Do you find yourself feeling out of alignment or simply lost in life? Do you wish to improve the connection between your mind, body, and spirit? Perhaps you have engaged in yoga or meditation practices and have heard of this concept. But what does it mean to truly implement the mind, body, and spirit connection? How can this bring us closer to greater levels of physical, emotional, and mental well-being? The team at Awakened Path has designed this resource to provide you with a deeper understanding of the mind, body, and spirit integration and specific yoga exercises to practice on your holistic healing journey.
What is the Mind, Body, and Spirit Connection?
Our physical bodies and minds are often the focus of our healing. When we feel physical pain in our bodies, we may seek support from a medical professional to help us. Similarly, when our mind feels on edge from stress and/or trauma, we may also seek professional support from a therapist. External support is crucial as suffering in silence can wreak havoc on our well-being.
Though seeking external support is a common human experience, relying solely on outsiders is often a root cause of our suffering. This is where the spirit connection comes in. Our spirits, also referred to as energy, teach us to look within ourselves and to become observers and leaders of our bodies and minds.
Our thoughts are energy. Our physical body is energy. Therefore, we too are energy. Dr. Sue Morter, a health pioneer, and advanced energy healing and medicine researcher has helped thousands of individuals suffering from pain, disease, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. One of her core principles includes, “We are all energy beings, and energy is the key to everything.”
Growing up, you may have learned about energy in science class. Many of us were taught that the objects around us are all made up of energy and that nearly all energy comes from the sun. Or perhaps you may remember learning about fossil fuels for electricity generation? Your teachers were right. But what they may not have told you is, you are energy too. To circle back to Dr. Morter’s point, energy is the key to everything.
Why is the Mind, Body, and Spirit Connection Important?
The unity of the mind, body, and spirit brings conscious awareness that our thoughts and narratives (mind) impact us on an energetic level (spirit). The power we give over our thoughts will bring us either ease or disease (body). When in sync, we can feel a greater sense of peace and increase our overall physical and mental health.
Signs and Effects of Mind, Body, and Spirit Disconnect
Many of us have moments when our minds continuously tell us phrases such as “I am always so awkward,” “I never do a good enough job,” or “Why would that person want to date someone like me?” These are called cognitive distortions. When experienced to an extreme degree or over a prolonged period of time, these irrational thoughts negatively influence our emotions. As a result, we may feel an increase in anxiety, stress, and/or depressive symptoms.
Negative thoughts, emotions, and experiences can also manifest physically in the body. For example, when our brain senses danger our stress response or fight or flight mode activates. Once activated, our sympathetic nervous system communicates with us through the body. The body may experience some of the following symptoms but are not limited to – an increase in heart rate, lung expansion (likely to trigger those who are prone to panic attacks), nausea (digestive system shuts down), and enlarged pupils (light sensitivity).
In many circumstances, our minds or bodies do not recognize the difference between a perceived life threat and an actual life threat. In other words, coming in close contact with a shark will activate the same stress response in our bodies as being rejected by a crush or facing criticism from a boss. Being fearful of a shark is likely a primal fear that our brains are pre-programmed to see as a threat. However, our experiences, thoughts, and unconscious beliefs influence our responses to what our brain perceives as a threat. When our spirit or energy does not have a strong sense of inner peace, we look for it externally. When our spirit feels disconnected from the external world, as indicated by an overactive stress response, our physical and mental health is at risk.
Creating a Mind, Body, and Spirit Connection Through Yoga
In modern society, yoga is most associated with physical postures that we practice with the body, or Asanas in Sanskrit. Hindu philosopher, Patanjali, also known as the Father of Modern Yoga, recognizes Asanas as one of the eight limbs of yoga. The Asana practice intends to take the physical body on a mental and spiritual journey. One does not have to identify as spiritual or engage in Asana to practice yoga. The purpose of yoga is to leave the mind and enter the body through a combination of breathing, meditation, and breathwork. By mastering the mind and body, we elevate to higher consciousness and fully integrate mind, body, and spirit connection.
Practice on the yoga mat is intended to translate into daily life to help foster the mind, body, and spirit connection. Training ourselves to breathe through challenging postures and free the mind from hindering thoughts instills healthy holistic practices. Here at Awakened Path, we believe a holistic approach promotes optimal healing benefits.
Holistic Healing Yoga Exercises
Here are some postures to facilitate the mind, body, and spirit connection:
1. Leg Up the Wall Pose
- Benefits: This pose may help with digestive problems, migraines, insomnia, mild depression, calming the mind, and anxiety.
- Getting into the pose: Sit your left hip close to the wall. Lean back with your right elbow and swing your legs up to the wall. Option to open legs wide or keep closed.
2. Reclined Butterfly
- Benefits: Reclined butterfly may reduce stress and calm the mind, increase mobility in the hips, release in the lower back, and opens the heart.
- Getting into the pose: Place a bolster, block, or blanket by your sacrum, sitting up straight. Then bring the soles of your feet together. Bring the soles of your feet either close to you or slide them away. Extend your spine and lean back with your arms open to the side or place your hands wherever feels comfortable.
- Disclaimer: This pose is a hip opener and can bring up difficult emotions, including sadness.
3. Shavasana or Corpse Pose
- Benefits: Shavasana may reduce stress, reduce fatigue, increase focus and concentration, and boost energy, mood, and self-confidence.
- Getting into the pose: Typically done toward the end of a yoga class, it is a form of meditation and a way to increase the benefits of the poses completed in the class. Lay on your back and take up as much space as you would like, close your eyes, and focus your awareness on your breath.
At Awakened Path, we are happy to support you on your holistic healing journey. Connect with a holistic therapist in NJ today to integrate the mind, body, and spirit connection into your life.