- Published in Be Inspired Blog
Howdy folks! If you clicked on the link to check out my latest fitness blog then you must be the type of person who seeks to uncover more ways to improve your health and state of being. Or you’re just intrigued and curious about what Amanda has to say about this Mind-Body-Spirit Connection and how it relates to ultimate health and wellness! Well, whatever got you here thanks for clicking and reading. My goal with sharing my personal insight on this topic is to hopefully present you with a perspective on health and wellness that you maybe haven’t considered. Perhaps if anything it will plant the seed of curiosity that prompts you to want to know more. After all, when it comes to optimal health and wellness, each one of us can’t deny that at some point we’ve researched and tried many things on the quest to be healthier and happier! From the latest super foods, to the best exercises to tone and shape those abs and thighs, to the ultimate diet guaranteed to shed those unwanted pounds in a hurry!
In all my years as a personal fitness coach I’ve done my homework to stay updated on the latest fitness trends and have always practiced what I preached. The focus has always been to assist my clients to improve and maintain their physical wellbeing. The emphasis has always been on the physical body and to varying degrees every client has achieved a certain level of success. Even through physical injury, chronic disease, mental illness, and just the basic motivation to move, most of the clients I’ve had the privilege to work with declared they wanted to work towards better health. They all wanted to look better, feel better and ultimately be happier. With each program I designed and every coaching session I spent encouraging them to work hard, the goal was to have them leave each workout a little healthier, happier and “sweatier” than the last one! After a set number of weeks and months there was always noticeable improvement physically but in many cases I could sense that something was missing. The physical body was looking better but the underlying feeling I had through personal conversation and observing behaviour was that people weren’t fully reaching the level of happiness and wellbeing that they desired. It’s taken many years to finally discover and understand that the ultimate path to optimal health and wellness is so much more than the physical body!
The mind-body-spirit connection…what does that phrase mean to you? Does it have a deeper meaning or does it just sound trendy and cool? Early on in my training career I would have said the mind was simply the collection of thoughts, beliefs, values and morals that we have about ourselves and the world around us. The body was the physical aspect of the self made up of muscle, bone, blood and numerous other tissues. The spirit was the spiritual aspect of the self that was affiliated with the belief in God or a higher power usually associated with some form of religion. While the definitions of these aspects had validity, I’d come to realize that they were all incomplete. So here it goes…a blog post that will focus on my perspective on the deeper and more expansive view of the MIND-BODY-SPIRIT connection!
The MIND is mysterious, complex and for most of us a constant chatter box of relentless thoughts. Up until the last few years I had accepted like many that thinking all the time was normal. I’ve always believed myself to be a pretty positive and optimistic person so for the most part I would have considered most of my thoughts to be positive ones. Of course, I had never really spent the time deliberately focusing on what kind of thoughts I was having at any given moment and I certainly wasn’t aware that much of the time I was somewhat “unconscious” to the streams of thoughts that were racing through my mind. In other words, I really had no control over what my mind was conjuring up and I certainly wasn’t putting in any effort to change any of it. Now for the up close and personal side of this article… I decided that like the music I’m inspired to create, the writing that I do here would also come from a place of openness and honesty. Five years ago I had a personal life experience that would forever change the way I viewed my mind. A series of events would trigger the beginning of the mental and physical challenges that would lead to me coping with anxiety attacks. The one thing I experienced early on was how helpless and out of control I felt trying to deal with the physiological symptoms of the attacks which, for those who have never experienced this before, are very scary. To be jolted awake in the middle of the night with my heart pounding in my throat and not have a real understanding as to why was one of the biggest challenges.
Initially I sought out medical advice and explored treatment options but it wasn’t until a few months in, that I began to uncover and understand the root cause of the anxiety attacks that I was experiencing. And that they could not be fixed with a prescription. The root causes would lead straight in to the areas of the mind I had no idea even existed. I had established a narrative of fears that over time I would discover had deep connections to many of the belief systems I held. From my own self-worth and acceptance, to my most intimate relationships that included my relationship with God. The anxiety I experienced shone a spotlight on all the areas associated with feelings of fear. I discovered the work of Spiritual teacher and Cellular Biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton and his book “The Biology of Belief” to be a powerful tool in understanding the inner workings of the conscious and subconscious mind and how to change the belief systems that weren’t serving my highest and best good. Upon reflection, it’s quite astonishing how powerful the mind can be and how rapidly physiological symptoms will manifest when we are not in control of the mind and subconscious programming takes over. The direct connection between the mind and body became obvious to me through this experience and I continue to work on this area of my well-being every day.
The SPIRIT aspect of the mind-body-spirit connection is one of fascination and to most of us is still, a great mystery. Up until quite recently, the western culture did not promote or support the teaching and understanding of this aspect of our being. If I had heard of “chakras” or the “etheric body” or “Aura” I would have immediately associated it with some eastern cultural spiritual teachings that were completely foreign and to be quite honest, a little “out there”! As I mentioned before, I had associated the spirit aspect of my being to my religious beliefs. I understood that I had a soul but beyond that I never really gave the concept much more thought. It was during the time I was dealing with the anxiety that I would come to learn that I have an energetic “etheric body” that carries invisible energy or “prana” that flows around and through the physical body. Much like a river, if the flow remains unobstructed, the energy flows freely and harmoniously through the various chakras or energy centers creating balance, harmony and vitality in the body. If the flow becomes obstructed however, like a dam on a river, the energy builds up and, if left unattended, can cause physical symptoms and disruption to the surrounding areas. So what causes the disruption of energetic flow?
From what I’ve come to learn, and trust me, I’m still a student here, each of the major chakras of the body which you can find extensive information online about are all linked to specific bundles of nerves, organs, glands and to specific mental and emotional states of being. The flow then can become blocked or disrupted by our mental or emotional state. Along with the anxiety, I was also suffering with chronic back pain which I would discover later on, was directly linked to the feelings of fear that were causing blockages in my energetic flow. Is the Mind-Body and Spirit connection starting to become a little more obvious now? I only wish I would have been able to take a class like this in school when I was growing up! There are many practitioners that offer assistance in the area of energy flow and healing such as reiki, acupuncture, and reflexology to name a few of the more common ones. The best advice I can offer however is to educate yourself first and become your own spiritual student! We are living in such an exciting and expansive time of exploration and discovery but it’s up to each of us to take the opportunity that is given to learn what we haven’t been taught!
The BODY, or the physical aspect of our being, really needs no in-depth description. We’ve been educated on its major components and how things tick throughout our lives. I chose to save this aspect till the end and break the expected mind-body-spirit order for a very specific reason. Typically, when we have a specific ache, pain or condition develop in the body, we treat the physical symptoms with what we consider to be the best and most direct method of medical treatment. What I have begun to question however is, even though we have many effective methods of alleviating symptoms to promote healing, have we actually found the root cause or source of the physical ailment or condition in the first place? Based on my experience and from what I am learning, I believe the root-cause of most conditions go well beyond the physical. The physical symptoms are the end result of a disharmony or imbalance between the mind and spirit aspects of our being. The body then becomes an indicator to us of what is out of balance or alignment. So, the next time you feel frustrated or fed up with your body and its “issues”, consider that it might be trying to bring your attention to something very important. The specific area of the body that is affected will tell us where energetic blockages are occurring and based on the specific energy center affected, what the mental or emotional reasons could be. The emphasis must then be placed on finding balance in the mind and spirit aspects of our being to establish a healthy and harmonious connection with the body!
So there you have it…there’s so much more I could say about this topic and who knows, maybe in time I will expand on these concepts further. For now what I’ve come to understand is that we must first be willing to accept the idea that we don’t know it all and that as new information is presented we are to allow ourselves to at least be open to it. Any of my training clients will tell you our fitness conversations have expanded in to these areas beyond the physical and as a result some have begun to explore and genuinely embrace the potential of the mind-body-spirit connection on the road towards optimal health, happiness and wellbeing!