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

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

by Bri Maya Tiwari


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345434845
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/27/2001
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 471,120
Product dimensions: 5.49(w) x 8.21(h) x 0.95(d)

About the Author

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, a charitable organization that teaches sadhana and Ayurvedic healing to at-risk communities throughout the world. Bri. Maya has been featured on the cover of Yoga Journal and gives numerous lectures every year at yoga and other major conferences. She also writes a regular column for the international newspaper Hinduism Today, which has several million English-speaking readers.

Read an Excerpt

The Path of Practice

A Woman's Book of Ayurvedic Healing
By Bri Maya Tiwari


Copyright © 2001 Bri Maya Tiwari
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780345434845

I am a Vedic monk--a brahmacharini. Since my initiation in
1992 by my teacher, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, I have
dedicated my life to living in accordance with the natural
rhythms of the universe; to teaching the wisdom and healing
practices of the Vedas, the holy scriptures of India which
date back to 1500 B.C.E.; and to helping others heal physically
and emotionally. At my center, the Wise Earth School of
Ayurveda, in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, I
teach the knowledge and practice of sadhana and Ayurvedic

Because of my experiences, I have a great deal of
information--about breathwork, meditation, sound, yoga,
and wholesome nutrition--that can help people, especially
women, live healthy lives, cultivate healing communities,
and help themselves and others heal from physical and emotional
ailments. My students include doctors, nurses, yoga instructors,
nutritionists, artists, social advocates, inner-city
youth mentors, and interested laypeople.

Wise Earth sadhana teachings are intended for everyone--
women, men, and children. Indeed, 35 percent of my students
are men. However, this book has a strong focus on
women, because they are the staff-holders of sacred life and
nurturance. The aim of The Path of Practice is to evoke, inform,
strengthen, and safeguard thememory of women as
guardians of sacred healing. It is also meant to help men become
awakened to the Mother's primordial healing energy
that has existed within them from ancient times. Indeed, all
but a few of the spiritual teachers whose work has informed
my practice are men.

In addition, I conduct the Mother Om Mission, a charitable
organization whose purpose is to educate at-risk communities
about sadhana lifeways and to familiarize men and
women with the primordial healing power that every human
being possesses. I also travel all over the world conducting
workshops for those interested in learning the path of practice,
or sadhana.

Sadhana is a Sanskrit word whose root, sadh, means to
reclaim that which is divine in us, our power to heal, serve,
rejoice, and uplift the spirit. Sadhana practices encompass all
our daily activities, from the simple to the sublime--from
cooking a meal to exploring your inner self through meditation.
The goal of sadhana is to enable you to recover your
natural rhythms and realign your inner life and daily habits
with the cycles of the universe. When you begin to live and
move with the rhythms of nature, your mind becomes more
lucid and more peaceful and your health improves. Your entire
life becomes easier.

As you begin your journey along the path of practice, you
must make the promise to yourself that you are willing to
take a very clear look at yourself. Allow yourself to recognize
the various disguises and false faces that you have assumed
over the years. As you come to acknowledge and know each
one, you will also come to see beyond them to your truest
self. As you find out more about yourself and your strengths
and weaknesses, you will also learn about your body, mind,
and spirit, and their innate power. You will awaken to your
own self-healing abilities. Whatever conventional, Western
medical treatments you use, you will always be able to use
your own natural abilities as well.

On the path of practice, we adopt the belief that disease happens
from within, and so must any cure. We decide that any
lack of peace or disease or illness becomes an occasion to go
deeper into ourselves, to examine where we must make
changes in order to heal our bodies, feelings, or lives. We accept
that our ailment is an assignment, and that to complete
it satisfactorily, we must do research into it and into ourselves.
Each of us is unique; no one else can complete our assignment
for 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 will
always allow us to realign with it. But we have to do the
work of self-reflection and healing that fits our individual inner
life and outer life. On our individual path on the human
journey, each of us is meant to learn the truths of our physical,
mental, and spiritual lives that are particular to us and
shared by others. These truths unite us to our families, our
tribe, the entire human race, and the universe as a whole.

Early in life, I discovered for myself that serious illness
can offer extraordinary opportunities for healing and self-knowledge.
When I was twenty-three years old--at the height
of my personal and professional success as a fashion designer
in New York City--I was diagnosed with terminal ovarian
cancer. Driven by my ambition, I had been keeping a fast-paced
schedule of hard work and parties. I was also in flight
from my traditional East Indian heritage and upbringing. My
illness would eventually force me to realize that all pain is a
reminder that we have strayed from the natural rhythms of
life. Yet before I accepted this truth, I became exhausted
from years of fighting the cancer with invasive treatments
and surgeries. I gave up the struggle, left my life and friends
in New York, and went deep into the snowy wilderness of
Vermont to prepare to die. Instead, over the course of three
solitary winter months, I was presented with the opportunity
to face the changes I had to make in my life. I rested and
fasted and dreamed, and I gradually saw where I had deceived
myself; where I had allowed myself to become out of

I also wept until it seemed as if I had no more tears to
shed. I kept a journal, writing page after page about my personal
and spiritual history. Having learned meditation as
a child, I remembered how to do it again. In meditation,
prayers, and dream states, I relived the anguish of my ancestors
who had been uprooted from their native soil of India
and transplanted in a foreign land, Guyana. I had spiritual
visitations from my father, who lived far away, but convinced
me that I must reclaim my life and fulfill my purpose.
I also had visions of the Divine Mother, the infinitely beneficent
feminine energy whom we can all call upon for help,
guidance, and healing. I prayed to recover faith in myself and
in the Divine.

When the snow began to melt outside my cabin, I reawakened
to the sounds and beauty of nature. I heard deer foraging
in the underbrush of the forest around my cabin. A
bright-red cardinal was singing. The music of spring drew
me out of my seclusion into the sun. It seemed to me at that
moment, and in many moments since, that the cancer had
knocked me down and stripped me of all my defenses so that
I could get out of my own way. It forced me to reclaim my
connection to my ancestors, to the natural rhythms of the
universe, and to the infinitely loving, healing light of the Divine

When I emerged from my retreat and returned to the city,
my doctors were astonished. They told me that they could
find no signs of the cancer in my blood or lymph nodes. Determined
to live a life of good health and serenity, I studied
yoga, Eastern medicine, and natural farming. In the fall of
1986, I met my guru, His Holiness Swami Dayananda
Saraswati, a South Indian monk and scholar. Under Swami
Dayananda's guidance, I made an intensive study of Sanskrit
and Vedanta, that portion of the Vedas dealing with self-knowledge.
My purpose for writing this book, however, is not to convince
you to become a Vedic monk or spiritual teacher like
myself. Nor do I recommend that you renounce your present
lifestyle or discontinue any medical treatments that you may
be undergoing. What I want to share with you is my realization
of some deep truths of the healing process that came to
me through my own illness and subsequent life course.

The Path of Practice is meant to be a guide for all people, especially
women. It is a short course in healing and in living. Whether
you are in good health but want to find a greater sense of balance
and mindfulness, or whether you have been diagnosed
with an illness--be it chronic or acute--this primer shows
you how to make gradual changes in the way you conduct
your daily life so that you will see profound changes both
immediately 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 far
beyond your individual life. Because women have always
been the guardians of life's wholesome practices, when we
strengthen our health and spiritual power, we also strengthen
the health and wisdom of the men, children, and communities
around us.


Bri. Maya grew up and was educated in British Guiana (now
Guyana). Born of Eastern Indian parents, whose great-grand-parents
had emigrated to the Indies as indentured laborers, at
fifteen she moved to New York City to become a successful
fashion designer. At twenty-three, forced by ovarian cancer to
redirect her life, Bri. Maya left a highly successful career and
returned to her ancestral India to study the ancient Indian
spiritual tradition of Vedanta and Ayurvedic medicine. She is
now an internationally renowned teacher and practitioner of
Ayurveda and is the founder of the Wise Earth School, an
Ayurvedic, nature-based facility for healing in Asheville,
North Carolina, where she lives. Bri. Maya is also the founder
of the Mother Om Mission (M.O.M.), headquartered in
Guyana, South America, with a base in Queens, New York, a
charitable organization the goal of which is to provide Ayur-vedic
health 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-tual
teacher conducts satsangas--the traditional Vedic forum
for 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 made
radio and television appearances, and writes a regular column
for Hinduism Today, an international Hindu newspaper that
has over a million readers. Bri. Maya returns to India annually
for a three-month silent meditation retreat. She is the author
of Ayurveda: Secrets of Healing (Lotus Light) and Ayurveda: A Life
of Balance (Healing Arts Press).


Excerpted from The Path of Practice by Bri Maya Tiwari Copyright © 2001 by Bri Maya Tiwari. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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