Fitness Files: Jason Elias
Jason Elias is a leading healing arts practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine for over three decades, In his book, Kissing Joy As It Flies: A Journey in Search of Healing & Wholeness he shares his astonishing quest for personal healing while learning the art of healing others.
Jason Elias practices acupuncture and herbal medicine in Woodstock, Croton, and Manhattan, where his journey toward healing and wholeness continues. He is also the co-author of The A-Z Guide to Healing Herbal Remedies: Over 100 Herbs and Common Ailments; Feminine Healing: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Body, Mind, and Spirit ; and Chinese Medicine for Maximum Immunity: Understanding the Five Elemental Types for Health and Well-Being. Continue reading Jason's Fitness Files interview learn more about his work and the power of self-healing.
NMF: Why do you think so many people overlook the importance of self-healing?
Jason Elias (JE): In our culture of the quick fix, we tend to look for the proper pill or procedure to eliminate symptoms. From all of the traditional healing systems across the globe, illness has always been seen as an imbalance, and the patient was required to be a part in the healing process, along with a traditional doctor or medicine man or wise woman. Our chronic diseases and epidemic of autoimmune disease attest that simply suppressing symptoms doesn't get to the root of the problem. Self-healing requires some effort and willingness to learn from the disease on the part of the patient.
NMF: What are the first steps a person can take towards healing and wholeness?
JE: To me, the first steps are to acknowledge that all dis-ease reflects an out of balance in some way, between ourselves and nature; or between ourselves and our inner compass. A recognition that self-healing requires time rather than the quick fix, and that often true healing demands that we look at our role in our disease. I see the doctor or practitioner as a guide rather than fixer, supporting the individual in their own healing journey.
NMF: Can you share a few benefits of acupuncture and herbal medicine?
JE: There are many healing modalities which support an individual to heal, and overcome disease. To me the benefits of acupuncture and herbal medicine have been practiced in much the same way for over four thousand years. As I have been a psychologist, and a teacher of the Alexander Technique, a form of bodywork and studied various forms of psychic or magnetic healing, I found that Traditional Chinese Medicine incorporates the body, mind and spirit in helping individuals to get well.
The herbs act like food, to give the body the proper nourishment to heal itself, and the acupuncture opens energy channels which feed the organs and promote well being.
NMF: Has health and fitness always been a major part of your life or was there a catalyst/point in your life when you made it more of a focus and priority?
JE: Unless we understand who we are, and what our connection is to the earth and to each other there will be an imbalance which causes stress, and as we know so well, stress in turn, causes a vast array of disease. I’ve always felt uncomfortable if I wasn’t following a resonant chord. This connection to my inner knowing directed my journey across the globe in search of the commonality of all healing systems. The book reflects this journey and the many lessons from many masters, each offering a piece of the puzzle. In all cultures, diet, exercise, and meditation are all necessary ingredients to living a life that promotes optimal health.
NMF: What has been the biggest lesson you have learned (example from the book) about your health?
JE: Health ultimately is maintaining a resonance within. All of our cells vibrate, and oscillate, a magnetic dance between positive and negatively charged ions in our cells. Our cells operate optimally on higher vibratory frequencies, which can be supported by being in resonance with our nature, eating healthy food and not too much, moving (exercising) regularly and things such as acupuncture and herbs which can directly influence the vibrations in our cells. Higher frequencies in our body, naturally resist diseases and pathogens which cannot take root.
My greatest lesson repeatedly learned in my book, is that when I tried to live up to someone else expectation rather than my inner voice,my body would let me know, by creating physical and emotional symptoms.
NMF: What is the best advice you have received about staying healthy and centered?
JE: Listen to your body; it doesn’t lie. Our minds go on and on in self-deception games, but if we can attune to our body and listen to its messages, I believe we can stay healthy and centered. Take a moment before each activity and simply ask yourself how it will make you feel. You know that by surrendering to the sugar cravings, you feel a moment of ‘upness', but within the hour, you are dragging again. In the silence, you can hear you inner being guiding you to care for your body. In Buddhism they say “this very body, the buddha” The body is the temple to the divine, and merits the respect we give to our houses of worship.
NMF: What are a few of your go-to healthy snacks/drinks that help keep you on the straight and narrow?
JE: Hydration is the key. Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water has myriad benefits. It gives us a feel of satiation, which can help us to eat less; as Ben Franklin said, “to lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals”. It also helps the organs of filtration, the kidneys, and liver to work more efficiently.
Eat foods that grow in nature and avoid anything with ingredients which you can’t pronounce. I think the lessons learned from your magazine and blog provide an abundance of good health tips. No sugar or refined carbs.
NMF: At Nadia Murdock Fit our motto is “Train Your Mind, Change Your Body” so we must ask: How do you train your mind and stay motivated?
JE: For me the best way to train the mind, is to not give it too much attention. In Eastern thought, we learn to observe the mind and be aware of how the mind tries to sabotage our best efforts to get strong and healthy. By observing the old habitual patterns which have governed our lives so far, we can learn to observe these habits, and simply say no! Create a health program for yourself and ‘train you mind’ to ignore the old negative patterns, and instead, opt for optimal functioning. It feels good, and will give you abundant energy, which positively reinforces your healthy choices.
NMF: How do you change your body? What are your health and fitness favorites?
JE: Mind and body work continually together. A healthy body allows the mind to be uncluttered and clear; a focused and meditative mind will help to guide us to healthy patterns of exercise and diet. Stress leads to lethargy, creates food cravings, and constantly seeks distractions. When stressed or upset, stop, get out of your mind by getting into your body; focus on your breath, as you slowly breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. By focusing on your belly you relax the vagus nerve which effects total physiological functioning.
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Training minds, and changing bodies!
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