For those of you who were at #TBYHDC 2016, you remember that there were so many people wanting to practice with Neelam, that the room was just too small! This was the first year that has happened to us and in future years we will be getting a larger space.
Neelam shares her personal health struggle and recovery with us below. She has a beautiful perspective on healing, and we hope that it inspires you to Take Back Your Health™ as well.
What has been your biggest health challenge, and what worked to heal it?
My major health challenge was the constant pain I had to endure from the fall of 1998 until 2007. After experiencing constant body pains, lack of range of motion due to my swollen and stiff knees, and herniated discs, my primary care physician diagnosed me with Lyme.
Finally, I had an answer for my pain.
I was treated with extensive antibiotics for 4 months. When my pain didn’t subside and doctors had no cure for my pain, they began to prescribe daily dose of antibiotics through IV. At that point, I made a decision and a COMMITMENT to heal myself.
How would that happen? I didn’t know. All I knew was that it was time to find some solution to the physical pain. It was essential, as by then I was a mom of a 5 year old girl and 18 month old boy. They needed their mom to be happy and healthy, so they could thrive.
For the first time in 8 years, I envisioned a future where I was healthy and pain free. I was looking for solutions to heal my body with a single pointed focus. Synchronicity and my unwavering spirit got me closer to my vision.
One thing led to another. Eventually, long story short, I managed to get rid of the pain naturally by 2007, with the help of lifestyle changes like adding strength training and some anti-inflammatory herbs. Our bodies are amazing bio-computers and can self-heal when given the right atmosphere and environment, is my experience.
Years later I noticed the connection between the mind and the body: I started reflecting and figuring out what had caused the healing after all. I remember, I made a split second decision to take my health in my own hands and then took steps towards my goal to heal from the physical pain. I changed the story of my life by envisioning a life where I lived pain free. I followed the cues that showed up in my life.
The positive mindset was the most crucial step in my journey towards healing. Basically, I rewired my brain. Now years later there is so much evidence, and literature that talks about how positive thinking changes our brain, our cells and our genes. I know and believe we all have the potential to heal ourselves.
What lifestyle tweaks have made the biggest difference for your health?
Every morning I get up 60-90mins before my family does. This gives me ample time to ground myself and start my day on the right foot.
For over a decade now, my day starts with a glass of warm lemon water. Then I practice about 20-30mins of breathing exercises/meditation. Sometimes I sneak in an early morning practice. I love my nature walks especially when the sun is up. They energize my entire being. Yoga and meditation have calmed my mind, improved the quality of my sleep and energy.
For the last 3 years my food is mostly organic and home cooked vegetarian with a little bit of sea food once a while. I have also added 3-4 servings of raw fruits & green leafy vegetables to my diet in the form or a smoothie or salad.
These lifestyle habits play an enormous role in supporting my overall well being. When a busy schedule prevents me from practicing self-care, my body is good at reminding me that I have neglected myself.
What’s your favorite “healthy” food?
An organic green salad bowl of either baby spinach/kale, strawberries, blueberries or mangoes, walnuts or almonds, goji berries or raisins, a homemade dressing (organic balsamic vinegar, EVO, medjool dates, lemon juice, salt & pepper).
I could live off of mangoes if marooned on an island! It’s my favorite fruit.
What advice do you have for someone who is just beginning their Take Back Your Health journey?
First and foremost accept your health challenge and befriend it.
Most of the time, a health challenge is your body’s way of getting your attention. Pay attention to the symptoms of your body, mind and spirit. The physical, emotional/mental and spiritual aspects, (when I say spiritual/spirit, I’m referring to your real self, not a religion) of an individual are not separate of each other. Rather, they are intertwined. When one is affected, so are the others. A health approach that focuses on only one aspect is incomplete.
Learn to pay attention to your body’s intuition, when it comes to exercise and food. The more you pay attention, the more the body will guide and steer you in the direction of healing.
However, if you want to transform your life, focus on your mindset and beliefs as well. Feed your brain with healthy and supporting thoughts/affirmations, to crowd out the negative and self limiting beliefs. A positive mindset plays a big role in bringing our body back to balance.
Rewrite your story, and this time as the hero, not the victim.
Go out in nature and watch the sun rise and set, take mindful walks, learn breathing techniques, start a gratitude practice, include slow, mindful yoga like yin, which stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest phase of the body – this phase is crucial for healing the body and giving it rest), find a support network who believes in you and your health.
Is there one thing that you learned from the Take Back Your Health event that has really stuck with you?
The Take Back Your Health weekend event was very inspiring and uplifting. Every presenter I listened to had an inspirational and transformative story to share.
What I noticed was that they all healed when they took charge of their health. Once they got back their health, they all had the same burning desire: to transform the lives of those they touch by inspiring and sharing what had worked for them.
It was an honor and privilege to be part of an inspiring community two days in a row. I’m looking forward to the next conference.
Why do you help others take back their health?
Having personally gone through a long and painful health challenge, I can empathize with people who are in pain or going through their own health challenge. It’s lonely and scary, and all it takes [to make a huge shift] is someone to believe in your pain.
Sometimes we are blessed and can dare to envision radiant health despite all the surrounding darkness. Sometimes we need support, and I want to be that support to all those who are willing to transform their lives.
I’d like to leave you with one my favorite quotes:
“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” ― Hafiz of Shiraz