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Salutogenic Theory & Integration Of Body-Mind Awareness

According to the salutogenic theory, health is a comprehensive state integrating the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions (Becker, Dolbier, et al., 2008). The World Health Organization (1946) defined health as a "state of optimal physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity." The salutogenic worldview is grounded in the assumption that these dimensions are integrated. A change in one dimension is held to be reflected in all other dimensions as well (Hammer, 2005), and psychological well-being is held to be not distinct from physical well-being (Ryff, Singer, & Love, 2004).


Salutogenic theory is a model of health and well-being that focuses on the factors that promote health rather than those that cause disease. The term "salutogenic" comes from the Latin word "salus," which means health, and the Greek word "genesis," which means origin. This theory suggests that people have a natural tendency towards health and well-being, and that certain factors can help support and maintain this state of health. These factors, known as salutogenic factors, can include things like social support, a sense of control, and a positive outlook. The goal of salutogenic theory is to identify and promote these factors to assist in maintaining and improving health and well-being. Relaxation modalities such as yoga are assistant in the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and the discharge of glucocorticoids from the system (Sapolsky, 2004). Relaxation practice helps to reset the stress level back to baseline, thereby contributing to the alleviation of mobility difficulties created by chronic stress. Deep breathing, flexion of the spinal cord, and the stretching of the muscles that occur during a yoga practice help to heighten immunity by discharging waste products from the cells, the muscles and the internal organs; reoxygenating the body; and invigorating circulation at the level of the cells (Francini, 2007; Schiffman, 1996). In the opinion of Iyengar (2005), the relaxation needed for genuine meditation first requires the gains of yoga asana: "A great boon of yoga, even for relative beginners, is the happiness it brings, a state of self-reliant contentment, an unquiet mind cannot meditate" (p.26).


One way to integrate your mind and body for mental health is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment without judgment. This may guide awareness of your physical and emotional experiences, and may improve your mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. Other ways to integrate your mind and body for mental health include meditation, asana, drishti focus points, energy centers, and prana breath, and getting enough rest and sleep. It is also valuable to eat a plethora of plant based, whole foods varying in vibrant color for optimal nutrition absorption. Place intention into engagement in activities that you enjoy, and connect with others to support your overall well-being.

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