When a young New York City man was hit by a drunk driver, every bone in his body was broken. His doctors said he’d never walk again. Although the man’s body was crushed, his spirit was not. Every day, he willed himself to push a little bit harder through the pain, retraining his muscles to respond to his brain’s commands.
At first he could only sit upright on a rebounder trampoline with assistance. Slowly, he was able to sit unsupported, then to bounce slightly, still seated, as he mentally reconnected with every part of his body. A few years later, the man was a master Tai Chi instructor, flawlessly leading his students through flowing stretching and balancing movements without any hint he had ever been hurt.
French philosopher and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
How we move, what we eat, what we think and how we feel are intertwined on a molecular level. If our mind and spirit feel “detached” or “separated” from our bodies, our bodies frequently translate that lack of awareness into a physical imbalance of some kind, like fatigue, an unhealthy weight, or even a chronic illness.
A certified yoga and fitness instructor in New Orleans who works with clients ranging from high school students to retirees said people of all ages usually underestimate what their bodies can do. “They’ll have made up their minds, and actually start to accept the idea that their movement is limited in some way,” she said.
“I tell them to only move as long as they feel comfortable, and let them prove to themselves they actually can stretch. Every time, they can always do more than they thought they could.”
The thrill of even a small victory over physical limitations spurs the release of “happy” chemicals in the brain, nurturing the entire Body-Mind by releasing stress, lowering blood pressure and pain levels, and setting the clients on their way to achieving even more flexibility, stamina and strength. Self-esteem and confidence bloom as the person starts feeling more comfortable in their own skin.
From there, it’s easy to extend that self-love and heightened body awareness to making smarter changes in food choices, too. Start with small steps, like cutting out processed foods and cutting way back on meat, dairy, sugar and salt. Gradually increase the amount of live, raw organic vegetables and fruits on your plate, and see how your body, mind and spirit thrive on a healthier foundation
Learn how to make positive, powerful and lasting changes when you embark on a life-affirming visit to the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego or Austin, Texas. Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
When a spunky 6-year-old Johnson City, TN girl got the sniffles, her mom didn’t think too much about it. But the next day, the little girl couldn’t move her legs. The girl was rushed to Children’s Hospital in Knoxville as paralysis quickly spread to her hands, then arms.
Even though the child was paralyzed and on a respirator while doctors tried to find the reason for the catastrophic condition, the girl remained calm. Little Beka stayed in a peaceful meditative state throughout her ordeal, listening to the guided meditations for kids her mom put on a loop on her iPod. She’s back home now, fully mobile, and expected to make a complete recovery.
Meditation is becoming the go-to solution for releasing stress and negative feelings, increasing self-confidence and awareness, and bringing the body, mind and spirit into gentle balance. By mindfully turning our focus inward, we can tune into our authentic self, tune out distractions, and touch into a state of peace and grace that helps us solve problems, get clarity, and achieve optimum health.
One of the big draws to meditating regularly is it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” practice. From sitting in mindful silence, to listening to a guided visualization, to toning in a big group to simply lying quietly in bed a few minutes before you get up, meditation is anything that lets you quiet your mind through contemplation and reflection.
While it’s a deeply personal and self-affirming exercise, meditation is proving it’s also a valuable tool for defusing tensions and sparking creativity for groups.
In some communities, police officers meditate with members of the community. Fortune 500 companies like Ford, Google and General Mills teach and encourage meditation to their executives and employees. Even both Super Bowl teams this year meditated before and during breaks in the game.
Optimum Health Institute (OHI) teaches the Alpha Method method to enter a meditative state. Sit 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,” “I am surrounded in light,” or “love.” Imagine a relaxing sensation, like a wave of tranquil 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 – like resolving a conflict, pain control 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 and better, healthier and healthier, happier and happier.” Slowly count from one to five, becoming more alert with each number. Take a moment to reflect on insights you may have received in the Alpha state.
Alpha meditation is just one of the transformative things you will learn during a life-affirming visit to OHI in San Diego or Austin, Texas. Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
I believe that God speaks to each of us, if we are contemplative and open enough to listen. When I was healing from a prognosis of “terminal” cancer in 2010, I relied on God’s whispers through alpha, journaling and body awareness to guide my way back to health.
Reading back through my journals from 2010 helps me reflect on where I used to be and where I am now in life. In The Artist’s Way author Julia Cameron suggests writing 750 words every morning. At first there was a lot of emotional “dumping” in my morning pages, but eventually jewels of wisdom began to emerge. I would often write letters to God, asking questions and sharing concerns. If I didn’t get an answer right away, I would almost always encounter signs later that day or the next that helped reduce my anxiety and gain clarity and peace about my course of action.
We define alpha (Optimum Health Institute’s style of meditation) as a state somewhere between prayer and meditation, where you can both talk to and listen to God. On more than one occasion, God has spoken to me directly in the alpha state. A couple of months after I began practicing alpha at OHI, God reassured me not to spend any energy worrying about my recovery. Instead, I was directed to walk alongside others on their healing journey, inspiring and encouraging them. The seed was planted for my new career at OHI.
OHI transformed me from a powerless victim who had been told by my oncologists I had a “zero percent chance of survival” to a powerful victor by changing my awareness of the body’s amazing ability to heal. Dr. Bruce Lipton says, “The moment you change your perception is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body.” I believe God has given each of us the spiritual gifts of intuition and body awareness (what I call body wisdom) to use in our healing.
God is speaking to you — are you listening?
Peg Harvey is the OHI Director of Program Development and Training. Come meet her, hear more inspiring stories, and experience your own personal transformation in body, mind and spirit at OHI in San Diego or Austin, Texas. Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.
As part of our Friday morning Testimonials ritual at the Optimum Health Institute, we collect guest surveys that contain valuable feedback from our new guests and returning community members. Every week, we read every single comment and use the feedback to guide us in making improvements to our guest experience. As you might imagine, a lot of the comments are positive and tell us that we are meeting or exceeding our guests’ expectations. And other comments prompt us to make improvements to our program classes. But what we’ve heard most frequently and consistently in the survey feedback, as the top three things you’d like us to address are:
- Affordable pricing so that you can return year-after-year
- Continued room and facility improvements and upgrades
- Added variety and improved taste of the food
Thank you for your feedback – we heard you, loud and clear!
To address the affordable pricing and continued improvements to the rooms and facilities, we recently rolled out a new pricing structure at OHI San Diego. With this new pricing structure, guests now have a choice of selecting a variety of room accommodations at more-flexible pricing. For guests that are more budget conscious, we offer standard rooms and townhouses where we actually decreased prices $170 less than last year’s prices. There are a limited number of rooms and townhouses featured at this low price, so these guest accommodations tend to get reserved early and often.
On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve been upgrading select rooms and townhouses with new amenities. Additionally, these guest accommodations tend to have more desirable locations. While our deluxe rooms and townhouses were given a simple facelift with new furniture, our premium rooms, and townhouses have received a more extensive renovation consisting of new laminate flooring, new furniture and furnishings, new heating and air-conditioning units and updated bathrooms. Our recent renovations also include environmentally safe paints, new carpeting and lamps with energy-efficient LED lighting. We are also selecting as many products and materials as possible from sustainable resources.
And we didn’t just make changes at OHI San Diego…at OHI Austin we have made significant improvements to the landscaping and grounds. And more recently, we reconfigured some of the guest rooms to provide more King and Queen rooms with private baths.
At both locations, we embraced your comments about the food. We heard you when said that you’d like more variety in the menu and better-tasting food. As a result, we are currently creating a new 21-day meal plan where each day for three weeks, guests will enjoy a different meal – no recipes will be repeated during that time, ensuring a new palate-pleasing experience with each visit to the dining hall.
And to address your comments about “better tasting food”, OHI Austin’s Kitchen and Grow House Manager, Amber Santa Cruz, says they’ll be serving up delicious changes with several new salad dressing; recipes offering more diverse ingredients while adhering to the detoxifying meal plan; attractive and innovative food presentation and more locally produced best-quality organic ingredients. Additionally, the OHI kitchen will be serving soups warmed to a comfortable 105 degrees – the maximum temperature for foods while preserving all the nutritional value. Acting on guest suggestions, Amber said the kitchen also is now mixing exotic spices into seed cheeses and other foods, serving up the intriguing flavors of India, Italy, Mexico and more classic cuisines.
Other eagerly anticipated creations coming soon from OHI kitchens include breakfast green smoothies and juices, sub sandwiches on chewy dehydrated onion “bread,” and flavor-rich salad dressings. Amber says, “all the new offerings comply with OHI’s detoxifying food guidelines and don’t add any calories or fat.”
These are just a few of the suggestions we at the Optimum Health Institute (OHI) received from guest surveys last year, and we’re happy to say we’re now implementing these suggestions, and more. It’s all part of our 2015 commitment to provide a solid foundation for positive change and optimum health.
Find the supportive foundation you need for positive, powerful and lasting change at OHI. Our caring team can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimum health. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org , and call us at (800) 993-4325 to make your reservation.