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The 3 Pillars of Essential Health




What does it mean to live your best life?


The straightforward answer is daily maintenance of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. The three areas that make or break our health are:


  • Diet (Ahara)

  • Rest (Nidra)

  • Lifestyle (Brahmacharya)

Known in Ayurveda (the sister science of yoga, "the science of life") as "The Three Pillars". Let's take a closer look at each one.


Diet/ Sensory Intake:

How are we feeding/ nourishing ourselves? Good nutrition, factoring in quality, variety and quantity is of utmost importance to maintain our energy levels and focus but what about how we feed our other senses?

Diet, or "Ahara" as it is known in Ayurveda, is anything that we intake (food, fluids, sunshine, sensory experiences, emotions, thoughts, etc.). Not just about what we put in our mouth, but how we choose to nourish ALL of our five senses - sight, sound, smell, touch, taste.


I invite you to check-in often with your body, energy, mood and mindset - just try closing your eyes for a few gentle cycles of breath. Is your tummy at ease, grumbling or stuffed? Does your body feel tense or relaxed? What are your ears taking in? Can you hear the sound of birds, calming music...or the tv, outside noise/sirens? What about those peepers (the portals to the nervous system)? Have you been staring at a screen for more than an hour? Do your clothes feel breathable, soft and comfortable or tight, restrictive?

What we take in through our five senses directly affects our current state whether we're aware of it or not. Check in with all of your sense and see which may feel neglected, over stimulated, harmonious or disharmonious. Below are some recommendations to get you started.


  • Sight

Give your eyes a break from the computer screen and spend a few moments closing them. Visualize a place, real or imagined, where you feel relaxed and at ease. Take in as many details as you can as you see yourself there and take note of how you feel. Look at the expansiveness of the never-ending sky and step out of the confines of your own mind. Marvel at the beauty of nature throughout the seasons, a reminder that change is part of life and transitions take time. Consider keeping a small plant (perhaps a little succulent to take care of!), a special crystal or flowers on your desk. 💐 I like having several uplifting affirmations around my desk that help keep stress at bay. Make your space unique to you.


  • Sound:

Listen to relaxing music.

I really like the “Calm” app as it does not cause distraction as you work.

Healing frequencies and instrumental music are also easily found on Youtube or Spotify:

Maybe you choose to listen to soft jazz or more upbeat music as you move your body or sing along. Create your own atmosphere.

Music can have a measurable effect on stress and is good for the soul. 🎶


  • Smell:

 Aromas have the incredible power to directly impact your mind, mood and emotions. As an aromatherapist, I am a big fan of essential oils! Think of essential oils as little gems from nature in convenient bottles. You can use them straight from the bottle to inhale or dilute your favorites in a carrier oil and use as a roller bottle on wrists and collar bones. Diffusers are also great for work spaces or the bedroom. Three good ones to have handy are: Lavender (calming), Orange (uplifting) and Peppermint (for focus and energy) - these also combined nicely together.


I love making custom blends for clients and also have a selection of roller bottles to meet your mood. Learn more about my background story with plants and visit my online store to purchase a specific blend here: https://www.sissystjohn.com/aromatherapy


Enjoy the smell of your next meal and try experimenting with fresh or dried herbs such as basil, rosemary 🌱 and cinnamon - get creative and spice things up! Trader Joes has a fantastic selection of seasonings at great prices. This combines your sense of smell and taste!


  • Touch

Place one hand on your heart, the other on your belly, close your eyes and feel the warmth of your own two caring hands and the miracle of your breath inside, always flowing. Wear breathable, soft fabrics that feel good on your skin and don’t restrict circulation. Moisturize your hands daily and  give yourself a mini hand massage. Our hands do so much for us, take care of them and send them a little gratitude. Hug someone (or cuddle a fur baby!) - share and receive good energy! Our arms are an extension of our heart energy. Relax in a warm bath before bed, perhaps with some epsom salts mixed with essential oil, and let your day drop away. 🛀


  • Taste

Savor the flavors of the season. Eating with what is currently in season gives you an understanding and appreciation of the cycle's of nature. When possible buy organic and take a trip to your local farm stand to support farmers and eat fresh. Slow down as you eat or drink and notice the different types of tastes and textures inside your mouth. Have pre-made healthy snacks handy to nosh on between meals or to bring to the office. This is very helpful when we are feeling tired or stressed. Food can be healing and nourishing and recharge us or contribute to lethargy and weight gain. Poor food choices can also cause indigestion and contribute to inflammation and arthritis. Choose fresh, prana rich food (as opposed to leftovers more than a day old) whenever possible. Steer away from soda and processed food that is high in carbs, sugar and fat - learn to read the label and plan ahead. Stay mindful of what goes in your mouth.


Rest:

This is arguably one of the most neglected areas. In addition to a minimum of 7- 8 hours of quality sleep we also need scheduled down time, computer breaks, intentional pauses and power naps (such as Yoga Nidra - "Nidra" means rest), especially as we age. The importance of REST is a HUGE non-negotiable when it comes to preserving our health, consolidating memory and promoting healing and cellular regeneration. Pay attention to your energy and create a wind down ritual to let go of the stressors of your day.


Lifestyle:

We are a result of the regular habits and rituals we repeat again and again (good and not so good!) on a daily basis. Over time we can see how those choices shape who we are and how we show up in the world. What falls under this category is also social connectivity, being part of a community, sharing common interests with others, being heard and being seen. Even as an introvert myself I know when I need to be with my tribe, get support or get a hug :)

Find your personal balance, what enhances your energy and what drains you? Notice how you manage your free time. Time management is important because let's face it, time goes quickly.

Have any hobbies? Make sure you are doing more of what you love on a regular basis. What brings you JOY? What makes your heart happy and enlivens your spirit?


Which area in your life needs a little attention? Only we know how we feel and can take charge of our health and manage our energy. Moderation (Brahmacharya) with all things is key! Ultimately it comes down to finding the just right recipe to create balance for your unique needs, and each and every one of us is undeniably and wonderfully different!


When we take time to slow down and tune in to how we feel we can more accurately address what areas of our life need a little bit more tending to. Make today count. Master your mindset, manage your well-being and take charge of your life.


Remember, life is a do-it-yourself project and self-care is a necessity not a luxury. Invest in yourself, you're worth it!


Be happy, be healthy, stay balanced 😊

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