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The 6 Pillars of Yogic Life - Part 2 - Cool, Calm and Collected

Our last Blog post talked about the first three pillars of yogic living for optimal health and here we will dive into the last 3. These focus on how we cleanse body and mind, remove toxins and on how we look after our mental and emotional wellbeing.

Pillar 4. - Cleansing Body and Mind

We obviously we need to keep ourselves clean and hydrated. Yogic living and aruvedic practices place alot of importance on cleansing the body of toxins.

Our bodies require proper hydration and the right amount of fibre for urination and regular elimination. It's not just ridding ourselves of external toxins, but the body's own waste disposal system needs to be in top working order as we shed used or dead cells and excess hormones.

Yogis have other practices for cleansing. Netti pots use a gentle saline solution to rinse and clear the nostrils and sinsuses. I do this especially at this time of year to help clear the airways staving off colds and then during the summer it's great for anyone with hayfever to get rid of pollen in the airways.

But think about this - we also need to cleanse our mind. Maybe start with a digital detox? Even reviewing your follow list - is there anyone on there who doesn't uplift you or brings out a negative side to you? Hit unfollow! The mute button can be a god send to give you a break from toxic content.

Begin the habit of detox from negative thoughts. We are honestly so hard on ourselves - and come from a rich background of self depreciation which I find we have almost made part of our identity in this part of the world. It really needs to stop - affirmations, gratitude and a more positive attitude have such far reaching benefits to build your confidence reframe your thinking and behaviour. Really its a subject that deserves it's own blog!

PIllar 5 - Breathing and Stress Management

Pranyama or breathing practices is one of the 8 limbs of yoga. It is simply put our most underused resource for our physical and mental wellbeing. Ironic given that if we didn't do it we would die - but the fact is that so few of us do it efficiently, even fewer of us will take time to make it a regular exercise.

Deeper breaths, practice of holding the breath and more focused breahing exercises are key to feeling more energised, more relaxed, more intune with our parasympathetic nervous system and therefore in a place where the body can function more efficiently and rest more deeply.

After yoga itself, my other go to tools for stress management:

  • journalling how I feel,

  • writing out the list of 'things to do' and get them out of my head.

  • meet or chat with a friend

  • go on a little solo coffee date

  • get out in the fresh air - even a 10 min walk can make the world of difference.

Pillar 6 - Self Awareness and Self Reflection

Yoga as an embodied practice brings you very quickly into the body and how it feels We tend to not notice the physical so much unless it hurts so by making us aware of how the body feels through each part of a posture, yoga allows us to develop a practice of self awareness beginning with the body.

This practice simply opens the doorway for your to explore your inner world through meditation. Your thoughts, what makes you tick, your reactions. Exploring different meditation styles will help you to become aware and reflect on all of these.

Things like journalling then become your tools to document this journey and dive deeper into it.

Optimal health and how we reach it will be some combination of the 6 pillars - varying according to your needs at any particular time, taking one pillar and focus there or making little gains in each one. We can always dive deeper into the individual pillars again - but I hope you found this helpful!

As always, a comment or share will be much appreciated!

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