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Natural Awakenings Hudson County NJ

Healthy Living as a Spiritual Discipline

Feb 29, 2024 09:27AM ● By Marlaina Donato

Activedia from Getty Images / CanvaPro

The human body enables us to fulfill daily functions and perform unseen feats autonomically. Our hearts beat 100,000 times a day, and our 60,000 miles of blood vessels transport nutrition and oxygen to our tissues and organs so they can do their superhero jobs. Taking time to eat better, exercise and get more rest feels like a tall order when life keeps us busy, but when we see food, movement and intention as sacred choices instead of Herculean tasks to be postponed, investing in our health can become a joyous endeavor.


Appreciating our arms, legs, eyesight, tastebuds and all of our other amazing physical assets can be a daily spiritual practice that incentivizes us to maintain our corporeal foundation. Research shows that moments of gratitude are catalysts for improvements in the nervous system, including vagal nerve tone, which positively impacts heart rate and blood pressure. For those struggling with chronic pain or illness, gratitude for what they can do gives them a greater sense of control and uncovers blessings they might have overlooked while dwelling upon limitations.


While millions of cells in the body die every day, millions more take their place. We are walking wonders of physiological orchestration, and this alone deserves our highest respect and commitment to our well-being. Here are a few inspirations for the journey.


·      With a daily prayer, thank the body for its wonders and efforts. Be specific by acknowledging distinct areas like the heart, brain and skin, as well as different functions such as breathing, hearing and seeing.

·      Think of the gym, treadmill, yoga studio or hiking trail as sacred spaces.

·      Consider better food choices as divine offerings to the body’s temple.

·      Make the act of food shopping a mindful activity.

·      Tune into the body for five-to-10-minute intervals to acknowledge its beauty and accomplishments.

·      Please the senses with nontoxic aromas, soft organic fabrics and splashes of beauty.

·      Befriend any body part that is disliked or has been ignored.


Marlaina Donato is a body-mind-spirit author, visionary artist and composer. Connect at

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