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7 Vedic Practices of Highly Successful People

7 Vedic Practices of Highly Successful People

Vedic practices are mindfulness techniques based on ancient writings, the Vedas, which delve into the depths of spirit and self. But Vedic practices offer very practical ways for modern people to move closer to our inner selves. Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Russell Simmons all use Vedic practices to help them stay grounded and in tune with themselves.

Did you watch the interview Eckhart Tolle did at the Google office? He sent out a warning to all of us who are getting so lost in the world of data and devices that we lose touch with our inner selves. This is a critical time–we need to make sure we take plenty of pauses to get back in touch with who we truly are. Vedic practices can help us, just as they’ve helped many highly successful people.

In this article I share 7 Vedic practices that are used by some highly successful people, and tips on how you can incorporate them into your own lives.

1. Yoga for Healthy Body

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    Madonna, Adam Levine, and Sting have all found the healthy benefits of yoga as a means to stay outwardly active, but also to be aware of their inner body. Yoga is an ancient Vedic path that provides several techniques to help bring back our outward awareness and consciousness while still going inward within ourselves. The overarching term “yoga” is much bigger than just maintaining a healthy body, but starting with yoga asanas (postures) is a great beginning to going onto the deeper secrets of the union of human consciousness with that of the universe.

    Tips for Yoga Beginners:

    • Before you join up any yoga class, think about why you want to do yoga in the first place—is it simply to tone your physique, do you want a more thoughtful, deep approach, or do you just want to see what it’s all about?
    • Don’t give up before you start just because it’s too popular. Try to look past the popular cliches, and think about why it has become popular. Keep an open mind and be aware of what’s going on within yourself as you practice.
    • There are many variations of yoga—some are simple, some are intense, some are mindful. If your first one or two classes don’t work out, don’t give up. Try to find a class that fits your needs—they’re not all alike.

    2. Ayurveda for Healthy Lifestyle

    jennifer-aniston-yoga-300x220

      Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, and Gwyneth Paltrow all seem to ooze a vibrant, fresh, happy-in-my-skin look. This is because they’re in tune with their body and their body type, and stay in alignment with it. Ayurveda is an ancient holistic integrative science that takes into account the air we breathe, the food we eat, the energy we’re composed of, and the circumstances we live in. How we process the world around us depends on how aligned we are with our bodies and minds.

      Tips for Ayurveda Beginners:

      • Start slow and simple. Begin with taking an honest look around yourself, the food you eat, the lifestyle you live. Just becoming aware is your first step.
      • Here’s a previous article I wrote on Lifehack that gives some simple Ayurvedic tips on waking up fresher every morning.
      • It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Get an assessment of your Dosha (energy type) which will give you a good start to incorporating Ayurvedic recommendations that are right for you.

      3. Dhyana for Healthy Mind

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      hugh jackman

        Hugh Jackman practices Transcendental Meditation, Liv Tyler uses Vipassana, and Donna Karan started meditation, yoga, and reiki at UCLA Hospital. These are all highly successful people who are taking time to meditate because they know the benefits of meditation. Physically, it helps lower blood pressure, relieves tension-related aches and pains, improves the immune system. It also helps decrease anxiety, increase emotional stability, and strengthen clarity of mind. But the most important benefit of all is that it helps you get a little closer to having some peace of mind.

        Tips for Dhyana Beginners:

        • Start with 10 minutes—it’s important to have a time and place set aside, so you have it built into your day. This helps make it a habit.
        • Don’t look for results. It’s difficult to gauge results when you’ve only started meditating for a few days. Meditation has a slow and subtle way of achieving long term results, so stay with your routine.
        • There are several variations of meditation, and all of them work. You have to find a variation that works for you.

        4. Pranayama for Healthy Breathing

        Russell-Simmons1

          Russell Simmons, Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles are big believers of Pranayama, and for good reason. Prana is the energy of life itself. It is all the energy in the entire universe, sometimes subtle, sometimes solid. It makes flowers open, babies smile, people breathe, and the world to go round. Pranayama is the art of aligning ourselves with this energy, through our breath. When we start paying attention to our breath, we will notice that it is a powerful way to focus energy.

          Tips for Pranayama Beginners:

          • Look for a Yoga class that offers Pranayama as well. For a beginner, it is not advisable to practice Pranayama without guidance.
          • Start small and slow. There is no rush to achieve anything.
          • Pay full attention to what is going on within you as you practice Pranayama. Otherwise, the effects are wasted.

          5. Satsang for Healthy Community

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            Oprah Winfrey is a great example of someone who created a platform for healthy conversations. She went from a newsreader to a talk show host to a cable network owner, all while talking about the conversations that are important to the community she created. Satsang in Sanskrit means being in the company of the highest truth. It is a gathering of like-minded people to converse about the topics that are meaningful to them.

            Tips for Satsang Beginners:

            • Words and thoughts have power. Join the company of those whose words and thoughts are meaningful to you. Try to let go of friends or acquaintances who don’t project a positive energy for you.
            • If you don’t have a community you belong to, create one. Start having the conversations you want to have. It could be a book club, an online forum, or a weekly meditation session.

            6. Guru for Spiritual Mentoring

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              Although Martin Luther King never met Mahatma Gandhi, he was directly influenced by Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. Mitch Albom had Morrie Schwartz. And Henry David Thoreau had a mentor in Ralph Waldo Emerson. Great people have always had good things to say about their mentors. The word Guru has lost its original meaning, but in Sanskrit, it literally means “one who dispels darkness (ignorance)”. We can each benefit from having a mentor who provides guidance in times of spiritual crisis.

              Tips for finding a mentor:

              • Think about who you look up to, who you think walks the talk, or who you’d want to be like when you grow up (whenever that may be)./
              • There’s a proverb: “When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.” Be open and receptive to the people who show up in your life.

              7. Ashram for Healthy Retreat

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              stevejobs

                Steve Jobs went on a spiritual retreat to India in 1974, came back a Buddhist with a shaved head. Not that we all have to go to India or shave our heads, but spiritual retreats are an important Vedic tradition: retreat to the forest. cave, or ashram to spend time in solitude and silence. This helps immensely to recharge, reset our course, and reconnect with our inner selves.

                Tips for Retreat Beginners:

                • As retreats have been popular in modern times, it’s increasingly easier to find one that suits your temperament and needs. Start with one that offers guidance along with plenty of alone time.
                • Prepare ahead of time to unplug completely from your phones and devices.
                As we’re all hurtling through our lives, it is sometimes good to slow down, pause and recognize what we can do better. The 7 Vedic practices I offer here can become lifelong practices with long-term benefits, and can help build meaning into our lives. Consider them, and adopt the ones that resonate with you.

                Featured photo credit: Oprah Winfrey visits Fairfield, Iowa via healingdaily.com

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                Last Updated on August 21, 2018

                8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

                You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

                Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

                When you train your brain, you will:

                • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
                • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. Hello promotion, here I come!
                • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

                So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

                1. Work your memory

                Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

                When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

                If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

                The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

                Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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                Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

                What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

                For example, say you just met someone new.

                “Hi, my name is George”

                Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.” Got it? Good.

                2. Do something different repeatedly

                By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

                Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

                It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

                And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

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                But how does this apply to your life right now?

                Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

                Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

                Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

                So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

                You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

                That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

                3. Learn something new

                It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

                For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

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                Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

                You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

                4. Follow a brain training program

                The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

                5. Work your body

                You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

                Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

                Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

                Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

                6. Spend time with your loved ones

                If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

                If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

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                I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

                7. Avoid crossword puzzles

                Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

                Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

                Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

                8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

                Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

                When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

                So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

                Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

                Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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