• Neyssan Moshref’s Journey to Wellness: Scholarship Recipient Prepares Her Body for Cancer Treatment

    In late 2014, Neyssan was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). That is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast. DCIS is considered the earliest form of breast cancer. It is noninvasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct, and has a low risk of becoming invasive.

    “In late December 2019, I was close to reaching my 5-year cancer-remission anniversary,” said Neyssan. “Out of the blue, I was stunned to be diagnosed with breast cancer. I was scared, depressed, and lost. My sister, Sahba, knew that before I could face any breast cancer treatment, I first needed to strengthen my body and my spirit. She had heard rave reviews about the OHI San Diego program, and the success guests had in detoxing the mind-body-spirit, so she generously offered to gift me a stay at OHI. We were both surprised and ecstatic to learn that there was an OHI location right here in Austin where I live!”

    OHI was an answer to a prayer for Neyssan. “I walked through the doors of OHI on that first Sunday evening pretty broken,” said Neyssan. “My heart and mind were dark, and I was feeling hopeless. The staff welcomed me with big smiles and beautiful energy. We started each day with lymphatic exercises. We would nourish our bodies with healthy raw foods and juices. We had amazing life-changing classes, and time to meditate and breathe. Since this was a process, I knew that I needed the full 3 weeks to reach the level of health to face cancer treatment. I asked about a scholarship, and was so grateful to learn that I would qualify due to my diagnosis. It truly was a blessing. With each passing week, I was blossoming, opening up, and feeling better. By the third week, I was a completely different person, and ready to fight my cancer.”

    Neyssan is optimistic about her future. “It’s been close to a month since my stay at OHI,” said Neyssan, “and I am feeling so empowered by what I learned there. My kitchen is now set up with a dehydrator and a juicer, and everyday I workout and take meditative walks. The tools I was given, along with the friendships I developed, are priceless. I’ll be forever grateful to OHI, and the opportunity their generous scholarship gave me to kick start my journey to healing.”

    Please consider contributing to the OHI Scholarship Fund to help those in need experience the benefits of the OHI program. Over the course of our 43 years, OHI has provided scholarships to individuals who could not afford to otherwise attend. In most years, we have been able to fulfill all requests for assistance through the generosity of our community. OHI invites you to join with us in celebrating our healing mission with a tax-deductible gift. Your contribution will help to make our community stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.

    Provide the Gift of Healing today by supporting the OHI Scholarship Fund with a tax-deductible:
    • One-Time Donation, or
    • Sustainable Monthly Contribution

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

    Thank you for your generosity!

    Optimum Health Institute is a non-profit, religious organization. Your donation is tax deductible.

  • What are Spiritual Disciplines, and Why are They Important Today?, Part 2

    In last week’s article, we described the practice of spiritual discipline and the important health and lifestyle benefits that result from having a spiritual practice. This week, we provide a ‘how-to’ kick-start your practice. Here is part 2 of our 2-part series…

    These spiritual practices inform how we embrace change at OHI in order to maintain a safe and sacred space for our guests to continue their practice. We’re not changing what or why we do what we do; instead we have adapted our space to provide a more intimate experience for guests. That means smaller classrooms, a higher staff to guest ratio, an increased number of private rooms, and much more. Through intimacy we may find a greater sense of personal well-being and spirituality.

    You will also experience each of these spiritual disciplines throughout our many classes and activities at OHI. Here are some finer points and how-to’s on a few of them:

    The spiritual discipline of Journaling is a chronicle of your activities and thoughts; a diary of your spiritual insights; a place to record your prayer requests; and a notebook where your private reflections, introspections, questions, and musings can be preserved. Daily, weekly, or whenever the mood strikes, you can choose how often you wish to write. Use a spiral notebook, legal pad, computer, or fancy book of bound blank pages. Date your entries and record your location. Feel free to journal anywhere: your desk, in bed, on the beach, in the woods, or at the local tea house. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling – this is for your eyes only. An easy way to get started is to write about a movie you saw, a book you read, or a museum you visited, and the reaction they invoked. Write about your feelings, your worries, your fears, your disappointments, your successes, your goals, even your daydreams. Write about ruminations you can’t seem to eliminate. Write to your creator and ask for guidance. Journaling will help bring clarity to your thoughts, and help you focus on what’s most important to you

    Simplicity is often thought of as eliminating excess household possessions and obligations on your calendar, but it is so much more than that. Decluttering your home and life is a worthwhile accomplishment. It removes a lot of worry and frees up time. Best of all, simplicity is all about streamlining your world so that you have more time for your life’s purpose. Simplicity is not about doing less, it is about doing more of what is most valuable to you. By eliminating short term distractions, you can focus your time, energy, and resources on achieving your goals. At OHI, we provide a safe and sacred space where you can identify your values and goals. Our Focus classes help you identify values that are important to you such as fitness, healing, or relationships. You’ll learn how to set goals, and how to make daily and weekly plans for achieving them. And, you’ll learn how to break down your time into important vs. unimportant activities, as well as, which ones are urgent and which ones are not. At OHI, we will help you simplify your life so you can devote more time to your passion.

    Community (Fellowship) is a huge part of the daily spiritual discipline here at OHI. Starting with New Guest Orientation and the Program Basics class, you will quickly find likeminded people with whom you will form a lasting community. Human beings cannot exist in isolation, and your OHI Community gives you a tribe who will give comfort, encouragement, guidance, and camaraderie. You will experience fellowship in nearly every one of your classes and activities. Especially satisfying is our You Validation class, where the OHI community lovingly gathers around and shares the qualities they like about you. Fellowship is important and you will develop a support group that understands you like no one else. You’ll create friendships that may last a lifetime. Maintaining your community is important once you’re back home. Make a point of staying in contact with your new friends by planning regular phone calls or visits back to OHI.

    Combine the spiritual disciplines of Bodily Exercise and Noticing God (in nature). You honor your creator by keeping your body in good physical condition. Not only does exercise keep you healthy; it reduces stress, lessens fatigue, and helps you sleep better. When you maintain a regular routine of exercise, you become a role model who leads others by example. An excellent exercise habit to develop is a daily walk. While walking you can also practice the spiritual discipline of Noticing God in nature. Albert Einstein observed, “God reveals himself in the harmony of what exists.” Perhaps you’ll see the power of our creator in the beautiful complexity of a dew covered spider web glistening in the sun; the determination of a plant growing out of crack in the sidewalk; the brilliant color of a flower in bloom; the delicate wings of a butterfly; or the sound of a hummingbird hovering nearby. As you continue walking, your heart rate increases, and you become aware of the amazing creation of God that you are: your body which consists of thousands of complex, functioning systems: circulation, digestion, breathing, seeing, and thinking. Take in a deep breath, then as you exhale… revel in appreciation for your maker.

    Plan a visit to OHI, and learn how these 24 ancient spiritual disciplines can help you develop inner strength and growth to achieve optimum health.


    Science and the Spiritual Disciplines: Silence by Anjeanette Roberts, reasons.org, January 19, 2017

    An Introduction to the Spiritual Disciplines by Brett and Kate McKay, artofmanliness.com, May 28, 2018

    The Spiritual Disciplines: Simplicity by Brett & Kate McKay, artofmanliness.com, May 28, 2018

    How to Practice the Spiritual Discipline of Journaling by Trina Dofflemyer, rzim.org, no date provided


    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.

  • What are Spiritual Disciplines, and Why are They Important Today?, Part 1

    In this series we describe the practice of spiritual discipline, the important health and lifestyle benefits that result from having a spiritual practice, and a ‘how-to’ on kick-starting your practice. Here is part 1 of our 2-part series…

    Every religion incorporates spiritual disciplines into their system or custom of worship. Spiritual disciplines are actions designed to strengthen and deepen a person’s relationship with higher power. Often referred to as Spiritual Practices they can include a wide range of activities. Some Catholics pray the rosary, while many Jewish people eat Kosher. Some Buddhists practice yoga, while some faiths consider T’ai chi a spiritual practice.

    Adding a discipline to your routine means you are inviting change, but you are also adding stability to your life. During the current pandemic, the only constant is change. Change can feel disruptive until we have adjusted to it. While you are acclimating to these new arrangements, now is a good time to consider beginning a spiritual discipline.

    If we look at the definition of discipline (dĭs′ə-plĭn) noun; means: “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.”

    And, if we also look at the definition of spiritual (spĭr′ĭ-cho͞o-əl) adjective it means: 1. Relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not material; supernatural 2. Concerned with, or affecting the soul. 3. Not concerned with material or worldly things. 4. Belonging to a religion; sacred.

    A spiritual discipline is training that will help us acquire the nature of spirit, more concern for the soul, less concern about worldly things, and a greater sense of the sacred.

    We may think of spiritual disciplines as something only monks do in their cloistered monastery cells. However, they provide some important health and lifestyle benefits that anyone can gain regardless of their religious beliefs.

    Science Validates Spiritual Discipline

    Rupert Sheldrake, author of Science and Spiritual Practices, validates with scientific research that seven spiritual practices provide resounding physical and mental health benefits. The seven spiritual disciplines he identifies are: 1) Meditation, 2) Gratitude, 3) Connecting with Nature, 4) Relating to Plants, 5) Rituals, 6) Singing & Chanting, and 7) Pilgrimage & Holy Places.

    Many traditional Christian spiritual disciplines are similar to the ones Sheldrake validates in his research. Prayer is a form of ritualistic meditation; Celebration is often through song and recitations.

    The purpose of spiritual discipline is to help us develop inner strength and growth. Through discipline, we bolster our ability to receive insight, remain centered and unaffected by external events and be courageous in accepting the things we cannot change. When this happens, we create more space in the mind for joy and compassion.

    At OHI, we practice 24 ancient spiritual disciplines to help our guests purify their bodies, quiet their minds, and renew their spirits.

    These include: Daily Common Worship, Recollected Prayer, Spiritual Reading, Spiritual Direction, Meditation, Bodily Exercise, Fasting, Spiritual Journaling, Cleansing, Solitude, Confession, Celebration, Noticing God, Silence, Frugality, Service, Prayer, Community (Fellowship), Vocal Toning, Submission, Study, Simplicity, Alms Giving, and Guidance.

    Join us next week for the second part of this article where we expand on a few of our favorite spiritual practices


    Science and the Spiritual Disciplines: Silence by Anjeanette Roberts, reasons.org, January 19, 2017

    An Introduction to the Spiritual Disciplines by Brett and Kate McKay, artofmanliness.com, May 28, 2018

    The Spiritual Disciplines: Simplicity by Brett & Kate McKay, artofmanliness.com, May 28, 2018

    How to Practice the Spiritual Discipline of Journaling by Trina Dofflemyer, rzim.org, no date provided


    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.

  • Scholarship Recipient Recovers From Cancer Surgery

    Basima Rashoo was an experienced aesthetician, a sought-after yoga teacher, and a Kriya yoga practitioner. Raised in Australia, she had lived in Southern California for the past 20 years, and was the picture of good health. But all of that changed in early 2019, when she started experiencing body aches, headaches, lack of sleep, and gastrointestinal problems. After numerous tests, scans showed growths in her uterus. Basima immediately underwent a hysterectomy.

    During surgery, doctors found that the growths had metastasized, and Basima’s condition was much more serious than first thought. “This news shocked me to my core,” she said. “I would never have imagined this could happen to me.”

    The surgeon recommended chemo and radiation. “I could not fathom living through the gruesome side effects,” said Basima, “and given my grim prognosis, it made no sense to me whatsoever to put myself through all of that.”

    Basima decided to take a different path. “I did a lot of soul-searching,” she said. “I just knew I had to go back to basics — a plant-based diet, meditation, and creative visualization. This is how I discovered OHI. After looking into what they offered, their philosophy of healing through body, mind, and spirit resonated strongly with my own core beliefs.”

    But Basima’s surgery had forced her to shut down her business, and her medical bills had taken the lion’s share of her savings. “Without an income, there was no way I could afford a stay at OHI,” said Basima. “But I was more determined than ever to get there, and immerse myself in the program. When I learned about their scholarship program, I submitted my application immediately. It was truly a blessing when I found out I had been awarded a scholarship.”

    Basima arrived at the OHI campus, and immediately felt at home. “This program gave me the inspiration and discipline to take back control of my health and my life,” she said. “I will forever be thankful for this wonderful opportunity. This scholarship was a God send.”

    Basima was so moved by the generosity of OHI’s board that she volunteered to return to OHI as a missionary. “I believe that service plays a large part in the healing process,” said Basima, “so it is my honor to work in service to others at OHI. I thank everyone here from the bottom of my heart for giving me the chance to experience the healing that can only be found at OHI.”

    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.