• Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Part 2

    In last week’s article, we talked about how to cleanse the body and mind through Diet. This week, we expand on how to cleanse the body and mind through Movement and Breath. Here is part 2 of our 2-part series

    2. MOVEMENT

    Incorporating movement into your daily routine is critical for your health and well being.  Developing a regular yoga practice works your entire body — every muscle, every organ, every system, and every cell.  Yoga postures also exercise your mind — increasing focus, concentration, stamina, and endurance.  Begin by taking just a little bit of time stretching each morning or before bed.  Notice where in your life you can add a little more movement, and start integrating it into your routine.  Soon, you’ll notice and feel the difference.

    3. BREATH

    With movement comes breath, an equally integral part of your journey to optimal health.  Breath work during a guided meditation involves your whole body — your chest, belly, back, and mind.  By breathing deeply, you exercise and cleanse the lungs, slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and oxygenate the blood.  You also rely on your diaphragm instead of your chest, inviting your neck and chest muscles to relax and engage your abs so a larger amount of oxygen reaches your body’s cells and organs.  You will feel refreshed and energized because oxygen is the most important macronutrient for the body.  Breath work also helps calm and focus the mind.

    Once your body is clean, you need to clean your mind.  Getting rid of negative behaviors gives you the freedom to make more positive choices:

    Clean up your habits:  Refrain from eating anything with caffeine, oils, salt, or sugar.  Drink lots of fluids.  Sleep, sleep, SLEEP!  Keep your body moving.

    De-stress with meditation:  Worry, stress, and anxiety are acidic, and your body won’t work at its optimum in an acidic state.  What you think you soon become, so it is important to keep your mindset present, positive, and focused.  Meditation is a wonderful tool for exercising and calming the mind.  Take just a few moments a day to find yourself in stillness with your thoughts, and incorporate a daily mantra to open yourself up to a mind that is clear and calm.

    Get closer to God:  The OHI program is based on 24 ancient spiritual disciplines, which include things like fellowship, prayer, and fasting.  A good soulful cleanse starts with letting go of negative emotions that are creating an imbalance in the body, mind, and spirit.  By mindfully choosing more positive emotions, you bring yourself back to balance and find a sense of love, compassion, and inner peace.

    Many OHI classes and activities can help you with your body-mind-spirit Spring cleaning.  Our stretch classes add movement to your life.  Our Body-Mind Connection class steps you through mindful meditation and breathing.  And our Prayer Circle brings you closer to God in a safe and sacred circle of fellowship.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

    Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, or call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Part 1

    Simply put: Our body can affect how quiet and calm our mind is.  And, our mind can affect how healthy our body is! Here is part 1 of our 2-part series

    Now is the time of year that many of us tackle Spring cleaning.  That fresh spirit of renewal is exactly what your body and mind need, too.  Your body is constantly processing food and drink, and your mind is constantly churning thoughts and emotions. The cleansing of our body and mind brings forth new opportunities for transformation, and is beneficial for productivity and mental clarity.  After all, a clean body supports a quiet mind.

    Most everyone has heard the proverb, “Cleanliness is next to godliness”. This “cleanliness” not only refers to keeping our physical body clean, but also includes the cleanliness and purity of our mind, both in our thoughts and intentions. When your physical space is disorganized and unclean, it creates mayhem, frustration, and negativity. Just the same, when your physical space is organized and clean, it creates peace, harmony, positivity and alignment.

    So let’s start our Spring cleaning by cleansing the body and mind in three simple ways:  through a check on our diet, our movement, and our breath.

    1. DIET

    One of the best things we can do for our body is clean up our diet.  What we put into our body determines how the body will be able to perform and function.  If we are constantly filling up on junk, our bodies will not perform as well as they could.  When we only fill up on the good stuff, the body is able to perform to the best of its ability.  In the discussion of diet, we should look at it from three different aspects — food, hydration, and the pH (alkalinity vs the acidity) of your body as a whole.

    Food:  It goes without saying that processed foods, carbonated beverages, bleached flour and sugar are highly detrimental to your health, and everyone should eliminate these from their diet.  OHI advocates that you pursue a plant-based diet that focuses on raw, dehydrated, and fermented foods.  While a guest at one of our OHI campuses, we support you with a cleansing detox diet and juice fasting to help purge the body of toxins, so a Spring detox should be on your to do list.  The juicing portion of the detox permits the digestive system to have a rest, and frees up energy for more detox activity in the body.  The limited caloric intake of the cleansing diet (less than 1200 calories per day) is an ancient fasting practice.  Recent studies have shown that many forms of cancers have been stopped, slowed, or reversed by limiting calorie intake.  OHI’s detox diet does not contain nuts or oils as the addition of these foods slow down the detoxification process.  We also eliminate salt during detox because it interferes with blood pressure and promotes fluid retention, and an effective detox needs your body to release fluids to flush out the toxins.  The OHI detox diet only features “live food” where all of the enzymes and nutrients in the food have been protected from the effects of cooking.  We also do not vary the temperature of food with the use of ice as it can shock the digestive system.  Food pioneer, Ann Wigmore, believed that raw-live enzymes were the most important ingredient in assimilating nutrients, and that has become a cornerstone to our full body detox.

    Hydration:  Water surrounds toxins in order to protect us.  Therefore, in order to flush out those toxins we need to flush out our entire system and rehydrate appropriately.  OHI recommends that the amount of water you should drink equals half of your body weight in ounces each day.  And when you stay at an OHI mission, we provide guests with pure drinking water from a custom designed water filtration system, where water is alkalized to a 7.35 – 7.45 pH level.  Drinking alkalized water optimizes detoxification regimens, helping your body expel heavy metals and toxins.  It also hydrates better than plain water, and helps supply the body with essential minerals.

    pH (alkalinity vs acidity):  The OHI cleansing diet has limited calories but is rich in nutrients and enzymes, which can help bring the body from an acidic state to a more alkaline state.  The purification and alkalizing effects on the body help to quiet the mind.  We don’t use lemon in food preparation or as added flavoring to a glass of water because it changes the mouth pH, and the acidity interferes with carbohydrate digestion.

    Join us next week for the second part of this article where we expand on how to cleanse the body and mind through Movement and Breath …

    Many OHI classes and activities can help you with your body-mind-spirit Spring cleaning.  Our stretch classes add movement to your life.  Our Body-Mind Connection class steps you through mindful meditation and breathing.  And our Prayer Circle brings you closer to God in a safe and sacred circle of fellowship.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

    Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, or call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.

  • Mindful Eating, Part 2

    Intro

    Here’s the 2nd part of our blog post on Mindful Eating. We hope it’s helpful to you…

    Benefits of Eating Mindfully

    For many people, eating is a mindless act, often done quickly.  By eating mindfully, you restore your attention and slow down, making eating an intentional act instead of an automatic one that comes with many benefits:

    • Control food instead of it controlling you:  We each have our own attitudes and patterns of behavior around food, contributed by genetics, circumstances, and family conditioning.  Mindfulness inserts a pause to help make you aware of your own decision-making.
    • Increase enjoyment of food:  When you slow down your eating, you taste and enjoy your food more.
    • Easier digestion:  By thoroughly chewing your food, you begin the digestion process in the mouth.  Digestion is easier because you’ve adequately broken the food down and incorporated essential saliva.
    • Reduce calories:  By eating more slowly, you’ll naturally eat less, which means you’ll reduce the amount of calories consumed.
    • Reduce stress:  When you slow down and breathe, particularly when you extend your exhale, you activate the whole rest-and-recover side of your nervous system.  This not only manages stress, but also can improve digestion.
    • Less binge eating:  When you’re mindful, you realize food is just food, and you can free yourself from the emotions that fuel your mindless eating habits.  You don’t have to eat your feelings.  You only have to eat when you’re hungry, and healthy food choices that will satiate your hunger most efficiently.
    • Lose weight:  Mindful eating slows yourself down to truly think about your food choices.  You’ll free yourself from the idea that a food is “good” or “bad,” and you’ll choose food that helps your body work at it’s optimal level.  Those healthy choices set the stage for potential weight loss.
    • Enjoy the moment:  Mindfulness removes distractions, and allows you to sit uninterrupted with your food.  You begin to take your time over a meal, you reconnect with your senses, and become re-acquainted with the pleasure of eating.

    What happens when we don’t eat mindfully

    Mindful eating takes work, and it’s easy to get distracted and slip back into old habits.  When we take ourselves out of the moment and start eating mindlessly, we grab for foods that aren’t healthy, we overeat because we aren’t paying attention to physical hunger cues from the body, we make negative associations with food (labeling certain foods as “good” and “bad”), and we don’t distinguish between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating.  Instead of eating to maintain overall health and well being, we eat to satisfy a craving or an emotion (guilt, anxiety, comfort, reward), not to maintain the health of our body.

    A food journal is a mindfulness tool to check in with yourself on how you feel before, during, and after you eat to help you relate emotions and thoughts to mindful eating.  In your journal, record what you eat, when, and how often you eat.  The journal should help you understand your eating patterns, and help you find ways to make simple, healthy changes.

    Mindful Eating at OHI

    Mindful eating is one of our core values at OHI, and our Inspirational Testimonials class frequently touches on this topic.  Guests share inspiring stories of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing, and the breakthroughs many of them make through mindful eating are quite moving.

    So the next time you sit down for a meal, employ mindful eating and rediscover the joy of food.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how mindful eating can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

    Mindful Eating is just one of the practices you will learn during a visit to OHI San Diego or OHI Austin.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. For more information, visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org or call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Mindful Eating, Part 1

    Intro

    When we’re stressed, it’s easy to reach for food to help comfort our emotions. During these times of self-quarantine, we hope our Mindful Eating blog can help bring awareness and tips on how to turn Mindless Eating into Mindful Eating. Here is part 1 of our 2-part series

    Mindful eating is about establishing full attention to your experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating.  It makes you watchful about what you eat, and it aims to transform your relationship with food by focusing on the how and why of eating.  Mindful eating helps you have a better understanding of what foods nourish you and help you stay healthy while also encouraging a deeper appreciation of every mouthful.

    Here are six guidelines to help you understand the difference between mindless and mindful eating:

    Mindless Eating Versus Mindful Eating

    • Eating past full and ignoring your body’s signals vs. Listening to your body and stopping when full
    • Eating when emotions tell us to eat (ie: sad, bored, lonely) vs. Eating when our body tells us to eat (ie: stomach growling, energy low)
    • Eating alone, at random times and places vs. Eating with others, at set times and places
    • Eating foods that are emotionally comforting vs. Eating foods that are nutritionally healthy
    • Eating and multi-tasking vs. When eating, just eating
    • Considering a meal an end product vs. Considering where food comes from

    How to Eat Mindfully

    Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.  Here are some techniques and practices to make you more aware and mindful while you eat:

    • Begin with your shopping list: Consider the health value of every item you add to your list, and stick to it to avoid impulse buying when you’re shopping.
    • Come to the table with an appetite, but not when ravenously hungry: If you skip meals, you may be so eager to get anything in your stomach that your first priority is filling the void instead of enjoying your food.
    • Start with a small portion: It may be helpful to limit the size of your plate to 9” or less.
    • Appreciate your food: Pause for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table.  Express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the companions you’re enjoying it with.
    • Bring all your senses to the meal: While you’re cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to color, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them.  The sight and smell of tempting food gets your mouth salivating.  The secretion of saliva and its digestive enzymes are the first step in digestion.  When you smell food, it also triggers your hunger sensation, which increases your craving for food.
    • Take small bites: It’s easier to taste food completely when your mouth isn’t full.  Put down your utensil between bites.
    • Chew thoroughly: Chew well until you can taste the essence of the food.  You may have to chew each mouthful 20 to 40 times, depending on the food.  You may be surprised at all the flavors that are released.
    • Eat more slowly, and don’t rush your meals: As you chew your food, try identifying all of the ingredients.
    • Eliminate distractions by turning off the TV and putting down your phone: Your focus should be on your food and the company you are sharing that food with.
    • Eat in silence: If you are eating alone, enjoy the silence.  Stay in the moment with your food.  Don’t let your mind wander.
    • Focus on how the food makes you feel: Do you feel energized or sluggish?  Happy or guilty?  Pay attention to your physical feelings as well as your emotional feelings.
    • Stop eating when you’re full: Through mindful eating, you can tune into your body and become more aware of the sensations that precede the “fullness recognition” in the brain, and better gauge when you are satiated.  It takes your brain 20 minutes before it gets the message that you’re full.  Eating more slowly gives your brain a chance to catch up with your body.  Overeating happens during that 20-minute window.
    • Ask yourself WHY you’re eating: Whether you’re truly hungry, and whether the food you chose is healthy.

    Join us next week for the second part of this article…

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how mindful eating can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

    Mindful Eating is just one of the practices you will learn during a visit to OHI San Diego or OHI Austin.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. For more information, visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org or call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Difficult Emotions, Part 2

    Intro

    Here’s the 2nd part of our blog post on how to handle challenging emotions during challenging times. We hope it’s helpful to you…

    There are 6 steps to mindfully deal with difficult emotions…

    Step 1:  Turn toward your emotions with ACCEPTANCE.

    First, identify where you sense a tension in your body.  You may feel it as a stomach ache, a tightening of your throat, or the pounding of your heart.  Next, try to name the emotion you are feeling that is connected with this tension.  Don’t push the emotion away.  Stuffing it down will only cause it to bubble up and explode in different ways later.  Listen to your body, and the difficult emotions it is trying to make you aware of.  It is trying to help you wake up to what is going on before a major crisis occurs.

    Step 2:  IDENTIFY AND LABEL the emotion.

    Try to acknowledge the presence of the emotion, but remain detached from it.  Calmly say to yourself, “This is anger” or “This is anxiety”.  Try to “just be” with that emotion to take the pain out of what you’re feeling.  Stay in the present instead of catapulting yourself into the future or trapping yourself in the past.  There’s no need to blame yourself for choices you made that brought you to this moment.  Just identify the emotion for what it is.

    Step 3:  ACCEPT your emotions.

    Acknowledge and accept that an emotion is there.  If a friend or loved one was having a hard time, you wouldn’t shame them about it.  You need to show that same kindness to yourself, and say “I did the best I could.”  You are not your anger, fear, grief, or any other difficult emotion you are feeling, and it will not last forever.  Once you accept the emotion and treat yourself with compassion, you should feel some of the tension leave your body as you calm and soothe yourself.

    Step 4:  Realize the IMPERMANENCE of your emotions.

    Even if the emotion feels overwhelming, remember that it will pass.  Opening yourself up to your emotions allows you permission to work through them, and makes them more fleeting/less permanent.  The reality is that every emotion is impermanent, but that’s easy to forget when you’re in the midst of a crisis.

    Step 5:  Inquire and INVESTIGATE.

    After you have soothed yourself from the impact of your emotion, take a moment to explore what happened.  Perhaps you had a hard day at work or difficulty dealing with your family.  Maybe you feel unappreciated, lonely, or disconnected.  Investigating the root cause of your difficult emotions will help you gain insight into what you are experiencing.  To begin the investigation, ask yourself these questions:

    • What triggered me?
    • Why do I feel this way?
    • Was this emotion a result of my critical mind, or is it in reaction to something
    • What were your expectations surrounding the situation?
    • What reactions or judgments caused you to become angry or anxious?
    • Is this a pattern that keeps repeating itself?

    Step 6:  LET GO of the need to control your emotions.

    The key to mindfully dealing with your difficult emotions is to let go of your need to control them.  Step outside yourself, and really listen to what your heart has to say about the situation.

    Mindfully dealing with your emotions takes time.  Be patient with yourself as you explore your emotions.  OHI shares many transformative classes and tools with guests to help them manage and process difficult emotions, including:

    • Journaling: Journaling about the reason for your emotions for 15-20 minutes a day, over 4 consecutive days, can help relieve stress and lessen the emotional charge of the incident, making way for serenity and peace.  Multiple studies have shown that the practice has measurable results in providing benefits for the body, too.
    • Emotional Detox: Forgive yourself for the things you cannot change or control, and move on from your past mistakes.  Accept yourself for who you are, and work diligently to grow into the person you want to become.
    • Alpha Practice: Alpha meditation is anything that lets you quiet your mind through contemplation and reflection, and is a valuable tool for defusing tensions.  The Alpha method to enter a meditative state starts by sitting straight with your feet firmly on the floor.  Place your thumb, index finger, and middle finger together, and rest your hands, palms up, on your legs.  Close your eyes, and focus on your breath.  You can repeat a word or phrase that has meaning for you, like “peace” or “love.”  Imagine a relaxing sensation, like a wave of water, start at the crown of your head and gently flow through your entire body, exiting at your feet.  Slowly repeat your phrase, or just count, as you drift into a state of complete relaxation.  At this point of deep receptivity, you can focus on a specific intent — resolving a conflict, emotional investigation, or forgiveness — or simply continue conscious breathing and heightened awareness.  When you have completed your meditation, take a deep breath, and affirm, “Every day in every way I am getting better, healthier, and happier.”  Slowly count from 1-5, becoming more alert with each number.  Take a moment to reflect on insights you may have received in the Alpha state.

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how to process difficult emotions just as we can teach you how to achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

    Emotional Detox is just one of the classes you will take during a visit to OHI San Diego or OHI Austin.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. For more information, visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org or call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Difficult Emotions, Part 1

    Intro

    We hope you’re keeping safe and sanitized! Our latest blog post offers ideas to help you do just that as you navigate today’s uncertainties—by recognizing and accepting the emotions you’re feeling amid the current pandemic. Here’s part 1 of our 2-part series on processing emotions in a way that’s healthy…

    What to do with difficult emotions? Anger is the bugaboo we all struggle with…

    We set the topic for this blog post weeks ago, well before the current pandemic panic, but it certainly seems timely as we deal with quarantine worries, working from home stress, distance learning challenges for our kids, and just overall social isolation sadness.  What do we do with difficult emotions, and how can we work through them in a way that is healthy and productive?

    No matter what emotion you’re feeling — anger, depression, confusion, sadness, etc. — EVERY emotion is valid.  Anger is a tough one for women because we’re taught that anger is unbecoming on a woman, and we should just “be nice”.  Author/Catholic/Buddhist Practitioner/Psychotherapist, David Richo, clearly lists the differences between anger and abuse:

    True Anger ———————————————— Abuse, the Shadow of Anger

    • Authentic self-expression —————————– • Theatrical display
    • Is mindful (conscious) ——————————– • Is ego-driven (unconscious)
    • Is a form of assertiveness that shows respect——- • Is aggressive, an attack
    • Arises from displeasure at an injustice————– • Arises from the sense of an affront to an ego
    • Is meant to communicate—————————– • Is meant to silence, intimidate, or put down
    • Asks for accountability and amends—————– • Blames the other and takes revenge
    • Is about this present issue—————————- • Is often a build-up of past unresolved issues
    • Is in control (manages temper) ———————- • Is hostile, out of control (loses temper)
    • Treats the other as a peer—————————– • Treats the other as a target
    • Coexists with and empowers love——————– • Cancels love in favor of fear

    Whether you feel anything from anger to grief, you are entitled to your emotions.  Don’t just stuff it down, or allow yourself to be overwhelmed by your feelings.  You need to work through them, and come out the other side feeling positive and affirmed.  The key to working through difficult emotions is non-reactivity and mindfulness.

    Join us next week for the second part of this article…

    _________________________________

    References:

    David Richo, PhD. (2007). Human Becoming: Practical Steps to Self-Respect and Compassionate Relationships. Human Development Books

    _________________________________

    In these uncertain times, look to OHI as your safe haven.  As we celebrate 43 years of holistic healing, we can teach you how to process difficult emotions just as we can teach you how to achieve your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual goals for optimal health.  Stay safe, and be well.  Above all, embrace positivity!

    Emotional Detox is just one of the classes you will take during a visit to OHI San Diego or OHI Austin.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. For more information, visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org or call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Lymphatic Exercise

    At OHI, we pay A LOT of attention to the lymphatic system.  A peak functioning lymphatic system is the very foundation of good health, but this critically important part of the body is one that most people don’t know much about.

    The lymphatic system is the largest circulatory system in the body, and is your built-in sanitation center that carries away and filters out poisonous waste products from every cell, tissue, and organ.  It is a complex network of vessels that branch through all parts of the body, able to collect extra lymph fluid from body tissues and return it to the blood.  It is also an essential part of the immune system that maintains fluid levels, fights infection, and produces disease-fighting white blood cells.  It is the first line of defense against disease, where the network of vessels and nodes transports and filters lymph fluid containing antibodies and lymphocytes (good) and bacteria (bad).

    With lymphatic congestion the lymph is not flowing well, cells are poisoned from their own waste, and the lymph fluid becomes a toxic cesspool, resulting in fatigue, swelling, infection, inflammation, disease, and more.

    The lymphatic system needs your help to move the fluid through the body because it doesn’t have an automatic pump like the heart.  The lymphatic system is stimulated by gravity and muscle contraction (exercise).  Moving your body is the key to moving fluid through the lymphatic system.

    How to move the lymphatic system:

    • Move around whenever you can. The lymphatic system depends largely on large muscle activity in the body for its circulation.  Stagnation from sitting all day is a major problem.  The good news is, any exercise helps – move around for a minute or two every 15-20 minutes, do knee bends, stretch throughout the day, etc.  Gentle exercise like stretching and swimming are great for moving the lymph.
    • Go for a walk. One of the best ways to activate lymphatic flow is to take a brisk walk.  Walking is a weight-bearing activity that creates gravitational pulls on the lymphatic system each time you take a step.  Try to take a 15-30 minute brisk walk each day.  Swing your arms and power walk for the best results.
    • Stretch or practice yoga daily. Stretching and yoga poses are especially effective for moving lymph.  Holding stretches combined with conscious deep breathing can help direct lymph through the deep channels of the chest.
    • Deep breathing. Although the lymphatic system has no pump like the heart in the circulatory system, the movement from the act of breathing is a lymphatic pump in itself, and can help direct lymph through the chest.  Deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing for even just 5-10 repetitions (up to 10 minutes a day) will circulate the lymph especially around the liver:  Breathe in slowly through your nose, deeply pushing the stomach out.  Slowly let your breath go out through your mouth.
    • Hydrate daily with water. Dehydration is a common cause of lymph congestion.  Lymph becomes thicker and less mobile when you are dehydrated, but flows well when hydrated.  DRINK!  DRINK!  DRINK!

    OHI puts all of these ideas into practice to help move your lymphatic system.  Our Gentle Exercise Class and Stretch Class stimulate the lymphatic system to eliminate toxins, boost the immune system, and contribute to the healing process.  We don’t do aerobic exercises at OHI because they are too hard on the body when you’re only eating limited calories, and we don’t want anyone feeling lightheaded or risking a fall.  Our guided meditation classes incorporate vocal toning and breathwork, which also increases circulation in the lymphatic system, as does our emphasis on drinking fluids and colon cleansing.

    Stay safe, and be well.  And above all, keep your lymphatic system MOVING!

    Lymph exercise is just one of the transformative things you will learn during a visit to OHI San Diego or OHI Austin.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. For more information, visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org or call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Spring Newsletter, Sleep Article, Part 2

    Intro

    Don’t just live your life—optimize it with sleep! Sleep is so important to your health that we published a “Science Behind the OHI Program” article on it in our Spring Newsletter. We’re also posting it online so you can share it with friends and family. Part 1 last week covered scientific ways that sleep revives your body, mind and spirit—and this week’s installment reveals 4 recommendations for getting more Zs…

    Sleep – What is it? Why is it so important? How do we get more of it? (Part 2 of 2)

    Here are the 4 recommendations you should strive for:

    1. 1. You fall asleep in 30 minutes or less. If it takes you longer than half an hour to fall asleep, either you’re going to bed too early for your internal clock so you’re not physically and mentally ready for sleep, or you’re engaging in activities that are too stimulating before bed. First, try reserving the hour before bed for relaxing activities that do not include screen time. If that doesn’t help you fall asleep faster, try changing up your sleep schedule so you go to bed later when you actually feel tired.
    2. 2. You wake up for 5+ minutes no more than once a night. (For adults 65+, waking up twice a night is age-appropriate.) If you wake up a few times a night, roll over, and go right back to sleep, that’s fine. If you lie awake for more than five minutes several times in a night, there could be a medical issue behind it — acid reflux, sleep apnea, etc.
    3. 3. You fall back asleep within 20 minutes. (Adults 65+ may take up to 30 minutes to fall back asleep.) Once you hit the 20-minute mark without falling back asleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing like reading a book, listening to a podcast, or coloring. DO NOT engage with a phone or TV screen. It may seem counterintuitive, but the relaxing activity could be what your brain needs to finally fall back asleep.
    4. 4. You’re asleep 85% of the time you spend in bed. Try to use your bed only for sleep or sex. If you don’t use your bed for watching TV, scrolling through your phone, or checking email on your laptop, your brain and body will naturally relax into sleep when you climb into bed.

    Now that you know what the tenets of good sleep are, and how vital it is to your body, mind and spirit, let’s find out how to get good sleep. First, understand that you have to put the time in. Adults ages 18-64 require 7-9 hours of sleep per night. That means you have to back up your bedtime to accommodate time to fall asleep, and the possibility that you may wake up in the night. If you’re not setting aside 10 hours, then you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to let sleep work it’s healing magic on you.

    There are additional ways to help establish a healthy sleep schedule:

    • Limit daytime naps (or avoid them altogether)
    • Refrain from caffeine past noon
    • Go to bed at the same time each night
    • Wake up at the same time every morning
    • Stick to your sleep schedule during weekends and holidays
    • Spend an hour before bed doing relaxing activities such as reading, meditating, or taking a bath
    • Avoid heavy meals two hours before bedtime
    • Refrain from using electronic devices right before bed
    • Exercise regularly, but not in the evening hours close to bedtime

    At OHI, our program focus is to cleanse the body and quiet the mind so that we can build a connection to our spirituality and to God. We do this by practicing 24 ancient spiritual disciplines, such as fasting, prayer and meditation. Our program follows a daily rhythm from the monastic tradition where we practice disciplines throughout the day (prayer, study, contemplation, etc.). The idea is that we become disciplined around our daily practice so when we go home we can continue to practice good habits for body, mind and spirit. Establishing a healthy sleep schedule is another daily practice that is essential to having a balanced, productive day. Overall, when we aren’t consuming caffeine, sugar, processed foods, TV/news, digital devices, alcohol, shopping, or toxic thinking, our bodies and minds are calmer and more clear, and sleep comes naturally. A calm body, mind and spirit leaves us in an alkaline state (vs. acidic). It’s the underlying foundation for good health and wellness.

    So seek out sleep just as you would seek out a clean diet and a meditative state. They are all interlocking parts of the puzzle to achieving optimum health so we can transform into whole beings. Wishing you a good night’s sleep tonight and always!

    OHI’s Recommended Books:

    • Sleep Away the Pounds: Optimize Your Sleep and Reset Your Metabolism for Maximum Weight Loss, by Cherie Calbom
    • Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams, by Matthew Walker, PhD
    • The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It, by W. Chris Winter, MD

    _________________________________

    References:

    “People Who Get the Best Sleep Have These 4 Things in Common” by Amanda MacMillan, health. com, January 23, 2017

    “10 Reasons Why Good Sleep is Important” by Joe Leech, MS, healthline.com, June 29, 2018

    “The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body” by Stephanie Watson and Kristeen Cherney, healthline. com, April 18, 2019

    National Institutes of Health, “Study finds  irregular sleep patterns double the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults”, 3/2/2020, <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-finds-irregular-sleep-patterns-double-risk-cardiovascular-disease-older-adults>

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Spring Newsletter, Sleep Article, Part 1

    Intro

    This just in: Sleep can add years to your life—but it can also do the opposite if you’re experiencing irregular sleep patterns, according to a new March 2 study by the NIH. Sleep is so important to optimizing your health that we’re publishing two posts on the science of sleep. Read Part 1 this week scientific insights into how sleep restores your body, mind and spirit. Watch for Part 2 next week, where we’ll share 4 recommendations for getting more Zs . . .

    Sleep – What is it? Why is it so important? How do we get more of it? (Part 1 of 2)

    At OHI, we believe that God created humans as holistic beings with an integrated body, mind and spirit. We believe everyone can achieve optimum health when the body is purified, the mind is quieted and the spirit is renewed. From that place of total integration and wholeness, people are then able to strengthen their connection to God and are transformed to receive optimum health.

    So let’s start with the basics on your journey to receive optimum health. Everyone tends to focus on nutrition and exercise as the first steps to cleansing the body and quieting the mind, but one of the most overlooked pillars of good health is good sleep. You simply cannot achieve optimum health without taking care of your sleep.

    Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function. During sleep, your body heals itself, and restores its chemical balance. The fact is, sleep is absolutely essential to body, mind and spirit…

    BODY:
    Sleep plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and repair your blood vessels and heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Moving on to the endocrine system, hormone production is dependent on sleep. Not getting enough sleep or having interrupted sleep could affect hormone production, and is linked to increased inflammation. Sleep also affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why someone may overeat later in the night, and poor sleepers have an increased risk of weight gain and obesity. Sleep deprivation also prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat. Higher insulin levels promote fat storage, and increases your risk for type 2 diabetes. Sleep also directly impacts your immune system. While you sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like cytokines. Cytokines also help you sleep, giving your immune system more energy to defend your body against illness.

    MIND:
    Sleep allows your brain to forge new connections, and helps with memory retention. Lack of sleep makes it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things, and can also compromise decision-making processes and creativity. Without the proper amount of sleep, the signals your body sends to the brain may also be delayed, decreasing your coordination and impacting speed, accuracy and reaction times.

    SPIRIT:
    Sleep deprivation negatively affects your mental abilities and emotional state. Poor sleep is linked to depression and mood swings.

    Before you can improve your sleep, you have to understand what the qualities of good sleep are. While we often keep track of the quantity of sleep that we get, we rarely consider the quality of sleep that we get. The National Sleep Foundation published a first-of-its kind set of sleep-quality recommendations in the journal Sleep Health.

    _________________________________

    References:

    “People Who Get the Best Sleep Have These 4 Things in Common” by Amanda MacMillan, health. com, January 23, 2017

    “10 Reasons Why Good Sleep is Important” by Joe Leech, MS, healthline.com, June 29, 2018

    “The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body” by Stephanie Watson and Kristeen Cherney, healthline. com, April 18, 2019

    National Institutes of Health, “Study finds  irregular sleep patterns double the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults”, 3/2/2020, <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-finds-irregular-sleep-patterns-double-risk-cardiovascular-disease-older-adults>

    Join us next week for the second part of this article…

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.

  • Spring Newsletter, Bob’s Article, Part 2

    Intro

    Purpose has the power transform lives. That’s why our chairman wrote a two-part guide in our Spring Newsletter to help you (re)discover yours. Part 1 last week covered five steps you can take to find your purpose and this week’s installment reveals the science behind purpose and how purpose guides OHI’s “5Ps to Optimum Health.” Read on to plug into your unique purpose today . . .

    Now is a Great Time to Re-Focus and Discover Your Purpose (Part 2 of 2)

    ‘The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.’ Proverbs 20:05

    Here at OHI, we can help you identify your unique gifts and purpose in a safe and sacred space. Through our Focus classes and spiritual activities, you will have many opportunities to focus on your unique and God-given gifts that bring you and others joy. Through prayer, alpha, and mindfulness practices, you’ll be able to discover what matters most in your life. We’ll then teach you how to keep what matters most fresh and alive in your mind.

    You do this by practicing the 5 Ps to Optimum Health: Purpose, Positive Mental Attitude, Persistence, Patience, and Prayer. It’s all part of our 21-day holistic healing program. When you are here at OHI, among our like-minded community members and new guests, you’ll have opportunities to quiet your mind, to focus your thoughts inward, to work on the mindfulness that will give you clarity, and help you define or refine your true purpose. What issues do you truly care about? What makes you feel fulfilled? What were you born to do? We will help you find the answers.

    Our philosophy is that God created humans as holistic beings with an integrated body, mind, and spirit. We call this “Wholeness”. We help you come into wholeness by purifying your body, quieting your mind, and renewing your spirit. Through the virtues of love, peace, forgiveness, self-reliance, accountability, and service, you will discover or renew your purpose in life.

    The Science Behind Purpose Driven Lives: People with Purpose are Healthier and Wealthier

    Having a purpose in life is much more important than most people think. Studies show that having purpose leads to a longer healthier, wealthier life. According to a 2010 study published in Applied Psychology people who have a purpose live longer. When Jeanne Louise Calment died in 1997 at the age of 122, she created the record for longest living human in history. Calment reached that old age because she had a purpose, it may not have been a noble one, but it was decidedly a purpose. In 1967, when she was 92 years old, attorney, François Raffray, age 47, offered to pay her $500 per month for the rest of her life, if she would leave her house to him in her will. Calment had no heirs, and she appeared to have nothing to live for. After accepting Raffray’s offer, she went on to live for 30 years, until Raffray died first. Five months later she passed away, too.

    According to Time Magazine, purposeful living has been linked to a lower risk of disease, better sleep, and other healthy behaviors.

    And, according to a study in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) Psychiatry, having a purpose in life helps aging people maintain their function and independence. People in the study, who reported having a sense of purpose were less likely to have weak grip strength and slow walking speeds, both of which are signs of declining physical ability and risk factors for disability. They also noted that people with purpose are more proactive in taking care of their health. Additional studies reported that purpose-driven people have lower levels of inflammation.

    And, if that is not enough, a 2016 study published in the Journal of Research and Personality found that “individuals who feel a sense of purpose make more money than individuals who feel as though their work lacks meaning.”

    God created mankind in his own image, and mankind is designed to be able to make plans, have purpose, and see them come to fruition. When you are a guest at OHI, you’ll have the space and time to practice the 24-ancient spiritual disciplines, such as fasting, prayer and meditation. This relieves the body and mind of stress, which will enhance your ability to visualize your purpose and make plans.

    And, Spring is a great time to come back to OHI because it is scientifically the healthiest time of year. The average temperature is the ideal for human comfort. There are more hours of sunlight which boosts people’s moods. The re-leafing of plants refreshes the air by removing 25% of man-made carbon emissions. Plus, just seeing flowers have proven to make people happy. The Spring also means the return of birds, and hearing bird song is also known to make people happier. Combine all of these factors: birdsong, blossoms, delightful temperatures, longer daylight hours, and fresh air, and we are more likely to take outdoor walks which can lower our heart rate and make us feel more relaxed. And, while we’re outside, we can get our daily vitamin D requirement from the sun in as little as ten minutes. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that being outdoors broadened people’s minds, making them more open to new information and creative thoughts. Now that’s the kind of stimulation that will really help you identify your purpose. Make your plans today to come and visit either our San Diego or Austin campus, and let’s get started on your purpose!

    Wishing you health and wellness in this blessed Spring season.

    Yours in prayer,

    Robert P. Nees, Jr.,

    Senior Pastor and Chairman

    Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin

    To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute.  We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.