Wellness

Five things we learned from meditating with Deepak Chopra

Find out what an afternoon with Deepak Chopra taught us about mindfulness and tapping the power of our brain.

Deepak Chopra visits the Chopra Centre in Toronto, 2013.

Deepak Chopra visits the Chopra Center in Toronto, 2013 (Photo House of Bonas).

When Deepak Chopra comes to town you go. When he invites you to meditate with him you run. And that’s exactly what our health team did when we got invited to spend the afternoon with thou-mindful-one at Toronto’s Chopra Center.

In Toronto to promote his latest book, Super Brain, we listened diligently (while frantically jotting down notes) as Deepak shared his latest findings on how you can use the brain to ease anxiety, calm stress and find true consciousness. Written alongside Rudolph E. Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, the book’s aim is to “unleash the explosive power of the mind”. Read on for five easy places to start:

1. Be present
It sounds obvious, but Deepak emphasizes the need to compartmentalize your day. When you’re at work, be at work. When you’re at home, be at home. And that rings true for technology as well. Put your cellphone away when you’re at work and allocate specific times to tend to it (and social media), “Multitasking is the one skill that gets worse with practise,” he says.

2. Meditate once a day
“There are hundreds of types of meditation, and all rewire the brain for the better,” explains Deepak. He advises making meditation a ritual and having diligence in your practice — even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. “You should meditate once a day. And if you don’t have time, you should meditate twice a day,” he says (which drew laughs from the crowd). Find out which type of meditation is right for you here.

3. Sleep
Sleep is paramount to Deepak. He explains that our brains are actually more active when we’re asleep than when we’re awake. “In the dream phase you download all the stressors of the day,” he says, showing us just how important getting a full night’s sleep is for stress relief. Learn more about the health benefits of a good night’s sleep by reading this.

4. Exercise is key
When it comes to strengthening your mind, you must strengthen your body. “The brain needs physical activity, even though we think of this organ, naturally, as mental,” he writes in his book. By exercising you increase the number of neurons in the brain, known as neurogenesis. Other great ways to generate new nerve cells are being social and learning new things. For Deepak, these are easy ways to keep the brain young and fresh. A sedentary lifestyle allows the brain to become less affective, he explains in the book.

5. The brain and the mind are two different things
“The brain will follow wherever the mind leads,” Deepak teaches. Consciousness is what people lack every moment they are not being present. He hopes that his teachings will make this connection more approachable for people. And though some of his messaging can come off as intimidating, the main message is simple: “If you could only see your untapped potential, you would realize you already own a super brain,” he says.

For more on how to meditate from Deepak Chopra click here.