As an Integrated Nutrition Health Coach, I support one of IIN’s unique theories, Primary Food and Secondary Food. Primary Food is your relationships, career, spirituality, and exercise and is as essential in your health and well-being as Secondary Food, what’s on your plate.

In this blog, I will talk about a recent experience with spirituality and exercise (Primary Food). I have had an enriching but stressful life as a restauranteur for the past 28 years, and before that, I worked for a hotel corporation for twelve years. AT IIN, I have been paying particular attention to ways of reducing stress. There are several exercises that I have incorporated into my lifestyle from my IIN educational experience.

Breathing exercises to reduce stress (4,7,8), breathing in 4 seconds, holding for 7 seconds, and breathing out 8 seconds, for example, have worked great, especially when stressed. Daily meditation has worked its way into my life as well. Morning Pages (Julia Cameron, author of The Artist Way) free-form journaling after first waking up with affirmations and thankfulness has given me new perspectives and alertness to my daily activities. I am becoming much more mindful. (observant of myself and my surroundings, thinking, inner thoughts, perspectives, etc.)

Recently, we had a speaker, Taryn Toomey, a mind-body expert and creator of ‘The Class, ’ who gave me perhaps one of the most mind-blowing experiences yet. Before we get into that experience with ‘The Class, ’ I want to give the reader some thoughts on spirituality.

What is spirituality?

Here is a perspective on spirituality, notes I have from Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. This is an excerpt by George Vaillant, M.D. from Men’s Sana Monograph 2008, Positive emotions and healing.

“This paper proposes that eight positive emotions; awe, love, (attachment) trust (faith), compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, joy, and hope constitute what we mean by spirituality.

These emotions have been grossly ignored by psychiatry. Spirituality is not about ideas, sacred texts, and theology; spirituality is all about emotions and social connection.”

Another thought by Jack Kruse (retrieved from ‘Within you lies the sun, the moon, the sky and all the wonders of the universe. At our cores, we all come from stardust. When you tug on your nature, the rest of nature moves in unison.’

‘The Class’

Taryn Toomey was a yoga instructor for six years. When she realized something was missing, she confessed. There was something inside her that needed to come out. She felt she needed Fire! This unimposing, petite, smiling ever so slightly teacher proclaimed to our class with a growl I need Fire!!!

She developed a 75-minute class I highly recommend (you can find her and a demonstration on YouTube). ‘The Class’ is a meditative, high-energy forum designed to hear your inner voice. This voice helps you visualize the thing that might be holding you back, may be keeping you from being your true self, keeps you from realizing your true potential. And you need to get it out!!

As best as I can describe, I stood in my office with my eyes closed, listening to her instructions as she told us to stand and ground our bodies with our feet. With music and an Aboriginal tribal beat in the background, our minds became sedated as she asked us to let our arms and hands hang, shake them out, loosen our bodies, bend our knees slightly, get into the music, and get into the mind. She instructed us to breathe in and out deeply, and after a while, eyes closed, we started rubbing our hands together. We did that for several minutes and were told to open our hands and lift our hearts.

Then, in a timeless moment, she asked us to visualize the thing in our mind keeping us from what we can achieve. Visualize it; what does it look like? Meditating on this, I followed her lead. I pictured a big, dark, spikey ball in the center of my mind, rotating slowly, and I knew that had to be it. With the music and beat in the distant background, I envisioned this oddity. As we maneuvered through this meditative fog, Taryn questioned, what will it take to get rid of it? Unable to rid myself of this vision, I was led back to where we started; our class lasted 20 minutes of the standard 75-minute program.

For me, it was profound. I found a spiky ball in the center of my mind; what the hell was it? Taryn, in her diminutive, calming voice, with her slight smile, as if she knew something we did not, continued to say something that struck me. She mentioned something about running with that same loosening of the hands and body and finding that inner voice and vision. I’m a runner, so my running goal was to get that thing out of me that was saying I was tired, I couldn’t do it, my legs were heavy. All the negative energies need to be released! And I believed I could do it. My senses were enlightened; I couldn’t wait to run the next day.

Before my next blog, look up Taryn Toomey and check out ‘The Class.’

This topic is to be continued…stay tuned!