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Mindful Health Practices

In the vast expanse of Buddhist philosophy, the concept of staying healthy transcends the mere physical realm, intertwining with the profound principles of interconnectedness and compassion. This article embarks on a journey of rediscovery and paradigm shift through mindful health practices that not only shed light but highlight their multifaceted roles in promoting personal wellbeing and their contribution to the collective welfare of the community and even the Earth.

Embarking on Mindful Eating

The journey begins with the significance of mindful eating — a practice that encourages individuals to approach meals with increased awareness. It is unsurprising that food choices are connected to both personal health and the well-being of the environment. Thus, mindful eating such as that of a meatless diet becomes a conduit for embodying compassion in one's daily life. The act of nourishing one's body without harming others and the environment transforms into a mindful communion with the interconnected web of existence.


Exercise as Meditation

Beyond the traditional view of exercise as a physical routine to enhance one's physical strength, stamina and flexibility, Buddhism introduces a transformative perspective. Regular exercise can become a meditative practice — an opportunity to synchronise the body, mind, and spirit. Through the rhythm of movement and body awareness, individuals can discover a path to not only enhance physical health but also cultivate mental clarity and mindfulness. Exercise thus extends beyond a physical endeavor into a conscious and holistic one.

Starting with Breathing Exercises

'Out with the old, stale air and in with new fresh air. That's the theme of the two most useful breathing exercises — pursed lip breathing and belly breathing — taught by pulmonary rehabilitation specialists to individuals with chronic lung diseases' such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)1. Breathing exercises is a good start to learning how to breathe deeper and better, with increased awareness of one's breathing.

Cultivating Inner Tranquility Through Meditation

At the heart of mindful well-being lies the practice of meditation. This ancient technique, deeply rooted in Buddhist traditions, serves as a gateway to inner tranquility. Exploring various meditation methods aligned with Buddhist principles, individuals find a profound tool for reducing stress, deepening their connection to the present moment, nurturing their spiritual well-being and enhancing their practice.

Body Check-ups, A Mindful Responsibility

In the tapestry of mindful health practices, regular body check-ups also serve as a responsible act of accountability — a tangible expression of caring for oneself and our family as well. These health screenings, approached with mindfulness, openness and acceptance become a means of taking responsibility for one's well-being, extending this to our loved ones, family and friends who may become our caregivers and support network in our recovery, when the need arises.

Taking measures to prevent onset of illnesses in tandem with steps taken to enable early detection whenever possible, as well as seeking medical intervention and receiving treatment are all aligned with the Buddhist ethos of compassionate stewardship of the body that we are given inthis present lifetime. It reminds us of the impermanence of the body as well as the non-clinging perspective we should also learn to adopt when caring for our body without obsession and extreme measures.

A Harmonious Tapestry of Well-Being

This holistic approach to mindful health practices — encompassing mindful eating, meditative exercises, inner tranquility through meditation, and responsible body check-ups — forms a harmonious tapestry in the journey of a Buddhist practitioner. Each thread weaves together the principles of compassion, interconnectedness, and overall well-being, illustrating that the pursuit of health is not merely a personal endeavour but a profound contribution to the collective welfare of the family, community, society, country and the world.

1 American Lung Association on COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

This article was published in For You Information Issue 419.

Information and Photo Credits:

American Lung Association, Balance Your Life by Anna Tarazevich and Standing Meditation by Cottonbro Sudio via Pexels

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