How do you create wellness in your life?
The dictionary definition of wellness is “the state of being well, or free from illness.” To be truly well, people need spiritual, emotional and mental freedom from illness, as well as physical health.
The question is, how do you get there?
Too often, keeping ourselves well can seem like just another thing to add to our already-long “to-do” list. The activities that are supposed to add wellness become another source of stress.
I think what we need is basic practices that encompass spiritual, emotional and physical health all at once – and in doing so, actually simplify our lives.
The beautiful thing about yoga is that it does just that. The practice of yoga is about more than just poses. By deeply studying and using all aspects of the traditional practice, we can achieve wellness in all areas of our being.
Over the years that I’ve been teaching – and living a full life in the meantime – I’ve streamlined this list of seven simple yoga rituals that create wellness and balance. If it seems like too much to do them all at once, just pick one and work on that until it becomes a habit.
Create a Sacred Morning Ritual
Take time to attend to move your body and care for it with love—and the rest of the day will fall into place. Ideally we could devote 90 minutes to our physical (asana) practice every morning. If you can’t do this, do what you can. Take care of bodily needs like cleaning your mouth and teeth, showering, and using the bathroom. It’s also soul-nurturing if you can include spiritual readings and spend time outdoors during your sacred morning ritual.
Water, Water, Water
Get in the habit of drinking water all day. After all, we are on average 75% water. Start by drinking one glass upon waking, another before meals, and another before bed. Avoid drinking water with meals, though, as this dilutes the digestive juices in your system.
Nourish Your Body
Eat three balanced meals a day, and then avoid snacks in between meals, because your organs need time to process the food you eat. Wellness and nutrition are closely tied, and the Ayurvedic approach is a key element in yoga nutrition. Remember that you become what you eat!
Feel Your Emotions
Whatever phase you’re in in your life, it’s important to be fully in that phase. Let yourself feel whatever emotions are present. Process those feelings, and eventually let them go. Your morning yoga practice can be a deeply restorative emotional time.
Cultivate a mind of appreciation and focus on the positive in your life. New scientific research on gratitude shows that it adds to many aspects of wellness, like better relationships, help in overcoming trauma, and improved sleep. Gratitude really is the best attitude!
It’s important to rest throughout the day. Take rest breaks, breath breaks, and give yourself downtime in between tasks. You might be surprised at how much more you can accomplish, without creating additional stress.
Along with your sacred morning ritual, create a sacred evening routine that ends with a regular bedtime. Wind down with relaxation postures, Epson salt baths, lavender oils, etc. And remember to turn off all your devices!
I hope you’ll try these seven wellness rituals. Remember, you don’t have to do them all at once. You must begin where you are. By taking small steps, you can integrate deeply nurturing practices that create wellness in your whole being.
Thank you to my students and yoga models: