Wellness Leaders Reveal Their No. 1 Spiritual Practice
Look up the world "spiritual" in a dictionary and you'll find a variation of "something relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material things." There are so many different ways to transcend the physical world around us and connect to what lies within, so we reached out to a few of our wellness experts for their tried-and-true favorites. It's officially time to bust out that sage stick and hold tight to those crystals.
1. Get your smudge on.
I actually love to use a sage smudge stick every season or about four times a year to cleanse my home and office, restore balance, and set new intentions for the quarter. I have yet to set off a fire alarm with the smoke—but have come close once!
2. Be mindful first thing in the morning.
My favorite spiritual practice is to recite an ancient prayer called Modeh Ani upon waking, before reaching for my phone or getting out of bed. I learned this a mindfulness practice of appreciating the miracle of life as a child. The phrases in English are "I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul to me; Your faithfulness is great." Many decades later this still serves me well.
—Dr. Joel Kahn, cardiologist
3. Find light in the mundane.
For me, we are souls having a earthly experience, so the spiritual aspect of life is a part of my everyday routine. My drive to work, my time spent waiting in line, my interactions with patients—they're all opportunities for spiritual practice, prayer, or meditation. I also immerse myself in the sacred, grounding space of nature as much as possible. I also work the natural world into my functional medicine center using plants, rocks, crystals (Himalayan quartz is my jam), and water features. If I am feeling like there is some stagnant or negative energy I love smudging palo santo, sage, or mugwort to clear my space and center myself.
—William Cole, functional medicine practitioner
4. Treat yourself to an abhyanga massage.
This Ayurvedic oil massage couldn't be easier, and it serves me in so many ways. I'll light some incense, play some relaxing music, put an old towel on the floor, and heat some organic sesame or coconut oil in a crockpot. Then, I'll massage this oil over my entire body and scalp using circular motions, resting or taking a nap afterward, before washing off in a bath or shower. This treatment is a small gift I can give myself to immediately feel more connected, grounded, and relaxed.
—Jessa Blades, herbalist and natural beauty expert
5. Connect to your jewelry.
Carnelian is a stone I wear in a ring, custom designed for me by goldsmith Savannah King. This stone supports setting intentions, allowing them to manifest through the courage to take action. I especially love wearing it as I facilitate New Moon Circles.
—Paula Mallis, doula and founder of WMN Space
6. Escape into nature (and enjoy your pets).
I like to escape the incessant bustle of the modern world by traveling back into a calmer time. That means cherishing nature in the backyard garden I enjoy in Havana, where everything grows in tropical profusion. Mangos, pomegranates, limes, guava, and plantains ripen and fall off the trees. Oh, and the two cats and three kittens we feed are a cozy, healing presence.
—Jonathan Galland, integrative health expert
7. Soak up good vibes.
My favorite spiritual practice is taking a hot bath soak with magnesium salts and a few drops of rose oil. When I really want to romance myself, I add fresh rose petals. Then, I play Kundalini mantras and chant along. Magnesium bath salts remove excess toxins from the body and also help to clear energy that I often take on being the empath and healer that I am! This practice brings me back to me.
—Fern Olivia, thyroid expert
8. Connect with your breath.
Without a doubt, my favorite spiritual practice is a breathwork session. I have been a yogi for over 15 years but my first one-hour session with Ashley Neese was the most spiritually transcendent experience of my entire life. When we started our first session together, she explained that some clients laugh, some cry, and some people feel very little. She asked me to go in with an open heart, and within 15 minutes, my body was on fire. I laughed, I cried, and I left our session feeling light as a feather. Stress I didn't even know existed was wiped clean and all that was left was love—a love that I desperately needed to share.
—Kelly LeVeque, holistic nutritionist