We felt it was a good time to focus on refreshing ourselves ahead of the busy holiday season. And have asked Nicole Fogel from Shift Mind Body Soul, to kindly share her holistic view on consciously connecting the body, mind and spirit—to awaken wellness within.
KORA: Thanks for joining us, Nicole. Let’s start with what you feel wellness is, and what the core of your work is?
Nicole: We believe overall physical and emotional wellness is an inside-out job. The four cores of Shift Mind Body Soul are:
1. Mindful Awareness
This is truly about our mental health. It’s about paying attention intentionally and being present; having daily and long-term intention. It is about paying attention to not judge and live with loving kindness.
According to the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, Mindful awareness is the moment-by-moment process of actively and openly observing one’s physical, mental and emotional experiences. Mindful awareness has scientific support as a means to reduce stress, improve attention, reduce emotional reactivity, and promote a general sense of health and well-being. Practicing mindfulness doesn’t just make us feel good emotionally—research shows that those who practice mindful meditation for just 10 minutes a day have increased neurogenesis, or new brain cell growth. In fact, researchers at Harvard Medical School are so sold on the benefits of meditation, they’ve launched a separate research arm to study the effects of mindfulness practice on a deeper level.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not become overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
‘Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”– Jon Kabat-Zinn
2. Holistic Nutrition
It’s not just about the food we put in our bodies. It’s about looking at the whole picture of all that is interconnected with someone. I have learned when I eat well I feel the best and most aligned, and then my health and well-being flourishes.
Everything in our bodies is connected in some way. I believe holistic nutrition is a process of healing through taking whole nutrient-dense foods and adding supplements to help the whole body and system function at its best (mind, body and soul) as opposed to treating isolated symptoms.
When I was younger, there was a saying,“You are what you eat.” I believe this to be true. When we eat clean, healthy foods and absorb the nutrients in these foods, it reflects how we feel in all ways. When we eat unwell, we feel unwell.
3. Spiritual Healing
We like to say. Balance + Presence + Personal Growth = Shift Happens.
We are all made up of energy and vibrations and we all have wounds and crave healing at some point in our lives. To me, spiritual healing is about aligning and raising our vibration and energy. When we are disconnected from source or out of alignment, we are disconnected from true well being.
There are so many beautiful ways to spiritually heal. We can do this through breath, prayer, mediation, chakra work, sound therapy and more that I share later in this article.
4. Fitness & Motivation
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make time every day to move your body. When we talk about well-being, we often focus on our mental and spiritual state. But we shouldn’t ignore our physicality. The comfort, health, and function of our physical bodies plays a huge role in our ability to be connected to our true purpose and alignment.
Our bodies are far more intuitively intelligent than our minds—they’re usually the first place that we notice dis-ease. Think about it: You get a headache when you’re stressed, you can’t sleep when you’re too anxious, and your digestion goes awry when you’ve gone a little too hard on the processed foods. Sure, these indicators might seem small, but they’re your body’s way of saying, “Hello, friend, it’s time to pay attention.”
So, when we invest time and energy into physical fitness, it’s not only because we want to look a certain way or fit into a smaller pant size—it’s because engaging in activities that connect us to our bodies help us tap into our overall well-being.
Usually, when you’re physically active and eating well, your mood improves thanks to a hit of endorphins that comes from exercise. Your skin gets clearer, your energy skyrockets, and your sleep gets deeper. A body in motion stays in motion, and regularly exercising and moving your body keeps joints, muscles, and bones healthier in the long run. As you feel more confident in your body—embracing its power, grace, strength—you become more confident out in the world.
The more we can get clearly in sync with our body, the better we can listen to what it needs to thrive. It doesn’t take a lot to start down this path—all you need to do get moving. That could be a five-minute walk around the block, a thirty-minute beginning yoga class, or even working up a sweat in a great cardio class. Start somewhere (anywhere!) and grow from there. We recommend moving the body and getting the heart rate up for at least 30 minutes five times a week.
KORA: What drew you to this work?
Nicole: I have always been a seeker. In my younger years growing up in Los Angeles, I battled weight and emotional issues. As I got older and emotionally happier, I got diagnosed with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had to learn how to get healthy in mind, body and soul. Not wanting the traditional western treatments, I found modalities and practitioners that helped me immensely. After losing my grandmother (my best friend) who I took care of for ten years, I ran to Maui to heal. During the year I took to heal, I realized that if I could help others shift in whatever way they needed, it would help elevate and facilitate my own continued healing. Shift Mind Body Soul was born.
KORA: That’s amazing. And what activities can you suggest for each of these SHIFT cores?
Nicole: Of course.
There are so many ways to be mindful. Here are a few physical suggestions:
- Walking meditation
- Avoid screens for 30 minutes before bed
- Create a relaxing wind down routine before bed each night. A few examples of this could be: dimming the lights, turning on calming music and light breathwork and/or a loving kindness mediation.
On an emotional level, it is important to be gentle with yourself—speak and think kindly to yourself. It is so important to have a support system built of people who lift you up when things get tough in mind, body or spirit.
On a social level, I believe deepening your relationships is so important. Surrounding yourself with people who make you feel light and joy and removing yourself from people where you feel dark or heavy. Purposely scheduling in time with people that are doing good things in the world and good things for themselves as well and connecting on that level is always a good thing.
Eat clean nutrient-dense foods. Stay away from processed foods. Hydrate properly. Add a green juice a day if you aren’t a juice person already. Detox and cleanse regularly. Be sure to take the right supplements and probiotics for you. We also love the idea of intuitive eating. Lastly, we feel best when we are mostly, if not all, plant-based.
- Cleanse your energy and space with Palo Santo and/or Sage
- Sound and vibration healing
- Energy work and healing
- Working with crystals
- Daily meditation
- Chakra work.
Fitness / Motivation
Move your body for at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week. We love to walk or hike outdoors. Getting on the rebounder is a favorite for us. Doing core and pelvic floor work is a must in our book. We love yoga, Pilates and gerotonics. We find it helps when you actually enjoy what you are doing, so find what you love and do it!
KORA: Why is it important to cover all four of these aspects?
Nicole: I feel that overall wellness is being in alignment of the mind, body and soul. For me, I feel that if you’re wherever you are in your practice, if you are working on elements from all four aspects, you’re on the right track to alignment and overall well-being.
KORA: What can you suggest for those at the end of another busy and stressful year?
Nicole: Take a few days or a week if possible to reset, recharge and realign. Go get in nature or wherever your happy place may be. Cleanse the mind, body and soul. I just did this myself in Maui.
We all need time to slow it down and get grounded and centered. For me, I feel my life force soar in Maui. Sitting for sunrise and sunset everyday with the sun on my skin and aloha in the air grounds me and raises my vibration. At the same time, I feel best when I am consistent in my practice which consists of daily mediation and movement. Eating clean, staying hydrated and getting good sleep are key.
KORA: Any tips for balance this coming holiday season?
Nicole: Holidays can be so wonderful, yet stressful and difficult at the same time. I think, to the best of our ability, we should be around people who make us feel like sunshine and remove ourselves from the others.
That said, holidays are about friends and family and we all have those people who we need to see, but don’t really enjoy. For those, that’s where a good breathing exercise can come in!
In general, to keep balance during the holidays, I think it’s important to keep consistent in our practice. Nourish our body and mind with clean nutrient-dense foods that make us feel good. Hydration is so important, especially during the holidays, to help flush the extra foods or alcohol. Movement and mediation are also so important during these times.
Thank you Nicole, we appreciate you sharing this inspiration with us!
Nicole Fogel is the founder of Shift Mind Body Soul, a global wellness brand. For the last decade, Nicole has suffered from a chronic autoimmune disease that impacted her life in many different ways.
Through this journey of having to learn about personal self-care and well-being, sparked the idea that would give Nicole a way to invite others to experience the health, self-care, mindfulness, and restoration. By helping others heal and paying it forward, this has in turn helped to foster her own continual healing.
Nicole has gathered her leading wellness allies and experts to create a multi-dimensional program that approaches every aspect of real well-being: mindfulness, nutrition, fitness, and self-love. This is how SHIFT Mind Body Soul was created.