EDWARDS — The Chopra Center is world renowned for its unique approach to integrating the mind and the body to achieve holistic healing. Its outreach programs to those suffering from physical and emotional pain include everything from retreats at the Carlsbad, Calif., location to local visits by Chopra certified teachers.
The Bookworm of Edwards is hosting Esta Venter, a certified instructor for Chopra Center courses, on Monday. Her presentation, “When Stress Meets Medication: We can do less and accomplish more,” will address combatting stress with meditation and other techniques central to Chopra Center techniques.
According to Venter, “the event will be mostly experiential so that attendees can directly experience the calming effect of breathing meditation. They will also be given tools and tips to use at home to facilitate a committed meditation practice.”
Along with these experiential aspects, themes from the Chopra Center founders’ books will be highlighted.
Although the focus of this event is to help attendees manage stress, it will also further the Chopra Center’s mission to “serve as a global source for balance, healing, transformation and the expansion of awareness.” Venter’s 20-year experience makes her a perfect proponent for these goals.
But her journey to being a teacher for the Chopra Center did not start with a deep-seated desire to discover the world of holistic healing. According to Venter, it instead began with “an unfortunate stress burnout during a corporate career,” after which she “serendipitously discovered the worlds of doctors Deepak Chopra and David Simon, co-founders of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing.”
This discovery led her to the “breakthrough experience” of meditation at the Chopra Center.
Meditation “was transformative and offered the opportunity to take responsibility for my own health and wellbeing,” she said. “Through the practice of meditation I learned to understand and experience directly how to do less and achieve more.”
Take responsibility for your health
The changes to her mind and to her body were so profound that she was encouraged to help other people struggling with similar issues find peace of mind. The most important part of her work is convincing people to take responsibility for their health. It is easy and inexpensive if people follow the right method for their personalities and lifestyles.
Since its opening in 1996, the Chopra Center has personalized its methods to accommodate varying needs. Meditation, detoxification and de-stressing are integral parts of each Chopra program, where people gather to experience healing. In fact, meditation is so important that every Chopra Center employee must learn how to meditate.
“Meditation is simple and effective,” Venter said. “Everyone can learn it and there are many possible benefits of a regular meditation practice: release of deep-seated stress, a positive impact of health and wellbeing, improved concentration and memory, calm mind and relaxed body, inner peace and tranquility, more harmonious relationships, enhanced sleep patterns, greater creativity and sharper intuition, an enriched life — to name a few.”
Because this de-stressing process is simple and non-invasive, there is immense interest in learning to meditate. The introduction of the Chopra Center programs, such as the Perfect Health Program, has exposed more people to the effective techniques practiced at the center. Venter was proud to share that during a recent online 21-day meditation challenge, more than 500,000 people participated.
Other programs range from six to 10 days, each focusing on the gentle, life-changing philosophy of Ayurveda, the “Science of Life” in Sanskrit. The Chopra Center is bringing these techniques to the 21st century, not only through teaching the timeless traditions, but also by adapting them to situations like the workplace. Their newest program is Workplace Wellbeing and Wellness, focusing on de-stressing offices of corporations and small-businesses.
While there are several different methods of Ayurveda, meditation has been central to each way of healing for more than 5,000 years. To Venter, these traditions focus “on the principles of balancing the mind-body constitution and the prevention of disease.”
Despite this practice existing for centuries, there is no quick-fix, or “easy button” to press to achieve a balanced life. Venter’s exploration “has been a long, slow process and still ongoing.” But this hard work has made her a stronger person, physically, mentally and emotionally, a side-effect for which she is “deeply grateful.”
To experience part of Venter’s journey and life-changing experience, join her for a night of experiential learning. To learn how to de-stress from the rat race and find the joys of living a holistic life, begin by learning the methods of the Chopra Center, beginning with meditation and adapting existing de-stress techniques to maximize its effectiveness.
Leigh Bennett Horton is an intern at The Bookworm of Edwards and a student at the Colorado School of Mines. Email comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.