The power of routines: mind-body connection for modern professionals
The mind and the body are often treated as separate entities, even though they're inextricably linked. Wellbeing routines like yoga and mindful eating can improve the mind-body connection and improve performance.

The beginning of the journey

Emily Spurling’s full-time job as a jet-setting yoga guru is one that many office workers envy — but life for the Australian wasn’t always so idyllic or peaceful. Prior to becoming a certified mind-body coach, she was working in a high-pressure, high-profile role as a journalist for one of Australia’s major television networks.

In an interview with MindFi, she wrinkles her nose and smiles a little upon mention of her past career. “It was a really prestigious role and my family and friends thought I was doing all this incredible stuff,” she says. “But inside I just felt really unfulfilled.” Her story and sentiments are shared by many.

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Instead of climbing further up the corporate career ladder, Emily decided to quit her job. She applied her experience in journalism and research towards a deep study of meditation, yoga, and breathwork. “So much ancestral wisdom has been obscured because of the hustle and bustle of our daily lives,” explains the Australian. “We have to rediscover it.”

In the years that transpired, Emily earned certification as a Holistic Health Coach and a teacher of Yoga, Pranayama and Mindfulness. When she’s not hosting immersive yoga retreats around the world, she shares her wisdom on the MindFi app, where she provides one-on-one coaching and serves as a facilitator for online group sharing.

The search for forgotten knowledge

Emily’s passion for self-help and holistic living started young. As a child, she saw how her mother struggled with symptoms of anxiety — and in young adulthood, she eventually developed her own symptoms.

“We’re taught that there’s no way out,” she says. “That either we go to a psychiatrist or we deal with it for the rest of our lives. But there are other paths for us to follow.”

Her search for peace led her to India. “In other parts of the world,” she shares, “people practice daily rituals that are essential for holistic health and longevity.” Like many before her, she gained firsthand experience with Ayurvedic medicine, which posits that more natural interventions can help an individual rebalance their body, mind, and spirit. 

A documentary she filmed there — The Forgotten Cure — eventually served as the inspiration for several chapters in her two new books. She came home to Australia with a much deeper understanding of herself and a toolkit of coping techniques to manage her anxiety.

Rectifying our relationship with food

Emily believes that living a better, more fulfilling life is all about daily routines: from the things we say to ourselves, the food we use to nourish our bodies, and the way we approach our work. Though our ancestors already developed powerful routines and practices related to food consumption and daily life, much of it was lost in the search for greater productivity.

“Many people feel detached from themselves and their bodies, and rather than consuming what heals or enriches them, they grind in the treadmill of work and reach for what’s convenient,” she explains.

As a former office worker herself, Emily understood that many modern employees needed simpler ways to begin healthy eating and cooking. The recipes she learned during her years as a teacher inspired her to write her book Good Mood Foods.

The book, which is available as a digital downloadable, includes time-saving techniques like batch cooking. The collection of recipes are easy to prepare — she’s tested them all in her day-to-day life.

Developing routines for a busy schedule

Of course, our eating habits aren’t the only daily routines that need mending. Emily explains, “Disease is a state of imbalance, tension, and unwellness — quite literally, a lack of ‘ease’. It’s not just about food. Plenty of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, are triggered or exacerbated by a lack of an exercise routine, or an imbalanced sleep schedule.”

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Emily credits her morning and evening routines for her improved state of wellbeing in recent years. Still, everyone knows that building new (healthy) habits doesn’t come easy. Her experience coaching stressed professionals inspired her to write another book, De-stress Express. Not only does she share her routines — she teaches readers how to design their own.

“In the morning, I exercise and meditate and do some breathwork, and that sets me up for my day. And then I’ve got evening routines, which involve self-care, winding down, and adequate sleep. My hope is that, with the book, readers will see that gradual lifestyle changes can bring great rewards.”

Restoring the mind-body connection

For Emily, much of her life has been about unifying different concepts and ideas — connecting previously disparate pieces and completing the puzzle of “health”. Upon looking back at her journey, she’s proud of all she’s accomplished.

Her parting words: “Exercise, movement, connection with others, and great food are all necessary to live your best life. It’s only when the mind and the body come together that people can begin to thrive.”

If you want to begin revamping your own daily routines,  Emily hosts complimentary Live Classes in the MindFi app every month. You’ll learn about breathing techniques and experiment with basic yoga postures. Her immersive, educational, and informative books are also always available on her website.

Try this: Free Dosha Quiz (aka Mind/Body type according to Ayurveda).

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