Blue Zones

Want to live longer, healthier lives? Live in a Blue Zone or better yet create your own Blue Zone! I just got back from Nicoya, Costa Rica – a Blue Zone, and can understand why people there live longer, healthier, & Happier Lives.

In 2004, NY Times best author Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people lived measurably better. In these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States.

The five Blue Zones are:

After identifying the world’s Blue Zones, Dan and National Geographic took teams of scientists to each location to identify lifestyle characteristics that might explain longevity. They found that the lifestyles of all Blue Zones residents shared nine specific characteristics. We call these characteristics the Power 9. Follow the blog to learn what these 9 characteristics are.

What is your Dharma – your purpose?

“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there in lies your vocation”.  Aristotle

It seems that I have been on the eternal search for my purpose in this life (Dharma in Yogi terminology). The search has been long but I think I have finally realized and accepted my mission, my purpose, in life. As a physician (cardiologist) for the past 15 years, my “job” has been to “treat” heart disease.That mission and all its challenges continues. It has been at times difficult and frustrating.However, I have learned  two important lessons through my yoga life.One, I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing at this moment. When we find ourselves frustrated with what we do, the task is not to necessarily change what we do but perhaps how we do it. Do it with all your heart and without judgement. This has made all the difference.

My second lesson was that all my life experiences, including medical training and  yoga teacher training have led me to my Dharma which is the integration of traditional medicine and yoga to facilitate health.The “treatment” of heart disease or any disease for that matter  requires much more than traditional medicine alone. It requires understanding and acceptance that health is often achievable without drugs but requires active participation,    accountability and desire to be healthy. It requires  treating the whole person – body,mind and spirit.

I now know that my Dharma is to teach all those who I can about the natural healing powers within us and around us and where necessary and appropriate, an integrative approach to health and healing.The goal is the same – the approach is the difference.

 

What is Yoga to you?

What does “Yoga” mean to you? —Do you consider Yoga to be stretching, exercise, crazy twists and twirls, meditation, religion? A  The idea of Yoga is different to many people. For most Westerners, yoga is the physical practice -the Asanas, which are the different postures we take in a yoga class.

“Yoga” has existed for over a thousand years and in fact, it is a philosophy, a way of life, an approach to life. A wise sage by the name of Patanjali codified yoga into what is known as the Yoga Sutra — an eight limb path to attain our ultimate goal of life, Self Realization which leads to peace and happiness.  The Yoga Sutra breaks down the “practice” of yoga into the principles of right conduct and lifestyle (including nonviolence, truth, non stealing, moderation , non attachment,purity, contentment, discipline, self study and devotion), the Asanas (postures), breathing, and  mindfulness.