Here at Wholly Trinity we believe everything starts in the mind. Therefore our program begins with mindful meditation practice. We believe this to be the key to maintaing balance. This is the piece that ties it all together.
Creating strength and health in the body is another integral part of living a postitive lifestyle. For this part of the program we tie in both regular cardio, home exercises, and yoga as well as dietary sugguestions. The goal of this is to create a greater feeling of strength, but more importantly, ease, brightness and fluidity in the the body. "Fit in the body, fit in the mind," as they say.
This portion of the program focus on all the aspects of keeping a balanced inner world. Broken into two components, reading and spending time in nature. Two things we think everyone can benefit greatly from.
Over the course of the three weeks, we simplified the diet to three meals plant based meals for the sake of observing changes in energy and mood. This diet refers to the ancient Indian teachings of Aryurveda for insight on the benefits of the various ingredients to provide more awareness of the positive effects that a robust diet can offer. For the breakfast meal, we wanted to includea wide range of fruit. Typically the average american breakfast has some sort of entree that contains a great deal of sugar. Whether it be pancakes, waffles, strudels, or sugary cereals. Understanding this culture, we wanted to maintain the essence of a typical breakfast without as much processed sugar. This is where the fruit comes in, sweet yet also healthy. We used Kiwis, which are full of vitamin C, good for the heart and aid in digestion; apples, which aid in weight loss, contol blood pressure and contain a plethora of essential nutrients; blueberries, which protect brain health, are known to fight diseases like Alzheimers, are rich in antioxidants, aid in weight loss, are good for the heart and also good for the skin; and strawberries, which are also packed with antioxidants, essential nutrients and are high in fiber. Raspberries also work here as a great source of antioxidants. We blend these up with almond milk and this fruit smoothie becomes the drink for the meal. The main entree is a peanut butter, honey and banana sandwhich. The protein rich peanut butter provides a perfect supplement to the workouts during this three week period and reduce inflammation in the body. They honey is great for boosting energy needed for an active lifestlye and has antioxidants. The bananas provide a rich source of potassium, a mineral that aids in muscle and bone health, and even has been known to extend one's lifespan. The lunch meal is a vegan cheeseburger with a side of pasta. The pasta is prepared with chopped bell peppers, good for immune system boosting, hearth health and maintaining eye health. The size of the pasta can be adjusted to match with ones recommended daily caloric intake. The dinner is a rice with a chopped black bean vegan patty, a good source of protein, improves nerve function, prevents cancer and heightens energy levels; the rice is good for your heart, skin and aids in digestion; squash, an excellent vegetable for detoxing; and carrots, a vegetable good for purifying the blood, improving eye health and renewing your skin. This is prepared with brown gravy for flavor. "I noticed having way more energy during the day, and to be honest, just being in a better mood during the day," Juan remarked. "That was probably the effect that I expected the least. I just feel...happier during the day."
With the fitness aspect, our intention was for Juan to get a wide range of types of exercise. Cardio, strength building, and yoga were the approaches we took for the program. While the obvious benfit to cardio is remaining lean and burning fat, another great benefit is simply the rush of endorphins and positive confidence boost that this cultivation of heat in the body builds up. The strength building's purpose is to build muscle. And lastly the purpose of yoga is to build awareness in the body and tone the muscles while in isometric positions.
With the runs, we recorded Juan's progress over the course of three weeks. With him running down the same path each day, but steadily increasing the distance. As depicted by the chart, within the first week, Juan stayed within the the 1 mile range, before slowly eeking up to the two mile range by week two. For week two he continued this upward pace of progression increasing the distance to 2.5 miles. And by week 3 he has almost made it to 3 mile distances in his runs, a marked improvement.
Aside from the running the strength workouts having been doing well in building Juan's muscle tone slightly. Each day we alternate the workouts to target different muscle groups, rotating between upper body, lower body, and abdominals. This of course is paired with yoga for the best results. The yoga works to stretch muscles, increasing flexibility and muscle tone. The goal of yoga is both this and simply spreading more awareness throughout the body, using the breath as an anchor. Both of these types of workout provide stellar results when used in tandem over time.
For the spirit portion of the Wholly Trinity, we like to place a heavy emphasis on the importance of reading as a form of building strength as well. For that reason we had Juan read two different kinds of books over the three week period. The first which was The Obstacle is the Way. A book about overcoming trials. The novel takes an interesting approach to explaining the manner in which one should go about trying to overcome trials. It asserts that the trials we face in life not only neccessary, but the best path to take in efforts to improve ourselves and fortify our beings. An interesting thought process surely. It implies that there is no success or progression in life without the obstacles that impede us. It promotes mental flexibility and looking for alternative ways of looking at our problems. Rather than looking at them as mere inconveniences, it is all the more beneficial to us to view our problems and inconveniences as opportunites for growth. It presents these ideas through the lens of Stoicism. Stoicism is a school of thought that promotes a particular way of approaching adversity. In essence, it is simply maintaining a cool head, not allowing overwhelming emotions to get in the way of objective, logical thought and applying all the above principles to any situation. For anyone looking for creative mindframes to approach their struggles in life, this novel is highly recommended. The next book read during the program was The Four Agreements. This book presents ancient Toltec wisdom as frame for contextualizing the principles we should carry with us through everyday life for a more pleasant experiecne for both us and those around us. It speaks a great deal about the way in which we are socially conditioned and how that comes to affect us in our adult lives, while offering ways in which we can counter the way we are programmed and form new, more positive and productive ways of thinking. These are the agreements. They detail the ways in which we should and should not speak/think of others and therefore ourselves, as the two are inextricably linked. "The abuse we take from others is exactly the same amount of abuse we take from ourselves." A very profound observation on the part of Don Miguel Ruiz. For anyone looking for a self-help book that facilitates deep introspection and stimulates reevaluation of potentially unproductive thought patters, this is an excellent book to read and revisit frequently.
The last but certainly not least important aspect of the program is spending time in nature. At Wholly Trinity we find this to be an integral part of building strength of spirit. We call this essential living. Things that are an essential part of every living beings daily experience. In our modern world many of us have gotten disconnected from the things we need. We stay inside all day, under flourescent lights, sitting at desks or on couches. For this aspect of the program we seek to reconnect back with nature. To experiece the essential life that we need as human beings. Sepending time in sunlight and breathing in fresh air. Many studies show that taking time to walk on grass barefoot has the postive psychological effects improving sleep, reducing stress, and easing the muscles. And this is just one small aspect of the experience of being outside. For this aspect, we had Juan go outside frequently during the week and experience the silence of nature. This is a large part of the reason why it is suggested that for cardio any participants should run outside rather than on a treadmill. Whether it be just to sit and enjoy the scenery or to find a good location for reading, the benefits of this time will be indispensible. We also suggest that for the best meditation results, the exercise be done outside, preferably near water.