Crosscut Ideas Festival: Deepak Chopra talks holistic health at 76

The alternative-medicine advocate spoke with PBS NewsHour’s Amna Nawaz about stress, politics and aging.

In Deepak Chopra’s new book, Living in the Light, the doctor and renowned alternative medicine advocate says that yoga is more than just physical exercise; it is a holistic approach to well-being that includes the body, mind and spirit. Chopra has argued that human beings are all connected to the universe and that we all have the power to create our own reality through our thoughts and beliefs.

This is the message that he brought to the Crosscut Ideas Festival during a virtual appearance with PBS NewsHour co-host Amna Nawas, recorded April 19, 2023.

Nawaz opens with a question about the increasing stress levels of American life during and since the pandemic, inspiring Chopra to circle back to his own experience with yoga study. Much yoga literature, he says, has not focused broadly enough on the totality of yoga practices and philosophy that incorporate all eight limbs, and in his book he wanted to correct that.

Listen to a podcast version of this conversation on the Crosscut Talks podcast.

Why? Because “I don’t think it’s fair to separate mental health from physical health,” he says, leading into a discussion of his recent research into the parasympathetic nervous system, which governs the body’s activities at rest (from heart rate to tone of voice) and his use of technology in stress-related therapy.

In a conversation that expanded well beyond this, his 93rd book, Chopra offered his ideas (and Plato’s) about world leaders and even names a specific person he would love to see run for U.S. president. He also discusses his own personal strategy for relieving stress (hint: avoid it), outlines how his career and business responsibilities and ambitions have been changing as he ages, and reveals the four questions we should all ask ourselves each day to nurture hope in the face of what seems like a constant deluge of bad news.

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