This Week at OHI


Optimum Health Institute’s Weekly Blogs.
OHI offers a holistic healing program based on ancient spiritual disciplines that promotes healing of your body, mind, and spirit through all-natural, non-medical practices.

Celebrating US

Affirming Your Life

“Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.”

-- Helen Keller

Affirmation: As our nation marks Independence Day, today in meditation I joyfully celebrate my freedom from old, unhealthy behaviors, and the community of family and friends that supports and inspires me.

Spirituality, the strength of community, and patriotism intertwine in a joyful, star-spangled celebration every 4 th of July.

While the United States was created in large part to offer immigrants freedom of religion, our founders fervently believed in a divine source. They wove their spiritual convictions into the very document asserting our freedom and independence from British rule.

John F. Kennedy, only 29 at the time, eloquently shared our spiritual history in a speech he made on the Fourth of July in 1946. “Our government was founded on the essential religious idea of integrity of the individual,” Kennedy said. “It was this religious sense which inspired the authors of the Declaration of Independence: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.’”

As our nation was founded by a strong community with a shared belief in a benevolent God, 242 years later we continue to celebrate our freedom and independence in the welcoming embrace of community. The 4th of July is a traditional time for reunions of family and friends, and bringing like-minded people together to mark the holiday with fellowship, fun and festivities.

For many who have experienced the 21-day healthy lifestyle program at Optimum Health Institute, the 4 th of July is a perfect time to rededicate ourselves to independence from old non-beneficial behaviors, and “dead” food. It’s a new opportunity to celebrate the transformative power of the OHI community’s power to support, reinforce and inspire our successes in achieving optimum health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

The joyful act of celebration itself is a spiritual discipline. Psalm 100 instructs us to “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” and the word ‘joy’ appears in the Bible 214 times. As Richard J. Foster writes in his book, The Celebration of Discipline , “Celebration is central to all the spiritual disciplines. Without a joyful spirit of festivity, the disciplines become dull, death-breathing tools in the hands of modern Pharisees. Every discipline should be characterized by carefree gaiety and a sense of thanksgiving…Joy is the end result of the spiritual disciplines’ functioning in our lives.”

This July 4 th, take a moment to honor your own progress on your spiritual path, and your freedom to make optimally healthy choices in every aspect of your life. Celebrate the fact that you have the strength of a passionate, God-centered and joyful community cheering you on, walking the talk and juicing the wheatgrass right along with you.

Make this the Independence Day you celebrate your life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness at OHI Austin or OHI San Diego. Reconnect with your spiritual community for an extended stay to link up with old friends, and make some wonderful new ones. Call us at (800) 224-2620 to book your reservation. Ask about our current promotional discounts.

Community Rituals Have Staying Power

Affirming Your Life

“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.”
- Idowu Koyenikan

Affirmation: Today in meditation, I will express gratitude for how my community’s rituals strengthen my resolve to shift into healthy new habits.

Rituals are mindful behaviors that deepen both spiritual and emotional connections. When done in the loving embrace of a supportive, God-centered, like-minded community, those rituals can become the path to positive, lasting transformation.

Community rituals have been an important part of every culture since recorded history. Ceremonies to welcome the change of seasons, a child’s entry into adulthood, the planting and harvesting of crops, and weddings, births and deaths are universal, and essential for binding people together.

Science is showing that these rituals have a profound and lasting impact on a person’s behavior, says University of Texas cognitive scientist Art Markman, PhD. Particularly when the ritual is observed within a group of spiritually connected people, participants feel an enhanced sense of closeness. Other positive results of repetitive ritual include entering into a mindful, meditative state more easily, and also being able to exercise more self-control. People are more likely to choose a healthier option that has lasting benefits -- like going for a walk, or drinking more water -- than a short-term pleasure like eating a burger.

Using the positive power of community to build a strong foundation for transformation has always been at the core of Optimum Health Institute’s vision. Interwoven with the 21-day healthy lifestyle program roster of classes are numerous rituals that draw the OHI community closer, while also supporting positive long-term behavior changes.

Prayer circles before each meal reinforce the idea that nourishing the body likewise nurtures the mind and spirit.

The ritual of the Release ceremony on Wednesdays shows how easy and beautiful it can be to let go of old hurts and limiting thoughts. The safe and sacred space created by the group facilitates authenticity in confronting one’s own pain, and beginning deep healing of body, mind, emotions and spirit.

A more informal but just as beneficial ritual is juicing wheatgrass. By sharing their own stories as they’re snipping and pressing the tender green blades of grass, long-time guests encourage new community members to embrace this unique adventure, and focus on the benefits they’re setting in motion with each sip of the bright green juice.

One transformational ritual everyone shares before the start of each class is the guided minute of Alpha meditation. Together, each person enters into a highly aware and receptive state, empowering them to more quickly understand, process and integrate important classroom information. The relatively new tradition has quickly become a favorite shared community experience.

Treasured OHI community rituals can withstand the test of time AND temperature, says OHI Austin Program Director Cheryl Green. Even during 100+ degree days at the Texas mission, guests continue to choose to dine as a group at the outdoor table. The feeling of connection, shared laughter and support during meals is just another beautiful way the community members consistently empower and inspire each other.

Celebrate and strengthen your OHI community ties through our facebook pages, Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin , and OHI Austin Community. Reinforce that sense of belonging through our blogs on our website at optimumhealth.org. Or the best option -- come back to your spiritual community for an extended stay to reconnect with old friends, and make some wonderful new ones. Call us at (800) 224-2620 to book your reservation. Mention code June Get Away to take advantage of our current promotional discounts.

The Positive Power of Community

Affirming Your Life

“The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.”

-- Dean Ornish

Affirmation: Today in meditation, and throughout the day, I will stay in gratitude for the support, compassion and inspiration of my spiritual community.

There is a wonderful story about an anthropologist who was studying the culture and social interactions of a remote African village. It appeared to him that there was a complete absence of competition, and he was curious to see what would happen if he introduced one. He placed a basket of delicious fruit under a tree, lined the children up, and told them whoever got to the basket first got all the fruit.

To his amazement, the laughing youngsters joined hands and ran, together, to arrive at the tree at exactly the same time.

“One of you could have had ALL the fruit,” the confused man said, as the children sat together enjoying the treat.

“But how can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?” asked a little girl.

This sense of a heartfelt community, where each member selflessly supports all the others, has a term -- Ubuntu. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains it roughly translates to mean, “I am because we are.”

“(It)…speaks of the very essence of being human,” said Tutu. “Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate…It is to say, ‘My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.’ We belong in a bundle of life. We say, ‘A person is a person through other persons.’”

The idea that we can only truly discover ourselves through the healing power of community is at the heart of what makes Optimum Health Institute such a positive, transformational experience. Surrounded by like-minded, compassionate people, even apprehensive first-time guests soon begin to feel they ‘belong.’

Together they take on the same challenges -- booting burgers for seed cheese and kale salads; chugging shots of wheatgrass juice; learning that at OHI, “Es and Is” are NOT new classes of luxury sedans.

Throughout the 21-day holistic healing program, the community itself becomes a motivating and driving force. When someone is having a tough day, others immediately move in to lend a helping hand, or a strong shoulder to lean on. The first week You Validation class is a profoundly moving session, as each person shares their appreciation of all the others. And during the Friday morning testimonials, everyone celebrates each other’s successes. One person’s progress in choosing a healthier, happier new way to live their life becomes everyone’s victory.

It is through this love in action that miracles become commonplace, and body-mind-spirit transformation blooms into being. Our deep connection to the growing OHI community becomes a mantle of divine grace and strength that continues to uplift us long after we return home.

It is to experience on all levels the truth of the concept that, “I am because we are.”

Celebrate and strengthen your OHI community ties through our Facebook pages, Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin , and OHI Austin Community. Reinforce that sense of belonging through our blogs on our website at optimumhealth.org. Or the best option -- come back to your spiritual community for an extended stay to reconnect with old friends, and make some wonderful new ones. Call us at (800) 224-2620 to book your reservation. Mention code June Get Away to take advantage of our current promotional discounts.

Springtime at OHI Austin-Don't Miss It!

Dare to be dazzled

Springtime in Austin declares the spirit of renewal with wild exuberance. As you travel through the Texas countryside to your Optimum Health Institute healing retreat, the bright but delicate blooms of up to 5,000 species of wildflowers will dazzle you with a rainbow of colors.

Feast your eyes

The Texas Transportation Department sprinkles more than 30,000 pounds of seeds annually to ensure that the countryside is filled with a flowery feast for your eyes. In anticipation, enjoy photos of Firewheel, Crimson Clover, Winecup, Bluebonnet – the Texas State flower – and more.

Try Austin – and extend your healing

If you have stayed with us at OHI San Diego, you developed life-changing habits and achieved peace. Now you can deepen this experience in a smaller community, in daily contact with a caring staff and with more options for quiet time or contemplation while still interacting with other guests.

Reawaken the connections of body, mind and spirit

When you arrive at OHI Austin, the clean spring air will invigorate you, naturally elevating your mood with the fragrance and feel of nature’s renewal season. You’ll unwind from the cares of the world as you reflect and free your mind in our outdoor meditation areas. Closing your eyes as you rest on one of many outdoor benches, you’ll invite God to develop new patterns of body, mind, and spirit connections that will refresh and strengthen you from the inside out.

our OHI Austin experience will provide a safe and sacred place where you can escape your busy world and embrace peace and serenity. Leisurely strolls along our 1.5-mile, beautifully landscaped pathways invite you to meditate and center yourself. Concerns and stress will float away in our tranquil outdoor pool. The massaging flow of our hot tub will relax you while the warm water calms and helps restore your body, mind, and spirit.

Feel yourself winding down as the sun sets
As the daylight grows dim, you can spend alone-time or community in our inviting and inspiring Great Hall. You’ll dine on delicious fresh certified-organic raw food meals poolside or in our cozy dining room. At day’s end, you can retreat to your comfortable room to journal, read, meditate or sleep. OHI Austin is restorative, restful and life changing.

A Special Invitation to our

OHI San Diego Community

Visit OHI Austin and SAVE $200 on your room plus get 2 free colonics - a value of $400!

Experience OHI Austin with some Texas-sized savings! For stays the week beginning April 15 , through week beginning June 6, 2018, OHI is inviting our San Diego community members to experience our OHI Austin mission, with an easy way to save and gain optimum health:

Availability is Limited
CALL Now for Details

(800) 993-4325

Our OHI Austin staff is looking forward to meeting you and sharing with you the OHI holistic healing program with Texas hospitality. For more information visit our website then call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

Science Agrees - Community Has Healing Power

It’s a beautiful transformational scenario that plays out at Optimum Health Institute (OHI) holistic healing retreats in San Diego and Austin on a daily basis. Guests, many facing significant health opportunities, arrive for the first time feeling anxious and rather isolated. They are immediately greeted warmly, and assigned an “OHI Buddy” to help orient them and answer questions. Before their first plant-based raw organic meal, they gather in a circle with other guests to share a few moments of spiritual fellowship and inspiration. In the dining room, they are immediately drawn into supportive and validating conversations with others.

Strong Bonds

Strangers become friends, and all are enveloped in the accepting, non-judgmental OHI community that supports and encourages them through each moment of their 21-day stay. During classes like Food Combining, Self Esteem and Conscious Breathing, guests assist and reassure each other, sharing their fears, their hopes and their laughter. Strong bonds are formed, and many coordinate return visits so they can enjoy “reunions” while rededicating themselves to strive for optimum health in body, mind and spirit. This community-building dynamic that has been at the heart of OHI since day one is now being corroborated by scientific research. Clinical studies show the validating experience of being accepted into a group of positive, like-minded people can set significant healing transformations into motion.

“Humans are wired for connection with others,” says Matthew Lieberman, UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehaviorial science. “Life does not usually go well when we try to live it on our own. Oftentimes, when we face a problem or crisis, we feel as if we can and should handle it by ourselves, but it’s the opposite. We need to handle it with the help of others, even if only with one person.” 1 Dr. Lieberman is one of the founders of social cognitive neuroscience, a discipline analyzing how brain function underlies social thinking and social behavior.

Dr. Dean Ornish Says...

This healing power of community has such a profound and measurable influence that cardiologist Dean Ornish writes in his book Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy, “I am not aware of any other factor in medicine – not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery – that has a greater impact on our quality of life or incidence of illness. Anything that promotes a sense of isolation often leads to illness and suffering, while that which promotes a sense of love and intimacy, connection and community, is healing.” 2

One thing OHI guests mention repeatedly is how their interaction with others facing similar opportunities gives them strength and hope. Instead of feeling alone, they experience a powerful connection with others whether they’re on the same path or not. They can develop a sense of accountability to each other, which helps them collectively stick to their goals.

Hard Wired to Help

The cooperative dynamic that compassion for others helps the person providing assistance is also supported in clinical research. Dr. Sara Konrath, a faculty member of the Research Center for Group Dynamics at the University of Michigan, writes, “Social connections can be good for us. We are hard-wired for face-to-face contact that includes lots of touch, eye contact, and smiles. Such interactions release a hormone called oxytocin, which helps us to bond and care for others, and also helps us to handle stress better.” 3

Experience the healing power of community during an extended stay at OHI San Diego or OHI Austin. Save throughout the month of February when you mention promotional code SELFLOVE when booking your 2 or 3-week stay. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.

1. Matthew Lieberman, PhD, Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect, Crown Publishers, 2013.

2. Dean Ornish, MD, Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy, William Morrow Paperbacks, 1999.

3. Sara Konrath, PhD, EverydayHealth.com, Copyright 2013. See: http://www. everydayhealth.com/depression/how-volunteering-can-lessen-depression-and-extend-your-life.aspx

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