14 May Mindfulness and Integrated Wellness
When it comes to your health and wellbeing, is it mind over matter? We have all heard the joke, “If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”. This is, absolutely, false when it comes to your health. I am not talking about body beautiful fitness here, I am referring to having a body that is in balance, flexible, and strong. A body that easily handles stress, difficult emotions and overcomes disease. A body that is mindful. There, I said it, mindfulness!
I, along with millions of others, have never been very athletic or particularly coordinated. I was always picked last for dodgeball but did manage to achieve some athleticism through cycling. My gym membership usually focused on aerobics classes and weights. I realize I am dating myself here. Can you say, Jane Fonda? While I did work up a good sweat and kept toned, which was not hard at 25, I did not really feel good about myself on the inside.
Enter, my first meditation and yoga classes. This was the first time my workout was silent. Other than the instructor gently guiding us through the class. No loud boom, boom, boom. No crazy choreography or waiting in line for a machine. Through both of these practices, on a regular basis, I could feel myself changing from within rather than outwardly. I am not suggesting replacing your cardio/weights with mindfulness, but including it to compliment that work. The benefits are many, lower blood pressure, lower resting heart rate, increased flexibility, increased core strength and balance, better mental focus, and lowered stress.
Having been in the fitness club industry since its boom in the ’80s, OLC is seeing more clubs add these components because they work. We were recently entrusted to provide the architecture and interior design for Lake Nona’s Center for Wellness. This project is a holistic wellness model in which medical, fitness, aquatics, sports performance, rock climbing, and mindfulness are all offered. We had the honor of collaborating with the Chopra Foundation in the design of their wellness component. This required authentic materials, light, airy colors and woods, bamboo trees for oxygen, and lots of natural light. The Chopra branding group was very careful not to incorporate unrealistic images of what health looks like. Rather, the aesthetic in the member lounge, circulation, yoga, Pilates/barre, and meditation rooms were clean and simple. The only graphics represented the Dosha or the five elements of space, air, fire, water, and earth. The practices include meditation, healthy eating, movement, connection, self-care, sleep, and mindful awareness. The health pillars then show up in the body, mind, spirit, relationships, and purpose. This is integrated health. To empower personal transformation for our collective wellbeing.