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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 March 21, 2019

                11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                1. Start Small

                The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                Do less today to do more in a year.

                2. Stay Small

                There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                Why?

                Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                Peter Drucker said,

                “What you track is what you do.”

                So track it to do it — it really helps.

                But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                Peter Drucker also said,

                “What you measure is what you improve.”

                So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                For writing, it’s 500 words.
                For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                6. All Days Make a Difference

                Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                Will two? They won’t.

                Will three? They won’t.

                Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                What happened? Which one made you fit?

                The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                10. Punish Yourself

                Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                11. Reward Yourself

                When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                In the End, It Matters

                What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                Keep going.

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                More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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