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You’ve completed the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program and its time to spread your wings and fly solo. The first step that will give you a strong start is to remember to maintain a community who will support and remind you to keep up your practice.

 You are your best teacher. Tune into to your own inner healer and trust that inner wisdom.

If you are trying to stop or reverse the progression of CVD, we recommend continuing your practice a minimum of one hour per day using the recommended stress management techniques (postures, breathing, relaxation, meditation and imagery). These daily practices in combination with the other three pillars of the program (Nutrition, Love & Support, and Fitness) are what will continue to guide you on your healing path. When it comes to a daily stress management practice, there are some basic steps you can take to make the transition to the Alumni community seamless.

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Maintain a Habit

When you practice at the same time and in the same place, it is easier to sustain a daily practice over time. It’s inevitable that you may stumble on occasion. When this happens, remember that it’s really about how quickly you can bounce back and return to your practice routine. This resilience will assure your continued success.

Maintain a Special Place to Practice in Your Home

If you have a special place in your home to practice, you will be more likely to make stress management a regular part of your life. Even when you travel, I recommend taking something special from your space with you like a shawl or candle or a special cushion.

Connect with Ornish Online Resources

Our website offers a great deal of support and inspiration to our participants. These include many stress management videos and audio recording, plus Ornish Kitchen, which is filled with delicious heart healthy recipes.

Find a Buddy

Sometimes we just need the support of another to keep us going. Reach out to a friend or cohort member to join you in a practice together. Maybe even set a date to go to a class together for some inspiration. Some Ornish alumni groups will set up a time either weekly or monthly to practice together. They will either hire a yoga teacher or practice together with one of the Ornish audio recordings or practice videos.

Connect with Meditation Resources in Your Community

There are meditation groups in many communities that are open to everyone. Some are affiliated with Yoga centers, Buddhist centers or churches. Some may allow you to come and go during an hour-long period and others may have a set time they start and stop. Its great to give a few groups a try until you find one that feels right for you.

Connect with Yoga Classes in Your Community

It’s important to recognize that not all yoga classes are the same. There are many types and styles ranging from gentle and therapeutic (similar to your Ornish style yoga classes) all the way to hot, powerful and acrobatic yoga. It’s important to find the class that is geared toward relaxation. Some general beginning Hatha Yoga classes may be just right. Often gentle yoga or therapeutic yoga can be a good match as well. It takes a little shopping, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and try out a number of classes before settling on one. They may be offered at the community center, health club, or at a Yoga center. Ask your stress management instructor if he or she is aware of any Ornish-like yoga classes in the community.

Trust Your Own Inner Wisdom

Most of all, remember that you are your best teacher. Tune into your own inner healer and trust that inner wisdom. With practice, that voice gets louder and clearer. Let it become the light that leads you forward on your healing journey. Remember there is a larger community of people who are making these lifestyle choices everyday. They are your Alumni community. Reach out and enjoy this support.

If you’ve participated in the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program, how did you maintain your stress management practice?

Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

Better Health Begins With You...

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