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What is Wellness?

What is Wellness?

The definition of wellness according to Dictionary.com is as follows:“The quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.”

A very sound, broad description of feeling good, feeling well. My even shorter definition boils down to “the sate of being mentally and physically balanced.”

But, like anything else in American culture that becomes remotely trendy (and “wellness” seems to be hitting its stride) we have this innate capacity to twist and turn a very simple, common sense concept into something much more complicated and eventually stress inducing. Well done America. We grab hold of the line because we feel the need to keep up, because people are telling us it’s the right thing to do, and mostly because we want to hold hope for something better, something different than the way we are feeling, which more often than not, is not so well. Before long we are being sold on the concept of what I’ve previously called balance, based on what someone else thinks it might be for you. But here’s the thing, nobody knows but you what it feels like to be balanced and whole for you.

Many people ask me about my training and how I choose to educate. Do you do fasts, ayurveda? What’s your feeling about dairy or Tibetan meditation or this specific lineage of yoga? My answer is all of it and none of it. I do not promote a certain type of eating (besides maybe the use of quality extra virgin olive oil) or healthily activity. I promote doing whatever it that makes you feel whole. I promote doing it at a pace that makes you feel human and with people who lift your spirit. There is great wellness in that.

Another question I seem to get often regarding my Italy retreats is “how can we be on a “health” retreat and do all this eating and drinking wine?” It is here that I try to massage one’s concept of a “wellness retreat” into something a bit more fluid and encompassing of joy rather than restriction. We are not going to overindulged, but we most certainly are going to take our time and enjoy abundance from the earth in the form of beautifully prepared things to eat and drink, the way it has been done for centuries. We are going to nurture our bodies and our minds. And if I’m lucky, this idea doesn’t get left behind on retreat, but we bring it with us and fold wellness, balance, wholeness or however we call it, into our daily lives. And if I’m even luckier, overtime this feeling will integrate into our being and feeling this way will become a normal state, to the point that imbalance is the recognizable foreign state that creeps in when we’re not paying attention to our needs, not the other way around. We acknowledge, make adjustments and get back to being whole again.

Wellness is not achieving a fix through various programs, classes, diets and yes, retreats. It is a state of being that we should be in the majority of the time. So I ask you what are the things that make you feel most balanced and whole? Do them peacefully and you are experiencing wellness already.

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