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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 satsang

            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

            mlkgandhi

              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 April 19, 2021

                The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

                The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

                Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

                The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

                Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

                In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

                When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

                Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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                1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

                When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

                As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

                That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

                The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

                What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

                Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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                There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

                So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

                2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

                When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

                No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

                3. Move Your Body

                A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

                It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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                So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

                4. Connect With Another Person

                Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

                One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

                Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

                5. Use Your Imagination

                When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

                That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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                And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

                Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

                Final Thoughts

                Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

                Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

                More on the Importance of Taking a Break

                Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

                Reference

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