Health and wellness are the natural states of the human organism. Your mind, body and spirit are powerful allies, designed to work together to promote balance and the positive restoration of health when you are confronted with negative health stressors. In a nutshell, what you think (mind), what you believe (spirit) can affect how you feel (body) and how you feel can affect your thinking and your beliefs; the three are an inseparable “trinity” that are constantly endeavoring to keep you healthy and whole in all aspects of your being.
The current trend in healthcare is to acknowledge the role of the body/mind/spirit matrix as a “unified field” and to promote wellness and disease prevention by honoring the interconnected roles played by each of these parts of the human organism. One example of this is demonstrated in how people respond to stress. Emotional and mental responses to life events and circumstances (e.g., jobs, finances, relationships) can cause physical symptoms such as tense muscles, pain, headaches, and gastro-intestinal problems. At a systemic level, it is well documented that chronic stress may also lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and other serious health problems. When we experience physical discomfort, our emotions become affected and our beliefs about our “lot in life”, or who we truly are as spiritual beings, can be negatively influenced. In turn, anger, depression, anxiety and increased worry might affect how well we treat, manage, or cope with our physical suffering. But the mind can have a positive effect on our health, too. Research suggests that having a positive outlook on life might help a person stay healthier, or better handle pain or stress when it does arise, than someone who is less hopeful. People of faith draw upon this dimension: belief that there is more to life and reality than what is seen and felt on an individual level.
While current medical research is describing how stress can be linked to most of the chronic illnesses or degenerative physical conditions many people encounter, techniques for mind/body/spirit wellness (practices that calm and balance the nervous system, relieve stress, and promote wellness) are rapidly gaining serious attention among healthcare providers. These include deep breathing, guided imagery, mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR), progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, laughter, and music making (specifically singing and chanting). Each of these practices establishes a coordinated connection between a person’s attention/concentration (mind) and the physical body. When techniques like these are explored deeply, spiritual meaning can arise; the communication with this deeper experience has often described as contemplative prayer. In this state, the mind/body/spirit matrix is balanced to create a unified environment of profound systemic calm and health: wellness. Music listening and music making are emerging as especially interesting and enjoyable preventative health practices because they bring into one experience several of these relaxation and restorative techniques (i.e., measured breathing, muscle relaxation, imagination, mindfulness). This is one of the fundamental principles of the YogaVoice practice.
Wellness is a perceptible experience within oneself that comes from a harmony of mind, body, and spirit. Wellness is the “new” paradigm for proactive prevention of disease and optimal quality of life. Yet, current “advances” in wellness technology may actually be a rediscovery of simple, ancient wisdom; yogis have experienced the health benefits that modern wellness techniques promote, over centuries of cultivated practice. Singing and chanting are fun, creative and inspiring ways to being body, mind, and spirit into a harmony of being.