Stepping into Spring - Understanding Holistic Health

Written by Amanda Whittal.

In the depths of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. Albert Camus. This simple sentence conveys volumes regarding the truth of the human soul. Truly, in the darkest of times we find, if we pay attention, a light within us that somehow still shines. Nonetheless, after a long, cold winter, it certainly doesn't hurt our spirits that spring is in the air and we can now excitedly anticipate the promise of longer and warmer days just around the corner.

spring yoga

Accurately in tune with the rhythm of the earth, our bodies naturally ebb and flow with the seasons. During winter we tend to withdraw somewhat, exchanging many social events and experiences for cozy evenings at home, warm meals, and personal reflection. With the emergence of spring, we ourselves feel the emergence of a new energy within us, a sort of 'waking up' state.

We intuitively feel the urge to venture out more, eat lighter foods, and become more active. For many, this inclination is coupled with a desire to kick start the season with some healthy lifestyle change(s) and exploration. As humanity evolves, it is becoming apparent that there is a stronger focus of attention towards a lifestyle based on proactive approaches to wellness, and people are taking more responsibility for their own well being than ever before.

While this noticeable shift in consciousness is an excellent step towards improved quality of life around the world, the explosion of such a vast variety of available wellness-related services often leaves even the most educated individuals unsure of where to go next.

How does one optimize his or her benefit from the plethora of therapies, stores, counselors, and workshops that are currently on the market? As a natural healthcare practitioner, I have learned a number of valuable lessons regarding this 'predicament', some of which I hope will shed some new light on the question.

First, it is essential to be aware that virtually all of the existing services and practices share a common purpose, which is to help people reach their optimal state of well-being not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. This is the fundamental definition of what is known as 'holistic' health. Keeping this in mind, individuals seeking to enhance their life in mind, body and spirit can attain this through virtually any of the methods offered.

The key is to find something that both resonates well with you, and that you enjoy. It should not be a struggle, and each person's experience is entirely unique. Thus, like anything in life, you can be open to the opinions and advice of others, but cannot make your decision based on someone else's experience. I recommend you explore and try different things until you find something that you like. When you do, invest some time and energy into it to gain the maximum benefit. When you feel it's served its purpose, move on, for as we grow, different avenues will suit our needs.

To illustrate this point further, consider two readily available services; holistic health and yoga.

Holistic health includes a number of modalities that include bodywork (such as aromatherapy, Swedish massage, Shiatsu massage and reflexology), energy work (such as Reiki, chakra healing, vibrational arts and medical intuition), and additional supportive skills (such as nutrition, herbal studies, homeopathy and counseling). Although the details and methodology of each are drastically different, their outcomes are often quite similar. While each approach treats individuals from a different angle, all serve and have the potential to accomplish the same objective.

Now, shift your thoughts to the practice of yoga and its definition, 'union', which refers to it being a technique to unite and harmonize one's mind, body and spirit. Through physical poses, focusing the mind, and creating openness for spiritual connection, yoga can be a phenomenal tool to help one attain a state of optimal well-being.

Holistic bodywork takes a more physical approach to achieving wellness, while yoga originates from a meditative and spiritual basis, and still other services, such as counseling, use a more mentally based style.

We are integrative beings, with our physical, mental and emotional aspects serving equally important roles in our lives. Take a journey within yourself to discover which of these perspectives is your ideal way to create more balance and health in your own life. Your body holds a deep knowingness of what it needs. All you need to do is look, listen and follow.

May you flourish this spring with new health, vitality and discovery!

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