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An Interview with Bhava Ram

Former NBC War Correspondent Insists: “The Guru Is You"

by Lois Grasso

LG: I am very inspired by your book, Warrior Pose; How Yoga Literally Saved My Life, and am really looking forward to learning from you on the Evolving Conscious Community Cruise this November. What is your primary motivation for being a presenter on the cruise?

BR: I see the holistic cruise as an ideal way for people to take a vacation that will actually satisfy them on a deep level. It’s great to have a relaxed and supportive atmosphere for healthy ideas - and connections with others - to take root more fully in their lives. So I am happy to support it 100% as a fun and healthy vacation.

LG: What’s the primary message or healthy idea that will you be sharing?

BR: By doing yoga together on the deck at sunrise, playing music and singing together, and sharing ancient Ayurvedic wisdom that I’ve learned, I look forward to helping people understand and embrace their own power.

You have a power within you to heal, transform, and manifest your fullest potential. No matter what beliefs you may have about your abilities, you have this power, and learning to connect with it can change your life.

LG: So why do people often feel so powerless and stuck?

BR: It’s simple. We live in an incredibly fast-paced world and we’re stressed-out. We seek solace in all the wrong places: too much food, alcohol, pills, mass media, needless shopping... and on it goes. We’re running away from the stress, but healing never takes place.

LG: Have you ever felt this way?

Absolutely. But I didn’t have much awareness of what was going on at the time. I was a war correspondent for NBC News. I was on the front lines of the Persian Gulf War. Inside Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. Apartheid in South Africa. Drug wars in South America. I was ultimately put in charge of news from Asia, with a stunning home on Victoria Peak in Hong Kong.

Somehow, for the previous seven years of my career, I had managed to keep going despite a crack in my fifth lumbar vertebra.

LG: How did you break your back?

BR: Ironically, the injury happened while I was on vacation in the tropics. I was battening down storm windows when I fell from a ledge and slammed onto my lower back.

Painkillers became my best friends, along with an extra glass of wine or two every night. Then, in 1993, the crack became a break. I hit the floor screaming and was soon medi-vacked from Hong Kong to San Diego for major back surgery.

The surgery failed and I was declared permanently disabled. I was locked in a body brace and unable to sit up for a meal. The physical pain was a constant torment. My mental anguish was even worse. I made all the wrong choices—heavier medications, more alcohol, self-pity, anger, fear, and depression.

LG: What finally woke you up?

Four years into my darkness, a light came into my life. My first and only child was born. He became my only touchstone to the world, but six months later I was diagnosed with stage four cancer... from exposure to depleted uranium used on American weapons in the Gulf War.

I was told I had two years to live, at best. I was given more drugs, ballooned up to 225 pounds and hit the bottom of the abyss.

As my son turned two, he finally became aware that his father was dying. One morning he came to me and said with tears, “Get up, Daddy!” Those three little words cracked something open in my heart.

After my family staged an intervention, I decided to check into a hospital, detox off all the meds and alcohol, and at least die with dignity. It was the darkest night of the soul. Heavy withdrawals. Tremors. Complete insanity.

When I finally crawled out of that hospital room, the pain was worse and I had no idea what to do next. That’s when the hospital invited me to join an experimental Mind/Body Medicine program.

One month into it, I began therapeutic Yoga. Somehow I knew the very first day that Yoga was my path to healing. The cynical journalist inside of me scoffed, but an inner voice I had begin hearing said otherwise. Six weeks later, the clinic closed because insurance companies refused to reimburse patient costs.

I went home and turned an office in my house into my healing room. I practiced 12-14 hours every day. Yoga postures. Pranayama. Visualization. Meditation. Veganism. Fasting. Ancient yogic purifications. Through these practices, I listened to my inner voice, found my power, and aligned myself in body, mind and spirit.

It worked. Two years later I weighed 80 pounds less, was pain free and cancer free.

My message to you is that if someone as dark, desperate and broken as I was can do this, anyone can. My life is now devoted to Yoga in all its deepest aspects.

LG: I understand you and your wife started a school and offer a 500 hour yoga training program as well as Ayurvedic Practitioner training. That’s quite a transformation!

BR: Yes it is. And I have seen so many of our students heal and transform their lives through this ancient science of body, mind and spirit medicine.

LG: For those who might not know the next step to take, what would you tell them?

BR: It always begins with faith. Faith in yourself. Knowing that you have deep inner wisdom, potency and potential - even if you are not feeling anything close to it right now. Then ask yourself what inspires you and let that be your guide to owning your power and living your truth.

Bhava Ram is the founder of the Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts in San Diego and author of the new memoir about his healing journey, entitled Warrior Pose, How Yoga Literally Saved My Life www.deepyoga.com www.bhavaram.com

"Warrior Pose is Indiana Jones merged with Gautama Buddha, a miraculous affirmation of the power of self-healing, a war story, a love story, and a spiritual journey of epic proportion..." Dr. Emmett Miller, Pioneer of Mind-Body Medicine

Bhava Ram is co-founder of the Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts in San Diego and author of the new memoir about his healing journey, "Warrior Pose: How Yoga (Literally) Saved My Life". He will be speaking and teaching yoga on the Evolving Conscious Health Community Cruise, November 2-9, 2013. More information at  http://www.myholisticcruise.com/category/speakers/bhava-ram/?ap_id=wholehealthexpo

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