Many ancient Eastern traditions focus on practices that calm the mind, activate the body, and nourish both body and spirit. Through these practices we can ride the wellness train to harmony, balance and overall well-being!
The first priority in the healing arts is a relaxed focusing of the mind, which can act as a catalyst to motivation. The ideal level of awareness may occur most easily during the concentrated practices that quiet the mind like silent contemplation, meditation or self reflection. However, any relaxing or focusing experience where we pay attention — appreciating nature or art, or playing a musical instrument — can certainly bring peace to our minds and should be encouraged regularly.
According to the East Asian healing arts, exercise builds digestive fire and therefore is necessary for us to receive good nutrition from our food. Without sufficient activity, we may find it difficult to make progress in health, regardless of how good our food may be.
The right type of quality food, when digested thoroughly, benefits the biochemistry of our bodies.
The harmony of these 3 priorities provides a whole and complete approach to healing. When you practice awareness and activity, you naturally desire quality foods. Furthermore, greater awareness breaks the emotional attachments to food.
In terms of your personal health, if you think of how you feel when you feel really well, you might realize you don’t think of wellness at all! Everything in your life just flows and moves seamlessly—in harmony. Your body, mind, emotions, and spirit can adjust and readjust to the circumstances in your life. This is precisely the state traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, seeks to create: the state of balance.
You can find that balance using the 3 priorities of healing and adopting a routine based on your dominant element (see below).
Priorities for Air
A tendency to wake up in the middle of the night with your mind racing is common for air dominant people. Try a guided meditation like the Body Scan to help you drift back to sleep.
Prioritize exercising before 10am and/or after 6pm. Movements should be grounding, slow, intentional, and should emphasize stretching, strength-building, and fluidity.
Priorities for Fire
Build in self-care and a sense of peace at the peak of the day by starting with the Journey to the Heart meditation followed by a 20-minute power nap after lunch.
Prioritize exercise before 10am and/or after 6pm to avoid the heat of the day. Focus on inviting a little more fun and pleasure into your activities and don’t forget to stretch!
Priorities for Earth
Practices that invigorate and clear the mind are particularly important for earth dominant people so make Breath of Joy as important to your morning routine as your cup of joe.
Instead of prioritizing the right time of day, any time of day will do. But whatever you do, commit to an exercise schedule and stick with it. Make it enjoyable and change it up regularly.
credit: “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pritchard