Stress and Anxiety

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CalmQuestion: What is the purpose of meditation?

Answer: People are drawn to meditation for many different reasons. Some begin meditating because of a doctor’s recommendation, seeking health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, stress reduction, and restful sleep. Others come to meditation seeking relief from the fearful, angry, or painful thoughts that constantly flood their mind. Still others come to meditation in search of greater self-understanding and expanded states of consciousness.

It is accurate to say that the purpose of meditation depends on the meditator – but it is also true that anyone who meditates regularly receives profound benefits on all of these levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

Meditation isn’t a random or chaotic experience. On the contrary, it is a systematic process that allows the mind to experience its nonlocal source – the field of pure potentiality. That is why meditation can be taught and why it produces repeatable results.

We invite you to experience the power of meditation in your own life by joining us for the 21-Day Meditation Challenge beginning February 20. Registration and participation are free! Join us for a guided Mind-Body Odyssey led by Deepak Chopra, davidji, and other master Chopra Center instructors. Learn more and register here.

“There is no greater magic than meditation. To transform the negative into the positive. To transform darkness into light – that is the miracle of meditation.” ~Osho

Live Like a Fruit Fly

“In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful,worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” ~Deepak Chopra

In his newly released book, native New Yorker Gabe Berman shares his engaging perspective about following our passions, staying present, and practicing active appreciation. Filled with insightful musings, humor, and stories everyone can relate to, Live Like a Fruit Fly will help you awaken to the joy and meaning available in every moment.


An interview with Gabe Berman

Why should we live like a fruit fly?
Gabe: Fruit flies usually die of old age within ten days of being born. Seizing the day is their
only option. Likewise, your tomorrows aren’t guaranteed either. You may have your
whole life ahead of you, but as you grow older, it seems as though less and less time
elapses between birthdays. If you haven’t felt this yet, you will.

Q: What prompted you to write the book?
Gabe: After college, I jumped from one sales job to another. Towards the end of my tenure of
trying to coax people into buying things they weren’t interested in, I hung up the phone
after a making a sales call and thought, “My life is too short for this. I can’t waste it. I
need to live like a fruit fly.”

Q: Your writing style is unusual for the self-help genre. It’s more conversational
and less dogmatic. Is there a reason for this?
Gabe: I’ve plowed through many books in the self-help, new age and eastern philosophy
sections and I don’t relate to writers who preach to me so I vowed not to do the same.
My goal was to sound like a trustworthy friend.

Q: Which authors have influenced you the most?
Gabe: On the spiritual side, there’s Neale Donald Walsch, Deepak Chopra, and U.S. Anderson.
I’ve also made plenty of room for J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, and Hunter S.
Thompson. But it was a book I read as a kid that made me want to be a writer The Spy
in the Ointment
by Donald E. Westlake. In this spy novel, the main character speaks to
the reader in parenthesis as if he’s talking to the camera in a movie. My book is similar
but I’ve made myself the main character and all I do is talk to the camera.

Q: You sporadically quote others throughout your book. Can you pinpoint the one
that means the most to you?

Gabe: I used a quote from Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl. I believe life boils
down to the choices you make and I couldn’t have said it better than this, “We who lived
in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting
others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but
they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the
last of all human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.”

Q: Although you mock yourself for doing so, you make a few references to the Star
Wars
movies. Care to comment on this?

Gabe: I grew up with Star Wars and thanks to the prequels, my young nephews are doing so as well.
As with Harry Potter, I believe people are so attracted to these stories because it shows how
one unassuming person can make such a difference. Luke Skywalker was just a farm
boy with a bad haircut who ends up saving the universe from evil. What’s there not to
love?

Q: You mention the events of 9/11 in the beginning of the book. It’s a significant
day for everyone but what does it mean to you?

Gabe: If 9/11 doesn’t show you how unpredictable life is, nothing will. All the planning and
all the worrying ended up meaning nothing for those people caught in the buildings that
day. We need to worry less and live more. We need to live for today.

Q: Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
Gabe: It’s the same advice I’d give to anyone who’s aspiring to do anything bold. You must
kick the first door open to have other doors open for you. It’s rare that the first door
opens without a bit of force. People are always telling me that they’d like to write a
book. But how many of them have actually started writing? Almost none. You need to
start writing if you want to be a writer. You need to start juggling if you want to be a
clown in the circus. It seems as if the Universe doesn’t budge from your desire alone.
It needs to see some action.

Q: Are you working on a new book?
Gabe: Yes, you can see it unfold at blog.livelikeafruitfly.com.

Read reviews of Live Like a Fruit Fly and order your copy at Amazon.

Seduction of Spirit is our classic meditation and yoga retreat – an extraordinary week of deep meditation, heart-opening yoga, and timeless practices for fulfilling your highest human potential. For the first time, we are offering Seduction of Spirit in Georgia, in the beautiful area of the Evergreen Mountains, this March 20-26. We have a few spaces left in this upcoming retreat, where Deepak and the Chopra Center’s master teachers will guide you to connect to the deepest layers of yourself.

If you’ve never gone on a retreat and wonder if it’s for you, here are just 5 of the best reasons to join us for Seduction of Spirit:

1.) Take Time for Yourself . . to Renew and Restore Balance
Seduction of Spirit is an opportunity to leave behind the demands and pressures of everyday life and experience a week of deep meditation, inner transformation, and blissful silence. Away from the daily needs of your children, partners, and co-workers, you will be free to finally let go and move beyond the mind’s noisy internal dialogue . . . drifting effortlessly into the profound peace of pure awareness.


2.) Meditate with Deepak

Seduction of Spirit is one of the Chopra Center’s most popular events, where Deepak will guide you in advanced meditation practices and teach you ancient meditation sutras that will take you to deeper levels of your spiritual self. The meditation retreat is a rare opportunity to experience Deepak’s wisdom, teaching, and insight; deepen your meditation practice; and open yourself to higher states of consciousness.

3) Awaken Your Spirit
The most powerful tool we have for connecting to our unbounded nature and the field of all possibilities is meditation. A meditation retreat allows you to transcend the mind’s internal chatter and reconnect with your spirit and the truth within you. The Seduction of Spirit retreat is an opportunity for an extended and intensive meditative experience that will take you to deeper levels of stillness spiritual awakening. Once you have glimpsed your soul, everything else that happens in life seems to shine with the brilliance of bliss.

4) Ignite your Creativity
In a busy mind filled with repetitious thoughts, conditioned beliefs, and emotional turbulence, there is little space for creativity to enter. Meditation takes you beyond the rational mind to the source of all creativity: the domain of pure consciousness. As you expand your consciousness, you tap into your hidden potential. Your expanded awareness ripples out into your daily life, and as you go about your daily activities, you will begin to notice new insights, ideas, and inspiration flowing into your mind.

5) Nurture Your Body
Seduction of Spirit nurtures your body as well as your spirit. Each day you’ll cultivate a deep state of body-centered restful awareness with morning and evening sessions in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. During the retreat you’ll dine on delicious ayurvedic meals created from fresh, healthy foods that will nourish and energize you during your stay. You may be inspired to make improvements to your diet and daily routine when you return home! You’ll also celebrate with dancing and laughter and special performances by guest performers, including Beth Nielsen Chapman.You’ll also enjoy time for optional nature walks and self-reflection.

Learn more about Seduction of Spirit and our special price for Georgia residents here or call 888.736.6895 to speak to a program consultant.

Frozen River Small

Tips for a Relaxing Holiday Season

During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in frantic activity that leaves you exhausted, out of balance, and susceptible to winter colds and flu. If you want to truly enjoy this special time of year, the best gift you can give yourself and your family is nurturing self-care.

1.  Do one thing at a time. Give yourself the joy of focused attention. When you’re cooking, turn off your phone, Blackberry, and TV.  Let yourself fully experience the sensory pleasures of preparing and eating your special holiday meals. If you’ve decided to send out Christmas cards (remembering that you can ignore the voice telling you “should” do so), make it a pleasurable ritual. Turn on some beautiful music and focus on the gratitude you have for each person to whom you’re writing a card.

2.  Commit to less. Don’t succumb to the collective hallucination that would plunge you into a mad scramble to find thoughtful gifts for everyone from your mother to your child’s teacher, create reindeer topiary for the lawn, and make platefuls of cookies, candies, and pies from scratch. Choose to participate only in those holiday activities that hold meaning and joy for you and your loved ones.

3.  Communicate consciously. A helpful tool to prevent emotional strain at family gatherings is the Buddhist practice of “right speech.” Before you speak, ask yourself these three questions: Is what I am about to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Find more conscious communication tips here.

4. Maintain a restful sleep routine. While it’s easy to fall into an erratic schedule with parties, travel, preparation, and other seasonal events, you will feel better and actually be able to accomplish more if you cultivate a restful sleep routine. When you find yourself pushing too hard or overdoing any activity, rest.

5. Meditate. Besides sleep, the best rest is the deep relaxation provided by meditation. When you meditate, your breathing slows, blood pressure decreases, and stress hormone levels fall. You go beyond Meditating with incentsthe mind’s noisy internal dialogue and experience an oasis of inner silence and stillness. Click here to access free guided meditation audios from the Chopra Center’s lead meditation teacher, davidji.

6.  Eat warm, soothing foods.
When the weather is cold, limit your intake of dry and raw items such as nuts, chips, and uncooked vegetable, which all tend to aggravate the body’s nervous system and digestion. Try delicious soups, cooked whole grains, and nourishing stews.

7. Don’t skip lunch to do holiday shopping. Skipping meals aggravates both the Vata and Pitta doshas, so stick with regular mealtimes. Learn more about the doshas here.

8.  Exhale your stress. In stressful situations we have an unconscious tendency to breathe shallowly, which only increases anxiety in our mind and body. Kapalabhati is a yogic breathing technique that releases stress and toxins from the body. Find Kapalabhati instructions in our library.

9.  Nurture your senses with aromatherapy and essential oils. In your home or office, use soothing scents such as orange, lavender, neroli, sandalwood, vanilla, orange, basil, or clove. Performing a self-massage with sesame or other natural oils is a deeply healing practice that you can treat yourself to every day. Find complete massage instructions at the Chopra Center’s online library here.

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Interested in more mind-body wellness tips?

Subscribe to the Chopra  Center’s free online newsletter, Agni, combining timeless wisdom with cutting-edge information that will help you get into the best mind-body shape of your life. Click here to sign up for Agni and visit our rich archive of past issues.

multicolored leaves XSmallIn Ayurveda the fall season corresponds to two major doshas: Pitta and Vata. Autumn is considered Pitta as long as hot weather prevails, and Vata as it becomes cold. Late fall and winter are known as “Vata season” because they are marked by some of the same qualities that characterize Vata: cold, dry, light, clear, and moving.

As long as these qualities are in balance, a person whose dosha is predominantly Vata will be healthy, creative, and exuberant. But when too much Vata accumulates in the body and mind, the imbalance may manifest as physical or emotional disorders, including insomnia, dry skin, arthritis, constipation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.

Doshaquizbutton

All body types are vulnerable to Vata derangement during autumn and winter, but those who are predominantly Vata types need to be particularly vigilant about staying in balance. Here are some practical ideas to keep you grounded and vibrant during the cold months ahead.

Follow a Vata-pacifying Diet

  • Ayurvedic spicesEat foods that are warming, fresh, and well cooked; avoid dry or uncooked foods (especially salads and raw fruits and vegetables).
  • Drink lots of warming liquids such as hot water and herbal teas to prevent dehydration. You can prepare a fresh ginger tea by placing a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger into a pint  thermos  bottle and filling it with hot water.
  • Eat more of the sweet, sour, and salty tastes and less of the bitter, astringent, and pungent ones. Avocados, bananas, mangoes, peaches, lemons, pumpkins, carrots, beets, asparagus, quinoa, rice, mung beans, almonds, sesame seeds, and ghee are a few excellent Vata-pacifying foods.
  • Don’t worry if your appetite seems stronger than usual as this is a natural tendency in winter and helps pacify Vata. At the same time, of course, don’t eat to the point of discomfort.

Nourish Your Senses

  • Wear clothing made with soft fabrics in earth tones and mild pastel shades, which calm Vata.
  • Stay warm. Vata is a cold, dry dosha, so it’s important to make sure that your home and work place are well heated and that the air has enough humidity. Since Vata is extremely sensitive to moving air, it’s wise to avoid drafts or sitting near fans or ventilators.
  • Give yourself slow, gentle self-massage in the morning or before bed. Use a nourishing, warming oil such as sesame or almond. You may also want to gently rub a drop of sesame oil inside your nasal passages, which tend to become dry during winter. Find  instructions for performing an ayurvedic self-massage here.

Sleep and Restful Awareness

• Get enough sleep! This is vital for Vatas, who tend to push themselves to the point of physical or mental exhaustion. Read more about creating a restful sleep routine here.

• Learn to meditate. For the overactive Vata mind, meditation is one of the best ways to find calm and stillness. The Chopra Center recommends and offers instruction in a powerful practice called Primordial Sound Meditation, a mantra-based meditation rooted in the traditions of ancient India.

Interested in more mind-body wellness tips?

Subscribe to the Chopra Center’s free online newsletter, Agni, combining timeless wisdom with cutting-edge information that will help you get into the best mind-body shape of your life. Click here to sign up for Agni and visit our rich archive of past issues.

Get into the Best Mind-Body Shape of Your Life . . .

The Answer is Inside!

wayne bannerThis month we invite you to connect to the rich inner wisdom of your body, mind, and spirit . . .

Begin by taking the Dosha Quiz to identify your mind-body type; join davidji for a guided meditation; practice a powerful technique to let go of food cravings; awaken your intuition through chakra-opening yoga; and watch our new video about our upcoming Journey into Healing workshop, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, and David Simon weave their messages together. In his letter, Deepak discusses how discovering and embracing your shadow can help you reclaim your hidden power, while David Simon writes about the journey to the heart and shares a special guided meditation on love.

We wish you a wonderful month filled with peace, self-acceptance, joy, and love.

In gratitude,
The Chopra Center Staff

Sleep XSmallMillions of people around the world suffer from some form of insomnia, including problems falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting enough restful sleep. Ayurveda offers a healing evening routine that prepares the mind and body for deep, restful sleep. Here are the steps:

  • Eat a light dinner and go for a leisurely stroll after.
  • Aim to be in bed with the lights out by 10:30.
  • An hour before bed, take a warm bath with calming essential oils.
  • Drink a cup of warm milk with a little honey, or try a soothing herbal tea.
  • Avoid watching the news and other stimulating activities after 8:30.
  • Read something inspirational or listen to soft music before going to sleep.

For more tips and information about Ayurveda, please visit our online library.

The Roots of Chronic Fatigue

Lack of vital energy is a problem that usually defies conventional allopathic medicine. In most cases, if you go to a doctor complaining of nagging fatigue and flagging enthusiasm for life, you will have a series of blood tests to rule out the diseases that sometimes cause these symptoms. The chances are high that the tests will come back normal and your physician will not be able to diagnose your problem. You still feel tired and are now probably extremely frustrated as well.

Ayurveda offers a natural approach to healing fatigue that goes beyond the limitations of modern medicine. From the Ayurvedic perspective, fatigue represents a lack of integration between body, mind, and spirit. Due to accumulated toxins in the mind-body system, the life force is unable to flow freely, commonly resulting in fatigue, chronic pain, weak digestion, depression, and other disorders.

Fortunately, vital energy is the core of our being, and the solution to all of these imbalances is dissolving the accumulated toxins and allowing the life force to flow from its source deep within ourselves to every aspect of our lives.

Restoring Your Energy and Balance

The key to freeing the circulation of vital energy is identifying the patterns of behavior that are disharmonious with your own individual nature. The lifestyle choices that are well suited for one person may be inappropriate for another. Understanding your unique mind-body type or dosha, and learning how to make choices to reestablish balance is crucial. For example, someone with a Kapha imbalance may need to add or intensify their exercise routine, while a fatigued Vata – the dosha with the propensity for overdoing things to the point of exhaustion – may need to spend more time relaxing and substituting gentler exercise for the endurance sports that tend to attract Vatas.

While it’s important to get a standard medical evaluation to rule out common physical causes of fatigue, such as thyroid or hormonal imbalances, disease is rarely the underlying cause. There are almost always other important issues impeding a person’s vitality, so it’s important to ask yourself a lot of questions and understand what was happening in your life when your energy began to wane, including:

    • Am I happy and enthusiastic about my job?
    • Do I like and respect the people I work with? Do they like and respect me?
    • How is my appetite? What am I eating?
    • Am I exercising regularly?
    • How is my elimination?
    • How well am I sleeping at night?
    • Are my most intimate relationships nourishing?
    • Can I openly communicate my feelings and needs to my family and friends?

Based on your understanding of your mind-body type and your responses to these questions, you can take steps to eliminate the toxins that are preventing you from experiencing the flow of vital energy and joy in your life. As you release the physical and emotional toxins, you will gradually but steadily recapture the vitality you have been missing.


If you are coping with fatigue, emotional turmoil or physical illness, The Chopra Center’s Perfect Health program will help you heal. At Perfect Health, you will spend six days in our beautiful, compassionate setting, where you will be immersed in nourishing treatments and guided in a personalized healing plan that will give you immediate and long-term benefits. To learn more, please call toll-free at 888.424.6772 x1639 or +1.760.494.1600 x1639 or ask your question here.

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