Editor’s Note: Andrew Weil, M.D. is a world-renowned leader, best-selling author, and...
True health and wellbeing is a lifestyle that does not happen overnight. It is a series of gradual, subtle shifts. A gentle unfolding of a more balanced existence. One could certainly spend hundreds of hours reading, attending seminars, practicing, falling off the wagon, getting back on said wagon, and continually striving to get it “right.” While walking the path toward wholeness isn’t always easy, it can and should be simple. Forget where we want to be ten years from now. By making small, daily shifts that allow us to feel good in this very moment, we open ourselves up to unlimited vitality, wellness and abundance.
1) Take three deep cleansing breaths. There is nothing more effective and immediate in relieving stress than cultivating an awareness of the breath. In times of overwhelm, aggravation and never-ending to-do lists, we can focus on the breath to release that which is no longer serving us and access the deep well of stillness and peace that exists within. Breath work, in Sanskrit, is called pranayama. Translated in English, this is the directing or mastering (yama) of our life force energy (prana). We are the masters of our own energy. And our breath can serve has a powerful reminder of that truth. Whenever you are feeling lost, angry, anxious, tired, just pause. Breathe in deeply through the nose. Exhale through the mouth with a big, cleansing sigh. Repeat three times, and enjoy the peace that will surely follow.
2) Move. Sitting for prolonged periods of time has been clinically proven to create strain on the neck and body that can lead to chronic health conditions and back problems. Fatigue is one of the most serious health-related problems that affects not only our work, but the quality of our life. While we may not have control over job requirements that keep us desk-bound, we most certainly do have a choice of how we approach that reality. In the 80’s and 90’s, it was perfectly acceptable to take “smoke breaks” throughout the work day. Give yourself permission to take a “movement break.” Stand up and stretch. Practice chair yoga. Take a lap around the building. Instead of firing off yet another email, walk to your coworker’s office to ask a question. Just a few minutes every hour will make your body feel years younger.
3) Express gratitude. It is human nature to focus on the things we wish were different in our lives. In our success-driven society, we are constantly looking for ways to become an ever better version of ourselves. As if there is anything wrong with who we are right now, in this very moment. What if we shifted our focus to the things that are right? What if we offered little moments of silent gratitude for our families, the opportunity to earn a living, the summer vacation we are counting the days to, the beautiful smile that the cashier shined upon us at the grocery store last night? By allowing ourselves to be grateful for life’s blessings, big and small, we create a whole new reality. Not only does it put into perspective the things we deem to be wrong, but we open our hearts to receive even more abundance. There is an entire universe full of blessings just waiting for you to receive them.
In a matter of minutes, these three small, simple shifts can be incorporated every single day. Make it a challenge. Get others to join. Witness the positive benefits unfold in all areas of life. And most importantly . . . Enjoy!
“I have realized that maintaining balance and wellbeing isn’t a luxury but a necessity. As a working mother with a demanding full-time job, I have immense gratitude for the benefits of mind-body practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. My daily balancing practices are a priority for me and for the other Chopra Center staff members, and we are passionate about sharing these benefits with our guests and clients.”