Updated: Oct 9, 2020
NBHC is honored to have Dr. Rammohan Rao facilitate monthly sessions on Good Living Practices, on the first Sunday of the month at 11 AM, starting Sunday, October 4. We (virtually) sat down with him to discuss his motivations, the cross section of Sanatana Dharma and modern science, and his goals for Good Living Practices (GLP). To stay up to date on future GLP sessions, please join the GLP WhatsApp group and check the NBHC website for updates. At the time of our sessions (11 AM on the first Sunday of the month), please join via the following: Zoom link.
Dr. Rammohan Rao holds a PhD in Neuroscience and was a Research Associate Professor of Neuroscience at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, CA. His research focused on age-associated neurodegenerative diseases with special emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease. Ram has over twenty years of research and teaching experience in neuroscience and has published more than fifty peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals including chapters in several textbooks. Ram is a NAMA Board Certified Ayurveda Practitioner (AP), a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) from Yoga Alliance and a member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Accreditation Council (NAMAC). He teaches Ayurveda and Yoga at the California College of Ayurveda. Ram has published several articles in major Yoga/Ayurveda magazines and has been a featured speaker in several national and international meetings and symposia on Yoga and Ayurveda. He is also the author of the best-selling book Good Living Practices: “The best from Ayurveda, Yoga and Modern Science For Achieving Optimal Health, Happiness and Longevity.”
1. What motivated you to write your best-selling book, Good Living Practices (GLP)?
I am a neuroscience researcher and as part of my research career, I give community talks about health and wellness. It was during one of those talks that I realized the need to do more in terms of lifestyle and wellness. So I thought of putting all the info into a book. I used my expertise in Ayurveda and Yoga by explaining the concepts along with evidence based research studies. The primary reason for writing the book is that optimal health and wellness comes from interventions that keep the emotions-mind-body in sync as one unit. It is important to understand that as humans we are not just the physical body and any associated symptoms but also the mind and emotions. These three entities with its associated tissues, organs, blood vessels, nerves, channels, hormones, chemicals, thoughts and emotions are tightly linked and work in tandem. Trying to correct an aberrant functional pathway with a single drug sets the stage for failed clinical trials. Even if the drug succeeds to alleviate a physical symptom, there is a baggage of side-effects and contraindications. For a drug to succeed without any side effects, the emotions, mind, and body need to be taken into consideration as a whole for any physical, mental, or psychological condition to improve. Sadly, researchers and clinicians have largely ignored the emotions-mind-body nexus. My book Good Living Practices (GLP) explains how to achieve optimal health and happiness. Together with evidence-based studies as well as vignettes from my own life and the life of my clients, I emphasize that optimal health and fulfillment arise from attention to all dimensions of our human experience: physical, mental, and emotional.
2. Can you describe the main points addressed in your book?
Disease, poor health, and suffering primarily arise when the emotions, mind, and body are out of alignment and function independently of one other. I call this a fractionated life. A fractionated life makes you susceptible to ill health and suffering. My book Good Living Practices (GLP) explains how the sciences of yoga and ayurveda may be applied to our lives to achieve optimal health and happiness. As mentioned, together with evidence based studies as well as vignettes from my own life and the life of my clients, I emphasize that optimal health and fulfillment arises from attention to all dimensions of our human experience: physical, mental, and emotional. I utilized my background as a neuroscientist, yoga instructor, and ayurveda practitioner to describe a variety of healthy habits that anyone could choose from to incorporate into their daily living.
3. Was there anything in your childhood and young life that pushed you on your current path?
My maternal grandfather was an Ayurveda physician and teacher. My paternal grandfather was a Vedic priest who taught me several aspects of the vedic sciences (rituals, yoga, pranayama, meditation, six philosophies of life etc). My father was a chemical engineer and a research scientist. So I guess my prarabhda karma brought me in this family and my Samskaras unfolded my path and paved the way for who I am now.
4. Can you discuss how Sanatana Dharma (i.e. Hinduism) and Modern Science cross paths to achieve optimal health?
Sanatana Dharma (The Eternal Natural Law) is a religious order that calls upon all people to live in accordance with the divine laws as revealed in the Vedic scriptures. The ancient texts called Vedas expound an absolute set of duties or ordained practices incumbent upon all regardless of ethnicity, gender, class, social order or sect. My book draws from these vedic texts - particularly from Yoga and Ayurveda - to achieve a well-rounded training program that includes not just a physical discipline, but a proper diet; positive outlook on life; meditation; virtues such as honesty, selfless service, non-violence; purity of thoughts, words, deeds and actions; empathy; patience; forbearance; self-restraint; generosity; goodwill and respect for every being; and most importantly, selfless service. While Ayurveda relies on a comprehensive, personalized program that includes diet, herbals, sleep, an affirmative disposition, and mental exercise to promote an extraordinary life, yoga advocates a lifestyle practice involving ethics, virtuous habits, behaviors and observances, meditation, positive thoughts, and selfless service. The practices of Yoga and Ayurveda are meant to bring clarity to the emotions, calm the mind, and strengthen the body, thereby sustaining the emotion-mind-body nexus. In Good Living Practices, I discuss all these concepts in detail with supporting evidence from modern science.
5. Can you explain the importance of your accreditation as an Ayurveda Practioner and Yoga Teacher?
Obtaining a certification as an Ayurveda practitioner and yoga teacher means that I have demonstrated the competency for the category of practice by completing the board’s approved course of study and passing a rigorous certification exam. It also indicates that I am engaging in ongoing training as a professional through workshops, presentations, teaching and continuing education. The accreditation also helps promote positive client outcomes and integrity in these fields.
6. What forms of sadhana (spiritual practice) do you find to be of greatest benefit to those seeking help?
Sadhana is not limited to one practice but needs to encompass body, mind and emotions. So my suggestion is to incorporate conscious and mindful eating, a daily dose of physical and mental exercise, good hygiene, good quality sleep, selfless service (karma yoga) and nurturing only positive thoughts.
7. Can you describe some of the more common issues that GLP addresses?
Good Physical Practices help us to gain strength and immunity, to feel energetic, and to find life
enjoyable through mindful eating, physical exercise, and “tuning” the body to nurture one’s physical senses. Good Mental Practices which is about reinforcing the structural and functional aspects of the brain can be achieved through sleeping well, mental training exercises, and engaging in selfless service. Incorporating these practices into your life will lower the risk of serious health problems, reduce stress and improve mood, enhance mental clarity, and help you to make wise decisions. Good Emotional Practices help to attain wisdom and cultivate harmonious thoughts that, in turn, reduce mental conflict and promote a fully functional life. The tools that encompass Good Emotional Practices include meditation, the cultivation of a defined set of positive emotions and overcoming emotional deterrents.
8. What do you want to achieve with your upcoming GLP sessions?
While Good Living Practices (GLP) may appear low-key at first, please trust that the consistent application of the tools will lead to a powerful, transformational impact in your life. By sharing the unique message of leading a fully functional unfractionated life, I hope to touch, heal, and inspire everyone. While there are numerous ideas provided in these tips, a reader may be confused about which tools to use and combine strategies from each of the three sections of this book to ensure a fully integrated approach of body, mind, and emotions. The GLP sessions will provide me the opportunity to solve their queries and clear any confusion or doubts they may face while trying to adopt GLP into their own lives.
Good Living Practices (GLP) sessions are held on the first Sunday of every month, starting Sunday, October 4 at 11 AM. To stay up to date on future GLP sessions, please join the GLP WhatsApp group and check the NBHC website for updates.