Exercises from “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind” by Deepak Chopra
Ageless Body, Timeless Mind by Deepak Chopra
In Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Deepak Chopra talks about the ability of our minds to effect powerful healing. He asserts that the power of awareness to reverse aging and conditioned patterns is within our reach. With continued practice and dedication, he claims, we can break out of bad habits, heal deep-seated emotional and physical pain, and even reverse the aging process.
Because our bodies are ultimately composed of “energy and information,” (p. 2) and the mind and body are “inseparably one,” (p. 6) we can train ourselves to create healthier, more enjoyable lives. Chopra says, “The biochemistry of the body is a product of awareness. Beliefs, thoughts, and emotions create the chemical reactions that uphold life in every cell” (p. 6). Consciously bringing awareness to the body, tuning in to our needs, and maintaining a positive outlook, he says, can lead to a healthier and happier existence.
Chopra offers several exercises and meditations aimed at consciously using awareness for healing. I will briefly describe two of these healing practices, which allow you to direct “the flow of energy and information in your body” (p. 96). He first describes a process he calls “paying attention to your body,” which can release deep, long-held stress. During this meditation, you close your eyes and either sit comfortably or lie down. You then slowly focus on various body parts by tensing and then relaxing your muscles. As you relax the muscles, you sigh deeply, feeling as if you are breathing out of the specific body part on which you are focusing.
Starting with your right foot, curl the toes until they are tense, then relax them and sigh deeply. Continue this process in the following body parts in order: top of foot, sole of foot, ankle (flex forward then back), right buttock and upper thigh, left buttock and upper thigh, abdominals, lower then upper back, right then left hand (fingers, then wrist, flexing back then forward), shoulders (forward then upward), neck (forward then back), and face (first tense the whole face tightly, then just the brow and forehead). This process takes approximately 15 minutes but you can do an abbreviated version focusing only on your toes, abdominals, fingers, shoulders, neck, and face.
A second exercise Chopra outlines is called “body breathing” (p. 267). Similar to the last exercise, you focus on sending your breath out of specific areas of your body. First, sit still either listening to relaxing music or the breeze blowing through the trees. As you exhale, allow your attention to flow through your ears. Continue for a minute, and then do the same through your eyes, nostrils, and mouth. Once complete, sit still and listen with your whole body. Next, bring awareness to your heart center, and breathe through it for a minute, allowing your attention to flow with the breath. Finally, sit quietly, aware of your body.
These are just two of many mindfulness exercises and meditations outlined in “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind.” Chopra claims that by changing our conditioned beliefs and patterns and consciously directing our awareness in ways such as these two simple exercises, we can live fuller, more enjoyable, and healthier lives.