115 posts categorized "Health and Fitness"

Sleep Your Problems Away!

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I took this picture the other day from the front cover of a recent National Geographic magazine. It's totally Divine providence, because shortly you'll be reading about sleep in one of my upcoming articles. 

Sleep is THE biggest, most overlooked, most important, most ummm.... secret to health. 

Unfortunately, it's looked down upon by our society. We believe those who sleep are lazy, unmotivated, stuck in their comfort zones, and maybe unproductive. Okay, I believe it. About David. Because I'm just so jealous that he can fall asleep in three seconds! It's not fair!! 

In reality, it turns out that sleep is not only the key to increasing your productivity. It's also the key to losing weight, ridding yourself of disease, getting sick less, increasing your mental focus and clarity, and everything else you can think of. 

I've been following a former Navy Seal, Dr. Kirk Parsley, who is one of the foremost sleep experts in the world. In one of his interviews, he explains why sleep is such a critical factor in weight loss. 

Basically, if you get less than nine hours of sleep, you wake up a borderline diabetic. I don't remember how exactly he explained it, but you can check out his many interviews and learn for yourself. At this point I'm satisfied just to relay information that's practical and relevant. 

Many of his Navy Seals were complaining of being tired, not performing up to par. He tested their blood and hormone levels and was shocked to find that not only did they suffer from metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to diabetes, but their testosterone levels were equivalent to those of an 80+ year old man.

This seemed impossible to him, but after more tests, he slowly started to realize that all of the Seals had one thing in common: they didn't sleep enough.

Well, I'm not going to give away the rest of the article, but I will give you this little amazing tidbit: Dr. Parsley speaks about ADHD, and guess what?! 

He says it is unfair to diagnose a child with ADHD until he gets one straight month of proper sleep. 

It has been discovered that symptoms of sleep deprivation are almost identical to symptoms of ADHD! 

So! For your sake, the sake of your children, your spouse, your co-workers who have to suffer through long days of working with you, and everyone else you come into contact with, GET ENOUGH SLEEP! You need 9 hours, and I know it's hard, but it will be worth it!

I elaborate more about sleep in my upcoming article, so don't miss it. 

In the meantime, I'd like you to place more importance in getting enough sleep. It's the key to your physical and mental health, happiness, and your spouse's happiness. 

Trust me. No one likes a cranky spouse. 

Scroll down for details on Rav Brody's weekly emuna talk, and have a wonderful day! (And night!)

~Racheli


Mitzvot and Body Health: Torah and Chakras

Torah chakras
Hello Rabbi,

Does the performance or violation of the mitzvot affect the body? More specifically, I have a pain in my right leg that no doctor has been able to cure? Is there something spiritual I may have done wrong or a correction to make? Thank you! Wim B., Amsterdam

Dear Wim,

A 16th century CE scholar from Tzfat, Rabbi Elazar Azikari (who composed "Yedid Nefesh" and was a colleague of the famed father of Kabbala Rabbi Yitzchak Luria) wrote a monumental book called "Sefer Hacharedim", or The Book of the (G-d) Fearing. In this book, he takes each part of the body and lists the corresponding mitzva. There are 613 mitzvas that correspond to the 613 parts of the body. The fulfillment of a mitzva adds to the spiritual vitality of the corresponding body part, and the spiritual vitality strongly influences the physical health of that particular body part.

For example, tefillin affects the left arm and the front part of the head. Belief in G-d affects the heart. Eye problems can often be traced to stinginess (refusal to give charity) or to looking at forbidden things. It's quite noteworthy that cervical cancer is almost unheard of among woman who practice family purity. The list is long and elaborate.

What happens? Observing or transgressing the Torah has a direct effect on the soul. How? Torah is Divine light, or energy. The human energy field, or aura, is a field of energy that surrounds and permeates not only every part, but every cell of your body. Different mitzvoth affect different parts of the body. This is something that famed Kabbalist Rabbi Elazar Azikari knew over 500 years ago and can now be proven tangibly with modern technology.

My esteemed colleague and renowned head of the Hidabroot Organization, Rabbi Zamir Cohen, who is a brilliant rabbi and an expert on Torah and science, proved with the aid of aura-and-chakra videography how tefillin for men and hair-covering for women have a profound effect on a person's chakras. He brings visible proof in his book The Coming Revolution, and its amazing. 

Simply speaking, health comes from the Divine illumination that's reflected in one's chakras. Performing mitzvoth enhance Divine illumination and are therefore conducive to good health. The opposite holds true as well: physical sicknesses are rooted in spiritual causes, since the spirit is the life force. Therefore, many physical ailments can be cured by Teshuva, that is, correcting a mitzva that in turn healthfully influences a certain part of the body. That's it while standing on one foot.

As far as the pain in your right leg, ask Hashem in your daily hitbodedut sessions to enlighten you as to what has brought on the pain and to help you to make teshuva for the root cause. I'd also suggest that you check if you haven't insulted your father or fail to honor him in any way.

Stay healthy, Wim. Warm regards to all our friends in Holland. Blessings always, Lazer


A Special Request for a Special Man

Our dear friend, Tzvi Hirsch ben Simcha, a beloved member of the Breslev Israel family, is having a heart operation next week. Please keep him in your prayers for a speedy and complete recovery. Thank you and Shabbat Shalom! 

~Racheli

Rabbi Lazer adds:

Thanks for posting this, Racheli. The prayers of the Beams community (we cherish you all), Rabbi Arush and the Chut Shel Chesed Institutions, Breslev Israel and its General Director Yosef Nechama and everyone at Emuna Outreach have Harold in a spiritual full-court press of prayers for his good health and speedy recovery. It's no coincidence that the post on top of this is about spreading emuna in Afghanistan, because the Lerner family for years have been staunch supporters and full partners with Rav Arush and Emuna Outreach in spreading emuna around the globe, from Hong Kong to mainland China to Miami. May Hashem personally be Harold's attending physician and may we hear great news from him soon, amen!


The 4-Minute Kettlebell Office Routine

4m kb workout

Turn your office into a gym and turn a small part of your coffee break into a health-revolutionizing regime that will only take 4 minutes a day of your precious time. Keep one kettlebell in your office - that's all you need to get started down the road to great health and conditioning. 

This 4-minute, nonstop, no-rest kettlebell routine will have a dramatic effect on your health and mood. With only one moderate-sized kettlebell, you'll not only burn about 50 calories during this workout, but you'll double your metabolic calorie burn for the next hour, which will be an after-burn of another 90 calories, give or take. And, this brief routine is enough to give a shot of endorphin, the post-exercise "feel good" hormone.

Here's the routine:

30 seconds - kettlebell slingshot clockwise

30 seconds - kettlebell slingshot counter-clockwise

60 seconds - 1-hand alternating kettlebell swing

30 seconds - kettlebell goblet squat

30 seconds - kettlebell clean - right hand

30 seconds - kettlebell clean - left hand

15 seconds - kettlebell halo - clockwise

15 seconds - kettlebell halo - counter-clockwise

Total = 4 minutes

Suggested kettlebell  weight (less for beginners):

moderate, men = 18% of your body weight

moderate, women = 10% of your body weight

vigorous, men = 25% of your body weight

vigorous, women = 14% of your body weight

In other words, if you're a man that weighs 167 pounds (76 kg), you'll pick a 30-lb (14kg) kettlebell for a moderate workout; a woman who weighs 124 pounds (56 kg) will choose a 12-pound (6 kg) kettlebell.

If you change nothing else in your lifestyle, but you do the above routine every day, you'll lose between 1-2 pounds a month; not only that, but you'll feel much better. These 4 minutes a day will save you hours in doctor's offices as well. Worth it? Go for it!


The Day I Decided to Become a CFT

Early grave
Did I ever tell you about the day I decided to become a Certified Fitness Trainer? What does a rabbi want to do that for anyway? The body is so closely entwined with the soul that many spiritual and emotional ailments are connected to the misuse of the body, so a knowledge of health, diet and fitness enhances spiritual guidance. That's all true, but it's not what gave me the push to devote the time and effort necessary to receive my certifications.

It was the loudspeaker in my neighborhood blaring one winter morning at about 11 AM: "The funeral procession of Avraham Levy (name changed for obvious reasons - the above photo is bogus, just to emphasize the point at hand) will depart from the Central Synagogue on Rotem Street at 1:30 PM." Before long, the walls of the neighborhood were plastered with black-and-white posters announcing his death. Avraham was 46, and he left a widow and 8 kids.

I knew Avraham - he was the nicest person in the world. But, he was grossly overweight. He'd drink coffee with milk and 3 teaspoons of sugar, He drank Cokes instead of water. In the morning after davening, he'd participate in the daily "L'Chayim" that includes chocolate or banana liqueur and rugalach, rolled pastries with trans-fat up in never-never land.

What a waste.

Every morning in the mikva, I cringe when I see so many young men in their 20's, 30's and 40's with cascades of needless blubber rolling down their midsections. These guys outnumber the 6-pack abs Chassidim 8-to-1. Is that what the Rambam wanted?

I detest attending funerals for young people. I don't want to see any more kids orphaned because of their parents' sweet tooth and lack of health awareness. That's why I became a CFT. That's why I started Emuna Fitness and write essays like A Healthy Hanukkah, my feature article on this week's new edition of Breslev Israel web magazine.

Also featured this week:

Rabbi Shalom Arush - A Head Start in Life 

Racheli Reckles - What Men Want

Yehudit Channen - A Cruise and a Camp

David Ben Horin - The Double Protection of Shabbat 

Jennifer Woodward - The Magic Pill

Yehudit Shick - A Coffee Date with G-d

Enjoy, and have a lovely new week!

Scroll down directly below to see the fantastic job opening at Breslev Israel 


Emuna Fitness: The Farmer's Carry

The Farmer's Carry, an exercise that you're about to learn, is one of the most important exercises in functional fitness. That's the fitness that you apply to day-to-day life and it's aimed at improving your daily task-fulfillment as opposed to body-building, which is geared to make the body look good. We, as observant Jews, don't flaunt our bodies, but we do need to function. We must have balance, stamina, strength, agility, speed and coordination. We must be able to defend ourselves and to carry the groceries home or wield a suitcase at the airport.

Consequently, as you'll see in today's lesson, Emuna Fitness is functional fitness, helping you live a healthier and happier life. That said, we'll now learn how to properly do one of the most important and functional exercises there are - the Farmer's Carry: