** Allie Dittmer is currently enrolled in Yoga North’s +350/500 Hour/Level I Yoga Therapy Training **

The Six Pillars of Yogic Lifestyle and Wellness come from The Yoga Sutras (the theory and practice of yoga).  The six pillars include; right food, right exercise, right sleep, breathing and stress management, cleansing, and self-awareness/self-reflection.

I have made the humbling life changing choice to enroll in the 500 hour SomaYoga Teacher Training. And while I was wildly excited, a deep sense of anxiety was present.  The decision to change my life path as I knew it was overwhelming. Thankfully through the course of the first weekend,  I was given the gift of the Six Pillars from Yoga North. I was reminded that I already have a foundation for this life of mine, and that through following the Six Pillars I can lead a lifestyle of wellness I want.

To further break down the Six Pillars and how they aided the foundation of my wellness, I have expressed how I was able to apply The Six Pillars of Yogic Lifestyle and Wellness; during a lifestyle change of mine, the first weekend of SomaYoga Teacher Training.

The right food; the quality and freshness of food, and also the appreciation for the food that we receive.  Without the right food, I become cranky, moody, agitated, and drained.  By the third day of the weekend training, I could tell I had not fed my body properly.  I was exhausted, and craving homecooked meals.  I wanted that freshness, but also the love of a homecooked meal.  For future travels, I will prepare homecooked meals to take with me.

Right exercise; a healthy amount of exercise, exercise that will bring daily balance.  My idea of exercise has always been high intensity.  I thought I would receive the best results for my body once I broke a sweat.  After the first time experiencing SomaYoga, I realize I need to challenge my mind and body, my Soma.  I need to find the right balance for my Soma.  It changes everyday, and somedays I need to slow it down with my body to empower my mind.

Right sleep; regular bed time, bed time routine.  This is crucial for me.  Without a regular bed time I am useless the next day.  I know I need around 9 hours of sleep to be my best self the next day. Start to notice how you go to bed, and how you wake up the next day.

Breathing and stress management; rest and digest. On Thursday I had a normal rhythm to my breath, then Friday and Saturday it seemed as if I could not catch my breath.  I was breathing shallow, and felt anxious.  It took me until Sunday to realize I needed to focus on my breath and do diaphragmatic breathing.  I used the 3-part breath to calm down, and reach a fuller breath.  My Soma was steady and calm, and my nervous system was back in balance.

Cleansing; supporting the natural cleansing systems that the body already has in place, and/or other practices. Throughout the change of the weekend, I became dehydrated, and was not taking care of my body to cleanse in a healthy way. I am looking to add dinacharya practice to my routine, like tongue scraping, and the use of the neti pot.

Self-awareness/self-reflection; mindfulness and compassion in everyday life helps us make more informed decisions. I was reacting to thoughts and beliefs without being in the present moment.  Once I was able to be mindful of my thoughts and behavior, I was able to listen to my Soma. I was able to make the changes to my food habits, breathing and stress management.  I had more compassion for myself by applying the Six Pillars.

It is my hope that others can learn from my experience, and/or relate.  The Six Pillars of Yogic Lifestyle and Wellness have helped me overcome a humbling lifestyle change. I am always a work in progress, and with the six pillars I can use as a foundation, I will prevail.