Inside Deepak Chopra’s Wellness Retreat in Ras Al Khaimah

The retreat, hosted by the Chopra Foundation, from November 12-15, promised an immersive setting, dedicated to unlocking personal growth

By Yasmin Mustafa

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Published: Wed 30 Nov 2022, 9:46 PM

The concept of longevity is tough to translate into everyday language. This is, in part, due to the difficulties we encounter in sifting through the excessive amount of information online, and separating fact from fiction. Telomere lengthening, epigenetics, meditation, optimal nutrition — deciphering information on longevity can leave one in a choice paralysis of where to start. Today, longevity has shifted from what was once a medical, or yogi-centric notion to an attainable health goal.

As a doctor, yogi, motivational coach and an author, Deepak Chopra took the reins on the longevity train and introduced an immersive, three-day experience in the UAE. During his two-week trip to the Emirates, Chopra hosted a wellness retreat on longevity at The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah.

The retreat, hosted by the Chopra Foundation, from November 12-15, promised an immersive setting, dedicated to unlocking personal growth. Participants in the retreat were initiated into the ‘Amrita Kriya’, which is a unique longevity practice developed with leading yoga and breath expert, Eddie Stern. Participants receive the appropriate nutritional and supplement guidance on signal molecules that help repair DNA and regulate metabolism.

The Chopra Foundation’s retreat included both a theoretical and practical understanding of the above principles. In particular, the shift of identity from body, mind, and physical circumstances to the source of all experience, which is consciousness and awareness.

The retreat is USD $20,000 per person ($30,000 per couple), which included accommodation, lectures, longevity practices and meditation led by Chopra, wellbeing bio-marker analysis with sports/human performance expert Ara Suppiah MD, yoga and breath practices by renowned yoga teacher Eddie Stern, massages, longevity and youthful aesthetic sessions by partners, and meals.

To delve a little deeper, wknd. sat down with Deepak Chopra to understand longevity and how he plans to expand the ChopraVerse in the UAE.

Edited excerpts from an interview

So we’re here in Ras Al Khaimah at your longevity retreat, where you’re teaching people the tools for how to live a long and healthy life. What should people focus on when it comes to longevity?

The focus should be on what we call health span. So, it’s not only important that we live as long as we want to live, but we live the length of time that we want to live. We also want to have a joyful, energetic body, love and compassion in our heart, a creative mind and lightness of being. If you have those four components, then life is joyful and fun. The longevity retreat deals with all the science behind longevity, genetics, epigenetics, metabolism. But it’s also dealing with how we face our everyday experiences. How do we consume time? Because time is metabolised as what we call ageing. Ageing is the metabolism of time and ultimately how our biological rhythms are connected to universal rhythms. If we have all these keys, science says you should be able to live well over 100 and not die of disease.

How can people focus on longevity with all the things you just mentioned, if they don’t have access to the right help, the right nutrition or the right amount of sleep?

Everything I’m teaching has to be lived, otherwise there’s no point. At the end of the day, do you want to say you made a lot of money or you had a joyful life? Joy should be the only measure of success, along with health and well-being. If you don’t have joy, you’ve wasted your life.

So you launched the ChopraVerse in September 2022. Do you think meditation can work in the metaverse?

We just launched a programme in Los Angeles called Immersive Meditation, and it was inspired by the people who created the Van Gogh experience, where you go to the museum and you’re immersed in the world of Van Gogh. So I asked if we could do something similar where you’re immersed in a different reality. What we call a higher consciousness... when you leave you’re transformed. It’s a one-hour show. We actually spoke to the minister here to bring it to the Museum of the Future.

Something like that would really work here...

Yes, and you can use it to enhance everything — from relationships, time management, emotions to biological rhythms. You can also create your own house there where you put your own art and music. So, the ChopraVerse is a house that is designed to take you again to the world of creativity and higher consciousness. So when you’re in the library, you get all the wisdom of generations. When you’re in the kitchen, you get nutrition, when you’re in the bedroom, you get sleep. All that is programmed in the metaverse.

So you’ve written over 90 books. A lot of them do cover finance, business, money. What do you think is missing in terms of leadership in this day and age?

I have to say that leadership in the rest of the world and here, in the Emirates, is very different. You see maximum diversity. You see a shared vision for the future. You see a government that supports the vision and you see an emphasis on peace, justice, sustainability, health and joy. That’s rare. Having a minister of happiness is unusual for the world and for me, it’s like a dream come true.

You’ve just come out with your new book, Abundance: The Path to Inner Wealth. It combines yogic principles and the concept of money. When someone has been doing the inner work, how do you think they can expect wealth to enter their lives?

The book was inspired by the lyrics from Bob Marley, which say, ‘Some people are so poor, all they have is money’. So I decided to put money in the context of total abundance, which is security, safety, love, belongingness, creative expression, insight, intuition, higher consciousness, transcendence. There was a time when there was no money. You give me a haircut and I’ll give you my eggs. There’s exchange of all sorts. Wall Street is an exchange. It’s an exchange of values. We want to make money. There are only three things you want to ask yourself: Is what I’m offering of value? Do I have the capacity? Am I replaceable right now? The answer is at this moment everybody is replaceable, but at this moment what I’m offering is so unique that it’ll take a little time to replace me. And that would be a good thing because then it’ll be an improvement of what I’m doing. So just by asking those three questions to engage with people who share the same values, you’ll make money.

Why this book now?

People say this is a time when people are feeling insecure about money with the crypto collapse, the stock market. But there are people who have also availed many opportunities. A lot of money and innovation can come out of this time, as it did during the pandemic.

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