Happy Mind, Happy Life

Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day. A science-backed guide to a calmer, happier you.

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Why You Should Stop Focusing on Sleep, How To Listen To Your Body & The True Meaning of Yoga with Sadhguru

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  June 21, 2023

My guest this week is Sadhguru, a yogi, mystic and visionary, who has been named one of India’s 50 most influential people. He is the world’s most-watched yogi, he has more than 20 million followers on social media and more than a billion views on his YouTube channel, where he regularly shares guided meditations, wisdom, stories and guidance for living a more contented and meaningful life.

He has written two New York Times bestselling books, has been a lead speaker at the United Nations General Assembly, a special invitee at TED and has also founded the Isha Foundation, a volunteer-run social outreach organisation, that aims to improve mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing for all.

I start off this conversation asking Sadhguru for his perspective on the current sleep loss epidemic and I think his thoughts on this topic, may surprise you. Instead of focussing on sleep, Sadhguru actually wants us to widen our consciousness and concentrate on what really matters – being awake for life.

He also explains the importance of living life, more through perception rather than expression, and why he has managed to thrive on only 2-3 hours sleep a night, for much of his adult life.

Sadhguru is keen to encourage people to become more in tune with their own bodies. He believes that instead of always looking to external ‘experts’, we should spend time cultivating our own inner expertise.

Listen to your body, he says. What is it telling you? External input is not intelligence, it’s merely information. When it comes to what or when to eat, when or how much to sleep, our prescription should be what feels right and what makes us feel alive.

Having said that, he does share a few universal principles, that he thinks will help people thrive.  For example, it’s better not to eat within three to four hours of bed and that we should try and eat fresh food, not food prepared hours, days or even weeks earlier, because in his opinion, this can lead to inertia, in body and in mind.

We also talk about modern, allopathic medicine and how that fits alongside more holistic, traditional modalities like Ayurveda. We both agree that while modern medicine can be an effective solution for infection and injury, it is at its core, best at emergency care not health care. And that most chronic illness comes as a result of our collective modern lifestyles – things like diet, environment and stress.

Sadhguru believes that stress is absolutely not a given in modern life and claims that he could put himself through any situation and ‘stay intact physically, emotionally and mentally’. 

He also explains the true meaning of yoga – more than a series of postures, it’s a way of understanding the world. Yoga means union, and we are in union with every other organism in the living world. 

This podcast is a little different from my usual episodes. Sadhguru introduces some challenging, unusual ideas and turns them into compelling arguments for living a yogic, united life. It’s an engaging conversation with a charismatic guest – I hope you enjoy listening.

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*

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Watch the video version of the conversation here:

Find out more about Sadhguru

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*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

†Disclosure: All books marked with a † are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We take part in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon’s website. You are not charged any extra by using these links to purchase books.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP