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Category: Spiritual Health

Want Better Health? Try Meditating!

Health Fitness Revolution always emphasizes the importance of living a life that is well balanced- which is a major component of health.  This can sometimes prove to be a challenge in the fast paced, stressful world we live in.  Stress is a known cause of mainly ailments we suffer from such as depression, high blood pressure, digestive issues, and memory problems.

This is precisely why it is so important to take time out everyday for yourself and meditate.  Meditation time can be as simple as laying down with your eyes closed for 10 min and just focusing on breathing and clearing your mind.  It is an important time to slow down, feel your body, and not stress about all the little things you worry about every day.

Here are reasons why Health Fitness Revolution believes you should incorporate meditation into your daily lifestyle routine:

  •  It leads to neuroplasticity: Which is your brain’s ability to change, something very important as you age.
  • It increases gray matter: Which is associated with attention, memory, and decision making.  It also means your brain is aging at a slower pace.
  • It can be better than sleep: A study tested alertness levels of people who had napped, meditated, and watched TV.  Those that had meditated were 10% more responsive and alert than the two other groups.
  • It lowers blood pressure: In a three-month study, 80% of those that meditated everyday saw a reduction in blood pressure

God Wants You To Be Healthy and Fit

According to a 2006 Purdue University study, evangelicals are considered the heaviest of all religious groups. The study found that Baptists lead the group, with a 30 percent obesity rate, compared to Jews at one percent and Buddhists and Hindus at less than 0.7 percent.

Similarly, a 2011 Northwestern University study that tracked more than 3,000 people for 18 years, revealed that those who attend church or a bible study on a weekly basis are 50 percent more likely to be obese. On a larger scale, nearly one-half of the American population will be obese by 2030, reports a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Almost all spiritual institutions in America and the world will agree that God wants you at your very best in every single aspect. Here at Health Fitness Revolution, we know He wants America and the world to be healthy and fit. That’s why our team is the first in the United States and the world to begin exploring the role of health and fitness in spiritual institutions. Because leaders of spiritual institutions hold a strong influence on their congregation, we published the first article of its kind on the Top 10 Fittest Christian Leaders in the United States.

We followed with articles on the Top 10 Fittest Religious Leaders in the United States, and the Top Fittest Female Pastors in the United States. In our continued efforts to make a stronger impact on the spiritual world in America, we ranked the Top 20 Fittest Churches in America, the Top 20 Fittest Churches in Texas, and finally the Top 50 Fittest Mega Churches in America. From our perspective, we have only scratched the surface of the enormous potential that spiritual institutions can contribute in the fight against obesity, a plague that is threatening to destroy the very nature of our creativity, productivity, discipline, focus, determination and freedom that the Western civilization stands for.

“My main message to churches is to live like Jesus,” said Samir Becic to The Christian Post. “Two thousand years ago, we didn’t have access to processed food so Jesus only ate organic. Jesus was active; He was kind and always helping people. All those components that Jesus had 2,000 years ago are prefect examples of how to live a healthy lifestyle in the 21st century. Spiritual balance, social interaction, kindness, happiness, physical activity and organic food — that is my main message.”

“We want to focus on the Christian community because they have the highest obesity rate of any community in the U.S., and we believe that our bodies truly are our temples. When you are healthy, you’re able to be more focused on God, I believe that with my heart and soul. That’s a key component to a healthy lifestyle,” said Becic.

Samir Becic, founder of Health Fitness Revolution, started the Total Life Challenge at Lakewood Church, the largest in America, four years ago. Now, he is determined more than ever to challenge the thousands of churches and spiritual institutions across the country. As of right now, more than 500 churches in America are using Health Fitness Revolution resources in order to equip their congregations with the necessary knowledge and education about healthy lifestyle and physical fitness.

“Spiritual awareness is one of the key components of healthy lifestyle that impacts the whole body and rejuvenates the spirit,” Becic said. “Physical fitness and healthy nutrition allows that spirit to flourish to new dimensions and many people experience a closer relationship to God. The Mega-Churches of today hold a strong influence on the general opinion of mainstream America. Followers look for daily guidance from pastors and heads of ministries on the best way to live their lives and raise their families. It is enormously important to provide the churches with the correct knowledge on fitness and proper nutrition so they can influence and better their members’ lives.”

If your spiritual institution would like to get healthy and fit, email Health Fitness Revolution at info@healthfitnessrevolution.org for more information.

Top 10 Health and Fitness Tips From Hinduism

Hinduism is generally acknowledged to be one of the world’s oldest and largest religions. Hinduism currently has over 1 billion adherents worldwide, which makes up about 15% of the world’s population.  About 80-90% of all Hinduism followers are in India. Here are the Top 10 Health and Fitness Tips from Hinduism:

  • Strive to Achieve Balance in Health, Body, and Spirit — Dharma – Followers of Hinduism believe that the body is made up of natural elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  It is believed that proper balance of these elements indicates good health, whereas imbalance indicates the opposite.  Followers of Hinduism strive to achieve balance throughout their lives using self-control, meditation, yoga, and a clean diet.
    Dharma stands for the ultimate moral balance of all things in life and belongs to the universe and the individual as well.  The individual is responsible to balancing their own dharma through all areas of life such as religious, social, and familial areas.
  • Benefits of a Structured Dietary Code – Followers of Hinduism believe that showing care for what you eat can save your body and mind.  Food is believed to be the source of the body’s chemistry, which means Hindus believe that what you eat can affect your mood and thoughts. Orthodox Hindus are pure vegetarians and many choose to avoid the eating of animal meat altogether, due to the belief that all of God’s creatures are worthy of respect and compassion.  While many observe a strict vegetarian diet consisting of no animal byproducts, others may adhere to the religion’s dietary codes in varying degrees of strictness.  Most refrain from consuming beef because the cow is considered sacred and pork, duck, camel, snails, and crab are generally avoided. Overall, lacto-vegetarian diet where dairy is consumed with non-animal foods is favored among the Hindu population.

This dietary code consists of three categories:

  1. Tamasic food:  stale, leftover, overripe, spoiled, or otherwise impure food.  It is believed to produce negative emotions, such as anger, greed and jealousy.
  2. Rajasic food:  believed to produce strong emotional qualities in the mind such as passions or restlessness.  These are commonly spicy or pungent foods like meat, eggs, fish, spices, onions, garlic, and hot peppers.
  3. Sattvic food:  believed to be the most desireable food that is non-irritating to the stomach and purifying for the mind.  Sattvic food is believed to promote calmness.  These foods include fruits, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables.

 

  • Practice Yoga – In Hinduism, yoga is primarily spiritual.  The physical aspect comes second, and is meant to be exercise in purification, allowing man to work toward achieving a higher spiritual and mental state.  Yoga goes hand in hand with meditation in many disciplines, and is meant to connect the body and mind in preparation for meditation.
  • The Use of Tulsi – Tulsi, or “Holy Basil” is widely used and revered in Hinduism due to its many medicinal and religious purposes.  This plant has antimicrobial properties and is known to promote longevity.  Tulsi is a very important plant in Ayurveda and can be found in nearly every Hindu household.  The plant’s extracts can be used for many common ailments like the common cold, stomach disorders, headaches, inflammation, malaria, and heart disease.  Tulsi can even purify or de-pollute the air and acts as a repellant against mosquitoes, flies, and other insects.
  • Self-Control – In Hinduism, it is believed that the mind and body can be trained to resist and overcome cravings or harmful behaviors such as addiction.  The Hindu sacred writings called the Bhagavad Gita, states “It is true that the mind is restless and difficult to control. But it can be conquered…through regular practice and detachment. Those who lack self-control will find it difficult to progress in meditation; but those who are self-controlled, striving earnestly through the right means, will attain the goal”.
  • Intermittent Fasting – Fasting habits depend on a person’s caste, or social ranking, and is usually done during holy days, moon days, and during festivals.  It is important to note that intermittent fasting is rarely done continuously for more than one day. According to a study done on mice at The University of Southern California by Valter Longo, published in (Cell Metabolism), the benefits of intermittent fasting included improved immune system, reduction of cancer incidence, and promotion of stem cell regeneration, particularly in the brain.
  • Improved Oral Health – According to a study done on the impact of cultural factors in health, (tribal and primitive Hindu) populations’ diet patterns consisting of fibrous and coarse vegetation were shown to possibly reduce tooth decay and facilitate adequate stimulation of jaw muscles because they forgo refined carbohydrates and red meat.  The habit of alcoholism is prohibited among high caste Hindus, which also promotes oral health.
  • Cleanliness – The Hindu way of living gives tremendous importance to cleanliness and hygiene. Many Hindus practice a daily bath ritual and you cannot visit the temple without bathing beforehand.  Similarly, one may not enter a puja room (prayer room) until they are in clean clothes after bathing.
  • Meditation – Hindus believe that through meditation, we have the ability to evolve into higher beings through mental focus.  Meditation can help overcome mental blocks, negative thinking, fears, and anxiety if practiced regularly.
  • Karmic Belief – Karma is a facet of the Hindu belief system.  Karma literally means “deed” or “act”, and often refers to the accumulations of your actions and determines each soul’s unique destiny.  Karma stands for the belief that an individual experiences the effects of his or her behavior and actions, and that every act or thought has consequences.  Negative thoughts and actions can result in  commensurate suffering, wherein good thoughts and actions can liberate a person.

To read more of our articles on Spiritual Health, click here.

 

25 Ways Healthy Living, Exercise, and Nutrition Are Related to Spirituality

Stop thinking of your life as a bar graph and start thinking of it as a van diagram. The different parts of what makes you-you- your health, hobbies, and spirituality- aren’t isolated from one another. They build off each other and bleed into one another, working together in union to make you happier and more fulfilled. A wealth of scientific evidence shows that a healthy and active lifestyle can pay huge dividends in spiritual fulfillment. Read our list of 25 ways healthy living, exercise, and nutrition are related to spirituality:

  • Balanced Hormones Increase Spirituality

Exercising helps foster positive hormones, such as dopamine and epinephrine which can ultimately impact your perception of life. And if you struggle with some not-so-positive feelings, the more endorphins the better your mood. Balanced hormones will help you focus on improving your quality of life. You will more likely engage in spiritual practices when you have an uplifted and happy spirit! Feeling unbalanced in your emotions? Get to exercising for your spiritual health, my friends.

  • Energy and The Spirit

The energy that we acquire from exercising fuels our bodies for day to day physical activities. Not only does exercise provide physical benefits but it also boosts our brains mental energy. Mental stimulation is key in order to function at a higher spiritual level. The high that we get from the increased energy of working out motivates us to actively pursue our spiritual desires. Increased energy will encourage practices such as meditation, connecting with nature, practicing gratitude, loving others, and plenty more.

  • Physical Fitness & Spirituality

Aerobic exercises combined with strength training are a body’s best friend. Physical activity keeps you lean, fit, and strong to do everyday practices. So whether that be helping a struggling stranger lift an object, run a 5k to beat cancer, or volunteer on your feet all day, we all need endurance to engage in our own spiritual practices. A healthy body will encourage one to live out a spiritual life filled with action and integrity.

  • Food For the Soul

Mindfully eating can have a major impact on our bodies and mind. The QUALITY of food we decide to put into our stomachs can ultimately either harm or help us in our spiritual walk. Ingesting foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains affect our brain for the better. These foods provide certain chemicals that positively influence one’s mood and behaviors. When we feel good, our thoughts and actions will have a greater impact on the world around us. So eat clean to boost your spiritual life!

  • Stress Effects on Spirituality

If you feel overwhelmed in life, engaging in regular physical activity can greatly reduce stressful adrenaline and cortisol levels in the body. This in turn, will help you be more involved with your spiritual practices. As you continue to nurture your spiritual life, stress levels will also stay at a low. When we have less stress weighing us down, we spend our time engaging in uplifting things to connect us to something greater than ourselves. Those who are less stressed are happier, sleep better, more energized, and better focused.

  • Dancing in Spirit

Dancing will not only tone you up but also uplift your spirit! There’s just something in the art of dance that can sweep us away into something greater than ourselves. It can be a freeing experience for the human spirit to just move as it pleases. Eline Kieft from the Department Centre for Dance Research at Coventry University puts it this way in that “Dancing spirituality integrates the totality of the human being in movement.”

  • Walk or Hike Your way to Spirituality

We all know how much a long walk or hike can help clear a foggy mind of worry and stress. Well, walking or hiking is a great form of exercise for not only a fit body but for a healthy spiritual life as well! These actions have a way of deepening our spirits and helps us focus on the bigger picture by giving our mind a break. Real psychological health benefits take place as we walk. We have more energy, creativity, and uplifted spirits which ultimately impacts the soul in great ways. So whether you set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, (like Cheryl Strayed), or just walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes, mindfully walking can transform your spiritual life!  

  • Practice Yoga

Derived from the Hindu religion, Yoga has become one of the most beloved spiritual practices around the world. This type of workout connects mind, body and spirit in different ways in which its “practices are aimed at the experience of contemplative states of consciousness and spirituality,” according to a journal published in NCBI. This research on yoga shows that it can improve one’s balance, flexibility, strength, cardiorespiratory fitness, mood, mindfulness, and overall spiritual life. If you’re looking for a great workout that improves your spiritual health as well, yoga just might be for you!

  • Meditate For Spiritual Health

Mindful practices have been around for a long time and has been a huge part of many different religions. Meditation can really be a great tool when it comes to destressing. It does more than just that, though! From improving concentration, self acceptance, happiness and more, meditation is just plain healthy for the soul. By focusing on one’s breath, meditation can connect a person deeper into their own spiritual journey that can bring about an abundant of health benefits.  

  • The Spirituality of Prayer

Prayer is a staple in a lot of religions, but religious or not, all people can incorporate this spiritual ritual in their everyday life. Prayer can be a way for the human spirit to connect to a higher power. It’s no doubt that prayer can help you feel less stressed, happier, more emotionally stable and centered. Harvard scientist Herbert Benson, MD believes all types of prayer “evoke a relaxation response that quells stress, quiets the body, and promotes healing.”

  • Walk Among Nature

Spending time in nature can be a powerful tool for self-reflection and personal health. If you choose to listen and absorb what the outdoors has to offer, then transformation can take place. Walking among the trees, feeling the wind on your face, or simply hearing the birds chirp are all apart of nature’s gifts to us. Did you know that Yale actually has a Center for Spirituality in Nature that’s devoted to deepening one’s human spiritual connection to the Divine? So next time you’re outside just open your minds and watch nature do wonders for your health.

  • Discipline and Spirituality

In order to see tangible results from a fitness or nutrition plan, you first need to establish self discipline. Whether that be working out at a specific time every day, or resisting to eat that slice of cake, discipline takes effort and energy. Applying this type of approach to your spiritual life can truly help in your spiritual journey! Spiritual practices that help with discipline involve action, learning, understanding, absorbing, and cultivation of one’s own journey.

  • The ART of Spirituality

The arts have always been integral to religion.  Even in the twentieth century, many artists saw their art in spiritual terms.  In terms of spiritual health, being able to express yourself through art helps to relieve stress, encourages creative thinking, boosts self-esteem, and provides a sense of accomplishment.

  • When The Spirit Sings

Did you know singing is healthy for the heart? And group singing is a great way to reap health benefits. According to several studies, singing helps lower stress, produce endorphins, and relieve anxiety. Singing can no doubt be a spiritual practice if you want it to be. Many religions actually use singing as a spiritual practice. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:16

  • Running Towards Spirituality

Ah the high we get after a good run. Running a marathon or simply a 5k can definitely benefit your wellbeing for the better. Many runners can tell you just how fulfilling and spiritual this exercise can be! Runner’s World puts it this way “The spiritual benefits available in running–appreciating nature, developing a communion with others, seeing how things in the universe connect, meditating–can quiet the mind, facilitate introspection, and help you become more virtuous and whole.”

  • Fasting’s Effect on Spirituality

There are many health benefits of fasting.  Among many benefits, fasting can help you lose weight more efficiently, improve your insulin sensitivity, and reduce oxidative stress in the body.  Fasting also helps to regulate your hormone levels so that you can curb your appetite and only eat when you are truly hungry.

  • Spirituality Benefits Psychological Well-Being

According to Jesus, it is best to forgive, even if you have to do so more than once.  Being able to forgive others contributes to healthier relationships and lowered chronic stress levels. Let go of that grudge and forgive for your health!

  • Spirituality Can Help You Beat Addiction

Spirituality has played a big role in the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Spirituality is a big part in the guiding principles of the AA program and embodies developing positive coping skills along with having faith in a higher power to overcome addiction.

  • Hope Brings Health

Having hope is essential for a positive outlook on life. In a 35 year clinical study of Harvard Graduates, it was shown that graduates who expressed hope and optimism lived longer and experienced fewer illnesses in their lifetime.  Additionally, having a positive and hopeful outlook will reduce the levels of stress hormones that your body produces.  

  • The Effect of Love and Social Support on Health:

It’s those special bonds we share with each other that satisfy and enrich our lives. Did you know that social support from those closest to us can actually help protect us against certain diseases? Research from the University of Maryland Medical Center found that social support actually helped guard a Pennsylvanian family against heart disease! Looks like it’s time to start loving each other, my spiritual friends.

  • Spirituality’s Effect on Health

Lack of spiritual connection to self and others, self-destructive behaviors, and isolation from others in life may contribute hormonal imbalances which will inevitably manifest as illness in the body.  Some ways to keep your hormones in check include regular exercise and having a healthy, balanced diet.

  • Spirituality and Personal Hygiene

Simply put, hygiene is a key component of human health and well-being.  Aside from the overall health benefits, having good personal hygiene will help you feel confident about yourself.  In some religions like Islam, you are expected to give special attention to personal hygiene in respect to faith. Plus, who doesn’t like to smell good?

  • Volunteer in Your Community:

Many people who volunteer their time, money and energy for apparently nothing in return still reap spiritual benefits.  Being a volunteer not only increases your sense of well-being, it can help reinforce your ties to the community and give you a greater sense of justice. So go out and impact the community with your spirit of service!

  • Sleep and The Soul

Sleep may be the image or brother of death, for in sleep the body rests while the soul remains awake, so in death the body rests while the soul and spirit live.” – William Shakespeare

Without a doubt, sleep is extremely important for your health and well-being.  From a religious perspective, the importance of sleep is referenced in many texts including the Quran, the Bible, the Torah, Kabbalah, and Buddhist teachings.  Upon going to sleep, the body and mind calm down from daily activity and our physiology and neurology begin their critical restorative processes.

  • Sex Can Be Spiritual

Sex is a great source of pleasure for human beings. Not only is sex a great way to exercise your body, but it can also exercise your spiritual life. Roughing up the sheets with an intimate partner can truly transform and connect you on a higher level of energy. Next time you’re with your partner, try being fully aware of the vibrancy being exchanged between the two. Sex can be something that goes beyond the physical limitations with a sense of “heightened awareness and expanded consciousness,” if you let it.