Lifestyles for Radiant Health:

Last October we offered an exciting new program at the Expanding Light, Ananda’s Yoga and Meditation Retreat. It was called Lifestyles for Radiant Health: Personalized Coaching for Optimal Wellness. Our goal was to reach people who wanted to make healthy lifestyle changes, but had not been able to do so on their own. We knew that with Yogananda’s teachings related to health and healthy living, we had a dynamic program to offer that could really help people to make desired changes in their lives.

And now that it’s the New Year, we’re hoping to assist a group of guests to clarify their New Year’s Resolutions related to healthy living, and most importantly help them to develop a personal plan that will empower them to succeed with their resolutions. How about you? Wouldn’t you enjoy participating in this fun, dynamic and life-changing program? This program will be offered again January 20-27, 2008. (if interested, call the Expanding Light 800-346-5350 or send an email to Call or write soon to reserve a place in the program.) Previous participants raved about how much they enjoyed the program and how much they felt it helped them to believe that they could make the changes in their lives that they wanted to make.

The program starts with a self-evaluation of the participants’ current state of health of body, mind, emotions, and spirit. We also ask them to identify their priorities for where they want to make changes in their lives. One of the most significant things that our coaches do is to help the participants to set realistic goals and to map out short-term goals that will lead them to their long-term goals. For example, one person’s goal was to remember to take deep breaths every hour while at work. It’s a great goal, but how can we remember to do something like this? That’s the challenging part. So, we looked for ways to be reminded: a beeping watch, a programmed Blackberry, notes on the computer, keeping a log, etc. The key is to find ways that are fun and magnetic to help people remember their goals.

The participants met with their personal coaches almost daily to help them focus on their personalized plans for change. Much of this involved helping them set realistic goals, ones at which they could succeed, as well a practical strategies for helping them to successfully make their desired changes. We also went on 30 minute “power walks” every morning after sadhana (spiritual practices: Energization Exercises, Yoga Postures, Chanting and Meditation), during which they all mentally repeated personal affirmations on qualities that they were wanting to energize. These walks also incorporated time for quiet appreciation of the beauty of nature, and exercises to draw on the healing energies found in nature. The participants really loved this activity, as did the staff members who joined them on the walks! It gave us the experience of actually finding a way to bring some enjoyable exercise into our lives in a reasonably easy way—doing it first thing in the morning, and with group support.

The first two days of the program included powerful classes by Jyotish and Devi Novak, the Spiritual Directors of Ananda Village, and the popular class by Dr. Peter Van Houten, MD on “The Brain: Engineered for Transformation.” At the first class Jyotish presented a model of the Pyramid of Radiant Health, identifying the key areas to develop in our plan for Radiant Health. He also focused on how to activate the power of the mind for wellness. Devi’s class helped us to learn about and experience Energy and Magnetism for Well-Being. There were also classes on How to Meditate, Introspection, Journaling, Habit Changing, Creating a Healthy Lifestyle (including healthy eating), the Spiritual Dimensions of Wellness, and Quick and Easy Stress Reduction Techniques, and Vibratory Healing through Music. Each day there were guided practices of Energization Exercises, Yoga Postures, Chanting and Meditation, with a focus on how these techniques can help us achieve optimal wellness. In our next offering of this course we will also offer opportunities for participants to receive personalized yoga posture routines to take home with them.

In the follow up feedback we’ve received from the first group, many have told us that the practices of affirmations and positive thinking were very helpful when they returned to their everyday lives. These are powerful tools, and we practiced them together daily for a week, thus getting a good start in making them new habits. Also, since we combined the walks with affirmations, and since Ananda Yoga includes the use of affirmations with yoga postures, there were multiple opportunities for diving deeply into the practice of re-programming our minds with positive thoughts.

One of the most enjoyable activities of the Radiant Health Program was an Evening of Uplifting Fun spent in the home of two of the coaches. It was a great opportunity for group bonding and much laughter.

One unique and helpful aspect of this program is that following the program, participants receive regular inspiring emails, daily for the first 2 weeks, then periodically over the following 6 months. And many members of the group also formed a yahoo group in order to easily keep in communication with each other. It has been great to watch how the participants have continued their efforts at lifestyle change and how they have become a good support system for each other in these efforts. This first group is planning to return to the Expanding Light in April, 6 months after their program, for a reunion and a motivational boost and/or just to relax and recharge with their friends.

The staff is looking forward to sharing this dynamic program of Lifestyles for Radiant Health at the end of this month (January 20-27), and also May 11-18, August 31-September 7, and November 30-December 7, 2008. It’s a fabulous opportunity for anyone interested in improving their health, vitality, and mental and spiritual well-being. We invite you to join us for a week of fun, dynanic change and radiant health! Joy to you!

Mangala Loper-Powers