It’s all interwoven. A tapestry that creates the wholeness of our humanity. The body, mind, and heart, all dancing as one unique display of grandeur. In the pursuit of living a life of wholeness, fully engaged with every season of the journey, there has to be an invitation to all elements of the self: the body, the mind, and the heart. It’s written all over the scriptures, our body as a temple, our mind as the very mind of Christ, our heart as the wellspring of life (1 Corinthians 6:19, 1 Corinthians 2:16, Proverbs 4:23).

It’s easy to believe that sacrificing one part of our being is necessary, even honorable. We give up sleep for the sake of our to-do list. We forsake self care in the name of selflessness. And yet, with every thread of our being seamlessly intertwined, the whole self must be cared for. When the body is nourished, the mind clears. As the mind clears, the heart exhales. With the heart’s exhale, the physical body is empowered to chase after every unique and brilliant calling.

Jesus himself paved the way as he walked the dusty roads of this earth with mindfulness of his entire being. The apostles tell of Jesus nourishing his physical body, taking time to be alone with his thoughts, and giving his heart permission to partake in the celebrations of life. With our eyes fixated on becoming molded into his likeness, we follow in these footsteps, as an act of worship and of wonder. It’s written all over the pages of scripture, and it’s also written throughout studies of our current times. Here are a few facts of the body, mind, and heart to remind you that you are indeed a breathtaking tapestry of detail.

Sleep affects emotions. When the body is deprived of rest, the hormone cortisol is affected, which often causes mental fog, trickling into the spirit and casting shadows of depression and anxiety.

Stress affects the physical body. When the mind is overstimulated by stress, it can affect the adrenals and cause chronic fatigue, thus leading to physical disfunction such as muscle pain and headaches.

Physical environment affects mood. When sunlight absorbs into the skin, the hormone serotonin is steadily produced, which has a direct effect on our emotional state.

Food affects the mind. Serotonin is produced mostly in the gut, so when the body is nourished with plants and unprocessed foods, not only are the organs and cells empowered to function properly, but the serotonin also opens the heart to feelings of greater peace and ease.

Physical postures release toxins. Certain postures of the physical body release toxins that not only help to prevent against disease, but also unlock deep emotions.

It’s a wondrous web isn’t it? With each component affecting the next, all it takes is small steps towards the light to find yourself fully submerged. Mindfulness is a daily practice. Let it begin in a space that moves you, whether it’s on your yoga mat, on the peak of a mountain, or in the steam of your morning coffee. Then carry the mindfulness with you, fanning it into flame throughout your day. Creation won’t be the same without every fiber of your being brought to life. Your world needs you, your presence, your heart, and your mind.

As a yoga instructor and an advocate for living fully alive in body, mind, and spirit, I’ve compiled a short list to engage in mindfulness throughout the quiet or the busy spaces of the day. These are practices that can be done in the car, at the desk, or before your eyes even blink open to the dawn. Let’s show up together, inviting every part of our being to join right in on the dance of this wild life.

1. Mindfulness in the Body

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Exhale. Deep belly breaths are a great ways to come back to your physical body. Inhale and let the belly expand and fill with air, keeping the shoulders rolled back in alignment with the hips. Pause to hold the oxygen in the lungs. Then exhale and feel as the belly button pulls towards the spine.

Engage in the senses. This sensory practices takes less than a minute and brings the body, mind, and heart back into alignment. Fill in the blanks with your current experiences: “I feel….I see.…I taste….I smell….I hear…..

2. Mindfulness in the Mind

“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:5

Speak truth. It’s important to identify what lie you’re believing right now. Maybe it’s, “I’m not smart enough,” or “I’m falling apart physically.” Once you identify the lie, take a deep inhale, close the eyes, and whisper the opposite of the lie such as, “I am full of intelligence,” or “I am completely grounded and safe in my body.”

3. Mindfulness in the Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  (Proverbs 4:23)

Let the music play. Music is a powerful way to recalibrate the heart. Put on a song that brings truth and light. Then sit in stillness for the duration of the song, moving only with your inhale and exhale. If you’ve never practiced stillness in this way, the three minutes might feel challenging at first, but keep at it!
If the concept of living with mindfulness and intention feels new or challenging, take it slow. There’s lots of grace. Start by incorporating short intervals of intentional deep breathing throughout your day. The mind and the heart will follow.

Are you living mindfully? What can you do today to step further into living mindfully with your creator?