Navigating a world brimming with distractions, temptations and challenges means that it’s often difficult to put yourself and your well-being first - especially around the holidays. The dictionary defines well-being with a broad stroke, as “the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous.” But what the dictionary doesn’t offer is a roadmap for achieving personal prosperity.
We went ahead and asked fellow yogis to ponder the idea of well-being and offer up their own definitions and processes for obtaining a sense of happiness, health and prosperity. Check out how these ladies unwind, mentally and physically, to stretch their ways towards well-being.
Kathy Unger, Wellness Coach at Activate Alchemy
“Well-being is the active process of maintaining your physical, mental and emotional states in order to achieve a sense of wholeness and fulfillment. When you take care of yourself and your well-being you’re able to conquer all the curveballs life throws at you. When things are out of alignment either physically, mentally or emotionally -- then you open yourself up to stress and illness.
I practice Kundalini Yoga and Meditate daily to achieve my sense of well-being. There have been moments in my life from dealing with family blowouts, death of loved ones, losing jobs,etc. and within 1 ½ hours of a Kundalini practice my whole world shifts. I can go into class extremely upset or angry and when class is over completely forget all about what happened before class began. To me it’s a miracle drug.”
Bracha Goetz, Children’s book author
“I cultivate a sense of well-being in my life by doing things that nourish my soul. That may include spreading kindness, enjoying nature, enhancing my appreciation for simple things, learning ancient wisdom, dancing, and practicing yoga. Yoga has improved my overall well-being because as my body gained flexibility, strength, and balance, the non-physical parts of me gained these abilities too. So I have witnessed how our physical and spiritual states correspond, through practicing yoga over the past nine years.”
Ashlyn Biedebach, Certified Doula at By the Brook Birth Doula
“As a yogi and *hopeful* yoga teacher (will begin certifying soon), I see well-being very holistically. Being well isn't just about having a physical body that is in top shape, it is so much more. Well-being is a mind, heart, body and soul that is aligned towards the purpose and peace that one's life should be centered towards. Well-being is found in the center of your purpose and the center of what draws your passion.
Yoga has allowed me to be at peace with where my body is any given day. I am not striving for more, or disappointed with myself, but wholly present and loving for each moment I am given. It has taught me how to create space for myself, to have a quiet mind that is not filled with thoughts and that we all need to slow down.”
Maria Olsen, Author and Diversity Speaker
“Well-being in my youth meant not missing out on anything. It meant having no worries, going to the best social events, playing well in my athletic endeavors and having lots of friends. Post-50, well-being for me means contentment and serenity. It means wearing life like a loose garment and not allowing small inconveniences intrude my sense that all is as it should be. Yoga, especially the meditative aspect of it, helped me get to this place. And those in the yoga community seem like-minded. I try to surround myself with people who bring out the best in me, like the yogis I know.
Well-being also encompasses self-care. Remaining active, eating healthy food and being intentional about how I spend my time and live my life has contributed greatly to my overall sense of well-being. Yoga has been a portal to a new way of life!”
Susan Shumsky, Co-Founder of Divine Revelation
“Well-being is a state of yoga. Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, which means ‘to yoke or to unite.’ But yoga is not uniting the nose with the knee or the forehead with the floor. It is uniting the individual spirit with universal Spirit. That union brings about a state of well-being, calm, inner peace, wholeness, and oneness. When you are in a state of yoga, you are deeply relaxed yet alert. This is called restful alertness, also known as turya (the fourth state), beyond waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. This is also described as samadhi (evenness of mind and stillness of body).
Before I first started my yoga practices in 1967, I was in a state of severe anxiety and mental breakdown. In the past 50 years of practice, I have become happy, healthy, joyful, calm, relaxed, fulfilled, peaceful, and prosperous. Yoga practices changed my life for the better in every imaginable way.”
Milana Perepyolkina, Author
“Well-being means more than being pain free, or free of chronic illness or depression. When you are interested in getting as much out of life as possible you take the steps necessary to create a life that is full of bliss.
Well-being means embracing life–waking up with a smile, jumping out of bed in the morning and looking forward to work that is engaging and challenging, enjoying healthy relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Well-being is built by holding nothing back and being free of fear most of the time–until a healthy of dose of fear in the short term spurs good and decisive action.
Well-being is enjoying how your body feels, being full of energy, not being sick or at risk for chronic illness, experiencing deep rest and play, and loving the food you eat and how good it makes you feel. This much higher level of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being is within your reach and it is also a magical way to live.
Here is how I cultivate a sense of well-being in my life: I practice yoga 3 times a week. I always start with a child’s pose. It allows me to disconnect from any stressful thoughts I may have. I am always looking forward to that pose. It is as if I reboot my body and start fresh. I breathe deeply for the rest of my yoga practice and smile the whole time. The more difficult the pose, the wider my smile is. I use savasana for my meditation. One hour later I feel as if I was born again.”
Jacquelyn Salvador, Yoga Teacher at Affordable Yoga and Fitness
“For me, a sense of well-being is the very deepest and most essential level at which we find peace in ourselves. That includes emotional, mental, and physical elements, because each of those things are inextricably linked.
After many years of harsh self-criticism and striving for a generic picture of perfection, I found that yoga was what introduced me to my first sense of true well-being. It helped me to turn off the voice of criticism in my mind, and transform it instead into a voice of encouragement, self-compassion, and strength, working harmoniously with my body for the good of my entire self.”
Anita Perry, Yogi and Author
As a yogi I define well-being as being in concert with my yoga practice. Regular yoga practice has some great benefits for you and here are just a few:
- Develops a strong and flexible body
- Increases balance, body awareness, and coordination
- Improves digestion, circulation, and elimination
- Calms and clears the mind
- Relieves tension and stress
- Promotes thinking and memory
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Builds confidence and self-esteem
- Develops discipline and self-control
- Encourages social awareness and responsibility
- Inspires respect for self and others
- Yoga helps me to cope and live my life to the fullest
What do all of these yogis have in common? Their versions of well-being might vary, but they’ve all cited yoga as a means for obtaining it. Along your trek to inner peace, siphon off an hour or two of your busy day to incorporate yoga into your regular routine. Find your own personal definition of well-being, one pose at a time.