A Holistic, Spiritual Lifestyle
Health and its historical linguistics can be traced back to the Old English, Germanic, or Old Norse. Meanings of language used from these beginnings include modern-day terms such as “wholeness”, “uninjured”, “of good omen”, “to heal” “happiness”, “welfare”, “preservation”, “safety” “holy, sacred”, even a “salutation” wishing one welfare and prosperity.
Wellness could be understood as a “concept”. Ancient concepts of wellness are rooted in intellectual, religious, philosophical, and spiritual dynasties. From ancient Greece to Asia we have traditional wellness concepts and practices such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicines interwoven with physical practices of exercise and form-movements guided by the mind. Hippocrates and ancient Roman medicines emphasized prevention related to environment and lifestyles.
It is commonly understood today, that health and wellness are a result of a lifestyle which may include our personal environments, foods, along with healthy, lifestyle choices. I wish to insert here, along with the aforementioned, are plant-based supplements, exercise, life-setting goals, and spirituality. You may have your own to add, and I hope you do. Always drink plenty of water and learn to focus on your breathing. Get outdoors and breathe fresh air. Build a healthy body and mind and the spirit will grow.
The Five Elements of Life
The header image above this article represents the “wholeness” of the five contributing environmental necessities of our world and of ourselves: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. To grasp a bit of an understanding of how each can contribute to a healthy and well person is the beginning of a beneficial result of wholeness and well-being.
Fire in the body can be represented as thermogenesis. Thermogenesis, simply put is your body’s ability to burn calories, releasing energy needed by the body to function in a balanced way. Bodily thermogenesis can be kept in balance with support from the other four elements. In Chinese Qi Gong, the Yin and Yang are a balance between the heart and the kidney. The elements of this balance include fire and water. Yin and Yang are the symbolic representations of our existence. One does not exist without the other, thus they are complete within and without themselves. They require balance for optimal wellness. Too much “fire” can lead to inflammation. The Water element is the yin which balances the fire.
Earth in the body can be represented as the matter of which our bodily structure forms and exists. It is of the Universe. We are stardust. We are carbon. The Earth element is a metaphor of our physical body, yet we are carbon-based, so it exists as well. The Earth element is the conduit of which all elements flow.
Metal in the body can be represented as our breath, circulation, and reproduction. Iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, and selenium are to name a few. All have a primary function to our metabolism and to our overall health and wellness. Our lungs (breath) govern our body’s chi energy as practiced in many holistic forms of ancient arts of Asia, and parts of the ancient world. Our chi is our bio-electrical energy flowing throughout our bodies via muscle tissue and even our bone marrow.
Water in the body can be represented as our emotional response to our environment. Our kidneys are related to the water element. In ancient Hebrew, the kidneys were believed to be the “seat and beginnings of our emotions”. Water is the element which helps keep the fire in our body balanced. The two are the yin and yang of the Earth element’s balance. In a more practical sense, water is the fluid that is a part of all elements and thermogenesis in the body. The human body is largely three-quarters water. Water washes, cleanses, cools, warms, and even smooths out the rough spots in the body. Feel emotionally disturbed? Drink more water!
Wood in the body can be represented as our digestive system. The liver and gall bladder are related to the Wood element in ancient arts of health and wellness. We could include our intestinal tract. Plant foods are great sources of probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll, all of which have significant functions in the human body, from synthesis to healthy cell replication. In relation to the Metal element, the intestines, gut, or abdominal area assist with the development and storage of our chi energy. In modern science terms, Oxygen + Glucose = Chi Energy. On a cellular level, it is all about cellular respiration. As in a plant’s photosynthesis, energy is provided to a cellular level by converting glucose into ATP energy by the burning of oxygen. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the currency of intracellular energy transfer. Aerobic exercise is supportive to the health of this function.
Live Healthy and Well. Set Winning Goals!
In summary, the human body is interconnected to all things, of the Earth and of the Universe. We all know this, but do we all believe this? All of the Five Elements are interconnected, interactive, intersupportive, and holistically “One”. To become the best we can become, requires the most unique, yet least understood of all reasonable philosophies; a lifestyle of balance in all areas of our life. Our minds, our bodies, and our spirits are what makes us whole.
Mind, Body, and Spirit are the triad, the trinity of our nature. Take your vitamins and minerals and live healthy and well my friends.
Images provided by Gary Godfrey Photography