The Path of Practice: A Woman's Book of Ayurvedic Healing

Paperback | November 27, 2001

byBri Maya Tiwari

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"We are wellness. We are consciousness. That is our natural state. Disease is an imposter."

As one of the world's only female experts on the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurvedic medicine, renowned teacher Bri. Maya Tiwari has devoted her heart and soul to sharing the philosophy and methods that saved her from terminal cancer and redirected her life. Now, in The Path of Practice, she offers a short course in healing and living and reveals how she has gone back to the sources of Ayurvedic wisdom to reclaim time-honored, natural, and spiritual techniques for contemporary life.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer at twenty-three, Bri. Maya was given two months to live. Her doctors' advice: die painlessly with heavy dosages of morphine. Instead, in the middle of winter, she left her career as a popular fashion designer in New York City and began several months of intensive meditation and holistic nutrition alone in a remote Vermont cabin. By Spring, her health and vitality had been restored. Inspired by dramatic visions and dreams of her family and ancestors, Bri. Maya became a student of one of India's few living masters of the traditional Vedas. Today, healthy in body and spirit, she devotes herself to teaching the wisdom practices of the Vedas to help others heal emotional and spiritual discomfort, dis-ease, and physical illness.

In The Path of Practice, Bri. Maya's gentle, compassionate voice instructs you in living life consciously in the present moment, so that you can recover your natural rhythms and align yourself and your inner cycles with the universe. With particular emphasis on using the primordial feminine healing power of shakti--which everyone possesses--Bri. Maya leads you through the daily practice, or sadhana, of a three-part wellness program that includes nutrition and cooking with whole foods, breath work and meditation, and chanting with healing sounds. Encouraged by the inspirational stories of Bri. Maya's life and those of others who have made these simple but powerful practices an integral part of their lives, you will learn how to take charge of your own health. Through Bri. Maya's unique philosophy and practice of "cosmic memory," you will discover your personal, body wisdom and intuition, your singular mission in the world, and your connection to the divine within you and around you.

Filled with illuminating insights, easy-to-follow recipes, and meditations and exercises that can be adapted to different lifestyles and traditions, The Path of Practice is one of the only holistic programs designed for women by a woman. Imbued with the spiritual strength and centeredness of its remarkable author, here is a practical and profound book you will turn to time and time again for instruction, wisdom, and peace of mind.

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From the Publisher

"We are wellness. We are consciousness. That is our natural state. Disease is an imposter."As one of the world's only female experts on the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurvedic medicine, renowned teacher Bri. Maya Tiwari has devoted her heart and soul to sharing the philosophy and methods that saved her from terminal cancer and redire...

From the Jacket

"We are wellness. We are consciousness. That is our natural state. Disease is an imposter." As one of the world's only female experts on the ancient Indian tradition of Ayurvedic medicine, renowned teacher Bri. Maya Tiwari has devoted her heart and soul to sharing the philosophy and methods that saved her from terminal cancer and redir...

Bri. Maya Tiwari is an internationally renowned teacher of Ayurveda, a practicing Vedic monk, and the author of Ayurveda: Secrets of Healing and Ayurveda: A Life of Balance. She is building the Wise Earth School, an Ayurvedic, nature-based facility for teaching and healing in Asheville, North Carolina, and founded the Mother Om Mission...
Format:PaperbackPublished:November 27, 2001Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345434846

ISBN - 13:9780345434845

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I am a Vedic monk--a brahmacharini. Since my initiation in1992 by my teacher, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, I havededicated my life to living in accordance with the naturalrhythms of the universe; to teaching the wisdom and healingpractices of the Vedas, the holy scriptures of India whichdate back to 1500 B.C.E.; and to helping others heal physicallyand emotionally. At my center, the Wise Earth School ofAyurveda, in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, Iteach the knowledge and practice of sadhana and Ayurvedichealing.Because of my experiences, I have a great deal ofinformation--about breathwork, meditation, sound, yoga,and wholesome nutrition--that can help people, especiallywomen, live healthy lives, cultivate healing communities,and help themselves and others heal from physical and emotionalailments. My students include doctors, nurses, yoga instructors,nutritionists, artists, social advocates, inner-cityyouth mentors, and interested laypeople.Wise Earth sadhana teachings are intended for everyone--women, men, and children. Indeed, 35 percent of my studentsare men. However, this book has a strong focus onwomen, because they are the staff-holders of sacred life andnurturance. The aim of The Path of Practice is to evoke, inform,strengthen, and safeguard the memory of women asguardians of sacred healing. It is also meant to help men becomeawakened to the Mother's primordial healing energythat has existed within them from ancient times. Indeed, allbut a few of the spiritual teachers whose work has informedmy practice are men.In addition, I conduct the Mother Om Mission, a charitableorganization whose purpose is to educate at-risk communitiesabout sadhana lifeways and to familiarize men andwomen with the primordial healing power that every humanbeing possesses. I also travel all over the world conductingworkshops for those interested in learning the path of practice,or sadhana.Sadhana is a Sanskrit word whose root, sadh, means toreclaim that which is divine in us, our power to heal, serve,rejoice, and uplift the spirit. Sadhana practices encompass allour daily activities, from the simple to the sublime--fromcooking a meal to exploring your inner self through meditation.The goal of sadhana is to enable you to recover yournatural rhythms and realign your inner life and daily habitswith the cycles of the universe. When you begin to live andmove with the rhythms of nature, your mind becomes morelucid and more peaceful and your health improves. Your entirelife becomes easier.As you begin your journey along the path of practice, youmust make the promise to yourself that you are willing totake a very clear look at yourself. Allow yourself to recognizethe various disguises and false faces that you have assumedover the years. As you come to acknowledge and know eachone, you will also come to see beyond them to your truestself. As you find out more about yourself and your strengthsand weaknesses, you will also learn about your body, mind,and spirit, and their innate power. You will awaken to yourown self-healing abilities. Whatever conventional, Westernmedical treatments you use, you will always be able to useyour own natural abilities as well.On the path of practice, we adopt the belief that disease happensfrom within, and so must any cure. We decide that anylack of peace or disease or illness becomes an occasion to godeeper into ourselves, to examine where we must makechanges in order to heal our bodies, feelings, or lives. We acceptthat our ailment is an assignment, and that to completeit satisfactorily, we must do research into it and into ourselves.Each of us is unique; no one else can complete our assignmentfor us. We can't even depend on the inherent beneficence of the universe to save us. The universe will support us, and will help us by revealing its sacred rhythms. It will help us see where we have gotten off balance and willalways allow us to realign with it. But we have to do thework of self-reflection and healing that fits our individual innerlife and outer life. On our individual path on the humanjourney, each of us is meant to learn the truths of our physical,mental, and spiritual lives that are particular to us andshared by others. These truths unite us to our families, ourtribe, the entire human race, and the universe as a whole.Early in life, I discovered for myself that serious illnesscan offer extraordinary opportunities for healing and self-knowledge.When I was twenty-three years old--at the heightof my personal and professional success as a fashion designerin New York City--I was diagnosed with terminal ovariancancer. Driven by my ambition, I had been keeping a fast-pacedschedule of hard work and parties. I was also in flightfrom my traditional East Indian heritage and upbringing. Myillness would eventually force me to realize that all pain is areminder that we have strayed from the natural rhythms oflife. Yet before I accepted this truth, I became exhaustedfrom years of fighting the cancer with invasive treatmentsand surgeries. I gave up the struggle, left my life and friendsin New York, and went deep into the snowy wilderness ofVermont to prepare to die. Instead, over the course of threesolitary winter months, I was presented with the opportunityto face the changes I had to make in my life. I rested andfasted and dreamed, and I gradually saw where I had deceivedmyself; where I had allowed myself to become out ofbalance.I also wept until it seemed as if I had no more tears toshed. I kept a journal, writing page after page about my personaland spiritual history. Having learned meditation asa child, I remembered how to do it again. In meditation,prayers, and dream states, I relived the anguish of my ancestorswho had been uprooted from their native soil of Indiaand transplanted in a foreign land, Guyana. I had spiritualvisitations from my father, who lived far away, but convincedme that I must reclaim my life and fulfill my purpose.I also had visions of the Divine Mother, the infinitely beneficentfeminine energy whom we can all call upon for help,guidance, and healing. I prayed to recover faith in myself andin the Divine.When the snow began to melt outside my cabin, I reawakenedto the sounds and beauty of nature. I heard deer foragingin the underbrush of the forest around my cabin. Abright-red cardinal was singing. The music of spring drewme out of my seclusion into the sun. It seemed to me at thatmoment, and in many moments since, that the cancer hadknocked me down and stripped me of all my defenses so thatI could get out of my own way. It forced me to reclaim myconnection to my ancestors, to the natural rhythms of theuniverse, and to the infinitely loving, healing light of the DivineMother.When I emerged from my retreat and returned to the city,my doctors were astonished. They told me that they couldfind no signs of the cancer in my blood or lymph nodes. Determinedto live a life of good health and serenity, I studiedyoga, Eastern medicine, and natural farming. In the fall of1986, I met my guru, His Holiness Swami DayanandaSaraswati, a South Indian monk and scholar. Under SwamiDayananda's guidance, I made an intensive study of Sanskritand Vedanta, that portion of the Vedas dealing with self-knowledge.My purpose for writing this book, however, is not to convinceyou to become a Vedic monk or spiritual teacher likemyself. Nor do I recommend that you renounce your presentlifestyle or discontinue any medical treatments that you maybe undergoing. What I want to share with you is my realizationof some deep truths of the healing process that came tome through my own illness and subsequent life course. The Path of Practice is meant to be a guide for all people, especiallywomen. It is a short course in healing and in living. Whetheryou are in good health but want to find a greater sense of balanceand mindfulness, or whether you have been diagnosedwith an illness--be it chronic or acute--this primer showsyou how to make gradual changes in the way you conductyour daily life so that you will see profound changes bothimmediately and over time. You will be happier, healthier,calmer, and more resilient because of these practices. Indeed,you will notice that the effects of these practices spread farbeyond your individual life. Because women have alwaysbeen the guardians of life's wholesome practices, when westrengthen our health and spiritual power, we also strengthenthe health and wisdom of the men, children, and communitiesaround us.ABOUT THE AUTHORBri. Maya grew up and was educated in British Guiana (nowGuyana). Born of Eastern Indian parents, whose great-grand-parentshad emigrated to the Indies as indentured laborers, atfifteen she moved to New York City to become a successfulfashion designer. At twenty-three, forced by ovarian cancer toredirect her life, Bri. Maya left a highly successful career andreturned to her ancestral India to study the ancient Indianspiritual tradition of Vedanta and Ayurvedic medicine. She isnow an internationally renowned teacher and practitioner ofAyurveda and is the founder of the Wise Earth School, anAyurvedic, nature-based facility for healing in Asheville,North Carolina, where she lives. Bri. Maya is also the founderof the Mother Om Mission (M.O.M.), headquartered inGuyana, South America, with a base in Queens, New York, acharitable organization the goal of which is to provide Ayur-vedichealth care to at-risk communities throughout the world.Bri. Maya gives numerous lectures at major conferences,where she has taught thousands of attendees, and as a spiri-tualteacher conducts satsangas--the traditional Vedic forumfor the spiritual master to share wisdom and spirituality--throughout the world to give solace to the grieving and af-flicted.Also a traditional guru and spiritual mother to hundreds,Bri. Maya is called Maya Ma (Mother Maya) by her devotees.She has been featured on the cover of Yoga Journal, has maderadio and television appearances, and writes a regular columnfor Hinduism Today, an international Hindu newspaper thathas over a million readers. Bri. Maya returns to India annuallyfor a three-month silent meditation retreat. She is the authorof Ayurveda: Secrets of Healing (Lotus Light) and Ayurveda: A Lifeof Balance (Healing Arts Press).

Editorial Reviews

"An extraordinary book . . . [that] illuminates the wonderful truth of who we are. . . . As a result, we heal our bodies and our lives on the deepest levels."--CHRISTIANE NORTHRUP, M.D. Author of Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom"Bri. Maya Tiwari's The Path of Practice offers great insights into how we all have the power to heal."--DEEPAK CHOPRA"The Path of Practice brilliantly brings forth the full orchestra of ancient healing wisdoms and practices into the lives of modern women. A must reading for every woman who wants a definitive guide to self-discovery, wholeness, and healing."--ILANA RUBENFELD Author of The Listening Hand: Self-Healing Through the Rubenfeld Synergy Method of Talk and Touch