What is wellness? Well, it means whatever it takes for you to feel well. Simple, right? Well…both ancient yogic scriptures and modern metaphysicists declare that we have a “subtle” body connected with our physical one. In fact we can categorise our spirit-mind-body system into three “bodies” – the physical, mental and emotional. These are separated for the sake of simplicity since it is really all one thing, just at different frequencies. From the more dense physical to the subtle that we can’t “see” but we can feel. So do you feel well in all three? Well…
Wellness at the physical level may mean feeling no pain anywhere in the body. It may mean feeling vibrant and alive. It may be achieving a fitness goal or a yoga pose. It may be to feel strong and healthy. Whatever this means for you you’ll usually know if you feel well at this level, or at least what you need to do to get there (i.e. go to a yoga class, improve nutrition…etc.)
Mental wellness may just be being able release stress for a while during this busy life of running around. Perhaps it’s to feel peaceful and clear-headed without being upset about someone or something. Perhaps it is acceptance and equilibrium. This one can be tricky as the mind is a very treacherous companion, seeking least effort and falling into old patterns which may feel good and right in the short term but cause mental stress, feelings of negativity, anxiety and depression in the longer term. You can typically work on this one either with self-help books, with a therapist or life coach, guided meditation, or whatever other methods work for you.
Emotional wellness is even more subtle and is often overlooked. This can be achieving a state of joy, calm and equanimity without depending on outer circumstances. This one is the most difficult to achieve permanently as it is based in deep-set subconscious thoughts and impulses that really dominate us. Working with their cohort, the mind, they play us and emotional negativity or instability ensues. To work on this level we need a lot of digging in deep and self-reflection. As this is beyond the material, it is where spirituality and guidance from a teacher and/or the right literature are imperative. It is a long rough road but worth the trouble.
There are numerous practices and healing modalities from modern to traditional to new age that can help you along on your journey into wellness. I can list them for pages. The ones I’ve listed below are some of the activities that have improved my wellbeing greatly and that I highly recommend.
“Lay down and breathe”. Have you ever heard of anything so good? That’s all my overtired, stressed out body needed to hear at a yoga class and I was hooked. With two young kids, a stressful full-time job, an even busier husband and no family around I was exhausted and unbalanced. By strengthening my body and opening my joints in poses, my wrist, back and neck pain from sitting at a desk for 15 years disappeared. Opening my body was the gateway to opening my heart and mind. Yoga made me feel alive again and awakened me to my true self.
During those times in savasana after class when I was not in a rush to get something done, little voices of truth would spring up from my subconscious and realizations about myself would surface. Slowly over time I began to develop a longer and more regular meditation practice. The practice continues to contribute immensely to my evolution and its benefits are limitless. Meditation just gives us time and space which is really all we need for mental problems to surface and flutter away, and for concentration to strengthen. It is like yoga for the mind; it is a process and you develop the muscles and flexibility necessary if you keep trying.
Sound and silence are the pendulum swing of life. Sound is creation. Sound is vibration. Sound is deep inside of us. Anahata, out heart chakra, means unstruck. It is the sound of our Creator. In essence, sound is everywhere, in everything. We all vibrate, down to our very atoms. Upset, trauma, or fear, often suppressed, can affect these vibrations, resulting in blockages and eventually disease which manifests at the physical level. It is only natural that we can use sound to heal as man has been doing for as long as we have human history. Our bodies made of water and bones are excellent conductors of sound. With the concept of entrainment, we can reset our systems to a healthy vibration. Sound also carries the mind to a safe and quiet place, enhancing the effects of meditation by allowing us to let go of the outer world.
Recipe for Success
Whether you practice yoga, meditation, work with sound or use any other healing modality, you are affecting the whole mind body system - physical, mental and emotional – as it is all interrelated. It is all about your intention to be well and allowing for space so that healing can take place. We are all different and starting from where we are, so there is no one recipe for each of us. You will know your truth because you are the master chef of your own healing recipe.
By embarking on a journey into wellness, you become more sensitive to your state of being at any of these levels, and can observe specific people, situations and events that affect this state. You can also discriminate on choices you make going forward in everyday life.
One thing to remember is always choose Joy. Always choose Truth. Do that and trust.
About Irene Lalonde @irenelalondeyoga
Irene has an RYT 500 Yoga Teacher Certification. Under her teacher she studied the full spectrum of beginner to advanced postures, seniors’ yoga, restorative yoga, ancient pranayama practices, and yoga philosophy. She also has a certification in kids’ yoga (2018). Irene became a Certified Sound Therapy Practitioner through the Institute of Traditional Medicine (Toronto) in 2018 and attained Master level in Reiki healing in 2019. She has and continues to study these methods of healing as she actively works them into her yoga classes, with individual clients, and in Sound Baths. Please see her offerings at upcoming classes and events on Instagram at @irenelalondeyoga and https://www.waveyogasound.com/