Terese reports: “I was puzzling over the last week as to why I am finding this Yoga Challenge so enormously successful, having tried and failed so many other programmes! And, it dawned on me this morning as I finished my stunningly poetic and beautiful dawn break incantation, in super complex Te Reo [Māori language] to boot! That, in Māoridom, our health philosophy is holistic and made up of four key components:
- Te Taha Wairua (spiritual health),
- Te Taha Tinana (physical health),
- Te Taha Hinengaro (psychological health),
- Te Taha Whānau (family health), this constellation is known as Te Whare Tapa Wha
Terese continues: The guts of it being that we need to address all components for balanced health. Your Yoga Challenge has all these elements from the food, yoga, duty, rituals, all working as its own standalone element yet they are all related, I’ve never really persevered with any programme for more than a week or two but this is transformative and follows such old and wise pathways.”
It is clear that this highly developed Māori philosophy of health and well-being – hauora – harmonises perfectly with the physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects of our 40 Day Yoga Challenge:
- taha wairua – spiritual well-being – arises out of sattvic eating, and following the basic moral and personal codes of Yoga (the yamas and the niyamas).
- taha tinana – physical wellbeing – includes doing at least 30 minutes of yoga every day (comprised of asanas, karma, bhakti, or dhyana) to help support our health-related fitness. At least twice a week we practice as a group, under a qualified Yoga teacher’s instruction.
- taha hinengaro – mental and emotional well-being – requires us to be self-aware and accountable of our personal habits and behaviours. We record our experiences in a journal, and this helps us stay transparent and self-aware.
- taha whanau – social wellbeing – means that the group supports each other within the collective framework of the Challenge. We gather together, often twice a week, for group ‘confessions’ and also a enjoy a nutritious sattvic potluck meal, which has become the highlight of our week. The feeling of solidarity and compassion within the group helps individuals gain necessary support to stay strong on the Challenge. Friendships are formed, people truly care, and our Yoga community is further strengthened.
Ali continues: These four aspects of Māori philosophy fit together perfectly with the holistic Yoga we are practicing on our 40 Day Challenge.