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  • Writer's pictureTerri L. Miles

Fitness (Mental)

Updated: May 6, 2018

By Merriam-Webster’s definition, Fitness is the quality or state of being it. It further defines the word 'fit' as being suitable to the environment so as to be capable of surviving. It also further states that 'fit' means being sound physically and mentally, in simple terms be healthy.

Notice that Merriam-Webster’s definition of fitness includes both physical and mental. Yes, this is exactly what AYRUGA™ is all about. I view fitness from a holistic viewpoint. If you are a visual learner, then think of fitness as a row boat with two oars. One oar will be working on the physical aspect of your life while the other oar will be working on the mental aspect of your life.

For this blog, I am only going to focus on the mental aspect of fitness. (Note: Please see my blog post on physical fitness.) According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others."[1] The WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community.[2] Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined. [1]

Notice that WHO definition of mental fitness can be addressed by yoga. Yoga has 8 limbs. (No, worries, if you are new to yoga and not familiar with the 8 limbs, I can write a blog on that in the future). A lot of students get introduced to yoga through the physical aspect which is the asanas, Sanskrit term for yoga poses and one of the limbs of yoga. However, the mental aspect of fitness can readily be addressed by pranayama, a Sanskrit term for breath control, another limb of yoga. Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana, or vital life force.

Controlling one’s breath is a way to ensure that we are breathing properly and effectively. Yes, every human being is breathing hence we are alive. However, the critical question is: are you breathing properly and effectively? Yoga teaches a person to breathe properly and effectively. Practicing an ujjayi (also known as Ocean Breath) enables one to calm down, an invaluable skill set needed to handle the stress of this world. Meditation, referred to as dhyana in Sanskrit and another limb of yoga, is another tool that is invaluable for one’s mental health. Meditation is the process of quieting the mind. I recommend a person meditate for twenty minutes everyday. If you do not know how to meditate, and would like me to teach you then, contact me or book a private one on one yoga meditation.

Terri Miles holds several yoga certifications and registrations, including:

E-RYT 200, E-RYT 500, RCYT and YCEP

Learn more about Terri's training and certifications.

1. "The world health report 2001 – Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope" (PDF). WHO. Retrieved 4 May 2014.

2. "Mental health: strengthening our response". World Health Organization. August 2014. Retrieved 4 May 2014.

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