter and disorder helps us to experience a sense of peace and order in our life. It actually makes life easier and simpler. All of this contributes to a balanced and holistic lifestyle. When this balance is disturbed, we experience fear, worry, anger and depression in one way or another.
Another example of imbalance in our lives is the need to seek excitement. It can be like a drug. We seek it as a relief from our tensions, anxiety and internal conflicts. Unfortunately it is the nature of our culture but it reduces our sensitivity. Our attitude is so important for our ability to develop positive energy. One of the ways to create a positive attitude is like when we are sick, instead we can say “we are cleansing,” and when we have a problem we can see it as a growth experience. Again, meditation is a way to develop the awareness of looking at situations in a positive way. It is a way of seeing clearly and taking right action. When we rest in spacious awareness, thoughts, impressions and feelings arise and our intuition sharpens, our tensions are reduced and negative energy evaporates. I have been teaching and coaching many, many people over the past 35 years and these techniques have changed lives. I have many testimonials that substantiate that statement.
How does Yoga fit in to all of this? Let me say that the word, yoga, is so misinterpreted and misunderstood. I would like to explain the true meaning of Yoga and how understanding it might change the way it is perceived., inasmuch as it has become a household word, and it is referred to so frequently in our culture. Since my archetype has been teacher, I guess I cannot help but want to make this clearly understood, especially by those close to me. Although I am not a professor or Swami, I will try to explain what yoga actually is. I can say it is a way of life,
I can cay it is a practice, a way of becoming healthy and balanced, of learning about ourselves…. but what does that all mean? And how does all this happen? I will try to keep it simple so here goes. First know that yoga is not a ‘what’, it is a how.
Yoga is a science. The word translates to “Yoke”, meaning union. Union of body, mind and the more subtle aspects of self, such as emotions, and soul or higher consciousness, spirit and for now, let us look at it as energy, and how energy works in us. I will be talking about the spine, chakras and energy.
Yoga is about bringing the basic energy, which is basically sexual energy, the most potent energy in the body, from the base of the spine, where it originates (it comes up from the earth), to the higher centers in the body via the chakras. Chakras are vortexes of energy. There are seven chakras or vortexes that govern seven different aspects of our personality. They actually represent and we could say determine how the human being develops.. I want to emphasize here that the practice of Hatha Yoga, which is the physical practice, and the most popular yoga in the West, is only one way towards this development, as it does create movement of energy. Please know that there are several different forms of yoga one can practice to aid in the development of the self.
I want to concentrate on how this energy moves through us and how it governs our development, balance and happiness.
The energy centers or chakas run up along the spine, parallel to our organs, also affecting our biologic health. Although for now, I want to concentrate on the development of our personality and not the organs.
Chakra number one, is located at the base of the spine around the coccyx, number two, is in the pelvic region, number three is around the navel. These first thee chakras represent our earliest development, such as survival, instant gratification, pleasure, which as infants, are our earliest needs. If we only choose to continue this kind of expression of ourselves, in the lower form of our development, our energy will keep being exhausted at this level. As a result there won’t be enough energy moving up the spine to develop ourselves at higher levels which I will explain as I go up the spine to higher nerve centers, or chakras.
At this time I want to bring into view Tantric Sex. This is a very concentrated form of sexual practice. One part of the practice is to be able to enjoy sexual pleasure by not ejaculating. This practice is said to preserve the energy. It also includes a meditative component. It is known to be a higher level of experience. This is a special practice that should not be tried without a teacher, I might add. When practicing how to use energy it is always a good idea to know what you are doing, as it is a scientific practice.
Over indulging in all immediate self-gratifying experiences thwart our ability to have success in life at a higher level, since it is constantly being lost, and as a result, there is not enough energy for the remaining four chakras, as I will explain. Focusing expression of ourselves from these three chakras are what create problems in many, if not most lives, because we seek pleasure and enjoyment which is so temporary, so instant and doesn’t last, so we keep seeking more, and more and this vicious cycle is what creates our unhappiness but we don’t understand this and what is happening to us.
Chakra four is at the level of the heart and our ability to love, have compassion, patience, tolerance, and experience pure joy in our lives, simply put.
Chakra five is at the throat. It governs our ability to communicate and experience creativity.
Chakra six is located between our eyebrows (the pituitary gland) known as the third eye, the eye to see within. It governs our intellect, wisdom and our intuition.
Chakra seven is located at the top of the head,(pineal gland) the crown chakra, which is our connection to higher power, cosmic energy, God or however this energy is referred to. So it is all about how we use the energy that is always moving through us.
There are several other forms of yoga that help us to get to higher levels of awareness. Through work, which is Karma Yoga, through meditation, which is Raja Yoga, physical postures, breathing and relaxation exercises, which is Hatha Yoga, The Yoga of devotion, which is Bhakti Yoga and the yoga of true knowledge, which is Jnana Yoga. Suffice to say that it might seem complicated, but I hope that I have made understanding it really very simple.
Good balanced living, with good intentions and caring for ourselves is the most holistic and conscious way to live. Understanding how energy works and how we can balance that energy is the key to consciousness and enlightenment.
The following is the BUDDHIST EIGHTFOLD PATH. Just thought I would include it because just like Yoga people have no idea what these Eastern philosophies are actually about. In many ways it is just practicing common sense, which sadly is not so common.:)
Right Understanding Learning the nature of reality and the truth about life.
Right Aspiration Making the commitment to living in such a way that our suffering can end.
Right Effort Just Do It. No Excuses.
Right Speech Speaking the truth in a helpful and compassionate way.
Right Conduct Living a life consistent with our values.
Right Livelihood Earning a living in a way that doesn’t hurt others.
Right Mindfulness Recognizing the value of the moment; living where we are.
Right Concentration Expanding our consciousness through meditation.