If you ask the average adult, “what does healing mean to you?” Most answers would be limited to the general answer, “the process of getting well when one is sick”. But this answer reflects such a limited understanding of what we need as complex human beings to be well, in addition to a gross underestimation of how vital it is to regularly and mindfully rejuvenate ourselves.
Healing is not meant to merely be a treatment of our disease’s symptoms by a medical professional; it is a regular practice that we as individuals commit to doing for ourselves that both prevents and treats our own physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. This initiative to consciously revitalize ourselves is the difference between “treatment” and “healing”.
Life is full of twists, turns, expectations and disappointments, highs and lows. Although we tend to shrug off most of these small everyday bumps on the road, they don’t just disappear by ignoring them- they add up over time if we refuse to acknowledge them.
This is most easily understandable in terms of our physical bodies, because there is very concrete information about how our bodies retain toxins that we are bombarded with on a daily basis if we don’t actively flush them out. But this is also true of our mental and spiritual bodies- the more we neglect to consciously deal with them, the more they build up inside us.
Healing should be holistic, meaning that it is a process that every aspect of our being cycles through- our bodies, minds, and souls. Whether it is a netti pot cleansing to clear our nasal passages, a conversation we need to have about something hurtful our friend said, or some form of ceremony or meditation to reconnect with ourselves, we all have some form of healing to be done at any given moment. I think of healing not as one specific process with a beginning and an end; rather, I think of it as a consistent effort to balance my whole being.
Yoga is a solid base upon which to build your own personal healing practices. The asanas strengthen our bodies not only in terms of our muscles, but also improve our bone density and blood circulation, regulate our limbic system (controls emotions), strengthen our cerebellum and thus our balance and coordination; meditation trains our brains to focus, reduces blood pressure and stress and improves memory; pranayama restores tranquility to our mind, body and spirit and increases the flow of energy through us…the list goes on!
So then the question is…how can I make sure that healing is a priority in my life?
I split my personal healing into time-based categories in my brain to make sure that I am taking the most well rounded care of myself as I can! Although every person must find his or her own routine that works for their body, to give an idea of how to make this a constant and active practice, here are some examples of my personal routine practices:
Daily (or nearly daily)– My asana, meditation and pranayama practice are my foundation. I also like to journal to reflect upon my current emotional state nearly every day.
Weekly– I try to sweat vigorously for at least an hour 2-3 times per week to clear out toxins. Something else worth trying for those with digestive issues: one day a week of only liquids (broth, fruit smoothies) to give your digestive tract time to rest.
Biweekly– I always do New and Full Moon Ceremonies (either by myself or with others who share this practice) to reflect upon the last 2 weeks, as well as set my intentions and goals for the next weeks.
Annually -I attend at least one big event or gathering with a focus on healing, such as Tribal Gathering Festival, one of many yoga festivals or any other conference on topics that relate such as Ayurveda, indigenous plant medicines, etc.
As Needed– Various plant medicine practices such as Rapé (type of tabacco from South America used by many indigenous cultures for spiritual purposes) are an integral part of my own healing process. Writing and making music are also methods I always return to, especially in times of sadness.
Again, these are just a few of the endless possibilities that exist, and the only way to find the right way for yourself is by experimenting!
I would like to note that, even though taking care of ourselves is absolutely key and should come as first priority, we should also never forget that we are also here to heal each other. A smile, an attentive listening ear, a reiki session or even a genuine compliment can all be offerings of healing to another person. Never underestimate just how much you can give by being your authentic and loving self.
How do you heal yourself? Do you have a routine practice? (a Kriya, daily mantra, routine sauna to sweat out toxins, weekly dance session to release emotions?) How do you challenge yourself outside of your regular routine to look further and heal deeper wounds? Please feel free to share in the comments!!
Thank you for reading, namaste my friends!