I recently participated in a review of Timeless You, a new online seminar by Deepak Chopra covering tools to stimulate the body, mind, and spirit in reversing the aging process. The program guides participants through a series of practical steps combined with teachings in meditation, yoga, Ayurveda, and other mind-body solutions to “maximize your energy, eliminate stress, and become the best you.”
Timeless You consists of 7 courses each running about 30-60 minutes, and the topics included are Changing Perceptions, A Youthful Mind, Healthy Relationships, The Mind-Body Connection, Mindful Eating, and Joyful Excercise. Each course is broken down into a number of steps presented through text and text-based exercises, video, audio tracks, downloadable PDFs and printable affirmations, charts, and checklists, along with questionnaires and an interactive forum. I found the format impressive, being someone who had never taken a online seminar of this nature before.
The first step, Changing Perceptions, is perhaps the most important one of all, and it forms the basis for the entire Eastern approach to body, mind and spirit. Chopra says, “For generations, we have been conditioned to believe that aging means progressive decline.” However, scientific studies show that this need not be the case. Our mind is the key. The Indian system of health and well-being, Ayurveda, teaches that “What you see, you become.” In this way, if we think growing older will result in decline, that is exactly what will happen. If we think differently, if we understand how to change our perceptions and use some simple methods to improve our health, we can reverse the aging process. And by at least 10 years, according to Chopra. The idea is to achieve a “timeless mind”, an idea Chopra has long promoted.
The seminar includes some simple breathing meditations, yoga exercises, and tips on how to maintain a proper diet. Much of the material I was already familiar with. But I did get some good suggestions on how to fight insomnia (a problem that I occasionally struggle with), and I found the course on mindful eating informative. Although I am somewhat acquainted with Ayurveda, I had not heard of the concept of the six taste groups (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent). The course recommends trying to combine all six with every meal.
Some of the information was common sense. Most people know it’s a good idea to drink lots of water each day. Likewise, that activities such as reading, taking a class, learning a language, travel, and so on, will stimulate the mind. While some concepts, like “synchrodestiny” (“coincidences that open us up to possibilities”) are unique to Chopra’s core teachings, a great deal of the material is available elsewhere on television and on the Internet – and at no charge. Almost any day of the week, you can find the same information on such television programs as Dr. Oz, Katie, PBS, and various cable shows.
I’ve mentioned several times on this blog that I feel Deepak Chopra is criticized a bit unfairly. Some people see him as little more than a huckster padding traditional teachings with New Age mumbo-jumbo. Well, he is a commercial enterprise, and to be successful you must reach a broad audience, which may not be possible if you don’t water-down or simplify the material to some degree. On the other hand, in his frequent role as a TV pundit, he offers a viewpoint, based on Eastern wisdom, that is an alternative to the prevailing Judeo-Christian perspective that is often polarizing and in recent years has become rather ugly. In other words, he’s helping to raise awareness about Eastern philosophy and how its methods can transform lives, and that’s a good thing. Plus, I think he is sincere in his desire to help people
Overall, I think the same can be said about the Timeless You seminar. It seems designed for folks who have had little or no exposure to these concepts. In such cases, if the seminar helps raise their awareness about the Eastern approach to mind-body wellness and helps encourage them to explore the subject further, and since that can only benefit their life, I’d say the seminar is worth the cost of the $29.99 tuition. At the same time, because the material is so general and simplistic, and readily available in other formats, I can’t wholeheartedly endorse it. The one real benefit of the seminar seems to me that you can find this information organized in one place and presented in an engaging manner.
In the interest of full disclosure, I feel I should say that I am receiving a very small remuneration in the form of a Amazon gift certificate for the time I spent taking and reviewing the seminar. I used to frequently participate in surveys and focus groups for which I would receive a fee. It was a nice way to pick up some extra cash. However, my motivation here was primarily to have a new experience and to expose myself to a more secular presentation of mind-body teachings, an approach I have thoughts about and will address in future posts.