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Health & Fitness: Balancing Mind, Body and Spirit

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By Kim Duke, NETA & AAFA Certified Trainer

Recently, I was asked to do a presentation on the topic, “Mind, Body and Spirit,” for the heads of the departments at Holiday Valley.  A friend of mine had been assigned the task, but after doing some research on the topic he felt the information he was to deliver did not fit his comfort zone. So, he said he was calling an expert in to do the presentation. That compliment alone was enough for me to say, “YES!”

So I began to research the topic and found it both fascinating and overwhelming.  According to About.com and Healthy Living, “Mind, Body and Spirit” works as a system of energy.  This energy can be abundant or restricted depending on our ‘state of being’ in each moment and it is constantly changing. It’s like a continuous circle; we can either facilitate this energy flow or go against the flow causing our circle to stop rolling along smoothly.

The more I researched, the more I found that basically, all the sites seemed to say the same thing – that in order to keep your energies in alignment, you were to meditate, do yoga, take a spiritual journey and heal your soul. While that may be a good path for some, it may not be the right path or a comfortable path for others.

So, I looked at my presentation as an opportunity to show how important the concept of “Mind, Body and Spirit” is and for other ways to get all aspects of our health back to a smooth and enjoyable place.  I looked for real life examples and shared personal stories of mishaps and misfortunes. I explained that bad things can happen to good people, and oftentimes we all feel like we cannot tolerate one more crisis.  I said that sometimes, taking care of our bodies with the proper diet and exercise (any exercise) is not enough. We need the mental and spiritual aspects to keep us strong and healthy as well, because when our emotional states are in flux, physical imbalances and illnesses are likely to surface.

Then, I looked for alternatives to realigning your circle and making it healthy again.  Meditation is not for me; the answer for me has always been a long walk in the woods, alone, with just the sounds and scents of nature. This is my meditation.  For others, it’s a brisk walk, a bicycle ride or skiing until your legs ache.

Another simple technique is to take a deep breath and focus on your posture. According to a Harvard Health publication, breath-focus is a common feature of several techniques that evoke the relaxation response. The first step is learning to breathe deeply. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.

At the end of the day, realize that you alone are in charge of your happiness. You alone can treat yourself and others with love and respect.  Mind, Body and Spirit is your reality each and every day. Be mindful of this. In the long run, it’s the best therapy out there.

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