Insights and musings on health and happiness


In my mid-twenties, I decided to move back to Richmond, buy a house that needed work, start grad school (full-time), oh, and on top of all of that? That’s right, have an already demanding 50+ hour a week traveling job. Sound crazy? It was. I appreciate my optimism of all the things I thought I could do, but when it came down to it, I had no downtime, no mental breaks, and my adrenaline was pumping 24-7. I thought as long as I was physically active, I’d be fine. And although it helped, I didn’t understand all aspects of what made me a healthy, but more important, a happy person.


I still struggle with this today – juggling a full-time job and owning a small business at the same time. The main difference between being in my mid-twenties vs. today in my late thirties, I understand that staying sane/well involves a lot more than just eating healthy and staying active. Technically that is only one of the many parts of wellness.


A beautiful part of being treated by Sean Orr, our in-house acupuncturist, is that he treats the cause not the symptom of what is going on. He asks about your emotional, social, spiritual, and physical wellbeing (and more). He looks at the whole picture to understand why you are feeling the way you are and comes up with a treatment plan to help you heal. So, what are the 8 pillars of wellness?


  • Are you safe and have pleasant surroundings?
  • Do you have enough to support your loved ones (and others in need)?
  • How well do you interact with others and get involved in the community?
  • How do you feel and how vulnerable are you with others?
  • Do you live by a set of personal values and ethics?
  • Do you have healthy food, sleep, and exercise habits?
  • Are you stimulated by your surroundings?
  • Are you satisfied/enriched by your occupation?


Hence, money and being physically fit isn’t going to make my sanity temple whole. It is about living in a safe place, my sense of connection and being vulnerable with others, living by my personal values, constantly being stimulated by a book or discussion with a friend, feeling like I’m making a difference at work, and opening up to others to truly deepen our connection. And, something I know I don’t do enough of, taking the time and space to think about what I need and evaluate which dimension(s) may be starved that I need to adjust.


Since you’ve been able to make time to sit, relax and read this article, maybe take a few more minutes to reflect on how you feel and assess if any of your dimensions could use an adjustment to recalibrate your internal gears. It’s always nice to have a sanity check.


Aliza Sterling

Influenced by teachers, peers, students, 200YTT in Integral Yoga in Rishikesh, India, and other travels, Aliza creates a supportive environment with a focus on individual empowerment in the classroom. She started True North Yoga and Wellness with the desire to bring the Northside community together.

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