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What is Hauora?

So, what is Hauora? What does it mean to me?

The basic concept of Hauora is built around the four walls that make up our whare, or house, that represents our lives. These four walls represent aspects of our lives, that contribute, or should do, to our overall wellbeing. These are the physical, mental and emotional, spiritual, and social wellbeing. To me this is not some new age buzz words to grab attention, but something that over the last few years I have come to see the validity of.

The reason I mention this on the website, is when I first left my job of 19 years, and went to study at the Otago Polytechnic, in hindsight, I would say that my whare, my house, was more like a run-down lean to, with a tarp for a roof, that was ready to collapse. I was so focused on my physical changes, getting into body building, that I was only focused on that, thinking it would fix everything, to the extreme that it was not healthy. It was only in my second year of study that I encountered the concept of Hauora, and it began, in some small way, to resonate with me. I had been, for a long time, ignoring all the other parts of my life because I thought I was ok. But as the events of the following year proved to me, I was not.

So what do these four walls mean?

Physical wellbeing: this is about our physical growth and health, how we move, take care of our physical selves and care for ourselves.

Mental and emotional: Our mental health, how and what we think of ourselves, our self-image, how we interact and express our thoughts and feelings, and how we react to others.

Social wellbeing: Our relationships with others, our family, friends, loved ones and how these function, feelings of belonging.

Spiritual wellbeing: The value and beliefs that help form the way we decide to live, where we see our identity, our place in the world and a meaning or purpose in life.

I have to say of all the four aspects, the one that I had not even considered was the spiritual one. I had always thought that spiritual equalled religion, and I’m open about being an atheist, therefore spiritual didn’t mean “me”. But seeing it defined as it is in Hauora made sense, in that it made me think about where I am in my life.

What does this all mean when I am working with my clients?

Probably the best way I can explain this is to describe, in a general way to avoid identifying someone, how working on someone’s physical capabilities has influenced other parts of there lives, and in turn how they have physically improved. This person had not done anything in the way of structured physical training before, and would not have by themselves, we have focused on good movements, with them feeling how their body is moving and responding. At the same time working on building their self esteem and confidence. They have given feedback that this has improved their mental wellbeing, starting to feel “good” about themselves, and it has improved how they are feeling around others.

The biggest takeaway from this I suppose, is that in order to get the best, and sustainable, physical improvement out of yourself, it’s a good idea to consider the whole. And hell, life is not a destination after all, it’s about the story of our journey, make that story a good one.

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