Healing Circle Talks with Ambica Ashok: “The real journey is within”

ZenOnco.io and Love Heals Cancer offers sacred conversational platforms known as Healing Circles for the sole purpose of giving a safe space for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers to share their feelings and experiences. These Healing Circles come with zero judgment. They are a platform for individuals to rediscover their purpose in life and achieve motivation and support for attaining happiness and positivity. Cancer Treatment is an overwhelming and daunting process for the patient and the family involved. At these Healing Circles, we give individuals the space for sharing their stories and feel at ease with it. Moreover, the Healing Circles are based on different topics every time to help individuals reflect on elements like positivity, mindfulness, meditation, medical treatment, therapies, optimism, etc.

About the Speaker

Ambica Ashok is a faculty at The Art of Living and has been associated with the foundation for the past twenty years. She was a former Semiconductor engineer with a Masters from The University of Texas, Austin, but left that to share the incredible benefits of breathing, meditation, and Yoga with the foundation.

Ambica Ashok shares her journey

Before associating with The Art of Living, I was in the semiconductor field and had lived and worked in the US for more than a decade before moving back to India. With The Art of Living, I did my first program in 1998, so I have been with the foundation for more than 20 years. Even during my career, I would advocate this a lot because there is an incredible amount of tension in the semiconductor space. So I have always been very passionate about spreading health and happiness. A few years back, among many other reasons, I thought this is what my passion is. I picked it up and taught various programs with The Art of Living. It was an easy switch for me because it was what I wanted to do naturally, and I can see the benefits in myself over the years. My first program was in 1998, and soon after that, I got the opportunity to do a program with the founder of The Art of Living, Shri Shri Ravi Shankar Ji. He was invited by my university, The University of Texas. The program was an eye-opener because I realized that our life’s quality depends on the amount of energy and the state of mind that we are in. So if we can improve or work on our state of mind and increase our energy levels, then there is so much we can do; any challenge that comes up for me, I feel like I can handle it, and there is positivity naturally. I find it a wonderful way to live life dynamically and be centered, soft, and focused inside.

Become conscious of our thought patterns

Stress has become so prevalent that it has become omnipresent like God. The definition of health is being established in the self. When we talk about total health, we need to pay attention to each layer of our mind, body, and spirit and bring it in harmony. There are few tendencies of the mind; it goes to the past or the future. Therefore, making the mind calm is not easy. Whatever you resist in mind, it will persist. Breath is the master key to unlock the life force within us and how to calm the mind. Breath and emotions are linked; every pattern of emotions has a corresponding effect on our breath. So we break it into two things, i.e., emotions affect the breath, but we can practically use the breath to affect our emotions by changing the rhythm of our breath and working on the rhythm of the breath.

Role of our belief system in healing

The belief system plays a very vital role in healing. A strong mind can carry a weak body, but a weak mind cannot carry it, so if your belief system is positively influencing you, then hold on to it, whether it is religious or spiritual. It will help your mind be strong, happy, and clear, and that it the absolute key to healing.

Does being conscious about our negative thoughts help us in managing our mental and emotional health well?

Yes, it helps us. Many people are not aware that they are in negativity, and negativity is affecting their system. Firstly, the awareness of your thoughts is important, and the second is to do something about it.

How do our thoughts manifest into healing?

We attract what we think and convey through our vibrations, words, or actions such that whatever we are feeling inside comes outside. If you have a strong intention, then the universe listens to you. One should surround themselves with uplifting people.

How can a person fighting cancer implement the power of the mind to heal?

Meditation has incredible healing powers. Your mind calms down while doing mediation. If you are on the path of healing, then you should meditate. There are many guided meditations that one can do. At The Art of Living, there is a beautiful technique called Sahaj Samadhi Meditation that helps to access the deep layer of consciousness. It plays a great role in healing. In meditation, you are tapping into the power residing inside yourself; it is an inward journey.

How can a caregiver train a patient who has given up hope to implement this idea into his life? What can be shown as an example?

It is a tough thing, but the more the caregivers go into that tough space, it can rub off on the patient. But as caregivers, if we create some support system that encourages them to do the meditation and maintain that state of high, we can see the changes.

Can you share some examples where people healed themselves with consciousness?

My friend is on a path to recovery from stage 4 Ovarian Cancer. Last year, the cancer had spread so much that she was in a very bad state. She reached out to me in March this year and asked me to teach her Sudarshan Kriya. Three months into that, she said: “My energy level was 20%, and now it is at 80%, I can walk three miles a day,” and that to her is remarkable.

How Ambica Ashok’s experience helps her

I call Sudarshan Kriya my life jacket, and it is one of the best things I have learned because of the knowledge and how much it helps me every day. When my father had a stroke, I was in the US, going through the whole process with him in the hospital for a long time. You see a challenge as a challenge, and sometimes when our mind is not in the right place, we don’t know how to handle it. But when a challenge comes up and if you are calm inside, then the right action can come, and we respond without fear and Anxiety.

Steps of Meditation

1- Sit comfortably with a straight back. 2- Keep both the palms on your thighs. 3- Keep your shoulder and body relaxed. 4- First, take a normal breathe in and breathe out. 5- Now breathe in through the nose and breathe out through the mouth. 6- Exhale for as long as you can.

Nadi-Shodhan Pranayama

Nadi-Shodhan Pranayama is alternate nostril breathing. It helps to calm the nervous system down and brings balance between the two hemispheres of the brain. First, we breathe in from the left nostril and breathe out through the right. Next, we breathe in from the right and breath out through the left nostril.

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