How Yoga Saved My Life (Bhava Ram)

How Yoga Saved My Life (Bhava Ram)

Find out how former NBC war correspondent Brad Willis used the science of Yoga to heal from PTSD, cancer, and a broken back.


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**********SHOW SUMMARY*****************
Jump to your favorite questions:
1:01 Bhava Ram’s mission is teaching the science self-directed biological transformation through yoga, which goes beyond just the yoga poses called asana. The science involves diet, exercise, etc. Find out more
3:06 Bhava Ram shares his transformation story from a hard working Type A war correspondent to being addicted to pain medications and alcohol to his current mission as a Yoga Warrior.
6:11 How Bhava Ram lost his identity through his health crises? Based on his own experience, Bhava Ram hypothesizes that one’s lost of identity from soldier to civilian may be the potential root cause to PTSD.
13:36 Bhava Ram talks about his process of self-healing and how his diet, purging, and fasting helped him lose 80 lbs off his body.
16:06 Bhava Ram shares the meditation affirmations or mantra he repeated as part of his healing process that included “I am forgiveness. I am grateful. I am calm and relax. I am letting go”.
16:59 How has Bhava Ram turned down the voices of his ego (type A personality) and began to hear his inner guru? He describes how dropping from his head to his heart has changed his immune system. Find out more on epigenetics here:
20:26 How does one surrender ego? What are some helpful exercises to try? The first thing to remember is forgiveness and that it’s normal to have doubt, worry, etc. Guru is translated as dark light and to remember that it’s about moving from dark and light.
22:13 What happens when Bhava Ram’s ego flairs up? The first is to recognize when our ego is talking to us. Once we notice it, it’s helpful to have a mantra : I’m healthy, strong, and relaxed. I’m putting this in the hands of my higher power. Or ask- “How can I be skillful in action instead of reactive? How can I give up the outcome of that to my higher power so that I”m not controlling the outcome? It’s about letting go of our Western ideas that “I’m in charge and outcomes are all about me”. The Eastern practice is about oneness with a higher power and letting go.
24:19 Bhava Ram draws analogy of daily habits and practices like brushing our teeth that we do everyday because we are convinced of the benefits, and doing self-directed daily practices like meditation as the path to contentment and sense of self.
26:05 How do you arrive in a place of effort and ease? (sthira and sukha) Bhava talks about his early am practice that he does every day that includes a contemplation period where he says “Let me live from my heart today and not from my head”.
28:24 Bhava Ram talks about how he’s released his ego over time and how his main practice is serving others through his work with veterens ( Emmett Miller (
29:35 Bhava Ram shares potential expansion into offering yoga for nurses, domestic abuse, and first responders.
30:05 Bhava Ram talks about service for others and how it helps him move from his head to his heart as it’s about asking “How can I help others? vs. What is in it for me?”
30:51 How do you hear your deeper wisdom and your inner guru? Find your inner voice by closing your eyes and focus on breath and feeling the support of mother earth. Slow the mind down and repeat “I AM” and consciously visualize all your awareness going into your heart and see a golden flame. Allow yourself to slip into pure presence and ask your soul – is this the right thing for me? For more about connecting your heart, mind, and spirit go to:
32:36 Bhava Ram talks about his work with veterans as his legacy and the importance it serves by changing not only the people he impacts, but how it has a ripple effect to others. If you help a veteran, it helps his/her family, extended family, and community getting empowered by offering a self-directed healing.
34:50 Bhava Ram offers advice to anyone who questions whether they can transform from darkness, or have the power to crawl out of an abyss. Bhava Ram is living proof that despite doctor’s who say you will NEVER heal from PTSD, that you CAN heal even without medicines.
38:03 Bhava Ram talks about his profound healing work with the military community surrounding in San Diego Coronado and how he has witnessed Yoga’s healing abilities.
39:07 Make sure to check out the live stream event on June 28th event at or make a donation.

Event with Yoga Journal

Everybody welcome to the fire wcj show We have a really interesting show today We have Bob Arum and we're going to be Talking about his upcoming visit to East West bookstore which is on August 1st so Welcome yeah so your story is Fascinating you started off as a war Correspondent you fractured a vertebrae On vacation which is kind of the worst Thing ever and then and it was deemed by The doctors as incurable He then had stage 4 cancer and it was From the grace of your two-year-old son That said daddy get up that was your Call to adventure into your new line of Work which is spreading the joy of yoga To everyone what a fascinating story Sharing a scientist level now the first To this is self directed biological Transformation we realized through Applying the fundamental elements of the Deeper teachings of yoga texts not just Over postures but mindful thinking and Affirmation and lifestyle and nutrition And harmony with the rhythms of nature And authenticity and listening to our Inner wisdom through these practices we Actually changed the neuropeptides in Our bodies we change our something down To the genomes of our DNA self-directed Biological transformation we have power Ourselves to take charge of our own Healing in personal growth rather than The typical paradigm we have now of

Surrendering to a medical system as user This gives us medications and surgeries And testing And oftentimes never really gets to the Root of what's happening to us in our Local societies pandemonium I'd like to So this is the science they can help Large segments of the American Population is a global population heal To a high degree and also come to a State of greater inner harmony and honor Is the science that you affirm to the Epigenetics part of it so when you're Thinking happy thoughts when your body Is actually experiencing a calming sense That it calms our whole system down that Affects our genes expressions I was a Journalist before that easily an Investigator was my complete ultimately Working my way to a dream job I never Thought of area alone State College and Us background and then I am with Tom Brokaw working or any seniors and I Started going abroad and before war There I took a rare vacation I was in The tropics adding a storm windows Allah Allah and fractured that most in the Spine but because I was little and Because this career come they may define Who I was I kept working because I do I Lose my spot on that rocket ship there Were a thousand people Batsy uh slow his lover for seven years With a technically broken back he's

Still worked after your back was broken To do this was painkillers muscle Relaxers alcohol and I did this through The Gulf War through apartheid in Africa Through cocaine drug wars in South America and beyond ultimately I was in Charge of all Asia Africa for NBC News So my career is this trajectory Yeah in the opposite direction when You're in chronic pain you're hurt by Fear and anger you can snap at people Very quickly their personality is Altered and in 1993 seven years into This I was working on assignment in the Philippines I was living in the home at The time and I leaned over after a hard Day to look at some videotape and that Fractured burden of snacked on the stars On my spinal cord and I album blackout And I had major back surgery failed and I was apparently disabled so I went from This global totally fulfilled life and Prozac and Ritalin and all these because I was buying either depression I didn't Want to face I had lost my enemy I have lost my physical I lost my sense Of manhood and that big masculine I was A poster boy for PTSD and I wasn't from The horrors that I witness on the Frontlines of war which I did it was From the loss of my identity If I marry reason spot be testing our Troops one of the most experienced in The battlefield because 90% of our

Troops are in the back once in the Command control and yet more than 50% of The suicides every day traumatising and So it was on stage four cancer also came Up after the birth of my little boy from Exposure years earlier to donated Uranium used by the American troops in The Persian Gulf War I was on the Frontlines of the tanks that people who Walk with this these toxins and bringing It in started and I throw my body my Doctor said and here's marking along our Study issues that that was my journey Into the darkest abyss of sub painting Anger fear depression hyper vigilance And PTSD and it was just before the year 2000 dawn of the wars – I pushed Everyone else out of my life and he came To me and he spoke these pretty little Words are in my mouth warrior post of my Death and it cracked me open in a place That I didn't really know that I had and All I could think of was I had to die I Didn't respect myself anymore I was drunk every day I was so stoned on His heavy narcotic medication I was Baskets So I be tossed home from hospital after My house 14 years and I was another Story all the peoples in Dante's Inferno What were they saying cuz I'm curious Cuz you know people talk about the dark Night of the soul what were the thoughts Running through your head during those

Dark nights of the song these Hallucinations that looked very much Like the gargoyles Asya Yeah yeah spinning through the air Coming down carrying my flesh and into My brain lying on the floor writhing and Screaming for seven or eight days oh my Gosh throwing up and my whole body is Part yeah at the end of the next one They offer me up entry into an Experimental clinic of mind-body Medicine ancient Eastern healing Modalities and modern Western holistic Tactics I didn't even understand what they were Saying and I grabbed them and I started With biofeedback electrodes just in Temperature your brainwaves your heart Rate so when they played me a guided Visualization mm-hmm and in 20 minutes I Had a different pace in my body ever the First time in my life I realized I had I Mean relaxed I let go of tension I Didn't even know I was holding on to Excited held on for so many years and That's just 13 years of pain ordering Your entire life including the war Correspondent that through those 14 Years of pain yeah you've just finally Today I realized and I started spending This hotel where I was staying nearby This pain center I have the concierge It was my body and what books you read Can you tell me what books you ended up

Reading all the main was by doctor Wasn't I hear of my body medicine and he Wrote this incredible book called deep Healing He's now close colleague and even teach Geography okay to my little warrior pose He's a remarkable man he had been a Surgeon mainstream and he realized that My body was more powerful than a scalpel And again was one of the founders of This and there's the chapters or we had Never met that I swear to you he wrote It for me because this job you said it's Time to get out of your self-pity time To even stop feeling so sorry so and to Step up and take charge of your life and I really heard that that was the second Big hit after ko daddy Yeah I'm just trying to walk them all Without my body brace which was very Challenging because I wasn't stoned and All that's painful it was difficult and I was overweight because I had from all Those years and I was blamed up eaten Like a correspondent who iced mountains Across this desert so they don't think That happened to me he was obese and They said it's time for you know well The cynical analytical Western hardcore Journalist in me said this is okay but This deep replacement had been me said No this is open from eating that book That's what from a little boy started Okay from a biofeedback and so I heard a

Voice deeper inside of me I said this is It and I chose not to go with my evil Voice whoop above earth or this Basically the scream of my soul hmm I Was so stupid even when I had been Healthy broken back cancer I barely makes up for the most restive Your posture and all but it touched me And back to that hotel I started looking Into it and soon realized no does so Much more than what most of us in the Most negative it is we think there's Oscars the awesomeness is a small piece Of this self directed a logical Transformation every Paul you know and I Think that really is ancient texts Thousands of years old my Yoga Sutras of Patanjali your father okay I started Applying all these practices to my life And are blessed this is cutting-edge Science you know those thousands of Years first thing I did was changed my Diet from eating potatoes to whole food Plant-based that means veganism I called Up for him chemotherapy and I fasted and I did his ancient purifications I'm also a deep part of yoga in those Traditions are getting all the acid out Of my body through visualize and fasting For long periods of time took as I Continued to get more limber doing these Poses every day I will happen most the paint Center Closed about three months into it oh no

It doesn't surance companies but no Papers I did three people there two of Them attacked across not all and the Purpose of my posters printed is not Like sorry when I started practicing Other and 810 hours a day only coming up My little grey school back into my yoga Room take about the post down for a nap Back in my room studying these texts but Doing the practices breathwork Fasting or any chemotherapy postures More and more and more and studying and Telling us of a different story about Who I was and I had a capacity to heal I Exchanged self-pity anger fear Depression hyper vigilance or compassion And gratitude and forgiveness and loving Kindness and in this process slowly over Over here almost two years a thousand Pounds of emotional goo and that changed Me dramatically in a two year a by 280-pound slider very manageable and Rare back pain and interest on you spent 17 years now and I am cancer-free Supposed to a maximum of two years when I was diagnosed yeah so the science Works the science transforms yeah what Were the um you said that you had a year Period where you're you know Transforming your thoughts and towards Compassion and love and forgiveness what Was the actual practice that we were Using we're using a specific yoga Practice or is it just meditation on

Those Concepts the practice comes from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali above a hundred Years old text one of the primary types Of yoga science It's called part of the father that is The deliberate cultivation of positive Emotions just now key centerpiece of Epigenetics laughter is the best Medicine I would do mantras just I am Forgiveness I am grateful I am loving a Peaceful relaxed I'm letting go and Another part of this practice was Releasing the ego not trying to control Everything like your type a people try To do some our lives and realizing that If I see the oneness I just and all People and all that yes this is a Universe of the multiverse but we're all In this together we do start to release It you know and we can come down to this Deeper place inside of us I call that Arena Lulu that we all have is profound wisdom And intelligence and insight within us How much we have largely been Disenfranchised I am asking you have Overstated culture you know yaps at us All the time so much that our lives are So scrambled they were having a thousand Thoughts the minute none of them lived To the other one and we can no longer Hear the whisper of argue okay isn't Really a drain from here to here but it

Takes the ocean in practice there were Many times I thought week and then Wanted to it I was here long before Sunrise Ouch also I have a practice so I'm in a Circadian rhythms of nature it's like 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning yes I never Done I didn't want to get up and I would Just say get For that boy that I saw wanted to be Mothers often rather than have a drunk And stoned person and that would give me The energy to get up and go down into my Yoga room into practice every time I got Weak I use that power symbol this isn't About you mom this is up your child Which also helps you surrender your own Ego and look at something larger like And then interesting that means that This works This is science it's not just New Age Sounds nice funny right and you just Things like this you acted to change Your inner chemistry when you're called A relax and in the state of peace your Immune system is incredibly enhanced Because when you're invited flight Driven is over your body your immune System installed you're on hold right we Have to frame this fight is on you're Not even metabolizing whatever good Nutrition putting in your body to your Capacity and when you're in this rest And restore state associated with the

Oxytocin feel-good feeling good medicine Good stuff yeah natural high yeah and Your immune system gets boost and your Capacity to metabolize is greatly Increased your nervousness and anger and Reactivity dissipates you can come Morning the president moment you learn To act skilfully Rather than to react in this process Transforms That's why it's called self-directed Taking charge of your life biological Thing is it's the mental and the Physical biology name of organism Transformation that's you So I have a question um I want to go Back to the surrendering of ego I'm I'm A nut state right now where and I'm sure You've been at this place many times Based on what I hear about your journey Where you feel pulled you had that you Call your inner guru who was calling Here and then there's a cynical ego type A part that's still for me at least is Still that's a little you know sitting On my shoulder talking to me um when You've hit those places what was the Most helpful thing for you to do because I'm at that place right now where it's You know you know no surrender to spirit No that's stupid Don't listen to that where do you gonna Get out of this you know that kind of Thing I understand there are several

Things that are important the first Things to when you get into that more Negative state to forgive yourself none Of us walk on water we're all human Beings and often times people come to Spiritual practice and want to Overachieve and I have to be happy and Show everyone that I'm happy all 24/7 And I have to be in blossom I have to Meditate for two hours day and so forth And we set ourselves up for complete Failure so the first thing is to be Forgiving we don't want water none of us Do We're human beings guru in sanskrit Means are like no interesting and we Fluctuate we're human beings the more That we do practice the more that our Now goes for the life but it's still Going to fluctuate you know I teach this Now worldwide and I practice it every Day and there are times that I'm really In a state of contentment and peace and Pure presence and these times that my Ego flares up and I see myself getting Angry Controlling and so that's why practice Yeah so what happens and you forgive Yourself when you're not okay what Happens when you reach that point where Like up there's my ego There's my ego talking you know when you Said you're tired what what do you do Before we go into those yeah well just

There when you notice that you can just Come to a mantra and say you know I'm Strong you helped the appellant relax or I'm putting this in the hands of my Higher power or what what we often teach Is to stop and think how can I be Skillful in action instead of reactive It's a big switch ok be skillful in Action and then how can I give up Outcome of that to my sense of higher Power so I'm not trying to control the Outcome which is hard for the Western World because we're a culture in this Oriented I mean the individual who's in Charge it's all about you know this is a More Eastern approach to that's about One of us said let me go this incredible Power and strength in peace it's much More powerful than ever as mama showed Us I having the largest and most Powerful him I heard the history of the World of the time lady this country Because he home pace and so when we Catch ourselves this might sound a Little no never Yes they do how do you think that's Changed your life Well my teeth they're healthier Perhaps you might have a little more Romantic time with your beloved Maybe with Yes you don't have root canals and dance With thrills in your all the truth is if You never brush your teeth you wouldn't

Even have a career no one would watch Your show the woman would want to talk To you or hired for a job so your Destiny Would be terrible so this daily practice Of brushing your teeth has completely Changed your destiny social levels Economic professional and we need to Understand that to change our sense of Self and contentment we need to practice Every day just like a brush our teeth Every day most of us say why doesn't why Does the world make my body swim Practice and through the spiritual Practice practices also so long we're Headed that's the trick in the self Directed transformation a belief in Yourself to make a jillion sustained Effort every day yeah I get it I want to go back to your type a which I Can relate to and there's a concept That's called steerer and suka ever Deniz which I assume based on your Personality and that's still there right I mean you can transcend the ego but There's still a little remnant probably Of that part you know that part of us so How do you know you talked about kind of Striving to be working harder than all Those kind of things are part of your Ethos and now and you talk about people Going to yoga class and working harder And trying to get enlightened in two Hours so how have you throughout your

Life balance this idea as Tierra and Suka Which is innocent Yes also from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali for sunrise every morning I've Remarried to a magnificent woman I've Hidden for 12 years now and my boy is Still with us and I get before the Family gets up as the Sun rises which is Part of a yoga practice and I do Whatever I feel my body needs in terms Of movement and deeper breath and then I Take a short time for contemplation and My contemplation is basically saying let Me live from my heart today and not from My head I remind myself every day that's What that a mom or mom really means I Was born radwells her name and I've Taken that name not because I always Think I'm their expiration Allah I was From India and then some people well I Think it's a practice writing people go To India and they release their identity Because they're moving to their new Egoless or less ego filled identity and So it's aspirational right it's it's the Essence of maybe who you are and at the Being level right so why not have that Name versus I used to be really have a made human being the needle Between goo and wrote flexible but the More that you have a general and Affirming practice no more we serve Others which is why this year I founded

Warrior speaking Nation today this incredible testament Science to veterans I understand well Because I was in so many war zones when We created more especially to bring the Science the veterans and other life Common toss-up conditions in the country And doctor in the Miller that wonderful Because on our board as as Deepak Chopra The interpretation with this year and Actually it was dr. trump who coined the Phrase self-directed transformation he's Got a lot of research epigenetics with His colonies as well we're partying Right now that Yoga Journal conferences As well and have major events of your Way warrior speaking like them to grow This next year as well to serve men who Have faced domestic abuse and nurses who Are really traumatized population and First responders and so forth so this is Also what I like to know and it's my way Of getting back and when it be Disservice for others it also helps us Go from here to here whenever you think How can I help others rather than what's In it for me as a shift that happens It's very healing and transforming how Would you how would you describe that Part The thing that I'm being asked to do That I'm trying to surrender into is to Do something that makes no sense here And hasn't necessarily hit here yet and

It's so you do something that I feel is Beneficial to society but I can't my ego Is going liking it what's in it for me What why am I doing this so tell me a Little bit but intrigued me is when you Said you move into here from here and so When you're doing your work tell me About this experience here for you well I was shown a service or cooked The solises this is it and I choose to Listen here you know if you're Struggling with this I recommend just Sitting in silence or unit five minutes Closing your eyes and being weird your Innerspace and focusing on your breath And what a miracle life that is and your Body is a temple of your era and how Whether you're Steven understanding or Light now you're supported by Mother Earth Mother Earth is in your bones and This awareness starts to slow the mind Down can't even make that richer by Breathing silently I am as your exhale And consciously visualize all of your Awareness for your outside so there were Open flame that became a lot yourself as Fully as you can just slip into pure Presence too early in here and ask your Soul this is the right thing I mean they Prepare to say yes now maybe this isn't Priceless maybe you are not ready yet to Do it in a way that really serves Opposite you still you know and a bad Situation but instead of making that

Decision here make it here sort the Concrete it is and if it is trust your Heart don't let me go game hmm And what does your heart tell you about Your current project I believe that the More that we help people heal the more It heals all the people around we also Know from this work from suffering the Biological transformation if I'm Stressed with you and you know me and I Will raise your levels of adrenaline Cortisol studying a stressed person I'm not aggressive towards you yeah and It will make you a little more calm Change your inner chemistry and then the People around you it will change spares To the directors fairness and either Positive or negative and present and Contempt and earning with your table Change your chemistry too so if we help A veteran or someone facing major Electrometer you know in asti Hillmanfamily Espouses their children their greater Community they're offended we have half A million members PTSD we have more than 20 a day Committing suicide there is widespread Domestic abuse drug addiction alcoholism Incarceration even homelessness I feel Like if I have one bedroom let me have Also helped it sugar there were lives or Their husbands their extended families And their communities and to me that's

You to do it as best as I can and I feel In these there is these populations and That I was willing to pay the government It's not just about getting a therapy But it's about telling you your deep Breath and aeneas here maybe this Identity got roman like minded but this Never did you can have a mission and Life again you can have a deeper more Authentic identity and if you do the Work You're not others to the work no call to Do this because I went through PTSD AMA Through stage four camps I went through Alcohol and prescription drug addiction And I really understand now if someone Is dark and broken and dying as me they Do this don't tell you something Right I I tell my story in in the Minimal water pose of being a journalist And not going in the dark and I don't do It to say gospel and it is nuts well I Do it the same know that you also have The power to fuel to your maximum Potential to turn the obstacles find Meaning and authenticity on your power Again and to live your truth and to be The change that you see in yourself and Then you can help others either change That we all see beautiful so tell us a Little bit that's it some when I want to Go back to something I felt when you're Talking about helping PTSD victims get Back to their family I could just I

Could feel it right here in my heart and And it's and I want to ask you what that Means to you because it's your son and That actually was the person who ignited You know your part what does that mean – Because I it feels like that's a driver For you but I don't I don't know it Exactly he's such an amazingly good Person of his own doing He was just what it means is that we all Have a capacity to change for naught and When we change ourselves we help so many Others heal often times people that Would be never ICCAT so would that that Feeling that I felt when you said that Was that it was an example of the ripple Effect of your healing and the ripple Effect of healing and helping all others Absolutely and one of the tragedies I Believe the medical system Most of our veterans they are told by Counselors you will never heal from PTSD What happens once in your life and they Are often good psychotropic medications That we don't know often leave people to Suicide and destroy their lives and Imagine being told you never get better Was what I was told ya I don't believe That's the truth I believe I would just Believe I'm experienced at self-directed Biological transformation works other Than corn I live in San Diego Bay this Is an international resort and it's also One of the largest military aviators I

Have worked with Admirals with Navy SEALs with enlisted men it moment and so With him in this this is my home office Here our had them in our dreams our Mastery of life rings and I have seen Them do the work those who really Thought on him were spire than the links Below and I have seen we have people in Our warriors for human Commission who Were Marines were the army were in the Air Force who were in the Navy and a few Lives of this process and like me I'm up In any of them say you're gonna save my Life here big centerpiece a little base International historic resorts on the Beach the hotel no Lapierre go through a Live conference and of June on June 28th For being the everyone together our Warriors for healing people who enjoy The team on our website help raise money For this work and it will be live Streamed across the country so anybody That is watching this and watching on Our warriors Website for the you and your life Website they want you can make a small Donation which is a non designer copy a Month will help change lives okay so it Tells about your friends to do it to so We grow this movement awareness almost Possible and you can watch the event the 90-minute live stream in Seattle Washington our newest experience going To be the interactive experience with

Yoga Journal that you're going to be on Doing on the 20 June 28th is it a bunch Of practices is it going to be asanas is It going to be breathing is it going to Be all of the above okay and we are Gonna honor the biological Transformation we're gonna move and We're gonna breathe so this is going to Be a celebration experiential Scott okay And we will have some wheelchairs they Will be experiencing this on the heart We will celebrate and honor save up Which in you a new selfless service Which is one of the greatest spiritual Practices that flows through all Spiritual traditions and religions hmm Great thank you so much for being here And an August first you're gonna be here At the East West bookstore so make sure To go ahead and sign up for tickets for That thank you so much for your time Yeah I should be here I should be here So I'll try to make it it means so much To me that you're listening to share Would love your support in any way by Giving you comments below or to Subscribe to the show or share the show With France thank you again for your Support love and blessings

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