Food & Happiness - Art of Living Retreat Center

How Food Affects Your Happiness

By Margaret Paul
June 16, 2018

Food & Happiness - Art of Living Retreat Center


This past May, the Art of Living Retreat Center hosted Dr. Margaret Paul for Inner Bonding, a weekend of transformative healing. Here, she speaks about how your diet is an essential ingredient to happiness. 


There’s so much unhealthy food that is normalized in our culture, and people don’t realize that it lowers their vibrancy. Food, alcohol, and drugs are addictive for those of us who don’t know how to manage our feelings. Anxiety, depression, anger, loneliness, helplessness, heartbreak, shame, and guilt can be completely overwhelming. We don’t know how to learn from our feelings, or to lovingly manage them, which is how people become dependent on these things to live their everyday lives. But instead of providing relief, this unhealthy food contributes to illness, anxiety, and depression.


How bad food lowers your vibrancy

When people eat junk food, it disrupts the microbial gut flora, and the toxicity that that process creates actually goes right up into the brain. This process can actually create anxiety and depression. It becomes a vicious cycle, and people have no idea what else to do. Their medication doesn’t work for them. They feel stuck. Their frequency is lowered.


The body-spirit connection

I was a sickly child, and I just hated being sick. So in my early 20s, I started reading everything that I could about health. I threw out everything in my kitchen, and started eating all organic, all fresh. I was the health food nut, and that was 56 years ago. I’m 78 now, and I have unbelievable health, so much energy, no arthritis, no brain degeneration. Not only does this help my body, but it helps me connect to spirit.


Even though I was eating well, it wasn’t an automatic connection to spirit. It was the intention to learn that really opened things up. Eating well and being open to learning helps you vibrate on a more spiritual frequency.


Inner bonding

With my Inner Bonding Process, you learn to make decisions that love your body. So now, when someone brings in yummy, sugary stuff, which I used to eat all the time, my higher brain says “you know, i love you too much to eat this.” I love being connected to my higher guidance. I know that if I eat this, my vibrancy, my health, everything is going to tank. I don’t even have a problem refusing poor food.


Dr. Margaret Paul is a bestselling author and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, and the related SelfQuest® self-healing online program – recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including Oprah. Margaret holds a PhD in psychology, is a relationship expert, public speaker, consultant and artist. She has successfully worked with thousands and taught classes and seminars for over 50 years.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: Detox , diet , food , happiness , spirituality , weight-loss
Nature of the Yogi - Art of Living

The Practice: Sri Sri on the Nature of the Yogi

January 8, 2018

Nature of the Yogi - Art of Living

Yoga is so much more than exercise — it’s a way of being. Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shares his thoughts on the far-reaching impact of yoga on the body, mind, and spirit, and the true nature of the Yogi. 


A disease-free body, a violence-free society, a confusion-free mind, a inhibition-free intellect, a trauma-free memory, a sorrow-free soul and a quiver-free breath is the impact that Yoga can make on your life.


More than the body

If you claim that you are a Yogi, then you should have an undying smile on your face. I would say, that is the sign of a Yogi. Yoga makes your emotions softer and more peaceful, and you blossom in your emotions. It brings freedom in your expression and your thought patterns. These are the real signs of Yoga. It is not just to do with the flexibility of the body. Of course, that too is a part of Yoga. The body becomes flexible, and the mind grows in faith and conviction. If all this happens, know that it is the gift of Yoga, and consider yourself as a Yogi.


The path of the Yogi

Many people think of the eight limbs of Yoga as a step-wise process to go level by level. They think that one has to strive to become proficient in one level before ascending to the next. This is not really so. I would say that all these eight limbs or aspects of Yoga are woven together and happen simultaneously.


When a child is conceived in the womb, then all its organs are formed together. It is not that first the feet are formed and then the arms take shape. No, it is not so. All the limbs and organs develop together. This is why we must take all these eight aspects or limbs of Yoga together at every step. Only then can we experience the fullness and totality of Yoga, and can bring about an extraordinary transformation and experience in our life.

Join one of our upcoming yoga retreats and feel for yourself the power and light of the eight-limbed path.

This article first appeared on


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TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , healthy lifestyle , sri sri ravi shankar , weight-loss , wellness , yoga , yoga practice , yoga retreat , yogi

Wellness, Naturally: Health Benefits of Ginger

January 4, 2018



Health benefits of ginger

The perennial plant ginger is cultivated all across the world. It is available in different compositions and widely known for its culinary use. However, ginger is more than just a spice that can be added to your favorite dishes. The Eastern holistic healing approach of Ayurveda recognizes the interconnectedness of the mind and body and celebrates ginger as a tonic that can help balance the body. Ginger root also offers a huge variety of health benefits.


Ginger for weight loss

Obesity can reduce a person’s life expectancy by as many as 20 years. However, research shows that ginger may be instrumental in controlling your weight and suppressing obesity by reducing a variety of contributing factors, including glucose and body weight.


Ginger for beautiful skin

Thanks to its anti-aging properties, such as gingerol, this perennial plant also helps to rejuvenate your skin. Studies indicate that ginger helps reduce the synthesis of melanin and reduces aging of the skin.


Keep infections at bay

Ginger’s antimicrobial properties make it a powerful tool for fighting infections, including bacterial infections like strep throat. It’s been used to remedy a variety of conditions, including flatulence, nausea and flared sinuses. Ginger is also an ideal immune support during cold and flu season.


Minimize inflammation and pain

Some conditions, such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, can come with chronic pain due to inflammation — the body’s natural response for healing injuries. The longer the inflammation persists, the more painful it can be, but ginger may provide alternative pain relief. Research shows that ginger helps to reduce inflammation and pain, due to the presence of gingerols and essential oils.


Ginger for digestion

This famous superfood can help you to not only digest your food, but it can also help control and enhance your appetite. A common Ayurvedic practice includes consuming ginger during lunch, as it is believed to facilitate nutrient absorption.


Including ginger in your diet

Leveraging ginger’s health benefits is not hard to do. Here are four simple ways you can include ginger in your diet:


1. Ginger Tea. Relieve stress and uplift your mood with the power of ginger tea. Ginger tea can provide soothing relief when you have a cold. You can boil ginger root in water to flavor the warm beverage for a potent taste. You can also add ginger powder to a hot drink or take an even easier route by steeping ginger tea bags in hot water.

2. Cooking With Ginger as a Spice. Ginger adds a little kick to the flavoring of meats, fruits and veggies. Try enhancing the taste of your steak, chicken or asparagus by incorporating some freshly peeled and diced ginger into your dish.

3. Pickled Ginger. You can include ginger in your diet in pickled form. Pickled ginger is great appetizer that for neutralizing your taste buds, especially after you eat sushi or raw fish.


The health benefits of ginger stretch beyond its culinary appeal to help with skin rejuvenation, healing and appetite control. Using the power of ginger, you can adopt the Ayurvedic approach to extend balance from the mind to the body and leverage its numerous benefits.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: art of living , Ayurveda , Ayurveda 101 , ayurveda cleanse , ayurveda detox , Ayurvedic diet , Ayurvedic Recipes , cleanse , food , ginger , Recipes , skincare , weight-loss

Ayurvedic Recipes: Indian Okra

By Diana Bellofatto
August 2, 2017

Summer is here, and you may be experiencing extreme temperatures and the imbalances that accompany the high heat. One of the most effective ways to regulate body temperature and bring one’s self back into balance is through diet.

Pitta is that which is governed, mainly, by the fire element, and responds well to sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes to bring it back into balance when overheated. Therefore, it would stand to reason that the hot summer is pitta season. We want to be careful not to add too much heat to this already fiery time of the year! Choosing the appropriate seasonal foods will help pacify pitta’s predilection for pyrogenic tendencies.


Indian Okra

  • 2 cups okra
  • 1 tbsp ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼  tsp turmeric
  • Salt (to taste)
  • ½ lime
  • Handful chopped cilantro (for garnish)


When preparing okra use dry cutting board and knife to avoid okra getting wet.  Heat ghee in pan until melted.  Add cumin seeds until they “swim.”  Reduce heat and add fresh ginger.  Add coriander powder and turmeric.  Combine okra with spice mixture and cook on low for 15 minutes or until tender.  Add salt to taste.  Garnish with a squeeze of lime and fresh cilantro.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: art of living , Ayurveda , Ayurvedic diet , Ayurvedic Recipes , dosha , food , health , healthy lifestyle , natural lifestyle , Recipes , salad , summer , weight-loss

Ayurvedic Recipes: Sensational Summer Salad to the Rescue!

By Diana Bellofatto
July 3, 2017

Ayurvedic Recipes - Summer Salad

Summer is here, and you may be experiencing extreme temperatures and the imbalances that accompany the high heat. One of the most effective ways to regulate body temperature and bring one’s self back into balance is through diet.

Pitta is that which is governed, mainly, by the fire element, and responds well to sweet, astringent, and bitter tastes to bring it back into balance when overheated. Therefore, it would stand to reason that the hot summer is pitta season. We want to be careful not to add too much heat to this already fiery time of the year! Choosing the appropriate seasonal foods will help pacify pitta’s predilection for pyrogenic tendencies.


This light salad is a great way to honor your body’s nutritional needs without feeling too weighed down in the heat. See how the seasonal and light nature of this salad provides a tantalizing, tasty, and nutritionally balanced meal as each of the ingredients pave the way for pitta pacification.


TAGS: art of living , Ayurveda , Ayurvedic diet , Ayurvedic Recipes , dosha , food , health , healthy lifestyle , natural lifestyle , Recipes , salad , summer , weight-loss

Healing Journeys of Ayurveda: Amy’s Story

By Paige Reist
April 20, 2017

Small changes can make a huge difference. Amy, one of our recent Panchakarma and Happiness Program participants, shares how much her life has changed since coming to the Art of Living Retreat Center – she’s happier, healthier, and forty pounds lighter!

Happening Upon Health

I love the program. I happened upon the Art of Living Retreat Center quite by accident – I had been battling some health problems over the past few years, actually.  I had looked for answers and hadn’t really found anything that worked.

The Art of Living Retreat Center happened to be about 2 hours away from my home. I said I can drive there, yay! And then I found a program that sounded like what I have been searching for for a very long time. I felt it could be my hope for health for the future.

Become the Person You Were Meant to Be

It’s been much more than a spa treatment. It was life-changing. It has been getting my health back. It has been getting my spirit back. It has helped me to retrain myself, to center myself and be the person that I really always wanted to be. The staff here works with you, supports you and gives you the tools you need in your toolbox in order to go home and start putting those items in your life. You can then start to implement them into your life for the future.

The staff teaches you how to eat for your body type, and it’s not a diet, but a better way of life. I finally feel healthy and vibrant again! I’ve lost forty pounds to date because of the lifestyle changes recommended, and my family of four has lost over one hundred pounds! It’s not all about the weight, though – the dedicated, caring employees here encourage and inspire you to be a well-rounded person.

I am amazed at the simple changes we can make to become the person we’ve always dreamed of being.

Forming Special Bonds

My favorite part of the program was the people — bonding with our little group and the staff. Everyone here is so gracious and loving and giving. I can’t even start to name people because then I would feel like I was excluding someone from the list. But Dr. Lokesh, Medha, I mean, Mary, everyone… People in our group come from all walks of life, driving in from Iowa, New York, driving from North Carolina. We have come together and we’re a family now. And we always will be, because we helped each other through a journey that no one else in our life could share with us. We help each other get through it and we’re friends and family forever, along with the staff that supported us as well.

It’s amazing to bond with people that you wouldn’t normally get to meet or even think that you would be connected with. The people in our group were just awesome. I love sitting and talking with each one of them. In fact, if I had one wish to be granted this week it would be that we could add a week to the program just to sit and talk with Dr. Lokesh, Medha, and the staff. I’d love to talk more with the people here because all of them have a wealth of knowledge, and it’s just amazing to sit and talk with them. There’s just a feeling here of majesty and connectedness that I’ve never experienced anywhere else I’ve been.

Having the Ability to Feel Calm and Centered

One thing that struck a chord with me was the meditation, definitely. I can look back now and realize that in the past I was trying to find forms of meditating, but they were not exactly the right ways of meditation. And when I would get stressed or frustrated I would want to get away and rethink the situation. But now I have the tools to really meditate, center myself and calm down, whatever the case may be. I can put that into practice every day in my life. And I think that’s going to make the difference.

Body, Mind, and Spirit

I came back and completed the Happiness Program, and I am amazed at the simple changes we can make to become the person we’ve always dreamed of being. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have discovered the Art of Living Center. Each and every person here is dedicated to helping others live better lives, and they truly care. It’s like having an extended family high on the mountaintops of Boone. This place is majestic. I’ve made lifetime friends here, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to live and love more deeply.

I have had the greatest experience and I’m so blessed and grateful that I found this program.


Interested in learning more about the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , Happiness Program , healing journeys , healthy lifestyle , Panchakarma , weight-loss , wisdom

Ayurvedic Weight Loss (Part 2): Stress Reduction

By Dr. Harrison Graves, MD
September 20, 2016


In our last blog we discovered how Ayurveda has given us the tools for losing weight and keeping it off.  We learned what to eat and when and the reason why fad diets don’t work. Right lifestyle is the key to successful weight management. That lifestyle includes not only right foods but also right stress reduction.
In this blog we’ll look at the reasons why  stress = weight gain. You will also discover the #1 way to destress —  the stress-busting practice of conscious breathing, or pranayama.

Is Stress Causing Your Weight Gain?
For many of us, stress is a fact of life. Unfortunately, stress is also a fact of fat. “Even if you usually eat well and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weight—or even add pounds,” says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women.

The Cortisol Connection
Few of us reach for carrots in stressful situations. Instead we go for the cupcake or the Krispy Kreme. Why? According to Elissa Epel, PhD, a researcher on stress eating at the University of California, San Francisco, ”We crave sweet, salty, and high-fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals that reduce tension.” This soothing effect becomes addictive. When you become anxious, you start to crave fattening foods.


Krispy Kreme

Whenever you are having a stressful day, your brain instructs your cells to pump out more cortisol, that damaging stress hormone. When cortisol skyrockets, food cravings appear.
Cortisol also drives up the blood pressure and the blood sugar. It encourages the body to store fat. It tells the body to replenish energy, even if few calories have been used up.
Unfortunately, the body will keep on producing cortisol as long as the stress continues. For that reason,  stress reduction is a critical component of weight management.

Ayurvedic Stress Management
Obviously, getting completely rid of all stress isn’t an option. But by taking steps to beat stress, you can get your cortisol levels and your weight under control—and improve your health. Let’s look at one of the most effective tools for managing stress and lowering cortisol: conscious breathing, or pranayama.
Breathing with a Purpose: Pranayama
Both Yoga and Ayurveda, the healing branch of yogic science, have given us the tools to reduce the effects of life stress. Perhaps the most effective (and fastest) stress reduction practice is conscious breathing, breathing with a purpose.
The yogic science of breath (pranayama) links body, breath, mind and spirit. Just as a kite string links the kite-flier to his kite, the breath links the mind with the universal life force, cosmic prana. In Yoga, conscious breathing is a unique way to soothe the nervous system and influencing stress-related disorders.

Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY)
One of the most powerful pranayamas in Yoga is the Sudarshan Kriya, taught at Art of Living centers around the world. Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) is a special breath technique that calms the mind and energizes the body.  Sudarshan means “proper vision” and kriya is a Sanskrit term for “purifying action.” Here purifying means to make sattvic —  balanced, centered and calm.
Sudarshan Kriya Yoga has been taught to more than 6 million people in 152 countries worldwide. SKY has been reported to be effective not only for treating stress and anxiety, but also for PTSD, depression, stress-related medical illness and substance abuse.
A recent article in the International Journal of Yoga, “Sudarshan Kriya Yoga: Breathing for Health,” highlighted the benefits of this powerful technique on the body-mind. The article states, “rather than allowing the emotions to alter the breath (and cause physiological changes which may prove unhealthy), one can skillfully use the breath to transform one’s emotional state.”
Besides reducing stress, SKY helps the body burn more fat. It boosts oxygen and stokes the digestive fire. In this respect, pranayama (regulating the flow of breath and energy through working with the breath) is instrumental in natural weight loss.
For those interested in learning the The Sudarshan Kriya, it is taught at AOLRC each month in the Happiness Program weekend workshops.

In this blog we learned how stress is a major contributing factor for weight gain.  For optimal weight management, we must learn how to manage life stress. Yoga and Ayurveda have given us the tools for stress reduction. One of the most effective tools for stress management is conscious breathing, or pranayama, like the Sudarshan Kriya. The Sudarshan Kriya is taught in the AOLRC Happiness Program each month.

Question:  What is the fastest way to reduce the effects of stress on the body-mind?

Comments? Please share your favorite way to de-stress, using the comment box below.


And to learn more about Ayurveda’s holistic approach to weight management, please check out the ebook: Weight Loss with Ayurveda.


weight loss guide from retreat center


Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.


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Yoga’s Mindful Approach to Weight Management

By Sejal Shah
August 21, 2015


In today’s culture of stresses and excesses, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can be a daunting task. It requires a variety of deliberate life adjustments, and experimentally combining separate-but-intertwining skill sets in five key areas: lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, psychology and spirituality.

Lasting Change
Instant fixes and miracle cures will not create lasting and healthy change. It is essential to be willing to implement simple persistent lifestyle habits and work through self-harming patterns. You must be ready to overcome emotional or psychological problems linked with food, and let go of nutritional and fitness  misconceptions. Weight issues do not happen all at once, and overcoming them will not happen all at once. Weight and food issues are complex, involving the body, the mind and the spirit. Therefore the solution must be holistic, integrating all of these aspects.

Spirituality (Spirit) & Mind
Spirituality will give you a broader outlook on life. With this improved perspective you are not carried away so easily by quick fixes or short term temptations and will tend to make choices which have sustainable long term impacts. When we are connected to our meaningful life purpose, we are more likely to make conscious food and life style decisions. Over time your connection will build a natural self-discipline which will bring you enormous and real freedom. This freedom will empower you to let go of the instant-gratification of unhealthy foods and look forward to long-term benefit of health. By empowering yourself to be in charge of your health and your life instead of depending upon anybody else you will see health as your real wealth and your body as a divine instrument to live a meaningful life. Life becomes a celebration.

Yoga (Body)
Yoga, which literally means the union of the body, mind and soul, is a spiritual route to weight loss – that is why Yoga is such an effective way to tackle this complex issue. Yoga is certainly a means to that end, but not exactly in the way one would expect. Yoga will help you develop a leaner, more supple body not by emphasizing a restricted food intake and targeted muscle-building, but by nurturing an attitude adjustment that paves the way for long-term change. Regular practice of all 8 limbs of Yoga establishes physical and mental poise in a natural, gradual, lasting and organic way. With this poise, you will see life in a much more expansive perspective and you are naturally equipped to make far better choices and handle any situation in much more effective way.

The physical aspects of yoga have become more popular worldwide, and people do consider yoga as another means of physical fitness, but yoga as a way of life offers a holistic package for total personal transformation. More than a workout, yoga is work within! It brings harmony between our body, mind and spirit so that all three function in unison. Coupled with its sister science – Ayurveda, an ancient healing method from India, the practice of yoga becomes easier and goes even much deeper. Combining Ayurveda and Yoga offers a complete system of well-being for body, mind and consciousness.

When practiced regularly and in disciplined way, yoga will not only improve your physical health but also mental and emotional health. Practicing yoga changes the way you approach life, your body, and eating. Yoga shows you how to honor and appreciate your body for all of the amazing things that it can do for you and points you in the direction of wanting to fill your body with the best possible fuel rather than processed junk food. And changing your mind or the way you look to your body and the foods you feed it will be a much more effective weight-loss tool than mindlessly following any diet fads.

Typical weight-loss programs address the symptom (excess fat) and ignore the cause, which is essentially an imbalance caused by or manifested as any range of emotional problems, bad life style habits and poor nutrition. Unlike going to the gym, calorie burn is not top of mind for a yogi. Yes, aerobic exercise burns calories and can help you lose weight. But will it change you internally, thereby causing a lasting weight loss? The calorie calculated weight loss program does ultimately create a load on the system and eventually you will get bored and stressed by constantly remaining on your toes to watch the calories!

Yoga fosters a body awareness and discipline, which is something that goes deeper than calorie burn. Yoga cleanses and purifies your body from the inside and as an effect you will naturally want to put healthier and nourishing things in the body. Over a period of time, your taste buds change, and so will your cravings and aversions. Thus it can lead to healthier eating, mindful living, and self-care. Yoga can make you fall in love with healthy living. All of these things can lead to successful and lasting weight loss. While an hour spent at the gym exerts pressure on the body, yoga helps ease the resulting stress and helps tackle emotions like anger and frustration which often are often the cause of weight gain tendencies. Through a sustained yoga practice, your body will change, your health and metabolism will improve, and your peace of mind and self-discipline will return. A balanced mind and self-discipline are the key components for solving any kind of life problems, sustainable weight-loss is just one of them.

Are you ready for an experiment for 3 weeks?
Next time your favorite chips are in front of you and you are so tempted to eat the whole bag, just take a few deep breaths and then ask three questions:

  • Is eating this pack of chips going to make my life easy or difficult?
  • What will happen at the most if I don’t eat the pack?
  • What is better or healthier option than eating the pack of chips?

If you, like so many of us, have tried many quick fix solutions and you are feeling frustrated, don’t give up.  I am sharing this wisdom with the intention that it will help you to regain your hope and confidence and you will be ready to give yet another try.

Stay tuned, soon I will be sharing much more interesting tips and eye-opening facts to help you overcome your problem. Believe me, every problem is an opportunity and blessing in disguise and have faith that you are never given any problem which you don’t have the capacity to handle and solve.

Much love and peace.


If you’d like to learn more about a holistic approach to weight-loss that combines Ayurveda & yoga, check out our ebook on Weight-Loss tips from Ayurveda.


weight loss

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.


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TAGS: weight-loss , yoga

Using A Doctor’s Approach To Lose Weight

By Debra Locker Griffin
July 29, 2015

Are you trying to lose weight? If so, you are not alone. A new poll from Gallup, shows about 51 percent of Americans said they would like to lose weight, but only 26 percent say they are seriously making an effort towards that desire.

weight loss


As many ways as there are to lose weight, there are also many reasons why weight is gained. In a conversation with Dr. Sarita Patel, she delved deeper into the reasons why, “According to Ayurveda, the causes of weight gain are either internal or external factors like the kind of diet, the food and how we process it. The internal is based on our constitution; we may be eating the wrong food, which the body is unable to process. Ayurveda actually takes care of the internal and external factors. It balances the digestive fire in such a way that you don’t accumulate the toxins that are coming.”


Dr. Patel is the Director of the Palliative Care Program at Kingsbrook in Brooklyn and is board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She has studied Ayurveda with particular regard to pulse assessment and lifestyle transformation. Dr. Patel is also a teacher with the Art of Living Foundation and is leading our weight loss program in September at our North Carolina Retreat Center.


“Be like water. It rises above the stones and flows. Similarly, rise above the obstacles in life and move through them with practice.”


Dr. Patel adds, “Most of the traditional, modern weight loss programs have not utilized the body’s self-healing ability to heal, and, for me, that is a very unique approach that is quite different from what we traditionally do with medical science. Going back to your genetic constitution, you decide the diet and allow the body to heal and lose the weight by itself, thus improving the metabolism. Panchakarma is one way to do this.”


Dr. Patel goes on to talk about the upcoming Ayurveda Weight Loss Program, “It’s not just a 10-day program where you lose weight and go home. It’s basically empowering the individual to take upon those commitments to reach to where they want to be. Taking care of the mind is extremely important. We teach unique breathing techniques that ease the mind. Plus, yoga, massage therapy, meditation and bringing out our creative energy; all of this is going to be part of this program.”


We’ll share more from our talk with Dr. Patel in our next blog. In the meantime, we invite you to begin exploring the Ayurveda Weight Loss Program. It’s set for Sept. 4-14 on our mountaintop. Check out more information about our weight loss program! 


And if you’d like to learn more about the Ayurvedic approach to sustainable, natural weight-loss, check out our ebook, Ayurveda Tips for Weight Loss

weight loss

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.


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TAGS: Ayurveda , healthy lifestyle , weight-loss , yoga

Ayurveda for Natural Weight Loss, Part 2

By Lokesh Rathuri
February 9, 2015

Natural Weight Loss Tips with Ayurveda

In our last article, we looked at key causes of weight gain and what body types persistently grapple with weight issues. Now, I’d like to share a few Ayurvedic tips for natural weight loss. Read on for more.



For weight loss, it’s important to first balance the body’s vata, the dynamic element that dominates the body’s nervous system and coordinates all the movements of the body. If you compare, the two elements vata (light) and kapha (heavy) have opposite characteristics, apart from the cooling properties common to both. So normally, when vata goes out of balance, say if you have joint pain, gas, restlessness, the body naturally tries to balance vata imbalance by adding on kapha (heaviness) in the system — in other words, the body gains weight. And when we put on weight, a natural tendency is to do more exercise, which can increase vata. This can create a hidden cycle where the vata keeps rising, the body keeps adding fat and you don’t lose weight. So it’s important to first attend to balancing vata in the system.



Self-massage with oils is one of the main ways to balance vata and reduce fat. So for those who want to lose weight, I highly recommend to briefly massage your body everyday with sesame oil. Five to ten minutes, applying oil all over should be sufficient. To complement this, steam therapy, such as sweating in a sauna or in a traditional Ayurveda steam chamber (if you are on a residential program) is also very helpful to make sure vata is not aggravated.


ayurvedic massage or self-massage can help you get ready for natural weight loss with ayurveda



For weight management, in your diet avoid or minimize foods that are:

  • oily
  • greasy
  • fatty
  • sour
  • salty
  • sweet (including carbohydrates)
  • dairy (Except for buttermilk; see more below)

Eating these foods may increase the body’s tendency towards heaviness.


Okay, enough with what to avoid…now what to eat?

Generally, emphasize pungent, bitter and astringent tastes in your diet. This reduces heaviness in the body.

Have a light breakfast of fruits. Then, drink hot water throughout the day, which helps to lower weight. As an energizer two to three times daily, you can drink lukewarm water with one spoon of aged honey and a few drops of lemon juice for taste. This will give you lots of energy, so that you may not even feel like eating much. Then eat when you really feel hunger.




About the lemon-honey water: the water should not be too hot, as overheated honey can be mildly toxic and difficult to digest. The honey should not be fresh honey, which for weight reduction is not useful, but rather be aged for at least one year. This aging process adds the weight-reducing benefit. Fresh honey, on the contrary, leads to weight gain. The best way to find out the age of honey is to ask your local honey producers or check the expiration date. Generally, an expiration date within the year indicates that the honey is already two years old.

Have a light lunch that includes some significant  protein. Lunch can be followed by one to two cups of buttermilk. For dinner, have a lighter meal, which can be just soup. With this plan, you do not lose energy. Rather you feel more dynamic, lighter and more energetic, while at the same time losing weight.


The Ayurveda Home Cleanse

Beyond eliminating toxins from the body, the 5 day Ayurveda Home Cleanse Diet also helps you to lose weight. It involves just five days of eating a special preparation of a soup called kichadi, which is made of mung beans, rice and select spices. As much as you are hungry, you can eat this for five days for lunch and dinner. For breakfast you can have fruits.  In just five days, many people have lost four to six pounds. But this diet should be kept for only five days. If prolonged, it does not give such benefits.  But you can repeat this after a month.





You will need exercise also because you need more oxygen to burn the fat in the body. In this respect, pranayama (regulating the flow of breath and energy through working with the breath) is instrumental in natural weight loss, especially a technique called kapal bhati. My favorite is Sudarshan Kriya which combines pranayama with advanced breath-work and is taught in the Art of Living course.


Herbal Supplements

Combined with several of the strategies above, several herbal supplements can give added benefits (or losses;). Like regularly taking triphala at night. Also, Amrut is an herb that reduces toxicity in the body, balances vata, pitta, and kapha, and opens up the circulation in the body. Another useful herb for weight loss is Shilajit. There are many such herbs, such as guggulu and others.These herbs are most useful when taken for one to two month and have maximum effective when used for three months, especially when used alongside with the Ayurveda home cleanse, when repeated monthly. This helps the body to lose weight, then stabilize; to lose weight, then stabilize.

It can happen that people go on a diet and lose weight very fast. But when they come back and resume their normal diet, they may gain double what they had lost. That’s where this gradual program of natural weight loss, repeating a gentle Ayurveda home cleanse monthly is very useful, especially when done along with daily self-massage, exercise and supplements. This balanced, holistic program helps with natural weight loss and with maintaining our losses.

To review, the weight loss routine draws from all three areas of Ayurveda’s holistic approach to wellness:

  1. Diet
  2. Lifestyle
  3. & Herbal supplements.

So having fresh fruits for breakfast, a nice, hearty lunch and soup for dinner, along with lots of water and lemon-honey-water, you will lose weight, but you will not feel weak. This coupled with the cleanse, the herbs, some exercise appropriate for your type and some breath-work will all combined help you to lose weight and manage your weight. We’ll investigate in our next post how some these techniques can also be used to rejuvenate, regardless of your weight management goals.


Also, check out our ebook about Ayurveda Tips for Natural Weight Loss for more insight into natural weight loss and feeling lighter every day.


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TAGS: Ayurveda , cleanse , Obesity , weight-loss

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