Pillar 1 - The Right Food
Maintaining a diet that is perfectly balanced in nutrition and quantity. If it were simple then the thousands of diet experts, the latest fad diets and everyone making a buck of selling you the latest health food or supplement wouldn't exist. Maintaining a consistently healthy diet is something I have always struggled with. Generally I eat what I'd consider to be a generally healthy diet with a mixture of fruit and vegetables, fats, protein in most days. However, when it comes to cutting out sugar I'll go through phases of keeping it maintained and then lose the run of myself! I'm absolutely no expert - what tends to help me is to think along the lines of what foods can I add that will satisfy me. Can I focus on adding foods that are nutricious, locally sourced and natural, foods that are seasonal? Can I focus adding good food in rather than restriction?
Pillar 2 - The Right Movement
Movement and Exercise should provide the right amounts of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and mobility. I have been a believer for a long time in the need to diversify your movement and have always loved how yoga can be used to both bolster and compliment other forms of training.
'The Right Movement' will mean different things at different times in our lives. This is particularly true for women - our body calls for different movement depending on our age, if we are pregnant or postnatal, and even simply depending on what week of our cycle we are in.
Yoga does offer this variety - you can raise your heartrate in a vinyasa flow class, feel the challenge and strength in maintaining a hold of a pose over time and also find release in a restorative or yin style posture. Yoga asks us to be self aware and to adapt our practices according to what our body and circumstances tell us that we need.
Pillar 3 - The Right Sleep
Optimal health asks that we not only get enough hours of sleep - but that we look at ways to improve the quality of our sleep. That we set regular sleep and wake times, keep a bedtime routine that promotes rest - without screentime or distractions. I like to write my thoughts down before I go to bed, get rid of things that are playing on my mind so I can set them aside.
A regular meditation practice or access to yoga nidra before bed is a great way to promote rest. The first and sometimes immediate benefit that I hear of most often from students is that they have a brilliant nights sleep after their yoga class or relaxation.
Part 2 will look at the last 3 Pillars and applying them to our day to day lives.