Yoga – A Wellness Tool to Reach Optimal Health
By Angela Renee
“Limit your intake on fried foods. Eat fruits and vegetables. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases through the use of condoms. Get 8 hours of sleep. Exercise....”
These were some of the statements I heard from my parents, doctor, school nurse, and gym teacher on how to steer clear of heart disease, diabetes, etc. But is that all there is to being healthy? I say no. There is a wellness factor that should play a major role in reaching optimal health. It was only a few years ago that I was introduced to the word “wellness”. And still, just merely hearing the word being brought up at my place of work from time to time didn’t give me a great understanding of what wellness actually meant. It wasn’t until I explored the world of yoga that I began to obtain a true understanding of what wellness meant. But what exactly is wellness and why does it matter?
The World Health Organization defines wellness as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as “a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.”
Wellness matters because it brings a level of awareness to everything we do and everything we feel. We are not just physical beings. We also have a mental, emotional and spiritual state. When we focus on the whole being, we reduce the risks of serious injuries and illnesses and increase our quality of life. Wellness is a constant process of awareness to allow us to make better choices to living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
So how does yoga fit into wellness? Yoga is not exercise, nor medicine; rather the intention is union with self by loving who you are in the present moment. The practice of yoga affects our entire well-being: the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state. Researchers have been diving deeper into the wellness benefits and have found that individuals who practice yoga have decreased pain, lost weight, better rest, less illnesses, have a healthier heart, and decreased anxiety symptoms. The more you practice yoga, the greater your awareness for health and overall life becomes.
There are many wellness tools that can help you reach optimal health, but for me yoga has been the most impactful. I still utilize other tools that may only support one part of who I am but yoga has allowed me to focus on my entire being. I have found who I am through this practice and have become a healthier and happier person because of it. Yoga isn’t a one size fits all. Yoga is love; it is for everyone. And I am making it my mission to share it with everyone, especially those who look like me.
Angela Renee is a registered yoga instructor and certified life coach who is dedicated to helping girls and women live their lives by design and not by default through health & wellness. Angela has spent over 10 years as a Compliance Specialist for major medical device companies in Minnesota. After a successful career in corporate, Angela is now focusing on building her own health & wellness business. Angela holds a M.S. in Public Health and a B.S. in Chemistry. You can reach Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org follow Angela on Instagram at @iam.angela.renee