healthy & happy.

Lately I've been on a little health kick (and by lately I mean on and off for pretty much my whole life). I just made the switch to a plant based diet and I've been feeling pretty amazing. It's gotten me thinking about the way health care is handled - or not handled - in the states. For the most part, western medicine treats diseases, not patients. We go to the doctor when we're sick, not to keep us healthy or prevent us from getting sick. We have all of the information about health and wellness we could possibly need at our fingertips. There have been incredible technological advancements in the medical field that are constantly getting better. And we spend an immense amount of money on health care each year, possibly more than any other country. So you would think we would be one of the healthiest countries on the planet. But on the contrary, we're one of the sickest. Everyone has to die someday, but why do we live lifestyles and eat diets that send us into an early grave?

I think there's a huge disconnect between the health care system and actual human beings. This is a for profit system with making money as its number one goal, and that may not be changing any time soon. So who is responsible for our health? In my opinion it's the responsibility of the individual to educate themselves about what they're putting into their bodies. We have endless resources in the form of documentaries, books, and articles online that can give us great information as long as we use our discernment when taking it in.

So if we're not sick yet, why do we have to worry about our health? If it's not broken, why fix it? If you put shampoo in the gas tank of your car, will it run? Not for long. And if you just top it off with a little scotch instead of changing the oil, will the engine last very long? Of course not. Cars are simple. So is the body - however we have the added benefit of adaptability and our bodies do their best to adapt to their environments and they work with what they're given, until they can't. 

So let's stick with the analogy of the car and let's pretend that your body is the vehicle of your soul for this life. You want this vehicle to last you a long time, and you also want it to run well so it can drive you to exciting new places. You also need to take care of your car to avoid expensive trips to the mechanic every couple of years. So what do you do to optimize the health of your vehicle? Well, that's up to you. You know you need nourishment to keep it running. You also know you can't just stay sedentary or your battery will die. You have to take care of all parts of this body - including mind and soul - because nothing in the body functions separately from anything else. It all works together in perfect harmony - or dissonance depending on how it's being treated.

I don't have an answer for what's right for any one person's body. But I can tell you what fuels mine and I can speak from my experience. I know I feel best when I do yoga or practice some type of movement every day. I know I need lots of fresh fruits and vegetables every day to feel energized. I need human connection, not just small talk but actual connection. I also know I need to get some rest. I know when I'm feeling stressed, I need a few hours of self care and I have that ritual down to a science - I make myself some tea, use my neti pot, and spend about 15-20 minutes doing abyangha which is the Ayurvedic practice of self massage - I use coconut oil with essential oils, then I lay around in some restorative yoga poses for maybe another 20 minutes. That's pretty much my cure all, repeat daily until stress free. And whatever can't be resolved with that ritual, I treat with a heavy dose of nature.

I think it's important to find out what you need. What fuels your body? Find out what will make you feel healthy and happy. What does optimum health look and feel like to you? What habits do you think you need to break and what habits do you want to cultivate in order to achieve your version of optimum health? I think it's important to find out what that is and do it.

 Astavakrasana at Red Rock Canyon

Astavakrasana at Red Rock Canyon