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Total Health: Dr Tanya Beaubrun On How We Can Optimize Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing

We all need to connect with something or someone greater than ourselves, especially in times of sorrow or disappointment. We may go through times when we question the meaning of life, or when we question our purpose. This is where our belief comes in. It is a deeply personal experience that can be expressed in so many ways. Spirituality enables us to become more grateful, more compassionate, more connected with our families, and helps us to better enjoy life.

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr Tanya Beaubrun.

A Family Physician specializing in Functional and Integrative Medicine, as well as a certified Wellness & Lifestyle Empowerment Coach, Motivational Speaker and Author, Dr. Tanya Beaubrun has dedicated her career to helping people feel their best in their bodies so they can live happy and healthy lives and rediscover their Body Joy®.

As the creator of the Body Joy® Method, Dr. Tanya Beaubrun empowers people with her simple, yet powerful message: Take exquisite care of yourself, respect the choices you make, and tune into healing from the inside out. She advocates a holistic approach to well-being, incorporating mind, body, spirit practices so people can connect more deeply to themselves and their truth.

Tanya is passionate about bringing the heart and soul back into the practice of Medicine.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

Thank you so much for having me. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. My earliest memories were of me reading through an old medical text, “Modern Ways to Health”, written in the late 1960’s. One of my greatest joys was being able to correctly “diagnose” my aunt with stomach flu, because I had just read about it in that book. Imagine 8-year-old “Dr. Tanya”, saying quite confidently, that it was just stomach flu, and her symptoms would soon go away! She was indeed better within 48 hours. This still brings a smile to my face.

The photos in that old text of doctors at the patient’s bedside or holding their hands have remained with me and continue to inform how I deliver care to my patients. This desire to help and heal has always been very strong and studying medicine seemed like the natural thing to do.

Over the years, I found that I was dissatisfied with how western medicine trained us to deliver healthcare. I’ve been inspired by the likes of Dr Lissa Rankin, Dr Mark Hyman, and Dr Andrew Weil, all of whom dared to buck the system and have gone into the field of Integrative and Functional Medicine. They’ve all come to the realization that patient- centered care is the only way to change our healthcare system.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My parents, Joyce, and Desmond have always told me I could become anything I chose to be and instilled in me the importance of faith, family and working diligently towards any goal we set. They have built businesses based on those values; the very values that I have now built my own businesses on.

In fact, it is those same values that drew me to my husband, Matthew. He has led his family business for over 30 years, using those very same values to expand a business started over 90 years ago by his grandparents.

There have been many people who have inspired me in my career, but recently I’ve come to appreciate one of my colleagues, Dr Stephen King, who is always supportive and always ready to listen and lend his advice to us younger doctors. It is something I’ve aspired to do throughout my career, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, I came to truly appreciate having someone with a similar outlook, on whom I could rely. His sage advice during the early days of the pandemic on a small Caribbean Island was invaluable. He is my brother, my mentor, my friend, for whom I am forever grateful.

When I really think about it, it seems they all live with the values of faith, family, and dedication and service to community. I feel so grateful to have benefited from their love, support, and wisdom.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

Well, it may not have seemed funny at the time, but looking back, I find it a tad funny whenever I think of it.

After many years of being dissatisfied with how I was delivering healthcare, I enrolled in a health coaching program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I was so eager to do something more for my patients. About 12 months in, I realized that the first patient whose life was changed was mine! I ended up transforming my health and life in ways I never thought possible. I laugh about it now, because I truly thought I was “ok” and that it was my patients who needed “help”. Well, when the student is ready, the teacher will show up in unexpected ways! IIN was one of my greatest teachers. In healing myself, I became a much better healer

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

One of the books that I first read which made me realize I was on the right track in going into Integrative Medicine was the “Care of the Soul in Medicine” by Thomas Moore. We’d been taught in medical school, to care for the physical, and treat disease. But time and time again, I’d see patients coming with illnesses that my gut told me had a deeper cause. I would be too frightened to ask about their spiritual life for fear I’d be called a fake. The truth is no-one had ever taught me to look beyond disease; but my gut kept nudging me to look deeper.

This book taught me that caring for a patient beyond the physical was even more important sometimes. It gave me more confidence to practice medicine MY way, versus the way I’d been taught.

Another author who has been instrumental in showing me the importance of weaving spirituality into all aspects of my life is Mark Nepo. His book, “The Book of Awakening” did just that. It awakened my desire to serve and live a more heart-based life. I had the honor of speaking with him a few years ago, and we discussed how I could better pave a way for patients to live fully and achieve more lasting health. He reassured me that I was on the right path. That 5-minute conversation remains one of the best memories of my life.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

On my 30th birthday, I opened a new journal and wrote this quote” To Thine Own Self Be True”. It was a call to remain true to my values, to go after my dreams and to live life on my terms. For far too long, I had “done” life according to the rules of my community, living life in the way that I felt I was supposed to. It would take me a while longer to truly embody this, but this quote continues to be an integral part of how I live my life. Truth is such an important part of my life, that I named my business Satya Integrative Medical — Satya means truth in Sanskrit. It is a call for me to continue living and speaking my truth and being true to who and what I am, and a call to my patients to do the same.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I recently opened the doors to Satya Integrative Medical, the first Functional and Integrative medical clinic in the Caribbean. It is my passion, my dream really, to transform the face of healthcare in my part of the world. I’ve created a unique body of work called the Body Joy® Method, a 3-pronged approach to help my patients become healthier, happier, more confident and tapped into their joy. My clinic has been designed as a haven, a space where my patients can be held and healed, as we transform their health and their lives.

Right now, I’m working on expanding my reach and creating an online program with the aim of reaching women all over the world. For far too long, women have not been able to access the quality of healthcare they deserve and need. It is my hope that my work will help them break the barriers and gain access to a level of healthcare that allows them to live longer, healthier, and happier.

I’m also working on a sequel to my first book, Of Bubbles, Buddha, and Butterflies, which became an Amazon bestseller. It chronicles the changes that occurred in my life since I decided to follow my heart and pursue my dreams. It’s written as a series of essays and narratives written during the four-year period after I left my thriving Western medical practice and immersed myself in the study of integrative and functional medicine. It comes to an end just as I return home to St. Lucia, and many readers have called on me to write about what happened since then. The truth is I started writing this sequel about 9 months before the covid-19 pandemic, and the stories are now asking to be told. Guess I need to get cracking on that.

You can access my first book here: https://bit.ly/ofbubblesbuddhabutterflies

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives: Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

I’ve done the Kirtan Kriya every single day for the past 3 years. It is a Kundalini meditation that utilizes breath, chants, finger movements known as mudras and visualization. Some of the benefits of this meditation includes enhanced brain function, reduced depression, and anxiety, as well as reduced aging. I’ve seen the benefits of this regular practice on my health, with reduced anxiety, and a more positive outlook on life; especially important as I dealt with the covid-19 pandemic.

I’ve also created a morning practice for myself that includes a 10-minute silent meditation, prayer, and journaling. I try to do this as the sun rises which helps me get an amazing start to my day. As I watch the sun rising over the hills, and feel the wind against my face, I feel a sense of hope and peace. There really is no better way to start my day!

I also practice Vinyasa flow yoga, not as often as I’d like, but whenever I do, my mind and body thank me. My back pain is reduced, and my mind feels so much more focused. I’m now recommitting to a weekly practice…. now I can’t not do it after I’ve announced it to your readers!

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Ah exercise. A dreaded word for some. But one of the best ways to prevent as well as manage disease is by having a consistent exercise routine. The health benefits of exercise are well documented, with the benefits being physical, mental, social as well as spiritual.

When I moved to the USA to pursue my studies, one of the first things I did was purchase a gym membership. I can safely say that my Xtend Barre studio saved me. As a newcomer to a new city, a “single” mom to my kids, managing a home, keeping up my studies as well as my business in St. Lucia, life was “heavy”.

I found a family in that studio, made some lifelong friends, and changed my body (think fitter, more toned and stronger overall). These women became my support system, cheering me on when I had exams, congratulating me when I passed said exams, and celebrating birthdays and other milestones. It made missing my husband and family back home a little less.

What I gleaned from those days was that:

We must make exercise easily accessible and fun. The studio was five minutes away from my apartment which made getting there easy. Even on days that I had to go to School, I could still take in a quick class and then head back to complete my “homework.” The camaraderie at that studio, hanging out with my new friends, and making adult conversation became an important part of my day.

Work your heart, your muscles, and your core. I began experimenting with all the classes available.

Barre workouts would tone my muscles, leaving then leaner than they’d ever been. I also took HIIT classes to work my heart and improve my aerobic capacity. Pilates classes to work my core were also incorporated, leaving me with a 6-pack, but more importantly my strong core made for reduced back pain and a posture that made me look and feel younger. I urge you to mix it up, and not be afraid to try something new. I remember trying my first TRX class and never looking back. I was inspired enough to train to become a TRX instructor!

Get to know your body. Pay attention to its cues and listen to your gut. We don’t realize the importance of using our intuition when it comes to our physical fitness. There are days that I don’t feel like exercising, maybe I’m tired, or bored or even sad. On those days, I tune into my body and ask it what it needs today, what kind of movement does it feel like doing today. Somedays, the answer is rest, and allow my body to heal in ways that only it knows how to. Other days, I’m prompted to do a shorter, but more intense workout, or a slow flow yoga. Some days, I’m guided to head out into nature for a walk or run.

As we’re on the topic of gut health, I want to talk briefly about the importance of gut heath to our overall wellbeing. Our gut is the gateway to many illnesses, so by healing our gut, our overall health can be significantly improved. Some of the signs that you may have gut health issues include bloating, heartburn, weight gain, fatigue, brain fog and even skin irritation. Taking a good probiotic, some digestive enzymes, as well as removing potentially offending foods such as gluten, sugar and dairy can also improve your gut health.

Please consult your Physician if you feel you have significant gut issues.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

I’m a firm believer that nothing should really be off limits. But I also know from personal experience that some foods are better for our bodies than others. I follow a whole foods “diet”, focusing on 1 or 2-ingredient foods. I fill my plate with vegetables and use meats and complex carbohydrates as “accessories”.

I also limit sugar, wheat, dairy, and processed foods. I’ve become an expert at reading food labels, something I urge my patients to do. Look at the first five ingredients on your food labels. If you can’t pronounce them, I highly suggest not putting these into your body.

There are times when I ditch it all and eat whatever my heart desires, but invariably the thrill of sugar laden sweets and pastries wanes, and my body rebels with bloating, gastritis, and brain fog. You’d think that I’d remember that every holiday season…. last Christmas was no exception unfortunately!

I feel so much better when I eat “clean” 80 % of the time, and drink adequate amounts of water. I also practice intermittent fasting, fasting for about 14 hours each day. This combination works best for me, giving me some flexibility to enjoy a treat or two every so often. I’ve also learned to make healthy versions of my favorite foods, learning how to use different gluten-free flours, as well as bananas and dates as sweeteners. They really aren’t that bad and allow me to enjoy my favorite treats more often.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

One of the pillars of my Body Joy® Method is Mind Joy®, focusing on nurturing our mind with good quality sleep, healthy stress management and boosting our self- worth.

  1. Get good quality sleep. We don’t realize the importance of getting deep restorative sleep. Lack of sleep is one of the fastest ways to age our bodies. As a young mother and physician, my sleep would often get interrupted by children and / or patients. I felt it was a badge of honor if I could get through on less than 6 hours sleep at night, until my weight began to creep up and my focus just wasn’t where it used to be. I committed to a sleep routine, which included shutting off my I-pad about an hour before bed, using lavender essential oil on my pillow and investing in a good quality mattress. I went to bed earlier, slept deeper and woke up more refreshed.
  2. Start a meditation and journaling practice. We’ve all been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the uncertainty of the past few years contributing to our increasing stress levels. I’ve seen the effect on surging cortisol levels on the waistlines of my patients, along with an increase in their levels of fasting insulin; measurable effects of stress on our bodies.
    I advise my patients to identify their stressors, then decide to either ditch them, accept them, or change how they perceive them. This strategy was particularly effective in my life during the height of the pandemic. I decided to accept the situation and ask for help when it all become too much. I also committed to daily meditation and writing in my journal to process my feelings.
  3. Get in touch with your core values. In the era of social media, our sense of self-worth may take a beating as we compare ourselves to others. Everyone seems to be having a better life…. Or so it seems. During the pandemic, I found myself questioning who I was and what I stood for. I took a few days to reevaluate my values, to remember who I was and what my dreams were, and to recommit living a more heart-based life. I found a voice I didn’t realize I had and made a concerted effort to educate, empower and encourage my community as we dealt with the uncertainties of life with covid. Looking back, it was a turning point in my life.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying: “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

There is nothing like a genuine smile to lift one’s spirit. Smiling has been shown to reduce stress, improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and boost our immune system.

A few months into the pandemic, I realized that what I missed most during patient consultations was seeing my patients’ smiles. The wearing of masks hid so much more than their smiles. I realized that much of the way we communicate was taken from us and I had to find new and innovative ways to remain connected to my patients whilst keeping us safe.

I’ve come to truly understand just how important a “simple smile” really is.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

I believe it’s all about nurturing our connections. It is how I teach my patients to connect to their Soul Joy®.

Soul Joy® involves nurturing our connection to something greater than ourselves, our connection with our loved ones, and the most important one of all, nurturing our connection with ourselves.

We all need to connect with something or someone greater than ourselves, especially in times of sorrow or disappointment. We may go through times when we question the meaning of life, or when we question our purpose. This is where our belief comes in. It is a deeply personal experience that can be expressed in so many ways. Spirituality enables us to become more grateful, more compassionate, more connected with our families, and helps us to better enjoy life.

Many of us are so busy balancing work and our life activities that we often find the time we spend with our loved ones suffers. The close connections with family and friends can sustain us in good times and bad.

We are finding ourselves becoming increasingly socially isolated, as families move away from each other, and people get caught up with their careers and their lives. Social media has fooled us into thinking that we are connected. We may have several “friends” whose lives we follow closely with “likes” and emoji, but we are missing out on making the real connections.

Here are three easy ways to feed your connections:

  • Schedule quiet time in the mornings, before anyone in your household is awake. This time that may be spent journaling, meditating, or praying, or any combination of these. This time is yours to design it in a way that suits your unique needs and desires.
  • Make time to spend quality time with your loved ones; schedule date nights, or one on one adventures with your kids. Plan a workout date with your best friend so you can catch up on what’s going on in your lives.
  • Practice random acts of kindness for your loved ones. Surprising them with these little acts will improve the quality of your relationships.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

As a woman living on a Caribbean Island, nature is an integral part in my life. Surrounded by the ocean, I understand how being in nature heals the soul. I spend many an afternoon sitting on the sand watching the waves crash on to the shore, feeling the wind caress my face, smelling the salty air. No matter what’s happening in my life, being on the seashore never fails to soothe me and improve my mood. As I’ve gotten older, I feel more connected to nature and more in tuned to the cycles of Mother Earth. Watching the sun rise, or a full moon makes me appreciate the fragility of life and not take too much for granted anymore. It’s deepened my faith in humankind being able to heal our World — as above, so below.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’d love my Body Joy® Method to become a movement, geared towards empowering people to lead full, vibrant, and authentic lives. I’d like to empower more people to take exquisite care of themselves, respect the choices they make, and learn how to heal from the inside out. It’s all about tapping into their joy and using that to achieve optimized wellbeing. Imagine if each person tuned into their innate power to heal themselves and allowed healthcare workers to truly partner with them to achieve this. Imagine healthcare being delivered in spaces that were designed to be safe havens, or healing sanctuaries where their bodies were allowed to heal as nature designed.

I’d like to imagine an era when all modalities of healing are embraced, both old and new, using the latest in science and technology delivered with the utmost of compassion and intuition. The time has come for us to bring the heart and soul back in to practice of medicine.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

Wow. There are so many. Can we get Oprah, Michelle Obama, Dr. Lissa Rankin and Mother Teresa to come to tea?

I’d love to discuss my views with them. Hear how they would handle the issues I face. I’d love to chat about life, love, wellness, our world and so much more.

I can imagine Oprah spearheading my movement, making Body Joy® and integral part of all our lives.

I picture her on her stage during one of her “favorite things” show, saying “You get Body Joy, and you get Mind Joy, and you get Soul Joy”!

Michelle Obama would get us moving, eating more vegetables, and drinking more water. I’d simply sit back and bask in her glow.

Dr Lissa and I would put our heads together, kindred spirits; together we would come up with ideas of how we could merge science and intuition and truly change the face of healthcare delivery in our world.

Mother Teresa would remind us that not all of us can do great things; but we can do small things with great love. A gentle reminder that together, by doing our own “little things”, we can create great change in our world.

Oh, my word, what a tea party that would be!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I’d love to hear from your readers. They can find me on :

My website: https://tanyabeaubrun.com/

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/SatyaIntegrativeMed/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drtanyabeaubrun/

LinkedIn : https://www.linkedin.com/in/drtanyabeaubrun/

You Tube: bit.ly/youtubedrtanyabeaubrun

They may also access my best-selling book, Of Bubbles, Buddha and Butterflies here: https://bit.ly/ofbubblesbuddhabutterflies

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story with your audience.

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