Art of Living Retreat Center - A Mindful September

Articles We Love: A Mindful September

By Paige Reist
September 14, 2017

Art of Living Retreat Center - A Mindful September


September is a month of new beginnings and opportunities, and in the spirit of the season, the Art of Living Retreat Center blog is excited to share our new series: Articles We Love. We’ve combed the web so you don’t have to, finding nuggets of wisdom, empowerment, and motivation for your mid-month boost. The articles we love this month address activism, aging, and rewiring our thoughts for a more mindful approach to health and wellness.


Silence the Voice In Your Head that Keeps Sabotaging Your Health

Kathleen Trotter for Huffington Post

As the year begins to wane, it’s easy to lose steam on your health and wellness routine.
In this wonderful article, Kathleen Trotter talks about how to overcome ‘brain propaganda’, or the self-defeating thoughts that are keeping us from following through with our health resolutions.


“Create a life in which you are loyal to yourself. Become your compassionate best friend — someone who wants you to become the best version of yourself that you can be. Someone who encourages you to learn from your experiences, but also does not fan feelings of body shame, self-hate, and brain propaganda.”


8 Steps Yogis Can Take to Turn Political Anxiety Into Mindful Activism

Larissa Hall Carlson for Yoga Journal

The world is a tumultuous place right now, and sometimes it feels as though balancing self-care and care for others is an impossible task to take on. Larissa Hall speaks on the beauty and necessity of shifting our personal yoga practice and sankalpa to a more community-minded focus.


“Able, dedicated yogis are taking action: maintaining enough yoga practice for daily self-care, stress reduction, mental clarity, and overall health, then getting off the mat and serving society directly. 


‘I thought it was now or never’ – how I got fit after turning 50

Michelle Hather for The Guardian


It’s never too late to take control of your health. Michelle Hather began her yoga practice after 50, and shares her story on how it transformed her health, her mind, and her outlook.


“I can slide my hands under the soles of my feet without bending my knees. I can hold a plank for more than a minute, run for a bus (and catch it), stand on my head – and very, very nearly do the splits. And yet 18 months ago, I couldn’t paint my own toenails.”


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: activism , aging , art of living , art of living retreat center , fall , mindfulness , wisdom , yoga

In House: Medha Garud on Ayurveda and Spinal Care

By Paige Reist
September 11, 2017

Art of Living Retreat Center


In her work as a physical therapist, Medha Garud has witnessed first-hand the empowering effects of an Ayurvedic lifestyle. Through the practice of Ayurveda, we have the ability to heal our bodies, rewire our minds, and extend our lives. Read on to hear Medha’s thoughts on spinal care, pain management, and holistic health. 


Health from an Ayurvedic Perspective

The top three ways in which we encourage health from an Ayurvedic perspective are through diet, lifestyle, and environment. Ayurveda doesn’t prescribe a one-size-fits-all diet, but rather an individualized diet plan based on our specific body type. Following this plan keeps us in balance.

We try to live our lives as a yogi might. Yogis are often able to live for a hundred years, but we don’t see many non-yogis living that long. This is because we are so often out of sync with nature. Ayurveda teaches us how to be as close to nature as possible, and how to align our lifestyle with the natural cycles of the seasons.


Living with mindfulness in our environment doesn’t necessarily mean that if it’s cold outside, we eat warm food, or if it’s warm outside, we eat cooling foods. It means that our mental and emotional environments are healthy as well. Ayurveda teaches us how to build strength to deal with challenges, or it empowers us to move away from things that are not healthy in our lives.


Spinal Care & Ayurveda

I’m a physical therapist, and I’ve been treating patients with spinal health issues for 20 years. Before I incorporated Ayurveda into my practice, I never felt that I was reaching for the root cause of these problems that my patients were dealing with. I’d be able to give them short-term relief and advice, but then they’d be in my office again a few months later, dealing with the same issues that brought them in in the first place.


I feel that Ayurveda and yoga hold the answer to long-term wellness, because they address the root cause of these problems, rather than just soothing the symptoms.


Research suggests that different people feel pain in different ways based on their perception of it. When our perception of pain changes, reported levels of pain actually go down. With this workshop, we use the principles put forth in yoga and Ayurveda to help people manage their pain by changing their perspective on it. We’re building new neural pathways in the brain, and building confidence and body autonomy through yoga postures.


We also talk a lot about how Ayurvedic principles can contribute to pain management. An Ayurvedic lifestyle not only remedies the physical presence of pain, but the mental and emotional presence of it as well. We provide anti-inflammatory recipes, and teach meditation and Ayurvedic lifestyle guidelines to promote a holistic approach to a pain-free life. Each person comes away from the workshop with an individualized plan, because, as practitioners of Ayurveda know, every person is different and has different needs. As one of our participants, B. Saccone, said: “I feel more calm, but more importantly, looking forward to using these Ayurvedic techniques to maintain balance.”


Living a Pain-Free Life

So many people have been able to move more freely now, without pain. They’ve learned a more healthy way of life, how to eat correctly, and how to live according to nature. They also come away from the workshop with a new knowledge of yoga postures and mudras. “I am at peace with my body and my mind is calm,” said Michelle, another participant of the Ayurveda and Spine Care program. To change your pain, you must change your life, and through Ayurvedic principles, a long, healthy, pain-free life is possible.


Medha Garud is a physical therapist, yoga therapist, Ayurvedic practitioner, and RYT 500. Join Medha at the Art of Living Retreat Center for Ayurveda Awareness & Spinal Care from Oct 20-22. 


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

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Ayurveda , fall , healthy lifestyle , lifestyle , mindfulness , pain management , spinal care , wellness , yoga

Discover Boone: The Blue Ridge Parkway, Jewel of the National Park System

By Dr. Harrison Graves, MD
December 14, 2016

In this series, we’ll explore the sights, sounds and surroundings of this beautiful area we call home – Boone, North Carolina. We’ll discover waterfalls, hidden byways and highways and some spectacular vistas along the way. Our first post comes from Dr. Harrison Graves, photographer, teacher and local resident. – the Editor


img_8870/blue ridge parkway

Take a journey with me high atop the Blue Ridge Parkway, with fall colors in peak season.

Outstanding scenery and recreational opportunities make the Blue Ridge Parkway one of the most visited sections of the National Park System.


Pass by split-rail fences, old farmsteads,  mountain meadows and scenic overlooks with endless vistas.

To start your video tour, click here:


America’s Favorite Drive

Often called  “America’s Favorite Drive,” the Parkway offers:

  • 469 miles connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah  National Park in Virginia
  • Stunning views, abundant trails, picnic areas, campsites and interpretative exhibits
  • Recreational opportunities for all ages and abilities, from hiking to canoeing to photography

Come stay with us at the Art of Living Retreat Center and Spa. While you’re here, discover the secrets of the Blue Ridge, via the Blue Ridge Parkway.


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


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TAGS: art of living retreat center , blue ridge parkway , fall , fall colors , harrison graves md , sri sri ravi shankar , video blog , yoga retreat

Ayurveda Recipe: Chai Tea

By Eloise Ducker
November 10, 2016


Chai originated in India and the folklore surrounding the tea dates back between 5000 and 9000 years ago. Some say the reigning king created the recipe for Ayurvedic healing. The first Chai tea recipes varied in preparation and taste depending on the region, it was only in the 1930’s when black tea was introduced to the recipe. Here we share a spiced turmeric Chai tea recipe that is warming, nourishing and calming.


Chai Tea

1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Turmeric Powder
Fresh Ginger (grate as finely and as much as you desire)
1 Teaspoon of Cardamom pods
1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon powder or stick
A few Cloves (optional)
Pinch of Nutmeg (optional)
Pinch of Fennel Seeds
2 Cups of Rice Milk (or Almond milk or simply water)

Pour the milk (or water) into your pot, add the spices and allow to boil, cool down, strain, then serve. Delicious.

Some of the health benefits:

Ginger: Aids digestion, improves circulation, boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation.

Cardamom: Aids digestion and supports the immune system, helps detoxify the body and improve circulation.

Cinnamon: Contains digestive properties and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant effects.

Fennel: A source of antioxidants, Vitamin C, potassium and fibre.



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


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: Ayurveda Recipes , fall , healthy lifestyle , kapha , pitta , vata , wellness
North carolina fall colros gallery

North Carolina Fall Colors: Discover Boone

By Andrew
November 10, 2016

It’s fall again! While fall is quickly passing, we did want to share some of the glorious moments we’ve experienced so far this autumn. And for those of you who have not yet made the trip, we encourage you to come view the North Carolina fall colors in all their spectacle in Boone! To continue, just click an image to start your visual journey.
[envira-gallery id=”9152″]


Photograph credits to Dr. Harrison Graves & Andrew Keaveney


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


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TAGS: #DiscoverBoone , autumn , Boone , fall , fall colors , Local , nature

Ayurveda Recipe: Sesame Cookies

By Eloise Ducker
September 20, 2016

Ayurveda Recipe

As we ease into fall and the leaves begin to change we naturally move into a different rhythm and explore other ways to spend time. Getting creative in the kitchen can be a wonderful way to ground and nurture yourself. Read on for a delicious ayurvedic sesame cookie recipe, perfect for dunking in those warming teas as you snuggle on the couch.

Sesame Cookies

Sesame is a special seed, it contains an unusual trio of tastes: bitter, pungent, and sweet. Its naturally balanced composition of heating, cooling, and building qualities makes it a tonic for increasing strength and immunity.

1 cup sesame tahini
1/4 cup almond flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp Everyday Sweet Spice Mix
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg, whisked
2 tsp sesame seeds, plus extra for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 baking sheets by lightly greasing with ghee or coconut oil or else lining with parchment paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the ingredients together in the order listed. If the batter is too runny to shape, put it in the fridge for 5–10 minutes (but batter that’s a little runny bakes nicely). Shape batter into tablespoon-size balls or drop with a spoon onto the prepared cookie sheets. Leave a few inches between the balls, as they will puff up when they bake. Lightly press down on the balls with a fork. Sprinkle tops with extra sesame seeds. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until they are firm enough to touch without your finger sticking.

Let them cool completely before removing from baking sheets and serving. Puffs will be soft when you eat them. Yum!

Source: The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook


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 , creativity , fall , food , kapha , pitta , Recipes , vata , wellness

3 Fall Yoga Poses

By Sejal Shah
October 2, 2015

Fall is the season of transformation. We can see this all around us in nature: the leaves fall, the air becomes crisp and a harvest arrives of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ironically, it is only through change that we can stay grounded during this season of shifts. It is important that we change with the seasons, just as nature does, by adapting a positive outlook and seasonal daily habits, yoga practice and food choices.

Each season offers pearls of wisdom that can help our spiritual growth. Fall is a season for accepting change and the impermanence of things, balancing light and dark, and finally, letting go.

For each reflection, we look at some fall yoga practices that can help us embody this wisdom. There are links for practice details.

1. Accepting Change, Acknowledging Impermanence

“When you can appreciate beauty in every inch of the creation that is yoga.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Every autumn is a chance to revel in the beauty of the fall colors. The changing fall foliage never fails to surprise and delight us. Autumn is a season of transition, reminding us that change is the nature of life and change is beautiful. When we are open to change, it makes the transformation appear with even greater elegance and magnificence.

Essentially, this openness means being open to the surprises the Divine offers throughout our life; being open to change. It means trusting that the Divine takes care of us through all the transitions of life, and there will always be more blessed areas for us to explore and discover.

Autumn also reminds us of the impermanence of everything. The falling leaves and bare branches remind us that the nature of things is fleeting. When we contemplate fall’s changes, we grow more appreciative of all the beauty that surround us. Fall also brings back home to our consciousness the inevitable process of death; this awareness in turn challenges us to live every day to its fullest.

The breath of joy pranayama (breathing technique) teaches us to embrace changes happily and with a smile. It energizes our body and uplifts our spirit. The breathing technique kapalbhati (Shining Skull) helps to purify the entire system by releasing all the stored and unwanted toxins, whether chemical or emotional!


2. Balancing Dark and Light

“Being Equanimous is Yoga.” – Bhagavad Gita

On the autumn equinox, day and night are of equal length. This signals the need to balance light and darkness within us. Far too often, we fear the dark and adore only the light. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Samatvam Yoga Uchayate” which translates to “being equanimous is Yoga.” Being in balance and open to light as well as dark is yoga. Not only is light a welcome part of life, but we also gratefully acknowledge the darkness as a place of silent nurturing and slow and steady growth.

Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) and Veerabhadrasana (Warrior Pose) are wonderful poses to find this balance, accepting challenges and change with grace and dignity. The winds of change blow strong in the fall, but if we can learn to be steady like a tree and yet also sway with the wind, we will be resilient like a warrior. While the tree pose teaches us to find the right balance between steadiness and swaying, the warrior pose teaches us to be ready for anything.

3. Letting Go

Letting go of all effort and relaxing to experience the infinite. -Patanjali Yoga Sutras

The equal division of day and night also reflects two complementary sides to autumn, the invitation to relinquish and to harvest. Autumn is a season that invites us to release and surrender — to let go of what no longer serves us or what gets in the way of being present to the sacredness of each moment. Fall is a great time to practice getting out of the way and letting Spirit take charge of our lives.

As we know, the green color of the leaves is due to a pigment called chlorophyll. As the trees begin to draw energy inward for the coming winter hibernation, the chlorophyll in the leaves decreases, leaving the vibrant shades we witness in autumn, the tree’s true colors. As we watch leaves changing shades and then fluttering to the ground in fall, we are reminded that nature’s cycles are mirrored in our lives.

As autumn begins, it is a chance to reflect and surrender our masks and become more truly ourselves. As the leaves unfold their true colors, let us consider changing the things, habits, beliefs and attitudes that hide our true nature. This fall, let us surrender, let go and harvest our true nature of joy, peace and love. As Patanjali indicates in the yoga sutras – “Prayatna shaithilya anantasamaapatibhyam,” which means, “Let go of all the efforts and relax to experience the infinite.”

Paschimottasana (Seated forward bend) and shishusana (Child’s pose) are the perfect poses to teach surrender and letting go. During the transition to fall, we take on new rhythms so it’s important to take a moment to be internal, bow our heads and get close to the Mother Earth. The chattering mind starts slowing down all its mental gymnastics, and we become restful and peaceful. These two poses offer us that opportunity to go inward and to let go to Mother Nature to unfold our true nature.

Stay tuned for Part 2. If you’d like to connect about what yoga poses help you balance in fall or accept change, please comment below. Also, if you’d like to practice personally with Sejal, today’s blog author, she’ll be leading a yoga retreat in Boone, NC soon. Beginners and advanced yogis alike are welcome. For more online tips about beginning a yoga practice, please check out her ebook “14 Tips for Beginning Yoga“.


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: autumn , fall , yoga , yoga practice

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