Do you ever wonder how much we take for granted when it comes to our health? How often we even think about the automatic processes in our bodies, like our breath and the heart pumping blood and life to the rest of our body?

There’s an infamous quote whose author is unknown that says, “Everything is super important. Until you are sick. Then you realize there was only ever one thing that was important. Your health.”.

For the longest time, thinking or even talking about health was seen as “a luxury afforded by the rich”. In fact, it has been discovered in a research done by Reuters and Ipsos, a staggering 53% of South Africans choose to forgo their annual leave and that entrepreneurs are usually reluctant to take time out.  Most times, health became topical only when there was an outbreak of a disease or virus, as it is now with the Corona Virus and the sudden urgency for personal hygiene. This usually happens for a few weeks and then we get back to old habits again. But in recent years of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and where the world has become even more intense in its demands, from our jobs, to taking care of our families and still maintaining a social life, the holistic health conversation has become important. The direct impact of these demands on our bodies is a plethora of diseases such as anxiety, insomnia, muscle tension, headaches, heartburn, bloating and the most common, digestive bowel syndrome.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Optimal Health as a state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Louis Hay, one of the founders of the self-help movement, who was also able to cure herself of cancer, believes that we create every so-called illness in our body. “The body, like everything else in life”, she believes “is a mirror of our inner thoughts and beliefs and our cells respond to every thought and word we speak.” She makes connections between the underlying thought patterns and belief systems and the dis-eases (a state of not being at ease) themselves. The antidote, she believes are affirmations, gratitude and awakening to the consciousness that life is a voyage of self-discovery (because we can’t change our thoughts if we don’t know what they are).  

This belief has been confirmed by intensive research done by the medical practitioner, now turned integrative medical practitioner and author of the Energy Code, Dr Ela Manga. She found the book necessary as she saw more and more of her patients suffering burnout symptoms. In all my life, when I have allowed my head to crash in on me, until my face was marred with tears and it felt as if my heart would jump out of my chest as I was gasping for air because I suffered from anxiety from everyday pressures I had never thought of these experiences as my body trying to communicate something to me until discovering Dr Ela Manga. The reason for the burnout symptoms, she justifies, is because of the constant state of adrenaline and cortisol (which we become addicted to overtime) which takes energy away from our digestive system  and we are not able to produce enough digestive juices to break down the food we eat and assimilate the nutrients. Before we know it, our systems are constantly receiving the message that we’re always in danger even when we’re relaxed, burnout takes over. Eventually we disconnect from sources that support us until we can’t see the meaning to life anymore. 

Through all this Dr Ela Manga shares ethos of reactivating recovery loops for the body to regenerate itself, creating new neural pathways- an “upgrade in the subconscious mind” as she calls it. To get back to feeling joy, energy, vitality and the ability to do what you want to do in life both physically and mentally. In her quest she found a solution that has been “right under our noses”, and that is BREATH- the language of our souls and our hearts. She explains that breathwork is the conscious application of breath awareness and breathing techniques to support self-awareness, healing, and rejuvenate the body. Because breath is both conscious and unconscious, we can then use it as a bridge to shift from being reactive to responsive and to remind us of who we really are. The inhale activates energy response and the exhale activates relaxation response.

My hope is that when I ask you again how often you think about your breath and the heart pumping blood and life to the rest of your body and are grateful, the answer will be every day.

Ela Manga will be joining us as one of our main speakers at The Sit Down with Olwethu Tour in Johannesburg on the 4th of April 2020

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